So it’s eight o’clock on a morning and you’re perched on the end of the eldest son’s bed while the lazy toad has you wait on him hand and foot, discussing the merits of beard oil, the latest blog post and the concept of infinite regress. So far so good. It is all going well until you start talking about observing yourself observing and the whole issue of dream versus reality. You mention the bit about the reality of the dream translating into what feels like a reality for one part of consciousness, while the other knows it for an impossibility.
“So, one sane part and one… not.”
“Sort of. But then there is the other part observing the two and laughing at both of them.” At this point I notice a wicked gleam in his eye and fingers being held up to count… I should have stopped there… “Then you become aware of yet another observer observing…” Another finger goes up. “Ad infinitum.” Both hands now…
“Multiple levels of consciousness then.”
“And most of them accepting an impossible unreality…”
“…and therefore not sane…”
“You know what that means…” He makes a show of dialling an ambulance…
“You’re going to tell me anyway…”
“It means you are clearly insane.” This from a man storing combs in his beard? “A schizophrenic hobbit.”
Being out of range of something appropriate to throw, I brandished the camera. It seemed only fair.
We discussed the nature of consciousness and the survival beyond death. Which brought us to memory and why we do not remember our earliest childhood as a rule. I posited the theory that while everything is a ‘first’ in those earliest months and we cannot relate events to known emotions or a personal sense of self, we have no frame of reference with which to encapsulate memory.
“But surely if they are there we can frame them retrospectively with subsequent experience?”
“Possibly.“ This led on to regressive hypnosis, then we talked about the development of the brain itself, of language and the emotional content of memory… of how memories may be available but simply not accessible by the usual means we recall events. He posited that we may block memory as a protection against recalling the traumatic upheaval that is the process of physical birth. We discussed those dreams… nightmares… of long, dark, claustrophobic tunnels in which we are afraid and what they might refer to… Not bad from a man combing toast out of his beard.
“Think about it, it is all warm and cosy and you are just getting to grips with being in your world then it all changes.”
“… And if birth is so traumatic that we block the memory, couldn’t that apply to death too? Which is another transition?”
“Hmm… more Nerk stuff…”And from there, of course, the conversation continued to the survival after death, karma and reincarnation. “Another coffee, hobbit…”
That’s one of the things I love about writing. No, not the coffee… though that too, of course, the one wouldn’t happen without the other! A few words can spark a whole discussion, ideas are shared and expanded, discarded, adapted, expounded… and real eye-to-eye communication ensues.
What’s not to like? Apart, perhaps, from the aspersions cast upon my sanity… oh well, I’m in good company.