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Wondering whether Ricardo Montalban was dead shortly before bedtime led to people in my dreams talking like him. Final straw was a chant played over the dream PA in his voice:

Are you ambivalent? Yes, I'm ambivalent. Are you ambivalent? Si!
Are you ambivalent? I'm not ambivalent. Are you ambivalent? No!

And so on. Ahm-BEE-vah-laint. Had no idea what to do with that so I woke. I think reversing the positions of "yes I'm" and "I'm not" might have been cleverer, though it might instead have made it confusing.

(Previously I'd been driving my mother around in a minibus she'd rented the wheels of which kept falling off, and a Montalbanian parking garage attendant told us he could fix all but one, but that we'd have to go get that one fixed too by a professional or the rental company would charge us. I said we were insured but he explained that driving around with a missing wheel would be interpreted as bragging about the baby. There was no actual baby in the dream but I tried to roll with this. His metal toolbox was attached to the wall, had even been painted white along with the wall. When he opened it we saw that there was text, toolcarved into the inside of the top, describing three dead bodies that had been found in the parking garage in recent years. But this is Canada, I was thinking when the PA voice cut in.)

So I'm not sure that I'm not sure how I feel about all that.
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Dawkins discusses people who believe they've been abducted by aliens in one of the chapters, and touts the theory of an acquaintance that sleep paralysis accounts for not just this phenomenon but a lot of old legends - vampires, succubi, various chest-sitting creatures or spirits bent on stealing the breath of children. Made me realize I had such an experience fifteen years ago - the paralysis part isn't the remarkable one, it's that you're awake while not only still held in place by the sleep vise but also while some mechanisms of dreaming are still happening. I found myself hallucinating, but with my eyes open, a reddish demon head with shifting features looking down at me from close up. I tried to blink it away and laugh (and in a sense did, but found the commands weren't going through, and because of this realized my paralysis). The head faded after some amount of morphing in place, from one set of demonically slanted features to another, consisting of lights and holes in light, a reverse jack-o-lantern effect, and then a second, yellower one shifted about a bit further away for a minute and then faded off.

I'm no expert on dreams, but the visual element was fascinating: it seemed like a kind of actual, crude animation making use of my rods and cones, or anyway the parts of my brain that normally interpret those. The demon head was made of light particles, of the same stuff you see behind your eyelids when you close them, and moving like those, but gathered and focused. The comparative lack of detail was interesting because it implied we feed ourselves dream cartoons that then get believed in as live action, in a sort of weird feedback loop - our unconscious sense of reality gets drawn as cartoons, then it or some other process imbues those cartoons with a sense of reality, from which expectations the next cartoons are derived etc. The visual elements of dreams really are visual, it made me think, but kind of cheap, leant credibility only by our skepticism's being sequestered in the napping side of the mind. And they're half semantic, as much symbols as cartoons - those demon heads felt like they meant quite a lot, I was just too interested in their being there to pay attention to what. I can totally see such moments leading to freaky religious decisions - all the more for the fact that since you've awakened faster than your body knows you're awake to start with you've probably been shocked bad by something in your dream. In my case apparently demons, silly as that made and makes me feel. I do remember something absolutely terrible had happened in that dream, to the extent that the demon's invading reality was actually a relief, because of the simultaneous invasion of much-preferable reality into my awareness.
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Picked up a plastic-wrapped old paperback copy of Shakespeare's Sonnets combined with F Scott Fitzgerald's novella The Dog of Doubt, or maybe it was The Dog in Doubt. Price wasn't bad but the juxtaposition of two such dissimilar works had me scornful. And it was printed in some faded red ink like the Sermon on the Mount in a cheap Bible so I dropped it and moved on.
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Two voices in a dream the other night:

One: My cousin's wife is so sad since he died.

Two: Why? He was only a cousin.

Analogous to, maybe influenced by, that sublime Mr. Show companions sketch.
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I wonder if we'd have come up with god without dreams. It's not really important whether we actually have some mechanism of speaking to ourselves in dreams, or instead our attempts to understand what's happening in them allow us to interpret order into our own detritus, during or after immersion. Either way you get the prospect, memory, expectation of a written world, albeit a crazy, hazy, fragmentary, protean one. Designed-looking experiences. Before we accepted it was us we must have thought it was something else messing with us, some thing or things that knew about our days - giving us the concept of a not-us that was both in us and outside us. But even with that discarded it gets us used to the notion of designed worlds, message worlds, experiences as balls thrown for us to catch. Who we are when we're not there, the other night meat. Imagination we control, and anyway it's barely happening, is underwater water coloring, but dreams provide the full sensory range, or anyway narrow our consciousness past remembering what parts of the sensory range might be missing.

We need to make totalizing statements but we need to compartmentalize them. Out here and in there aren't disconnected, but there's a ferry, two planes and a yak ride between them.


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