Caveat: Captain Bligh and the Cladistics

I had this weird dream that I was attending some university, and went to class to find that Captain Bligh was giving a lecture on cladistics.

Actually, this wasn't so surprising – in the past several days, I have consulted wikipedia articles on both topics: Captain Bligh and cladistics.

Here's what's weird, though: the reason I had consulted those wikipedia articles was because they had appeared separately in dreams, previously. So there's this strange conversation going on between wikipedia and my subconscious. I want in on it. I hate that feeling of being on the outside of a conversation where I have a clear interest, unable to break in or really understand what's going on. (Wait… that describes every single day, at work.)

About three days ago, I awoke (as I inevitably do, these days, several times a night, because this medication I'm taking seems to have shrunk my bladder) at around 3 am. I had been having a strange dream where some rioting Koreans were complaining about cladistics. Holding up signs with the word "cladistics" in red circles with red prohibition lines through them. I knew I had once known this word, but I couldn't quite recall what it was. So I grabbed my phone wikipediaed it, right then and there (isn't the 21st century interesting?). I (re-)learned all about cladistics, as I finally drifted back to sleep. I guess I must have studied it, at some point in the past, probably while fulfilling my botany minor as an undergraduate. I do find it interesting.

Then two nights ago, I had some dream fragment where I was with some of my students and we had to fight pirates. This isn't that implausible – pirates are fixtures of kids stories and cartoons everywhere, in today's global culture – and thus they come up now and then in class conversations and jokes and creative endeavors. I had forgotten the dream, until yesterday, sitting bored at work because no one had showed up for one of my classes (not that uncommon in the immediate post-test-prep period), I remembered the dream, and recalled that one of the pirates had been "Captain Bligh." Of course, this is ignorance. In googling Bligh, I (re-)learned that he was not a pirate, nor were his antagonists, the mutineers led by Fletcher Christian. Anyway, as before, I find it an interesting story. I find the person of Peter Heywood to be the story's most intriguing: going "native" in Tahiti, returned to Britain, condemned to death for mutiny, but pardoned and a career navel officer. It made me think, tangentially, that I need to get back to my recent aborted attempt to re-read Melville's Billy Budd.

That was all rather digressive, in an expository way. The point being, that last night, these two things came together again in the dream. The dream was borrowing from recent waking life – which is common enough. What is uncommon is that the recent waking life had been borrowing from dreams, in turn. Perhaps if I had been taking better notes, I would find earlier pointers from those previous dreams to waking life, again. Perhaps I could spiral, helix-like, back through dream and consciousness into my own remote past? Perhaps this could be the plot of a hard-to-understand novel that no one would read. Perhaps, Borges-like, just proposing the novel does most of the creative heavy lifting involved, and I can now rest satisfied.

I do need to rest, anyway. I woke up far too early, this morning, and have insomniated myself right through the overcast dawn. But I must go to work – it's Saturmorning and my "naesin semi-vacation" is over.

"Captain Bligh and the Cladistics" should be the name of a nerdcore hip-hop collective from somewhere in Polynesia, or perhaps Long Beach.

[daily log: walking, 6.5km]