Famous People's Dreams British Theorist J.W. Dunne

About the dreams of the famous theorist J.W. Dunne regarding time.


J.W. Dunne (British theorist on time, 1875-1949): What Is the Time?

It occurred in 1898, when I was staying at an hotel in Sussex. I dreamed one night that I was having an argument with one of the waiters as to what was the correct time. I asserted that it was half-past four in the afternoon; he maintained that it was half-past four in the middle of the night. With the apparent illogicality peculiar to all dreams, I concluded that my watch must have stopped; and, on extracting that instrument from my waistcoat pocket, I saw, looking down on it, that this was precisely the case. It had stopped--with the hands at half-past four. With that I awoke.

The dream had been a peculiar one. . .and the net result of it all was that I lit a match to see whether the watch had really stopped. To my surprise it was not, as it usually is, by my bedside. I got out of bed, hunted round, and found it lying on the chest of drawers. Sure enough, it had stopped, and the hands stood at half-past four. . . .

On coming downstairs next morning, I made straight for the nearest clock, with the object of setting the watch right. For if, as I supposed, it had stopped during the previous afternoon, and had merely been rewound at some unknown hour of the night, it was likely to be out by several hours.

To my absolute amazement I found that the hands had lost only some two or three minutes--about the amount of time which had elapsed between my waking from the dream and rewinding the watch.

This suggested, of course, that the watch had stopped at the actual moment of the dream. The latter was probably brought about by my missing the accustomed ticking. But--how did I come to see, in that dream, that the hands stood, as they actually did, at half-past four?

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