We theorize that electrical activations of specific neurological pathways in our brains lead to our thoughts. A person's brain has been described very eloquently by a leading philosopher of our times (Neil Young,) as a Chemical Computer Thinking Battery (CCTB).
The leading theories on dreams are that they are manifestations of off-line memory reorganization and consolidation. This is the sort of thing referred to by systems programmers as garbage collection.
For sure, these theories are difficult to prove via rigid experimentation. But if true, there are well-established precepts borne out by rigorous experimentation regarding stable energy states of quantum wave functions as they relate to the propagation of electromagnetic radiation. Without going into details about mechanisms other than the ones we barely understand at work in our own brains, suffice it to say that it is within the realm of possibility that other forms of life might exist that could interact directly with our thought processes.
By other forms of life, I am referring to any self-replicating systems that use an external energy source to increase their own entropy. A variety of such beings have been described in several works of science fiction. Note that I am not suggesting that I have any sort of scientific evidence of such entities. I postulate that the plethora of spirits, ghosts, fairies, and even the gods themselves that are endemic in our collective spiritual universe might in fact be part of the material world we do not as yet fully understand.
Those ‘spiritual beings’ who are inept at modifying the wave patterns at their end will just cause us ‘bad vibes’, or perhaps appear to us as a simple geometric shape. (See: the story "A Fairy Tale" on my nonfiction page.) Those who are more adept might be able to appear as an instinctual archetype or maybe assume the identity within a memory image pertaining to an aquaintance. Presumably, such a transference will only be possible at times when our normal rigourous control over our rational thought processes have been relaxed, such as disease-induced delirium, drug-induced hallucinations, senile dementia, or just the nightly trip we all make into dreamland.
The Devil You Say!
In real life, my dog Daphnée had died just a few days previously. We had decided to have her euthanized, due to a diagnosis of diabetes. She had always been overweight, but a sharp increase in water uptake (and an associated increase in urine production) led us to the insulin blood test at the vet which confirmed the diagnosis. For a week or two I skipped my lunch at work, coming home instead to take her for a walk in order to avoid a ‘poodle puddle’ in the house. The vet said that we could consider giving her insulin injections, which would involve twice-daily measurements of blood-sugar levels. Also, she would eventually develop secondary symptoms of the disease, such as lesions on her feet which would require amputation. She had always seemed to be licking her feet. During the last walk around the block I took with her, she was visibly limping, and actually fell over due to the pain. We decided that keeping her going like that would just make her suffer until the inevitable last trip to the vet in the near future.
In the dream, a stranger says to me that he wants to give me a demonstration of his power, so that later on I will remember it and thus accord him proper recognition. I asked him to tell me his name, and he explained that over the years he had used a number of different names while dealing with people, and that most of the names he had used had a lot of ‘bad press’ associated with them.
I asked him point blank if he was Satan. His reply was that I was being vainglorious to presume that the big guy himself would have the time to deal personally with me. No, in fact, he was only an aide, some sort of devilish helper.
I told him that he was most likely just a construct of my own sub-conscious, an imaginary abstraction manifesting himself as a person in one of my lucid dreams.
He mentioned something about being more than "a fragment of underdone potato", then he repeated again his offer to give a demonstration of his powers. Specifically, he said that he could ‘raise the dead’.
I told him that I was interested, but under no circumstances would I make any sort of deal with him. He grinned and asked me "Why should you be afraid of a figment of your own imagination?"
I looked him in the eye and said: "I am sure you understand quantum mechanics enough to know why."
He stared at me a while, before finally shaking his head and then showing me the stiff dead body of my beloved dog. She had a sort of metal cap on the top of her head, with a thick cable connected to the back of a minicomputer mainframe.
With an air of superiority, he said: "It is a superconducting co–ax." So I asked him: "If it is really a superconductor, why would you bother to make it a co–ax? After all, a superconductor cannot have an electric field within itself, so how can there be any radiative signal loss?".
He did not like the way things were going. He had clearly not bothered to consider the obvious implications of superconductivity before making his grandious announcement. With visible exasperation, he explained that I would have to suspend all of my objections. Otherwise it would take all night for him to explain things to me in a manner which I could understand, and he would not have the time to bring Daphnée back for a visit. It was almost as if he had a script to follow, and he was not being paid by the hour.
I really did want to see my dog again, partly because I was ashamed about how I had decided to cut her life short, and I wanted somehow to let her know why. I decided to let the daemon do all the talking he wanted without giving him too many ‘reality checks’.
"As you can see," he explained, "This end is connected to a theta-band brainwave modem. The other end of the cable is connected to the microcode controller. I wrote my own driver as well as a custom set of microcoded instructions."
I just rolled my eyes to let him know what I thought of his programming capabilities.
He smiled, apparently relieved that I had decided not to say anything derogatory about using an operating system that did not even have file i/o built into the kernel. He reached out to press the "Run" end of the Run / Stop rocker button on the control panel.
Daphnée opened her eyes, and turned her head around toward me. Immediately, I felt my throat tighten and my eyes started watering with all of the built-up pain from the decision to send her on to the next world early. I knew that somehow we would be able to understand each other, and I started to tell her how sorry I was for what I had done.
But Daphnée had ideas of her own. She whimpered and came over to me, turning onto her back. She was making her grunting pig-like noise of complete contentment. With her four feet up in the air, she squirmed around in absolute ecstasy while I rubbed her stomach. She showed me that she no longer had any pain in her feet. I got the impression that she was not at all angry with us for the decision we had taken. Instead, she was content, and grateful to us for the happy times we had given her in life.
It is difficult to remark the passage of time in a dream. I spent forever telling her what a good dog she was; yet in an instant my host told me that my time was up. "So long until we meet again," he said, and he pressed the main power button on the control panel, causing the lights to fade to black.
When I woke up, I remembered everything from the dream with unusual clarity. I was still saddened at the memory of my loss, but at the same time I felt more complete, as if an empty spot in my stomach had been filled-in.
A Clean Sweep
I was in charge of a vastly important project. The Earth itself was in danger from an attack by Space Aliens. But we had devised a collosal weapon that could destroy them all when they got close enough. The only problem was that we had to ensure that they did not find out about it until they all got within its operating range. If they captured a single human who knew about it, our cause was lost. In paramount secrecy, a small group of scientists and I built the weapon into a hidden section of a huge industrial building, stored years worth of food within, and hunkered down to wait. My second-in-command terminated all of the other people, and I sadly decided to kill him as well, just to ensure my secrecy.
The aliens were drawing close, but not close enough yet. While I was waiting at the controls of the super weapon, watching the monitors showing the approach of the aliens, the doorknob of my control room started to turn. Someone was coming in! The entrance was cleverly hidden from the outside, so it would be impossible for anyone not in on the secret to pay me a visit. I did not know what to do. I had no weapons for close combat, so I froze in fear as the door opened. In came the janitor, pushing his big garbage can on wheels. He then proceeded to dust the weapon console, empty my wastebasket, and spoke briefly in fractured english about the weather before exiting to continue on his rounds.
The Train of Thought
I was in a vast trainyard, which was situated on a gradual sloping hill. The people working in the trainyard were putting a train together in a siding at the bottom, by selectively releasing a few cars at a time from the sidings at the top, and switching the tracks to bring the selected cars together on the last siding at the bottom. But then something went wrong, and all of the cars (in small groups of 2 or 3) coming down the tracks started to derail, tipping over and dumping their contents. This became more and more frequent. But what really intrigued me was that the cars were falling over too fast. Simply stated, there are well-established rules based on physics that determine how long something the height of a railway car should take to fall due to gravity. Either the gravity was too strong, I was watching a speeded-up video, or the entire yard was a tiny model that was somehow magnified.
I remarked about this to myself, and for some reason decided that this was a very important observation. It was something that I needed to remember when I woke up, and to tell as many people as possible. Essentially, if dreams are products of our subconscious, it was not the sort of mistake I would make. And if they are the product of an external intelligence, it is by no means omniscient.
Also, it is by no means omnipotent. As soon as I decided that this thought was important to bring to my waking consciousness, I noticed that there was, in fact, one more train track. I was standing on it, and a steam engine came around the corner on my track at full speed, blowing his whistle. The weaver of dreams was trying to distract me by subjecting me to panic. My fright was so real that as I jumped out of the way, I actually jumped out of bed.
This caused me (and my wife) to wake up immediately. I had never done anything of the sort before, so she asked me what I was doing. I related my dream to her. This greatly helped me to remember what had traspired, especially the important deduction I had made about the fallable nature of whatever mechanism is responsable for scripting our dreams.
I was driving on a highway. There were no other cars. I came to an intersection with a green light. As I passed through, I noticed that the lights were also green for the cross-traffic. I stopped, backed-up completely into the intersection, and verified that they were green in all directions. I needed to notify the police! But this was in the days before cell phones. I decided that I could not leave the intersection in such a dangerous condition, so I parked my car diagonally in the center, put on the 4-way flashers, and set out on foot to find a public telephone.
I walked for a long time. Finally, I found an old-style phone booth. The phone was the old rotary dial type, with the metal finger stop. And it just so happened that the finger stop had been bent over by vandals to pass through a finger hole, immobilizing the dial. Then I remembered that a rotary phone could be dialed by flashing the hook. I only needed to dial one digit, the zero for the operator. I waited for a dial tone, and then flashed the hook 10 times as fast as I could.
This promptly caused the hook to break off and fall on the floor. Luckily, I had a screwdriver in my pocket, so I proceeded to take the phone apart. When I had it all in little pieces, some policemen stopped their car to see what I was doing. I was so relieved! I started to explain about the malfunctioning traffic light, but they were only interested in the fact that I had been caught red-handed vandalizing a pay phone. When my lawyer came to talk to me in jail, I tried to tell him about everything as well. He informed me that I would also be charged with illegally parking my car on the highway.