Have you ever had a dream that was so real, so vivid, that upon awakening you felt bereft of the life you’ve left behind? And then, you spend the rest of the day in an awareness of not actually feeling that you’re awake and wondering if you’re really dreaming the present and the other life was the reality?
Whether you want to call it imagination, hallucination, or Déjà vu, powerful dreams can shake us. We all cling to our known reality for security; we don’t really want to feel that our awareness is threatened, even though we enjoy seeing fictional characters dealing with that uncertainty.
Having a character in a book or movie afraid that they’re stuck in a dream or nightmare is hardly a new idea. I could list scores of plotlines that used that subtext; all the way from Where the Wild Things Are to Alice in Wonderland to The Matrix. All of these have characters that are experiencing a world where nothing is actually what it seems, and yet, it is nearly impossible to separate the dream from reality.
While the thought of putting ourselves in the place of these hapless souls might frighten us, we can’t help but question, what would it be like to experience another world? What fantastical things might we see or do? Science is close to finding ways for us to experience this in a controlled environment, through virtual reality. Already video games are beginning to emerge that capitalize on that idea. Just check out an arcade center, or the nearest Dave and Busters, to see examples of this.
What would you do if you had a chance to see, feel, and experience another world; either one that is a known fictional creation, or one of your own choosing? What once was science fiction like the immersive realities of Total Recall will probably be here in our lifetimes. Will you take advantage if you have the chance?
I’m currently working on a book where the main character has the opportunity to explore a virtual reality, and finds it’s not always so easy to separate the “virtual” from the “real”. Stay tuned for more updates on my book, Virtual, and enjoy your dreams.