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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 54.djvu/107

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DREAM AND REALITY.

real rational—any more just than the others? It is doubtful if it is. There are rare dreams in which everything proceeds in a regular and natural way; and, on the other hand, reality is not always exempt from capriciousness and improbability. But to me the capital objection to the distinction is that it is illusory, and the contrast between the disorder of dreams and the coherence of the real is only apparent. The dream, it is true, appears disordered to us, but that is when we are awake. An essential point which we always ignore is that while we are dreaming everything seems simple and normal and regular to us. We are not at all astonished at what happens. We find it all right to be in two countries at the same time, and we undersand very well how one person can be changed into another. The conversations we have—those which are utterly unthinkable when we are awake—usually appear to us marvelously lucid, and we admire the ease, the verve, and the luminous continuity of our words. We enjoy that moving with so much suppleness and precision among ideas; our demonstrations are infinitely convincing; and it is perhaps in the dream that we have the most perfect sense of evidence.

Everything, then, that passes in the dream is—to the dreamer—as natural as events in the waking condition. When awake, events seem, without exception, natural and regular; they also seem natural and regular in the dream. It is true that we find them absurd when we wake, but what of that? They are absurd only by comparison, as looked at from the point of view of the waking man, who is no longer the same that he was when dreaming. Who can tell if we shall not awake some day from what we now call our waking condition, and that we shall not then find the events absurd that we now consider rational and real? Who can tell that we shall not be stupefied at having been so firmly attached to invisible phantoms and disordered combinations?

In setting up a fourth distinction it is said that real life forms a continuous whole, while dreams are not connected with one another. The series of my days forms a single life, which holds together. I resume to-day my life of yesterday, and shall resume tomorrow my life of to-day. While I am asleep, the course of it is only suspended. I begin again in the morning at the very point where I stopped in the evening. I find myself in the same medium, occupied with the same thoughts, subject to the same cares, involved in the same routine of events, the same storm of passions. The same thread runs through it all. On the other hand, it is said, our dreams do not form a consecutive existence. The dream of one night has no connection with the dream of the previous night. On going to sleep to-night I have no assurance that I shall find the landscapes