Sunday, August 30, 2015

L. C. Tyler, A Very Persistent Illusion...and thoughts evoked by it

L. C. Tyler, A Very Persistent Illusion
Macmillan (UK), 2009

Chris Sorenson, a minor bureaucrat in a minor British bureaucracy, wonders whether the world exists outside of his consciousness.  (We have scenes interspersed with Descartes.)  In Chris's world, his parents and younger brother died in a crash some 20 years before.  His girl friend Victoria's father dies, leaving behind a strange, hidden past.  My favorite part of the book is Descartes trying to decide between "Dubito ergo sum" and "Cogito ergo sum."  I do love the idea that "I doubt, therefore I exist."  This is not a happy book and it does not have a happy ending, but it's hard to put down.

But it brought something back for me...On December 24, 1980, I was in a fairly serious car crash, which resulted in a broken hip and a 7-day stay in the hospital.  For several years after that (the frequency of this diminished over time), I was occasionally afraid to fall asleep, because I was afraid that what I thought was reality was simply a dream I was having while in a coma.  And if I fell asleep in the dream, I would not wake up.  I did not really need--or want--to be reminded of that.

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