Lucid Dreams: The First Virtual RealityPsychologicalSean Pasinsky LibEd 316-2 5 Feb. 1997For ages people have thought of dreams as curses or blessings that wecould not prevent nor manipulate.
This “place” called our dreams has constantlypuzzled us, because it is here where all things are possible and seem to occur. In our dreams we perform superhuman and wonderful feats that would normally beimpossible in the “awake world”. We find the men or women of our dreams,depending on our sexual orientation. While we dream, these wonderful thingsbecome our temporary reality. Yet sometimes while dreaming we may experience themost horrifying events imaginable, called nightmares. Everyone has their ownversion of horror, my most terrifying nightmare has been where my family andfriends have been taken control of by evil monsters that cannot be stopped.
Rather than kill me they make me watch old 1970’s television shows over and over. For years, men have thought that there should be a way of preventing orcontrolling these nightly events. Humans must, like any animal, sleep. We do not fully understand why wemust sleep.
We only know that if we are deprived of sleep long enough that wewill most certainly die. The same is true for dreams and dreaming(1). If wesleep long enough we will reach an advanced stage of sleep where our body beginsto experience rapid eye movement (REM). It is during this REM period that weexperience most of our dreams. Many scientists try to speculate the reasons fordreaming through biological our psychological means.
This proves to be veryfrustrating for someone trying to find empirical meaning and truth about his orher dreams. There are countless books written about dreams with just as manydifferent interpretations and meanings for specific dream references. Forpsychics, astrologists, or psychologists who attempt to interpret dreams, thereare numerous factors that must be considered when endeavoring to find meaning ina dream. Because of these numerous factors that contribute to the condition ofdreaming, many different paths have been created for exploration. From Freud’ssexual symbolism to the current random recollection theories diversity in dreaminterpretation abounds. However, there is a way to dream and not be at the mercyof your subconscious mind.
For the past ten years a bright psychologist at Stanford University, bythe name of Steven Laberge, has been studying dreams and the physiology of thehuman body during the dream state. His research may sound commonplace if itweren’t for the added fact that he is training people to control their dreams. His subjects are learning to become aware of their dream experience as it ishappening. Once they are aware of their dream they can simply take completecommand of their dream and can consciously cause anything to happen. To thesemi-conscious mind the experience is virtually identical to being awake. Thisconcept is nothing new, in fact many of us will experience at least one of thesedreams in our lifetime.
There are a variety of stimuli that he uses to induce this state of mind. One method is playing a tape recording of the phrase “This is a dream” duringthe sleeper’s REM. He may also use conditioned tactile stimuli. Light, however,appears to be the best stimulus means of providing an external cue to thesleeper that they are dreaming. This is because environmental light seems to beeasily incorporated into dreams and, when properly conditioned, reminds dreamersthat they are dreaming(6). Use of a special light device has been promising: 55%of 44 subjects had at least one lucid dream during one study(5).
Thepossibilities for human progression that this concept creates seem to have nobounds. For years psychologists and others have sought to find a perfect semi-conscious state of mind where a subject will have a strong link with theirsubconscious and may even interact with an interviewer using this frame of mind. Another name for this state of mind is called hypnosis. Although the “lucid”state of mind that Dr. Laberge’s patients experience is not completely consciousor subconscious, they are still asleep, and the world that they are in is verydetailed and just as realistic as our waking world. That is what puzzles mostpeople who look into his research.
Although not mentioned by Dr. Laberge in hisstudies, I think that there is a definite opportunity for a great unlocking ofthe secrets of the human mind. Many practical applications exist for lucid dreaming. There are