Last night: dreams of ruthlessness in war; ancient; a battle in which no compromise was allowed and a perfectionist general lost his every soldier in an ever-widening stain which turned the ground sour and nauseating. When it was finished, he still stood, but broken and stripped of his humanity. His actions had contradicted the very ideals which had set him on his path, and he wept. Not for himself, but for the landscape of carnage; for all who had been lost on his orders, by his hubris. For the taint and the tarnish on ideals that could not be restored to bright and shining. He didn’t move. In the end, all of his decisions proved senseless; the weight of emptiness all around him rooted him to the soil, still hemorrhaging slow pools of regret.
The dream woke me and it was still dead of night (and I am rarely wakened by dreams, even the nightmare kind). This one, though- the vantage point was abstract- I was learning this battle as history, yet it spread before my eyes like a living diorama in the dream, and I could smell the sourness and it hurt, and the general, who was representative of some Roman written as glorious, lost his mythological status. It felt like the stain had continued to spread right up through centuries, and I lost something as well, like the way fairy tales set you up for a fall, which is Life, and you realize in the most visceral way that death in war is always ignoble for the mere fact that it is avoidable– the way of avoidance simply has yet to be soundly threaded from abstraction, as there’s no budget for it; no economic motive.