What if you woke up one day and your life was completely different? What if all the things you wished for were suddenly a reality -- you have the job you always wanted, the person you want to be with loves you back, and the people you thought were lost forever are alive again?
One of the most remembered episodes of Batman: The Animated Series is "Perchance to Dream," a powerfully dark story in which Bruce Wayne essentially wakes up to a "perfect" life. His parents, Martha and Thomas Wayne, are alive and well; he is engaged to Selina Kyle; and he is no longer burdened with the job of being the Batman. In fact, Bruce learns that someone else, some other disguised vigilante, is effectively ridding the streets of criminals. No need for him to be Batman anymore. Bruce is initially ecstatic, grateful, almost relieved to learn he can live a normal life. "The nightmare is over," he tells himself.
Only it's not.
We discuss the fascinating neuroscience of dreams and the growing research supporting our ability to control our actions in dreams. Furthermore, by raising the scenario of being "plugged into a dream machine," this episode dares us to contemplate the importance of an existence in which we have free will, motivation, and actual contact with an unfiltered reality. Before The Matrix, The Nexus, and Inception, there was Batman: The Animated Series.