For the first time I can ever remember, last night I had a dream about having a dream.
I didn’t remember this when I first awoke. Rather, it was only when, after becoming really awake (at least, I hope I’m now really awake), I found myself in a situation that reminded me of my nested dream. Then it all came rushing back to me. The interesting thing is that I can remember the dream within the dream in vivid detail — obviously it made an impression on me. So much so, that I felt moved to describe it, moment by moment. to my dream friends, who were all greatly amused.
I have no idea who those dream friends were supposed to be — generic stand-ins, I supposed, for the “group of people I know who are listening to me recount a dream.” Very pleasant people they were, though admittedly a little blurry around the edges.
I realize this will all remind most people reading this of Christopher Nolan’s recent film Inception. It certainly reminds me of Inception. Except of course that Nolan wasn’t really describing dreams, but rather “lucid dreams”, in which you know you are dreaming, and can utilize all of your waking free-will.
This wasn’t like that at all. At each level of my dream, I can recall being quite convinced that I was awake — a particularly ironic state of mind to be in while dreaming you are describing a dream. My experience was very much like a series of one-way mirrors, since each of my dream states could be seen into from the outside, but not out of from the inside.
This of course raises the usual philosophical questions: Was I having a dream within a dream, or just a dream? Is Hamlet’s play within a play more fictional than Hamlet himself, with characters who are somehow “less real”? I haven’t the faintest idea, and I wouldn’t dream of trying to guess.
Or maybe I would.