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They had experimented ... with living human senses; and the brain could be re-educated. Eyes could learn to see rightside up or upside down. Somewhere in the waves of energy that impinged the nerves, the brain constructed its own fantasies of matter and blue skies and green grass and solidity, screening out the irrational and random.

A reality existed within us too, tides of particles that were themselves nodes in chaos, all strung together to make this reality of ours. And in this place the structure of matter gaped wide and I could see it ... miniature tides like the tides of the moving galaxies in one rhythm with them, and us spread like a material veil between, midway of one reality and the other.

No, I thought again, and leaned against the veil/wall in my chosen viewpoint of what was, was, was ... don't look down. One was advised not to look at such things and never to know that all of us were dreaming, dreaming even when we were sure we were alive, because what the brain always did was dream, and what difference whether it built its dreams from the energy affecting it from outside or whether it traced its own independent fancies, making its own patterns on the veil. Don't lean too hard. Don't look.

I slid down onto the corridor floor and heaved up my insides, which was my body's way of telling me it had had enough nonsense. It wanted the old dream back, insisted to have it. I lay there dry-heaving until I dismissed my ideas of dreams and eternities, because I hurt inside and wanted to die, and if I could have waked and died at once I would have gladly done it.

--C.J. Cherryh, Port Eternity

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