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Lucid dreaming

Lucid dreams are dreams in which you know you are dreaming. Some people cultivate them as a means to altered states of consciousness, out-of-body experiences, etc.

I've had lucid dreams occasionally but this morning I experienced an unusual one; it was a lucid dream within a dream and involved two people.

I dreamt I came out into our garden, where there is a small pond at the end. In the dream there was a much bigger pond taking up half the garden. I thought this was odd, and then realized I must be dreaming. At that moment my wife came into the garden, so I asked her what she saw. She said there was a large pond. I pointed out that this was not really the case so she must be dreaming, and in fact we were both dreaming.

She was reluctant to believe this, so I said I'd prove it by flying. I flapped my arms and rose about 20 ft into the air, and then landed. She was by now semi-convinced, but I said I'd prove it to her by getting her to fly too. She was afraid to try at first, but at last agreed, and with a bit of assistance from me she too started to fly. At first she thought she would fall but I managed to convince her it was perfectly possible to keep aloft by occasional flapping. The dream concluded when a woman (also airborne) came past to bring us strawberries and cream.

One occasionally does get dreams within dreams, but this is the first I have had in which the inner dream was lucid. It's also the first in which two people were having lucid dreams simultaneously.


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Juno on :

Anthony -

Long-time reader here. I especially enjoy your book reviews.

Maybe you and your wife just discovered that you're living in a Matrix :)


Anthony Campbell on :

I've thought for a long time that this is the case - see - How to tell if you live in a simulation.

Juno on :

Anthony -

Thanks for the link. I'll definitely read that. I'm such a fan of The Matrix triology, even if they could have just made two long films instead of three.

And while I don't actually believe I'm in a matrix, of course I can't rule it out. And I clearly think it's much more likely that I'm in a matrix created by aliens or sentient machines than that a supernatural, chauvinistic father-god created me :)


Anthony Campbell on :

I wasn't being serious about living in a simulation of course; just an amusing idea to toy with. However, Paul Davies, in The Goldilocks Enigma, treats the idea at some length and makes the point that, if there really is a multiverse, there must certainly be innumerable simulations and it is more lilely than not that we live in one.

I liked your web site, by the way.

Juno on :

Oh, I didn't think you were serious, but there are some people who think that, I'm sure.

I read your review of Davies' book and I have yet to go out and get it. I have a huge reading list, and it gets longer every week! Too many books, too little time.

The multiverse theory is fascinating, but I'm afraid I don't have the intellectual muscle to really understand it. Of course, I'm neither an astro-physicist nor a cosmologist; we lay-people have to rely on the integrity of the scientific method for the veracity of such things.

I'm glad you liked my blog!


ian russell on :

i've read your account with interest and i have a question.

does time exist in dreams? notwithstanding that we can't be sure time exists at all but our perception of linear time might not exist while we dream, so a lucid dream could be a fallacy. rather like the way a movie is put together - rarely as the movie-goer will experience it. we wake and make sense of the dream afterwards - i mean, memory is an unreliable thing at the best of times. ;o)

Anthony Campbell on :

I suppose that's possible although I'm not sure how that would explain the phenomenon. Wouldn't the time effect need to be found in the waking state for that to work?

But the question of time in dreams is interesting. I seem to have read somewhere that experiments show that dreams occur in real time - the dream episodes take as long as they would in real life. But I can't recall the reference (perhaps I dreamt it).

There is a (necessarily) apocryphal story of the man who dreamt he was being guillotined. Just as he was dreaming that the blade was falling, a book fell off his bedside table and landed on his neck; he got such a shock that he died.

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