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Helplessly Lucid

Dreamed 2007/6/23 by Alder, as told to Chris Wayan

I'm Elvish. We can interbreed with humans, and in the past we often have; but in America today we're treated like vermin, particularly by the ruling class. My group is on the run, looking for a safe home. Whenever we find a place, the humans just bust up our camp and clear us out.

At last we find an elevator down to these deep caverns. We're overjoyed, we have a home at last! But then the elevator returns to the surface and comes back down full of humans: a realtor showing the caves off to prospective clients who want to develop them. They hiss in horror when they see their lovely caverns are infested with Elves! Like finding rats. The caves won't be safe now; they'll find a way to drive us out, or kill us.

Reluctantly we give up and start planning to send all our children over the border. It's better in Canada and other countries. Here, there's nothing to grow up for anymore.

However, some adults stay to take revenge. Sort of. We can't do that much. Our magical powers are limited, much less than humans think. However, their revulsion toward us gives us an idea. We use our magic to change their ruling-class kids slightly--"contaminate" them with a miniscule percentage of Elvish blood. Not enough to give them any real powers, but enough to show up on the new tests they've been using to identify and persecute us. Every rich family in America will turn out to have a streak of Elvish blood!

Let's see how they treat us when their own kids are tainted.

The disturbing thing about this dream was that I became lucid early on, and tried to change the dream, and just couldn't--no matter what I did, humans still hated us and I stayed a homeless refugee. Our revenge-plot was there all along in the dream, it wasn't a lucid addition.

I've always read that you can change anything in your dream if you're lucid, and usually I've found that to be true. But not this dream. I felt helpless to change it. And I don't know why.




Helpless lucidity sounds paradoxical, but then, remember that until recently many researchers denied lucidity could be real at all precisely because it'd mean you were awake in your dream, and THAT can't happen--it's paradoxical!

Besides, I have a second reason to believe her: Alder's not unique. Emily Joy, another major contributor to the World Dream Bank, just emailed me to say she too has been having a whole run of "helpless" lucid dreams--perfectly aware she was dreaming but STILL unable to change the dream! None of them were vivid enough to justify writing up and titling, but the phenomenon's been bothering her--because she too couldn't figure out how it was possible.

I've had them too, in my own way--not quite like Emily's or Alder's. My efforts to change the dream don't fail; my will to change itself is subverted. I feel I have no RIGHT to change it! "I must face what my dreams want me to face"--even if I'm being shot at! Or I did--I haven't had that particular type of nightmare recently. Feel I have more rights now... or maybe I just got bored with suffering.

But is Alder empathizing only with gay friends here? America's rulers certainly victimize plenty of others these days. Alder's dreams may make her homeless, nonwhite, immigrant, poor, gay... oh, there's plenty of victims.

--Chris Wayan

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