April 8th, 2018


Dream Stuffing

I've always been a little sceptical of those tapes that you play through the night to help you learn some large body of information such as a language, but I may need to revise my opinion.

Last night I had a strange dream in which I was watching a television programme about the biologist D'Arcy Thompson and his book On Growth and Form, which was published early in the last century and seen by many as a challenge to Darwin. I'd never heard of book or author, and was quite interested. At one point there was footage (and accompanying commentary) concerning the hexagonal structure of the cells in bee hives, I remember.

After a while, in the way of dreams, it stopped being a documentary, and became an exchange with a friend, in which he was reading out the Encyclopaedia Britannica entry on Thompson. I kept trying to interrupt, wanting to ask whether his theories really were as incompatible with Darwin's as the programme had claimed, since it didn't strike me that way, even if Thompson's emphasis was very different. But my friend, teasingly, refused to stop his steady reading of the encyclopaedia.

And then I woke, and found that I had fallen asleep three hours earlier with the radio on, and was now listening to a programme about Thompson on the World Service. Considering that I had no idea who Thompson was when I fell asleep, and awoke knowing a reasonable amount about his life and theories, I was quite impressed.