This was a rather weird, disjointed one. I mark that up to halfway waking up at several points in the night. I was invited to a party of some kind. But in the same envelope as the invitation, there was a necklace with a pendant. The invitation said the pendant contained a little computer.
That computer housed an AI which would inform me of any party fouls I may commit or other faux pas type stuff. I was assured everybody else would be wearing one, but when I arrived at the party that wasn’t the case, and I felt somewhat hurt by it.
The party was raucous with people dancing in every room. There was a big chalkboard with people’s names written down for a carrot eating tournament, with a big basket of carrots underneath. Why anybody should wish to eat carrots at a party is a mystery.
When it got too loud for me, I went outside and walked for a bit. There was an abandoned building next door. The sign said it was condemned and unsafe to enter, but the interior looked too interesting to pass up. It was like a filthy warehouse inside but with moldy old furniture as if somebody lived here.
I felt unseen eyes watching me as I explored. Then some kind of creature made out of electrical arcs scurried across the ceiling. I found a book on a podium which opened as I approached, but I could not read it. Instead when I again saw the electrical creature coming, I ducked into a vent.
As I crawled down the vent and approached a grating, red light shone in through it. I discovered why when I reached it. Outside, the sky was red. As if the vent led to “a different outside” than the one I came from. There was a white ultra modernist building similar to some churches I have seen.
All pointy angles and glass, with an elevated enclosed walkway joining two parts of it. There was also a concrete moat around it, with shallow moving water. An offshoot of that moat led into what looked like a sewer or maintenance tunnel, from which I heard echoing weeping.
I kicked out the grate, climbed down and headed for the tunnel. Inside there was a girl sitting there hunched over, crying her eyes out. I asked if she was lost. She said she wasn’t, that she’d come from the party. I asked why she was crying.
She said “Because this is all just a dream you’re having. Nobody but you can leave it, and nobody but you will survive when you wake up. The others don’t realize, it feels to us as if this world has a real history, as if we have lived here all our lives until now. But it’s an illusion of memory. We’re just parts of your dream. It will all disappear soon.”
I didn’t know what to say to comfort her that wouldn’t be a lie. So I just offered a hug. She accepted and I just sat there hugging her for a while as she bawled, all the way until I woke up. It rattled me for a dream character to be that self aware, that’s only happened once or twice before, as in the dream about the stone palace of falling water.
She was only some part of my brain. Like one of the personalities of someone with split personality disorder, just only while I was asleep. But that distinct character, that particular connection of neurons or whatever you call it was instantiated for the duration of the dream, realized it would end, and was annihilated when it did.
It brings to mind questions about the morality of creating AIs, even if they are just characters in a game world or something. That’s basically what a dream is the biological version of, a limited simulation of reality. Of a chunk of reality, with simulated people in it, with intelligence generated by some small subset of a real, conscious brain.
Did she die? Was she alive? If so, to what extent could she be called a person? Was she more of a person than the party goers who were unaware of the illusory nature of their apparent reality? Was she better or worse off for that knowledge? The others just partied happily right up until the end.
Only in her isolated corner of the dream, with the church, the moat and the red sky, was the apocalypse obviously imminent. A reflection of her awareness of it, maybe. How real can a dream person get, and are they any less real than the person I am while awake?
Lots of smaller, limited fragments of awareness who believe they are separate people, only to discover upon waking up that they were all the same person, the same singular intelligence all along. Something about that resonates with me.
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