Friday, April 10, 2015

Camping on Water, and a dream I had...

I am going to Lake Powell to live on a boat for a week with my brother, his wife, a friend of his, and my dad.  There might be some other people too.  I decided it would be clever to google search some terms that might give me ideas, so I tried "living on Lake Powell" and then "camping on water".  While looking through the images for "camping on water," I was reminded of a dream I had yesterday morning.

I was climbing on some boxes and tables and chairs in a smallish room.  The room had white paint on the walls (I only just now realized that might be significant), and it was much longer than it was wide, like maybe a closet.  Actually I think it's more like a lot of kitchens.  I was high in the room, not drug high, but physically high, because I had some stuff under me.  A crate, a table, some boxes.  Oddly, some of them were cardboard boxes.  Cardboard boxes usually can't support you unless you're dreaming, so I was lucky there.

I don't know why I was on the boxes.  I think I was trying to get down, but going backwards didn't cross my mind.  Forwards meant up.  I reached the ceiling.  I was not comfortable at all.  The moment I worried that I might fall, I realized I was dreaming and so the worry disappeared.  Then it was just a challenge to climb myself out of what I perceived as a kind of mess.

Actually, it was more like a corner I was stuck in.  My feet and butt were supported by ... well, that's kind of fuzzy.  But I decided to remove some stuff that was in my way (and which was also supporting me somewhat).  I pushed against the walls to brace myself, felt stable, and kicked a box out of the way.  Then I kicked another box out of the way.  Then I could climb down.  And there was an apple pie down there, that I could get to on the way down.  I thought of American Pie and woke up.

I think this dream is about stress.  I developed a model of understanding when I took an independent college course at UCSD for Cognitive Science.  In my model, we have a foundation like bedrock, which is our need and ability to fill the need for food, love, shelter, comfort, etc.  On this foundation we add concepts which are fastened to the foundation generally by gravity.  School, I had discovered while tutoring math, tends to give us concepts that float; they are not attached to anything that is grounded, and they float away over time.

The more you build out your concepts, the higher your cognition gets.  If you add things near the top (think elliptic curve cryptography, on top of advanced math on top of math on top of counting), they are only as stable as all the things under them.  So my dream tells me that some of my understanding might be shaky.  In any case, I was above the pie.  But pie is delicious, so I had to climb down.  That's why I woke up.  I wish more people would wake up.

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