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All Is Dream

March 4, 2011

How do we separate dreams from reality? It doesn’t seem to require much effort to do, nor any sophisticated theory or mindset; we learn to distinguish between the two from a very early age, and to do so intuitively. We don’t need to run down a conscious check list to ensure we’ve woken up to reality.

One key difference between dreams and reality is of course one of consistency. If we would start out with an equal “reality score” for the dreamverse and the real world, we would soon with the help of “common sense” discard the dream and favour the reality. Even if we consider recurring dreams, our waking time is still miles ahead in consistency. And recurring dreams recur, reality doesn’t.

History may repeat itself, but with the same specificity recurring dreams showcase. And when things repeat themselves in reality, we often remark on the very peculiarity of it.

A further clue is the absence of afterthought in dreams. In dreams of a fantastical nature, we seldom question its reality, no matter how ludicrous. In fact, doing so often (but certainly not always) breaks the spell and wakes us up. Dreams can overlap without us questioning the sudden appearance of wizards in our bank heist.

Now, I don’t know if this is universal or personal, but when I think about it, it seems that any dream is in fact built from several small dreams. These dreamlets weave together to form a context we accept as real for its duration. Seen in hindsight, dreams are like undisturbed daydreams with a larger special effects budget.

Lack of reflection is not a good indicator of being in a dream state, however; there are things like lucid dreaming and possibly even people born with the ability.

What about nested dreams then? An idea lately popularized by a certain movie but by no means a novel one. Perhaps the timeline we perceive as reality is just a dream too? But if both dreams and reality are in fact dreams, then how do we know in which direction real reality lies? I mean, proper reality might well be more like the chaotic dreamverse than the mundane world.

There exists a strong imbalance between dream and reality and that is that the reality often gives shape to dreams. This could provide us with a direction. Something that influences something else must be able to act upon it, but not the other way around. So even if reality is another dream, at least it’s higher up the ladder.

Fuck. This post was supposed to be about reality. Ah well. Another time, I guess.


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