Dreaming of tigers
I also had a rather amusing dream involving looking at my mother's old photo album, which revealed that during the sixties she had organised love-ins in our garden and was friends with Timothy Leary.
I am still not sure how much the odd state of my brain is due to its attempts to rebalance neurotransmitters after giving up smoking. It's not a very strong hypothesis, since two months seems rather a long time to be still having withdrawal symptoms, especially since I had few if any of the normal physical withdrawal symptoms (constipation, shaking hands, cold sweats etc.). However, th alternative hypothesis - that I am by nature irritable and depressed but had masked it by using nicotine to up my dopamine levels - is even less encouraging. Fortunately, this is equally unlikely, since if this were the case, I should have been like that during the 1980s, which actually made up the happiest period of my life. Time to fish around for a new hypothesis.
William Godwin, in his mammoth tome An Enquiry Concerning Political Justice, considered various theories about the causes of a person's nature. Showing fairly advanced thinking for 1793, he considered heredity, pre-natal events and early childhood experiences, and concluded that whatever influences these factors might have, they paled into insignificance beside the influence of a person's current circumstances. To return to our tiger analogy, in waking life rather than dreams, if a person who sees a tiger is scared, it is not because he has a timorous nature or had a bad experience with a tiger as a child; it is because he is looking at a tiger.