A person in a dream co-authored a math paper (short article)

I don’t understand the 1985 paper, “Higher Algebraic K-Theory of Schemes and of Derived Categories [PDF],” by Robert Wayne Thomason and Thomas Trobaugh. But Thomason’s introduction is fascinating. He says the paper was co-written by a simulacrum of his late friend Thomas Trobaugh who appeared in Thomason’s dreams.

The first author must state that his coauthor and close friend, Tom Trobaugh, quite intelligent, singularly original, and inordinately generous, killed himself consequent to endogenous depression. Ninety-four days later, in my dream, Tom’s simulacrum remarked, “The direct limit characterization of perfect complexes shows that they extend, just as one extends a coherent sheaf.” Awakening with a start, I knew this idea has to be wrong, since some perfect complexes have a non-vanishing K0 obstruction to extension. I had worked on the problem for 3 years, and saw this approach to be hopeless. But Tom’s simulacrum had been so insistent, I knew he wouldn’t let me sleep undisturbed until I had worked out the argument and could point to the gap. This work quickly led to the key results of this paper. To Tom, I could have explained why he must be listed as a coauthor.



So…was Robert’s dream more than just an extension of his own mind? :wink:


That is indeed a good question. His description of the dream character as a simulacrum is suggestive of what he thinks on that subject. Who knows though. It’s very cool either way :slight_smile:

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  1. an image or representation of someone or something.

“a small-scale simulacrum of a skyscraper”

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Steve, by “yes,” do you mean “yes, Robert’s dream is more than just an extension of his own mind?” If so, and if we accept that the dream character is a simulacrum, then our minds are full of simulacrums (of, for example, everyone we know), so in that case the character is part of his mind.

By yes, I meant that Robert feels that the dream character Thomas was a representation created by his own mind rather than somehow being the presence of Thomas’ real “consciousness”. I may have my understanding of the term simulacrum wrong.

If that was the case, then perhaps the character, Thomas, that Robert conjured up in his dream sparked a new realization for Robert, one that he attributed to Thomas.

As I read the account again, however, I think I may have that backwards and that Robert feels that Thomas “consciousness” was truly represented in that dream.

I think that our understanding of the depth of the dream state is sorely lacking. I have been in crowds of people in dreams, all of whom presented with very specific “personas” as I walked among them. I have been in many crowds in my life and it is quite possible, I suppose, that my mind somehow captured many individual personas and stored them unbeknowst to me consciously.

But…I have also had up close and personal interactions with people who were memorably specific in who they were but were not somebody I have ever met on that level in the waking state.

I’d like to think that in the dream state we can connect with a macro-level shared consciousness. From my experience…that’s how it feels. That possibility brings up some pretty deep questions. My understanding is that our micro consciousness lasts for a while in the bardo state but fades as we approach rebirth. My experience with Carla in A voice from the Bardo suggests that may be the case. If that is the case, then Thomas’ micro consciousness would have long dissipated. There would have to be a whole 'nother layer of stored collective consciousness… :sunglasses:

These are…deep waters. :slightly_smiling_face:

Who knows? Maybe a long-dissipated micro-consciousness is still immanent in the totality of Being, and can be refracted into temporary manifestation by the dreaming mind of a physically alive person.

Or maybe our dreaming brains are superb at creating all kinds of compelling and complex delusions.

Not that these possibilities are necessarily mutually exclusive…



I like that a lot. Here’s another take on it…bear with me as I work up to it.

I’ve been working of late with the tri-kaya perspective, that is; the physical body (nirmanakaya) and the illusory body (sambhogakaya), with the clear light presence (dharmakaya) as an underlying primordial state. After an adventurous night last night in my illusory body I awoke to my physical body feeling as though I was still “dreaming”…only to be greeted with today’s excellent WoW.

I asked myself this question… to what state will I eventually truly awaken?

Perhaps one awakens from each dream of a lifetime to the state of Clear Light…before entering into another “dream”. And perhaps from within that “totality of Being” we retain some of the wisdom that we have gleaned fro our countless dreams of being alive. If so, perhaps we are able, at times, to share that wisdom in the dream within a dream.



. . . with someone else? We become a “guide?”

Perhaps our Dharmakaya “self” contains the essence of all we have ever been or, since I suspect that the “Clear Light Being” self is independent of time and space, all we ever have been and will be.

Oh, and that “self” is also completely interconnected with the Macro-Consciousness so it is accessible to all sentient beings when they access their own Dharmakaya self…for things like guidance and co-authoring in the dream.

Hey…that would explain a whole lot of paranormal type stuff, right? :sunglasses:

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