Thought vs Revery

I came across the following passage while reading Victor Hugo today: “Thought is the toil of the intelligence, revery its voluptuousness. To replace thought with revery is to confound a poison with food” (Les Miserables: p. 755). Hugo equates revery to dreaming, which he says is like a narcotic, good in small doses, but if one allows revery to dominate the mind, then one loses the ability to function in daily life.

This is essentially the plight of the addict or alcoholic and supports the idea that the use of substances is a symptom of the addictive behavior. The problem begins when a person seeks a brief reprieve from the stresses of daily thought by altering his or her consciousness. Eventually, through prolonged “revery,” one loses the ability to deal with normal thought and seeks only the solace of the self-induced dream state.

There is nothing wrong with a small dose of revery, but one must stay centered and balanced to prevent losing oneself in dreams.


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