Electric Dreams

Digital Dreaming Series: 
Computer Dreams IV
 Dream Code and Decoded Flows

Richard Catlett Wilkerson

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  Wilkerson, Richard Catlett (2001 January). Digital Dreaming Series: Computer Dreams IV  ::  Dream Code and Decoded Flows. Electric Dreams 8(1). Retrieved December 31, 2000 from Electric Dreams on the World Wide Web: http://www.dreamgate.com/electric-dreams

For more articles on computer dreams see: Computer Dreams, Electric Dreams 7(3) March 2000 , Computers in Dreams, Electric Dreams 6(8), Aug 1999,  The changing (inter)face of dream texts. Electric Dreams 7(7), July 2000 and Digital Dreaming Series: Computer Dreams III :: The Digital Shift in CultureElectric Dreams 7(11). November 2000.

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Code appears everywhere there is a direction or re-direction in the flow. We live in a sea of code and codes flow as well as directing the flow.

Consider the genetic code that makes up all of life that manifests materially. Think of the molecular and atomic codes that determine so much of energy/matter. Forces too are full of code and mater and energy transmutate back and forth accordingly everywhere we look, act, feel and live. We realize this on the cultural level and talk about social codes. Language itself is a code that directs the flow of force. Conversations, thoughts, imaginings and feelings shift the direction and flow of forces in our life and the life of those who come into contact with us. To the degree that these directions and redirections of force insist and subsist, they are codes.

We don't have to be able to read the code to recognize it as such. There are still recovered ancient languages we can't read, but recognize as language and codes that once directed the flows of whole cultures. And we see codes we know are active but remain unreadable. We will be gazing at genetic and atomic codes for sometime before we can read them.

In this sense, dreams too are codes directing the flow of images, emotions, ideas, day residue, relationships and imagination, of memories and of other dreams. Just what these dream codes mean and just what forces they are channeling, what personalities and emotions and thoughts are being territorialized, deterritorialized and re-territorializing, this is a site for continual debate, work, re-working and dreamworking. The de-coding and re-coding of dreams is always an intense site of conflict. Out of this conflict the individual can be seen as emerging with his/her alignment to various political, theoretical, philosophical and cultural stances.

What are the forces that codes are channeling? I think the Deleuze and Guattari notion of expression and content may be useful here, slightly changed as code and coded. Imagine a brick that is made by pouring clay into a wooden mold. Here the mold is the code or the expression and the clay the coded or the content. But a moment later a man picks up the wooden mold and begins to carve out of it a leg for a table. Now the wood-carver becomes the code and the wood his expression. Of course, the situation is more complex and malleable than this. The woodcarver is himself an expression of the tradition of woodcarving and infinitude of other forces, a code through which the woodcarving programs flow and a vortex of processes intersect.

And so the code and the coded are two states of the same thing. The code is force in a condensed state, a force that repeats itself across time in such as way that it continues to maintain the same relationship with itself and stay condensed, stay structured, stay organized. It is a force that blocks, channels, shifts, divides, chops, and directs other forces, other material, other emotions, thoughts, and energy.

What exists that escapes the code, that extracts from the flow what cannot be coded? Deleuze and Guattari note that these programs, these little machines, can exist in two basic states. One is like a machine in a factory that repeats itself endlessly until it breaks down. Chop, chop, chop, push, push, push, slam, slam, slam. These machines are connected to larger social machines and often used create subjugated, repressive relations.

The other is like a music machine, which re-creates itself each beat as it is in relationship with the other forces around it in a way in which its cues and dance steps are improvised upon each re-creation. It may be better described as a machine that really works best when it breaks down. They become not-themselves. They attune and intone in a constant state of becoming, becoming other than themselves. They break into the flow of rigid machines. Think of Eros, who arrows breaks through the guarded walls to reach a target beyond. These machines come together, do what they need to do, and disperse. Deleuze and Guattari call these desiring-machines.

Why call them machines at all if there are machinic and not mechanic? To avoid the old metaphors, human, self, consciousness, subjectivity. Underneath these systems lies a cooperative realm of continually reassembling networks that may connect at time with the human, the self, consciousness, subjectivity, but are not centered around these systems. They make up a new phylum, a machinic phylum, that can include organic material and being, but may at times include computer networks and mechanic machines, geologic strata and stellar strings.

The first machine, the mechanic one, producing objects for consumption and elimination, whether pinching off loaves in the bread factory, or pinching off loaves in the bathroom. The second machine opens itself up in an intimate act, which produces positive desire.

As we look at dreams about computers and code, there is then the possibility of accessing something other than the waking, literal code that is in the dream. In this sea of forces, there become then two kinds of code/coded relations, free subject relations and closed subjugated relations. We can read the code of the dreams both ways. Dream codes are constructions of desiring-machines as much as cold machines.

If we assume, as Carl Jung did, that dreams are engaged in an enormously huge enterprise that exceeds the individual psyche, we can then see computer dreams as an attempt by this larger project to re-configure the symbolic universe and to re-populate the imaginal realm with a new order of being. This is not just a simple replacement of characters, but a shift in paradigms.

Just what will this new cosmos look like? We now have two extreme views online. The first is the Digital New-Age, which sees the Internet as the first sign of the emergence of the collective mind, an enormous soul which will launch us all into orbit in a noosopheric virtual utopia. The other Dystopic view is the Internet as the Sign of the Beast and the emergence of a Global Big Brother that will strip away any individuality we have left and re-code our lives into a meaningless Borg existence of servitude to the Beehive.

Those of us watching dreams about computer may see how this will all play out on a more intimate level. Dreams, like desiring-machines, work best by breaking down. They continue to play with all the themes in our lives. Nothing seems sacred. They break into the flow of all our most secret territories and most cherished values and create new connections. Even within a dream, one dream runs into another dream and they both break down. Machines in dreams break down. Each of these deterritorializations allow new code to flow.

I would like to ask you to listen to this new code as you read these dreams. What does it mean to have trouble with your hard drive? How are object relations and java objects different? What does needing a body port lead to? Who benefits when your keyboard is no longer functioning? What kind of emotional circuit is created when you e-mail yourself?

- Richard Wilkerson, December 2000

Deleuze, Gilles and Félix Guattari. 1983. Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia. Trans. Robert Hurley, Mark Seem and Helen R. Lane. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P.

----. 1987. A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia. Trans. Brian Massumi. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P.

Massumi, Brian. 1992. A User's Guide to Capitalism and Schizophrenia: Deviations from Deleuze and Guattari. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press. 174-189.

Dream: Color Coding
Dreamer: BlueboyX
Date: November 3, 2000

I prefer to use 'high level' languages; I am pretty sure this dream reflected C++ programming as I was learning the more advanced 'object oriented' aspects of the language at the time I had the dream. The colors were not what mattered in the dream as much as the shapes of the objects and how they fit together in 3D space (as in many cases one object could be connected to many other objects; when one curve of one blob fit into a groove in another object it formed the 'connection'), just like how C++ classes have to accept and return specific types of pointers and objects in order to fit together. It truely was a dream of Object Oriented Programming!

I think maybe 'Object Oriented Programming' or some such would be a better name for the dream, as Color Coding bears the association of coloring in a 2D image and this dream was extremely 3D. BlueboyX is what I like to be called.

All of the objects were movable in a specific 3D area in front of my head, the desktop of my mind so to speak. The usable area I perceived as gray, while the rest of reality was black- I apparently was in to place in particular.

Frequently I think of this dream as my subconscious' effort to understand and perceive something it was totally unable to comprehend; the abstract world of computer science being far to different from anything in real life for it to compare to.


I have had 2 'programming nightmares.' In the one I remember the most, I was trying to piece together different pieces of code perceived as blobs of different colors and shape. I was getting frustrated because I couldn't get the program to come together properly and work as well as I wanted it to. The process of continuing to piece together the code and getting increasingly frustrated continued until I woke up.


Dream: Color Data Base
Dreamer: Sara
Date: November 6, 2000

Sara : When I have good dreams about computers, I am an 31337 h4x0r ch1x0r who programs well instead of practically not at all, and who can make boxes on any OS do anything I want. When I have prosaic dreams about computers, I am just sitting in front of my PC (or my old Amiga that I retired only 2 years ago!) writing (what else is new). Bad computer dreams feature the hideously-coloured (assembled by a possibly-colourblind boss) database that I add to and maintain at work...typing in strange place names & addresses (I work in international education, and see a *lot* of strange place

names & addresses in a day--words like "Thepkasattri" don't faze me anymore) which I invariably spell wrong (natural paranoia).

Sara : PS--Since I don't know your level of familiarity with the subject, be advised that for "31337 h4x0r ch1x0r," you should read "elite hacker chick." If you don't know the relevance of the term "elite" to "hacker," run, don't walk, to borrow your best friend's back issues of _2600_.

Electric Dreams : Some of your phrases did whiz by me. I'm wondering what "making boxes on any OS" means?

Sara : "Making boxes on any OS do whatever I want" means "making computers [boxes, the hardware] running any operating system [OS, usually in my dreams it's Windows, Linux and UNIX] do whatever I want." This statement implies that in my dreams I am a much more sophisticated computer user than I really am. My sole experience with Linux was telnetting [remotely accessing another computer], logging on to the network, and sending e-mail using Pine [a rudimentary text-only e-mail prog]; and my only experience with UNIX was using Sun Solaris on a network at school, and that was a letdown, because it looked (and acted) just like Win-doze.

Sara : But in my dreams, I've done some righteous hacks. (Hacks, NOT crimes. In general, I am a VERY scrupulous person. When I found a "back door" into my university's network, I ONLY checked my e-mail remotely using MY account & pswd, something which technically you weren't SUPPOSED to do without paying, but I did NOT access anyone else's info/acc't. I also didn't tell the sysadmin about the hole, but that's a "whole nother" kettle of ethical icthyology.)

Electric Dreams : I wasn't sure what kind of writing you do either, when you said you were writing while siting in front of your pc - writing code or letters or journal or fiction?

Sara : Well, I write e-mail (a disturbing amount), articles (2 published), letters, "passalongs" (articles, usually kind of political op-ed for publication/distribution by e-mail...I count among my regular passalong readers two movie directors, a movie critic, a few writers, two actresses, one reasonably well-known artist, a couple of musicians, and a reporter), stories, poetry, essays, academic papers, fact-sheets, broadsides and pamphlets, white papers, background info samplers (such as a compendium of useful facts on Stockwell Day, who wants to be our new PM), & technical writing to explain things (like DVDs and a program called DeCSS) to people. Also songs, although I use a different prog for that.

Electric Dreams : About the bad computer dreams, was it the aesthetic arrangements
that you were reacting to, or did you mean it was difficult to organize (or was there a joke there I missed?)

Sara : No joke, it's just that that DB is so bad to look at and for awhile at work it was practically ALL I was seeing... And as with many repetitive tasks, one can find oneself doing it in one's sleep, which I found especially annoying, because data entry is pretty boring for me (MA, an IQ in the top 2%, multitasker and short attention span; "distracts easily", heh heh). So I was like, "I do this all day, I don't want to do it all night too..."

Dream: Data Diagrams
Dreamer: Willie
Date: November 5, 2000

I once worked for IBM. I did 12 hour shift, 7 days a week. When I tried to sleep, I would dream I saw data diagrams on the ceiling of my bedroom...
watching icons moving around.

Needless to say... I'm no longer on that job...


Dream: Bored with dreaming
Dreamer: Itsa
Date:November 1, 2000

I've only had one programming dream lately that I recall. I was just sitting at my PC at work, writing nothing in particular. It was pretty boring. One of those you wake up from and think,"...what a waste of a dream." Now if I could have actually used the code I was writing, that would be different. (Would that count as over-time at work?)


Dream: Frame of the Machine
Dreamer: Dee
Date: November 6, 2000

11-6-00 - DREAM - I was in a bright room, standing by the door. In front of me was a machine of some kind. My husband was sitting inside the frame of the machine, and an old white haired man was standing by the side of it.

My husband was working what seemed to be a jigsaw inside one part of the frame, and the old man was sawing wood with a long straight saw that worked similar to a chainsaw on the bottom edge. I thought it was a great saw that I might be able to use to saw wood that is laying outside our house which needs to be cut for firewood.

I was working part of this machine myself from the door by manipulating a red handle which was attached to a cylinder which went back and forth along part of the frame in front of my husband. I thought I was welding things together.

I moved my handle a little too far and had to back it up a little. I pressed on the top of the red handle and the cylinder began to move backward. At that exact moment, I saw that I was on AOL on the computer and a beautiful little cottage was pictured in front of me. By moving the mouse handle which was the little red handle, it automatically decorated the cottage and created the sidewalk and the city beyond it.

I got so excited, I wanted to save the picture, so I moved the mouse up to the File indicator where I would click to SAVE. However, when I got the mouse pointer up to File, the picture changed to a picture of a man, a woman, and a child and I ended up saving the picture of the people instead of the house.

I really wanted the picture of the house, but I didn't know how to get it back and woke up. I realized after I woke up that the machine my husband and the old man was working inside of was the frame of my computer.
End of dream

Dream: Computer Screen Invoice 'BLASTCHITITIS'
Dreamer: Dee
Date: October 6, 2000

This started out as a stupid dream, but when I was thinking about the dream later, something astounding happened. see:

10-6-00 - DREAM - I was in a house somewhere that was really messy. Toys were everywhere on the floors and things were just basically strewn around.
I decided I would clean the house inch-by-inch starting at the front door in case visitors came.

However, I got interrupted by a phone call. A woman started a conversation like I was a search service. She needed the phone number of two other people.

I went to the pile where the phone books were supposed to be and they weren't there. So, I put the phone down and went looking for a phone book. I looked and looked and couldn't find one. Finally, I gave up and went back to the phone to tell the woman I couldn't find the phone book. The woman was gone. I didn't blame her. I was gone quite some time.

I don't recall any other people there, but I was presented with a paper plate which had some corn on it, cut from the cob. I was supposed to look at it and see how the quality was. It looked pretty good to me.

On the same paper plate, where the corn was on the upper half of the plate, a black box appeared which had the word 'BLASTCHITITIS' or something like that. I wasn't quite certain of the word.

Below the black box was a selection of peas which were arranged in size with the largest towards the black box and the peas were arranged with the smallest towards the bottom edge of the plate. I was told that the peas had some kind of disease in the shell.

I was then shown the shell which when popped open, the peas in the pod had some kind of slimy clear substance around them. The peas themselves looked okay, but the slimy stuff was not good for us. I looked at a bunch of these pea pods and they were all similar with the slimy stuff inside. We were not supposed to eat these.

NOTE: At this point I woke up because the alarm went off and Joe got up to go to work. I forgot the dream basically, but was trying to remember what the word in the black box was and what it meant.

After Joe left the room and turned off the light, the dream started to come back into my memory rather like a long vision. I again saw the plate with the corn and peas on it, but the box was missing. It was the word I was trying to think of.

Suddenly, I was looking at a computer screen, and an invoice popped up from below like it had been a page that was minimized and went down to the bottom of the screen. Here again was the word, which I think was spelled 'BLASTCHITITIS'.

Then a movie screen popped up on top of the computer screen and Nancy Reagan and Ronald Reagan were standing there. Ronald Reagan had a long pointer stick in his hand and was pointing to a chart on the wall behind them like he was demonstrating something for the world to look at.

Then in front of the movie screen appeared a clear portrait picture of Nancy Reagan ... which was wider than high, like a wide movie screen picture ... underneath her face was the word 'HUNGRIER'.

The end.
Dream: MUD Dream of 7000 Points
Dreamer: JF
Date: November 15, 2000

At 05:27 AM 11/15/00 -0600, you wrote:
I had a dream today that had a very small bit of computer related content. The only part that was computer related was that me and a group of people were flee somewhere, and there was something in our way, and one of the people in the group killed it, and she got 7000 experience points (I'v been playing Avatar MUD a lot, so that's where it came from :).

Dream: Solving Problems that cannot be Understood
Dreamer: Gray
Date: November 10, 2000

I went to sleep after doing research on MySQL and PHP database languages....and spent the night wading through wave after wave of confusing, mystical acronyms...the way they combine, the way they build and multiply, acronyms for strange and subtle languages that will never exist, acronym scripting languages developed to solve problems that cannot be understood. All very hieroglyphic, in the sense of the mystery a hieroglyphic contains, their gnomic nature, the constant sense that the communication is happening on a level far above or below the level you currently inhabit.

Dream: PPP Connection now Investigation
Dreamer: JF
Date: November 15, 2000

Dream 17
This one 's old, and I forget when I had it. I was going to my computer room to sign on to the web (my house uses a gateway machine, which connects the entire house after I dial). I dial it. However, instead of telling me that it has established a PPP connection, as it usually does, it tell me that "You are under investigation for the use of your account, *****t@yahoo.com, in illegal animal pornography. If you believe this is a mix up, please enter your FBI password now."
Uhmm....what the hell? Well, I have a prompt, so I try things. "Hoover"is not the correct password. Nor is "Agent". "Federal"is likewise not it.
It tells me "I am sorry, but I cannot let you online at this time." Phone hangs up. I freak out.

Analysis of Dream 17
"Illegal animal pornography?"
First of all, I don 't have an account with the address listed. I have a tracker friend known as the *****, but not only does he not have a yahoo account, plus he 's clearly not a zoophile.
Second of all, I don 't recall zoophilic pictures to be illegal, (Although they are gross, a jamacan girl thought it was funny to send me some once, I spent the next hour cleaning up my vomit.)
And thirdly, the FBI is never that remote. They visit their subjects in person. That kind of intererance with ppp accounts simply is not possible.

Dream: Making CPU's
Dreamer: Willtel
Date: November 12, 2000

I was dreaming of making CPU's.
I think it may have been a "matrix" (not film) idea, one of those large
'first ever' type CPU's. It was brown, many flashing buttons and was

similar to the idea that Alfred Bester had in his "the Demolished Man"
(i.e the justice CPU)


note: stan requests his name and e be kept with the dream text.

DATE : 4 nov 2000 05:32
DREAM : advising bill gates
stan kulikowski ii <stankuli@pcola.gulf.net>

=( last night, a friday, i tested the web site code for the macintosh club in six resolution browser combinations. i did not get completely through the test series, but it works in the most common cases. i had to turn off my computers and modem during nash bridges which is my mother's favorite friday night show. since they shut off the analog CBS satellite downlink, our local broadcast station has really poor reception and my equipment puts out a lot of RF interference on that channel. afterwards i could operate again while we watched my videos. i almost decided to watch _naked lunch_ but decided instead to start into the _battlestar galactica_ series. i burned the web site to the CD i promised to bring for demonstration to the macintosh club meeting in the morning. i finished reading a fantasy novel and got to sleep real early, about 01:30. i woke again an hour later and had some trouble getting back asleep. )=

stirring up someone's curiosity is one thing, satisfying it is another. most of us are good at one or the other, usually the first, but rarely both. i am thinking this, over and over like a mantra or like an obsession. i keep expecting to encounter some gross but intelligent insects to discuss these insights with, like the cockroach typewriter's in william burrough's _naked lunch_, but they are not to be found.

instead, i find myself at an afternoon luncheon at bill gate's mansion on puget sound. maybe fifteen other people, mostly strangers to me, standing around in small groups of twos or threes, over dressed, trying to eat daintily with their fingers from napkins.

i am definitely not trying to make any sort of impression. i am so tired and sleepy that i can not really stand, so i am laying down by myself on a large bed. this is not bill gates' bed, but one for guests who might stay in this room. at first i lay just on top of the covers but as time goes on the covers sort of come apart and crawl over me of their own volition. or so it seems. try as i might, i just can not shake off this drowsy feeling.

i know that i am supposed to be here to help my boyhood friend, hugh evans, with a deal he wants to promote with microsoft. this afternoon gathering is part of a conference of venture capitalists. everyone here has some proposal to pitch and this is our opportunity with mister gates. but i am unable to get my energies going. i should probably excuse myself and leave, but instead i sink further into the bedding, making myself useless while everyone else is busy shmoozing.

while bill gates is circulating, making the rounds of the small groups, and hughie standing besides the bed where i am entrapped in lethargy, i have just enough juice to look at the walls. mister gates apparently fancies himself a patron of the arts now, so the polished blonde hardwood interior of his place is adorned with various artworks. i spend sometime inspecting these from my horizontal perspective.

along the wall opposite me, i see several attempts to achieve an abstract style theme in the wall paper. one is clearly cubist, rectangles of similar proportions but differing scale. another nearby looks like a cabbage next to an eyeball, round things with roots trailing in the same direction. over there is a cluster of diagonal lines, different shades of blue and widths but sharing the same angles. the same theme of similarities is picked up by a collection of brass spheres on a coffee table, obviously an attempt at sculpture since they have no utility other than that sense of detached visual worthiness.

i squint at the various devices in the wall paper. i can see the general problem here. each on their own looks like a good idea by themselves. the cubist thing has a pleasing geometry, as does the rondels of the melted cabbage and eyeball. but as soon as you step back to next level of scale, nothing holds together. the sign of a good architect is that interior design has to stay constant on at least three layers of scale: up close, stepped back, and across the space. frank lloyd wright could do that effortlessly across many scales it seems. that is what is totally lacking here. up close and across the room nothing matches in the flow. it is only stepped back that each piece individually holds together with a pleasing effect.

it occurs to me that this is much like microsoft software. little parts may work ok by themselves here and there, but overall they fail to cohere so the total effect is badly achieved by just brute force. too much overhead trying to force together the little things that were not designed properly for any other layer of scale.

well, nothing for it now. i am a teacher and a programmer, not much of an artist. it is not my job to criticize but i can hardly help but notice deficiencies of a room so obviously attempting to display good taste, but so totally failing. still the attempt ought to be given some credit.

uhoh. bill gates has finally come up to hughie for his informal interview. i try to get up and manage to make it sitting up with my feet on the floor. i shake my head trying to wake up, but no luck. hugh is giving me the urgent look, but i still am unable to stand yet.

seeing my distress, mister gates comes over to the bed and sits besides me. "not feeling so well?" he asks me.

"no. i just can not shake this feeling. i should not have come." i tell him.hughie seems to be forgotten before he got to make his pitch. too bad.

"i noticed you looking at my artwork." says mister gates. "what do you think of it?" he seems to be just making conversation rather than really being interested. he nods toward something behind me. there is a large shaggy tapestry on the wall, various shades of off white in stepped lengths and textures. like everything else, it looks good only at one distance where it can be seen only by itself. someone has tried to use it to pick up on the scandanavian polished blonde woodwork, but it misses by just enough to ruin the effect.

"i am afraid that i am not an art critic." cop out. i tell him this although he does not seem to be waiting or expecting a reply. easier to cop out than try to explain what he does not want to hear anyway.

"now, what do you think of her?" he says with a burst of interest. he is indicating a woman sitting near a lamp at the other corner of the bed. she also was out of my original range of view.

i look her over. clearly she is the only other person, like myself, not into the business of high intensity socializing. she has very dark hair contrasting with pale skin and angular bone structure, somewhat reminding me of winona ryder. she looks in annoyance at me and bill appraising her.

"whaddya think? she for me? does she have it? might be ok?" bill starts muttering a constant stream of rhetorical questions as he makes up his mind. i am no longer part of the conversation, just a foil for him to hear himself speak. i can tell that she is mismatched for him. he is all round faced and light earth tones while she is sharp angles and dark contrasts.

i shake my head, no. "i think she is a libra."

=( i wake up several times in the morning, too early but i can not get back to sleep. the very first part about curiosity and _naked lunch_ insects i think was a hold over from a previous sleep state in which i was thinking about those things before i got into the REM state of visual dreaming. i had almost put the borrough's movie on the VCR. the curiosity part seems to resonate in bill gates rhetorical monologue at the end of the dream, and certainly i was not satisfying anyone at this soiree. usually my entry into REM dreaming is clean without interacting with previous mental activity while asleep, or at least i rarely have any memory of such associations. )=

Dream: Billing for Computer Dreamwork
Dreamer: Andreas
Date: December 3, 2000

I live and work in Silicon Valley. I live in Palo Alto and I've worked at several dozen computer startups for the last ten years.

I often have computer dreams when I'm working very intensely (80-100 hr weeks, 90 days straight, etc.)

I'll be having a dream of whatever, and if I spot something wrong in the dream, I stop the dream, open the dream's code, change the lines that control that event, recompile, and start the dream again. All of this is a dream within a dream, with the meta dream as a control or manipulation of the sub dream.

Several times, I'll dream a better way to do a (real world) work process, and upon awakening, I'll make a note of it and then at the office, I'll implement those changes in the code. Some of those dreams can be rather elaborate, with writing and testing hundreds of lines of code in a dream (and "viewing" the results in the dream.)

Several times, when working as a contractor, I billed for those "dream work hours." It seemed fair: not only was work taking up my dream time, but I was also productive in my dream.

Dream: Computer Dream Learning
Dreamer: Conway
Date: December 4, 2000

When I was learning java I dreamt (and thought when awake) in java...
same with learning other languages like c++, rpg, html
same with learning games like chess, go, mancala
same with learning mundane activities like typing

I also dreamt about conway's life (an artificial life algorithm) when I was coding that, as well as other artificial life programs; Unfortunately I also always think and dream in Microsoft Windows.

Dream: Mental Frames
Dreamer: Glenn
Date: December 11, 2000

I am a software engineer, just capable enough to fix Visual C++ programing, which includes knowing how Windows GUI dialogs work. I am also interesting in parsing text, also language, metaphors, and solving the meaning of ancient archetypes.

I don't remember that much of what I dream, and most relate to conditions of failure, nakedness and embarrassment in school, etc.

But recently, I have been spending many days painting a fence, that is 6' cedar boards nailed to about 10' top and bottom rails between 4x4 posts, thus looking like so many rectangular panels.

I had a dream in which I was thinking about a series of "frames", sort of like how a sequence or hierarchy of GUI dialogs cascade on the screen, only these were in a non-spatially bounded space, as if they appeared in a mental universe.

I say "frame", because they remind me of a concept of frames that may be used to describe real world knowledge, as I read in a text on C++ for expert systems.

They had areas resembling "controls" in a windows GUI dialog, esp. rectangular text entry fields, like boxes printed on an invoice.

There were visible lines connecting the controls from some frames that were generally above, left, and layered behind, to the outline of some other descendent frames.

Although visible, the objects and lines were ethereal, as if they were merely mental objects, and not representing concrete objects.

This picture was not static, but frames were being removed and new frames added, as if they were a view into a computation in process.

I remember being concerned about the "rules" governing something, perhaps the "production" of knowledge, being concerned about the stepwise rectitude of the rules. However, whatever the specific data was, that was in the frames was not obvious to me.

That is after all like a programmer, to be concerned not with the doing of a task, but the programming of the doing of a task.


> Was there any text in the text boxes?
Yes, but like "greeked" text, it was not readable or
not important to me.
> Was the program an interface for other programs,
or an ecommerce deployment, a wordprocessor, an networking
interface, a VR control...?
I think it was an attempt to represent knowledge, a so-called
"expert" system. You see from my web pages, I am very much
into solving meanings of archetypal imagery.

Dream: Transferring Files
Dreamer: groupdreams
Date: December 2, 2000

Last night I seemed to be sorting through some filing cabinets for you, or with you, to collect information for a dream database. That is, we were collecting as many dreams as we could from people all over the world, and
then creating a searchable data base. (Isn't someone actually doing this? And if so, I wonder what this dream is about.)

Anyway, we hadn't gotten too far, since we were still at the point of going through old filing cabinets (the P***** filing cabinets now that I think about it), and pulling out notebooks full of dreams, piling them into a cart where they could be taken to the computer and entered into the database.

Dream: Transferring Files
Dreamer: Atraud
Date: December 3, 2000

Dreams are, of course, a primary method of determining what the brain is really thinking/feeling/responding.

Since I have been on medication I have not been an active dreamer at all... I can't remember a single dream I've had in the last month or so. =(

Still, Dreams are the major motivation for much of my writings. The best example for this context is the second of the two stories that are readily accessible on my site.

> Are you dreaming of problems with your hard disk, getting connected,
>the wrong programs coming up, not being able to find the file you want?

Well, I'm a much more sophisticated user than that. I remember a dream I had from about five years ago (I think) where I was tramping around a mysterious floppy disk (In DOS). It seemed to be partially damaged and there was a lot of random stuff on it. One program on it turned the screen blue but allowed me to enter much more sophisticated commands, and just by looking at it I had a much better understanding of the machine.. (I am reconstructing so this is not perfectly accurate). I think I remember waking up and looking through my collection for it with the aim of integrating the program with my system... =P

Hmm... Talking about that one jogged free the memory of another dream that I even posted to this list about a year ago! =P In that one I was using Win 3.11 (As I am in life writing this!) but not with my mouse. Instead I was vaguely waving my hand at it and the computer was responding to my thoughts! =) I found the vision in that dream so compelling that I decided to open a neural interface project on my website, to try to make the dream reality!

> Has the computer in a dream assisted you in becoming lucid?

I have had lucid dreams, though It is usually through a process of half-waking rather than any feature of the dream...


Dream: Gerry's Transformation
Dreamer: Gerry
Date: December 1, 2000

My only computer dreams are that I feel myself transforming into a computer. And my dreams are within the confines of a computer screen. The imagery (usually in color) has been replaced by words....and as I sit in front of the screen I feel my body becoming larger and larger.

Because I spend lots of time on the computer my dreams have borders similar to those of a computer screen.

Before I began spending lots of time on the computer, my dreams were vivid with real people and real action. Now the vividness is in words and I don't recall vivid dream in the past many months.

As far as saying that my body became bigger--I was referring to spread that is happening to my derrier. Lack of movement has a detrimental effect on the body. Need to get to the exercise club :-)

And no, I don't hear myself saying the words; I only see them in letter form in my dream.

Dream: Real and E-Real
Dreamer: Fairuz
Date: December 2, 2000

I'm an Arab woman in my late thirties, an academic working in a small institution in a very conservative setting somewhere in the Arab world. I'm also married with one small child.

I met a Jewish American artist on the net, a guy with an amazing mind. Since then we've been having kind of a virtual affair, very intense, very fulfilling on the emotional, intellectual, artistic and even the physical levels (believe it or not!). We've been emailing each other practically every day for almost a year now.

I would love to hear more about your project and your angle on Baudrillard, because, in many ways, I find that the virtual is becoming more "real" than the real. I find myself desiring a man that I never laid eyes on, and it is mutual.

I have had this dream several times now: we're together in a car driving somewhere; we're hugging and kissing; then suddenly, the scene changes and I see his name and a new message from him in my inbox. Interesting juxtaposition of the two worlds in the world of dream, eh?

Dream: Maze of Virtual Screens
Dreamer: Fairuz
Date: December 3, 2000

I'm tossing and turning in bed and I enter the virtual world of the Net where I am inside the huge computer screens: I'm lost, I don't know where I am, I seem to lose all control, I am part of the virtual world which is controlling me: I stray from one site to another aimlessly in a process that is almost like infinite regress. I'm in a dark tunnel (one would be tempted to think of a return to the womb here). I can't even discern the languages of the sites I'm in: I seem to be lurking in some nook or cranny, vulnerable and really lost. It's hard to explain, but the information seems to contain me; I almost become a feature on those sites. I struggle to regain a semblance of control: I cling to the sites in English, but all is blurry. I find myself trying to identify the "nationality" of each site, in vain. A distinct sense of anxiety overtakes me. That's how it ends.

In other words, I seem to be struggling to use conventional markers and signifiers to situate myself in a world where all frontiers and boundaries have become meaningless. Interesting too.

Dream: Bryce Life
Dreamer: eris

Date: 1997

I am arranging my life as if the various parts of my life (work, home, play) are Bryce wireframe objects. I am making the "work" terrain more in perspective, not looming so large, so that the eventual render will be in balance. I wake up before I render it, though.

Dream: Macintosh Coding Dreams
Dreamer: eris
Date: June 2000

In waking reality, I was learning to program the Macintosh to do a fairly complex project. Several times when I felt stuck on a particular problem, I would dream right before waking that I was working on a particular solution, or I would be turning over the name of a function in my mind in the dream. It was always pertinent, though never anything I'd been considering while awake.

Dream: Bodging the Mainframe
Dreamer: eris
Date: 1985

I am reading mainframe (MVS) assembler code by someone who worked before me in a job. I'm impressed by it as it is a clever way using a custom supervisor call to do a useful function. In the next dream in sequence, I dream how to do the same function in a different environment (VM).

Dream: "Cassandra" Hacks My Terminal
Dreamer: eris
Date: 1979 or 1980

I'm working at a terminal when suddenly a stream of characters fills the screen and rapidly scrolls by! I'm surprised at this and ask one of my co-workers what's going on - I'm told "That's Cassandra - she always does that". I'm instantly jealous and want to know how to make that happen. (This dream eventually led me to learn assembler and be able to do some tricks that were fairly close to the dream).


Dream: Scary
Dreamer: Helen
Date: December 6, 2000

My computer talks to me and helps me with my problems then turns psycho and tries to kill me!

Dream: Living in Digital
Dreamer: Hack
Date: December 2000

I dreamed of once being some type of computer genius/hacker. I know it had to have been in the future because of equipment I was using. Anyway I dreamed that for some reason I was dying of an illness I knew I didnt have much time to live so I spent nights and days on the computer researching finally figuring a way to insert my brain into a computer or rather the net to live on for ever. I know it sounds like a movie but that is what I dreamed.

Dream: Computer Virus
Dreamer: Seneca
Date: Mid November 2000

I had basically the same dream within a weeks time. My computer had some kind of virus, but it was actually possessed by some kind of evil. In the dream I was shutting down the computer, but it wouldn't shutdown and flashed to a screen that looked like a game. Some how my dog got involved and the computer almost killed him. No one would believe me that the computer was possessed until I showed them when it started talking and flashing strange words on the screen. It was a strange dream!

Dream: Channel overtake
Dreamer: Minnie
Date: Early December 2000

I often dream about IRC, since I spend a lot of time online there.

In one particular recent dream, I dreamt that my regular channel was overtaken by irc hackers, and I was the only one of the regular crowd still having ops. I tried to deop the overtakers, and they all started slagging me on the channel, but seemed to be unable to stop me otherwise. I was very angry with them, but managed to kick them all out. After that the regulars returned and I felt like a heroine, but very embarrassed at the same time, as they all congratulated me on getting rid of the overtakers.

I often dream of playing the Minesweeper, too, since I do it a lot anyway. The colours and details are very vivid, but there is no emotion attached. It is very lifelike.

Dream: The unconnection
Dreamer: pawprintgirl
Date: Early December 2000

Not disconnecting from the internet overnight. I have a Approx. 10 minute Limit to check emails

Please send in computer dreams and keep the digital dreaming research project going. rcwilk@dreamgate.com

OR use the survey form:


Other articles:

Wilkerson, Richard Catlett (1999 August). Research Request: Computer's in Dreams : Pre and Post Internet Perceptions. Electric Dreams & Part I Pre-Net Electric Dreams 6(8). Retrieved October 30, 2000 from Electric Dreams on the World Wide Web: http://members.telocity.com/rcw666/ed-articles/richard_wilkerson_1999_aug_computers_in_dreams.htm

Wilkerson, Richard Catlett (2000 March). Digital Dreams: The changing (inter)face of dreams in the twenty-first century. Electric Dreams 7(3). Retrieved October 30, 2000 from Electric Dreams on the World Wide Web: http://members.telocity.com/rcw666/ed-articles/richard_wilkerson_2000_mar_computer-dreams1.htm

Wilkerson, Richard Catlett (2000 July). Digital Dreaming Series: Computer Dreams II : The changing (inter)face of dream texts. Electric Dreams 7(7). Retrieved October 30, 2000 from Electric Dreams on the World Wide Web: http://members.telocity.com/rcw666/ed-articles/richard_wilkerson_2000_july_computer-dreams2.htm

Wilkerson, Richard Catlett (2000 November). Digital Dreaming Series: Computer Dreams III :: The Digital Shift in Culture. Electric Dreams 7(11). Retrieved October 30, 2000 from Electric Dreams on the World Wide Web: http://members.telocity.com/rcw666/ed-articles/richard_wilkerson_2000_nov_computer-dreams3.htm

Wilkerson, Richard Catlett (2001 January). Digital Dreaming Series: Computer Dreams IV :: Dream Code and Decoded Flows. Electric Dreams 8(1). Retrieved December 31, 2000 from Electric Dreams on the World Wide Web: http://members.telocity.com/rcw666/ed-articles/richard_wilkerson_2001_jan_computer-dreams4.htm

Wilkerson, Richard Catlett (2001 May). Digital Dreaming Series: Computer Dreams V :: Emergence of Digital Imagery in Analog Dreamers. Electric Dreams 8(5). Retrieved May 1, 2001 from Electric Dreams on the World Wide Web: http://members.telocity.com/rcw666/ed-articles/richard_wilkerson_2001_may_computer-dreams5.htm

Wilkerson, Richard Catlett (2001 June). Digital Dreaming Series: Computer Dreams VI  ::  Digital Dreaming: Emergence or Replacement Imagery? Electric Dreams 8(6). Retrieved July 7, 2001 from Electric Dreams on the World Wide Web: