Two dreams

I had two dreams recently which stuck to the mind, although the details have long since dissolved into the morning air. In the first, I had some sort of a special power, and was confronting my arch-nemesis, a girl who also had some sort of a special power. I can't recall exactly what these powers were, something to do with being able to change others' perception of things (this dream may be related to the fact that I had been reading the Prose Edda and the stories of Julio Cortazar at the time).

I remember the dream being quite intricate itself, but the crux was when I challenged my nemesis to a final duel. I arrogantly told her that no matter what spell she cast, what trick she tried, I would be able to see through it with clarity, and escape the snare with ease.

She looked at me coyly, "You're very confident aren't you?"

I grinned back, "Do whatever you like, my mind is crystal clear. Try anything you want, I welcome it, I could do with a bit of exercise."

I was feeling good, completely aware of everything around me, and the powers I had at my command responded like quicksilver. I was looking forward to exercising their use. There was nothing she could do really, and I felt a little sorry for her. The world was before me, at my whim.

We looked into each other's eyes. She still had that annoying half-smile. Her eyes were like two dark pools that were twinkling on the surface, but below that surface lay the unfathomable depths. We stared for quite a while at each other. Then she blinked, and I awoke to the cool night air. The window had been left open, and the dark mass of the French alps seemed to loom closer than they do during the day, and the Lake of Geneva seemed to plunge deeper than it appears to in the sunlight.


The second dream concerns an essay I had read, written by Stephen Jay Gould, on the slowing of the earth's rotation due to tidal friction. The Astronomer Royal of England, Edmund Halley, first noticed the discrepancy between records of observed eclipses and their predicted coverage on the earth's surface, assuming a constant rate of rotation of the earth. This could be taken into account if the earth had spun faster in the past and then slowed down, and the best explanation for this gradual slowing, supplied by Immanuel Kant, was the tidal friction due to the gravitational effects of the moon.

This slowing is about 2 milliseconds per century, and as the earth loses its angular momentum, the moon gains the loss by retreating from the Earth in orbit, due to the conservation of momentum. This means that at some point in time far in the past, when the earth was new, the moon appeared as a giant disc in the sky, and the moon revolved around the earth much more quickly, and there were 400 days in the year, and each day might have 22 or so hours.

This puts the moon inside the Roche limit about 1 billion years ago, and since the rocks from the moon are much older, it either means that the rate of recession was much slower in the past or the moon entered the earth's orbit sometime in the last billion years.

And so I dreamt. I dreamt that I was visiting the future, far far into the future. Since I was a visitor, my own natural clock belonged to where I had come from: 24 hour days, 365 day years, the four seasons, etc.

It may be psychologically true that our perceptions of time are relative, that a mayfly might only live a day in our time, but the fly itself might experience a complete lifetime. Scientists found that an animal's lifetime is related somehow to its life pace. Smaller animals live faster, and die quicker. For mammals, the ratio between breathing time and heartbeat time is 4, independent of size.

As I was wandering around in the far future, I noticed that the rotation of the earth was very slow, and that the moon was far away. It seemed that time was stopping, or approaching a lethargic entropy. The sun was moving ever so slightly across the sky, and life was responding accordingly. Perhaps the inhabitants noticed nothing strange, as they were adapted to their environment. But for me, the sun ached, the seconds passed by as I beheld an infinity of worlds in each grain of sand, as time receded asymptotically towards its oblivion.

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