Shual Profile picture
3 Nov, 44 tweets, 9 min read
Allow me to interrupt $BADGER's god candle, @KylieJenner photoshopped memes and various L1 shills on your timeline to talk about a cool, extremely-niche subject that's dear to my heart:

Lucid dreaming
In the course of everyday life, we rarely reflect on our global reality orientation and state of consciousness.
Even less do we question whether we are awake or not.

Ask yourself this question right this instant — "Am I dreaming right now?"
Some of you will not even bother to ask. Others will dismiss the question with an obvious 'of course I'm awake, duh' answer.

It's hard to truly question the nature of your reality sans an alternative
However, the correct answer should always be: 'I don't know."

Why do I say correct? Because, from a sensory standpoint, your brain can't tell the difference between the two states of consciousness.
When we dream, things are just as vivid and 'real' as real life.
Food has taste. Soundwaves travel across space to form sounds we apply meaning to. Things have smells and odors to them. Our vision acts the same.

Sensorially, it's the same.

Most people just don't remember them.
Up until the late 70s, lucid dreaming wasn't considered to be a real scientific phenomenon.

Yet, the first mentions of such phenomenon date back to the Upanishads, sacred Sanskrit texts of Hindu philosophy.
These holy texts made their way to Tibet, where local religions used to (and still do!) practice lucid dreaming as a form of meditation and a pathway to our ancestors and even other dimensions of reality.
Aristotle himself, in his text 'On Dreams' (from Parva Naturalia) exclaimed: 'When one is asleep, there is something in consciousness which tells us that what presents itself is but a dream."
St. Augustin d'Hippone (354-430), who in his early days practiced Manichaeism, described in his writings the dreams of a patient of his — Gennadius — a roman physician.

Gennadius' described a recurring figure in his dreams, a figure which told Gennadius he is dreaming.
All of these great and fascinating men of history mentioned the lucid dreaming phenomenon in one form or another.

Yet it wasn't until Sir Thomas Browne (1605-1682), one of Francis Bacon's disciples, that dream studies took on an empirical turn.
The modern-day father of lucid dream research is a brilliant person named Marie-Jean-Léon, Marquis d'Hervey de Saint Denys.

The Marquis is widely considered to be the first true oneironaut.…
In 1867, he published a book anonymously, whose title was 'Les Reves et les moyens de les diriger: observations pratiques', translated to: Dreams and the Ways to Direct Them: Practical Observations.

This book was hard to get your hands on, especially back then.
Even Freud famously exclaimed he couldn't get his hands on a copy, primarily to attempt to refute its content.

In the book, MJL laid out his personal experiences, a theoretical framework, handful of techniques to control dreams and more. (It's not solely about LD btw)
It is generally accepted among LD enthusiasts that the term 'Lucid Dreaming' was coined by Frederik Van Eeden, a Dutch writer. In his seminal work, van Eeden describes several varieties of dreams, one of which is what he called "Lucid Dreaming".
Yet within scholarly circles it is debated whether The Marquis was actually the original progenitor of the lucid dreaming term.

Either way, van Eeden couldn't be farther from the truth. His work is more fiction than science, with regards to sleep and dreams.
But up until the second half of the 20th century, lucid dreaming was regarded as pseudoscience at best.
In the absence of empirical evidence back then, most sleep researchers were inclined to accept Hartmann's (Dreams and other hallucinations: An approach to the underlying mechanism, 1975) “impression” that LDs are “not typical parts of dreaming thought, but rather brief arousals”
Schwartz and Lefebvre (Contacts between wakefulness and REM sleep. II: Fragmented REM sleep, 1973) noted that frequent transitory arousals are common during REM sleep and proposed that these “microawakenings” are the physiological basis for lucid dream reports.
All this was about to change.

Empirical evidence began to appear in the late 1970s suggesting that lucid dreams occur during REM sleep.
Based on standard sleep recordings of 2 subjects who reported a total of three lucid dreams upon awakening from REM periods, Ogilvie, Hunt, Sawicki, and McGowan (Searching for lucid dreams, 1978) cautiously concluded that “it may be that lucid dreams begin in REM.”
Let's take a brief detour to discuss sleep stages/the sleep cycle.

Our sleep is divided into cycles, approximately ~100min or so per cycle. Each cycle is further divided into two distinct phases — Non-REM and REM sleep.
Non-REM sleep has three distinct EEG stages, whereas REM sleep is characterized by skeletal-muscle hypotonia

Before a person goes to sleep (i.e., eyes closed and quietly resting), the brain shows prominent alpha waves (~10Hz), whereas during non-REM sleep, the brain exhibits..
..EEG tracings of delta waves ( ∼ 1 to 4 Hz, high voltage)

Based upon EEG tracings, a desynchronized state (low voltage, fast EEG) is associated with behavioral arousal, whereas a synchronized state (high voltage, slow EEG) is linked to sleep.
This pattern of brain activity is complemented by measuring muscle tone activity through the use of electromyography (EMG) recordings. During non- REM sleep, skeletal muscle is reduced, whereas during REM sleep, there is complete loss of skeletal-muscle tone despite the EEG...
...showing a desynchronized pattern of neural activity that is remarkable similar to the wake state.

The REM phase of each cycle is also further divided into the phasic and tonic phases, but we'll leave that aside for now. (Although it's truly fascinating!)
Anyways, no proof was given that the reported lucid dreams had in fact occurred during the REM sleep immediately preceding the awakenings and reports.
What was needed to establish the physiological status of lucid dreams unambiguously was a behavioral response that would signal to the experimenter the exact time at which the lucid dream was taking place.
5 selected subjects signaled that they knew they were dreaming while continuing to dream during unequivocal REM sleep
The signals consisted of particular dream actions having observable concomitants and were performed in accordance with pre-sleep agreement
After each recording, the reports mentioning signals were submitted along with the respective polysomnograms to a judge uninformed of the times of the reports.
In 24 cases (90%), the judge was able to select the appropriate 30-s epoch on the basis of correspondence between reported and observed signals. All signals associated with lucid dream reports occurred during epochs of unambiguous REM sleep.
The work of Dr. Keith Hearne and experienced lucid dreamer Alan Worsley explored the possibilities of proper lucid dreaming research.
In 1975, Hearne had the fantastic idea to exploit the nature of REM to allow a dreamer to send a message directly from dreams to the waking world
Working with an experienced lucid dreamer Alan Worsley, Hearne eventually succeeded in recording (via EOG) a pre-defined set of eye movements signaled from within Worsley's lucid dream. This occurred at around 8 am on the morning of April 12th, 1975:"Suddenly, out of the jumbled
senseless tos and fros of the two eye-movement recording channels, a regular set of large zigzags appeared on the chart. Instantly, I was alert and felt the greatest exhilaration on realizing that I was observing the first-ever deliberate signals sent from within a dream
to the outside. The signals were coming from another world - the world of dreams - and they were as exciting as if they were emanating from some other solar system in space." - Dr Keith Hearne

A true fucking visionary. And a brilliant scientist.
Hearne was in fact the first (And not LaBerge as most enthusiasts think) to empirically show a direct communication, from the dream itself, to waking life, performed by Alan Worsley, during a lucid dreaming. In real time.
To this day, the main methods of communication between researchers and subjects that are dreaming relies on Hearne and LaBerge's work. (Use of EOG and EMG primarily)

But here's a question for you:
When we say lucid dreamers are "asleep", what do we mean? Perhaps they are not really dreaming. Perhaps they are not really sleeping.
If we consider the perception of the outside world as a criterion of being awake, a perception that lucid dreamers are conscious of not having during the dream, then for all intents and purposes, they are indeed asleep. :)
Here is a famous excerpt of a similar study run by Stephen LaBerge. The subject had to signal with his eyes (moving them left and right) at the point in time where they realized they are in fact actively lucid in a dream. (First RLRL marks lucidity onset)
"During the following 90 s the subject "flew about" exploring his dream world until he believed he had awakened, at which point he made the signal for awakening (2, LRLRLRLR) This signal, made in non-lucid REM shows that the precise correspondence between eye movements and gaze..
is not an artifact of lucidity. After another 90s, the subject realized he was still dreaming and signaled (3) with three pairs of eye movements. Realizing it's too many, he correctly signaled with two pairs (4). Finally, upon awakening he signaled appropriately (5, LRLRLRLR).
The eye-movement signaling methodology forms the basis for a powerful approach to dream research: Lucid dreamers can remember pre-sleep instructions to carry out experiments marking the exact time of particular dream events with eye movement signals.
This allows for precise correlations between the dreamer's subjective reports and recorded physiology, and enabling the methodical testing of hypotheses.

And to this day this is the soundest foundational basis for active lucid dreaming research.
I've so much more to say on the subject, it actually dwarves my crypto takes.

But for another day, I guess.

I don't know if this even interests someone other than @Fiskantes (this post is for u <3) so it'll be good to see how many engagements this gets.

May ur dreams be lucid

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