Monday, 5 May 2008

Strange experiences in fiction

I remember reading a science fiction novel some years ago (I think that it was 'Dreamside' by Graham Joyce) in which a group of participants in an experimental dream project start to experience a terrifying regression in which they apparently awaken from a dream, only to discover that they have awoken into another dream. The process continues, and the implication is that one could be trapped in this. I have never come across any references to this in reality, and would be interested if anyone has ever had a similar experience, or knows of any research into it. I have had the occasional lucid dream, but I tend to wake up fairly quickly once I realise that I am dreaming.
Whilst discussing science fiction, I will mention my own love of novels based upon alternative versions of ourselves interacting and entering one another's worlds, either through psychic interaction or physically. John Wyndham wrote a short story on this theme back in the 1950s, where I think a machine provided the means of transfer. Someone was paid a visit by a parallel self to advise him to marry an ex-girlfriend who was his wife in the parallel world.
There are two wonderful more recent novels on this theme, using the Many Worlds Interpretation of Quantum Theory as the explanation. These are 'Infinity's Web' by Sheila Finch, and 'Lost Futures' by Lisa Tuttle'. Ian Watson has also written novels touching on these themes.
Finally, an interesting description of an experience from the autobiography of a mystical writer called Elisabeth Haitch. She was (I think) Hungarian, and must have written her book ('Initiation') around the 1970s. She is describing events in the first half of the 20th Century. She apparently started to relive memories of a past life in Ancient Egypt, when she was initiated. There are similarities to the writings of Joan Grant. I found references to her book on the Internet - mostly criticisms that what she describes is unlike what we know of Ancient Egypt. But the idea that interested me, and which touches on the nature of time, involves her description of her initiation. She describes tests, in which she experienced situations that could be failed in some way. I think that the tests involved the traditional elements. They were experienced in a dream like state of trance. But if you 'failed' the test (were ruled by one's passions, for instance), you would live the experience out in historical time, thousands of years later.

12 comments:

susan marie said...

This raises all sorts of interesting questions and reflections. I have found, when researching my own ancestry, that certain tasks that my predecessors failed at, were then begun anew, by later generations within my family. I have actually begun to see this pattern, ever more clearly: that things rise again, and return, in stunningly poignant ways. I don't hold much truck with the Ancient Egypt memories and such, but I do believe in the power of ancestry and a chain of events which weaves itself through decades, generations, and even centuries. Also, I have found themes which I have read in literature and philosophy both, coming into play in life, taking the form of action in ways that are awe-inspiring. And persons I have met decades ago "reappear" in the form of some new person met later, with similar history and traits, as if life were saying, "OK, let's take another look at this." I hope I have not strayed too much from the theme of your post; perhaps I have in details, but the underlying and supporting theory resonates roundly, I think, with what I am attempting to describe. And of course the interplay within daemon/eidolon communication, together with the whole secret animus of its dialectical process, is very much at the crux of all such wondrous events. . .

Dreamer said...

The theme of waking up from one dream only to find yourself in another is explored in the film "Waking Life" -- highly recommended by several members of this blog. (In case you missed that particular discussion, scroll down a fair way and you should be able to find a at least one post about the film, and also about the "false awakenings" phenomenon.)

I've added the books you mentioned to my reading list -- they sound like they're right up my alley!

Anthony Peake said...

PARTICK: Welcome to our little group of pioneers. Great posting and one that highlights the very itladian phenomenon known as "False Awakenings". As DREAMER rightly points out this is a subject that has been touched upon in earlier postings and is extremely itladian in its implications. One member of the blog, GROUNDHOG LIFE, has discussed with me in person his experiences of this phenomenon. It would be interesting to receive his opinions on this in due course.

I also think that SUSAN-MARIE's comment highlights the process behind the phenomenon.

I am also aware that Dr. Tony Obaye is doing research in a similar phenomenon, 'night paralysis'. Tony and I are both members of the Manchester branch of the Scientific & Medical Network. I know that he sometimes takes a look at this blog. I am sure that he would have some interesting things to say with regard to this phenomenon.

Finally, "Waking Life" is a great example but in my opinion the ultimate 'false awakenings' movie is the classic 1946 movie "In THe Dead of Night" directed by Charles Crichton and starring Mervin Johns. This great movie also contains another great itladian theme - the eternal recurrence.

Karl L Le Marcs said...

Welcome indeed Patrick, I hope you followed my advice given from your "Just read ITLAD - first impressions" post.
*smile*

Look forward to hearing your comments on other posts soon.

Aloha Gary said...

Elizabeth Haich's book is very powerful and well worth reading.

One thing that becomes very apparent once we throw off the shackles of currently in-vogue academic theories is that our current awareness of the past is extremely thin, and that theories are often changed as and when new evidence comes to light, so I tend to take these things with a large sack of salt.

One thing we do know is that there are WAY more things going on in the world than we are able to currently explain.

Susan Marie:

VERY interesting post regarding ancestors, and repetition of experiences through generations.

My celtic teachers focus a lot on this topic, and it is curious to note that several people I know have dramatically changed their own current life situations by working on or 'healing' an ancestor. Fascinating!

Aloha Gary

susan marie said...

Thank you, Gary; your postings have been enlightening and amazing. Keep them coming.

Karl L Le Marcs said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Karl L Le Marcs said...

Aloha Gary: Wasn't "Haitch" criticised a lot for certain inaccuries though, I seem to recall she was?

Patrick Booker said...

Thank you all for comments.
Elisabeth Haich's book: must be at least 30 years since I read this, and I don't have a copy. But I remember the initiation experience involved an account of the emanation of our world in terms of the Platonic Solids. Plenty of 'alternative' Egyptian scholars now think that they had this sort of geometric knowledge, but less so when she wrote it (I checked - it was the 1950s).

Susan Marie's comments on ancestor's: I have come across this idea before, and it seems to be separate from the 'past life' scenario. The writer Barbara Erskine has written a number of novels involving memories of other lives and repeating patterns, and I remember that she acknowledges a book called 'Healing the Family Tree' by Kenneth McAll on this theme (never read it). Anyone heard that wonderful song by Dory Previn, 'The Empress of China'? It is all about this theme.

Tony's film 'In the Dead of Night' - I saw this on TV about 40 years ago, and I have never forgotten it. I thought that it was a masterpiece too.

Patrick Booker said...

Found the lyrics to 'Empress of China' (Dory Previn). Unfortunately doesn't seem to be on YouTube.

i tell you how i hate you

in the voice my father used

you answer with your mother's worn cliches

and in another life

your father hears his wife

and i see his fury blazing

in your gaze



an echo hears an echo

and my mother's fist is raised

the hand i clench at you

shows her distrust

the way one behaves

is determined in the graves

of all the great grandparents

gone to dust



our fathers fight through us

as they fought their father's war

and the same old scene's repeated

as before and before and before

and before and before

and when i tell you how i hate you

before the birth of jesus

before the death of caesar

before siddhartha

before ulysses

before the trojan war

i tell you how i hate you

and a long decaying anger

comes alive inside a castle

and behind an ancient door

the empress of chine

tells her lover how she

hates him

she tells him

once more

and once more

and once more

and once more...

susan marie said...

Very nice, Patrick. Quite to the purpose, illustrates nicely.

Karl L Le Marcs said...

Not so sure myself!!!