Dorothea Lange, from 'Day Sleeper', edited by Sam Contis.
The scandal of sleep is the embeddedness in our lives of the rhythmic oscillation of solar light and darkness, activity and rest, of work and recuperation, that have been eradicated or neutralized elsewhere.
It is also a periodic release from individuation – a nightly unravelling of the loosely woven tangle of the shallow subjectivities one inhabits and manages by day.
…sleep is the recurrence in our lives of a waiting, of a pause. It affirms the necessity of postponement, and the deferred retrieval or recommencement of whatever has been postponed. Sleep is a remission, a release from the “constant continuity” of all the threads in which one is enmeshed while waking. It seems too obvious to state that sleep requires periodic disengagement from networks and devices in order to enter a state of inactivity and uselessness. It is a form of time that leads elsewhere than to the things we own or are told we need.
…the only temporary absence of the sleeper [as opposed to the dead] contains a bond to a future, to a possibility of renewal and hence of freedom. It is an interval into which glimpses of an unlived life, of a postponed life, can edge faintly into awareness. The nightly hope for the insensible state of deep sleep is at the same time an anticipation of an awakening that could hold something unforeseen.
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.