Objects of Value

“So what was that dream you wanted to tell me about?” I ask, taking the bowl from her.

“Oh man, totally weird,” she says, handing me the bowl.

“Awesome, let’s hear it,” I reply, taking the bowl.

“So I was all alone, feeling sad that I didn’t have any friends,” she begins, handing over the bowl. “I started to wonder why and realized that it was probably because I didn’t have any money to do stuff with people, like go shopping, eat out, see movies and gamble.”

“But you don’t necessarily need money to do stuff with people,” I blurt out, accepting the bowl. “There’s stuff that doesn’t require money.”

“Yeah, but it was a dream,” she says, reminding me of the operations of this alternative logic as she hands me the bowl.

“Oh, right, right,” I reflect, taking the bowl.

“So I thought about ways I could get money, particularly by selling things of value,” she says, handing the bowl to me. “And I concluded my possessions of greatest value were my dreams, so I decided to sell them, because I’d be able to get a large sum of money in a single transaction that way. But in making this choice and going through with it, I didn’t consider or rather realize something critical: that I was in a dream.”

“So you were selling something that you were directly involved in? Or a part of?” I take the bowl from her with both hands.

“Evidently,” she says, handing over the bowl.

“How’s that possible?” I ask, puzzled, taking the bowl. “How did you even find out that you ended up doing this?”

“Yeah, it’s not something I began to notice until after the fact, and even then I didn’t know what to make of it all until I woke up and thought about it,” she says, handing me the bowl. “You see, after I sold my dreams – and I’m not sure how I did and to whom, because I don’t remember that part of the dream – I was ecstatic with my new opulence and invited a bunch of people to celebrate with me. We went to some lavish restaurant and were wild with merriment. Quite a rambunctious crowd of gourmands. But the feeling of the dream had changed significantly. It was as if I was in someone else’s dream.”

“Whoa. . . Like someone was dreaming about you? Were you experiencing it like you were this version of you in that person’s dream?” I conjecture, carefully placing my hands beneath the bowl then feeling its weight as it comes into contact with my palms and fingertips.

“Sort of. . . It just felt completely different. I mean, at the time, I didn’t know it was a dream, so I can only say now that it felt like someone else’s dream. But in the dream, it was as if the qualia of my experiences had been transformed after I sold my dreams. I can’t really explain it in words,” she tells me, holding the bowl out to me. “But maybe it’s something like when you drive a friend’s car, a car that is exactly the same model as your own but has distinct aspects that make it different…the way it handles, the kind of air freshener, the preset radio stations, stuff like that. And you’re very aware that you’re not driving your own car, even though it’s quite a lot like your own. So I had this feeling that I was a kind of outsider in this dream, a visitor. A welcomed one, but nonetheless a foreigner. The perception of distances was entirely altered.”

“That is so strange,” I remark, taking the bowl.

“Yeah…When I woke up and thought about it, I began to wonder if I felt that way in my dream because the dream was no longer my own. Something like that.”

“So whose was it? Whose did it become? Someone in your dream? Someone you know?”

“I have no idea,” she says, shaking her head, passing me the bowl.

“That’s very. . . disconcerting,” I mutter, unsettled, receiving the bowl in both hands.

“Yeah. . . I’ll just have to see how my dreams are like in the future. Whether I’m wealthy, feel somewhat alienated or whatever. I haven’t remembered any of my dreams clearly recently, so I don’t really know what the situation is,” she tells me, giving me the bowl.

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