Tag Archives: dreams

How to lucid dream?

I have to say this Verge video about is actually pretty good… Also shows shadows which is the dreamboard wannabe app only for ios.

Have you ever had a dream that you knew was a dream? Were you able to control it? What did you do? In this week’s episode of Top Shelf, Katie Drummond dives into the world of lucid dreaming and the technology that’s helping people reach the holy grail of dreaming.

Watching the video, I remembered Inception’s totem is actually the same as the reality checks. To be honest I do it (the reality check becomes a habit) so much it just washes over me now. Although I have to say if you really want to learn and get really into it, you got to check out lucidpedias guides.

But generally I have to say its all about practice!

Coma hallucinations and dreams

030423-N-6967M-090

Its almost 4 years since mybrushwithdeath. And about this time is when I tend to remember how lucky I am and of course remember what happened during that whole period. As I say in the TEDxManchester2 Talk, that whole period is pretty much blank but I do kind of remember some of the dreams I had.

From Mindhacks,

Intensive Care Medicine has published a wonderfully written and vivid account from a teenager who spent time brain injured and hallucinating in an intensive care unit.

The writer describes how he was admitted to intensive care at the age of 15 after suffering a head injury and had intense and bizarre hallucinations which are, as we know now, surprisingly common in critical care patients.

Have to agree, when I was in ICU, I had some crazy dreams and hallucinations. The weird part is looking back on what I can remember, some parts I starting to question they were actually real. I won’t talk about my dreams because they were disturbing and slightly worrying.

But a couple weird things which I assume were hallucinations include thinking how super clean the hospital was, in my head a cleaner would clean every hour regardless of the time or day. Somewhere along the line, I also thought the hospital was owned by Google (I assume the Google IO and Google Health must have been  more than just playing on my mind)

I remember having a real conversation about USB/HDMI power and the maximum load with Tim at some point? Heaven knows why…

I knew when something really nasty was going to happen. I could always hear the same alarm going off. It was a signal for the monsters to appear, for the centipede to attack, for bombs to be dropped, I would be sacrificed…I was very afraid.

I guess the scary part looking back is the blend from reality to mild hallucinations. I wasn’t seeing stuff coming out the wall or anything like that but I certainly had some odd thoughts about the world cup based on my curtain which surrounded my bed in ICU (a few weeks before it had even started). Maybe I was picking up on something being talked about or something?

Its interesting to hear how common hallucinations are in ICU, I assumed it was just the high powered drugs.

What if people came with care labels? Quantified emotions

It started off as a discussion on Twitter and ended up as a blog post on Zoe’s blog.

Sometimes it’s not always easy to describe how you’re feeling. You may feel over-whelmed, worried that you might make others feel over-whelmed, just not have the words or want to avoid thinking about what it is that is really occupying your mind…

…That’s what got me started thinking about “what if people had care labels like clothes?”.

The concept of people with care labels is a fun and intriguing one. What would your care label say? But it goes deep into the quantified universe.

Are there somethings which can not be quantified? You can go down to the chemical functions, maybe even the watch the neutrons firing away but does that give you enough scope over emotion?  Zoe talks about some apps which allow you to self track mood but as someone who assigns a mood to my self reported dreams with Dreamboard. Its sometimes difficult quantifying it down to a single emotion.

I feel it would work better like a colour picker. I feel a little bit of this and a little bit of that but also a dash of the other.

So less set labels but more mixable pallets. But of course the idea of them being visible still stands. And of course the question of what other people will do once they know how you feel? This certainly would make playing hard to get… a whole different game.

Intriguing and collides right into the work Rain’s been working on, with wearables.

Dreamboard starts a trend

What people dreamabout

Dreamboard I have wrote about a few times before and I have been using the application on my tablet to remember my dreams. But recently people like Simon have been contacting me about shadow which to be fair sounds a lot more like a cross between Dreamboard and Lucidpedia.

Building a community of dreamers sounds cool but very difficult to do. I don’t know if a kickstarter project is the best way, specially when you have the likes of the same information on lucidpedia and many other places across the web. Nope I would suggest something like OKTrends is the way to go. Data like I suggested for mydreamscape would be super valuable to many people including advertisers.

But of course dreamboard are already two steps down that road

Dreamboard, the largest database of dreams in the world – obtained by a patented system for data collection – has officially entered the second stage of its development: the analysis of the great amount of data collected with a scientific and multidisciplinary approach in order to identify patterns of different nature.

Our scientific team has grown, and is now guided by Professor Patrick McNamara, Ph.D, Associate Professor of Neurology at Boston University School of Medicine and Dissertation Chair at Northcentral University. He has been active studying sleep and dreams for two decades and is a winner of NIH awards to study sleep and dreams, before becoming Chief Scientific Advisor of Dreamboard. He will work with our first Scientific Advisor, Prof. Bruno Bara, M.D., Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, Director of the Center for Cognitive Science, Director of the Center for Neuroimaging, Director of the Schools of Cognitive Psychotherapy of Como and Torino.

Impressive stuff, I look forward to some serious findings to come from our aggregated data.

It was also good to clarify the Facebook link, which is just to do a login and not share private data.

Some dream shouldn’t be followed

Banksy - Follow Your Dreams // Cancelled

I only recently discovered Mark Manson. I’m sure theres quite a few of you guys who will be thinking geez I’ve been reading his stuff for ages. But I can’t even remember how I came across him. One of a whole load of posts he wrote is the controversial “Why Some Dreams Should Not Be Pursued.

Mark breaks it down with decent examples and some deep thoughts behind it and the self help industry.

We are all beaten over the head that we should always pursue our dreams, always follow our passions, always turn reality into what we believe will make us happy. Most marketing and advertising is based on this. The majority of the self help industry pushes this. And with the rise of Tim Ferriss and “lifestyle design” obsession of this generation, it has become a borderline religion…

I know what he means, the lifestyle business has grown and grown.

There is this conflict I have in my mind. Its a conflict between community (doing what people think you should do) and individualism (doing what your dreams says). I don’t buy all this self help crap but I do want to be happy (heck who doesn’t want to be happy?). When I say happy I don’t mean this crazy Hollywood style happiness you see on TV or they shovel down your throat any chance they can. Be Happy / Buy are shit… Roll the Fight club ikea montage.

Back to Mark…

But it’s not just materialism, the “follow you dreams” mentality dominates our relationships as well. It’s only in the last couple centuries that romantic love has been championed as the sole prerequisite for a happy relationship.

Lonely? Just fall in love and then live happily ever after! Duh.

It’s reached the point where practically all of our pop culture is based upon the idea that romantic love is a justification for just about any neurotic behaviour.

Another conflict… (damm Mark is right on the buzzer) My dating… I enjoy it but I do want to find someone special. When I say special I don’t mean perfection, I mean someone I would spend the rest of my known life with. Its important to me (yeah how selfish of me) but having gone through a divorce, I’m not a believer in there’s one person for everyone (something which the media seems to push down our throats). So on an individual level someone who connects with myself. Don’t get me wrong I do sometimes think about what it would be like to have someone very different (don’t ask, i’m not telling)

Some friends say why go out dating, if you just leave it it will happen. I say balls, and I actually kinda of enjoy it. As a friend who turns out reads my blog said, Its part of you… When she said this, I was kinda of thinking maybe shes got a point. I like meeting new people and enjoy dating, so it works. From an individual level again, its all good times. From a community point of view its a little different.

Maybe this is another reason why I’m writing this book, the life & opinions of a modern geeky gentleman… Putting the dream aspect on paper rather than in reality.

Mark’s example of the young woman from New York City who had the recurring sexual fantasy was certainly the icing on the argument. Some of our dreams should never happen and its really important to remember this (this story has to be read as its not very safe for work).

Losing control in reality is dangerous. Despite how arousing it may be, one could get hurt or killed. It’s only possible to lose control and stay safe within the confines of one’s own mind.

The reason not every fantasy should be pursued is because fantasies never have negative repercussions. Reality does. You’re able to feel fear and terror without ever actually being in danger. You can feel excitement and adrenaline without ever actually risking anything. You can experience the joy and pride of a great success without actually suffering through the hard work.

Absolutely! I wanted to be big name DJ many decades ago. Traveling the world playing the music I love and being paid for it. I guess its like the rockstar thing Mark talks about. But it was about 16 when I realised the reality of the pursuing such a dream. The daily drudgery, playing in crap venues, playing crowd pleasing tunes just to make it up the DJ ladder. Screw that…! As Mark says I might have been in love with the result not the process. Seriously settling down and getting into the internet was one of the best moves I’ve done.

I don’t like to climb. I just want to imagine the top

The process and the details is whats missing from our dreams. In actual fact thats the fun part… In my great BBC job, the details all matter and the result isn’t the be all and end all… But maybe somewhere in this messy post, I can mentally link my dating with the process and details.

Next time someone says just fall in love, maybe I should say… “don’t you see I’m in the process of doing so and loving it” *smile*

Maybe I’ve fallen in love with the process of falling in love, not the result and actually this is perfectly natural? (Don’t all scream at me at once…)

Lucidipedia, mydreamscape done correctly

All is a dream

For many years I had wonder when someone was going to create a place for dreams which is tasteful and about the culture of dreaming.

There was Remcloud.com which opened with much fanfare. Although still running, feels spammy and pretty crappy. All the other places I’ve seen have been more about dream dictionaries or forums about dreams. Mydreamscape was meant to be a tasteful, cleverly crafted and a social network about the culture of dreams.

Well I think someone has finally done it… lucidipedia.com feels like a serious site and seems to have some very good tutorials and tips to help you dream and remember them. There’s even an online dream diary section which seems to tick all the right boxes with dataportability and sharing features.

So I guess there is only one way to discover how good it is, yes dive in and try it out…

A year that matters

Umair Haque’s blog for HBR is great in a get off your ass and do something different kind of a way…

Let’s cut the crap. Life is short, you have less time than you think, and there are no baby unicorns coming to save you. So rather than doling out craptastic advice to you about Making!! It!! To!! The!! Top!!™, let me humbly ask: do you want to have a year that matters — or do you want to spend another year starring-slash-wallowing in the lowest-common-denominator reality show-slash-whiny soap opera of your own inescapable mediocrity-slash-self-imposed tragedy?

If (congratulations) your unquenched desire to have better than a smoking trainwreck of a so-called life exceeds your frenzied mania for spending another 365 days wallowing in a sea of junk-food wrappers, then — don’t worry, I’ll be gentle — here are a few tiny questions.

If thats not a welcome kick in the groin I don’t know what is….

Then the points which are summarised in these headings.

  • Why are you here?
  • What do you want?
  • How much does it matter?
  • What’s it going to take?
  • Who’s on your side?
  • Where’s your true north?
  • What breaks your heart?
  • What’s it worth?

The first and last three are the kind of questions I asked myself when I was lying in hospital after my brush with death. Ok it wasn’t true north but what really drives me and what really gets me down.

And just when you had enough of this stuff, a little more harsh reality…

I don’t pretend any of the above is revolutionary, or new, or anything less than obvious. Yet, the lessons of a life well lived rarely are: they’re simple, timeless truths.

So let me ask again. Why are you here? Do you want this to be another year that flies by, half-hearted, arid, rootless, barely remembered, dull with dim glimpses of what might have been? Or do you want this to be a year that you savor, for the rest of your surprisingly short time on Planet Earth, as the year you started, finally, irreversibly, uncompromisingly, to explosively unfurl a life that felt fully worth living?

The choice is yours. And it always has been.

Awesome and great to hear this type of thing being delivered at a different level than most times

Memes where do they come from?

I’ve taken my eyes off mydreamscape for a few weeks recently but I’m back on the case. Recently attended a nice lecture (I was recommended by my hypnotherapist Shannon) which reaffirmed what I’m trying to do with mydreamscape.

The organic chemist August Kekulé claimed that a ring in the shape of Ouroboros (an ancient symbol depicting a serpent or dragon eating its own tail.) that he saw in a dream inspired him in his discovery of the structure of benzene.

As noted by Carl Jung, this might be an instance of cryptomnesia (cryptomnesia occurs when a forgotten memory returns without it being recognized as such by the subject, who believes it is something new and original. It is a memory bias whereby a person may falsely recall generating a thought, an idea, a song, or a joke, not deliberately engaging in plagiarism but rather experiencing a memory as if it were a new inspiration.)

In the session/lecture I attended Susan Leigh who was the guest speaker, talked about dreams but from the point of view of a hypnotherapist. The idea being if someone comes to you for help, you might be able to get an idea of what and where there problems take root. However there was still lots to learn for someone like myself.

I wrote notes down while she was talking but here’s a few of the key points.

  • Dream descriptions are not as important as how they make you feel.
  • Within the first 30mins of falling a sleep, you are treated to a preview of all the dreams you will have that night. Like a set of trailers for that night
  • Repeative dreams obvioulsy say a lot more you that one offs.
  • The dreamer is the best person to describe and make sense of there dreams. The whole dream dictorory thing is questionable, although broad concepts do still some what apply.
  • Friends and family who know the dream may be better that a expert at understanding elements of the dreamer dream.
  • Food and drink can have a serious effect on dreams
  • Using self hyponisis its possible to artect your dream
  • Mental fatigue creates images which are not helpful
  • All manimals dream
  • Dreams are symbolic and people generally have 6-7 dreams a night

Susan mentioned the work of Dr Keith Hearne who is a internationally known British psychologist who conducted the world’s first sleep-laboratory research into ‘lucid’ dreams. Funny enough I didn’t know but I’ve actually got a book of his on my bookshelf Understanding Dreams.

So going back through the key points, I’m wondering if I should focus more on the metadata of the dream that the description its self. But also interestingly the concens about gaming or spamming the system isn’t such a worry anymore. The descriptions will be interesting but overall the descriptions won’t be that important plus will only really be interesting to friends and family who know that person.

In actual fact there was quite a lot of talk about the fact people close will be able to interupt the dream. I’m not sure what this means in the face of dream dictionaries (i assume there very generalised).

Lots of food for thought, but it strikes me that until we can confirm what kind of dream the person is having, the ephasis should be on the metadata collected. Roll on the dream recorder…

More dream recording news

My lovely hypnotherapist, sent me a clipping from the Metro the other day. Its was a clipping about the ability to record your own dreams.

Although I saw this general thought in a post my boss sent me a while ago, it was good to read something similar in the mainstream press.

I’ve included the text for those who can’t be bothered to read the image.

A real hope of recording our dreams

A real hope of recording our dreams

Dreams could one day be recorded electronically, allowing them to be interpreted, scientists say. Experiments in which volunteers had electrodes surgically implanted deep inside their brains had already allowed researchers to ‘read’ people’s minds, said Dr Moran Cerf. The breakthrough could eventually lead to the development of a dream recorder, he added. ‘We would like to read people’s dreams,’ Dr Cerf said. ‘It would be wonderful to read people’s minds when they cannot communicate, such as people in comas.’

In tests on 12 epilepsy patients, electrodes recorded the activity of neurones in a part of the brain called the medial temporal lobe, which plays a major role in human memory and retention. The volunteers were shown more than 100 familiar images, such as Marilyn Monroe and Michael Jackson, on a screen. From these, pictures that had triggered responsive neurons in different parts of the subjects’ MTLs were selected.

The patients were then shown two of these images superimposed and told to think about one of them, while the scientists ran the neuron patterns through a decoder. When the decoded information was fed back on to the superimposed images, the one whose neuron was firing more quickly was enhanced, while the other faded.

By watching this online feedback, more than two-thirds of subjects were able to make their targeted image completely visible and entirely eliminate the other picture. By observing which brain cells lit up and when, Dr Cerf and his US colleagues, Christof Koch and Itzhak Fried, said they were in effect able ‘read the subjects’ minds’. The study is published in the journal Nature.

Once again, I really need to get mydreamscape up and running…

Mydreamscape the alpha framework which powers it

Inception Lego

James (my savvy neighbor) said mydreamscape is like the Flashforward Mosaic project. And he’s not far wrong. I’ve been calling it the flickr for dreams but the Dream Mosaic project seems like a better description (if you seen Flashforward of course)

So after all the thinking about what to use to get mydreamscape up and running, I think I’ve finally come to a decision.

( WordPress + Buddypress ) + digress = mydreamscape.com

I tried out elgg but felt it wasn’t developed enough for what I trying to do. So I’m using WordPress 3.01 as the base install, buddypress which adds a social networking system on top of wordpress then digress as the annotation technology. I had planned to use the W3C’s Annotea Server but it looks like a real pain to setup and it would require a series of browser plugins to use effectively. This might not be so bad, but its off putting for most people and frankly with javascript and html you can achieve quite a bit. Enough to be better that comments but not so much its becomes academic.

Right now I’m struggling with the wordpress themes because buddypress and digress each have there bits and its a matter of getting them to work together in one single theme. Once I got that going I’ll be going signing up a couple of alpha users. If your interested in the alpha, drop me a email.

Dream recording device possible, better get mydreamscape.org up

Go Deeper

My boss Adrian sent me a very interesting tweet which linked to a article on bbc news from Nature.

Dream recording device ‘possible’ researcher claims

Writing in the journal Nature, scientists say they have developed a system capable of recording higher level brain activity.

"We would like to read people’s dreams," says the lead scientist Dr Moran Cerf.

The aim is not to interlope, but to extend our understanding of how and why people dream.

Theres some interesting parts to the article including this one.

"There’s no clear answer as to why humans dream," according to Dr Cerf. "And one of the questions we would like to answer is when do we actually create this dream?" Dr Cerf makes his bold claim based on an initial study which he says suggests that the activity of individual brain cells, or neurons, are associated with specific objects or concepts.

He found, for example, that when a volunteer was thinking of Marilyn Monroe, a particular neuron lit up. By showing volunteers a series of images, Dr Cerf and his colleagues were able to identify neurons for a wide range of objects and concepts – which they used to build up a database for each patient. These included Bill and Hilary Clinton, the Eiffel Tower and celebrities. So by observing which brain cell lit up and when, Dr Cerf says he was effectively able to "read the subjects’ minds".

I’m really interested in this stuff too. My thought is somewhat consistent with the memetics theory.

A meme, analogous to a gene, is an idea, belief, pattern of behaviour (etc.) which is "hosted" in one or more individual minds, and which can reproduce itself from mind to mind. Thus what would otherwise be regarded as one individual influencing another to adopt a belief is seen memetically as a meme reproducing itself. As with genetics, particularly under Dawkins’s interpretation, a meme’s success may be due its contribution to the effectiveness of its host (i.e., a the meme is a useful, beneficial idea), or may be "selfish", in which case it could be considered a "virus of the mind."

Anyway, before I drop into the theory behind dream science and how one method is maybe better that the other… Some people have wondered whats happened to mydreamscape.org?

Well at the moment I’m running a modified version of Status.net (open microblogging system) in the backend. I’ve decided that after watching the Social network (the facebook movie) its maybe more important that I get something up even if it doesn’t have all the functionality that I described or would want in the previous blog post or the slideshow. So right now I’m taking the advice from Imran Ali and dropped the ability to hide stuff (levels).

On the system side, I’m ummming and errrring between a few options…

  1. Ideally I would have the framework which runs Flickr (hopefully Caterina Fake and Stewart Butterfield are listening) and I would adapt it to mydreamscape.org.
  2. Second ideal option I would use Diaspora once its publicly available. I’m watching it with quite keen interest.
  3. Thirdly I would use W3c’s Anotea server if I can actually work out how to install it. That would mean you would need to download some browsers extras to comment, collaborate and annotate other peoples dreams. But then you would have a robust annotation system instead of just comments.
  4. I’ve consider using a standard solution like drupal and even alfresco to do the bulk of the work. In actual fact I’m very interested in Drupal because I spotted the Drupal Social Network Framework (unfortunately it seems very early days).
  5. Using microblogging platform Status.net, Blojsom or WordPress with maybe Anotea as a kicker for real annotations.
  6. Write something custom…

In addition I’ve started writing my own dreams down in an app called Rednotebook which is an example of the kind of app I would like to attached to mydreamscape. Maybe once things are up and running I could modify the source code to include sync with mydreamscape.org or something…

I also have something big up my sleeve for mydreamscape.org and its founded on Ludicorp’s original idea for Flickr (Game Never Ending). Have a guess what it is…

mydreamscape presentated at social media cafe manchester

Chi-chi Ekweozor (@realfreshtv) has written up my scramble thoughts and presentation about mydreamscape.org up on her blog.

I am amazed at how much detail she got down in the session, its a perfect account of what was said and by who. Her hand must have been going into over drive!

A couple of people ask great questions about privacy and how easy the network will be to spam.

The points raised range from deciding to keep users anonymous to encourage people to share their dreams in detail to wondering how to stop the spammer that ‘keeps dreaming about ‘Coca-cola’ or Justin Bieber(!)

Adrian Slatcher (@adrianslatcher on Twitter) from Manchester Digital Development Agency (MDDA), added some fine observations about dreams being non-linear.

Some people make associations in dreams based on colour, so called ‘colour dreams’. There are also ‘anxiety’ dreams. There is a very strong metaphysical element to dreams.

Adrian went on to add that this ‘crowd-sourced’ emotional categorisation of dreams: ‘anxiety = red’, ‘peace = green’ etc lends itself to making such a social network a very useful psychoanalysis tool.

She also detailed a great conversation we had afterwards with Josh (@technicalfault) about a killer mobile app for mydreamscape

In a conversation with Ian and Social Media Cafe co-organiser Josh (@technicalfault) after his talk, we discussed what I think is the killer application for such a project: a mobile phone app that combines access with the social network with a dream diary linked to the phone’s alarm clock.

As soon as you wake up, you are prompted to record your dream into a ‘What did you dream today?’ interface rather like Twitter’s early ‘What are you doing?’ question.

Different media types could be introduced later on so people would eventually make voice or video recordings of their dreams. That would rock.

I love the idea of asking the question, “what did you dream today?” or even “what did you dream last night?” Its a very catchy punchline and sums up the project nicely. The Flickr of dreams say one thing but “what did you dream today?” says something very different.

The point keeps coming up, why not make a facebook application? And finally I had a reply

People have suggested Ian should implement the idea as a Facebook app. He’s not particularly keen on this, preferring the Flickr model as “Flickr never exposes private stuff.”

Facebook’s EULA makes mydreamscape unworkable or at least cuts right into the users privicy which would make trusting the system almost impossible. Flickr have a good model as they never expose users private data and never will. Hence “the flickr of dreams” tag line.

I’ve presented at barcampmanchester3 and now at Social Media cafe manchester and each time I’ve had a positive response, but raised many more questions. Some of those question have been useful but none have been no this is a terriable idea. In actually fact I’ve picked up a few people who really want to get involved along the way. Each person has offered some advice and some more passion into the general idea. I think my next step is to do a map for the idea (a masssive A0 sheet of endless paper with information about the idea and details which I currently have in tomboynotes). I can then publish the map and make it even easier for people to develop the idea themsleves. Its also handy to have everything on one sheet, so I can put everything in context. This presentation isn’t really explaining the idea very well and does a bit of deservice to the underlying idea. I really hope to change for something better soon. But for now it explains the concept enough…

.

Welcome to mydreamscape.org

a inception poster

I love Inception, there’s no doubt about that….

But what really got me going was the idea of dreams.

So here’s the background

Everyone has dreams but up till now dreams have been very personal. People have them and talk about them all the time to there close friends but up till now its not been something you share socially. Well I say that but actually people do share aspects of there dreams. For example

janeygw‎: @MetsThrifty Are you serious? omg I had such horrid dreams last night too

Clodyyyy‎: You wish you can record your dreams and then watch them later. #DamnItsTrue

collinbeballin‎: I have had so many bad dreams tonight that they have left me praying. And thats some real shit.

PatRobeck1ofHis‎: Goodnight, my friends. Dream good dreams!

ohhdarylann‎: if love is a way out, then please let me in. don’t start, darling, don’t you turn my nightmares into dreams once again

stephalicious‎: Just had a dream @natbat had taken up smoking and I threatened to tell @simonw if she didn’t stop 0_o

Natbat‎: Woke at 5am with panicked dreams. can’t sleep. wonder if I should just get up and have breakfast now. hungry

…. lots more on twitter people talking about there dreams on blogs.

So we share aspects of them with friends, family and even total strangers.

The concept

mydreamscape.org to become the flickr of dreams.

Make dreams social with controls so only certain people can see the parts you don’t want to disclose. Use social tagging to add relevance and additional metadata to the dreams.

The concept in more words

Why not have a place where you can share your aspects of your dreams with other people and of course perform analysis on your dreams?

When I say aspects of your dreams, I mean just that. You should be able to add levels of privacy around aspects of your dream. Bit like how flickr.com only shows you certain photos if your a friend or family. I expect this would be quite difficult to do but it should give you the option of defining certain aspects which are public, private and of course who can see that. Hey would you want your girlfriend to find out you have dreams about a ex-girlfriend every night?

So I expect the gui for that would generate some special but simple xml (I’m thinking about using a subset of XML encryption to hide the information in plain sight) . I imagine it would look something like the modern editors such as Etherpad (colored text to indicate who can see what) but there would be levels of access to tied to the information.

Etherpad

dreams tend to have some sort of structure but its not very defined but there’s no doubt that you can say this is how it started (even if it’s just I’m in a room with no windows) and a middle (a woman talks to me in french which I seem to be able to understand) and a end (she gets up and leaves through a wall, leaving me in the room alone, then I wake up). It may not be clear how you got there or even how it ultimately ends but you could just say I don’t remember to that section.

Obviously there will be the ability to run your dreams through a dictionary of sorts (this may cost) so you can work out what your dream is about. But on top of that there will be tags/keywords will link you to other people’s dreams. So if your dream is about falling off a building, you can see who else has similar dream or even the same dream? Maybe you might find people who are having the same dream but with a unique twist. Heck, you might even find people who are in your dream who happen to be having the same dream! Of course Locations can also be tagged using geo locations, so you can see who else has been having a dream around a certain location. I’d also like to include Times, so you can say if it was night or day. Also people, so you can say I had a dream and he or she was in it. There may be others but that will do for now.

This is really interesting information but when socially put together across many people you got something extra special. Not only can you see trends across dreams but you can also spot how memes start to spread and where they end up.

The other part of this is the ability to write comments or add annotations to your dreams. So certain people (definable list) can add tags or link to other stuff. For example a dream about identity thief might lead back to the new itv tv series “identity” which you might have forgotten about but your friends remember you watched a couple of days ago. A dream about running down endless stairs could be the result of watching inception and thinking/dreaming about the architects role. Basically you can have many people adding analysis to your dream instead of just one so called expert. In actual fact your friends may know you better and where aspects of your dreams come from.

I expect we’ll make the data freely available in the same way Okcupid.com makes stats about its users available.

Hows it going to make money?

  • Pro users – Selling access to the dream dictionary (PRO users) which won’t be a static thing, it will change based on what people say about there dreams. There may also be a limit on how many dreams we hold unless your a pro user which means its endless. Maybe also only pro users can tag other people dreams?
  • Advertising – If your not a pro user, you will get adverts next to the dream your reading. We can also add advertising to the aggregated pages like the one for falling (which I expect will be quite popular)
  • Trending – Although the data will be freely available, there will be different resolutions on the dream data. So if you pay you can get much richer data (obviously depending on the users preferences). I imagine you would be able to work out how many European citizens are dreaming about a certain delegate just before an election. Not only that but if those dreams or positive or negative.
  • Product and locational placements – Maybe a lot of people are dreaming about a certain location or a certain product. If you own that location or product you may want to own that page and make it more like yours? So for example http://www.mydreamscape.org/items/buzzlightyear/ – could be a page about buzzlight year in dreams and have images and links to the item its self. This would also be true of locations too for example http://www.mydreamscape.org/location/europe/london/thamesbarrier – would obviously link to the Thames barrier in London with information taken from Wikipedia.org and other open sources. The information architecture of exactly how this would this work needs to be sorted out.

A Totem

How am I going to build this?

Well I’m not sure. I’ve been looking at things like drupal and existing services such as Facebook to see if I can adapt there system to this purpose. But it looks like it requires some serious development as there some key elements which need work. However I expect once I post this, entry people might think wow nice idea, its got legs I might be interested in either…

  1. Getting involved, so we got a team of people interested
  2. Recommend some software or a service to set it up
  3. Steal the idea and build there own version (fine, but you must give me attribution)
  4. Steal the idea and have me help out on the build process (theres a whole lot more to this idea that what I described above, ask me if you want to know more)
  5. Build a plugin for another service which could supports this

The final word

There are some elements to this idea which may not work such as will people remember there dreams, will be willing to share them, etc but honestly I think its a killer of an idea and deserves to be built. You can just imagine what a resource it could turn out to be… and imagine this scenario…

“you were dreaming about me, but I was also dreaming about you. On the same bloody night? What are the chances of that?”

That would be amazing.

dreams are still very much a unknown or under-tapped process. We all have them even if we don’t always remember them. dream diaries, etc are good but what benefits could come to a dreamers dreams if there crowd-sourced or social? There is a lot of metadata we could add to our dreams, if we had the chance. We could start to really understand our dreams a lot better through the social network of our friends, families or strangers. Heck even if all else fails, it may get people thinking about dreams a lot more and considering what they can do with them. Be it control there dreams or as far as even sharing dreams.

mydreamscape.org and mydreamscape.com could be the start of something massive, remember where you first read about it first…

So who wants to help me make it happen?

Peering into the science of dreams with inception

Found on twitter via @girlonetrack and ultimately @rowanNS, the science of dreams.

Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a dream snatcher. He’s an industrial spy, who steals secrets when his victims are at their most defenceless: when they are asleep, and dreaming. But he has an even rarer ability, that of inception. He can plant an idea in someone’s sleeping mind, and watch it grow and take root in reality. "The most resilient parasite is an idea," he says.

Inception is a complex sci-fi thriller that lies somewhere between a James Bond film and The Matrix. Many of the film’s themes are often covered in New Scientist, so we have assembled a spoiler-free guide to the science of the movie, and all you need to know about dreams and the unconscious mind.

I can’t really get enough of inception(currently number 3 in imdb’s top 250 films of all time.) Its such a great film, not only because of the great action sequences but because of the whole premise. I love the idea of entering the dream state of someone else.

The film somewhat reminds me of the Cell but its a lot more clever than the cell. It also has a lot of notions which make sense, such as the memetics stance.

What’s the most resilient parasite? An Idea. A single idea from the human mind can build cities. An idea can transform the world and rewrite all the rules. Which is why I have to steal it.

or even

The seed that we planted in this man’s mind, may come to define him, may come to become him.

Anyway I still find the dream world fascinating and i’m surprised how many people can’t direct there dreams. Things like changing there dreams or continue there dreams the next night can be learned an come in very useful.

I’m considering writing a story or even a script about dreams based on inception.