17 July 2011

Flotilla Dream

Filed under: Reflections — ktismatics @ 9:54 am

I was standing by the ocean. Through dense fog I could see the vague contours of something big just offshore, moving rapidly across the water from right to left. I looked harder: it was a destroyer, flat grey, its gun turrets pointed obliquely toward the land. Following the destroyer came another boat, moving at the same speed and on the same trajectory, carrying on its flat deck a helicopter. Third and last in this procession came another helicopter, this one flying about twenty feet above the surface of the water. The helicopter was towing a vast network of fibers, linked together at nodes that looked like white marbles. I estimated that there were at least ten thousand nodes in this loose structure, which extended for perhaps a hundred yards behind the helicopter. The fibers holding it together must have been more rigid than they looked, because the array retained a complex three-dimensional shape as it was being pulled through the air instead of collapsing on itself into a long clumpy strand. I understood that this thing was a piece of scientific apparatus, to be launched into space as part of a zero-G experiment on neural networks.



  1. Quite a dissonance that last sentence sounds. I’m trying to realize if I’ve ever had such a strange ‘change of worlds’ in a dream. Not talking about horrifying, dismal, disgusting, etc., but one which starts out like a vacation and then gets all pragmatic, and negates the poetics, doesn’t it? Which is the way things are going. Dominic claims you can have the poetic and the nerdistry, but I’m not sure I believe that too literally, if only because you have to put the poetic on hold an enormous percentage of the time. Well, maybe so in that case. Is that a typical kind of dream for you, one that has all sorts of romantic images that are then deflected into a thoroughly anti-romantic future for what sounded like a sculpture?


    Comment by Illegal dances of New York City — 17 July 2011 @ 8:00 pm

  2. I like the ending actually — this huge gossamer sculpture floating around in space, its filaments and nodes propagating weightless artificial thoughts? I’m not sure if this one piece was meant to be a stand-alone artifact, or if it would be linked either physically or remotely to many other such cognitive sculptures, all of them drifting around up there together thinking away. Evidently it’s a military project, which right from the beginning shrouds it in sinister and dangerous intrigue. I am the sole witness to this maritime procession; almost surely no one was meant to see it. Maybe as a nerd I do see poetry in this sort of thing, although I’m more prone to see it as prose.


    Comment by ktismatics — 17 July 2011 @ 8:49 pm

    • I have no idea why, but the word ‘military’ made the dream become seamless rather than jarring, as opposed to ‘scientific’.

      :”Evidently it’s a military project, which right from the beginning shrouds it in sinister and dangerous intrigue.”

      But that’s still romantic, whereas if it’s ‘just science’, it doesn’t seem it to me. I hadn’t realized to what degree I find ‘science’ to have many deadly aspects in the sense of ‘sterilization of being’, in a way that ‘military’, with all its attendant connotations of war and ‘giving up sentimental negotiations’, etc., doesn’t. ‘Science’ is overtly opposed to all poetics, ‘military’ isn’t. Just look at WWII, that most romantic of wars. And all it takes is years, decades and centuries for the ruins of wars to be just as quaint and charming as some rope suspension bridge or jungle vine swung on by Tarzan. Yes, your dream has made me realize that science as that which dominates and supersedes everything else is my worst nightmare, and that science must be the handmaiden of the CIA, the FBI, the U.S. Army and all counterterrorism units, as well as the U.S. Navy and Air Force.


      Comment by Illegal dances of New York City — 17 July 2011 @ 9:08 pm

  3. I wouldn’t say that I typically have sci-tech dreams. When we were visiting families last month we stopped off at the U. of Virginia psychology department, where Anne and I went to graduate school. We chatted for awhile with Anne’s former advisor, who does virtual reality research funded by NASA and DARPA, so I suspect this was one source for the dream content.

    Did you ever read Gravity’s Rainbow by Pynchon? It’s been a long time, but as I recall it’s built largely on the poetics of WW2 missile trajectories.


    Comment by ktismatics — 17 July 2011 @ 9:24 pm

  4. Last night I dreamed I was opening a package containing 4 new shirts that Anne had bought me. They were long sleeved button-downs, garishly patterned, and made of some artificially fuzzy material, sort of like nylon string after it’s frayed. Now that was a nightmare.


    Comment by ktismatics — 18 July 2011 @ 6:39 am

    • I agree, especially the button-downs in what might otherwise have been the New Pierre Cardin Hair Shirt for David Bowie to wear to some gala or something. Of course, it’s the button-downs that make it a TRUE Hair Shirt. I never buy them in shirts, and when I’ve inherited them as from Jack or one of my brothers who throws out his lawyer clothes after a few wearings, I cut off the buttons and sew up the holes so the collars can be free.


      Comment by Illegal dances of New York City — 18 July 2011 @ 9:58 am

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