Mark Twain called it "mental telegraphy" - mind reaching to mind and transmitting a message without need of other technology or ordinary speech. I'm going to update the phrase and call it "mental texting". We all know this phenomenon. Wethink of someone and the next moment that person (from whom we may not have heard in a long time) calls on the phone, or sends a text message, or turns up on the doorstep. Two personal examples from my current life on the road in Portland, Oregon:
Wednesday, March 4. Portland OR
A father's death
At a cheerfully anarchic community radio station where the news director is (literally) a bearded lady of the kind we saw in old-time circus sideshows, I flub a story I have told a hundred times. It involves a big dream before my mother's death. Actually, I tell the story correctly the first time, then go back and say, "I meant to refer to my father's death."
After the show, I ask myself why on earth I changed the details of a story that is absolutely central to my life to set it in the context of my father's death. Within a few hours, I am given three reasons. First, the talk show host speaks with deep emotion of the circumstances of his own father's death. Next, I receive an email right after the show from a close friend I have not seen in many years telling me she is flying to her family home because of her father's death the same day. She describes a vivid dream from a few days before in which his death appeared to be a wedding, and comments on how she felt the dream had prepared both of them for his crossing. Third, in the hotel lounge that evening I strike up a conversation with a woman who tells me she is in town to support her 86-year-old father, who is in a comatose state at a nearby nursing home; she is not sure whether he is coming back or getting ready to leave. We discuss how she may be able to "look in on him" and help to clarify his wishes and the right paths to follow.
Thursday, March 5 Portland OR
I rise at 4 am today to record a very exciting dream with some "Indiana Jones" elements, in which an anthropoligist who proved to be a sorcerer tried to blind me and succeeded, in part, for a time. As I write my report, I reflect on how blindness is a rare element in my dreams, and being blinded is quite novel. When I check my BlackBerry, I find that a friend on the East Coast sent me a dream report while I was asleep that features a highly-charged episode in which she is blinded as part of an evil plot. This may be an example of mental texting, producing dream overlap.