Being Forced to Read the Arab News: A Nightmare.
What a night! I moved the mattress into the lounge-room and laid it on the floor, with only a thin cotton mat protecting the mattress from the carpet, so that I could clean thoroughly under the bed. It was hard getting to sleep at all, but when I did, I woke a few hours later in a dream-panic.
In the dream, I was being forced to read Arabic news. Article after article, mired in hopeless stupidity and limitation, trapped in the Arab closed circle of toxic culture and inability to break out into a liberal society. But the demonic intelligence which was forcing me to review the news was absolutely convinced they were evidence of progress, positivity, and goodness, so it forced me to keep reading, and would allow no protest. The sheer number and momentum of falsehoods rose up and overwhelmed me and choked me beyond my ability to refute or even discern them. I was overcome by waves of evil.
Then I gradually became aware of my body and breathing; phlegm was accumulating in my oesophagus and blocking the passage of air, causing difficulty breathing. My panic had a physical correlate! Relieved, I got up and drank water, hoping it would help clear the airway, and lay back down to sleep, and slowly the panic crept back.
Helplessly I lay in bed for an unknown amount of time, watching the difficulty in breathing recur and then compulsively swallowing the clear the phlegm, again and again. What else could I do? "Perhaps," I could not help but thinking,"this is how the body will die." But not last night. Gradually the difficulty subsided, and I fell into fitful sleep.