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If it had—if the woman across the table said, Yesterday something strange happened, I was standing on a staircase in a silvery dress in a house I had never been in before, and I didn’t know where I was or how I had gotten there, but everyone clearly knew me, there were lots of people all dressed up, staring at me . Yet the first premise of the dream—that it didn’t really happen—is also the first premise of a novel, a movie.The opening sentence of a novel sets up a pact with the reader: it says that what is about to be described didn’t happen in reality but starting now we will act as if it had. The author’s job—no matter what genre he or she is writing in, whether realistic epistolary novel or science fiction—is to make it credible, make the “as if” as invisible as possible.
Picture this dog, who doesn’t know about the fence. It can never see if there’s an electric fence or not, just as you will never know if time is predetermined or not.
The possibility of a fence it doesn’t know about doesn’t make the dog’s decision to not escape any less important, like you making your own life choices and saying they were made in free will despite the possibility of it being fate.
Not only that: for every one of us dreams are significant, meaningful, relevant to our lives.
Then why is sitting across the breakfast table from someone and listening to them tell you about a dream so unbearable?
Let’s say the dream is about how the dreamer was going downstairs in a house she had never been in before, dressed in a silvery, sparkling dress.
Waiting down below is a group of people she has never seen before, but it seems, she realizes as she walks down the stairs, that they know her; they look at her, some greet her by name.Others believe that we have free will, and our actions shape the future.Whichever philosophy they believe, however, the future will always be unknowable - no one can ever be truly sure how time works.When Billy believed the Tralfamadorian theory of time, he was apathetic and listless.When Billy was about to die, he dismissed the police offering to protect him and said, “‘No, no.Or perhaps the Tralfamadorians, an alien race in Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse 5, are correct when they say that all of time exists at once.No matter how many theories we invent, there is no way that we can ever know the truth for sure.It is time for you to go home to your wives and children, and it is time for me to be dead…’” (142).The people who were full of spirit were those who took responsibility for themselves and their actions.The dreamer knows that the inner dream images correspond to outer reality, that the dream is relevant to his or her life, but never, or in any case very rarely, knows exactly how. That is why we so readily accept the “as if” of literature, because when we read, the words and our images of the words enter into us and, in some cases, take over. Our “I”—that is to say, our self—is nothing but an entity that holds the various different parts of our inner reality together, connecting sense impressions and feelings, memories and thoughts.When we dream, these connections are broken, and it is as if the different parts are separated and scattered, a small detail can become grotesquely large, something that just appears on its own, seemingly unmotivated, and the same is true for feelings: they can be so powerful in a dream that they overshadow everything else, there is only the one feeling—for example, fear. The feelings we had as children, when the self was weak in a similar way; when we were unable to tell the difference between inner feelings and outer impressions; when everything flowed through us and took over.