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Seven Squared

Dreamed 1994/2/18 by Chris Wayan


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.


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.


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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