Author of the Month

A Simple Explanation (cont.)
By Mike Knowles

The joking over, Hubert turned to serious matters. Why are the images we see awake observed outside ourselves and dream images are said to be inside? After all, both are decoded in the brain. So where do dream images come from? And what about the images seen in hallucinations? In dreams and hallucinations our eyes become redundant. So what is sending these coded messages down the optic nerve? We know, for example, that hallucinatory images are associated with chemical activity in the brain. "However," said Hubert. "Something else is required. And that is consciousness." At this point I began to wonder why we dream at all. Because the existence of two separate images - real and unreal - just confuses the issue. Hubert shrugged and told me that so far no one had produced any conclusive scientific evidence to answer that question. All we have are plenty of theories ranging from the scientific to the ridiculous. Hubert went on to say that things are even more confusing when you remembered that some hallucinations occur during the waking state when the eyes are open...and that these false images occur outside ourselves.

I was able to give an example of this by describing an experience I'd had that very morning. I was lying in bed looking at the window. At one point my eyes unfocused and I saw two images. A portion of the window was superimposed on the real one - only this portion was at a 20-degree angle! Both images existed outside my head, yet only one could be seen by another person. Did this mean that reality and my so-called "inner space" both existed in the same place? Hubert smiled. "We'll get to that later. Let's concentrate on a more practical matter." Hubert said he was referring to the precise size of the images seen in dreams and hallucinations. Because, when one considers the question of size, one runs into a paradox. "Of course," said Hubert. "The paradox may be of our own making."

"How d'you mean?" I asked.

Hubert explained that we often forget that language was created by us humans. And, because humans are fallible, our language will not be perfect. He therefore regarded paradoxes as Nature's way of telling us that. If our language was perfect there would be no paradoxes and we would be able to explain everything. "It may be," said Hubert, "that the term "size" is insufficient to describe this particular process. Of course, being absolutely infinite AS would have no concept of size. Something absolutely infinite is both the smallest thing that can be and the biggest. Indeed, it's so non-sized that you can fit an infinite number of universes inside it."

I told him he was merely confusing the issue. "Then," he conceded, "let us assume the term "size" is sufficient for our needs." He told me to imagine I was having a dream and I found myself standing outside a large Victorian house - like the ones in the distance. If it did exist in the brain then it certainly couldn't exist as a life-sized image. Instead, it would have to be very small indeed. Because there isn't much spare room in our brains. "Unless you're a politician," I said. "In which case you'd probably get a whole city in there."

Hubert found the idea interesting. "Perhaps our heads are like Dr Who's Tardis," he said. Actually, I felt that would explain it. The problem, of course, is that the Tardis is fiction. "Yet might it actually be true?" remarked Hubert. I replied that if it was true, I hoped I didn't have two people in there. Hubert responded by wondering if that was the cause of those auditory hallucinations. That the voices actually were real! We were clearly getting carried away. So we decided that if dream images did exist inside our brains then they must be incredibly small. At least the size of atoms if not smaller. Which means we must have a built in microscope, said Hubert. The only other logical explanation was that these images occurred in what we refer to as our "inner space." Which brought us right back to the Tardis theory.

Hubert confessed that the problem of where we see dreams and hallucinations had been bugging him for some time. Idiot savants don't have job like the rest of us, so they have plenty of time to mull things over. "The popular belief," said Hubert, "was that they existed in our "inner selves." Whatever that might be."

"Sounds reasonable to me," I said.

Hubert gave me a withering look. "That's only because we dream with our eyes shut. At least I do. If we were to dream with them open, I suspect the dream images would be superimposed on what we call reality."

"Like that skewed portion of the window I saw."

"Precisely," said Hubert. "So we have to accept that somehow the brain projects false images onto real ones. Like a projector creates a film on a screen."

I wondered if it were possible to memorise a whole feature film, like "Lord of the Rings" and play it back as you were walking down the street. "You're thinking of turning us into human I-Pods," said Hubert. We had a good laugh about that.

"Actually, the Tardis theory may have some truth in it," said Hubert. "For there's another possible explanation. That reality and our 'inner space' were both in the same place. I think they are." He then asked me to recall the extra ingredient required to create the images we see. "It's consciousness that allows us to be aware of images," said Hubert. "For that is what "seeing" is. It's an awareness of something. Hubert explained that he didn't know if AS was composed of consciousness or if consciousness merely existed within it. "That's not important," he said. "For argument's sake we'll call it Absolute Consciousness to indicate that this is the total amount of existing conscious energy." By calling consciousness a form of energy Hubert was saying that it could neither be destroyed nor created. This would fit in neatly with his AN/AS theory.

"However," he went on, "we haven't quite finished yet. We need to add one more quality to it and that is intelligence."

"So, basically, your entire theory hangs on the existence of a form of intelligent conscious energy?" I said.

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