The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula K. Le Guin

The jellyfish drifts in the ocean. There is no compass to guide it as it sways and pulses. However, the continents started to form and it disrupted the peace. What will the creature do or think. The creature was pinned from fallen concrete. He suffered radiation sickness. He couldn’t walk properly and was escorted by the elevator guard. Mannie was one of the characters. Mannie was feeling like crap and a stranger was talking to him. The medic thought that Mannie was on drugs. He was taking it for 2 months already. Mannie didn’t want to reveal who gave it to him. The guard wanted to help Mannie. Some kids were suffering from kwashiorkor, according to the medic. Help didn’t come fast enough as there was a lot of red tape.

Ain’t it great to be alive? – Mannie

Dr William Haber was a professor had a picture of Mount Hood in his room. Mr Greene was his patient for tomorrow. It was a drug abuse case. Penny was his secretary and did the administrative work. Global warming had caused the Earth massive harm. All the snow were gone. Mr Orr came into his room. Mr Orr had consumed more than his usual allotment of pep pills and sleeping pills from autodrug. Haber wanted to administer therapy on Orr. The dosage exceeded Orr’s Pharm Card. Orr suffered from bad dreams. Haber was a dream specialist. He said Orr took drugs to deprive himself of dreams. If you deprive yourself of dreams, your mind will suffer and become irritable. Partial dream deprivation was not good for the body. Orr was afraid of dreaming. Orr revealed that his dreams affected the non-dream world, the real world and was alarmed by it. He dreamt something and that something came true. Haber dismissed his claim. Orr could change things. Aunt Ethel was Orr’s mother’s sister. She was always in Orr’s dreams. Orr dreamt she was killed in a car crash. True enough, as per the dream, the telegram came. It really happened in reality! Haber thought he was a schizophrenic. His mother didn’t have any memory of it. Orr said he didn’t want to change things. Orr was a draftsman for the Bonneville-Umatilla Power District. Orr had no problem with his relationships. Haber wanted to teach him to dream safely. His solution was to get Orr to dream intensely and vividly. He had a Palace of Dreams. He would make Orr wear a trancap . Also, Orr would be hypnotized. He finally worked out a basic machine. Haber said that it would have a high chance of curing Orr. The augmentor would ensure deep sleep. Haber would be using the v-c induction method. There were 4 states of sleep: waking, trance, s-sleep and d-state. The d-state was short, and one needed to enter the s-state first. Haber connected the trancap and could view Orr’s brain signals on the EEG. Orr’s brain was extraordinarily complex. Orr managed to dream and it was captured on the EEG. It was a dream about him being with a horse in the field. Suddenly, Haber realized that that the picture of a horse in his room should have been a picture of Mount Hood. Orr was also known as George. Haber pretended that the picture of the horse was there in his room all along. Haber didn’t have the double memory. He wanted George to come back again to see him. George admitted that the horse resembled Haber.

Dreams are incoherent, selfish, irrational – immoral. They come from the unsocialized part of us, don’t they, at least partly? I didn’t want to kill poor Ethel. I just wanted her out of my way. Well, in a dream, that’s likely to be drastic. Dreams take shortcuts. – Mr Orr

George didn’t own a car. He was in a crowded train at the moment. It was very warm and the air was polluted. The sea levels were rising rapidly. It was constantly raining in Oregon. Orr went to see Haber again. Haber wasn’t well versed in current affairs and the war in Afghanistan. George was soon put to sleep again. It was a dream about the horse again as Haber wanted him to have that dream. Now, it was in a stable and the horse was in it. He released a huge pile of shit. Then, the dream ended. The mural behind him was now Mount Hood and not of the horse anymore. The doctor did not recall the horse-mural. Now, Orr felt being made use of. The Augmentor was a means for self-stimulation was the brain. Haber emphasized on the importance of releasing mental powers. Orr was disappointed by Haber’s denial of the change in the mural. Orr was frustrated with society and the whole crowding/city life in general. Haber made him sleep again. Now, Orr dreamt about the South Seas, coconuts etc. Orr promised to return again for another session of therapy. Orr dreamt of Kennedy as well in the previous dream. While in the train, Orr thought he was living in a nightmare. He felt giddy now. Orr was also having difficulty recalling unconscious thoughts. Suddenly, he suspected that Haber knew what was going on in his mind. Why didn’t Haber confess about the mural change? Orr’s mind was active and he kept thinking.
The setting is Portland. There was an automatic-elevator parking system. High-rise offices were everywhere. Miss Lelache thought of herself as a Black Widow. She was with Mr Orr in her office. Mr Orr was under Voluntary Therapeutic Treatment. This man had a drug problem. Lelache was a lawyer. Orr was a patient of Dr Haber and he claims that Haber was using his ability to use him dreams to exert influence over reality. Orr explained the whole story of Dr Haber’s treatment methods to Lelache. The problem was that Haber doesn’t direct him to do anything, except dream them. It would hard to find evidence to indict Haber. Orr felt he was being used as an instrument, even though Haber’s ends are good. Lelache was confused by his wants. It was like Orr had the ability to enter an alternative Universe when dreaming. It would be extremely hard to get evidence. Orr wanted Lelache to sit in for one of the therapy sessions. She agreed to help.
Atwood passed Mr Haber. Penny Crouch was around as well. Haber started thinking. He had to go through government letters. He went into sleep research. Science to him, had to be applicable. A HEW inspector was coming to inspect Dr Haber’s augmentor. Haber greeted the lawyer. Haber expected a cordial relationship with her. Lelache wanted Haber to explain what he was doing with Orr. Sleep can be induced at any time. It was non-intrusive in nature. However, it was research that was tested well enough. His method of auto-stimulation had no effect on the patient after the treatment. The dream content is manipulated by hypnotic suggestion. Miss Lelache wanted to meet Orr. Haber was confident that the process would do Orr no harm at all. The hypnotic process started and was in effect now. Orr didn’t like overpopulation. Haber proposed that Orr was afraid of being touched by others. Orr would dream about overpopulation now. Haber showed Lelache the EEG traces. Finally, Haber cut out the augmentor. Would Lelache keep both memories (before and after the dream)? Now, Haber wanted to stop Lelache. Outside the window, something had changed. Lelache seemed shocked by the change. The world seemed very sparse now, with only 1 billion people. 6 billion of the others had disappeared. What happened to them? Lelache thought there was something wrong with her. George finally woke up now. Orr had dreamt about the plague. There was no over-population now. Haber convinced him that the world was better now with no overpopulation and that he didn’t be so anxious. Orr confessed that he buried people in his latest dream. Lelache was not allowed to talk to George and Haber wanted George in the next afternoon again. Haber drank his whisky and shouted ‘To a better world!’

A person is defined solely by the extent of his influence over other people, by the sphere of his interrelationships; and morality is an utterly meaningless term unless defined as the good one does to theirs, the fulfilling of one’s function in the sociopolitical whole. – Dr Haber

Our task is only beginning. Orr had a nice and cosy house. He was terrified when he got home and wanted to do something about everything. He didn’t want to do. Orr knew he didn’t want to go back to Haber. He knew it would be difficult to escape Haber. He murdered 6 billion people. If he quit Haber, Orr would be in trouble as he had obtained drugs illegally. To continue, Orr knew he needed to take the dream suppressants. However, in order to do so, he had to co-operate with Haber. Orr kept thinking that Haber’s ends were good, but how about the means? Lelache called Orr. She didn’t suspect any wrongdoing by Haber. Haber got promoted to be a director ever since he worked on Orr. Lelache arranged to meet Orr. She could not reveal a lot to Orr about what Haber had said during the treatment. Food was surplus in this underpopulated world now. Orr suddenly thought that it was okay to dream because he saved the world from overpopulation. He wanted to dream again. The air was still very polluted. There were not many factories or cars anymore. War also broke out because of the Plague. The world was also engaged in a nuclear war. Haber was like an onion, he had no centre, only layers. Orr always thought that Haber was using his dreams to change the world. Orr didn’t think it was right to force the pattern of things. The war was coming soon and Orr knew Haber wanted to end it. The end justifies the means. What if there was no end? Orr claimed that he was watching a battle in space from Earth in his dream. Orr was supposed to dream of peace as instructed by Haber. He claimed that it would be idealistic to imagine a world without war. Instead, he thought that it would be better to substitute one war with another. Who has humanitarian dreams? Orr claimed that he might not be the best person for the job. Orr was afraid that the aliens might land one day on Earth. Haber said that Orr was working towards freedom and that freedom was the most important thing there was. He said that the unconscious mind contained health, imagination, creativity.

I haven’t any strength, I haven’t any character, I’m a born tool. I haven’t any destiny. All I have is dreams. And now other people run them. – George Orr
Isn’t that man’s very purpose on earth – to do things, change things, run things, make a better world? – Dr Haber
I don’t know if our life has a purpose and I don’t see that it matters. What does matter is that we’re a part. Like a thread in a cloth or a grass-blade in a field. It is and we are. What we do is like wind blowing on the grass. – Dr Haber

Daydreaming holds a lot of possibilities. Dreaming is the approach of an invisible reality. Lelache was supposed to meet Orr for lunch. Orr did not answer his phone. She explored his apartment without his permission. Orr was just a quiet man who lived quietly. Manager also didn’t know where Orr was. Orr used to borrow Manager’s Pharm Card. Lelache wanted to pursue Orr. She drove out of the city. The Aliens attacked the Lunar Base and killed all the astronauts. Orr was hiding in a cabin when Lelache found him. He couldn’t sleep. Heather went to visit him. Orr didn’t want to sleep as he was afraid to. Orr was skipping therapy. Orr was a strong man and could rely on himself. Heather admired him for his strength of character. Orr also drank some brandy. He slept standing up so he couldn’t dream. Orr was worried that he might be going insane. He was concerned about which the real things in life. Heather’s husband died in the war 3 days ago. Orr claimed that he dreamed aliens because Haber wanted to dream about peace on Earth. Heather was also Lelache’s other name. Haber had a fixed view of the world and he wouldn’t change it. She suggested that Orr dream about him. However, Orr said that he couldn’t really control what he dreamt about. Lelache suggested that she hypnotize him now. The plan was to dream that Haber was a nice man who wanted to help Orr. She was a Portlander and was a mix between a black and a white. The wars and the plague were horrible, but so was overpopulation. Orr claimed the world ended 4 years ago, in April 1998. The world was in chaos then. Lelache started to hypnotize him. Orr was fast asleep now. Now, she got shivery. It was cold and she found it difficult to sleep. Something was wrong. There were sirens around. The Aliens had landed. This was part of Lelache’s plan, which was for Orr to dream that the Aliens were no longer on the Moon.

A person who believes that things fit: that there is a whole of which one is a part, and that in being a part one is whole; such a person has no desire whatever, at any time, to play god. Only those who have denied their being yearn to play at it. – Lelache
Are there really people without resentment, without hate? People who never go cross-grained to the Universe? Who recognize evil, and resist evil, and yet are utterly unaffected by it? – Lelache
The only solution I really can see is to kill myself. But I don’t want to. It just doesn’t seem right. – George Orr

Only Oregon was targeted by the war. It was basically a defenseless state. Missiles exploded on Oregon. Lava started flowing from Mount Hood on the first day of the alien invasion. Earthquakes were a common place. The jets accidentally bombed wrong areas. The whole city was affected by power failure as well. Haber was still looking for Orr and he headed back to his office. To Haber, he didn’t like long term relationships and only believed in the power of free will and independence. But now, he felt lonely. Although he had food supplies etc, he felt deeply alone. He felt a strong sense of apathy and regret. Orr was injured and came looking for Dr Haber. Orr came with a woman too. Orr and Lelache were involved in an accident on the way to Haber’s office. The scene outside was like Hell and Haber wanted Orr to dream and put things right. Haber had improved his augmentor now. Orr believed in the new machine and wanted to try. Orr was surprisingly calm even though there was chaos outside. Both Haber and Orr were impelled towards the window now. They were both sucked in. Haber directed Lelache to the basement now. She went off. There was a large object moving outside the air. Haber wanted Orr to dream about peace and hypnotized him. Haber stared at the alien ship outside. Its snout filled the entire room. Haber was brave and tried to protect the augmentor at all costs. Just as it was about to strike Haber, it withdrew. From the ship’s snout, a giant turtle wearing a suit emerged. The creature said ‘Do not do to others what you wish others not to do to you.’ The creature said that he came in peace and that their species were not armed. It encouraged humans to stop destroying themselves. Finally, the alien ship withdrew. Orr said that he dreamt that an alien entered his office and that Haber and it started talking. That happened in reality. Orr said that an effective dream is a reality. Orr pleaded desperately for Haber to contact the government and stop this mindless killings. In a dream, there was no free will. Orr couldn’t choose, he simply followed. Haber thought that by communicating with the government, Orr would be redundant now.
Orr didn’t like his job now. The continents were unchanged. Portland was now home of the world planning center. The city was very futuristic. Lelache was no longer in the phone book and changed office. Orr suspected that she might not have even been born now. Everyone looked the same now and they all worked in the World Planning Center. They all wore grey clothes. Haber suggested that Orr dreamt a world where there were no more color problems. There were no racial problems anywhere now and war was a problem no more as well. There were no brown people and that was why Orr couldn’t find Lelache. Orr felt the world was empty and people didn’t have character now. Haber was now the Director of HURAD, the vital center of the World Planning Center. He was more powerful now. There was no end and he wanted to keep improving the world. The aliens were allowed to land as they were peaceful. Some of the aliens established businesses on Earth. Mount Hood erupted and caused much pollution. Everyone was grey now. Some members of the crowd were armed with a hypodermic gun, where they could administer euthanasia on others. Later, while walking, Orr saw this sign ‘THE GREATEST GOOD FOR THE GREATEST NUMBER’. Haber wanted to do away with hypnosis now as he had improved his technology. He wanted Orr to try a waking state dream. Orr was suspicious as Haber kept wanting to find out more but he had no cure for him. Haber emphasized the importance of change for the human race. The society now believed in eugenics and will put those with inferior genes to sleep. Now, an alien started talking to Orr. Speech is silver, silence is gold. Self is universe. The augmentor was amplifying what the brain was doing at the moment. Orr said that he couldn’t allow Haber to use his dreams anymore. Haber wanted to induce the e-state in other humans too. He said that if he managed to achieve that, Orr would not be necessary. Haber would not hesitate to use legal or psychic coercion if Orr failed to co-operate. Although the world was better, Orr had his doubts on the future direction of the world. Haber said that Orr was a moral jellyfish when he almost destroyed the world in the past. Haber had to guide Orr along the way. He was adamant that the experimentation needed to continue. Experiments or techniques needed to be replicated in order to be useful. Haber imagined a world like heavens, and men will be like gods! Orr promised to come back tomorrow.

Nobody was every outcaste in India – nobody was every lynched in Alabama – nobody was massacred in Johannesburg! War’s a problem we’ve outgrown and race is a problem we never ever had! Nobody in the entire history of the human race has suffered for the color of his skin. – Dr Haber
When things don’t change any longer, that’s the end result of entropy, the heat-death of the universe. The more things go on moving, interrelating, conflicting, changing, the less balance there is – and the more life. I’m pro-life. – Dr Haber
The world is, no matter how we think it ought to be. You have to be with it. You have to let it be. – George Orr
We need health. We simply have no room for the incurables, the gene-damaged who degrade the species; we have no time for wasted, useless suffering. – Dr Haber
But where’s democratic government got to? People can’t choose anything at all anymore for themselves. Why is everything so shoddy, why is everybody so joyless? – George Orr

George contemplated on the loss of free will. He thought he was insane because he lost it. This life was hollow, there was no room to create. Orr started walking around and went into a shop. The shopowner was an alien. He started talking to it. He asked the alien about Lelache. The alien was Tiua’k Ennbe Ennbe. Orr felt that the aliens were on his side as he could connect with them. The problem with Haber was that he was out of touch. Orr started playing the CD he bought on the phonograph. The lyrics read ‘Do you need anybody? I need somebody to love. I get by, with a little help, with a little help from my friends.’ Lelache was high on marijuana now. Orr felt asleep while listening to the music. Orr managed to find Lelache. She was grey but elated to see him. She encouraged Orr not to go back to Haber at all costs. Orr and she had been married for 7 months already. Haber reminded Lelache of Alexander the Great, who was just power-hungry. Later, Haber stood in their doorway. Haber only promised 1 more session with Orr. Orr said okay. Orr was under hypnosis, as planned. Haber instructed Orr to dream an effective dream, a normal dream. He mentioned what a great help Orr has been to the institute’s work. Orr finally woke up even during d-state . Haber was surprised Orr managed to do that. Orr recalled that he dreamt of a picture of Mount Hood on the wall. He appeared to be in the clear as his dream was normal, and not effective now. Orr was still curious about what the term ‘iahklu’ meant. Orr mentioned that the aliens were a lot better at dreaming than humans. He suggested that Haber work his machine on an alien instead. Orr and Lelache now wanted to head out for dinner. However, something seemed strange and nothing seemed correct anymore. They could not find the restaurant they were looking for. Suddenly, Orr said he needed to return to Haber and he left. Haber started to dream and the whole world started melting now. Mount Hood erupted viciously. Orr warned Lelache not to follow him. It was an incredibly difficult journey back to the Institute. Orr managed to reach for the Augmentor and pushed the button. The world re-existed again. Haber was in a daze. His eyes were empty. Death and terror followed Haber’s dream. Orr knew that he might have lost Lelache in the chaos.

You have to help another person. But it’s not right to play God with masses of people. To be God you have to know what you’re doing. And to do any good at all, just believing you’re right and your motives are good isn’t enough. You have to … be in touch. – George Orr

An alien spoke to Orr. He was E’nememen Asfah. The aliens communicated in a strange way, always very dream-like. The alien invited him to its apartment. It commented that Orr had lived well. Both of them slept. Orr dreamt of oceans and sea turtles that night. The economy was recovering and the world was becoming a better place now. Orr visited a mental asylum now. Dr Haber was the patient. It was unreality that man couldn’t bear. Haber couldn’t speak. Orr’s employer was the alien now. Things were returning to normalcy now. The alien sold kitchen products. Lelache was in their store at the moment. They didn’t seem to remember each other much. It turns out Lelache re-married. Finally, she recalled what happened in the past. He knew he wanted to win her back. His alien boss allowed Orr to take time off to meet Lelache for a meal.

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