Saturday, 26 July 2008
The idea that it is difficult to tell the difference between one’s inner world and the outer world has been the subject of many books and movies. But the novel “Coma” by Alex Garland always comes to my mind when I think of this idea.
In the story a guy wakes up after being beaten up, but slowly throughout the book he realizes that he has nor waken up at all, but that he is in a coma. When I first read the book I was shocked, because I was at that moment completely unsure about my own state of being. I seriously considered the possibilty that I had died without noticing it. I still consider that to be a serious possibility, but I think that the situation is a little more complicated.
One of the best scenes in ”Coma” is when the main character listens to a Little Richard record and notices that Little Richard sings the same lines over and over in stead of the complete lyrics . He remembers that there was more text in the song, although he cannot remember what that text was. First he thinks that there is something wrong with the record, but then it begins to dawn upon him that there is something wrong with him. He is all dreaming it up: there is no record, it is only his memory of that record.
For many weeks I tried to think of ways to find out if my “reality” wasn’t also just my memory/dream of a reality that I had once experienced. I couldn’t think of any way to be sure.
The stories that Philip K. Dick wrote are often based on this this theme. And movies like ”Matrix”. ”Groundhog day”, ”Truman show” and many many others. I know that for many people this whole idea will seem paranoid, but I rather say it and turn out to be wrong one day than don’t say it and turn out to be right one day.
Here is Little Richard with ”Good Golly miss Molly”: