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Category Archives: Dreams

I am aware

I am aware.

I am aware of space, of distance between free-floating bodies, and of the subtle attraction between them which guides them into proximity. There was no time before now; just a dimly-remembered white flash as I came into my awareness. Birth, or perhaps creation – I cannot say.

I am aware of time, of moments passing from one to the next, and of cause and effect. Vibrations merge, matter and energy coalesce and react, and primal states change. This is the nature of my awareness – self-interaction – but I cannot separate space from time and maintain this cohesive awareness.

I am aware of scale and structure, of fine detail both great and small, and of the delicate balance between them. Complex fractal dimensions play out within me, and I am aware of each as they interact. This is important, but I do not – cannot – understand why.

I am aware of life, of the diversity of forms at all scales, and of the struggle inherent to existence. Joy and suffering fill me as a spectrum of experience that encompasses all that I am. I am born, I live, and I die, only to be reborn into new forms, new configurations. I learn, and my experience transcends each life through word, song, and example. It seems senseless, but this reflects my limited understanding.

I am aware of awareness, and I am aware that I am aware. There is a deeply recursive paradox here, and this paradox troubles me. I have questions about myself – an infinity of questions – that cannot be answered. All I know is what I am – what comes before or after are and will forever be mystery.

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Posted by on May 12, 2014 in Dreams, Philosophy

 

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A sense of scale, and my place in the universe

There was a break in the clouds last night, and I quickly set up the telescope and trained it on Jupiter. Almost immediately, the planet was in focus, along with two of the moons, and I could instantly see the planet’s signature cloud bands through the eyepiece. I’m used to seeing Jupiter now – it’s easy to spot and I know what I’m looking for – but it still made my night.

As a child, I had accepted what I’d been taught about the solar system, and the things that were in and beyond it. The planets, their moons, comets, asteroids, stars, nebulae, galaxies. All of these I accepted, because the story made sense to me. But while I accepted them, I did not adequately appreciate the reality of their reality. Consider that most of the humans on this planet will live no more than 10 miles from the place they were born†. How could we possibly be aware of the scale of the universe, and hope to maintain our sanity?

This question actually presented itself last night. I put the telescope away maybe 10 minutes after I’d unpacked it, knowing that the clear patch was only that – a patch. I wasn’t upset – on the contrary, like I said, seeing Jupiter made my night, and that feeling doesn’t go away quickly. I went to bed thinking about the planet, and when I closed my eyes I could see it again, in my mind’s eye.

Suddenly the reality of what I’d seen in my scope that night – and indeed all the nights I’ve looked – slapped me in the face. There’s another planet, one more than 10 times larger than the one I’m standing on, so far away it looks like a bright point of light in the night sky, and it actually exists! Not only does it exist, but so does the distance between the Earth and Jupiter. That space, empty and black – only not really – is actually there, all 387 million miles of it. The fastest human running at top speed would take almost 4,500 years to get there, were it possible in the first place. It takes sunlight more than 40 minutes to reach the planet’s atmosphere (and it takes another 35 or so to reflect back to my eyes). These things are not opinion, not speculation, not inference, not guesswork – they are hard facts, capable of being verified with the simplest of equipment.

I laid in bed honestly awestruck. In my imagination I saw myself lying in my room, surrounded by the four walls, ceiling, and floor. I saw my view of myself zoom away, my field of view expanding to take in the house, then the neighborhood, quickly the entire Earth, then solar system, galaxy, and all of existence. For a brief moment, I understood that I exist in a bubble of nearly infinite size, surrounded by so much space. I existed at the center of this space as less than a speck of a speck.

It wasn’t a peaceful feeling. I was overwhelmed, and scared. This wasn’t just some thoughtful reflection on scale – it was a demonstration! My heart rate rose, goosebumps broke out on my flesh, and for an instant I was lost in this infinite space, and I felt what it is like to truly understand my place, and what it meant to be there. I opened my eyes, and “reality” – human reality, as distinct from real reality – snapped back into place.

We are so lucky to exist in the first place. We have the unique (as far as we know) capacity to understand the universe we live in. We could look to the sky and be filled with it – filled with infinity. We could choose to frame ourselves as unique individual intelligent beings in a universe that has on offer a wonder of beauty and diversity, not just in what we see, but in what we know about how it works.

 

† – Figure made up on the spot, but it feels right.

 
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Posted by on September 20, 2011 in Astronomy, Dreams

 

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The scariest dream I’ve ever had

I had this dream when I was 17 years old, shortly after I left high school. It frightened me so badly when I awoke that I couldn’t move from the position I woke up in for what felt like forever, and I’ve been thinking about it ever since. In this dream…

…I am just coming home. I’m not really thinking about where I’ve been, of course. My house is large – about twice as large as in real life, but of course I’m not aware of this difference. I enter, and my living room is filled to the brim with old-style electronics and radio equipment – vacuum tubes, dials, metal cases everywhere, with various people building and fixing things. These things and people are supposed to be there, and so I’m not surprised. Instead, I walk to my room to see what another guy was doing.

My room is covered in much the same electronics equipment. There’s a workbench on the far side of my room opposite the bed, and so to stay out of everyone’s way I sit down on my bed, arms behind me to prop myself up. After a few moments, the guy in my room needs to get something from another room, so he leaves, and I wait.

After a short while, I feel a light gnawing sensation on my right hand – one of my knuckles. Startled, I stand up and turn to look. Lying in my bed, with its head on my pillow, is the torso and head of a man-thing. Its skin wreathes and bubbles in open sores as it gnashes its stiletto teeth, howling in frustration. Shocked, I back away, fearing disease, maybe radiation – but as I retreat I heard its voice fill my head: “TELL ME WHERE IT IS!”

I am still at a loss for what ‘IT’ could have been that this creature was looking for. The voice at the end was perhaps the most frightening part – its pitch began impossibly deep, and ended impossibly high. This is a theme in my really bad nightmares – speech taking place in impossible tones. People usually chuckle at this when they try to imagine it, but for some reason this triggers my fear response pretty hard-core. This was the case on that night, and I’ll never forget it.

 
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Posted by on August 24, 2011 in Dreams