"The poet only asks to get his head into the heavens. It is the logician who seeks to get the heavens into his head. And it is his head that splits." G.K. Chesterton

Sunday, December 8, 2013

What are dreams, mum?

I was a very inquisitive child, or at least so I've been told, and the beginning of my ability to speak was marked with an onset of a daily torrent of interrogations, which I subjected my mother to. I used to ask my mum -- the all knowing oracle -- about basically anything and everything.

"What are dreams, mum?" -- I inquired one day. This question, as she later told me, had stumped her at the time -- she didn't expect it coming from a six year old, any more than she knew how to explain it to one. 

"Well" -- stalled the oracle a little as she gathered her thoughts -- "they're a kind of recapitulation, night-time thoughts if you will, a replay of the experiences you had during the day -- that includes the people you may have encountered during that day, such as your friends and your teachers". 

"So if I were to encounter a monster" -- I pried (I was obsessed with dinosaurs and monsters) -- "I may dream about one the following night?"

"Yes, although as you know there really are no monsters" -- my mum took the opportunity to reassure me.

"So if dreams are night thoughts about the things I encounter during the day" -- I persisted -- "why do I sometimes dream about monsters?"

Here, my mum was a little stumped, and didn't know what else to say -- after all she didn't have a degree in psychology. After a little while she refined her answer -- she always came through, being the oracle -- "You may also dream about any thoughts that you may have during the day -- why, you may even dream about your auntie who lives in America!"

"What if I think hard enough about something I like" -- the merciless torrent continued -- "I may dream about it too?" -- I asked, brimming with excitement about having devised an idea for an experiment to be conducted over the coming days and nights.

Now, having looked back, I realize that I've never actually stopped asking such questions.

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