... But A Dream Within A Dream

June 11, 2009
By Brienna Herold BRONZE, Spring Valley, Wisconsin
Brienna Herold BRONZE, Spring Valley, Wisconsin
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

Edgar Allan Poe was well known for writing psychologically thrilling tales and poetry that examined the depths of human psyche, often veering into the morbid and mentally disturbed side. In the year 1849, just before his death, he published the famous poem A Dream Within a Dream. It contains my favorite quotation, “All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream.”

What if you woke up one morning, expecting yet another ordinary day, but then realized that your entire life leading up to this point had only been a dream, an endlessly repeating cycle of illusions? That the shopping trip you took yesterday never happened, nor did the family reunion last weekend take place – you dreamt both of them up. In fact, you yourself are but a dream, too. Imagine that. . . .

For me, this quotation never ceases to provoke deep thought. If, indeed, all that we see or seem were but a dream within a dream, the big question would then be the following: What is reality? The dictionary defines it as what is already out there, separate from the meddling of humans. Therefore, according to this definition, we must not be able to understand this world or universe correctly. After all, our brains and eyes are what we use to perceive with, and they are both only human mechanisms to aid us with interpreting reality. Are we, then, meddling? Also, take into consideration the matter of particular disorders such as schizophrenia and dyslexia that skewer the perception of reality. Why cannot normalcy be a disorder, too?

There are extraordinary phenomena that frequently go unexplained that might be understandable if all that we see or seem were but a dream within a dream. Upon hearing tales, we might unknowingly produce our own reality ourselves. It’s our own dream, after all, isn’t it? Or, who, pray tell, is the celestial being that controls the universal dream?

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