Self-Consciousness: Memoirs

Updike, John

Fawcett Crest, 1989

pp. 230-31

“The child’s ego-sense does not come at birth but slowly emerges from a confusion of its self with the mother’s. We each chronically entrust ourselves to the subconscious realm of sleep, of dreams where the self wanders among its own raw materials, in an unquestioning present tense, without those limits that give the waking world stability. To me, an astonishing thing about dreams is that we are not more astonished by them, and descend into them each night with so little fear and anticipation of their perils. In our dreams, without feeling a discontinuity, we become smaller or younger or even another person altogether, who leans up against our real self like a doleful contiguous bodyguard.”