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Chapter 3. Flights in a dream and their boundaries.

I thinkmost people who have explored dreams the way I do, have encountered thedifficulty of flying. No matter what I did, whether I flapped my arms asquickly as I could like a bird, or slowly and with effort pushed up from the denseair as if it was water, I could not leave the ground for long. If I got lucky,I could gain about five meters in altitude before inevitably sinking back down.Due to this limitation, I began moving through my dreams through a series ofshort hops and bursts of flight instead. This allowed me to, for example, movefrom roof to roof and traverse a city. In dreams such as these, I would try togradually make my way to the tallest building, so I could glide from there withmy arms outstretched. However, this is when I encountered an unexpectedobstacle: There was a ceiling to my dreams!

Yes, youread right. The tallest buildings inevitably were enclosed by a ceiling, thatresembled the sky only from a distance. Close up, however, it turned out to bean impassable barrier. Once you are at such a height, you can overlook theentire, sometimes not so minute, world of the dream. This world, it turns out,is a closed space, a room of several square kilometers, in each area of which,a new dream and a new plot would unfold. After I had learned this, I began toexplore the boundaries of my dreams, simply walking in straight lines for along time. Sooner or later, I would find the wall of the room. I had discoveredthe border of the dream, and at all cost, I wanted to break through. This,however, turned out to be much more difficult than I could have imagined.

In my dreams, there is also a different type of flight, which gives you a feeling of light weightlessness. Unfortunately, this freedom is only a trick of the dream, a deception in the form of a lure.

Thinking back on one of my first experiments withthis type of flight, I remember flying above Vernadsky Avenue in my native cityof Kiev. I dashed at high speed between the tops of tall poplar trees. Fromthere, I could see beyond Akademgorodok where a forest stretched out on thehorizon and an industrial chimney was blowing swirling white steam into thesky. Something was wrong with my movement, however. I could not fly freely, butwas instead sitting in a canvas seat, which I could only control by leaning alittle to the right or left. The seat was seemingly suspended on invisibleropes that reached into the sky, but no more than five meters above my head. Itwas about as useless a mode of transportation as a swing on a playground. Thefact that this swing was clearly attached to the ceiling of the dream did notbother me at this time, however. I was perfectly happy that I was flying atall. Regardless, even if I had wanted to, I could not have gone further. Themoment I tried to go towards the horizon, I was uncompromisingly lowered backdown to the ground. The dream wouldn't let me go further.

Afterthis, I continued to fly in this fashion in my dreams.Every time, I was given some object like a rope that lifted me up and swung methrough the sky in a smooth motion. I was never allowed to go higher orfurther, however. Every subsequent time I had this dream, it only made menotice its limitations more.

Recently I dreamed that I was selected as one of a few artists to fly in a new space rocket (I am an artist, that part was not a dream). I am delighted, even though by that time I have realized that I am only dreaming, and I deliberately play along to not ruin my chances. After all, I am promised a journey to space, far beyond the enclosed world I am in. And then I am in a light weight space suit already, together with other guests from different cultural and scientific fields. We are sitting in a stunning, albeit evidently smaller than live-size, rocket. The countdown to takeoff begins: 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, Go. The rocket takes off rapidly, which I can watch with enthusiasm through the large window in front of me. And what do you think I see a few seconds later? The rocket stops in front of the most conventional ceiling, and, changing trajectory, smoothly continues further in a horizontal line to the ground. Not even fast, but rather as if some kind of crane is lifting it. And then we are lowered to the ground completely, in the middle of a city that looks somehow like New York City.

- What's happening?

I ask the astronaut sitting next to me.

- We must pick up the remaining astronauts, and after that we'll be on our way.

And now we're going in the rocket from street to street, picking up fellow travelers throughout the city as if we're on a bus.We're obviously not going to fly anywhere. And from this upsetting thought, I wake up. The dream world continued to be bound by its own rules. There were noexceptions, even for rockets and space travel.

This reminds me of another funny incident which involved a strange elevator.

I was heading towards a skyscraper office building where a meeting was scheduled for me on the top floor, which was the 100th floor. I got into a large elevator along with some other people and it began to ascend. The elevator was entirely made of glass, and, as we got higher up, I could see a magnificent futuristic city landscape unfold in front of me, consisting mainly of many similar glass skyscrapers visible all the way to the horizon. This first elevator reached its final stop on the fiftieth floor. Everyone exited the elevator into a beautiful, wide hall. Higher up, people explained to me, there were only private apartments, and I would have to take a smaller elevator to get there. I went to the the other end of the hall where these other elevators were located, and in front of them stood a guard with a sullen look.

- No entry.

He said.

- I have an appointment on the top floor.

The security guard confirmed something over the intercom and then led me into a small cabin that was nearly identical to the first glass elevator. This time, I had the view of a stunning large river and its embankment. I felt certain that the view from the hundredth floor would be even more impressive. This was, however, when the logic of the dream faltered once again. We had already reached the ceiling of the dream, and could no longer go up. Instead, the elevator broke away from the building and continued on horizontally to the ground. Finally, it began a gradual descent, until it had set me down on the embankment I had seen from above.

- It's always the same.

That's just what I had expected.

Another dream of mine, about the sensation of flight, played on my sense of scale. In this dream, I travelled around Kiev on some errand, after which I was going to meet my sister. At the bus stop, however, I ended up taking the wrong bus, and it took me far out of town. When I became aware that I was dreaming, I attempted to teleport, or failing that at least fly to the meeting place. The attempt worked. My dream picked me up and carried me back to the city. It felt like I was flying low, about thirty meters off the ground, but at the same time, in front of me, I could see the entire Ukraine and its place on earth. From this vantage point, it appeared that I was flying all the way from a village near Kherson back to Kiev. The landscape was not entirely to scale, however. It was more like being shown a game board with representative symbols and figures on it. So when I arrived in Kiev, the only thing I could see was a single building, that was the scale of the entire city. It was only when the dream had lowered me back to the ground that the city formed around me the way it was supposed to be.

In this fashion, the dream tried different tricks to make me believe in its world. This sleight of hand reminds me of the ways in which computer games trick the player to circumvent technical limitations and limitations of the gameplay. Instead of pacifying me, however, this limitation only piqued my interest more.


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