Human knowledge, it's breadth and scope, is startling both in it's sheer volume and in it's sheer lack. We can send submersibles into the ocean to depths at which many fish can't even live, and we can venture out into the harsh emptiness of outer space, but we don't know why we dream. I certainly don't know why.
I dreamed last night, as I often do. I think it's pretty common knowledge that most everyone dreams at night, it's just that many of us don't remember dreaming. In my opinion this is a defense mechanism designed to keep us from all going starkers from the horrible things that our minds dredge up for us to review in living colour, full surround sound, and stomach-wrenching horror.
See, I had the nichtmares last night, in spades. I can't recall much of it, only very scattered images and sensations, but it was, I can assure you, one of those dreams where my mind found every disturbing thing it could find and strung them together in the most unlikely and yet dream-believable way possible.
The thing I most wanted to mention, though, is the part that I remember best, mostly because of it's complete strangeness. It's a rather pedestrian strangeness too, and in the process it's also a violation of my sense of things.
I have a powerful sense of nostalgia. I highly favor things that evoke that sense of distance and connection, pieces of my childhood that have particular sentiment attached, that sort of thing. So last night I dreamed that somehow I had returned to my childhood home, and the entire place had been secured, frozen just like the day we left it, complete with all the furniture and dressings. It was as perfect as though we had not moved as a family but somehow been plucked whole from our place and removed to some other spot, like paper dolls moved from one dollhouse to another by a five year old girl, leaving behind the set for another time.
I remember clearly walking around the house seeing things that had powerful sentimental connections. I remember an ashtray my father used, a photo album, and an old rotary phone that I knew would look good in my office now. I saw and touched my old toys, places I had played, and rooms of furniture. And when I woke up I realised that all those wonderful nostalgic reminisces were completely false, all fabrications of my dreaming mind. In the dim glow from the nightlight I realised that we had never owned a phone like the one I dreamed about. We had never owned a chair like the one I remembered, I never owned or loved those toys I saw, and for that matter we never had a house like that. All fabrications, all lies.
My mind, my treacherous sleeping mind had not only taken me for a walk through some imagined childhood home but had manufactured all those powerful, sweet feelings of lost items found, of long-forgotten connections to a simpler time. I felt so profoundly lost upon waking, felt deeply that empty-socket ache of missing good feelings. Worse, I felt deeply betrayed by my own mind, my own imagination. I had lied to myself so well, manipulated my own heart so powerfully, so masterfully, better by far than anyone else could have, and then had to wake to the cold reality that I had been played for a fool the entire time.
It wasn't a pleasant experience.