Friday, February 25, 2011

The World Needs To See It’s Asleep

Hello friends of Carrier Pigeon. This being my first blog post I decided to discuss a subject I feel very strongly about and is the vehicle for my story in Issue 2. A subject that has the potential to change lives for the better, but is almost totally ignored by the masses. Forget about changing lives, in my opinion, if studied properly by the scientific community, can actually save lives. What is this topic that holds so much promise? One word people: Dreams. No not your hopes and wishes. Not the magazine clippings you put on some piece of cardboard cause some book told you to. Dreams, that special place, which is only yours and no one else’s. Dreams have so much potential, yet our society treats them as an afterthought. We go to sleep, see some images, wake up and go on with our day. Some people claim to not dream at all. This is not true. Everyone dreams. Whether you remember them or not is another story.

First let us quickly go over what lucid dreaming is. This is what people in our society should aspire for. It is attainable by everyone given some time and practice. Basically a lucid dreamer is someone who is fully conscious that they are dreaming within the dream state. Now I believe that there are many levels of lucidity. The highest would be having full knowledge and control of the dream as well as full knowledge of all the events leading up to you falling asleep just before the dream. Memory, not knowledge, is really the word to use. Memory is the key to it all. When you are within a dream your mind throws all sorts of reasons at you for why the ludicrous is rationale. To become a lucid dreamer you need to see past this. Accessing your full memory will get you there.

I will share one of my earliest fully lucid dreams to show my point. I was walking down a busy street. Nowhere familiar to me. There was a long line of people. I walked down towards the end of the line and wondered, “what’s all this about.” As I got towards the end I saw a dog. I asked a man standing next to the dog what everyone was on line for. The dog answered. To be honest I can’t quite remember what it said, but that really doesn’t matter. My first response was, “Oh, okay” and I turned away like nothing was weird. Then it hit me. Something so obvious and out of the norm. I turned back to the dog and said, “Wait a minute. Dogs can’t talk. Holy shit. I’m totally dreaming.” For anyone who has experienced this moment they can agree with me it is one of the greatest feelings in the world. The first thing I did, which is the first thing most people do with this newly discovered ability, is wish fulfillment. For me it was doing back flips to impress the long line of people waiting for whatever it was they were waiting for.

How can lucid dreaming save lives? There are many applications for lucid dreaming. If our soldiers, firefighters, medics, and policemen were trained in lucid dreaming they would be more prepared when dangerous situations arise. Your dreams have the potential to be a training ground. A safe place where you can experience the dread of war or having a burning building collapse over you. Is it real? No, but in the dream it feels just as real as reality. You can hear the bullets fly over your head and pin you down as well as feel the heat from the burning house. All of these occupations already have real world training. With live ammunition, real contained fires, but knowing your instructor is somewhere close by watching you takes the realism out of it. If the powers that be really looked at dreams seriously I am sure smarter people than me can find a way to incorporate training scenarios into their cadet’s dreams. It would be a tough line to walk. You wouldn’t want the trainee to be too lucid, this would cause them to feel like nothing can hurt them, but you would want them to have enough consciousness to understand they can overcome the obstacles in front of them. Of course many ethical concerns would arise if an idea like this were implemented.

Phobias can be cured through lucid dreaming. You’re scared of snakes, well just get lucid and hop into a pit of them. Emotional problems can be fixed by forcing people to confront them head on. I believe even spousal abuse can be stopped. Your husband hits you from time to time. If you start lucid dreaming you can deal with him in your dreams. Then maybe the next time he tries something you won’t be afraid. You’ll know you can fight back or have the strength to turn that s.o.b in.

No matter what the problem is lucid dreaming can help us rewire our brains to see that there really isn’t a problem. In life it is very easy for our minds to get stuck. To think that what is is. Dreaming can help us think outside the box, see that the box was built by ourselves to begin with. If we built the box we can also destroy it.

For more info on the subject check out Lucid Dreaming by Stephen LaBerge. He has done some amazing scientific research on the dream state, but I advice reading his early works. In his later years I feel he has gone towards the New Age side of it, hosting expensive retreats in Hawaii and such.

Also watch the film Waking Life by Richard Linklater.

Keep Dreaming My Fellow Oneironauts.

-Ben Schaeffer

No comments:

Post a Comment