Sunday, July 18, 2010

A dream. An uneducated conjecture about perception of time on waking up.

I'd like to share a few reflections that followed the weird experience I went through a year ago.
In the dream I then had, I was observing an aeroplane doing aerobatics, and just as I was worrying about the loads it was subjected to, it broke in flight and went spiraling down to crash on the ground, with bang that coincided with the real one of a car crash (minor one) outside my house. This briefly woke me up, just enough to realise that a real crash occurred,  then in no time I was fast asleep again, the dream resumed at the crash scene towards which people were running; I looked towards the sky to see if by chance the pilot managed to parachute himself out of trouble. He had; and as soon as he touched the ground he ran away from us and the scene, apparently to look for a phone booth. But the second part of the dream is irrelevant to the questions the first bit raised in my mind.
When eventually I woke up, the question that made me wonder about the mechanics of a dream, was "how on earth my dream could have known in advance that the real world crash would occur precisely at the moment the unreal plane would hit the ground?"
I can imagine only two hypothesis:
- a coincidence of extreme low probability
- that the whole sequence of the dream that appeared to last a minute or more, was made up in the instant my ears heard the real crash
And one speculation, in the latter case:
Couldn't time, as we perceive it in the "awakened" world, be of a similar nature as the time of the dream, i.e. actually just an instant in which the perceived "time" is compressed, and that time is actually without dimension, timeless. Everything is happening, has happened, will happen at once, and that by a magical trick, or more likely by some law of nature it appears as a long sequence of events, within which our conscience has evolved to perceive time as we do? Life is perception, and a dream is a perception within.
Perhaps all this is plain commonsense to the dream scholars?

A year later, I read the following quote in an article about the LHC (large hadron collider):
“For those of us who believe in physics,” Einstein once wrote to a friend, “this separation between past, present and future is only an illusion.”

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