Tuesday, April 21, 2009

What dreams may come?

This one might require some explanation. Not that it'll make that much more sense, but I'll try.

The text in this comic strip is the most famous doggerel (literary term for "shitty") poem of all time. Its origins aren't exactly clear, but as the story goes, a famous author (Dorothy Parker, William James, Ogden Nash, and Gertrude Stein depending on who's doing the telling) awakes from a dream, convinced that he or she has received a profound insight. He/she quickly jots it down and returns to sleep. On awakening, (s)he excitedly looks at the scrap of paper on the bedside table, only to find that... it makes no sense.

The scientist Friedrich Kekulé, who solved the riddle of benzene's molecular structure, said that the answer came to him in a dream (he dreamed of a snake eating its own tail; benzene is a ring). The poet Samuel Colridge claimed that the text of his most famous poem, Kubla Khan, also came in a dream.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that sometimes dreams are responsible for truly profound inspiration. Other times, they are responsible for bullshit like "Higamus Hogamus."

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