Dream man (I)

Charles was a pragmatist. The son of scientists who believed that knowledge was organised, had to be tested, reliable and rationally explained. He was an atheist. He didn’t dream. Well not at night in any event.

Night was darkness and when that came and Charles was tired he’d close his eyes and be consumed by blackness. “There was much that science still needed to understand about the brain,” he thought, smiling at his use of the term “much” because he knew that science was only at the beginning of the beginning. At the dawn of understanding that lump of material primarily composed of fat, which was the gateway for so much knowledge.

When Charles went to bed he would sleep. He’d close his eyes and dissolve into nothingness. In the morning time would obviously have passed, and he would awake feeling refreshed. He’d spring out of bed knowing he’d gone from night to morning and thinking that as far as he was conscious there was nothing in between.

He was aware of oneirology, but wasn’t vaguely interested in the study of dreams because time was finite, and there wasn’t enough of it. His race was against the ticking of the clock. He had too much to do and only one life to do it in. As it was he’d already been alive for 45 years, and conservatively there were probably another twenty or so good years left. It wasn’t enough. The research was slow. It took time. It wouldn’t be rushed.

The staff of the city university where Charles worked would describe the man as intense, earnest and rushing. Up flights. Through doors. As if there was always a destination he had to dash to, and there was. The end point were the two wooden doors, the entrance to his world. The laboratory.

Outside the lab the world was a distraction with its throng of noisy business which didn’t seem to accomplish much. When the door closed behind him, Charles was at peace. There was silence or soft, deliberate words in his laboratory. Considered choices that evicted deliberate phrases of exact meaning.

[To be continued.]
*Starry Night at Paranal photo by European Southern Observatory on Flickr

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