I had had a nice weekend. I went over to a friend’s place on Saturday, and then all my friends came over on Sunday. I found a person who had copied all my writing over to her blog, without a note or link. Monday started well. I found some articles on The Matrix and Hinduism. Then Tejal called. I couldn’t talk too well. She talks British English, in the British accent. Yeah, that smooth, soft, vague, hard-to-understand accent. Sometimes she pounces on the words, sometimes she polishes them, and sometimes… oh rats this was supposed to be another conversation. Well I went and settled myself on my bed with Dan Brown’s Digital Fortress in my hand. I wasn’t really reading. I was tired. My eyes were heavy. I was dragging myself on through the pages, through the lines, through each word towards a paragraph of cipher-text on page… I forgot the page number. It looked compelling, enticing, a paragraph of code. I was hoping I would wake up completely when I got to it. I hate falling asleep, which I did, eventually, before I reached it.
And I was there. Oz, or Eden. Infination, yeah. That sounds like a nice name. Electric sky and blue ground. The soft glow, bright as a lightning bolt, lit up everything. I was surprised. I was only admitted there when I needed it for something. It wasn’t the case now. I didn’t have any questions. I was a little scared.
Within a minute G appeared. (Only an assumption that I constructed when I woke up later. That place gives you no sense of time. You can’t figure out how much time is passing. Something just numbs that part of the brain.) He wasn’t in his usual Jeans and T-shirt. He had a black leather jacket on, and heavy black boots. He somehow looked older than me. The haze seemed thicker than usual. Now I was really scared.
‘Sit, N, I’m not gonna assassinate you.’ His voice was slow and suppressed, I thought.
I sat down beside the stream and stayed quiet. I didn’t like the atmosphere at all.
As if smelling the uncomfortable silence, G sat down too. Not as close as he usually sat. He lowered his head and watched the stream flow smoothly.
‘I wanna share a thing.’
I turned towards him without saying anything. I hoped my persisting silence would convey to him my disapproval to the way things were going.
‘You watched The Matrix, did you?’
Now I had to laugh. ‘Seriously, G, you’re asking this now?’
He turned fully towards me and stared into me (like I have described in the earlier conversation). Then he said, ‘They woke up, didn’t they? Neo and the gang? They woke up from the dream, right?’
‘Yeah, they did,’ I said, feeling uneasy.
‘What do you think they woke up into?’
‘The desert of the real?’ I said, quoting Morpheus.
‘Real?’ chuckled G. ‘That’s the problem with you people. You stop too soon.’
‘Why? Wasn’t that real?’
‘Give me a definition of that word.’
I looked at the stream and thought of a good definition.
‘What actually exists.’
‘The matrix exists, doesn’t it? As long as you dream, the things in your dream exist, don’t they? So they should be real, right?’
Now I realized I’d left a little logical loophole. I stared at the stream again and pondered on where I had gone wrong. Then after sometime I said ‘Reality is when everything in actuality is not different from what it appears to be.’
[Think about the definition, fellas.]
‘Good one.’ He stared appreciatively at me. ‘If you hadn’t given a definition like that, I wouldn’t be able to get to the point so quick. Tell me something,’ he looked away at the horizon, ‘who decides if everything in actuality is what it appears to be?’ He turned to face me. ‘As long as you dream, you know only what things appear to be, not what they actually are. You take them for real, when in fact they are illusions. So how can you decide what’s real and what’s not when in both the cases you get to know only the apparent view? How can you define real with that confidence when you are half-blinded?’
‘What do you mean?’ I asked. ‘I don’t get you.’
‘Look N, as long as you are in a dream, you take everything as real because that is one property of dreams. You misinterpret reality because the dream induces you to believe that things that are not real actually are. In this respect your definition is correct and may lead us to find the ultimate real, but that definition’s like a hypothesis, you know; it’s logically correct, but you can never find real with its help. When you are conscious, whatever you experience seems real to you because even if they have an actuality that is different from their apparent aspect, you never get to realize it because you never experience the actuality until you wake to a higher dimension that allows you to see that actuality. In other words, you can never tell for certain whether a thing is real or not.’
‘Means I may not be real?’
‘That’s where the concept of relativity comes in. You are real in the dimension that induces you to believe that you are real. For example, a flying elephant is real when you are in the dream that you see it in, isn’t it so? Now when you wake up, you are actually entering a higher dimension that allows you to see the actuality behind the flying elephant and hence you declare it as unreal. So you see, the classification of what’s real and what’s not changes with changing dimensions, although the definition of reality, like the one you gave, may not. That is because the definition itself includes a parameter that is variable: the dimension, the level. Neo and his gang may still be dreaming a dream called the “desert of the real”’.
It took a few seconds for me to take it all in. Finally I said, ‘Where does it all end?’
He smiled. ‘I’ll avoid that question.’
This was so like him. Always left a doorway to admit the nothing that contained the seed of everything, something that made me keep coming back to him.
‘This could be a dream,’ I suddenly said.
‘You mean this meeting?’ He said. ‘Yeah, sure, why not?’
Tremendous thoughts were running through my head. Fast, very fast, like F1 cars. Blazes of colours representing varied thoughts each with its own flavour. I felt lost. I couldn’t be dreaming this, now, could I? Does anyone in a dream know it’s a dream and even talk about it?
‘What’s stuck in your behind now is a very expected pin. You can’t accept that you are talking and thinking about the dream while you are in it, right?’
My mind was racing so hard I didn’t even wonder how he hit bull’s-eye again. I nodded eagerly.
‘That’s the difference between the normal dream you have at bed and this one, N. This is a dream in a higher dimension, blocking the realities of a yet higher one. And if this dream belongs to a higher dimension than your bedtime ones, won’t you expect the rules to be different?’
I stared at the ground for a long, long time. I realized now why I had come here tonight without wanting to. It’s because he wanted me to. This wasn’t an answer to one of the usual questions I have in mind and come to him for. This was a message from him. That’s why he wasn’t sitting so close. A teacher doesn’t come as close as a friend.
‘Who’s dreaming?’ I said at last.
‘Who features in your bedtime dreams?’ he said softly.
‘Me, who else?’
And who dreams them?
I waited for him to continue but he kept quiet. I looked at him as I ran over his words in my mind. Who dreams them? Me. Who dreams them? Me.
‘I’m dreaming this dream?’
‘Life’s a dream that I am dreaming?’
‘But then, why don’t I know it?’
‘Do you ever know, in a dream? You even have trouble waking up from a dream as you slowly float back to reality, don’t you?’
‘Why don’t I know now who I actually am when I’m awake?’
‘Because this is the dream. Do you know who you are, who your parents are, which school you study in, in short your social identity, when you are in a dream?’
‘I am dreaming you now? You are a part of my dream? Wait, if that’s true, then I have no reason to believe in you because you are just one of my thoughts, and so this is not a dream, and so you are real, and… it’s a paradox.’
‘Calm down, N. I’m not something you’re dreaming. Your best friend is equally a part of your dream as you are a part of his. It’s a single dream, and all souls like you, like your best friend, like everyone in the dream, is in actuality the person who’s dreaming it. You’ll know when you wake up.’
‘Who’s dreaming it?’
G stood up, suddenly. He gave me a very, very mysterious stare and said, ‘I can see you have trouble accepting your life as a dream. You know N, anything can happen in a dream. You need to accept the possibilities of your dream-life first. That’s the positive side of this concept. I’ll help you accept them. I promise.’
‘G, you’re avoiding my question. Who’s dreaming it?’
‘I told you. It’s you who’s dreaming it.’
‘I know that. I mean, who am I really when I’m awake?’
‘N, do you remember that you once used to call me Morpheus?’
‘I still do, in my mind.’
‘Do you know who he was?’
‘He was a teacher, but he left gaps open that he wanted the student himself to find out. “I can only show you the door. But you are the one that has to walk through it.” So very much like you, ass-hole.’
‘That’s it? That’s all who he was?’
‘Yeah. What are you hinting at?’
‘N, you really gotta do your homework before you meet me. Especially your history homework. Or, should I say, mythology. Then maybe you wouldn’t be sitting here like a loser whining about who dreams you.’
‘What? Tell me straight, G. What are you talking about?’
‘I can only show you the door. But you are the one that has to walk through it, Neo.’
‘That’s the shittiest door-showing I’ve ever seen in my life.’
‘I haven’t finished. You’ll find the answers a while later, N, when I am not here, or rather, when you are not here, so that you can think about them alone.’
I kept quiet now, realizing he wouldn’t give up.
‘Okay, see you soon, then, I s’pose.’
‘Yes. But I sure do hope you figure out the answers to most of your questions yourself before you come knocking on my door.’ And he turned and started to walk away from me, a solitary figure in black, his outline growing slowly hazy as he moved into the haze, or maybe because my vision was growing blurred, and my brain was slowly shutting down, but through all the confusion and blurriness, I thought I still could hear him singing something as he went. It was a line from a song I knew; I had heard it on the radio. It went ‘Knock knock knocking on heaven’s door’. And I thought vaguely as I heard him sing, ‘What heaven? When I’m knocking on him, I’m not knocking on heaven’s door, am I? This is not heaven. What shit…’
I woke later, in my bedroom. As my field of vision sharpened itself and my head became slowly active once again, I became aware of a very insignificant, but not inconspicuous, thing lying on my bed. It looked like a piece of paper. I could swear it hadn’t been there when I left. I walked over to it slowly, my head still swaying a bit. When I picked it up, I noticed it was an A4 sized paper, and all over it was my handwriting in pencil. I couldn’t read it because my vision was still blurred. So I went into the bathroom and washed my face and woke up a bit more and returned. Then I picked the page up again. I could tell at once that I had never written it, although the handwriting was plainly mine. In an instant, a tiny voice echoed from a tiny compartment inside my brain. I knew that compartment: It was the one that had led me to G. And now it was saying, You’ll find the answers a while later, N, when I am not here, so that you can think about them alone.
Nonsense, I said to myself, and read the paper. It appeared to be a collection of notes jotted down for some research that I had never taken up:
Ancient Greek mythology states that Morpheus was the son of Hypnos, god of sleep, and he himself was the god of dreams.
● Hinduism Source: http://bighominid.blogspot.com/2003/09/hindu-cosmology-and-matrix.html:
“It was early in S. Mark Heim’s provocative Salvations: Truth and Difference in Religion that I encountered a passage recounting an exchange between a Hindu monk and a Muslim, in which the monk offered the insight that reality is a dream, and we are dreams talking to dreams. Here’s the passage (p. 13):
When we are in it, a dream can be extremely vivid, [the monk] told us. We feel its objects, we move in its world. Yet in the instant of awakening we realize completely that the dream was but a veil for our actual place and being. Just so will our present world appear when we achieve moksha [liberation]. One of the Muslim students frankly shared his puzzlement. If this world is like a dream, he asked, then what are we to you, or you to us? Are we illusions, figments of each other’s imagination? The monk adjusted his robes with a smile. "We are dreams, talking to dreams." He was silent for a moment, while we savored the peculiar beauty of this image. "But of course," he went on, "you will ask me ‘Who is having this dream?’ And I will tell you that it is God who is having this dream, and it is God who each of us is when we wake up." ”
My head was swimming again by now, as realizations came too fast for me to catch up with, to believe. I wanted to deny it all, but at least in this case he had left no doorway open. I simply couldn’t reject what my own handwriting said one a piece of paper. As a last resort, I thought: But G cannot interfere with my life. It’s only in that place that we meet. And yet, right now this thing in my hands, it can’t have been written by me. Then how is he doing this? How can he have control over my life?
And at that precise moment, that tiny compartment in my head woke up again. It didn’t say anything, but I felt it. And together with that there were phrases going through inside my mind, jostling and fighting with each other for order, and then, then…
How can G have control over my life?… We are dreams… Morpheus was the son of Hypnos, god of sleep, and he himself was the god of dreams… god of dreams… We are dreams, talking to dreams… Morpheus, the god of dreams… ‘N, do you remember that you once used to call me Morpheus?’… ‘ “Who is having this dream” And I will tell you that it is God who is having this dream, and it is God who each of us is when we wake up.’…Morpheus, the god of dreams…Morpheus, the God…
And I guess my head was closing down again, so tired, so tired, that I went off to sleep.