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4:53pm on Saturday, 5th December, 2009:

Worlds Within Worlds


I didn't wake up until 10:34 this morning (according to the clock in our bedroom). This is well over 40 minutes later than any other time I've woken up this year, and probably in the past 2 or 3 years too. I put it down to having had the stuffing knocked out of my by these back-to-back colds I've had, which tend to make for restlessness at night.

Whether that has anything to do with what I'm actually blogging about today, I don't know, but it's probably connected in some way.

So, I've mentioned before that I rarely remember dreams. When I do remember them, there's almost always a reason for it. This means that when I get one of my rare, unbidden dreams, I like to know why it is I got it; after all, it could be something serious.

Well, last night I got an unbidden dream. As always, this was an exciting event for me, and as always the dream itself was pretty damned good. I won't go into the details, because other people's dreams are never interesting; besides, I don't want Emma Watson asking for an appearance fee for her walk-on part. What was unusual about this dream was that it seemed to go on for a long time without my realising it was a dream. I usually know pretty well straight away that I'm in a dream (at least for the dreams I remember — gawd knows what goes on in the ones I don't); for me, lucid dreaming is my natural way to dream, and I don't need to perform any reality tests while dreaming to find out that I am dreaming — I just "know" I'm dreaming, just as right now I "know" I'm awake. When I get dreams that go on for a while without my realising they're dreams, I'm actually quite indignant when it suddenly occurs to me that something isn't right — the sheer unfairness of it annoys me. There I was, trusting what was happening, and then suddenly it turns out it was all a lie!

This particular dream was especially irritating in this regard, its fictitiousness proving to be a huge disappointment to me. The moment I realised that I was dreaming, I therefore made the unusual decision to bring the dream to an immediate close. Even though it was a fun dream, I wasn't going to reward it for tricking me. I was expecting that I would thereupon wake up.

I didn't.

I didn't wake up, but I knew that I was still asleep; yet I wasn't dreaming. This was not a state of affairs I found at all pleasant. I considered that I might actually be dreaming, and that the other dream was a dream-within-a-dream; however, I knew I wasn't dreaming. If I'd been dreaming, I would have been seeing, hearing and otherwise experiencing a world; I wasn't, though. It was as if I were in a void. I could have created something if I'd wanted to — anything at all — but that wasn't the point. The point was that I was awake while asleep, and I much prefer to be awake while awake. I therefore had to wake myself up.

I didn't have chance to do this, though. Suddenly, another dream appeared from nowhere. Great: even my subconscious has a subconscious to boss it around. This was a very, very old dream — one from when I was maybe 3 or 4 years old, which I hadn't had since then but still remembered. It basically said, "wake up, you're wetting the bed". I woke up, and, no surprise at all, was not wetting the bed. I didn't even want to go to the toilet: it was 2am, and I'd only been asleep 90 minutes. Nevertheless, I visited the bathroom just to make sure...

So, I'm left wondering why it is I got the unbidden dream in the first place, and why I didn't realise I was dreaming in it until quite late. Maybe this is how I normally dream, and I'm suddenly gaining access to what is usually inaccessible to me? Maybe something happened that woke me up? I would have known what it was that did that, though. I think the dream-within-a-dream motif could be promising, but as to where it might lead... It's all very perplexing.

I'll try to be on the look out tonight for similar occurrences, in case they shed any light on the situation.

Damn you, Emma Watson!

Referenced by No, Just Worlds.

Referenced by Right Zeroth Time.

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Copyright © 2009 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).