The Coding Dream  ->

One night, several years back, I fell asleep. It was a warm summer night in California, and our house had no air conditioning. I had been studying programming books for more than was perhaps healthy, as I do almost every day, but that night something happened.

I "woke up" in the middle of the night. Without a doubt I was still unconscious, but most of my dreams have a clearly unrealistic quality to them; I can count the number of times I have actually been "fooled" by a dream on one hand. This time, my brain seemed fully awake, with all my logical skills intact.

I found myself in a universe instantly recognizable and yet completely inexplicable. Without a doubt, I knew that I was examining the program that ran my mind. This language was completely foreign to me; for one thing, it was symbolic. No words or letters appeared anywhere, but I knew the meaning of everything I laid my eyes on. As I write this, though, I am unable to remember the barest details of even one.

The second thing that stands out is that this program, comprising all of my thoughts, impulses, and characteristics, was three-dimensional. The code appeared massless, and I cannot remember physically touching any of it. Yet the different planes of code were interwoven in a way that is impossible for my conscious mind to understand.

This, I have since decided, is the closest analog to cyberspace that I can imagine. Obvious and yet indescribable, massless and yet containing volumes of data; algorithms and logic imparted directly to the human mind.

Certain sections of this giant program drew my attention, and as soon as I saw a flaw, the solution came to mind. The lattice melded itself to match my desires, effortlessly reshaping its flow. Connections were, were not, and then were again, but in a different configuration.

I worked for what seemed like hours, although it was probably much shorter. There was no research or debugging involved; as I looked, I saw that the code represented the algorithms perfectly, with no degradation. There was no distinction between data and logic; I realized that they were one and the same.

After I woke up, I wasn't sure how seriously I should take any of this.

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Last modified: Mon Apr 17 19:15:48 MDT 2000