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SHAKEN PROFESSOR

Dreamed 1996/2/11 by Chris Wayan

I take classes in mornings and work at the library in the afternoons at our local college.

My favorite professor teaches African American Literature. Strangely enough he's an aristocratic white male Oxfordian. His class likes him despite his high British style since he's no pretender--he really IS brilliant, a born scholar. Wasted here really.

One day he starts to quote a Latin aphorism, clearly an old favorite of his, and he goes blank. Horror fills his face. One of his best students--and this class isn't stupid by any means--gets up and says firmly "No, don't assume your mind is failing you, stop jumping to conclusions! Wait a minute or two till the panic subsides and THEN ask your unconscious to find the information." She knows Neurolinguistic Programming, sounds authoritative--speaks to him like a coach, not a student.

The trouble is, his horror isn't really about Latin or memory, it's at seeing all his talents and skills rusting away unused, wasted here on elementary classes...

And yet the kid has a point. Crisp summoning of memory isn't all that counts. Reprogramming works.

I half-wake, thinking "I must remember this dream, but it'll be hard--that part about what really upset my teacher was subtle, and not easy to keep in mind all night through the other dreams I'll have..."

But I must have, for here it is.

NOTES NEXT MORNING

This confirms a theory of mine that our memories of dreams are no weaker than memories of waking experiences. It's our indexing that's the problem. After all, we recall by association, and if a dream has nothing in common with our waking life, how can we retrieve it? Here, just the bare knowledge there was one more dream and it was subtle, was enough to keep me searching, till I stumbled on it. But once I did, the memory traces were clear enough--for the dream's internally consistent, and associations lead from any scene of it to the rest. So if you NEVER recall your dreams, try, just after waking, to picture a lot of random images. You may stumble on a link to a dream! This may explain why some people recall no dreams at all. Their dreamworld may be so far from their waking lives (not necessarily threatening, just distant) that no associative links lead there; so if attention drifts for a moment, as a dreamer wakes, there's no way back.

Oh. Sorry. Where was I?



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