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Korean Essay, Research Paper

Lucid Dreams: the First Virtual Reality

For ages people have thought of dreams as curses or blessings that we could not

prevent

nor manipulate. This .place x called our dreams has constantly puzzled us, because it

is here

where all things are possible and seem to occur. In our dreams we perform superhuman

and

wonderful feats that would normally be impossible in the .awake world x. We find the

men or

women of our dreams, depending on our sexual orientation. While we dream, these

wonderful

things become our temporary reality. Yet sometimes while dreaming we may experience

the most

horrifying events imaginable, called nightmares. Everyone has their own version of

horror, my

most terrifying nightmare has been where my family and friends have been taken

control of by

evil monsters that cannot be stopped. Rather than kill me they make me watch old 197

0 s

television shows over and over. For years, men have thought that there should be a

way of

preventing or controlling these nightly events.

Humans must, like any animal, sleep. We do not fully understand why we must

sleep. We

only know that if we are deprived of sleep long enough that we will most certainly die.

The same

is true for dreams and dreaming(1). If we sleep long enough we will reach an advanced

stage of

sleep where our body begins to experience rapid eye movement (REM). It is during this

REM

period that we experience most of our dreams. Many scientists try to speculate the

reasons for

dreaming through biological our psychological means. This proves to be very frustrating

for

someone trying to find empirical meaning and truth about his or her dreams.

There are countless books written about dreams with just as many different

interpretations and meanings for specific dream references. For psychics, astrologists, or

psychologists who attempt to interpret dreams, there are numerous factors that must be

considered when endeavoring to find meaning in a dream. Because of these numerous

factors that

contribute to the condition of dreaming, many different paths have been created for

exploration.

From Freud s sexual symbolism to the current random recollection theories diversity in

dream

interpretation abounds. However, there is a way to dream and not be at the mercy of

your

subconscious mind.

For the past ten years a bright psychologist at Stanford University, by the name of

Steven

Laberge, has been studying dreams and the physiology of the human body during the

dream state.

His research may sound commonplace if it weren t for the added fact that he is

training people to

control their dreams. His subjects are learning to become aware of their dream

experience as it is

happening. Once they are aware of their dream they can simply take complete command

of their

dream and can consciously cause anything to happen. To the semi-conscious mind the

experience

is virtually identical to being awake. This concept is nothing new, in fact many of us

will

experience at least one of these dreams in our lifetime.

There are a variety of stimuli that he uses to induce this state of mind. One

method is

playing a tape recording of the phrase “This is a dream” during the sleeper s REM.

He may also

use conditioned tactile stimuli. Light, however, appears to be the best stimulus means of

providing an external cue to the sleeper that they are dreaming. This is because

environmental

light seems to be easily incorporated into dreams and, when properly conditioned,

reminds

dreamers that they are dreaming(6). Use of a special light device has been promising:

55% of 44

subjects had at least one lucid dream during one study(5). The possibilities for human

progression that this concept creates seem to have no bounds.

For years psychologists and others have sought to find a perfect semi-conscious

state of

mind where a subject will have a strong link with their subconscious and may even

interact with

an interviewer using this frame of mind. Another name for this state of mind is called

hypnosis.

Although the .lucid x state of mind that Dr. Laberge s patients experience is not

completely

conscious or subconscious, they are still asleep, and the world that they are in is very

detailed

and just as realistic as our waking world. That is what puzzles most people who look

into his

research. Although not mentioned by Dr. Laberge in his studies, I think that there is a

definite

opportunity for a great unlocking of the secrets of the human mind.

Many practical applications exist for lucid dreaming. There are of course the

obvious,

nightmare therapy, self-confidence enhancing, and general mental health improvements,

but there

are so many more ideas not yet explored. Some of these may include depression therapy

for

physically handicapped people allowing them a very real sort of fantasy fulfillment.

Paralytics

can walk, dance, fly, or do as they wish sexually whenever they choose. The

possibilities for

creative problem solving seem to be obviously enhanced. There even seems to be a

great amount

of possible sensorimotor practice that could possibly be used by stroke or other nerve

damaged

patients. And finally to quote Dr. Laberge(1),

.lucid dreaming can function as a “world simulator.” Just as a flight

simulator allows people to learn to fly in a safe environment, lucid dreaming could

allow people to learn to live in any imaginable world; to experience and better choose

among various possible futures. x

What makes humans extraordinary in the animal kingdom is our awareness of

being. It is

an awareness of our life and existence coupled with our advanced capacity to reason

that makes

us different than the other animals of the Earth. I believe that it may not only be our

awareness of

thought, but the exact capability of being aware somehow of our subconscious

motivations. A

strong sense of our subconscious can be obtained in a state of sleep where the sleeper

is fully

aware not only that he or she is dreaming, but that he or she is actually sleeping.

Humans can

now do this regularly without any type of influencing hypnotic suggestion given by a

hypnotist.

This state of mind seems to be more powerful than any kind of hypnosis, even

self-hypnosis. I

believe that somewhere locked inside our minds is an empirical understanding of our

existence

not just an awareness.

REFERENCES

1. LaBerge, S.(1985). Lucid dreaming. Los Angeles: J. P. Tarcher.

2. LaBerge, S. & Rheingold, H. (1990). Exploring the world of lucid dreaming. New

York:

Ballantine.

3. Llinas, R. & Pare, D. (1991). Of dreaming and wakefulness. Neuroscience.

4. Watson, J. (1928). The ways of behaviorism. New York: Harper.

5. LaBerge, S., Kahan, T. & Levitan, L. (1995). Cognition in dreaming and waking. Sleep

Research, 24A, 239.

6. LaBerge, S. (1990). Lucid dreaming: Psychophysiological studies of consciousness

during

REM sleep. In R.R. Bootsen, J.F. Kihlstrom, & D.L. Schacter (Eds.), Sleep and

Cognition.

Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association (pp. 109-126).

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