Nightmares: Total Failure and Insanity

By Xah Lee. Date:

Ah, i recall, i had a couple nightmares in the past few days.

Yesterday, that's when i had the acute chest-area pain. I slept for most of the day, about 15 hours. Usually when you oversleep, there will be a lot of dreams. I had a lot dreams i recall vividly and was going thru them as i was [ lucid dreaming ] [ ] (most of my dreams are lucid to some degree). Unfortunately, it's like 10 hours since i awoke so i don't remember much. However, one of the dream's theme i recalled was that:

Somehow i was going thru a test or something like that to either get a math degree or as a test whether i know enough to get one. You see, self-worth is a perpetual psychological haunt in my life. I never actually had a college degree, and yet i consider my education and skills equivalent to 2 or more college degrees or even a ph D. And, in the past 2 years i've spend my life as a bum (such as living in my car) in part because a psychological fear of failure. And due to the recent chest-ache, it adds a psychological burden, and that probably induced the couple of nightmares i had in the past week.

Anyway, back to the dream… i was taking some math exam that checks whether my math knowledge warrant a BS level math degree. And, to my horror, i understand nothing of the questions i needed to answer. The questions are written in typical math lingoes. (as you'd find in math journals) It's so bad that i don't even understand the questions, and i'm required to prove them. It is a horror, to be confronted by this litmus test and shown that in fact i know shit.

I don't remember much details of this nightmare. But, i remember upon waking and thinking over it, i'm kinda relieved about the dream's absurdity and that the materials in the dream are like those would appear in a specialized math journals or graduate text books. (I would have at least a inkling of undergraduate materials.)

Another nightmare i had, this is about several days ago, is a real nightmare. In comparison, the math dream would just a bad dream. Again, it's been days and i don't recall much about the nightmare. But the gist is that, i experienced _insanity_, as it is defined in criminal law. That is, i experienced doing something that i could not possibly do while i'm positively conscious, and don't remember about doing it. Imagine, that for the next hour your awareness of yourself went off, and you went on to do some crazy things (like murdering or otherwise wild). And, later on when your selfness returned, you are aware that for a period of time you blanked out and did something: went insane.

I don't remember what i did in the dream… but i haven't experienced a nightmare of this magnitude for maybe 3 or more years.

The main gist of this nightmare is to actually experience or know what insanity is. I don't know what real insanity is like or if my nightmare actually showed me, but anyway that is the point of this nightmare: showing me insanity like a revelation. Here's wikipedia on [ Insanity ] [ ] (which i haven't read before)

Ok, the wikip doesn't say much about what insanity actually is or is like. (the definition itself is elusive) As to the cause of this particular nightmare… i'm not sure, other than that i'm rather feeling low recently. The insanity with respect to criminal law have always intrigued me. As one often read in newspapers, that some murders are defended by the insanity clause. (e.g. unabomber's lawer wanted to do that, as well as other serial killers who are judged insane.) Though, i have wondered about such defense, and somewhat considered it silly and rather as a trick to get away with justice.