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Refined to One Shape—Frozen Like Crystal

I know where this is coming from. It's that new DeCaprio movie everyone's talking about, isn't it? Last night was a dream about waking up from a dream about a hotel into a dream about hanging out at the beach into a dream about a "great race" kind of event into dreaming about telling Cara Sposa about the dream into a dream about posting it. I know this is baseline reality because that damn knee is aching and I'm not trying to return an accidentally-bought pair of size 54 clown pants and I'm not at work in an amphitheatre made of cat-urine stained cobblestones...

So, if my suspicions about my unconscious are correct, reading about that movie on jpsorrow's blog has got me dreaming about dreams.

Which is a kind of recursion. Which in CS terms means when you make

a_subroutine {
....that does something....
....and usually has a return() clause....
....before calling itself with a_subroutine();

The idea is that the flow of the program gets wound inside itself like the worm Ouroboros. This is useful, because data structures shaped like trees or lungs in the conceptual-mind are well represented by recursive subroutines. When unfolded like those chains of paper people, the data flow depth and breadth can be shown in a naturalistic tree shape. From what I've read, nature probably uses a recursive chemical reaction in creating real trees, or in anything living, in fact, usually conforming to the Golden Mean.

But it occurs to me that recursivity is not exactly what's going on with dreams like this. What simply happens is a failure to wake. There is no return() clause that unwinds the spiral back to the beginning, only, eventually, a wake()/exit() call that shuts down the dream entirely. In my case, Cara Sposa saying "that's your alarm clock that's ringing, not mine, you know."

<Sandman Spoiler>

So, in "Sleep of the Just" (Preludes and Nocturnes, Sandman Series, Neil Gaiman et al.), where Alex Burgess suffers "eternal waking", it is not so much a recursion as a continual dreaming about waking.

</Sandman Spoiler>

This is important insofar as the human mind, when first learning design, tends towards the symmetrical, tends towards the evenly bracketed. As creatures of the Golden Mean, we crave the elegance of completeness, closed systems. The elegance of computer languages holds to this convention, where every brace is followed by a closing brace, and all parts nest neatly inside the others. At least they do now, after this memorial essay started to put the coffin nail into fortran, cobol, and BASIC (saving one overcommon and inelegant example).

Clearly, something in a programmer desires closure and symmetry, even to the point of pathology, as in lisp. But psychologists and artists will also point to symmetry being aligned with control, with the desire to gain a mastery over one's craft. It is in finding the beauty of asymmetry that the artist matures, and a greater sense of the overall structure of nature and the universe is appreciated.

How dull would Alex's story be if he had to wake() out of every deeper dream() instead of rolling over into the next?

And having spent another six hours on Pythia (short story & current bugbear), which probably has something to do with why I'm having these intense dreams, I am understanding the asymmetry of the short story, as in a fragment of jade carved from the whole, to bring out the detail of the natural rock, as the artistry of the mature storyteller.

Pythia, then, is an immature work, since it is obsessed with symmetry almost to the level of LISP. And that's where it's probably becoming dull. It goes on because it needs closure. Every crack in Iola/Spazakia's life needs mending from the outward back in. Like the Vietnam Memorial in WDC, it is a dark bell-curve sinking into the earth and re-emerging, leaving no change in the overall plane of perception.

But the classic Hero myth is exactly that, Mr. Campbell is inclined to point out, and lives on through his most vigorous disciple to do so again.

Here's the question, then, for both Leonardos. Is the tale of the eternal hero a recursion or a sequence? Is the hero like Orpheus/Osiris/Dionysus/Mithra/Achilles/Jesus/Aeneas, or is the hero a re-usable character getting in and out of trouble, like Heracles/Jason/Theseus/Quixote/_______-man/Harry Potter? Or are both temporal and eternal expressions of the same thing, like pine tree fronds and cones?