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Real-time dialogue between experimenters and dreamers during REM sleep (cell.com)
48 points by kasperni 63 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 23 comments



Lucid dreaming is awesome. I think if we can make it doable for the common population without needing to practice the various methods, it'll be just like how it's shown in the movie Inception: people spending all their time dreaming in a fantasy world. It's the ultimate VR because whatever you think, the mind will create.

The level of detail is just insane. I once stopped to examine a flower and it was as detailed as real life. I ate sushi and other foods in a dream and it was literally the best tasting sushi I (n)ever ate. I could also give myself super powers like stopping time, flying, elemental manipulation, etc.

It's ridiculous how much power there is still to be harnessed.


> It's the ultimate VR because whatever you think, the mind will create.

I've been thinking about this problem from the other angle. When we lucid dream there is a certain part of the brain that is deactivated that otherwise makes us aware that we are not in the real world.

That is, in the real world we don't really need to perform the reality check, we can tell intuitively. In the dream world this intuition is lost. I don't remember which part of the brain is involved but it has identified by comparing activity during normal dreams and lucid dreams.

If we could stimulate the brain in the right spot the right way we could inhibit that part that knows what's real and what's not and maintain full continuous presence in VR.


As it appears to be a phenomenon almost exclusive to the very young, expansion to the general population seems unlikely as that implies biological constraints.

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1365-2869...

Note the study itself is limited to under 20s but shows a clear age-related decline.

My own anecdotal experience (which I agree, was awesome) confirms that.


Maybe because people for ~20 years have less sleep hygiene?


There’s an old Fred Pohl[1] novel (I forget the title) where this is a plot point. A time traveler finds himself in a post-scarcity utopia, but everyone’s wasting away spending all their time in the “dream theater”.

Fun little book, but firmly a pulp: the lucid dreaming scene is really raunchy.

[1] Edit: Maybe Poul Anderson. It’s been a while.


It was also a plot arc of the underrated great movie "Until the End of the World".


> I think if we can make it doable for the common population without needing to practice the various methods

Besides simply searching on google for how to lucid dream, do you have any specifics on the various methods and/or any tips on how to get started?


There are a lot of guides online. I particularly like the information presented in the lucid dreaming subreddit wiki [0] which has a lot of guides as well as a FAQ and other threads. I'd go through all of that information in order to learn.

As a quick start however:

1. Keep a dream journal and write down dreams as soon as you wake up, as much as you remember. You will get better at this over time.

2. Perform reality checks. Count your fingers or blow air out your nose periodically.

However, there is a much more powerful concept called All Day Awareness. It is the notion that reality has a surprising amount of detail but we are just not aware of it during the day to day. So, just stay where you are and observe the environment. Look at things, hold them up close to your eyes. For example, take a leaf or piece of paper or your hand and see all the individual details. Fully be aware. This helps you understand when you're in a dream and so you'll be lucid.

3. Each night, say you'll lucid dream. It will work with enough practice such that you do lucid dream. It's not guaranteed however. This technique is called MILD, or mnemonic induced lucid dream. There are others.

Note: using substances like alcohol and marijuana especially will kill your lucid dreaming attempts as they inhibit REM sleep, especially weed.

[0] www.reddit.com/r/LucidDreaming/wiki/index


Every time you do something that you do frequently during the day -- for example, pick up your phone to use it -- stop for a few seconds and mentally ask yourself, "Is this real?"

Once you're in the habit of doing that, you'll start doing it in dreams, too. And in dreams, you're very likely to realize things aren't real, and that you are, indeed, dreaming.

That's the technique that works best for me.


This is gonna mesh well with my background paranoia every time I type my password into a computer that I'm actually in a simulation with some unknown entity trying to exfiltrate my credentials. :P


It requires constant awareness(willpower) to keep that lucidity and focus, or the dream mutates to whatever you focus on and you're back in normal dreamland. Any physical activity there costs willpower, so you're not flying all the time(unlike VR where your activity can be a passive state(observer),in dreams all states are active processes and observing changes the dream itself(its much harder to be a neutral observer)).


Er.. “power”? ”Harnessed”? I do not understand your use of those words. How do you “harness” a dream and use it to “power” a change? Are you thinking that lucid dreaming might alter one’s brain? Change one’s real-world behaviour? Because on the face of it, I’m not seeing any way that a dream can directly change anything in the real world. Strange use of the words, IMO.


Does playing a video game change anything in the real world? I think in terms of an entertainment paradigm it could be pretty powerful.


I think you're reading too much into my comment. I'm talking about harnessing it for entertainment (or if you're more subversive, subjugation) purposes, ie for fun for many individuals, or like in Inception, as a drug of the masses. It's a phenomenon that can be used for many purposes, good and bad, and one that is yet to be tapped because we don't really have the technology to do it yet.


How did you induce it?


Check out my other reply in the thread.

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=26186920


A short documentary follow up: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7M06fJxiayo


Nice


Is it who we think of as the 'participant' responding, or is it just a subconscious reflex, like the way our knee responds to a reflex test? And, does that matter?


It seems like the participant since they have to proactively signal they’re in a lucid dreaming state with deliberate sweeping eye movements (LRLRLR) before answering questions.

It definitely matters because it implies we are consciously aware of ourselves during lucid dreaming but we’re asleep!. The memory of the dream is the only part that’s fragile. It’s another blow to the view that brain activity during REM is just randomly firing neurons rather than a creation of our consciousness.


FTA: “Our general approach was to awaken the participant from sleep after achieving successful two-way communication, in order to obtain a dream report. […] participants typically reported that they had received experimenters’ questions in their dreams”

⇒ If it was sunconscious, it did not stay that way.

Also, it would have been quite the subconscious. One of the participants decoded questions posed in Morse, and questions included simple math (“Then we presented a spoken math problem: 8 minus 6. Within 3 s, he responded with two left-right eye movements (LRLR) to signal the correct answer 2. The math problem was then repeated, and he again produced the correct answer”)


One step closer to Granny Cream's Hot Butter Ice Cream!


Was done before https://xkcd.com/269/ ;)




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