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Reply To: Puns As a Language of the Soul?


Not surprised you appreciate puns, Robert, considering your affection for Finnegans Wake. Indeed, every image in Finnegans Wake seems to have at least half a dozen meanings, like dream, – also no surprise, considering Joyce takes us deep into the dream of one Humphrey Chimpden Earwicker (aka HCE – or Here Comes Every Body).

I have literally recorded over a thousand dreams in a dozen dream journals over the decades; early on I realized puns are related to dream consciousness, that same playful, spontaneous, unconscious imagination whence arises symbol. Dreams are full of visual puns. In that a symbol is related to day consciousness, to what unfolds in this vale of suffering through which we pass – or in which we are embedded, depending on perspective – the dream image helps us rise above the mundane, twist our brain out of a literal perspective of the world, and lift us above a sensate reality fueled by fear and desire.

Freud points to not just the proverbial Freudian-slip of the tongue as providing a glimpse into the uncensored unconscious, but also humor – and puns

. . . and indeed, the pun and its cluster of associations reminds us that language itself is primarily metaphor.

I love the pun for its patterns which step outside and break past (transcend) directed thought, rigid definitions and linear sentences, evoking instead a rhythm of associations good and bad and everything in between.