DREAMS (1)

I’m interested in dreams and in others’ experiences. I never question them because my own dream experiences are so unusual.

People report visits from departed loved ones and angels as they sleep. Others are reminded of things they wish to forget—things they saw, things they shouldn’t have done, things they’ve avoided doing. Perhaps you’ve dreamed of true love or of achieving great things. Perhaps your dreams are of unnatural, unreal things, things that never lived and never should live. Everything is possible in dreams.

Dreams appear in serious literature. Hamlet’s main concern (Act III, Scene 1) in contemplating suicide is that he might dream, “For in that sleep of death what dreams may come?” Prospero comforts us in The Tempest (Act 4, Scene 1); what we’ve witnessed is simply illusion, bound sooner or later to melt into “thin air” … “such stuff as dreams are made of.”

In the Bible (Acts 2:17), Luke tells us that, “in the last days … Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.”

3516858-freddy-freddy-krueger-33746737-500-614
Freddie Krueger gets your attention.

Dreams play a major role in speculative fiction. Has the sound of Freddy Krueger’s claw fingers screeching across bare pipes chilled you in Nightmare on Elm Street? Have you wanted to get into others’ dreams and steal their secrets like Dominick Cobb does in Inception? Maybe you’ve wanted to alter past and present reality, like George Orr does in Ursula Le Guin’s novel and movie, The Lathe of Heaven.

In my dreams, I seem fully aware. Sometimes I suspend disbelief and enjoy the show as entertainment. Other times I interact to affect the outcome. Memories of these experiences carry from dream to dream, enabling me to learn from them and form long-term relationships with my ‘dream people’. I’ve kept some of these friendships since early childhood. Rob, Connie, Josh and I have grown up together.

My dream friends help me solve problems and have demonstrated knowledge I don’t believe that I ever possessed. When they reveal future events that then occur, it gives me pause. My dream friends have also given me the impression that all dream creatures dwell in a common dreamscape.

In 2001, I saw A Beautiful Mind, the fine movie about John Nash, the Nobel Prize winning mathematician who was plagued by schizophrenic delusions. In those delusions, fictional people beset Nash to the point where he couldn’t differentiate them from real people.

That night my dream friends visited me. They screamed. I listened.

Rob stabbed the air with his finger while he paced beside my bed. “Never, never, can a dream person interfere in waking life … not in that way.” He shook his finger in my face. “You have to know that, Keith. You have to know we’d never do that to you. That’s criminal.” I nodded. Two other dream friends nodded, too. “Nash’s dream people broke the code.” He shook his head in disgust.

I assured everyone that I understood and trusted them. We hugged and they let me go back to sleep.

In my next post, I’ll tell you another dream story: how a series of nightmares brought me this unusual gift. In the meantime, “Row, row, row your boat,” and remember, “Life is but a dream.”

Have you had unusual dream experiences?

Wild Humans Safari

Wouldn’t it be great if we could see ourselves as others see us … maybe not.

___________

Thank you for choosing Intergalactic Excursions. This joyous Jakettic season we will take you to the outer rim of the Milky Way galaxy for a Wild Humans Safari. In human guise you will walk among them and observe their behavior first hand. You will watch herds of humans grazing at watering holes and wonder at their colorful mating rituals. Included in your package is a gala celebration to select a human herd leader. At this event, you will see prospective leaders, hear their fanciful posturing, and delight in the synchronized chanting of their inebriated worshipers.

For their safety, Jakettic travelers who wish to participate rather than merely observe human rituals are advised to adhere to the following guidelines.

CLOTHING: Humans remain fully clothed except when mating. Removal or partial removal of clothing, particularly below the waist, may give offense or be seen as an invitation to mate. Provoked in this manner, humans may charge.

RELIGION: Unlike sentient species, humans ascribe supernatural powers to entities and objects of no particular significance. The primary human deities are: herd leaders, entertainers, wealthy or attractive humans, and themselves. Self-worship is expressed in obsessions with personal appearance, possessions, and personal gratification. Humans tend to be very religious. Any aspersions cast upon their deity—or praise for any other deity—may cause them to charge.

CONVERSATION: The holiday traveler may find human conversation difficult to master. Humans use it to entice mates, to deceive others about their accomplishments or material wealth, or to determine herd affiliation—rarely to pass information. If one’s accomplishments or wealth are not sufficient, humans may move away and avoid further attempts to communicate. If one’s herd is considered hostile or mating intentions are rejected, humans may charge.

To engage a human in conversation it is customary to open with a religious platitude. Compliments on appearance or material possessions are preferred. For example, “Your hair looks fabulous,” or “What a fine dwelling you have.”

CAUTION: When commenting on a human’s appearance, we advise travelers to limit comments to the area of the head. Below-the-neck compliments can stir anger or be taken as an invitation to mate. Since your holiday guise is not equipped for mating, any attempt to do so will anger the human and cause them to charge. As an alternative, we recommend opening conversations with praise for a herd leader. But here again the traveler is advised, praise for the wrong herd leader is considered aggressive. Humans may charge.

CONSUMPTION: Lacking wind collectors on their heads or solar scales on their bodies, humans must acquire energy by consuming organic matter—plants and animals they refer to as FOOD.

Humans often consume FOOD socially as a shared herd activity. This consumption involves complex rituals and skills with specialized tools. The traveler is warned that some herds have strictures on particular foods. Consuming a prohibited food is considered a personal insult. Humans may charge.

As a safety precaution, you may wish to consume food alone or only in the company of human males. Males often forgo all ritual by pouring organic matter directly into their upturned faces.

CAUTION: During food consumption human males often over consume distilled liquids that incapacitate their brain function. In such states males become highly volatile and may charge without provocation.

OFTEN CONFUSED WITH CONSUMPTION: Humans may be seen exposing themselves nude or almost nude to their sun. This is actually a form of self-worship (see RELIGION above) and not an energy gathering process. The intent is to improve their physical appearance to attract mates.

local-bars
Humans by the watering hole.

MATING: Human mating is rarely for procreation and is yet another form of self-worship (see RELIGION above). Gathered beside watering holes, humans will be seen strutting, gyrating and otherwise displaying themselves to attract mates. If their presentation is accepted, a human, usually a male, will proceed immediately to misrepresent accomplishments or material wealth in order to heighten desirability.

WARNING TO TRAVELERS: Once mating behavior is observed, all travelers are advised to move well back. Aroused humans, male and female, feel threatened when anyone comes between them and a prospective mate and may charge. Danger is greatest if the traveler has assumed the guise of a well-known entertainer. These deities (See Religion above) are known to arouse humans and may cause the traveler to be targeted as a mate or rival.

We hope you enjoy your Wild Humans Safari, and wish you and your spawn a Setis Jakettic. Please consider Intergalactic Excursions for you next holiday.

Pinocchio

pinocchio
Illustration by Enrico Mazzanti, Pinocchio 1st ed.

Lonely and childless, woodcarver Geppetto creates a son, a wooden marionette he names Pinocchio. Pinocchio comes to life but remains wooden with hinged joints. He dreams of one day becoming a real boy made of flesh and blood.

Ironically, Pinocchio’s misbehavior keeps him from his dream: he lies and steals, is lazy and disrespectful—very boy-like qualities. In the Disney movie after coming to life, Pinocchio dances and sings, “I have no strings to hold me down … there are no strings on me.” Although human beings have legal and moral obligations—our strings—Pinocchio rejoices in his freedom.

Jumping ahead to the 2015 film Avengers: Age of Ultron, the new artificial intelligence, Ultron, mocks Tony Stark’s attempts to control it. Departing to wreak havoc on the world, the narcissistic entity refuses to follow Stark’s rules. It wants to transcend humans.

“… there-are-no-strings-on-me,” Ultron says, echoing Pinocchio.

The artificial life (monster) in Frankenstein accepts that it can never be ‘a real boy’, but still wants a real life. It asks Dr. Frankenstein to create for it a wife. The doctor agrees, but when haunted by visions of breeding a race of monsters, he destroys this second creation.

Lamenting its ‘unholy’ life, the monster strikes back in a series of murders, including Dr. Frankenstein’s wife. Not being ‘human’, the monster realizes it is free from moral and ethical strings. It feels no remorse.

Artificial life forms in literature reflect or contrast the human experience, from Data in Star Trek and David in A.I. Artificial Intelligence, to the robots in the many versions of I Robot. Whether they hide among or join humans, or leave to possibly attack humans, artificial entities realize that they are not bound by our rules: physical, mental or moral.

This provokes many questions. How different are they? Will robot workers be entitled to health care (tech support)? Will they get the vote? How about abortions or euthanasia—can an artificial intelligence be put to sleep? How about dating? Can they feel love or fear? Or will they fake it? Will we be able to tell?

 

What is your favorite artificial entity? Why?