Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Recursive dreaming

I read in New Scientist magazine about the linked blogger who wondered how many levels in a recursive dream you could have.

Basically a recursive dream is a dream within a dream.

My dreams are fairly good and I can exercise some limited control over them or at least I have had some dreams so many times that I can rewrite them.

My recursive dream tends to be about getting up and doing all your morning preparations and then leaving the house. In some ways its quite a natural dream in the sense that your brain is waking up and preparing itself to get ready, so it is creating a mental to-do list and running through it which is expressed as a dream. The other thing is that morning routines are fairly regular and repetitive so most of it could be done subconsciously in your sleep not really having to wake up until you eventually arrive at work.

Anyway the dream is quite simple, I get up, get shower, shave, clean teeth, get dressed, go downstairs, get breakfast, collect final bits and leave house for work.

So I am busy dreaming this very real dream which feels just like a normal day, I leave the house and then I wake up. This is where the recursive bit comes in, because although I wake up I start the dream over again, so I wake up, get up etc until the point I leave the house again except then I wake up.

Its difficult to say how many times I have managed to repeat this dream but I think at least three times in one morning. Of course by the time you are actually awake all you can think is that you have done all this three times already.

Another repeating but not recursive dream I keep having is an old favourite about failing an exam. It varies from turning up late or not preparing, I know it means that I am just worrying about some detail that I haven't finalised yet.

It has become such a common dream that now I often start telling myself not to worry as I passed these exams years ago. As these dreams are in the past it is a past me with future knowledge. I have to say that the past me never recognises this time paradox.

Dreams are such strange things and I always find mine fascinating.

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