Consciousness Raising Industry: Lucid Dreams and Altered States

Dreamer: Jim, 24, American

Over the whole span of my life I've had lucid dreams but didn't realize them as such for a long time. Recently (within the last 4 or 5 years), after reading a book I believe called "The Art of Dreaming" I realized I could control my lucid dreams quite well. I began by trying to teach myself how to fly.

At first I could only run fast into the wind and be "lifted" into flight, but as time progressed, I learned better concentration, and now I can just concentrate and rise off the ground as well as move objects. Anyway, the interesting things are this...its very hard for me to hold someone and fly into the air...and I can only fly so high before I like "lose" my power and start dropping, and at the last second regain control....also, I find myself trying to tell people in my dream that "this is all a dream you are all in my head, I am asleep on the couch" or whatnot, and they never believe me, even after I show them I can fly and whatnot.... also recurring themes in my dreams are finding money, which turns out to be too old to spend; my teeth falling out uncontrollably, and I tend to have dreams where someone tries to hurt me and I have to shoot them, but the bullets travel very slow and bounce off them.

Any insight into any of this would be helpful....I should mention also that I suffer from sleep paralysis. Thank you.

Mr. Hagen's Reply: Consciousness Raising Industry: Lucid Dreams and Altered States

The Twilight Zone

"You're travelling to another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound... but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land, whose boundaries are only that of the imagination... you're entering... the Twilight Zone ..."

As a classic science fiction fantasy "The Twilight Zone" amused audiences; it was viewed by some as escapist entertainment. Rod Serling's thematic intention was to provoke his audience to think while addressing issues of isolation, prejudice, existential choices and forces beyond our comprehension. Serling's trademark twist endings would often involve a supernatural or ambiguous dramatic explanation.

Aboriginal Dreamtime

For Australian aboriginals all time (past, present and future) is eternally present. Aboriginal Dreamtime provides access to the eternal and is kept alive through myth, narrative song, dance and the creative arts. Olaf Stapledon's classic sci-fi novel "Star Maker" provides a modern dream-time tale of his own making, a vision, myth and dream of creation and the creator.

Your dreams show that various levels of awareness exist. Lucid forms of consciousness are off-set by more material aspects of social reality, such as the concerns and fears about violence, money and fear of death. The scientific research into the mystery of consciousness has still not been resolved. The book that you might be referring to is Carlos Casteneda's "The Art of Dreaming."

Transpersonal Psychology or Consciousness Raising Industry

Transpersonal experiences and other altered states of consciousness induced by hypnosis, meditation, guided imagery or psychoactive compounds all testify to the phenomenon Carl Jung labeled the "collective unconscious." As part of the drug counter-culture of the 1960s, Timothy Leary sought psychological answers in the psychedelic world. While transpersonal psychology is considered an academic discipline, it is commonly associated with the New Age movement, a spiritual consciousness-raising ethos originating in the 1980s and covering a wide range of themes.

In the 1960s scientist John Lilly, M.D., built the first sensory deprivation tank. Sensory deprivation is an environmental state in which all of our normal senses are restricted. Lilly's experiments in the tank confirmed earlier sensory deprivation reports of hallucinatory mental journeys. Lilly's experiences and resultant attempt at a mapping of consciousness as revealed by sensory deprivation and psychedelic compounds became the subject of a number of his books including "Programming and Metaprogramming the Human Biocomputer," "The Deep Self," and "Center of the Cyclone." A film that deals with this theme is "Altered States" which has as its plot a Harvard scientist who conducts experiments on himself researching different states of consciousness with a hallucinatory drug and an isolation chamber that may be causing him to regress genetically. As in many mad scientist narratives and films, the experiment gets out of control.

The literary idea of virtual dream realities was given form by Lewis Carrol in "Alice in Wonderland" (published in 1865), and "Through the Looking Glass" (1871). The cyberpunk genre of 1980s science fiction, included authors such as William Gibson, Bruce Bethke and Bruce Sterling who have all created a future in which virtual-reality (VR) travel into vast computer data networks becomes a way of life. Howard Rheingold, Myron Kruger and Brenda Laurel all point to a future VR technology in which humans interact in a "cyberspace" environment completely created by computer simulation. The birth of VR technology was driven by the US military but found its way into commercial applications including amusement parks in Silicon Valley, where youth flocked to play computer games that used helmets and gloves instead of video screens and joysticks. The video gaming industry has taken this form of entertainment to increasingly new heights. The Sci-Fi futuristic dystopian film "Bladerunner," based on the novel "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" by Philip Dick, and "Videodrome" (directed by David Cronenberg) are examples of this genre.

In Star Trek Voyager fashion G. Harry Stein ("The Silicon Gods") speculates that we will be able to put on non-evasive helmets which provide a neuro-interface between the brain and computer. Brett Leonard's film "Lawnmower Man" tells the story of an evolving VR technology that comes into conflict between its military and civilian applications. As in lucid dreaming and psychedelic exploration, the goal in VR is the freedom to create and to explore realities without bounds.

Stephen LeBerge's lucid dreams are dreams in which the dreamer "wakes up" while still dreaming and can then begin to control and change the dream as he or she likes. There is an exhilarating freedom that accompanies this experience, in that it empowers dreamers to create any experience they desire.

And while such dreams and visions are appealing, the question must be asked whether they are just one more form of escape and distraction from the "real" problems and nightmares our planet is faced with on a daily basis such as poverty, starvation, disease, war, crime, prejudice, corruption, greed and pollution to name a few?

Some literature that might be of interest includes:

  • Mircea Eliade, "Cosmos and History: The Myth of the Eternal Return"
  • C.G Jung and Wolfgang Pauli, "The Interpretation of Nature and the Psyche"
  • Sigmund Freud, "Dreams and Telepathy"
  • George Devereux, "Psychoanalysis and the Occult"
  • Nandor Fodor, "Freud, Jung and the Occult"
  • J.B. Rhine, "Extra-sensory Perception"
  • Montague Ullman and Stanley Krippner, "Dream Telepathy"
  • H. J. Irwin, "Psi and the Mind: An Information Processing Approach"
  • Joe McMoneagle, Charles T. Tart, "Mind Trek: Exploring Consciousness, Time, and Space Through Remote Viewing"
  • Robert Moss "Dreamgates: An Explorer"s Guide to the Worlds of Soul, Imagination, and Life Beyond Death"
  • Joseph McMoneagle, "The Stargate Chronicles: Memoirs of a Psychic Spy"
  • Russell Targ, "Miracles of Mind: Exploring Non-local Consciousness and Spiritual Healing"
  • Edward S. Tauber and Maurice R. Green, "Pre-logical Experience: An Inquiry into Dreams and Other Creative Processes"
  • J.W Dunne, "Experiments in Time"
  • Kendrick Frazier, "The Hundredth Monkey: Paradigms of the Paranormal"
  • Robert Masters and Jean Houston, "The Varieties of Psychedelic Experiences"
  • John White (ed.), "Highest State of Consciousness"
  • Harpers Encyclopedia of Mystical and Paranormal Experience Howard Rheingold, "Virtual Reality"
  • Stephen LaBerge and Howard Rheingold, "Exploring the World of Lucid Dreams"
  • Pamella Ball, "Lucid Dreaming and the Art of Dreaming Creatively"
  • Robert de Ropp, "The Master Game: Pathways to Higher Consciousness beyond the Drug Experience"
  • James J. Donahue, "Dream Reality; Development of Paranormal Abilities"
  • Jane Roberts, "A Seth Book Volume II Dreams, Evolution and Value Fulfillment"
  • Carlos Casteneda, "The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge"
  • Carlos Caseneda, "The Art of Dreaming"
  • Lawrence LeShan, "The Medium, the Mystic and the Physicist"
  • Fred Alan Wolf, "The Dreaming Universe: A Mind-Expanding Journey into the Realm where Psyche and Physics Meet"
  • Charles MacKay, "Extraordinary Popular Delusion and the Madness of Crowds"

Hope these thoughts are of help and provide some insight,
Mark H.

All material Copyright 2006 International Institute for Dream Research. All rights reserved.