Summary: Lucid dreaming is the ability to know you are dreaming, and all that implies (presumably it is cooler than watching a movie and really knowing you are watching a movie). Since dreams' primary awesomesness seems to be the completely insane and inane stuff being woven together, I ask the question: why not just let it go, man? Includes crazy description of a crazy dream, involving the dead land of fay and old weird trains and machine guns straight up The Losers (graphic novel) style.
BLOT: (06 Jan 2011 - 12:08:20 PM)
Lucid Dreaming versus my crazy-ass dream with guns, black trains from other worlds, and fairy (maybe?) rescue operations
My teen years, better known to the rest of the world as the 1990s, saw a small but passionate insurgence in the New Age, and more particularly in the New Age as a mail order phenomenon. You could get all sorts of books and pamphlets and trinkets and doodads and more crystals than you could possibly have had shelf-space, much less prime neck-space, for (presuming some of them were meant to be amuletted). Gone were the 1970s movies of The Omen and The Wicker-man where entire swaths of bad-guy-ness could be summed up with "IS THAT A OUIJA BOARD?", suddenly we had The Craft and The Crow where white magic cast by hot chicks in tight black shirts was cool. Not just cool in the way that watching a dude start to slip down at school but then catching himself and turning it into a little dance is cool. But, you know, cool. Cool like finding out that hot chick with the tight black shirt in your geometry class has been telling people that she really wants to ask you out but is afraid that you would scoff at her. Cool.
Then there was the psychological fringe, the hypnotist tapes (remember the cassette tapes that you would play when you slept and would become a world leader or whatever?) and the proto-self-help books with discussions about visualizing your goals that despite being pretty much the exact thing as The Secret were so much cooler. And books on Lucid Dreaming, a term which sounded cool enough that it did not really matter what it meant, but what it could be implied to mean. Control your dreams. Get in touch with your inner-self. Fly around in your underwear and just don't give a fudge. Contact your primordial Id and tell it to stop being turned on by old people in loose pants. Whatever you needed, lucid dreaming was there. And sure, Wikipedia informs me there are actual uses for lucid dreaming outside of writing a book about it to make money, but most of those uses seem borderline legit, and no one into it back in the day seemed to care about legit. No, they cared about taking control of dreams and doing cool stuff. Like dreaming you are in a bank robbery but you suddenly whip out a gun and become a hero. Or, to quote an actual incidence that my brother Danny built up, to dream zombies are chasing you but then to imagine a super-solid door they cannot get past and locking them on the other side. In both of those cases, lucid dreaming becomes about controlling the part of you that is presumed to be beyond control because you can't name it or even effectively harness it.
The "publish books to make money off of lucid dreaming" seems to be going on (LGT: Amazon.com search) and that's fine. There are books out there about colon cleansing and the way it makes you want to look smug and real happy and even about cooking with semen, so I have no issues with there being books about things*. I don't even have a problem with lucid dreaming [Doug's Note: screw those self-hypnotism tapes, though], I just never quite got it. I mean, I got it. We live in a world that considers dreams to be the gateway to who we really are. Whatever dreams really are, we tend to think of them as important and cool; our mind at its greatest and most open. Whether you are night tripping with strange small bearded men that you met having a fit in a train station, or just cruising the backside of consciousness avenue on your lonesome, things tend to get unmistakably different than the everyday in dreams. Which can be really weird if you have uncomfortable dreams. Involving, say, a member of the same sex either too young or too old with really dirty britches and possibly related to you. Or awesome, if, say, they involve Antonia Banderas (am I right, fellows?). I just, I guess, see the two halves to the dream world—self-exploration meets awesomesauce—being a little at odds with one another. Either we are seeing our inner selves exposed, something I only slightly believe, or we are seeing a random inkblot of all our myriad brain flares splattered into a Jackson Pollack and then sorted, apophenia style, into the semblance of a plot. I like dreams because they are nonsense explosions wrapped in crazy bacon and then backed until crispy odd.
Like me dream I had right before waking this morning. It was a complex, long thing and I only remember one aspect clearly: there was an old grey house. This house had many floors and some dark purpose (dark purpose may or may not have been obvious in the dream) but at the pinnacle of the house, kept in the attic, was a group of young slaves. They were fairy of some sort, though looked mostly human. The fact that they were dying by being kept in this plane of existence was kind of a point, and fed back into the dark purpose of the house. In the dream, the door to their homeworld was right there but I guess could only be opened by someone not from it, which I did. Which triggered tons of alarms. And then we find out that the other world, a strange orange place with decaying aqueducts, dried up deserts, and ancient doorless trains traveling through the waste, was so decayed that escaping was going to take time. And the people who owned that house were sending a small army. I got a gun from someone, possibly an early victory over a guard, and the dream switched to me dangling from this rope that swung out towards the train and then shooting the crap out of the initial response guard. Not to completely stop them but just to hold them up for a bit. Finally, dangling down near the death-black train with its horrendous roar over the tracks and being out of bullets, they start reeling me in. Except when I get there, my gun is a plastic toy gun that either had thought it was a real, or a real gun that thought it was plastic, and anyhow they assume that I am just a crazy loon who has been waving a plastic gun at them while someone did the shooting and they sort of just toss me aside and me go. And I have a friend there who is telling me all about her day, strangely. And Neil Gaiman was somehow involved.
If at any stage I had lucid dreamed it, would have ruined it. I would have given myself more bullets, or somehow got on the train. Or just closed the door behind us. Nowhere near as awesome as swinging on strange red ropes above dead orange sand next to terrifying black trains as green-garbed soldiers fire at me with their oversized guns.
Which I am sure lucid dream supporters are rushing to tell me is not the point. And that is fine. I kind of know of that. I just also know that my dreams are one of the few places where I don't have to make sense, where I don't have to turn my odd little daydreams about maggots crawling out of holes in the ceilings and eating away past memories into anything that resembles proper discourse. I can just roll with the punches until I wake up. Which I find to be kind of cool.
OTHER BLOTS THIS MONTH: January 2011