20 Comments

  1. I think it’s a pun an “inanity/insanity”. People often have the same dream elements and sometimes frequently it is frustrating because they are inane and our waking self just wants to shout “stop dreaming this! It’s stupid and you *know* that this isn’t what you want to be dreaming.”

    This assumes the reader will indeed be sympathetic with the inanity of repeated dreams and that the reader will understand what is going on and assume the reader will find the words “inanity/insanity” significantly different to find the “pun” clever.

    For me it was two out of three but only because if been having inane dreams about reacting old employments and card games lately. I don’t always have these dreams but it’s been bad the last three days. (So it was a fortunate window for me to “get” the joke. A week ago and a week from now I wouldn’t have gotten it.

    BTW it’s a *weird* choice what he chose as a repeated dream. Repeating high school is probably more common.

  2. I went through one period – decades ago – where I would have the same dream over and over, but my dad told me that I only thought that was happening and they were actually not the same dream – my mind just told me that they were,

    After we had bedbugs I went through a period for several years that I had no memory even of having had dreams. I presumed that I did, but did not remember doing so. I then went into a period where I remembered that did have dreams, but not what happened other than they were nightmares. About the last year or so sometimes a nightmare or part of one stays in my mind – I am really would like to go back to not knowing that I had dreamed overnight. (Robert will sometimes wake me up as I have woken him with thrashing about from the nightmares.)

  3. I agree with woozy @1 that the gag is related to “inanity/insanity”, but in addition to repetitive dreams, this is also playing on the arguments about repeating quantum physics experiments, with varying expectations about whether the results will or will not change.

  4. Maybe the inanity here is dreaming something good happens – represented by finding money on the street – and perhaps expecting to wake up and find it has become true.

    I have a friend who says he has never dreamed, or anyway not since he was a toddler, but presumably he has them but just never recalls them on waking. I know I dream every night, and sometimes have a run of remembering the dreams in some detail on waking (especially if I am travelling and sleeping in a strange bed). Most frustrating is waking knowing you’ve had a visually interesting dream (mine usually are a bit surreal or convoluted) full of characters, colour and incident but the specifics fade on waking and a blast of daylight, leaving you feeling mildly bereaved.

    The last truly nightmare-like dream I remember was almost ten years ago I think, when I woke feeling a sense of dread (from descending steps in a tiled windowless dungeon). More recently I have had one or two dreams where apparently nasty or scary things have happened, but somehow wrapped in a framing story that we were all involved in making a movie, which I was aware of in the dream, thus distancing myself from the bad stuff.

    I haven’t dreamt about finding money or a fortune. I have dreamed I was sitting in a moonbase, looking back at earth. And most spectacularly, I once dreamed I pressed the button on an atmospheric atom bomb test out at sea while leaning with my back against the wall in my office on land.

  5. @ narmitaj – Somehow I find it unsettling that an atom bomb would be called “spectacular”. It’s been decades since it happened to me, but dreaming about gigantic explosions (or watching an airliner about to crash into the building in which I was standing) always belonged to the “dreadful nightmare” category.

  6. Ah, I guess “you guys” are right about the dream being of random found money. I was for a while seeing it as the “currency pulled away on a thread” practical joke, with our dreamer as the victim.

  7. @CaroZ – yes, that xkcd is pretty accurate on the sense of a fully realised world slipping away. Though sometimes – if I note bits of the dream down on waking – I can retain quite a few big images to recall months or years later. However, pretty quickly any apparent sensed story coherence – which probably was never really there in the first place – disappears, leaving behind a series of disjointed images or short film clips.

    @Kilby – I also have had crashing plane dreams, and one where I was aboard a flying childhood home, piloting it from the bathroom window. If you don’t like reading reports of dreams, skip this bit, but here is my [slightly edited] note of the bomb dream: “I had a window on the sea, but didn’t look at first. […] Big Bang, lots of rumbling – after a bit – and floods. I sneaked a peak out the window and saw a thing low and white like a bright sun. Long shaking rumbles like an earthquake. The radio – a black American station I was tuned to (this was happening somewhere like Hawaii or California) – was going a bit mad with surprise and reaction. Later I was with some people in a car. And small floods came. Some people tried to escape, others stayed where they were to help out. I remember seeing one professor calmly sliding a paper into an envelope to post, determined to carry on as normal and not panic.”

    Recalling what might have triggered the dream, which was 12th Sept 2017, I wrote to my correspondent that it was “an odd mix of US/Caribbean floods and Korean atom games and Mexico earthquake! Interesting I was the one with the [bomb] trigger. Bit of a relief to wake up and realise I hadn’t done this … !”

  8. Perhaps the dream is the money is blowing down the street and escaping every attempt to retrieve it.

    If you have a dream like that you may be able to lucidly force your self to grab it by forcefully saying to yourself “Dammit, I don’t *have* to keep dreaming this”. But then when you relax you’ll get a hole in you pocket and it blows out again.

    Inanity.

  9. Mitch4 your interpretation makes more sense to me. I think of “inane” as doing something that is not too bright. Certainly continuing to try to pick up the dollar after it repeatedly moves out of his grasp fits that description. But there is no evidence of a string, so I guess not.

  10. To paraphrase Haley Joel Osment: I dream [of] dead people. Constantly. Such realism that I’m surprised s/he isn’t sitting on my bed, waiting for me to wake up. Often the same people in the same places. I can wake up, walk around the house, go back to bed and go right back into the dream. After 15 of being retired, I still work in my dreams, shelving books, running the copy machine . . . all this to the point of being exhausted when I awake. My first thought is, I wonder how long before I can take a nap . . .

    My doctor is having me tested for sleep apnea. Maybe that will rid me of the dreams, altho some of those I dream about (my Mother, my First Husband, my BFF), I will miss, but it would be nice not waking up to reality and grief.

  11. Everyone dreams, usually several times during a sleep period. To remember a dream, you have to be close enough to waking to transfer some of the short-term memories.

    For the past few years, I have been experiencing hypnogogia:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypnagogia

    I only rarely have auditory experiences, but that’s good. Those often startle me to full waking.

  12. At least if you realize it’s the same dream you also realize that you are dreaming and then you can turn it into a lucid dream. Pick up one foot, and while holding it up pick up the other foot. Now you’re flying.

  13. ” Pick up one foot, and while holding it up pick up the other foot. Now you’re flying.”

    I prefer Douglas Adams’ explanation of trying to throw yourself onto the ground and missing.

    (I can’t recall ever having had a dream of flying. Hovering slightly, yes. I guess even in my dreams I can’t seem to Dream Big.)

    My most frequent frustration dreams, along with the standard “back in school and forgot to attend classes all semester” or “in a play and about to go on but never learned your learns” types seem to involve having to get from point A to point B by the city buses and making wrong connection choices which get me hopelessly lost, and/or driving but making wrong turns which lead me into claustrophobix tunnels/rooms with no ability to back out or turn around. Perhaps before going to sleep each night I should remind myself that point B isn’t all it’s cracked up to be and I should just stay at point A. Maybe I can email to point B or send them flowers or something? After all, what’s point B got that point A probably doesn’t also have, aside from a bit more closure?

  14. Douglas Adams’ method is supposed to work in the real world but it is difficult to get the hang of. As with an expert basketball player, the habit of NOT missing is very strong. (Arthur Dent had to practice for years to get the hang of it.) But you never really think much about not falling down. Your habit of not falling down is so strong that it is not easy to deliberately fall down. So, when dreaming, you pick up one foot and you don’t fall down, and you pick up the other foot and you still don’t fall down.

  15. I’ve dreamt of flying personally, my feet a few feet off the floor, scooting about like on a hoverboard only without the board, and getting up about ten or 15 feet high. Seems easy at the time.

    Also, @Kilby, last night by coincidence I dreamt of being on a jumbo jet that suddenly did a barrel roll – people not strapped in tumbled to the ceiling and back. I was ok though, strapped in. Then we descended into a nighttime large but low-rise city like Tokyo… I was wondering how we were going to land and somehow we ended up in a long swimming pool. I talked to the pilots who said they had both had food poisoning. The dream was presumably generated in part by me watching easyJet Inside The Cockpit tv doccos in the last week.

  16. Falling down and missing the ground is basically what it is to orbit…
    You just have to fall forward really fast…

  17. One of my strangest dreams was when we built our house in the exact center of the earth, such that the earth’s center of gravity was in the middle of the living room one foot above the floor. Anything we dropped would oscillate a bit until it came to a stop right at that point, one foot above the floor.
    Later (awake) I looked in a calculus textbook and found out that an object in the room would feel no force of gravity at all. It would float as in a spacecraft.

  18. @ MiB – Your dream seems to play on a classic thought experiment at a much larger scale. If borehole could be drilled all the way through the planet, and then a ball was dropped into the hole from one end, it would indeed fall all the way to the center and continue to the other end before falling back, thus oscillating back and forth. Whether or not the movement would ever stop depends on what sort of surrealistic assumptions are made about the contents of this hypothetical tube. Even if were “just” filled with air, the “friction” (actually compression) effects from the ball falling at terminal velocity would probably melt it, unless it were composed of “Unobtainium“.

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