Wednesday, July 22, 2009

lucidity

today on msn.com there was an article called 'i believe i can fly' by mason currey. please click here to read it.

it's about lucid dreaming, which is basically being able to control yourself in your dreams. it requires a few steps, all of which i think are silly and useless.

you see, i have experienced this lucid dreaming, or at least i think i have. pretty much everyday i set my alarm to go off a half-hour before i need to get up. and usually i pull myself out of bed an hour after my alarm goes off. my snooze button lasts for an entire ten minutes. perhaps that is the trick--giving yourself enough time to have a dream might be an important part of becoming conscious in your dream.

but i have to admit i personally think the key to lucid dreaming is logic. one of the steps currey mentions is having some sort of test to tell if you're dreaming or not. in my opinion, if you have to ask yourself if you're dreaming or not, you're dreaming. it's just logical. [pinching myself doesn't work at all. when i pinch myself in my dreams it hurts. really, it does. it's weird, cause i know i almost never move in my sleep, and i know i don't actually pinch myself, but it will hurt even after i wake up. like my nerves actually experienced what i was dreaming.] but anyway...logic is what it's all about. usually in dreams i do things i wouldn't normally do, like touch people, or things are just so weird that i inherently know it's not reality. so i do agree with this step--that you must become aware you are dreaming.

but in all my lucid dreaming i've never actually TRIED to do this. it just happens. some nights (okay, late mornings/early afternoons) i just know i'm dreaming and can control what i do. the one thing i can't control when this happens, though, is waking up. no matter how hard i try in these dreams, i can't wake myself up. once i had this dream where i woke up and went through all the menial tasks of getting ready. and then i woke up and realized it was a dream. so i did all the getting-ready-for-the-day-things again. and then woke up and did it all again. and again. and again. after a few times i had realized i was dreaming so i kept shouting at myself to wake-up for crying out loud. but it just kept cycling. it was the most boring dream ever. and incredibly hopeless too. eventually i was screaming at the top of my lungs at myself to WAKE UP but to no avail. nothing i did changed the fact that i was still dreaming.

maybe if you can't wake yourself up it doesn't fit under the definition of lucid dreaming. i don't know. but that's my experience with it. no matter what i do in my dreams, no matter how i can change the little things in them, i can't get out of them.

i once saw this episode of law and order:svu in which the two main detectives were called to a house about an attempted rape. the boyfriend of the girl's sister had been staying the night and had tried to rape her (the sister, not his girlfriend). but it turned out that this boyfriend had a sleep disorder where he acted out everything in his dreams and so the detectives couldn't do anything about it. and the guy walked away scot free.

whether that's a plausible result of such a scenario i have no idea. but it begs the question that i've been wondering about a lot lately: are we responsible for what we do in our dreams?

even in lucid dreaming we can only partially control what we're doing. the scenario doesn't necessarily change. just some of our actions. being conscious while dreaming doesn't always mean that you even change anything. you can, but you don't. sometimes you just wait and see what you'll do. it's almost more entertaining that way.

a lot of times it seems like what we dream is a whole mess of things we've been thinking about lately. so maybe what we allow ourselves to think about during the day gets chewed up and regurgitated into our dreams. and we're responsible for our daily thoughts. so are we responsible for our nightly thoughts? what do you think? are we accountable for the choices we make while we dream?

2 comments:

Sophie said...

No, I don't think we're responsible for our actions when we're sleeping. Which is why my sister shouldn't have thrown pillows at me from across the room when I was talking in my sleep. However, I think it'd be hard to determine if someone really was asleep when they committed a crime, as they claimed.

Sometimes I dream that I collapse and die. They are really scary dreams and I can't wake up and feel like I am really dying.

Sarah said...

I don't think we can say that we are responsible for what we do in our dreams. Cause like you said, what we dream about is not always what we would/who we are. Like you touching someone. It's just not possible. But, why then, do we have those thoughts when we're asleep. Where do they come from?!