A Call for more than Science in our Approach to Dreams

Many post-Inception dream blogs are talking about “the science of lucid dreaming”. I would feel restless and unfulfilled if I stood by and watched all this conversation without interjecting an expanded approach to studying dreaming and dreamwork. When seeking to determine the validity of claims that we can share one another’s dreams, or that we can dream the future, or that we can engage in remote viewing, or any other typically labeled “psi-“ dream phenomenon, the scientists themselves will need to expand their approach to their own realities and dreams.

The approach to studying the dreamworld that I will be advocating is based loosely on the anthropological concept of participant observation. There is a great deal of literature that validates participant observation as a useful method for understanding those phenomenon experienced by others from both an insiders’ and outsiders’ perspective.  In order for scientists to do so, they must, themselves, be engaged in the expanding of their own scientific, empirically-grounded view of reality. Scientists would intend to learn what it’s like to walk in the shoes of a lucid dreamer, would intend to believe in the power and magic of dreams, would learn to lucid dream frequently, would utilize his or her lucid dream state to pose questions or attempt experiments (within the dream), and would trust that by dreaming and experimenting lucidly they can and will access our higher potentials as human beings.

This expanded, inclusive approach that I speak of embraces many different cultural and historical approaches to dreaming and does not necessarily hold any one approach higher or more valid than any of the others. For this reason, we must listen to the accounts of the dream scientist with the same interest and attention as we listen to the accounts of the indigenous shaman, the dream yogi, or the modern psychic. There is much to be learned from all of them.

One of the first things that scientists might learn from these other dream wisdom traditions, is that if a dreamer holds a scientific view of reality that is governed by consistent, knowable laws and categories, then their dreamworlds will likely look much like this. Ironically then, the scientist who is trying to prove the existence of psychic dreams through a scientific method, is (in a way) setting him/herself up to fail… or he or she may find just enough interesting data to haunt them with uncertainty and frustration.

Dreams are molded and constructed by our beliefs. If we believe that direct psychic contact is impossible, it is likely we will never open ourselves to the experience. On the other hand, if we ARE open, ourselves, to the possibility of dreaming the future, we are more likely to experience a dream as such. Dreams can be consciously created and altered with clear, focused intent. This is the power of lucid dreaming. It is amazing when this power is then brought into the waking world. This is no different from the ability to manifest things into your reality, also known as the “law of attraction” from movies like The Secret. It is through experimenting with the lucid dreamworld directly that scientists will find their proof of phenomenon that science-as-institution and science-as-method are not actually able to prove yet. Ironically again, science-as-paradigm will have already had to have evolved.

Once the scientist who studies remote viewing knows remote viewing to be possible in every real sense and intends to have a remote viewing experience, and then goes ahead and experiences a remote viewing event through a dream, receives 8-10 reference points, and has all of those reference points independently validated, then I bet that scientist will not need further proof to know remote viewing exists. His challenge however, will be to convince the rest of the community through “proof”.
In regard to proof, science is slow. Proving something to oneself through phenomenological experience is much more rapid and direct than proving to a scientific community through rigorous trials and error. As such, I have become weary of science. I value it and recognize the ways it functions in our current knowledge systems, but am happy to let others do the science. I am much more interested in experiencing the dream directly. I prefer to experiment with the dreamworld using my lucid consciousness while in the dream state. I am happy to allow science to catch up to us. I have no doubt that just like science “discovered” things like X-rays and gravity and the phenomenon of psychological projection, science will eventually “prove” the existence of “psi-“ phenomenon that many of us already know to be real aspects of the human experience. Once we get over the burden of proving that things like prophetic dreaming and shared dreaming can exist, we can get into the really interesting, fun work… seeing what we can do with them!

I am part of a growing community of oneironauts, explorers and anthropologists of the lucid dream world, and we are engaged in Revelation Dreamwork.

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~ by jonahhaas on July 24, 2010.

3 Responses to “A Call for more than Science in our Approach to Dreams”

  1. I just woke up from a lucid dream. I have them often, although, they seem to have changed a bit since watching Inception. I got up out of bed to search for info on the science behind Inception. I found an article which you commented on. It’s funny to see how little science really knows about lucid dreaming, OBE, and shared dreaming. I completely agree with everything you’ve said. Until scientists begin to open themselves up to the possibilities, providing any kind of “proof” will be virtually impossible.

    I’m really glad I found this blog. =) Expect to see me around a lot more often.

    • Desirai,

      Pleasure to meet you! I’m glad you appreciate my perspective. As a lucid dreamer, I’m sure you get it. I’d love to hear how you feel your dreams have changed since Inception? Please fill me in! Stay tuned for more good stuff!

  2. I just have to say that i am glad that there are open minded people like you, kind author of the blog. And i believe even thou you haven’t said that in this post that you know that all of the stuff that you mentioned here in the post applies not only to the dreaming but to the reality as well. And probably you have, or maybe not, researched about the plants of knowledge or commonly known as psychedelics because much of the stuff you would find in meditation guides, lucid dreaming guides etc. would and does apply to that practice. Indigenous shamans, prophets and even whole societies knew or know to this day this same information but it is intentionally destroyed by the mass media, propaganda and such.
    One more thing, i can’t but notice how some people are restrained by their view of science as a (dunno) religion but science is a tool.
    Advice: There is a book called DMT: Spirit Molecule by Dr. Rick Strassman, it is a very interesting read for someone such as yourself. You won’t be disappointed by it, i think.

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