My presence entered the building hesitantly, floating in like a photography drone getting a closer view. Unaware of the exterior of the building, I recalled no means of conveyance that had delivered me present in mind and not body. Dreams are like that: concentrated impressions lacking physicality.

The extent and purpose of the building were not evident. The greeter at the door was apparently the superintendent of some program. Speaking unclear instructions, he handed me an unusual illumination device. After several attempts I was able to produce a steady light. With that, he admitted me to roam freely.

I did not see the ends of corridors or the upper limits of the walls. Exploration took me from room to room along a progression of discovery. Each learning station incorporated a fresh activity. Some were almost recognizable; others were baffling as I moved about where my curiosity directed me. Uncertainty subsided as the day wore on, engendering a sensation of rest and belonging. The establishment, whatever its purpose, took on the familiarity of home.

Eventually overcome by fatigue, I returned the light to the superintendent with gratitude and appreciation. There was much to report. After he heard me out, he gently asked how I had fared with the other children. “I’m sorry, sir” I replied sheepishly. “Were there other children present?”

His gentle demeanor softened the rebuke: “The building was full of other children who had not mastered the illumination device. They were waiting for you to cast your light to help them.”

The article title is not “dreaming about failure.” What was the failure? The dream itself? The missed opportunity? The narrator’s oblivion? Do you attach an allegorical meaning to every object in the story? Does it support a unitary message?

In a more literal context, the title might be “reviewing failure.” Did either the narrator or the superintendent overlook failure? If the dream itself was not a failure, what message did it deliver?

Game

Here are some words I associate with the story. I have alphabetized them to take them out of the order in which they appear in the allegory. On matching, one word might fit in several places.

birthcomprehensiondeath
declineeducationexpanse
God (a.k.a. life)humanityignorance
infinityintelligencejudgment
learningopportunityout of body
parablesplanet earthpractice
progressionsciencesocial responsibility
societyspirittheory
understandingwomb 

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