Saturday, May 23, 2009

Argentum Metallica

I keep dreaming about machines.

These are not your father's machines, mind you. These are machines, constructs of the imagination with no specific purpose. They look like a cross-bred nightmare of Rube Goldberg's inventions and Hollywood special effects. Put them on the floor and they'll waddle around like drunken probes, tearing small squares off the carpet every now and then.

Sometimes I don't dream of the smaller machines. Sometimes I get a glimpse of the bigger ones, as though I were some astute observer trapped within their inner workings. These are not the cog-and-gear affairs of the local clock towers, but more of stout cables covered by steel tubing, all flexing and extending by means of spherical joints that could hypothetically guide their moves in any direction. In these dreams, the purpose of the greater machine is unknown; sometimes I feel as though it were only around to intimidate me.

This is not an uncommon sensation. I think of metal and machines from a conceptualist background, tempered with the occasional flashes of an IT-based upbringing. As a result, my literary perception of machines tends to focus on what's possible with them... and sometimes the potential applications scare me. The fact that I dream of machines that seem to have no inherent purpose other than as objects of observation is a very strange thing. It's as though my subconscious is trying to blow my mind, so to speak.

There is most likely a story in here somewhere. Strange concepts like this are fertile ground for such outlines. I just don't see any form, sense or structure in it yet... or perhaps I haven't thought about it enough in order to put some together. Time is short for me nowadays, after all.

What strikes me the most is the lack of a human element, I think. Normally I feel as though people can relate to science fiction (or any other genre that features technology in a prominent manner) because they can directly compare such aspects to a convenient human counterpart. With these dreams, however, there's not much of a human element apart from my anonymous presence... ergo, a situation where I cannot identify the purpose of the hunk of spare parts in question... ergo, a perfectly mystifying dream.

If I subscribed to metaphors in interpretation, I would immediately point out a link between the complexity of my mind-constructs and my everyday life. It's a terribly obvious link, however, and it doesn't offer anything of assistance. It's not a satisfactory explanation to me, so I'm doomed to think about it further and dream of more machines while I'm at it.

I'm fortunate that the only fear inherent in the dreams lies in the fact that I don't know what they stand for. I haven't encountered such things as spinning blades, tooth-filled compactors, or any similar industrial nightmares yet. That probably implies that whatever their significance is, it's not a manifest threat yet. It could be that that little voice in the back of my head, the one whose sardonic laughter I've suppressed over the years, has probably broken free of at least a few restraints and is now taunting me again.

Sometimes they're so close that I can hear them. The sound of metal scraping against metal chills my ears, perhaps accompanied by the twisting of steel and the pounding of iron pistons. A Techno-genre soundtrack would find a good home in there, more than anything else.

There are times when I wonder why I don't dream of things like grass and flowers and light puffy clouds like normal people do. But then again, if I ever did dream of those things, I'd probably curl up into a ball in the middle of the imaginary fields, wondering when the monsters would show up.

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