Thoughts on thoughts and images of beautiful things

Daily Archives: September 27, 2012

“…the form is the same but not the substance.”


I’m currently reading a book called The Glass Room by Simon Mawer and there was this sentence that struck me, “…the form is the same but not the substance.” I often think of this notion in relation to shadows and the actual shape that they represent, and dreams and the life they represent. Shadows are the same form of the shape they represent, but not the same substance. This is clear. For example, the shadow of myself walking down the sidewalk may have the same form outlining my body, but it certainly isn’t the same substance – my shadow is not actually myself and does not contain anything that makes up the essence of myself. Yet both myself and my shadow share the same form. So in this way, it can be very disillusioning as to what is the real thing and what isn’t the real thing, even though they may both have the same form and look generally the same.

And when it comes to dreams, it seems as though our dreams are a reflection of the thoughts we have while we are awake and conscious of our thoughts. So they seem similar, yet they are slightly different because they are experienced in different realms of consciousness. It is thought that our dreams are things that we worry about or are on our minds subconsciously. Therefore, it seems as though our dreams are shadows of our thoughts while we are conscious and awake. But how can we know? What if our dream state is the real thing and our conscious ‘awakeness’ is actually the shadow? I’m sure psychologists that study sleep and dreams would argue otherwise, for the former; however, I often wonder if my dreams are somehow more real than my life when I am awake…

In any case, it is interesting to think about the difference between form and substance, shadows and the objects they represent, and dreams and the thoughts they represent.