Escapism -or- Waking Life of Jared Loughner

Jim, 23 American

I've been having a serious of dreams of being chased by unknown people...i dont know who they are and what they wanted-but boy are they after me in my dreams-and they seem to know where im at no matter where i run. About 2 years ago, i became very interested in lucid dreaming, successfully completing after a few attempts. The first i noticed... was that the ceiling became luminous... tripping colors were coming off it in blue and green. I became paralyzed and afraid-but i held unto my will... and i became immersed in a series of wild epic dreams.

The next i knew, i was with a shaman, who blew smoke in my face and told me i had to die. I felt weightless plunging into a sea of visions and artistic geometry. It was like what people would describe as a "DMT" trip. i was plunged into a luminous world of hallucinations, not only of utter alieness, but inexplicable utter aloneness.

Mr Hagen's Response: Lucid Dreams -or- Waking Life

Your dreams contain many literary points of thematic entry; oppression?, escapism, drug use (DMT), lucid dreams, hallucinations and psychoticism, shamanism, existentialism and the oceanic ("sea of visions") are but a few.

Given the controversy surrounding lucid dreaming that was created by Jared Loughner's shooting of U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords and killing six others,  your dreams might represent a concern for some.

The psychologist Hans Eysenck's trait model of personality includes the ego trait of psychoticism by which a person's interpersonal relationships are marked by hostility. We can readily see such hostility in the dreams received by the International Institute for Dream Research (IIDR) Fight Club and Victim of Violent Crime among others. You are being chased in numerous dreams that you sent. In terms of the dream, why you are being pursued and who the pursuers are is uncertain. From the associations (not included in text above) you provided it appears to be in reality the police. Your pursuers always find you. The word persecution can be defined as being pursued by others with harassing and/or oppressing mistreatment. The Jews were pursued throughout history, American Native Indians were pursued, Africans (slave trade) were persecuted by numerous colonizing European countries as well as by America. The historical list goes on....

If? Indeed you are running from a life of crime, then it is not to late to change the career path that you seem to be on. Becoming a drug and alcohol counselor might be an option, you most likely could identify (empathize) with people that have these problems. You would not be the first to make such a positive life change.

Everyone at times is in need of escape from the stresses of everyday life. The need for escapism has begun to spawn commercial industries that provide diversion and relief. Your escape seems to be marked by experimentation with lucid dreams, drugs (DMT) and shamanism . Other dreams found at the IIDR website speak of experimentation with all these phenomena. Popular films such as Waking Life (2001) propel the transpersonal mythology of escape to what you call in your own words as a "sea of visions and artistic geometry" and "luminous world of hallucinations". Having posted an interpretation over thirteen years ago at the IIDR website Lucid Dreams and Altered States my concerns remain the same as they did then, perhaps even more so now.

So that said, I convey one final note of concern, namely a literary ego symptom can possibly be found in the text of your dream (one in which you are also not alone). Most stories are written and told via the literary device of the first person narrator, the problem is that often the person who is telling the story is an unreliable narrator. Said another way, they are not always telling the truth, they are deceiving themselves and/or others. Specifically, the "I" in your text ("i") is not capitalized, whether you never learned that it's supposed to be, is a relevant question as to how you perceive yourself. The first person "I", tells the story from your ego perspective, that does not mean that others see your story the same way as you do. While I believe the community of ethical lucid dreamers and shamans welcome people's interest in their ideas, after the tragic events briefly discussed above they must be very skeptical of lay people playing and experimenting with phenomena they do not and cannot understand alone. We all need guides and guidance in our life. An ABC news piece "Jared Loughner Obsessed With Lucid Dreaming" explains many of the dangers. 

Further reading; Roy F. Baumeister Escaping the Self and Joseph H. Berke (ed) Even Paranoids Have Enemies.

Hope that provides some insight,

Mark H

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