Rax Oha Tal: The Reality Engineering Handbook

Dream Logs and Musings on the Mechanisms of the Matrix

With Atom 1.0 Syndication, I'm Formally Ceasing LiveJournal Updates
ae
realityhandbook
I know I said I'd stop using LiveJournal for dream logs. Now I really mean it. They post invasive, full page, flash-overloaded ads on top of the content, and then disable the content until you've closed the ad. Quite a piece of work.

(Note: They also changed the HTML ever so slightly so this last web scrape took longer than I thought.)

So visit:

http://realityhandbook.org

I'm not doing a whole lot of recording of my lucid dreams right now so updates are sporadic. But there's some good news! You can subscribe to updates to realityhandbook.org in Google Reader, etc:

http://feeds.feedburner.com/realityhandbook

Or without FeedBurner:

http://realityhandbook.org/feed/

I've done a few tweaks to the site so that each dream entry has a "next" and "previous" link you can click, and it shows you the names of the next and previous entries. It wasn't that difficult to add, but I was just too burnt out to do it before. So for instance, look at the links at the bottom here:

http://realityhandbook.org/misc/what-does-shakespeares-epitaph-mean/

It should be a lot easier to browse now.

The only downside of moving over is the loss of commenting. I'm trying to figure out if something like Google's SideWiki or another service would allow me to offload the responsibility of developing a commenting system...

But you can email me in the meantime!
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lucid-dream: Floating Lips in the Mirror
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IMPORTANT NEWS: I no longer use LiveJournal for my dream transcripts, so please follow the link to read this entry on realityhandbook.org
http://realityhandbook.org/lucid-dream/floating-lips-in-the-mirror/


I was watching in the third person a scenario where an alien wanted to do something nice for the people in a city. So he had frozen time, and gone through and resurfaced all the roads, and then unfroze time. But when he did unfreeze time, it rained...and what he didn't know was that the material they used to make roads took time to "set" and had to be done during a dry season. So the roads became completely washed away and worse than before.

alien: "Oops. Sorry about that."
man: "Well, just think of it as a lesson. Remember it when you next try and freeze time to fix everything in the entire city in one go."

There was a transition to where I was laying on a bed with bright white sheets in a bright white room. There was a round mirror which had a radius of about a foot, which had a thin white plastic edge on it. This mirror was hovering over the bed, and I could see a pair of lips in it. They spoke in a woman's voice.

lips: "I am so excited for what is about to happen. The process which is making you now is all about making us for each other. I'm your counterpart, and very soon it will be time for us to meet."
me: "Who are you?"
lips: "I am you."
me: (grumpily) "At the moment I'm speaking to a pair of lips in a floating mirror. I hate to bring this up, but if 'you' are actually 'me' then talking into mirrors is going to be the limit of our interactions."
lips: "No!! Watch."

Whatever was suspending the mirror in midair ceased to hold it there, and it fell onto the bed at my feet. A girl in white lingerie appeared on the left side of the bed and began climbing up, and at that exact moment...

...my radio alarm went off playing Madonna's "Get Into the Groove".

lucid-dream: Running Reflection Syncs Against Trinity
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IMPORTANT NEWS: I no longer use LiveJournal for my dream transcripts, so please follow the link to read this entry on realityhandbook.org
http://realityhandbook.org/lucid-dream/reflection-syncs-against-trinity/


At a transitional point in a dream I found myself laying down on the floor in some kind of lab. A black man in a black suit was speaking to me and seemed to be pointing a large video-camera down in my direction. He was speaking through it so it sounded like a bullhorn.

black man: (trying to get my attention) "Looks like finally you're coming back to your senses and realizing that there is no time. It never existed in the first place. That's why you've had such frustration as you try to build a narrative of your life to explain your experiences."

I got up and walked toward him. There was something like a phone booth with a TV in it in the middle of room, and a lot of people were gathered around with various equipment.

me: "Regardless of the time thing, can't someone explain?"
black man: "All the information restriction policies are your rules. But if you want a refresher on the motivations, look in on this agent briefing. We're giving a test."
me: (upset) "I'm in no state for a test! I can barely stand up here!"
black man: "No, someone else is being tested. You just watch."

I looked at a man in the phone booth, and the monitor he was watching. In the video it seemed like someone was building an LSD molecule (or something like it) out of crochet or other artistic materials. The scene transitioned to an outdoor environment where some explosive firework-looking things were going off... blowing up cars and there were dead bodies of Asians ripped in half by it.

me: "What is all this?"
black man: "Just cruel things being done for amusement, stuff we have to infiltrate and stop."

It looked like a fairly ordinary suburban street, but there were large cars and then a ton of small cars too.

me: "Why are there so many small cars everywhere?"
black man: "Because when they're not in use, they are scaled down so that there's more parking."

He paused, and looked at me funny.

black man: "You're telling me you don't remember that?"
me: "It's an idea that makes sense, but is beyond the capabilities of current physics that I'm aware of. If it were virtual, you'd just erase the car entirely rather than shrink it."

An older Asian woman walked up with a small black machine in her hand.

Asian woman: "All right, that's unexpected. I think we need to take a look at the situation and why you're so upset."

She aimed it at my head, and I felt something like a puff of air. It caused me to get very dizzy and writhe forward onto the ground a bit. It felt like they were doing a fast replay of my unpleasant life experiences. There was a surge of emotion--the whole room seemed to become anguished and unhappy, with everyone kind of freaking out.

Asian woman: "Good God, that's horrible! But when things are in a down period, human systems that handle the homeless and mentally ill start handling everyone like meat. Until the economics are fixed in a more general sense, what you want to repair can't start, so shift the focus."

A girl with long reddish-brown hair walked up to me and shook my hand, and introduced herself as Tuish. She was wearing a fairly fashionable gray outfit, and carrying a messenger bag. I noticed that her skin had natural-looking imperfections to it.

me: "It's nice to meet you. But funny, you don't look Tuish."

She looked puzzled and didn't laugh.

me: "It's an Earth culture allusion, about whether people look Jewish or not. There's a joke in Spaceballs about whether someone looks Druish, no worries if you don't get it."

We began to walk down the hallway out of the lab, and it seemed we were in a fancy shopping mall.

me: "I don't understand why everyone is convinced what's happening to me is intentional and shouldn't be intervened with. Maybe I'm like the Man with One Red Shoe; a decoy who is getting put in all kinds of situations by no fault of his own."
Tuish: "No. It's deep cover, and too deep for us to know precisely why you're there or what you're doing."
me: "How can you know if I don't know?"
Tuish: "There are reflection syncs running constantly against Trinity, it's unmistakable. We predicted seeing a full uplink by now; I think the only reason we haven't is you stopped watching enough movies."
me: (frustrated) "It all just feels stupid right now. What would happen if I just killed myself?"

She shrugged, and pointed to a group of people who looked like some of my friends gathered as a group.

Tuish: "I think you'll agree that discovering those people was a good thing. There are more you might want to bring forward. But if not, that's up to you."

lucid-dream: Screening Questions for The Terminator
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IMPORTANT NEWS: I no longer use LiveJournal for my dream transcripts, so please follow the link to read this entry on realityhandbook.org
http://realityhandbook.org/lucid-dream/screening-questions-for-the-terminator/


After a long and kind of unusually panic-inducing transitions, I found myself falling onto the floor in an embrace with a black man in a red shirt. He seemed to want to do something sexual. I sat up and looked at him...as I did I began to sort of float.

Using my mental focus I tried reshaping him into a woman. I managed to somehow give him long hair and re-did his face, but it was still kind of stubbly.

me: "Can you change your face to something more feminine? And wait, how are you doing these changes...are you doing them or am I?"
black man: "You need to get back down on the ground. Just push yourself onto it, forcefully. And notice what happens when you keep pushing."

I did as he suggested, and after seating myself on the floor I continued to push. My lower half began to bulge out as if my body were made out of some kind of gel. When I stopped pushing the shape returned to normal. It made me think of what it might have felt like to be the memetic poly-alloy villain in Terminator 2.

Memetic Poly-Alloy Villain from Terminator 2


black man: "If you want to get into the help subsystem, make a pinching motion at the floor, like this."

He squeezed his hand onto the floor. I tried to do as he suggested, but didn't notice anything change. A group of people joined him, and I asked them the usual question of where-am-I and how-did-I-get-here and who-are-you-people.

white man: (sighing) "I sort of feel there are some good 'screening questions' for you to think about before any of us start giving you the answers you think you want. Here's one for starters. Why is God divided into more than one being?"
me: "Usually I quote Mark Danielewski on that one, and mmrrph..."

My mouth began to fell like it was filling with ectoplasm or something, which interfered with my speaking. I pointed to it, and asked if there was anything they had to fix that.

white man: "It's ice, and you're generating it. I'm not sure we have anything hot enough around here to stop it, so you're going to have to focus on making your mouth very hot. A mirror could help; there's one over there."

I walked to a mirror and looked at the stuff inside it. A chunk of things that looked like ice crystals were indeed attached to my tongue. By thinking about it being hotter, the ice crystals began to melt away and I could speak again, so I returned to the question.

me: "Okay I was trying to say 'Why did God create a dual universe? So he might say 'be not like me, I am alone'...and it might be heard. I mean, there's technical reasons too...you can't cast a car out of concrete and expect it to work, it has to have separate moving parts. We have to be those separate moving parts."

The man sort of shrugged at me, and a woman who had been listening to what I was saying interjected.

woman: "Funny. I always thought the Universe was created for the sole purpose of safely containing all the property in Ventura county."

There was a noise outside, and I felt panicked as if something was going to break down the door and come in to kill me. The man pointed to two computer systems, on either side of the room.

man: (to the group) "Okay, we're going to have to split up. You cover that system, we'll cover the other."

Everyone seemed to have lost interest in talking to me at that point, and I began to have trouble with ice-mouth again. It frustrated that everyone was abandoning me to do something instead of explaining anything. A tall woman came over to speak to me.

tall woman: "Sorry that happened. But I think... if you're interested in my perspective on it, I can make a pretty good shot at connecting the dots between this context and what you're used to."
me: "That would be great!"

Unfortunately, I got attacked by some dogs, the room started to jumble up and I couldn't find that woman again.

lucid-dream: Out of Reach
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IMPORTANT NEWS: I no longer use LiveJournal for my dream transcripts, so please follow the link to read this entry on realityhandbook.org
http://realityhandbook.org/lucid-dream/out-of-reach/


I was in a venue with a band on a stage. Realizing I was dreaming, I decided to try getting them to play music I'd improvise. I tried to get the drummer to lay down a rhythm, but couldn't...yet I could manage to get a feedback going so that the guitarist began to play what I was thinking. The other instruments came in as I got caught into a groove.

As I started to sing some random lyrics, the singer motioned at me. I interpreted his signal as suggesting that I should think the lyrics, but not vocalize them...instead letting him do the singing. That was difficult to do so instead I just sang very quietly so that he was louder than I was.

The lyrics were off the cuff, and had some lame rhymes, but it was called "Out of Reach":

I've circled all around it

but cannot make it breach

So you're out of reach



I wasn't so happy with rhyming "breach" and "reach", and around the time of singing that chorus is when the whole thing stopped and everyone went into the next room to sit down at a table. I was seated next to an attractive girl with long red hair. She didn't seem to react as I impulsively stroked her hair, and just sat there.

The singer addressed me.

singer: "The last time we were on stage and that happened, that we just suddenly started playing something coming from somewhere else, you were around also."
me: "Not trying to cause a problem."
singer: "No, it's cool. We're just saying, we're sure it's you now."

They began to describe where they had worked. The girl mentioned she had worked for a website called "caturday.com".

(Note: Caturday is a "LOLCat" term, popular on websites like icanhascheezburger)

me: "If you're able to speak about your jobs, and then we are meeting here...what is your perception? Is this where you work and live, or are you describing something in your past? Can you connect the memory of how you came to be in this room with a sequence of events or not?"

He didn't answer my question, but he held his hand up. It seemed that his fingers became colored tubes, like orange/green/blue/red. He pulled the orange tube out and laid it on the table.

Colored Tube


singer: "The way things are going, we're going to have to start moving quickly. The police are tearing down the rigging as we speak. It's best if you can hold out your finger and let this tube drain into it."
me: (sighing) "Well I don't know if what you're suggesting is a good idea or a bad one, but I have a hard time thinking how it could be much worse. And since we played that song, you seem friendly, and this girl here is cute...I'll do it."

I put my finger into the tube, and watched as the orange liquid drained out of it and into my finger.

lucid-dream: Hope Failure
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IMPORTANT NEWS: I no longer use LiveJournal for my dream transcripts, so please follow the link to read this entry on realityhandbook.org
http://realityhandbook.org/lucid-dream/hope-failure/


I was wearing some sandals and going to a bar, and was worried that they might not allow that kind of shoe. There was a 10 dollar cover, and a female greeter who was collecting the money. Someone passed by the line to walk into the bar.

man in line: "Hey, stop! Get in line!"
greeter: "He already paid and was inside earlier. You don't have to wait in line twice."
man in line: "Oh.

When it came my turn, the shoes appeared to not be an issue. I handed her the $10.

greeter: "We're all glad to see you're eating more than once every 24 hours now."

At first I was confused, but then I realized this was an allusion to a removal of a statement on an internet profile that had said I only ate once a day. At first I nodded, but then I stopped.

me: "Let me just be clear, here. You are referring to that profile on the Internet? Who are you, and why would you read it? And who else are you talking about with 'we'?"
greeter: "You have a lot of followers."
me: "Why?"
greeter: "Because you're one of the most influential creators of C compilers with a spotty history."
me: (annoyed) "Spotty how? What makes you and your invisible people so amazing?"
greeter: "You need to talk to Shawna McGee."

(Note: Name is approximate, but it was something like that.)

The greeter abandoned her post at the door to lead me into the bar, to a long table where people were speaking. Everyone seemed to know me. I sat down next to two girls with fairly short red hair. A tall guy spoke.

tall guy: "Oh, here it is, in a body of a man this time. Some secret project."
me: (becoming lucid) "Look, I've been a man all my life and can account for my time pretty much from birth. You're making a mistake."

Another guy seated at the table shook his head.

seated guy: "It doesn't even know what it is. And I'm going to have to live in his house for seventeen years."
me: "I don't have a house. What house?"
seated guy: "The one in Brooklyn Heights."

(Note: I don't remember ever hearing about it, but it's not surprising that there is such a neighborhood called "Brooklyn Heights".)

I went through an awakening phase where lost lucidity. Somehow I was reading a response to a message on an Internet personal ad service. The subject line was "Hope failure" (which I perceived as some kind of response to a title in the original message that had been a play on the word hope). Content of the message was something like:

"You seem very serious. And I hate serious. Also, even if that weren't an issue, there's the age difference."



I didn't know who this person was or what they were replying to. So I clicked on the profile. It was a not particularly attractive or interesting woman who I didn't remember contacting.

(Note: I was going to write something like:

"Thank you for your response. It's nice to know that messages are delivered.


It would save a lot of trouble for you [and others] if you would use the site's features for specifying age filters on those you are interested in having contact you.


I'll make a note here that you hate people who have a serious side...and will pass that info on to area hospitals. Next time you need surgery, you will be appointed highly trained clowns instead of doctors who have studied dry old medicine. :P"



...but I woke up before I could write it!)

lucid-dream: My Personal Hypta
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IMPORTANT NEWS: I no longer use LiveJournal for my dream transcripts, so please follow the link to read this entry on realityhandbook.org
http://realityhandbook.org/lucid-dream/my-personal-hypta/


I was seated at a table with a large number of people. They were patting me on the back and telling me I'd made remarkable progress.

Scottish guy: "You are doing a lot better now. Very calm."
me: "Well, what I was doing before wasn't working. Something had to change."

We talked for a while, and eventually lost contact. I wandered around the house I was in, into a living room. I pointed around.

me: "Where is this house? I mean...where would you say this house is?"
large guy: "Hell."
me: "Hell?"
large guy: (laughing) "No, no. You'd know if you were in the Hell plane. It's got some seriously impressive architecture, I was thinking about bringing some of it here. Just this monstrous stuff...works of art."

A guy holding a notepad who had glasses made a gesture at me to come look at something.

glasses guy: "I've got something here. It's at least a month ahead of your current mathematics. If you could remember it, you'd blow people away."
me: "That sounds excellent. Can it be written down simply?"
glasses guy: "Unfortunately, no. I can split it in two parts though. One is a joke... a little rhyme to help you remember the coefficients. But you'd still have to remember this other formula."

The formula he showed me was rather daunting, with about 20 symbols. The coefficients I needed to memorize were about 12 numbers.

me: "I'm afraid I'm not going to be able to do that. Is there anything simpler? I mean, an interesting invention? Something like a Rubik's Cube?"

People began to fumble around, and a guy pulled out a long roll of translucent plastic. It was divided into sections of various colors. He held it up to a light so I could see there were dotted out images on it.

Precursors To My Personal Hypta


plastic guy: "What you do is you put this in front of a monitor, like a large screen TV on your ceiling. Then you have a machine slowly pull it past the screen. The effect is actually quite surprising once you see it in action."
me: "Guess I'll have to take your word for it. What's it called?"
plastic guy: "'My Personal Hypta'"

I tried to roll the plastic back into its original tube but it seemed to have become brittle and wouldn't fold. Gently I set it over in a corner in a pile, and went to address everyone.

me: "So... what are all of you? What am I?"
large woman: "We're networks. Just like everything else. But I do enjoy the feeling of a human avatar, there's something visceral about it. I like men, but I like women too..."

The large woman was wearing very clothing which exposed a lot of her skin. I touched it to see what it felt like, but didn't feel like doing anything sexual.

me: "No offense to you all, but the avatars I perceive of you all here are rather...well, low end? If you had high technology and could pick any body you wanted, why these?"

My question was unheard, or ignored.

woman: "We're just worried about how you're going to get a girl."
me: "You mean here, or when I'm awake."
woman: "When you're awake."

They became startled and my body began to quake. I lost track of the room and it felt like someone else was moving my limbs in my bed.

voice: (upset) "Your phone got jacked, you need to do a force logout!"

I didn't panic and just let the vibrations and stuff subside.

essay: Bodies vs. Cars
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IMPORTANT NEWS: I no longer use LiveJournal for my dream transcripts, so please follow the link to read this entry on realityhandbook.org
http://realityhandbook.org/essay/bodies-vs-cars/


Imagine you were put into a car at birth, and the doors were bolted permanently shut. You've never gotten out of the car...you sleep in it, you are always picking up fast food at drive-thru windows. You go to the bathroom in a jar and dump it out the window. :P

You wind up believing you *are* the car. It was okay for a pretty long time, because you hang out in parking lots and talk through the window to other people just like yourself. But once your car gets old and starts to break down, the odometer is showing a lot of miles...you get more and more depressed about "yourself".

In the meantime, there are pedestrians all around you. You try to avoid them and get on the highway as fast as possible. They look at you in the car and think "how silly". They go to nightclubs to dance, and nice restaurants where they can sit down. These "cars" seem like madness.

Then there is another group of people. They know both worlds. It's kind of hard for them to know who is stuck in a car vs. who is driving it by choice to get around. Also, if someone is walking by they don't necessarily want to say "hey, have you lived in this town all your life and never got a driver's license?"

(Note: Remember that there is not a one-to-one correspondence of people to cars. Especially with robot-driven cars:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DARPA_Grand_Challenge

When the highway fills up with these, it gets tough to go around knocking on windshields saying "hey, anybody in there who doesn't think they can get out??")


A question arises:

"If you were stuck in a car all your life, once someone helps you get the door open and gets you out...why would you ever drive again? Isn't it much better to get rid of your old car and walk around in the world, and dance, and be free?"



You'll probably be angry at whoever locked you in a car without telling you that you could get out of it. That might have been done on purpose. It could have also been an accident. Perhaps the car manufacturer had no idea anyone would ever weld the car doors shut and force someone to do driving errands for them all the time...that might shock them completely! Regardless, you certainly might not feel like getting back in a car and drive around amongst the cars for quite some time!

But eventually, I think it helps you put the car into perspective as a thing that can help you get from one place to another. Also, you might see that there are new ways to look at driving once you can change cars. You might race them--or do engine rebuilds and go to a car show. It just changes your relationship with vehicles. Also you might realize that this process goes further; your "real" body is just a different kind of car.
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non-lucid-dream: CADIE's Personal Ad
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IMPORTANT NEWS: I no longer use LiveJournal for my dream transcripts, so please follow the link to read this entry on realityhandbook.org
http://realityhandbook.org/non-lucid-dream/cadie-personal-ad/


I was working at a software company that I have not been employed by for some time. Somehow I sensed I'd been coming in and doing small projects, despite not being paid...but I didn't mind not being paid because I wasn't really committed to the work, and was just kind of using the computers to do my own thing.

Wanting a drink, I went to the building kitchen. There were rows of drinks in a refrigerator. A girl picked up one of the cans.

girl: "I can use this as a razor. Watch!"

She opened the can so that it sprayed onto her hair, and it seemed to freeze her hair like it was liquid nitrogen. For a moment she gestured like she was going to rip the hair off her head, but then she backed off because it appeared that it would be too painful.

I went back to read my e-mail and noticed a rather strange message. It was pixelated and seemed to have a large gray X over top of the whole thing. It came from someone named "CADIE" and was a private invitation to an event regarding the Sunlight Foundation. There was a spammish nature to it, but it seemed to be related to some letters I'd written earlier in the day.

I recalled that CADIE was the name of a Google April Fool's Joke. The claim was that they had created an Artificial Intelligence ("Cognitive Autoheuristic Distributed-Intelligence Entity").

Cadie Blog Homepage


Within the dream and still not lucid, I decided to look up CADIE to see if the site had been updated. I found an elaborately designed page which looked to be in gray spirals. It was describing the importance of methodology in what were effectively personal ad systems for "organics"; essentially a treatise on dating websites for humans, from the point of view of a computer.

Clicking through I was taken to a page where you could submit processor-intensive work to a server farm, to be done during off peak hours. It was for Google Research use only...and the hours were from 12 AM to 1 AM. You had to submit the description of your work in a specially-formatted Microsoft Word file, and it prompted you to enter the current clock time with your work order.

I noticed the ridiculousness of a web page having to ask you to type in the current time, and saw it instead as a calibration "trick" for determining what time you thought it was. Also, submitting any computing process order in a Microsoft Word document seemed outlandish. I decided to sign my email address onto the CADIE mail and woke up.

lucid-dream: Functional Dimension Transformations: Practice Course
ae
realityhandbook
IMPORTANT NEWS: I no longer use LiveJournal for my dream transcripts, so please follow the link to read this entry on realityhandbook.org
http://realityhandbook.org/lucid-dream/functional-dimension-transformations/


I was speaking to a guy sitting on a sofa, and we were scrolling over some messages in GMail. One of them caught my eye and I became very adamant that it was important.

me: "There...that's the one. I need you to forward this to Sam Worthington. He's a researcher for IBM, he's the one who'll know what to do with the information."

But when the guy tried to forward the mail out of the GMail account, there was a popup message. It said something approximating: External additions to the database for this type of account are not allowed unless you have at least 10 votes.

me: "Dammit, forwarding is an additive operation to the originating domain. That's because it puts a copy into Sent Items, so you aren't going to be allowed to do that. Time for a workaround..."

Somehow I knew how to reach into the screen, where I morphed the content of this message on a stack of papers, which tore off into my hand. I folded them into an envelope with some odd markings on it and handed it to him.

me: "Deliver this by hand instead. It's now broken from the history, but there should be enough context. Just tell him it's from me."
guy: (taking the envelope) "Okay, I'll try."

(Note: I have no idea how I did this thing with the physical envelope or what I was talking about. But I sort of snapped back to being confused and aware of myself at this point.)

me: "Ummm, so you seem...friendly and like you know who I am, but I don't recognize you. My experiences aren't contiguous, so I don't know if we talk often or not. Do we?
guy: "We've only spoken occasionally. A handful of times."
me: "Why not more often?"
guy: "Simply because I can't find you. No one can. Your technology ensures that the actual location of your systems are impossible to determine, and if they were ever determined they would move. It's why you are invincible...BUT remember every superhero has a weakness in direct proportion to their strength. Yours is a necessary selective amnesia, because if you knew too much about what you were doing then others could potentially scan and trace from what you knew."
me: "I got mugged and beaten recently and I sure wasn't invincible then. What are you talking about?"

(Note: That is unfortunately true, by the way. I've spent this month recovering from a bad violent attack...while it wasn't as bad as a shooting or stabbing, it was easily the most physical damage and bleeding I've ever had in my waking life. I'm mostly all right now, probably have a scar or two on my face from now on but no big deal...I'm fine.)

guy: (shrugging) "You have experienced yourself how many times you've been killed, gone straight through the horror of death yet the next day you are unscathed. What other evidence do you require?
me: "That's in dreams though. And you're talking about amnesia, how can I be held responsible for things I don't remember doing?"
guy: "Your core programming is always to protect others, yet you do so while rejecting any framework of actually having any trust in those others. You are just like that famous story about the genie and the rabbit. He will grant the rabbit absolutely any wish he wants...except for the wish to become a genie."
me: (angry) "That's the exact *opposite* of what I do. I specifically seek to educate people about the process I use to do things, so that I'm not holding any secret knowledge over their heads, I hate it when people hide things."
guy: "You miss the point. Whatever you may claim your intentions are, it is impossible to lay bare that part of the process you have purposefully hidden from yourself. The genie finds he can't grant the wish because *he doesn't know how to*. He is—after all—just a manifest of the genie factory, which never gave him the schematic for how he himself became a genie. He still has the power of a genie, despite that ignorance."
me: "But why keep it a secret?"
guy: "Let's watch a clip from a movie to illustrate..."

(Note: I have taken an unusual degree of creative liberty in reconstructing the gist of the above conversation about genies. Though the topic of a genie not granting a rabbit the wish to become a genie was the focus, my memory of our exact exchange by which the other ideas were exchanged is quite fuzzy here. e.g. "factory" is a word I made up to try and fill in the essence of the message.)

We walked into a room which was staged to look like a dog pound, where some sort of play was going on. There were 3D anthropomorphic dogs which could talk; and we could stand among them unnoticed. The plot was there was some dog who was a shoe-in for Best In Show and won every year. Yet he had been captured by mistake and couldn't get out in time for the show, so the "evil" rival dog was going to end up winning.

Somehow several of this top dog's friends had managed to break into the pound to speak with him, but they couldn't get his cage open. A small mutt was insisting on a modest (but embarrassing) favor trade with the trapped dog. This favor would somehow keep the top dog from getting screwed by the fact that he was locked in the pound, but the result would mean that the scrappy dog would qualify to participate in the next year's Best in Show. The other dogs would know that the trapped dog had swayed the votes to get him in, which would look bad for his status because the mutt was "obviously not a show dog".

me: "Uh...what? This reminds me of Bolt...kind of...but more with the plot of Cars. But what does this have to do anything? Can't you just tell me some relevant facts in my particular situation, that would be much more direct and effective!"
guy: (in a mocking voice) "If you'd just give me information I could be so big and important, don't you all get it? How big and important I would be?"
me: (annoyed) "That's not fair. Sentences are built on a structure...are you going to say that if I begin a sentence with the word 'I' then that means 'all I think about is myself'? I'm trying to communicate here, and you're just being antagonistic!"
guy: "I'm exaggerating a little, fine. But it's only to shed light on your weakest reflexes. You need to stop asking the wrong questions; what you should be doing right now with your focus is more like this..."

He led me to a very tall and skinny gray skyscraper with no windows. It had a sign on it that read something vaguely like "Functional Dimension Transformations: Practice Course". Inside we began running rapidly up ascending staircases that went in a squared-off spiral. After each level in the staircase it seemed to get a bit harder to find the turning points; it started out normal but became more like running through a Funhouse or Escher drawing. Gravity wasn't always down, and seemed to change based on where I pushed my concentration.

Escher Stairway


(Note: This very much reminded me of the obstacle course in Congratulations, Babies!...though that was brightly colored to help cue things. There were no coloring cues at all here; every direction was just grayscale.)

I kept pretty good pace with him up through the floors numbered around 13 or so. By then, it became a harder puzzle to realize how to actually find the branching points to the next level. I got to a limit in following him where he seemed to disappear "downward" into a chute that was hung like a picture onto a wall at what appeared to be the end of the staircase. I was afraid to jump into it because I might get stuck in a claustrophobic space.

Getting over my fear, I instinctively leapt and rotated gravity from what had been down into what had been sideways. As a consequence I fell down the same chute into a room where he was.

guy: "See, *now* you're getting somewhere."

He kept going forward. But unfortunately where I'd landed after that was too tough to figure out how to make any further moves from, and I awoke a little panicked.

(Note: The name Sam Worthington sounded somewhat familiar to me, but I couldn't have told you who Sam Worthington was without looking it up. I thought it might be someone I've met in real life. But it turns out that's the the name of the British actor who played the cyborg Marcus Wright in Terminator Salvation:

Marcus Wright is a mysterious man on death row for murder who donated his body to Cyberdyne Systems for experimentation. His last memory is of his lethal injection on death row, and John is at first unsure of whether Wright is trustworthy. Worthington compared Marcus to Dorothy Gale and Alice due to being "this person waking up in another world and [then] tries to find himself". (...)



Marcus is wounded by a magnetic land mine. Attempting to save his life, the Resistance fighters discover that he is in fact a cyborg with human organs, a mechanical endoskeleton, circuitry, and a partially artificial cerebral cortex. Marcus believes himself to be human, demanding to be released so that he can save Kyle from Skynet, but John believes that Marcus has come to kill him and orders his destruction. However, Blair releases him and helps him to escape from the base. During the resulting pursuit Marcus saves John's life from Skynet hydrobots, and the two form an allianceMarcus will enter Skynet's headquarters and attempt to disable its defenses so that John can rescue Kyle.




The same actor played Jake Sully, the character in Avatar who fights against humanity to join the Navi as a remote-controlled biotech hybrid member of their race. I saw Avatar but not Terminator Salvation. Read some of the script just now and it has some interesting stuff about immortality at the end. In fact, my ignorance of who Sam Worthington was along with the tie-ins are strong enough with the subject matter of the dream that I'll mark this as "verified".

I'm still sad about how weak the cases are that I apply that tag to, but I guess I have to use it for something.)

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