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The Multiple Intelligence Theory,
or,
Snake Synergy

Dreamed 11/6/1996 by Chris Wayan

THAT DAY

Raven, who I've been dating fitfully, left a message. Strange relationship--she's new in town, but somehow I feel it's MY job to find her friends and a social circle! Amazing how slow I am to realize how dumb this is. Raven's perfectly able to make her own damn friends...

I feel nervous calling Raven, so first I call my ex-housemate Valerie to tell her she has mail and bills piling up here. We start chatting, catching up. Her new job hasn't started yet--she feels let down. I agree to drop by the cafe where she works, tomorrow, with her mail. It's fun talking with Valerie.

Call Raven and we talk a while. I'm nervous, she's cautious, checking me out--asks about my housemates. She uses spiritual language repeatedly, and just as I'm about to ask if she's a Christian, someone starts pounding on the door. I go answer it. A Goth girl in black lipstick hands me a brochure about Bible study. Say "thanks" and go back to the phone bewildered. Raven says "No, I'm more Hindu than Christian... But an older friend of mine's Christian, and this much younger Satanist girl is trying to seduce him." Uh... okay, just so Raven's not a fundamentalist. They scare me. Burned me at the stake too many times, I think. Laugh all you like--but I bet you don't get flashbacks just from walking by a church! I do. I expect people with torches to rush out and kill me again. Nine million witches hanged, drowned, put on the rack, burned alive. Forgotten that little holocaust? Somehow, I didn't. So, yeah, I'm skittish around Christians. At least fundamentalists...

We agree to meet this weekend for a picnic date in the park. I'm excited, nervous. My housemate comments "Quit worrying about dating. You survived an openly abusive relationship and you won't repeat it. You can handle ANYTHING out there."

That evening I finish John Briggs's Fire in the Crucible, on the psychological structure of genius. Skip his theorizing, and just read anecdotes about geniuses. The whole book tends to corroborate the theory of multiple intelligence--that instead of one general-purpose kind of smarts, we have at least seven "intelligences"--logical, spatial, verbal, sonic, kinetic/somatic, social, on and on... independent skills (and maybe even brain-modules) that interact in complex ways.

I go to sleep. What do my dreams think?

THAT NIGHT Woman and snake enter a shop. Dream sketch by Wayan. Click to enlarge.

I'm in an fairytale Asian kingdom, in a little shop, talking to the girl at the counter, who I know and like. Well, more than like. I'm about to find out how much more.

A slender, slinky woman in a fancy gown walks by the shop door, spots me in passing, and comes back to lean in the doorway, one leg up, showing off her thighs in that slit skirt... She says cheerfully "I'm trying to seduce you." But sex is just a minor lure--she has profit in mind. She plans to raid the Royal Vaults, with her partners (and creations) the Talking Cybersnakes! And she wants my help. She's good at machines--and seduction. But I have a different kind of intelligence.

I say "Well, I'll go next door and listen to your proposal at least, that can't hurt." I'm not an active revolutionary, but I'm not fond of the King and Queen--I won't shed a tear if they go broke.

I grab a warm coat and find myself saying "I love you!" to the shop girl before I run out the door. Her face lights up with surprise and pleasure. And suddenly, that feels like protection at least as important as the overcoat. And it was true--I just didn't know, till I said it! I envy the slinky girl's open sexuality, but that doesn't mean I'm willing to be used. She's too tricky. I know who I want to live with, and it isn't her.

Slinky's suite is a warehouse studio, with makeshift partitions and open space above. She goes into the next room, but over the wall, I hear her murmuring--arguing with her cybersnakes. They hiss "Use the power sssaw! Cut him up like the ressst and feed him to the ____ssss." She's a female Bluebeard! Luring in victims...

I run like hell. Traveler under a torii looks down on a bay. Dream sketch by Wayan. Click to enlarge.

Strangely--or maybe not so strangely, for this IS a fairy tale--I'm just disappointed! Not terrified or angry somehow... just let down.

But I feel involved now with the fate of the King and Queen. So I stalk the cybersnakes. They in turn are tracking a naive farm-girl wandering through this quasi-medieval kingdom. They hope she'll lead them to something they want. The Vault? No... someONE. Who?

She nears a town on a wide warm shallow bay. The snakes and I follow. It's spring; cherry trees blossom. She climbs a little hill to a temple and looks out over the town. This is a place to spend holidays, especially Easter. Funny, I thought this was an Asian fairyland! What's Christianity doing here? Confusing.

Her goal--and the snakes'--is in town. Something to do with dragons! Chinese dragons, of course, so they're not necessarily destructive.

But on the narrow city streets, the snakes and I keep bumping into each other. Can't just ignore, but don't want to fight.

We declare a truce, and while Farm Girl eats supper in an inn, we get a table too, and talk of the quest in a corner. Here, with Slinky distant, they've changed, become relatively friendly rivals.

The green snake tells me "Misstress Ssslinky is no murderer--quite innossssent, indeed sssimple, when away from usss."
Two snakes and I talk in a cafe. Dream sketch by Wayan. Click to enlarge.

The golden snake says "But when we're all together, a ressonansse or ssssynergy happensss, and we all turn fiendissshly clever... and cruel."

Green Snake adds "We don't know if it's acsssidental or sssome third party'sss intent... but Ssslinky'sss not really in control, and neither are we."

I check the snakes' story later. I learn that what Slinky told me was all wrong. The royal couple are quite different, the politics behind all this are quite different, the treasure's quite different.

But Slinky's not lying! Her view's through the crazy lens of the synergy field. When they separate, they see it all so differently it might as well be a new world.

A new fairytale. And one less dark and bloody.

BEWILDERED NOTES NEXT MORNING

Oh! An example happened today. Raven heard me mention Buena Vista Park and wanted to go largely because the name sounded auspicious to her. And I agreed even though I find it kinda gloomy, because I defer to friends a lot. Result: we're going somewhere neither of us knowingly chose. So beware that sort of resonance. If it happens a lot, this won't work out.

TWO MONTHS LATER

The warning about toxic synergy was quite right. When I went out with Raven, I always got sick--two-three days of pain. If the dates happened at all! Bad luck, weird coincidences and crossed signals aborted half of them. I guess it brought up too many toxic issues too fast (for me, for her? Most likely for both?)

Though I liked Raven, eventually I had to break up with her... I couldn't afford the sick days!

Bad synergy. The dream foresaw it--and warned no one was to blame.



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