Back-arrow-222 Dream Maps

Capturing a dream is very complex.

When you wake in the morning the dream is gone, having blustered through your body in the dark of night. The body is elastic. In the morning it is more or less the same as it was the night before.

Think of your body as the footprint of the dream, but it's a footprint in the sand. In more or less time it fades away, leaving no trace but memory.

Therefore, to capture the dream you need to take extraodinary measures.

When you go to sleep you attach yourself to a special vital signs monitor which serves as a transcriber of your bodys functioning. It tracks every fluctuation of your body: temperature, heart-rate, pulse, brain-waves, muscle-contractions, blood-sugar levels, adrenaline, eye movements, memory, frontal-cortex activity, blanket placement, breath rate, toss-rate, displacement of stuffed animals, etc.

Think of this transcriber as a software application creating a macro. By capturing the billions of small changes in your body as instructions, the transcriber is recording the dream so that it can recreate it and play it back later. It's like following a ghost in the house. You don't see the ghost but you see he puts the lights on. "Lights On". The room grows colder. "Temperature drop to 45 degrees". The door slams. "Slam Door". The wind gusts through and shatters a plate above the sink. "Blow wind ENE at gale force at 65 degree angle relative to far wall."

In this way the iDream notates the vectors of your dream. In the morning you wake up and can enter the title and story of the dream into a screen-prompt, and select "Dream --> Save" from the pulldown menu. If you want, you can get a printout. Maybe it looks like music or a medical chart, but it's a computer program -- a set of playback instructions.

To play back the dream, you hook yourself up to another set of machines which process the instructions. You are taken through the the exact chemical and muscle changes you went through during the dream. You are twitched, doped, turned, stimulated, relaxed, and tossed in the same proportions and time-sequence as when you were dreaming. In this way the dream returns. After a while you may get tired of the dream, just like you'd get tired of your favorite song on the radio, through over-play. Or you may find that you have an emotional breakthrough -- through repeated playback you finally understand the "message" of the dream, and you can move on. For advanced users, there is also an "edit" timeline, so you can edit your dream like you would a home movie. You might take a whole night of sleep and cut out the peaceful parts, creating a "mix tape" of your favorite dreams. You might try splicing elements from one dream into another. You can do this with your own dream or mix dreams from your friends and family.

When the iDream was invented, it was designed to authenticate the dreamer by DNA before playback. This was for health and liability reasons, as no one knew the potential ramifications on the body of passing these things around. However, people began to wonder what would happen if they could share their dreams with others.

Hackers created dream-sharing sites where you could upload your dreams. Others created unlocked versions of the iDream, that allowed the user to bypass DNA authentication. Dreams found online are indexed with brief descriptions -- "haunting dream of my father", "flying!", "melancholy blur", "naked at the convention", "sex with Bill Clinton" -- and you can download them to your iDream, then hook yourself up. Among playback options there are 2 most frequently used: play the dream at the rate it was transcribed, or adjust it to your own body weight, size, and chemical composition. The former is thought to be more of a thrill, the latter an exercise in empathy.

Sometimes people die like this. Small women play dreams from NFL fullbacks and are thrown so convincingly in their sleep that their hearts never recover from the desire and impact of living with such force.

Of course, dreams passed person to person rarely come out the same, as the dream is inevitably altered by interaction with each person's own body chemistry and memory-set. It turns out that no matter how perfect the transcription, the experience of the original dreamer can never be re-captured. The memories that are the pool from which the dream emerges are unique to each individual. Symphonies sound like scratchy records when played in another; birds turn into trucks; love into dust; a pink rose is nothing but a red hat in playback; but sometimes (and this may be what keeps people coming back) shame and sadness return as euphoria.

After the initial high of dream-surfing, people end up searching not just for dreams but for compatible dreamers, dreamers who can see dreams as they do; or build bigger and richer dreams together. The belief becomes: If you can play my dreams in your body and see what I see, you might be my soul mate. Dream surfing spawns an underground economy in love matching, and sites like "iDream Of U" spring up and become popular -- as people look for the person who can play back their dreams as they were dreamed.