I had a dream that I was looking for a certain book in a library. The library building was very governmental-looking and small on the outside, but inside (in the way of dreams) it was enormous. It was so big that I got the sense it was infinite. The first room I came to was an echoing and cavernous hall filled with heavy wooden tables that had those green-shaded pull chain lamps on them. There were library patrons everywhere- I immediately got the sense that some of them weren’t from “around here” (literally- they were aliens, or dead people, or historical figures from some other time). I was really nervous at first, but they all ignored me and just went on doing library things, like using computers and reading newspapers, etc. I wandered until I came to the “reference room”, which was a vast, octagonal chamber. At the center was the reference desk, and behind the desk was a podium with a huge atlas on it. This was the book that I had come to find. I approached the podium and grabbed the book, intending to steal it. Immediately an alarm went off and the ceiling of the chamber opened to reveal an enormous spiral galaxy. The reference librarians were all pointing at me and yelling and it was chaos- people were running everywhere. In the disorder I managed to get make it to a nearby exit. I left the building and found myself standing in an alley with the book, which was big and extremely heavy and difficult to carry. I sat down in the alley and opened the book, but it was empty. The pages were totally blank. Disappointed, I looked up and there was President Barack Obama in a big glass elevator on the side of the library building. He was looking at me and shaking his finger, and I felt bad for stealing the book. Then I woke up. What does this mean?
My Dear JMJ,
Libraries, of course, are repositories of knowledge, and there is no greater repository of knowledge than one’s own mind. Therefore The Professor would posit that this infinite library of your dreams in fact represents your own mind, and the Secret Atlas of the Universe is the ultimately unattainable distillation of all your questions and answers collected into a single volume. Of course, your brain is a smartypants and it played a trick on you, didn’t it? The pages of the book were blank, because naturally there is no such thing as a single place (or person, object, situation, or belief system) that can possibly hold all the answers that you seek. The quest for knowledge is like an ongoing search in an infinite library- if your reference work is solid, you will find the answers to some of your questions, but being that the mind is infinite, and the questions mutable, it is unlikely that you will ever find them all. The infinite library of the subconscious mind may be a messy place, at times populated with aliens and historical figures browsing the internet or thumbing through periodicals, but it is a wildly fascinating place in which to pass a night (or a lifetime). So banish your haste and enjoy thumbing through the multifarious volumes of yourself. But do not rush your quest for knowledge, lest the result be a tricksy, cumbersome volume and a disapproving finger wag from a metaphorical figure on high.
With an encouraging tail wag, I remain your faithful servant and dream interpreter extraordinaire,