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Seven Squared

Dreamed 1994/2/18 by Chris Wayan

THAT EVENING

I couldn't find anyone to play chess with me, so I played both sides. Something strange happened at the end. Red had only a rook and a fugitive king, against a host of pieces and a white pawn about to become a queen. I was hardly paying attention anymore, the end was so obvious, and then red made two brilliant moves and suddenly checkmated white. I hadn't seen it consciously at all! Yet it was exquisitely planned and executed.

A game between my conscious and unconscious--and my unconscious blew me out of the water.

THAT NIGHT

I'm on Bernal Hill, in San Francisco. The residents below don't notice, but up here, on the grassy hilltop, we're fighting a quiet duel between magicians. A woman and I are allies against several nasty sorcerers. Outnumbered! We're pushed to the brink of a cliff. Here I make a stand: start invoking some sort of power measured by how many palm-widths apart your hands are, as if magic is a trout! This is the first time I've openly shown our opponents my measure. Almost anyone intuitive has a handspan or two of magic. They suspected there was more to me--three or a bit more. But I keep stretching my arms. Four... no, five spans! And palm-measures must be SQUARED, like the area of a chessboard: this means 25 times the ordinary flashes of insight any person may have; enough power to make me a first-rank wizard. I've been hiding my power; they figured my friend, who's known to handle five spans or so, was the heavyweight. But I stretch my arms to six! As strong as their strongest, and then some. A glowing Pythagorean grid extends into the air from the line between my hands, showing them graphically just what they're up against. 36 squares!

And then I stretch to seven. Absurd and unheard of, just below the theoretical maximum of eight, and I fear they'll take it as a bluff, disbelieve me and force a test in which someone will get hurt--though it won't be us. It's hard to know how much they'll fear and how much they'll just discount. For the truth is, I AM lying: my true measure is nowhere near the theoretical maximum.

It's really a bit over ten spans, 105 or 110 squares.

But I have to hide that. They wouldn't believe that, and then I'd have to fight. Seven they might just believe. Or if not quite believe, at least fear.

I fear I've told too much truth to be believed. But I hope I've lied juuuuuust right.

NEXT MORNING

The dream confirms what the chess game was trying to tell me. Despite dredging up a lot of painful memories lately, exploring how I learned to hide being a child prodigy on the Einstein level, I'm STILL hiding the real scope of my abilities from everyone, including my therapist and myself. The dream has clear references to IQ testing: the 2:1 ratio between my true magic-measure and what I show others, echoes the ratio between my real IQ around 200 vs. my "normal" street-persona.

The dream is warning me: "Don't fool yourself. Your lack of worldly achievement is because you're hiding things. Holding out. Holding back MORE THAN HALF."

Simultaneously heartening and... chilling.



LISTS AND LINKS: game-playing - wizards - shamanic dreams - giftedness and genius - inheritances - conformity and hiding vs. individualism - healing from abuse

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