You Can’t Do Anything With Benjamin In This Town, 2015
Navine G. Khan-Dossos & Gary Lachmann
I am submitting this dream from 17 May 2015 as my contribution:
I am at a conference or seminar in a beautiful old university library. Dark wood
furniture, walls and shelves, old style lamps and ceiling lighting. I am sitting at a
long table near George Steiner, who is lecturing very articulately about something,
but I can’t remember what. Then I am cycling in New York, but a part of New
York I don’t know well. I stop at a house, rather like the kind of terraced houses
you find in London, but not in New York.
I see a cardboard box and look through its contents. Among other things I find two
short booklets or pamphlets by Steiner. I am happy to find these and I put them in
my bag. Then I see that this is Steiner’s house. He opens the door and comes out.
I say ‘Dr. Steiner, will you be lecturing any more at the conference?’ He is on his
way somewhere but is friendly and says ‘No, I’m afraid not,’ or something along
these lines. I say ‘I wanted to hear more about Walter Benjamin,’ or something
like that and he smiles and says, ‘You can’t do anything with Benjamin in this
town’ and walks on. I get the impression he means that Americans aren’t really
interested in the kind of deep philosophy Benjamin represents.
I am then back on my bike, and am cycling along a motorway that runs through
the city. The area is industrialised and vacant. Traffic, but not many people. I
follow the motorway and find myself on a very high bridge, like a roller coaster. At
the top I can see for miles. The downhill side is very steep and curved.
Gary Lachman, 2015
Gary Lachman is the author of several books on the link between consciousness, culture, and
alternative thought. His books include Turn Off Your Mind: The Mystic Sixties and the Dark Side
of the Age of Aquarius (Disinformation, 2003); A Secret History of Consciousness (SteinerBooks,
2003); In Search of P.D. Ouspensky (Quest, 2004); A Dark Muse (Thunder’s Mouth, 2003); Rudolf
Steiner: An Introduction to His Life and Thought (Tarcher, 2007). As Gary Valentine he was a
founding member of the rock group Blondie, played guitar with Iggy Pop, and fronted his own
groups the Know and Fire Escape. He is a regular contributor to Fortean Times, Independent on
Sunday, Strange Attractor, and other journals in the US and UK.