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Awesome Dream Channel

I had one of the most kick-ass dreams in recent memory last night. This might take a while to transcribe, so bear with me.

Unlike a lot of my dreams I wasn't a participant, but just an observer, like I was watching a movie. The setting was a fantasy world something like a cross between that of The Elder Scrolls and Dragon Age. I was following a group of vampires led by a woman, and they were definitely the villains of the story. My memory of the dream picks up at a point where this woman is experiencing a vision of her victory.

In her vision, she is on a grand throne in "Heaven", surrounded by ... nothing. There's just a vast emptiness. As my view pans around, I see that she's actually in what's called "The Fade" in the Dragon Age setting, a dream land where spirits and demons live and where the fabled Black City (supposedly once the Golden City and the Holy Seat of the Maker himself before it was corrupted by the touch of humankind's hubris) can always be seen in the distance, but can never be reached. Her throne is surrounded by the ruins of everything she's tried to create, shadows of the empire she's envisioned. And she understands (because she's saying it out loud--I don't see into her thoughts or experience her feelings or anything) that no matter if she wins or loses, this will be her fate.

At that point, she looks up at the Black City and hurls invective at the Maker for so cursing her. But I notice, as does she, that beyond the Black City is a light. And that light is a sun (and anyone who plays Dragon Age games knows that the sun doesn't appear in the Fade). And that sun ... is the Maker himself, looking upon the vampire in her throne.

A doorway floats between the sun and the throne, and the doorway is a lens, and suddenly the sun is a thousand times brighter. Any flesh and blood creature would be reduced to ash by that much light, let alone a vampire, but the light doesn't burn her. Instead a voice comes from it, warm and compassionate. I can't clearly remember the words (it's been over an hour at this point since I got up), but the gist of the exchange was this:

MAKER: Child, this is not a punishment. This is a redemption. A cleansing.

VAMPIRE: But I've lost everything!

MAKER: Except what is most precious. Your soul. The vampires say "The blood is the life." They are wrong. It is the breath. And it is my breath that will purify you and give you back that which you have lost.

VAMPIRE: Who are you?

And there was a terrible, ferocious, roaring wind as if the entire universe were inhaling. And upon the exhale, the Maker said:

YHHHHHHHWHHHHHHH


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Pretty much everyone who reads my journal knows that I'm not a theist of any description*. But religion, and the Old Testament/Torah in particular, permeates the society I grew up in. A significant percentage of our stories, no matter their setting or time frame, are derived in some part from religious sources. And I, in particular, have enjoyed finding the parallels between modern and ancient stories and reading interesting theories about the origins of Biblical tales**. So, yeah, I have Bible stuff in my head.

Also, anyone who plays the Dragon Age games knows that the developers and writers of those games already make very close and obvious parallels between the Chantry in that world and the Catholic Church in ours. The Maker is obviously a meant to be our Judeo-Christian "God", although there are pointed differences. So it wasn't surprising that I made a connection between them in my dream.

And I'd heard somewhere, I can't remember where—it may have just been someone doing some spontaneous armchair philosophy—that the idea of a desert culture coming up with a name for their god that sounded like literal wind was actually a pretty logical idea when you thought about it. I even remember hearing someone pronouncing YHWH as a loud "whisper".

But holy freaking camolies did my brain pull all of that together effectively! For me, anyway. I woke up in absolute awe. It was almost, if you'll pardon my saying so, a religious experience. I immediately starting thinking "Can I turn this into a story?" Then I almost immediately dismissed that idea—it's all too closely tied to copyrighted and trademarked IPs. But I'm definitely going to keep this in my "ideas to do something with someday" file, because it's just too cool to not use. Or, at least, I think so.

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* Yes, I'm a Buddhist, but Buddhism at its core isn't a religion, it's a philosophy and a lifestyle. It is entirely possible to be an atheist and a Buddhist at the same time.

**No stone-throwing, please. I know that, for some people, the only correct answer to the question "Where do Bible stories come from?" is "Straight from God's mouth," but, like I said before, I'm an atheist. I'm also a hard-line skeptic and a firm believer in the scientific method. And if the previous sentence sounds like it's contradicting itself, then you really don't know what either "skeptic" or "scientific method" mean.

Comments

( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
psybelle
Nov. 27th, 2016 03:55 pm (UTC)
*laughs*

Love you, hon, but from my vantage-point of a career in science, 30 years in biomedical research… "hard-line skeptic" is generally code for "devout rational materialist" and that is contrary to the empiricism that's at the heart of the scientific method - there's an unwillingness to even consider testing things that don't fit into the current paradigm.

(Most discoveries start out with looking at what actually happened after shouting "THAT WASN'T SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN THAT WAY!")
ebenbrooks
Nov. 27th, 2016 04:11 pm (UTC)
Well, then it's obvious to me that our definitions of "hard-line skeptic" are different from each others'. Would you consider Richard Dawkins to be your definition of "hard-line skeptic"?

Also, when extraordinary results occur in experimentation, then extraordinary amounts of verification are required. Remember when neutrinos were thought to have traveled slightly faster than light? Everyone was saying "Wow, this is amazing if, in fact, the experiment wasn't somehow fundamentally flawed. We need to do it again and again and see what happens." Scientists were skeptical, and rightfully so ... because it turned out that one of the clocks was wrong! Skepticism, too, is at the heart of the scientific method. That's why peer-review exists. It's also why, when a vast majority of scientists agree on something, I tend to agree with them, too--and should something come along that disproves them, and through experimentation and verification and peer-review, those same scientists change their position, then I will as well.

To me, "hard-line skeptic" just means that, if someone claims to be able to speak directly with God, I will take them into a laboratory and force them to prove it. And if they put conditions on their claim that make it unprovable (and thus un-disprovable), then that renders their claim meaningless.
psybelle
Nov. 27th, 2016 04:36 pm (UTC)
Dawkins? Is an asshole, regardless of whether he's a rational materialist or a hard-line skeptic…. The point I failed to make is that there's a difference between the folks who are skeptical of [whatever] and the folks who proclaim themselves to be ultra-rational and deeply skeptical of [whatever]. There's a certain anger and emotional fervor attached to the label that just doesn't agree with the claimed rationality.

I'm not accusing you of being an asshole, just letting you know that you're using terms that I associate with folks I tend to leave alone.


(I don't have skin in that game as I'm not a Yawehist of any flavor. But, yeah, if you want to make this about $Deity, go ahead and start here: https://explorable.com/falsifiability .)
ebenbrooks
Nov. 27th, 2016 04:49 pm (UTC)
I agree with you that he's an asshole, but I agree with him that there is overwhelming evidence that the universe was NOT intelligently designed. And yes, I see that our definitions of "hard-line skeptic" are, in fact, different. I did not mean to trip a trigger run afoul of a bad association for you, and for that I apologize.

EDIT: I realized after I hit "send" that I used the wrong phrase. Apologies again.

Edited at 2016-11-27 07:51 pm (UTC)
psybelle
Nov. 27th, 2016 05:19 pm (UTC)
not a big deal for me, really
But, it's not just me with unpleasant associations.

I just wasn't sure if you knew that the more extreme forms of skepticism tended to overlap strongly with the crowd of folks who tend to be dismissive/condescending to downright derogatory/abusive of anybody with a rich spiritual life, and that the combination of (pick one: hardcore/hard-line/militant) (pick one: skeptic/rational materialist/atheist) all tend to be code phrases for that sort of asshole.

i don't want anybody in my circle of friends being smeared with tar they don't deserve….
psybelle
Nov. 27th, 2016 04:42 pm (UTC)
well, then.
I'm hoping my previous reply to this got marked as spam only because it contained a link...
ebenbrooks
Nov. 27th, 2016 04:46 pm (UTC)
Re: well, then.
Pff! Yeah. Unspammed. Jeesh, LJ. Lighten up a little. :/
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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