I don’t talk about my

I don’t talk about my dreams a lot here, but this one is noteworthy for the fact that I spoke in complete and rather thought-provoking sentences. It was so unusual that once I awoke I couldn’t go back to sleep, and had to write down what my dream-self had said.

I had an appointment to speak with Douglas Adams, the recently-dead author. Mr. Adams was very eccentric (and looked like a low-rent Ray Wise–I’ve been watching too much Twin Peaks), and preferred a chat client to speaking. I met him in the parking lot of a store, and he was driving me home in his pickup so I could access my computer. I think I was trying to kiss up. I said:


“Most people think that the purpose of human language is to share important information, when in fact most of our time speaking is spent mirroring how we relate to our own environment.

“Written communication requires a certain precision. Human language has nearly evolved to the point where we can dispense with spoken conversation and go entirely online.”

I guess I have a pseudo-intellectual unconscious. While I’m not sure I agree with what I said, it does raise some interesting conversation (ha!) points.

First, it insinuates that communicating how we relate to our environment (“this building is on fire”) is somehow less important than communicating information (“the building you are in is on fire”). Of course most of our discourse is spent explaining our own environment. Where else would it begin? Personal pages are an interesting corollary. It could be said that links pages are communicating directly (though an argument for environment could be made), while journaling is relating one’s environment. This very value judgement is often made among those who keep pages of both types. There’s an odd inferiority complex among journalers (I’m speaking very generally here). Linkers somehow have more credibility. I’m going to say outright that I reject this value judgement from my own experience. It is when I’m at my most personal when my audience is most engaged. Rather than a sense of voyeurism, what they’ve told me is that by relating my own life, they think seriously about theirs. I believe that has great value.

Finally, the comment about the evolution of language is fascinating. Think about all the developments that online communication has necessitated. Emoticons to clarify intention, abbreviations to overcome the slower speed of typing vs. speaking. These conventions begin at the fingertips of often-anonymous people, and spread virus-like through a community until they are standardized. I don’t agree that language is evolving to the point of eliminating the spoken word–but it is evolving–more rapidly than ever before in history. It is an amazing process to watch.

I like it when my subconscious gives me something to chew on, but I’m glad it doesn’t happen very often. I wasn’t meant to think this hard this early in the morning. Thank goodness the rest of the dream involved socks.

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