Friday, May 1, 2020

The Final Solution: REM Sleep

Whenever something untoward occurs, the first impulse is to think you’ve been caught in a nightmare from which you have yet to awaken. Dream time is in the eye of the beholder. While the REM sleep in which dreams occur may exist in a fairly circumscribed temporal space (say from l0 minutes to an hour), it can seem like a lifetime, depending on the dream. Certain dreams possess a kind of dimensionality which allows them to increase their oneiric demographic. They become like one of those satellite radio stations that can be picked up anywhere. “History is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake,” Stephen Daedalus famously said. However, the present nightmare looks like it’s here to stay. No one ever said a dreamer would be spared the executioner’s sword—which may explain how some people die in their sleep. Imagine, however, that you have been trapped in a dream of a pandemic, which the rest of the world has either already awakened from or in fact never actually had. It’s like those carriers of coronavirus who're asymptomatic. You, in the meanwhile, have sheltered-in-place and are even more socially distant than you would normally be (which is saying something if you tend to be the self-isolating sort). “In your dreams," is a line that people use when they’re telling someone to wake up and face reality. But that’s a fait accompli for anyone who shares your perhaps jaundiced view that the world is about to spin off of its axis, taking the whole planet with it. “Wake up, wake up! You’re having a bad dream” is what your partner in likely to intone, when you cry out in the night. You should start to get suspicious, when it turns out they’ve been having the same dream.

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