Saturday, April 18, 2015

Reading in dreams. A prophesy that wasn't

I've heard many times that you can't read in a dream. For more than 30 years  I've also known from personal experience that this isn't universally true. I first heard the statement many-many years ago,possibly in Carl Sagan's 1977 book The Dragons of Eden which I read sometime before I moved to Wellington in late 1979.

Some time later than this, but while still living where I lived from 1980 until 1985, I had a dream where I read a Dominion Newspaper's front page saying that Scott Base had been destroyed by fire. When I awoke I remembered the headline,  the date of the paper (Month and day), an NZPA byline and the time of day (Early morning).

As the April date of the paper was only a few days after the dream, I was very careful to let a couple of trusted friends know about the dream and was vastly relieved when the date came and went without any reports of damage to the base.

Scott Base, then, as now, was New Zealand's main Antarctic scientific base so it would have been a major blow had the dream come true. Then, as now, I was a rationalist and did not believe in prophetic dreams, so I did not alert the authorities, I believed that I would have been regarded as a kook.

More than thirty years have gone by now, with no major fires reported there. For the first few years I paid attention to the news every April, but gradually things changed so it was no longer reasonable to have any credence that even if a fire happened that it could be associated to my dream. I've never completely kept it secret, but I've also never talked publicly about that dream before.

Other than personal changes, mostly minor to others, there have been major and meta changes. The Dominion is no longer published under that name, NZPA has wound up, I get my news from 24 hour news TV and newspaper sites on the Internet so no longer read newspapers in paper form.

This dream can no longer come true. It was not a prophesy. There was no warning that unless someone (possibly me) changed their behaviour, a deity would smite the base. It was a dream, it involved reading a newspaper front page, something I could do, it did not involve my having an "eye of god" view of the base.  Because it was limited to things reasonable in my life then and it lacked supernatural overtones, it was thoroughly believable, and that was the scary thing.

Imagine if a coincidence had happened? Imagine if a fuel fire had destroyed the base on that day. If I had believed I could have prevented it, I would have felt dreadful. In my defence, I doubted then, as I doubt now, that anyone would have listened to me.I described it to the friends I told about it as a weird dream, not one of them suggested I should try to warn anyone.

I'm not a superstitious person, but I can imagine how one would have felt if they believed that this was a message from God or an Angel. I can understand why they feel a need to warn. What if instead of a dated newspaper, they were simply told that an event was "Near"? Thankfully I was spared this.

Any time after 1995 I could have written about this, so why today? I'm documenting it today because I read a blog Comics I don't understand by "CIDU Bill" where he talked about reading (in multiple languages even) in a dream of his. This reminded me that the 30th anniversary of the last possible date of the dream had passed, and it would be good to document it now.

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