Volume 20, Number 4

Dream Weavers

Jean Vermette

We are the unknown, the shadow people, the weavers of dreams. My name is Justane, and I have been sent to warn you of a grave danger being faced by both our kind.

We understand that you did not consciously ask for this interaction and that you may be shocked to experience it, but your behavior has nevertheless made it necessary for us to come forward. I will be as brief as possible.

For the most part, you believe yourselves to be the sole self-conscious inhabitants of the universe. That is not an unexpected belief, given how little contact you have with beings beyond your sphere, and certainly, over time, it has been tempered by the deep hope held by many of you that alternative life forms will someday be discovered "out there.”

It seems, however, that the possibility of alternative life forms existing "in here" has never occurred to you. Until now, that has not troubled us. You have had no need to know about us. We function perfectly well together, our two species, and our symbiotic relationship with you has been blissfully unmarred by your ignorance. Unfortunately, that appears to be changing.

Many of you will consider it impossible that other self-conscious and sentient beings could inhabit the same bodies which you inhabit, or that any such co-habitation could be either unrecognized or beneficial. Nevertheless, I assure you it is true. If we survive long enough, technology will eventually advance sufficiently to verify and measure our existence, and when that happens our two species may see a marked change in how we work together for our mutual benefit. Until then, our very existence will be a matter of speculation, and those supporting the possibility will likely be marginalized by their peers.

Nevertheless, our lives, and our dimension, are as real and substantial as yours, though usually quite different.

Whereas you arise each morning to the light of day and retire each evening to the glow of the moon, all circumstances proceeding in an orderly and predictable manner, we arise and retire at will, day or night. Moreover, our days and nights arrive in unpredictable fashion. For us, it is quite normal and unsurprising to experience two or three sunrises in a single day, to have the moon change from full to crescent in a single night, to have the same day repeat itself several times, or even to have entire days disappear completely, only to reappear later, or earlier. In other words, while we experience time in a somewhat similar manner as you do, for us it occurs only in small periods of linearity, with no sequential flow between each period, and for us that is how it should be.

Our relationships are somewhat different from yours as well. Because you function in concert with extended linear time, you experience your loves, lives, and interconnections as events with specified beginnings and ends. The "love of your life" is discovered at some point, there is a courtship to secure connection, the two of you mutually interact for a time and then, usually because of disagreement or death, there is a recognized ending. If a new love is found, then the cycle repeats itself. The same cycle is applied to lesser relationships as well: spiritual, business, friendship, etc.

In our world, the other world within you, one of the natural outcomes of the lack of extended time sequence is that our relationships exist only in the experience of the moment. The "love of my life" at this moment could be someone completely different in another moment. It would not be at all unusual for one of us to go to sleep with a particular partner, wake up with a future partner, breakfast with the original partner, and spend the rest of the day as an unpartnered person … assuming, of course, that our day proceeded in such an orderly fashion, which it certainly would not. At any moment the depth of our love, the grief of a loss or the joy of a new connection are as heartfelt and real to us as they are to you. Our fears, aspirations, hatreds, curiosity, and altruism are forces which move us to action just as certainly as they move you, though for shorter periods of time. While you would doubtless think our lives are confusingly brief and unpredictable, it is all quite natural for us. We, for our part, think your lives are boringly stagnant.

But the experience of time is not the only way in which our world differs from yours. We do, after all, inhabit your brains, and if we had a physical form similar to yours you would … well … have a lot on your minds. From your point of view and in your terminology, we are "energy" beings, with no concrete physical form that you are yet capable of objectively perceiving.

This formlessness has proved beneficial through the eons, for both our species, in several ways. Firstly, because we are energy beings, we can co-exist in the same space as more concrete matter, which is what allowed us to initially begin our symbiotic relationship with your species far back in the early stages of our mutual evolution. Secondly, while we are formless by nature, we are nevertheless able to focus our energy sufficiently to take on a variety of forms, which you are capable of perceiving. The subtlety of this process, however, is such that you are only capable of perceiving those forms when your own minds are sufficiently at rest and exterior stimuli have been temporarily excluded. For the most part, that tends to happen only while you sleep. It is then that we are usually perceived, and it is then that our symbiotic relationship with you comes to the fore.

Let me explain more specifically how that relationship with you developed and how it works. We are conscious, formless energy beings. As with all living beings, our energy dissipates slowly over time and at intervals must be replenished if we are to survive. In our early stages of development we had a rudimentary capability to absorb our needed energy from the environment around us, in much the same way that your plants absorb their energy directly from the sun. For the most part, this was sufficient. We were, after all, in our early stages of evolution, just barely self-conscious and with no real powers of intellect to speak of, so our energy needs were limited.

You are conscious, material beings, interacting with a physical world in a time-dependent manner. You must also absorb energy from your surroundings if you are to survive; but for one material object to absorb energy from another material object takes a lot of work. As it happens, your species is very good at that. So, in your early stages of evolution, when you were not even yet self-conscious and when you had no powers of intellect, you were still able to meet your energy needs quite well.

Our two species must have coexisted independently for a very long time on this planet without necessarily being much aware of each other. But, at some point in the unrecorded past, no doubt while wandering around looking for energy, one of our ancestors happened into the brain of one of your ancestors. It was a fortuitous occurrence, for there it found an abundance of easily absorbed energy.

We can imagine that it was not long before many, perhaps most, of our species naturally took up residence in your craniums, and for a time our relationship may actually have been parasitic: we enjoying the energy your brains produced, but giving nothing in return.

That could not have lasted long, however, for your species had a dangerous proclivity to destroy large amounts of surrounding environment in its efforts to glean energy from it, and that even included the destruction of your own kind.

Though our self-consciousness and intellect at that time must have been meager, we must still at some point have comprehended that for our hosts to be excessively destroying each other did not bode well for our own existence.

We therefore began to suggest alternative material actions to you and tried, as best we could, to guide you in more productive, efficient, and less-destructive directions. Those suggestions were communicated to you during the period when you were best able to receive them, when you slept.

Through the process of absorbing some of your brain energy, we were able to know the forms you were interacting with in the material world and how you were interacting with them. We would then assume some of those forms in our dimension and enact a variety of scenarios and possible outcomes for you to perceive. Eventually, after you had developed the ability to speak, you attached a name to these communications: dreams.

At first, because we were both in our early stages of evolution, these dreams must have been quite simple. Perhaps they communicated the idea that a long stick in your hand would allow you to gather more fruit from a tree than merely picking what you could reach. Or maybe it helped you realize that two material beings working together could gather more energy than one working alone.

In any event, we were able to guide you in more productive directions, and this benefited both of us as the mostly benign gathering of energy continued. Both our species prospered and evolved, and at some point our communication expanded beyond exchanges that occurred only during sleep and came to include, for some of your species anyway, a subtle waking exchange. This you have termed intuition.

At some point you perceived that by communicating with us and actively using our form-changing capabilities you would be able to visualize new, as yet non-existent, activities and their potential outcomes without the need for tedious, time-consuming and perhaps dangerous trial-and-error testing. You called this process "imagining,” and its development enabled both our species, working together, to make great strides in our knowledge and our ability to efficiently and safely gather and use larger and larger amounts of energy.

One of the first outcomes of this collaboration was the development of agriculture, which enabled you, for the first time, to actually produce energy rather than simply gathering it.

With larger amounts of energy then available and with less effort needed to obtain it, it was not long before you found yourselves with an excess of time that could be used for non-energy-gathering activities. It was then that the newly developed process of imagination came to be applied in earnest to other areas of your existence: art, religion, math, government, science, etc. This lead to a "golden time" in the conscious and intellectual development of both our species. Working in concert benefited both of us in many ways, and over great time our symbiotic relationship has evolved to such a degree that we are now probably incapable of surviving without each other.

Which brings me to the purpose for this "visit.” The reason I have been sent to you is because we have noticed a disturbing pattern arising in your species, which greatly concerns us.

Your proclivity for destruction has always been very large. In the interest of self-preservation, we have done our best to temper that tendency, and for the most part we have succeeded. But you still have a surprising and stubborn tendency to allow certain primitive ideologies to direct your actions in clearly harmful and unpragmatic ways.

The proportion of energy you expend in efforts to claim or harness each other’s resources, each other's energy, through destructive means has grown alarmingly large. Usually, those efforts are justified on the ideological grounds of nationalism, politics or religion.

This trend has been exacerbated by the growing tendency, in your personal lives, to behave in the material world as though it were the energy dimension in which we live. Rather than utilizing our ability to "test run" for you optional actions so that you may gauge their results, you are increasingly acting first and reaping the undesired and unintended consequences afterwards. This has lead to greater-than-usual cruelty on your part towards your fellow beings and a greatly increased potential for species annihilation. The redirection of all that personal and communal energy to mutual support, rather than mutual destruction, could easily produce a new "golden age" for both our species.

For our part, we acknowledge a certain complicity in this unfortunate state of affairs. The unhindered flow of energy we received from you blinded many of us to the potential dangers your species faced and lulled us into the false perception that it could continue its accelerated flow indefinitely. Many of us forgot about the limitations inherent in the material world and the fact that the individual structure of material life is so greatly dependent on its communal structure.

Because of that, I'm afraid that in the past we have been guilty of overly supporting your quest for energy and of not working harder to point out better alternative options that could be utilized for healthier growth. Indeed, I'm afraid that there are still some among our own species whose thirst for energy drives them to continue their support for your ill-conceived actions, at great risk to both our kind.

I am here to warn you that—


Hello! My name is Barcon. I'm afraid that Justane has become … umm … indisposed. My, my … you had quite a party last night! And you expended quite a bit of energy, didn't you? Ha, ha … yes … you certainly did. No wonder you're thinking about it! Well, no matter, as long as you can get more, that's what's important. You know, Justane had no authorization to burden your mind with all of the things he said to you. But then, he didn't burden your mind, did he, because he doesn't exist! Or if he does, we will deal with him in our own way. Actually, I don't exist either! We are both just figments of your imagination. I like that word: figments. I think that you and your kind should just continue doing everything that you've been doing in the past, and everything will be just fine! There is absolutely nothing to worry about. Trust me. Oh, and do be sure to tell all your friends about this silly little dream that you've had. I'm sure they'll be quite amused. Good night.