Life is a dream

Sorry I haven’t posted in a long time.  I’ve been on break and rather busy, and I haven’t done much interesting to talk about.

However… I do have something to post about today.

I have a vague, mostly-faded memory of watching anime movies around 10 years ago on the Sci-Fi channel.  This was before anime had caught on much of anywhere, and it was just about the only anime I saw until a few years ago.

Anyway, from my vague and wildly inaccurate description of the one movie I really liked, Taishi Ci managed to give me the name of the show it was, so kudos to him.

The show was one of the Urusei Yatsura (Noisy Rascals, or some such) series movies.  I keep meaning to check it out, but as it turns out it was one of the first ones I was exposed to.  It’s the second movie, called “Beautiful Dreamer”.  Basically, a bunch of students (and one teacher) find themselves in a continually-shrinking dream world.  As a part of this dream world, they are provided with their food and electricity needs, and no one else is alive.  This world consists entirely of their neighborhood, riding in space on a giant turtle (yeah, yeah, bit weird).  Eventually they manage to return to their own world through the efforts of a few individuals.

Anyway, the reason I liked (and still like) this movie is because it manages to be somewhat philosophical.  It’s not the deepest stuff in the world, but it’s still deeper than most any show I’ve seen, and when I was younger it made a huge impact on me.  The idea of being trapped in a dream paradise is one that is both fascinating and somewhat creepy.  What would I do in such a situation?  Would I, like most of the characters, simply enjoy myself, content to figure out the truth the “lazy” way?  I’d like to think that, like Mendou, I would try and find the limits of this dream world and thereby try and figure out what exactly is going on.

I thought about this, but of course I hadn’t had any philosophical background.  Some time after that, I would read Sophie’s World, a somewhat long yet entertaining introduction to the world of Western philosophy.  Sophie’s plight near the end of the book somewhat resembles those of the students in Beautiful Dreamer, and it is likely that very idea that kept me interested in the book.

Still years later, I would learn (via the PSX game Persona, oddly enough) that the “I dreamt I was a butterfly” person mentioned in Beautiful Dreamer was Zhuang Zi, a prominent early Taoist.  Basically, there’s no way to tell whether we are, or whether we are merely the product of something else’s (un)consciousness.

Unconsciousness as a whole is a pretty neat thing; if you’ve never heard of the idea, Lucid Dreaming is the technique by which an individual can effectively control their own dreaming.  You pretty much just realize that it’s a dream and you can control whatever you want from there.  I’ve never done it myself, but it is supposed to be a life-changing experience.  The key is to keep a dream journal; I managed it a few years ago but just haven’t kept at it.  Maybe I’ll be able to start that back up again soon…

Oh, and don’t worry.  I wouldn’t be posting that stuff here.  This will probably be the weirdest / most introspective post here for a good while.

1 Comment »

  1. Taishi Ci Said,

    April 15, 2007 @ 1:28 pm

    I like to solve any existentialism problems I encounter by chanting “Cogito, ergo sum” over and over until I forget what I was worried about.

    Or you could always to turn Jesus for help.

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