When I’m sick but starting to be ALMOST well it’s a very frustrating time. I feel like I’m well enough to work, and should in fact be working, except I know anything I write in that time will be strange and lifeless. Sometimes it can be revived in revision, sometimes not.
In the last week, the fact I didn’t feel well enough to actually do things like typeset old books and adjust covers was a good indication I should not mess with works in progress. (And oh, yeah, have a got a story for you on that.)
So instead I was doing what I normally do when I should be working. Reading true crime stories (From the investigators side, which is still depressing, but mostly gives me ideas for books.) and taking weird drunkard walks through internet weirdness.
My still being me — you do remember that part, right — this often devolves to truly weird stuff like seeking out ideas of previous civilizations (Most of it is new age and funnier than heck, which is very cheering, particularly when I’m not feeling well.) And similar “weird stuff.”
This time, for reasons, I tried to look up “Accidentally walking between realities.” You know, the thing that might be a brain glitch where you suddenly remember something as being completely different up to this moment. Instead of deja vu, it’s never-vu. You stare at your car going “I swear my car was blue when I went to bed last night. When did it turn red?” And your family looks at you like you have three heads and they’re all speaking in sanskrit, because the car has always been read.
I think we’ve all had moments like that, though perhaps not as dramatic. My younger son had so many of these one year that after that it became a joke. If he woke up and I’d just changed something in the house, his opening gambit would be “I come from a world where you don’t have a line across the laundry room to hang clothes that can’t be dried.”
Some of the most dramatic ones, of course, are dreams, where you dream in a self-consistent reality in which you don’t remember the current world, but everything makes sense. I had one of these, about 4 years ago, in which I had teen DAUGHTERS and was cleaning their bathroom, after they’d gone to school and I wondered if boys would have been as messy. It was such a weird, self-contained dream that it was like I’d been in a different world.
Anyway, I was looking for that, but I accidentally stumbled onto something else.
Apparently there is a fad among mostly teens, of sending their consciousness into a “desired reality.” For a lot of them it appears to be Hogwarts (?????).
They have an entirely constructed theory of why this works, though meh, it doesn’t stand up to true scientific knowledge. It at best stands up to speculative and therefore unproven hypothesis.
The idea being that somewhere in the universe whatever can happen happens. And your mind being multi-dimensional is able to perceive everything. So it’s a matter of changing your consciousness to perceiving your other reality.
In the meantime, you leave something behind in your body, an automated version of you, living out your life in this reality, for the time you’re absent.
At its most involved, this shades into tupalmancy, the creation of a shadow self.
And of course, what’s actually involved, at least most of the time — I’m not going to speculate on if what they think is happening is actually happening, I’m just going to say I find it unlikely MOST of the time — is creating a lucid dream. What gives it away, btw, is the idea you can script this experience ahead of time. You can’t script a reality because other consciousnesses — other people in it — have a say.
What I’m going to say is that I’m immensely familiar with the creation of a vivid lucid dream that goes on from day to day, as well as with going through life as a barely conscious robot.
I’d say that was most of my life from about 12 to 18. Oh, there were moments I was there, but most of the time, I was in a world inside my head (the world in fact of Schrodinger worlds, that is actually a bunch of worlds.) My notebooks at the time are a bunch of codes for what was happening in various imaginary worlds, maps and physical plants of places that don’t exist. Genealogy trees for non-existing people, histories of non-existent empires.
How is that different from now, you ask? Well, now I know which world I’m in. I KNOW WHICH VOICE IS MINE.
I got lost there for a while. The danger of a vivid imagination is that you can get lost in it. You can become a living shadow in your real life, while living in another one.
Curiously — or not — the deeper I went into it, the less I produced in the real world. The less I wrote, the less I learned, the less engagement I had with real people.
At seventeen-eighteen, for whatever reason, I woke up. And decided to stay out of the dream-world, or at least to stay out of it, while dreaming it. Be aware of it, and “go there” but as a visitor. Know where I was and which voice was mine.
Which is when I started establishing interests and relationships, and re-started writing again.
Because the world couldn’t live for other people till I came out of it and could communicate it.
It was as hard as quitting any drug addiction. The dream world was safe and interesting, even when bad things happened. But to live in it was to ignore reality. You can’t live in the dream world. Because you’re not made of dream. Making yourself into a meat robot won’t keep you safe. Reality is that which doesn’t go away when you stop paying attention.
I always thought of this as a particular problem of being a larval writer. It NEVER in my wildest moments occurred to me it could become a general problem.
I have guesses as to why, starting with 2020 and ending with clownworld.
BUT to anyone who is aware of their kid doing this, or who — despite our ages — is tempted by it, let me enjoin you to stay in reality. Day dreaming is great. I still do a lot of it. It’s why and how I write.
But a wise man — PTerry — said to always be sure what voice is yours. To that I add, always be sure what reality is yours.
It’s been 42 years, since I decided to live and create in the real world. It hasn’t been a bowl of cherries, but it’s real. It’s …. I can grow and love and create in here.
The dream world is a sort of fairyland. You can perceive it and dream in it, but nothing is real.
When you try to choose your reality, all you do is turn your back on what’s real. And in the end, you’ll die without ever having lived.
134 thoughts on “Desired Reality”
“It was such a weird, self-contained dream that it was like I’d been in a different world.”
Alternate reality bleeding over into this one.
I wish most of our politicians could decide to live in actual reality especially here in the People’s Republic of California. I try not to pay attention to the news, and just do what I do, but in looking at the online local newspaper yesterday–to catch the Padres game wrap-up–I was confronted by the insane CA plan for electricity. It isn’t enough for them to have banned the second cleanest fuel (next to fission), natural gas.
Now they have mandated that all our electric utilities base their bills on our income rather than our usage. This is Little Prince/Humpty Dumpty thinking on stilts! Do they seriously think that this won’t change customers’ behavior if, no matter how much I use, I only pay $24/month for my electricity? Or even $128/month for households that make over $180K/year?
I’m guessing this is only for residential customers of course. When, inevitably, revenue drops like a rock and usage skyrockets, what is that going to mean for commercial customers? Does being insanely prosperous (in historical terms) turn people insane?
It’ll end up like a cell phone plan–$24 per month for the first 200 kwh, then $24 per kwh if you go over your “allotment.”
Rather like socialism in any other form. The government gets what they want, the rich pay for what they need, and everyone else gets the dregs (shared equally, of course).
But that’s the plan we already have. You pay a basic delivery/administrative fee, and then it’s steeply tiered like the federal income tax. Every kwh you use over a certain threshold is charged to you at a higher rate. It’s built to discourage excessive use by charging you more. THAT’S what they’re doing away with.
Skimmed an article on this. Every household will be charged a flat fee. The fee will be based on the income level, with four tiers. The highest tier will be those who make over $180,000. Every household will also still be charged for usage, but the usage costs will be 33% lower than they are currently.
This actually appears to be an idea submitted by the three major power companies themselves (Pacific Gas and Electric, Southern California Edison, and San Diego Gas and Electric), and not something that was legislated. So the customers of smaller power companies (and there are some) might not be affected.
I know for a fact there are a number of small ones. There are counties that end up managing them as the tiny district utilities go out of business (probably get power from the larger companies). Company I last worked for had a Utility module for the counties be able to bill the utility (both water and power) customers and collect payments. I remember having to change code that did not touch the actual calculations. My first test I though I’d really hit the wrong section of code. Had a “before” test. Just had not looked that closely at it. Nope. Numbers really were that outrageously high.
If you read carefully, it turns out that the utilities were required to submit their proposals for implementing an income per household billing plan by last week, but the income per household billing was mandated by the legislature. The utilities were forced to submit such proposals.
Water bills are already like that. The lowest water bill you can get is about $90.00, of which $87.00 is baked in. The other $3.00 is the usage fee for 100 cubic feet (about 750 gallons) of water. If you use 400% more water, the bill only goes up about 15%. Way to reward water conservation, you twits.
It’s dark here. You are likely to be eaten by a Grue.
At least come of that is because your “water” bill also includes garbage removal, and sewage processing. No matter where you take in the water / food, the odds are you dispose of the end result at home.
It may be….
Huh. I wish we could do this to our politicians.
I’m sitting here laughing and crying. I know the song, but I needed that this morning.
I just got word hospice has called in a “comfort care,” nurse for my brother and upped his pain medication. They’re telling me it won’t be long. So I’m very thankful to have had the release of laughter this morning.
Virtual hugs I’ll add you and your family to my prayer list.
Hugs My sympathies.
…Make sure you have food you don’t need to cook for the next few days, and take care of yourself.
It’s the end of tax season. We’re both stressed. But in a bit more than a week we hit the road, which is good stress. Meanwhile, I will do my best to look after myself.
And it looks like the timing on our (my son and I) visit to Florida was spot on.
Lord, if healing be not Thy Will, then please grant comfort to him, his family, and his friends. Give them Your peace and faith in their reunion one day. In Your Son’s glorious name, Amen.
My father in law passed early afternoon today.
My condolences to you and your family.
And mine; it’s always a shock, even when you know it’s coming.
That’s hard. No matter how much you think you’re ready, you never are. Hold tight to the memories, and get through it together.
I’m sorry. Even when you know it’s coming, it’s always a surprise. Blessings on you, Dan and the boys.
My sympathies to you and your family.
Raise a toast, until you meet again in the Shining Lands.
I’m so sorry, Sarah. Condolences to you and your family
I’m very sorry.
But he passed away at Eastertime, on a Fatima day. Not the worst day to die.
May he rest in peace.
Sorry for Dan’s and your loss on the passing of his father.
I know everyone feelings are mixed. There is the sadness and grief of his loss, but the relief that his ordeal is over, and guilt over the relief. It is normal. It will get better.
I’m so sorry.
That song always makes me smile.
Just when you think they’ve achieved Peak Stupid, they go and pull something even stupider out of their asses. I can’t even imagine what they intend for this idiocy to accomplish. It makes no logical sense. Usually it’s at least possible to figure out what they want, but not this time.
There are forms of stupidity that businesses can’t indulge in. There are no such limitations on the stupidity of government.
When you try to choose your reality, all you do is turn your back on what’s real. And in the end, you’ll die without ever having lived.
sigh That feel when you really want to deny that you’re doing this, and claim that you have a good reason for doing it, and you … can’t.
Because it’s a lie and it’s doublethink, and there’s not enough mental energy in the world to maintain them.
Hum, reminded me of when Stephen Hawking momentarily postulated fuzzy black holes and hence causality essentially breaks down around a black hole. So, somewhere out there Sherlock Homes is a real person and Shakespeare is a fictional character. Apparently string theory, today can postulate radiating black holes (fuzzy string balls) and maintain causality, much to the relief of physical science.
Stranger lands, think I’ll do some re-reading of Charles Fort and Immanuel Velikovsky.
Parenthetical aside; (Hey just ’cause he’s crazy doesn’t mean he’s dumb. In college, in the late fifties, I came across him in the University of Florida library stacks. I found him suggesting continental drift shaped much of the world not the then accepted and revered diastrophism. I brought it up in my geology class and my grade dropped from an A to a C, however today, everybody ‘knows’ continental drift is the correct theory.)
Sometimes you just gotta go off the deep end to understand the shallows.
Oh and Fort; Probably 90+ percent of his rains of fish, spontaneous combustions, Ambrose Bierce disappearances have rational explanations. the small fraction left over however…
When I started my Geology degree plate tectonics was yet to be universally accepted. Geosynclines going up and down mysteriously were the thing. Advanced Plate Tectonics was a Graduate School Class.
Just saw “Your comment is awaiting moderation.” regarding my comment, a new thing? Haven’t seen that here before.
It’s WordPress. It’s weird sometimes.
WPDE über alles. Or in saecula saeculorum, whichever comes first.
More like WPDE Innagoddadavida, or similar “pharmaceuticals”
I’ve lived in the dreamworld, denying reality and sleeping life away. It’s sad, it’s unfulfilling, and it’s frustrating when reality just will not conform to what you have created in your head. Worse, when reality comes crashing through the dream, and you world lays in shards about you, everyone in reality thinks that you did what you did not to escape a reality that was too much for you, but to harm them personally.
Was pinging off of the exact same thing. 😀
The man who’s a dreamer and never takes leave
Who thinks of a world that is just make-believe
Will never know passion, will never know pain.
Who sits by the window will one day see rain.
“Nowhere man” Beatles.
“Nowhere man making all his nowhere plans for nobody”
Der Letzer Mensch, the passive nihilist. Nothing matters except his comfort and his health.
The sad thing is, as a kid dealing with people-drama, this part sounded like a really good idea (the fact that this stanza has really cool orchestration didn’t help any.)
One particular Japanese sub-culture (unfortunately I can’t remember the name of it) that affects teenagers involves acting as if they have fantasy-style (or Star Wars force-style) magic powers. I suspect part of it is motivated by a desire to rebel against Japanese cultural conformity without going full delinquent.
Yep, the anime-watching friends had to explain it to me when we were watching some slice of life anime that had such character as comic reliefs.
You may be thinking of [i]chunibyo[/i], “second-year middle-school syndrome” or “8th-grader syndrome”. There’s an entry on it in Wiki. It has turned up in numerous anime, and was the main theme of the anime series “Love, Chunibyo, and Other Delusions”.
Chuunibyo aka “middle-school second-year syndrome”?
Don’t ask me why it’s so specific to eighth grade, but it is and it’s universal.
I think they usually call them “kids going through a weird phase” in the US though.
Ever since being one over 50 years ago and then later being one’s father, I’ve been convinced that there are few things more miserable than an 8th grader.
Hormones and social-developmental transitions all packed down and fermenting in the petit-Gulag of the modern middle school. And it was like that before state-sponsored sexual grooming and “you must hate everything” cultural Marxism-on-steroids.
Deciding that this reality stinks and you’ll just live in another one strikes me as one of the healthier possible responses – though of course it’s not a solution.
As I understand Christianity it tells you that you have to live in the overrated “real world” but not be impressed by it – “our citizenship is in heaven,” etc.
The Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff podcast has an appropriate t-shirt:
I wanted to disappear like that, oh so wanted to. I did disengage somewhat between ages 13-18, but a lot of that was self-defense. The world didn’t like me, so why should I like it? I got decent grades, and was active in some things, but I so wanted for a Voltron lion to appear on the steps of the school and whisk me away, or something to happen that only I could deal with, and I’d finally be respected and left alone by the [rude word for bullies].
Looking back, I suspect all was not well inside my head, but like Sarah, I managed to find a compromise between my wishes and Reality.
Same here. Was also clinically depressed, but none of us knew anything about depression back then. I read nonstop and mentally lived in Pern and Middle-Earth. If someone discovered a way to go live in another world, I’d have done it in a heartbeat (and bitterly regretted it later of course).
No kidding. I still want that. But along the way somewhere I stopped waiting for it to happen.
Now I just write about it, for all the other kids still waiting for the wardrobe to open into a pine forest…
I have the “alternate reality” dreams all the time, although since they are dreams I don’t always remember them very well, or at all. I do believe in the possibility of parallel or alternate worlds, so I’m open to the idea that maybe my subconscious is communicating or sharing information with my alternate selves. Or maybe it’s my subconscious running “what if” scenarios based on choices made differently at some point in the past. Or maybe (most likely) they are just dreams.
I do get the desire to slip into another, better, world though. This one sucks.
The idea of “walking between realities” made me think of the novel “Parellelities” by Alan Dean Foster. From what I remember of the plot, a reporter visits a researcher working on a machine to contact parallel universes, and ends up unknowingly slipping into increasingly bizarre realities. If I remember right it didn’t have a happy ending.
I’ve got a set theory of: “Humans/rational animals (hnau) being made in the image of the Creator have the ability to create realities that exist separately from their own. Therefore, Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker exist somewhere, it’s just not here. (Thank You, Lord.)”
Of course, this isn’t something I necessarily rationally believe. It’s the metaphysical justification for all my made-up stories where characters from one reality meet characters from another, or get lost in some world that isn’t their own. (For the sake of most authors, particularly those inventing dark/dystopian/depressing worlds, I hope this isn’t the case. Misuse of creative talent might actually qualify as a sin if one is effectively the god of a somewhat less-real world.)
My rule of thumb is all fictional worlds are multiverses.
A timely admonition, as I woke up this morning thinking that I would stay in bed until the sense-making level of reality at least caught up to my dreams. But then I smelled bacon, so…
Bacon, is a very powerful anchor for reality.
I had a dream once (clearly based on a similar sequence in the Dresden Files books somewhere) where we were all about to go into magical battle with the Fae in their territory. In the planning meeting huddle, I told the others that we would be assaulted with illusions and magically induced emotions, and we needed to all have something that reminded us of home and love and family and reality to anchor us.
We agreed on “pancakes”.
The Wizard of Chicago would approve.
DeCamps Enchanter novels used this technique
I just got an E-mail informing me that, among other things, a manga called ‘The Evil Secret Society Of Cats’ is on sale.
I hope the author doesn’t mysteriously disappear in the near future… 😛
Erik: “It’s reassuring to find that the world is crazier than you are.”
Making dreams your master, is nearly as sad as living without dreams at all.
But possibly more self-destructive.
Roger Zelazny’s Amber universe. After a member of the royal family of Amber walked the Pattern, they gained the ability to travel through Shadow and find any world they could imagine there. None of them could agree whether they created the worlds of their desire, or if Shadow already contained every possibility, no matter how bizarre.
Shadow-walking under the influence of hallucinogens could be a most interesting experience…
In Creatures Of Light And Darkness, Osiris observed, “Postulating infinity, all else follows as a matter of course.”
Waggles hand. Infinity does not necessarily mean “everything.” The set of integers is infinite, but it does not contain non-integral fractions. The set of rational numbers does contain those non-integral fractions but does not contain pi. The set of real numbers contains pi, but does not contain the suqre root of negative numbers. And so on.
Recursive Infinity… probably a good name for a nerd metal band.
Be Careful with infinity (lazy 8) vs Aleph Nought (or Aleph (some number) see here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aleph_number) they’re actually somewhat different things. But yes infinities can have different ordinalities (think of it as sizes, though that’s probably wrong too). George Gamow’s “One Two Three Infinity” covers it in a way that doesn’t provoke to many headaches. The Wikipedia article I cited was giving me hives…
re: Shadow-walking under the influence of hallucinogens, that happened at the end of “Blood of Amber” / start of “Sign of Chaos”. Merlin was summoned via Trump into the world created by Luke’s LSD trip, a bar populated by characters from Alice’s Wonderland. Merlin found it difficult to leave, because the nature of the place was basically making him high as well. Eventually, after his life was threatened, he regained his mental faculties and got out of it. Luke chose to stay and apparently used the trip (and the world) to work out his “Mother” issues.
“Merlin was summoned via Trump”
I knew The Donald had some connections yet to use …
Corwin also mentioned the effects of hallucinogens on Shadow walking at some point.
And iirc, Merlin had the ability to locate and summon items. Though he notes that the more specific the details about the item, the longer it takes him as he basically needs to first find a match before he can summon. For instance, summoning a beer is easy. Summoning a beer that’s in a bottle that resembles that of a particular brand will take longer. Summoning a beer that actually tastes like that particular brand will take even longer still.
I remember a short story about Star Trek (the original) where the TV actors went into the transporter and “blink” they find themselves on the ‘real’ Enterprise. I finally tracked it down again at an obscure web site:
I liked it them and still do – sort of like how I figure it would really be…
This has been done at least twice additionally. John Scalzi’s Red Shirts feels like it might be a rip off of that. And of course Galaxy Quest does it with style after filing off the serial numbers to avoid Desilu suing their sorry butts. Even the number of the NSEA Protector NTE-3120 is NTE because it is Not The Enterprise …
In visit to a weird planet revisited, they work the reverse gag.
Both worth a read
This was fun, thanks! I like that it was ‘Spock’ who blew their cover first… makes a lot of sense.
I’m from a reality where Tutankhamun’s death mask contained a crown with a cobra. I was obsessed with Egypt when I was a tween. I read “Mara, Daughter of the Nile” to tatters. I drew pictures of myself on a throne with the cobra crown, surrounded by papyrus scrolls since I loved books. I named my first two dogs Isis and Osiris. You could say I was a fan.
So where did the freaking vulture come from? Are any of you from the reality where the crown contains a single cobra, and not a cobra and a vulture?
I also am from that reality and apparently it’s common enough that I’ve hit a few other folk asking in various places ‘where’d the dang bird come from”.
I am, as well.
There’s a story there, somewhere.
But it’ll probably draw the attention of The Auditors.
Seems this Reality thing is a just bit more… fluid… than some care to admit.
It can, and will, re-shape… usually with Significant Effort. Usually.
In the straight-on view it’s easy to miss the vulture among the blue and gold stripes. I just went to look and it’s only really obvious in the 3/4 angle, which angle I don’t believe I’ve ever seen before.
However, it makes the cobra off center. Which is a very noticeable difference.
Just looked up the images. Huh.
Though I will say that every COSTUME version only contains the cobra, so that’s probably a version that reinforced your cobra-only memories.
I love Mara, Daughter of the Nile!
This is one of your best, Sarah. I wouldn’t trade a single day of my real past, present, and future — both joy and pain in abundance — for any number of hollow fantasies…
Reality is wilder than speculative fiction…
I’ve had a particular series of dreams about failing in an attempt to go back to college so often that it feels every bit as real as the going-back-to-college experience I DID have. Not really sure what to make of that.
I understand that too. Didn’t have a problem about going back to a two year program after getting the first 4 year degree and career change. Subsequently going back to full university for the second four year degree, OTOH … still have nightmares. Never would have done it except I worked for a boss who was credential obsessed. Also insisted on all of us doing the IBM specific education/training. Have a bunch of those. Don’t remember what they are, but I have them. Going back for the 4 year degree got a lot easier once I wasn’t working full time (employer moved company to take part in the AS400 rollout). I could actually participate in study groups, etc. (Well MWFSaSu, I was still working 50%, 10 hours/day TuTh.)
I’ve had a number of dreams in which I’m back in college, and I’m midway through the semester and suddenly realize I’ve completely forgotten about one class. As in haven’t attended a single lecture, done a single assignment, sat for a single test. And when they happen, they feel so real that even knowing that part of my life is long behind me just doesn’t work, until I actually wake up from them, with a vast sense of relief that yes, it was only a dream.
I pretty much did that for real.
I used to work in the dorms as a night watchman MWF and I kept sleeping through TTh classes. Eventually missed the final! Yes, got an F. Finally overcame the complications and actually graduated.
I kept hoping for a reality where I got enough sleep.
I kind of did that with Human Geography.
It wound up being a class on how to pick a “random sample” that would give you exactly the answers you wanted.
After the first month, I hoped for a less cynical reality hard enough that I managed not to think of the class again until Dead Week.
I put on my “amoral buttmunch” hat and did well enough on the final to pull a C for the class.
I don’t like what any of this says about me.
Anxiety dreams. Either exactly as you described (I have the “paper”. Even if true – “too late”.) Or “this is how you should have done that” (programming) “they’ll never figure it out!” (sigh, yes they will, they aren’t idiots. Not my problem anymore.) I’ve been out of college now for (almost) 34 years. I’ve been retired for seven years.
I’ve had that one, or the high school version, so many times that very shortly after entering the flow I tell myself in the dream that I graduated ages ago and this is BS, and then I wake up.
Reality is when you try to cast a fireball spell, and nothing happens.
Reality is when you say, “Hold my beer”, toss a can of gasoline on the grill to get it started, and get a fireball.
“Am I missing…an eyebrow?” 😛
If you didn’t lose your eyebrows a couple of times, did you even have a childhood?
(I was an overachiever, a slow learner, or both.)
“I reject your reality, and substitute my own!”
Sort of appropriate to the OP, actually.
AN eyebrow? How about both, and a drastically receding hairline.
I learned not to scratch my forehead with the hand holding the welding torch…
I don’t need to escape into fantasy worlds.
That helps keep me grounded enough to endure this particular hellscape of a reality. Run by fools and idiots, sometimes with me as part of the chorus and sometimes as the conductor.
Completely off topic and for no particular reason, this song dropped yesterday. I heard it and said “THAT is what I was missing lately.”
Play it loud.
I recall reading (forget which text, alas) of a fellow who had managed and perhaps even mastered the Art of self-hypnosis. He ‘invented’ a hallucinatory “pet dog” as post-hypnotic suggestion. It was his amusement… for a while… but eventually he banished it by reversing the suggestion. – seems it was showing up uninvited at very poor times.
And perhaps it is best I don’t have a ‘pet unicorn’ thus….
“When you try to choose your reality, all you do is turn your back on what’s real. And in the end, you’ll die without ever having lived.”
In truth, no one can choose their own reality. However, Fate sometimes lets a person pretend for a while before dropping the hammer of consequences on him. Engineers sometimes call this principle of “Gone Horribly Right”
“If you believe that the opposite of something gone wrong is good the resultant disaster will be proportional to the strength of your conviction.”
Normally Finagle’s Law — one of the fundamental governing principles of the Universe — is perceived as a law that provides for things to go badly. However, it also allows thing to go well if the Universe is lulling you into a false sense of security.
My best guess is that things are going to get interesting in the sense of the (probably apocryphal but apropos) Chinese curse.
David Brin spun a shaggy-dog story once with the Chinese watching an American ship loaded with Chinese goods sailing out of harbor and shouted, “May you live in interesting times!” as a curse.
The Americans shouted back, “Thank you!”
(I don’t have the words quite right, but that was the gist of it. The Americans took it as a blessing).
Death’s bit at the end of The Hogfather, about the need to believe the little lies (Hogfathers, Tooth Fairies, and the like) as practice for the big ones (Justice, Mercy, that sort of thing) comes to mind as a response to that.
“You need to believe in things that aren’t true. How else can they become?”
My reading on how the human mind works could support a thesis that believing in little falsehoods as a child — things like Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny — instills habits that enable the future adult to better appreciate the prudent applications of justice and mercy. However, I am not sure that is what Death meant. It has been while since I read Hogfather.
He litterally uses those exact words:
“All right,” said Susan. “I’m not stupid. You’re saying humans need… fantasies to make life bearable.”
REALLY? AS IF IT WAS SOME KIND OF PINK PILL? NO. HUMANS NEED FANTASY TO BE HUMAN. TO BE THE PLACE WHERE THE FALLING ANGEL MEETS THE RISING APE.
“Tooth fairies? Hogfathers? Little—”
YES. AS PRACTICE. YOU HAVE TO START OUT LEARNING TO BELIEVE THE LITTLE LIES.
“So we can believe the big ones?”
YES. JUSTICE. MERCY. DUTY. THAT SORT OF THING.
“They’re not the same at all!”
YOU THINK SO? THEN TAKE THE UNIVERSE AND GRIND IT DOWN TO THE FINEST POWDER AND SIEVE IT THROUGH THE FINEST SIEVE AND THEN SHOW ME ONE ATOM OF JUSTICE, ONE MOLECULE OF MERCY. AND YET—Death waved a hand. AND YET YOU ACT AS IF THERE IS SOME IDEAL ORDER IN THE WORLD, AS IF THERE IS SOME…SOME RIGHTNESS IN THE UNIVERSE BY WHICH IT MAY BE JUDGED.
“Yes, but people have got to believe that, or what’s the point—”
MY POINT EXACTLY.”
Thank you. I really had forgotten that part.
I’ll agree that we need fantasy to be human but we don’t need to believe it is true. Many fairy tales, for instance, are really morality plays. I don’t need to believe in a child-eating witch living in a house made of candy to understand that. Symbols are how we understand reality not the other way around.
Consider that without intelligence and reason belief is not possible. However if you really did sift through the dust of the universe I doubt you will find an atom of intelligence or a molecule of reason either. This creates a circular argument:
I need to believe in the little lies before I can believe in the big lies like intelligence and reason.
I need intelligence and reason to believe in the little lies.
Sound more like solipsism made a baby with quantum mysticism.
You can grind up the universe and not find any numbers, too.
“Concepts are not real” is just not a good argument, IMHO.
Pratchet was a genius and no doubt.
I hope to live long enough to see his shadow.
I mean literally, as in living in an illusion.
This happened to me as a youngster. I walked over to a nearby farm and was bitten by their dog. Turns out, that was a deserted farm house – no people or dogs – but I talked to them and had the bite. Never did figure that one out. There are many possibilities (scared-off squatters being one of them), but what I “know” happened and reality definitely diverged.
It’s somewhat odd that I even remember it, fifty years later.
“Accidentally walking between realities.” reminded me SO much of the classic “Robert Kirk: Walker Between Worlds”, I think still available for free online if you search- a respected scholar walking between the world of normalcy and the world of the fae. it is told to be true and I never knew what to make of it when I first read it ( many decades ago ). Sorry for the OT ramble, it was jsut a kind of Rorschacian free association. A great read, either way. And praying for your recovery, still.
I’ve read it.
I attempted a more permanent exit from reality in my teens. Thankfully failed though.
I am glad. And totally selfishly. 🙂
I’m very pleased to hear that attempt failed. Keep shining, Evenstar!
It always/continually scares me that some of the Reality-Natives has an even more tenuous connection to it than I do. And well. Mythical…so… not exactly native…
Scares? PAINS. From horn-tip to hoof-bottom and back.
Let me expla.. no for this I must expound…
Recall your absolute worst hangover if you ever had such. Now add a motor-race, motorcycles, boom-cars, a thunderstorm, and an out of tune but enthusiastic high school band. Now add a few sonic booms and yer getting close.
Not sure if thick skull keeps most out or too much in. Freakin’, MOO, man.
There were a few times, had a ‘portal’ presented, I might have jumped through – despite NOT knowing the other side. Fortunately, such things are (in my experience) vanishingly rare.
This is exactly the plot of a Prometheus-award-nominated book, “The Fractal Man”. And the writer of that book, whom I knew, fell prey to exactly the mistake that you did from 12-18, other than that it didn’t interfere with his writing.
That is, he was so good at imagining alternate realities that he totally screwed up his actual life and died prematurely as a result of terrible decisions.
But the book is still very entertaining.
Against the blue and white they bark and fly:
Crows, bright squirrels of the sky, but kindly go.
So the lone raven circles gently by
over spring lands, untroubled as the snow
that lurks but does not threaten.
See! Tom turkey puffs and stutters with no care
but of the mild indifference of his hens.
All the green weath of grubs and grass are theirs.
Perhaps the truce of wealth allows the raven peace
Or does some strange kinship grant him his surcease?
*peace of grubs. Ah well.
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