You may not remember what a Oneironaut is, so let me lift a definition from the UrbanDictionary to help you out:
“A person who explores dream worlds, usually associated with lucid dreaming. “
And yes, this morning’s comment is about another one of my lucid dreams, but a very curious aspect of them which is worth noting, and that is why I am writing this down for you.
Let’s begin with the dream:
In this one, I was with a group of family and friends – some of the same people I know from this life along with others and we were at a summertime party. It was something like a huge block party and there were 25, or so,wandering from home to home, people chatting abut this and that – when suddenly it occurred to the group that this would be a marvelous time to visit Europe.
With little further adieu, we suddenly all found ourselves at an airport in what felt like Copenhagen and we were going to take a recently added high speed train across northern Germany, visit the northern tier of Russian cities, and then return to where we’d come from.
One thing was different, however, and remarkably so: The geography. Across the whole northern side of German the coastline was littered with small islands. I thought that was curious.
The group was shepherded into two rail cars (large, long, and quite comfortable) to begin a short trip on a low-speed line to a major station in Germany. We were admonished by a tour guide to stay together because when we got to the “big station” there would be a zillion people and it would be easy to get lost.
Well, sure enough, we got lost and while the main body of the tour was off on the high-speed train to the east, but three or four of us were separated and then someone in the crowd picked my wallet and the next thing you know, we were on a low-speed train back to the west (off where the airport was located). Near Copenhagen.
About the only thing I had left was a small green card made of clear/green plastic and it contained a unique identifier, but I knew it was not electronic in nature.
We rode a couple of trains east, at first, thinking we would catch up with our tour group but after two short hops abandoned the idea and decided to return to the airport and head for home.
There was one other weird thing. (Other than my card identifying me as passenger 477 or 471): We sat behind the engineers (there were two) and on the trip west,. the railway was occasionally obstructed by self-running machines that were moving slowly around the tracks.
They weren’t doing anything…just being a nuisance. So the engineers would slow, bump them out of the way and then continue. The significant part was the conversation about how bad robotics were and how they almost ruined the world.
Since we had taken a convertible for the ride from the trains to the airport, it fell to me (once we had started through the boarding line) to run back outside and put the top up on the car, since rain was threatening. There were two other cars – both convertibles which I thought curious – and their owners were having a very difficult time as their tops were both broken and wouldn’t fit tight. On e wouldn’t go on at all and the owner was cursing he’d have to drive it to a shop in the rain to get it fixed.
Back inside, I wandered back through the line and had a short conversation with an attendant about how it was that a metal detector had failed to pick up the brass buttons on a blue blazer I was wearing. That was indicated by a simple, cheesy meter that was built into a counter we walked past. Hardly a modern metal detector, at all.
There was a definite air of surreal to the whole adventure; the kind of slightly over-done shadows as though the contrast had been turned up a bit higher than necessary.
But then I woke and noticed the whole adventure has only taken about 50 minutes. Elaine had gotten up at 3:04 (I noticed the clock) and my alarm goes off every (damn) morning at 4 AM on the button.
So why mention this dream at all?
I mean other than look for lost/missing tourists in northern Germany/northern Europe in headlines for the next couple of days?
We it’s because of the robotic platforms that were interfering with the operation of the railroad as three of us headed back west.
There were no computers anywhere in the dream.
And I don’t mean like “just this one dream…” I mean that’s what I was thinking about from 4:00 AM until 4:34 AM this morning…trying to figure out why there are no computers in my dreams.
Occasionally, there is an autonomous something (like these useless things that clogged the rail line) but they were held in contempt. The was no overarching machinery except of the sort that would be around if the world of technology had been flash-frozen in about 1945, or so. But definitely pre-transistor and pre-atomic bomb.
And that all set me thinking along two lines of inquiry.
The first was whether there’s more truth to the old nursery rhyme/song “…merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, Life is but a dream…”
Is it possible that the world we share is actually a large “group dream” and that “real life” is this other realm which hasn’t achieved the same “dreamlike” technology and which has been flash-frozen with basic electronics before the A-bomb?
You can wonder what this world would “dream like” from over there.
I mention it because as much time as we spend dreaming, and I’m pretty comfortable saying this, you can over time actually begin to “map” that world – the one we dream of. The topography is different, so is the lighting, and even specifics of the geography are different. Those islands of Northern Germany over toward Denmark don’t appear on “this world” maps.
Copenhagen – in this life – is north of Germany, not West. But perhaps that is how or why we have such a strong collective concern about crustal shifts, about Charles Hapgood’s theory, and all the rest of it.
It could be “print through” from a life/place where it has already happened. Or, not.
The second reason for mentioning it is the odd lack of computers in my dreams.
Oh, sure, there are some basic electronics; steam gauges is what we pilots refer to old-school instruments as. But thinking back, not a single LCD or television has appeared in one of my dreams in 60+ years, as far as I can remember.
And that’s where I was from 4:25 until 4:34 this morning.
Are dreams telling us something very important about robotics and computers? Like “They are very bad for you and given enough research, they will learn to hunt and kill you”?
I’m sure you saw the story last week about a new Russian combat robot being on display and a month or three back, there was the quadruped the US military is interested in weaponizing.
There is a lot of discussion in religious circles about robots – all the way back to our talk a year or longer ago when my friends up at The Chronicle Project (www.thechronicleproject.org) mentioned how the reinterpretation of ancient texts points toward robots with laser swords guarding the Garden of Eden.
The prohibition which has come down to us about idolatry us one of the few major points of agreement among many religions: Christians, Jews, Hindus, Muslims, the list goes on – all have these very intense warnings about idolatry is bad for you.
Not only are my dreams idol-free, but as I noticed this morning, they are also remarkably computer-free and even those small nuisances before the westbound train were clearly operating below the Altair kind of level and certainly no 8088 or later. They were like brain-damaged artifacts.
Considering the thousands of hours I’ve spent with computers, it’s totally refreshing that they haven’t followed me into my sleep space. Coding in macro languages,, lots of HTML,PHP,a bit of C, SQL,VFP4-9, dBase….none of it has followed “over.”
I can tell you how to fly there – in the dream realms – the deep hum in the chest that can’t be done with Ego present.. I can tell you about strange micro technology in the fog-shrouded valley’s of the southern Andes that produces power for basic home use. And I can tell you of cruises, plentiful food, adventures, shopping, crystal clear waters and a thousand things more. But I haven’t seen computers there. Not a one.
Just maybe that’s a kind of Heaven’s Gate – which some things don’t or can’t pass. And if so, it’s probably something we could all stand to do a lot more thinking about. Is “heaven” off-limits to machine intelligence?
When major religions agree something is bad, as they do on the topic of idolatry, and we are “arming idols” I’m just guessing that’s a very bad thing. Did idols/robots almost do us in before?
This seems an odd line of inquiry from a guy who talks to his Echo and DragonSpeaks. But those don’t follow, either.
I’ve also never heard a phone ring in one of my dreams, either. Sure is a peaceful and happy place, this dreamland.
Write when you break-even,