What Dreams May Come

June 14, 2006

Anthony Malfeoso is writing a science fiction story.

It is set 23 years in the future, where a scientific breakthrough has enabled new heights of human productivity and interactivity – by removing the need for sleep.

A device, cheaply produced and available for those who desire it, is able to keep their system fresh and perpetually revitalized. There are no obvious ill effects, and the use of the device is completely optional.

Anthony is trying to figure out how to draw out the philosophical concerns of such an invention, specifically the loss of such precious things as dreams.

Unfortunately, Anthony cannot finish his book. Since he started, he has been growing more and more afflicted by insomnia. He spends his days and nights exhausted and half-awake, with half-finished thoughts running through his mind. He has refused medical treatment or medicine to help him overcome his affliction.

The longer this continues, the more he wonders what choice he would make – whether to free himself forever from the burden of sleep, or to find a way to embrace it. With every passing night, despite the perpetual haze he lives in, he feels himself drawing closer to the answer.

The human body can only survive so long without true rest. Will Anthony be able to last long enough to find his answer? Will his novel prove to have piercing insight, or merely dull philosophy? And will he ever discover that he is a simulated intelligence designed for public entertainment in the 23rd century?

Tune in next time on This Man, This Mindscape.

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