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@ K. 2005 12 28
The phone awoke me from a dream in which I was convinced the I’d solved a problem in physics bordering on the magical, and I’d likewise convinced a whole mountain full of skiers and climbers. I sprang from the top of the mountain and controlled my decent, floating serenely over the snow covered slopes, not skiing, but flying: or rather a controlled airborne descent.
“How’d you do that?” everyone wanted to know.
Another flying dream, I was completely fooled while I slept. Thing is: was there anything “real” to my dream physics?
First I’ll repeat how I explained it to them in the dream:
Most of the space around us is negative: it won’t support us. Ah, but some space quanta are positive! Find them, touch them, and gravity is yours.
I illustrated with reference to the spine. Away from the spine, space is invariably negative. Close by the spine, the lower down the better, positive packets of space can be found.
A balancing pole helps. Once again at the summit, this time with a wooden rod, I leapt into space, and flowed over the piste, guiding myself as with a rudder, giving the pole an occasional downward poke, commanding that positive space.
Soon other skiers were flying down the mountain while the climbers were gliding up the rock faces, not at all clinging to the rock.
Gracious, what we convince ourselves of while we sleep.
There’s nothing to it of course; but I think I see what true things may have triggered it. On the one hand I was thinking of center of gravity. When you ski you have to maintain your center of gravity over your skies. How one does it is counter intuitive: one good skier may stand tall over his skis, nevertheless focusing his mass downward, so it hovers like somewhere within his hips. Momentum is critical and you can carve some amazing positions where your hips alternate over the skis, your bite on the snow holding you up. Climbers have no such momentum, their movements are slow. And every climber knows she’d damn well better lean a bit toward the mountain. Stand up anywhere near where the flatlander thinks is straight and over you go: backwards, upside down, screaming.
Additionally there’s Newton’s Third Law. Get down low. Punch the snow sharply. It helps you come up, and pronto.
As I’ve said in my Sleep Writing piece, I don’t trust anything I think while dreaming; but I also don’t trust anything I think while awake. What I do trust — a little, no better choice — is what I think after my waking and my dreams have had it out!
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