Codex of the Synapse: Folio C6.2

The Bottomless Cellar Dream



"We have dreamt the world. We have dreamt it as firm, mysterious, visible, ubiquitous in space and durable in time; but in its architecture we have allowed tenuous and eternal crevices of unreason which tell us it is false."

Jorge Luis Borges, Avatars of the Tortoise


A Synapse Dream: In the furthest room of the basement in my father's house I find some loose boards in a corner of the floor. I pry them up revealing a heretofore undiscovered room below. Climbing into this room, I find it to be identical to the first, only darker and more decrepit. It, too, has a corner where floorboards are loose. These, in turn reveal yet another, still darker, room. I find myself moving, room to room, through an infinite regression to some asymptotic plane of obscurity.

The force of this dream does not lie in the content of the rooms, for each room is essentially the same, but for a graduated augmentation of darkness and decrepitude. Rather, the crux of the dream lies in the hierarchical structure revealed in the arrangement of the rooms, in the architectural descending Fugue they create. The Synapse Experience is defined not by the contents of one world or another, but by the sense of passage, the revelation that the sum of all we experience rests on a single plane of the real, whose floorboards are easily and often loosened.

The Keepers say that standing in the empty place between the worlds is not merely like dreaming. The Synapse experience is like dreaming of dreaming, that moment of unreality when one wakes from one dream to find oneself in the dream that contained it. This is the moment that shatters the comfort we take in the duality of real and unreal. Once a third plane enters the equation, it opens the doors to a fourth, fifth, sixth, and so on. No longer is it an absolute question of real vs. unreal, but a relative positioning of the real. What is the real in one room, if not the dream to the room above it? It is a hierarchy of nested realities, say the Keepers, in which we dwell on but one level.

One needn't dream to shatter the duality of the real and the unreal. There are examples in waking life, as well, of what the Keepers call the Third Level, the dream of the dream. One exists at the North Brother's Island Sanitarium.