Dreams of Sleep

Located somewhere on the border between the social and the natural, sleep ensures the presence in the world of the phasic and cyclical patterns essential to life and incompatible with capitalism. Sleep’s anomalous persistence has to be understood in relation to the ongoing destruction of the processes that sustain existence on the planet. Because capitalism cannot limit itself, the notion of preservation or conservation is a systematic impossibility. Against this background, the restorative inertness of sleep counters the deathliness of all the accumulation, financialization, and waste that have devastated anything once held in common. Now there is actually only one dream, superseding all others: it is of a shared world whose fate is not terminal, a world without billionaires, which has a future other than barbarism or the post-human, and in which history can take on other forms than reified nightmares of catastrophe.

It is possible that – in many different places, in many disparate states, including reverie or daydream – the imaginings of a future without capitalism begin as dreams of sleep. These would be intimations of sleep as a radical interruption, as a refusal of the unsparing weight of our global present, of sleep which, at the most mundane level of everyday experience, can always rehearse the outlines of what more consequential renewals and beginnings might be.

Jonathan Crary, 24/7: Late Capitalism and the Ends of Sleep, 44.