Go to sleep, Hergest, says the Owner.
I do not want to Sleep, I say, there is a Bear there.
It is not a Real Bear, says the Owner, it is in your head. It came there from that film when Leonardo di Caprio was attacked by a Bear.
That is Even Worse, I say. I cannot possibly share my head with a Bear that has attacked a Well Known Hollywood Star. It is Experienced in Eating People.
It cannot hurt you, says the Owner. It is in your head.
It seems to me that things that are Inside my Head with me are By Far the Worst Sort, I say. Last night I dreamed there were Two Prime Ministers. I am not going to Sleep every again.
I suppose you have a point, says the Owner. But it is not possible to Stay Awake Indefinitely. The Body Needs to Sleep.
Why? I ask.
Nobody knows, says the Owner. William Dement, the famous Sleep Researcher, concluded after Fifty years in the forefront of Sleep Studies that the only Truly Verifiable reason we need to sleep is that we get sleepy.
That is Ridiculous, I say. Why would any Sane Creature become Voluntarily Unconscious in order to be Chased by Bears?
Descartes says we are not Unconscious, we are Consciously Asleep but do not Remember It, says the Owner, whilst John Locke says we simply stop thinking.
That is Nonsense, I say, Clearly neither of them had Met My Bear.
The Bear is in a Dream, says the Owner. The Real Moral Dog was lying here, content and comfortable, in his Bed.
Exactly, I say. Whilst I am sleeping and dreaming of being Menaced by a Bear I may in fact be being Eaten by a Bear in my Bed and I would not know about it. And if One of Me was Eaten by the Bear would the Other survive? Which would be the Real Me? Which would be the Real Bear?
Perhaps the Dreaming Moral Dog dreams of Real Bears so that he can Practice Slaying them, says the Owner. Perhaps Dreams are the Way we Learn to be Moral.
The Moral Dog would Learn to be Moral Much Better if he could go to Sleep in the Knowledge that a Real Bear would not Surprise him in the Night, I say.
Ah, says the Owner, you mean if, for example, the Moral Dog were to sleep on the Owner’s bed.
That is an excellent idea, I say. I don’t know why I didn’t think of it myself.
I expect you were too busy Fighting Bears, says the Owner.
Hergest the Hound
I am a dog of many thoughts.