Night Life

Suppose that your dream-life underwent a remarkable change. Suppose that on going to bed at home and falling asleep, you found yourself to all appearances waking up in a hut raised on poles at the edge of a lake. A dusky woman, whom you realize to be your wife, tells you to go out and catch some fish. The dream continues with the apparent length of an ordinary human day, replete with an appropriate and causally coherent variety of tropical incident. At last you climb up the rope ladder to your hut and fall asleep. At once you find yourself awaking at home, to the world of normal responsibilities and expectations. The next night life by the side of the tropical lake continues in a coherent and natural way from the point at which it left off. Your wife says, ‘You were very restless last night. What were you dreaming about?’ and you find yourself giving her a condensed version of your English day. And so it goes on. Injuries given in England leave scars in England, insults given at the lakeside complicate lakeside personal relations. One day in England, after a heavy lunch, you fall asleep in your armchair and dream of yourself, or find yourself, waking up in the middle of the night beside the lake. Things get too much for you at the lakeside, your wife has departed with all the cooking-pots, and you suspect that she is urging the villagers to sacrifice you to the moon. So you fall on your fish-spear and from that moment on your English slumbers are disturbed no more than in the old pre-lakeside days.

— Anthony Quinton, Thoughts and Thinkers, 1982

“Is such a two-space reality conceivable?” asks Peg Tittle in What If…: Collected Thought Experiments in Philosophy (2016). “That is, is it conceivable that we could live in two different but real spaces?”

See Figure and Ground.