Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Dystopian dream

My dreams have been taking a dystopian turn. This morning I was in some sort of (prison?) camp that contained a school-like building (all lino floors and heavily painted radiators) and a field area with a wire fence. I was being taken to see the unfortunate people and felt a mix of anticipation and unease. I would have to confront my discomfort at my privileged position compared to the unfortunate, I would search to balance my curiosity against having respect for their humanity, and I would have to be on my guard a little to make sure I wasn't going to be exploited myself. So out I went to the field, and along the wire fence was a row of fellow-fortunates, all sat on the ground in sleeping bags (why sleeping bags when it was blazing sunshine? I don't know, but don't ask Freud). As I approached, there was a signal from the other side of the fence and the ragged line of fortunates wriggled back. We were under the control of the comfort of the unfortunates - it was us who wanted to read them. I joined the line, and we did a little wriggling hokey-cokey until finally an unfortunate stepped forward (what happened to the fence? - it's a dream, they're allowed to cheat). I spoke to him, I have no idea what about, but as the conversation went on he lunged forward and made to grab whatever he could. Fortunately, the sleeping bag was pulled tight and my possessions were inside, but he found some sunglasses on the floor. I sat shocked for a second and looked into his unashamed face. Would I have done the same if I were on his side of the fence?

It was getting too disturbing and as I turned to leave, I saw many other fortunates pulling out of their bags and heading back to the school. They must have had similar experiences. Maybe they had learned all they needed, or maybe they required time to reflect on things. As I walked back, I wondered how they could avoid any of the unfortunates coming with us but, as I had that thought, I felt a tugging on my rear pocket. The confusion and disquiet of my earlier confrontation now blazed out with a single tip. Grabbing the hair of my "attacker", I quickly dashed him against a wall. As I saw his pudgy, panicked expression, I recognised him as another fortunate. I wanted to beat the unfairness out of him, but my restraint was holding. Then, of course, I woke up. You should have been expecting that... I did say it was a dream.

Conclusion? Maybe I should re-read Brave New World.

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