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New Left Review 62, March-April 2010


ROB LUCAS

DREAMING IN CODE

This morning, floating through that state between sleep and consciousness in which you can become aware of your dreams as dreams immediately before waking, I realized that I was dreaming in code again. [1] This essay was originally published in Swedish as ‘Att arbeta i sömnen’ in Dissident, no. 3, 2008. A longer version will appear in Endnotes 2. This has been occurring on and off for the past few weeks; in fact, most times I have become aware of the content of my unconscious mind’s meanderings, it has been something abstractly connected with my job. I remember hearing the sound of the call centre in my ears as I drifted in and out of sleep when I was working there, and have heard stories from friends of doing an extra shift between going to sleep and waking—the repetitive beeps of a supermarket checkout punctuating the night. But dreaming about your job is one thing; dreaming inside the logic of your work is quite another. Of course it is unfortunate if one’s unconscious mind can find nothing better to do than return to mundane tasks, or if one’s senses seem stamped with the lingering impression of a day’s work. But in the kind of dream that I have been having the very movement of my mind is transformed: it has become that of my job. It is as if the repetitive thought patterns and the particular logic I employ when going about my work are becoming hardwired; are becoming the default logic that I use to think with. This is somewhat unnerving.

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