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The dream hypothesis has been pondered by great thinkers

from ancient philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle

to the Enlightenment mind,  Rene Descartes.

It poses an existential query on whether the senses can be wholly

relied upon to distinguish what is true and therefore assuredly to navigate life.

Yet, within this framework of  thought,

life is more a characterization of an illusion:

fleeting, momentary, almost dream – like.

Are life experiences a layering of illusions, a composite of

“dream(s) within a dream?”

In his acclaimed short poem, A Dream Within A Dream,

Edgar Allan Poe seems to consider such abstract notions.




A Dream Within A Dream

by Edgar Allan Poe

Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow-
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.

I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand-
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep- while I weep!
O God! can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?

by Edgar Allan Poe


(image from nytimes.com):

edgar allan poe, portrait

 Edgar Allan Poe, 1809 –  1849