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[146] 71. "In our consideration of dreams we come now to the remaining point1 left for discussion, which is your contention that 'by long-continued observation of dreams and by recording the results an art has been evolved.' Really? Then, it is possible, I suppose, to ' observe ' dreams? If so, how? For they are of infinite variety and there is no imaginable thing too absurd, too involved, or too abnormal for us to dream about it. How, then, is it possible [p. 535] for us either to remember this countless and ever-changing mass of visions or to observe and record the subsequent results? Astronomers have recorded the movements of the planets and thereby have discovered an orderly course of the stars, not thought of before. But tell me, if you can, what is the orderly course of dreams and what is the harmonious relation between them and subsequent events? And by what means can the true be distinguished from the false, in view of the fact that the same dreams have certain consequences for one person and different consequences for another and seeing also that even for the same individual the same dream is not always followed by the same result? As a rule we do not believe a liar even when he tells the truth, but, to my surprise, if one dream turns out to be true, your Stoics do not withdraw their belief in the prophetic value of that one though it is only one out of many; rather, from the character of the one true dream, they establish the character of countless others that are false.

1 i.e. of the three mentioned in ii. 60. 124.

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