The dream has become their reality

Inception Mombasa

Imran posted a link to me from Wired magazine around Lucid Dreaming.

I had a good old read and found it very interesting and similar to how I’ve understood the current state of lucid dreaming.

Lucid dreaming has been slowly gaining prominence in recent years. The release of Christopher Nolan’s 2010 science-fiction blockbuster Inception— in which corporate spies sneak into their marks’ dreams to steal their secrets and implant bad ideas — was a landmark moment. (The spies use a top as a tool for reality tests; if it spins indefinitely, then they know they are in the dream state; if it falls, they are awake.) Nolan said that the film was inspired by his own experience of lucid dreaming and that its ambiguous ending—the camera lingers on a spinning top, leaving viewers to wonder whether or not it will fall—should be taken to mean that “perhaps all levels of reality are valid.” Google searches for “lucid dreaming” spiked around the movie’s release and have never returned to pre-2010 levels. And the internet, of course, has helped. A constantly updated Lucid Dreaming forum on Reddit has accumulated more than 190,000 subscribers.

Later in the piece there is some rough and ready double blind experiments with Galantamine in the equivalent Inception’s Mombasa dream den.

The workshops have also provided him with a way to move his own research ahead. They have given him access to a group of people who are willing to participate in his studies, even if they aren’t certified by a lab.

Eames: They come here every day to sleep?

Elderly Bald Man: [towards Cobb] No. They come to be woken up. The dream has become their reality. Who are you to say otherwise?

Extending REM has been a dream (pun intended) for many and Galantamine might be a step towards this. Its been mentioned on a few blogs and forums I’ve seen but never really looked into it. Any notion of a drug to extend this is worrying for me personally but like microdosing each to their own I guess.

Galantamine is not a magic bullet, though; it can trigger nasty side effects like headaches, nausea, and insomnia. And it can work too well—cautionary tales of galantamine-induced nightmares can be found alongside success stories. “It felt like my brain was being drawn and quartered,” one lucid dreamer wrote. “I kept falling back asleep into these bizarre dreams that I can only describe as my head being scraped against the bottom of a submerged iceberg.” “It felt like I was falling through my bed and all these loud screeching sounds and vibrations started happening,” testified another. “It was so scary and I felt paralyzed.”

The wired piece centres around Galantamine and the study of it on Lucid dreaming. The study to date is questionable, but like the quantified self community, its good to see someone trying something. Although I personally would have declared something under competing interests, as Stephen LaBerge did setup the Lucidity Institute.

Regardless its all very interesting and thanks to Imran for the post…

Author: Ianforrester

Senior firestarter at BBC R&D, emergent technology expert and serial social geek event organiser.

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