Hi! This is my first post here, so I welcome all of you to my perception of this forum.
Another member (steeph) of the german lucid dreaming board and I are conducting a big survey. It is about lucid dreams, but also dream recall, dream contents, dream control, dream related insights, paranormal sleep experiences, hypnagogia, sleep quality in general, and so on. - This does not mean, you need to have experiences of all of these things nor to believe in all of them. All the requirement to participate is being interested in one of these topics! (Shortcut to the links: jump to the end of this post)
Although many tutorials exist about how to improve your dream recall, how to get lucid dreams or how to sleep better, and although this field is being researched frequently these days, I still feel a lack of a real understanding of how consciousness, dreams and sleep actually do work. So, my aim is to set techniques aside and to look out for certain factors of our daily lifes which might influence these sleep related experiences. We decided to perform this by setting up an online survey.
It is different from other surveys on this topic mainly because it is a very broad approach. We try to find factors, for which we have some ideas that might or might not in different ways influence these experiences. For doing so, our survey got questions about many different aspects of your lifes - e.g. physical, social and psychological factors. Another difference to other surveys of this kind is that it is not being conducted by any academic facility, still we have a professional and scientific aspiration and I learned a lot about statistics, let alone about designing a survey, in the course. Yet, the best advantage is this: If I will be done evaluating the results, the evaluation will be published online, free for everyone to use. I also plan to publish it as a printed book for those who like that better than pdfs or those who like to give some money for the effort. But it’s not necessary to purchase it, it will be creative commons.
So, if you would like to help improve our understanding of sleep, dreams, lucid dreams, and help to improve our ways to teach or learn these things, I’m happy to post the links now. Also, this questionnaire might take an hour or so to complete, so be sure to have some time - for those who like questionnaires, this will be fun and also helps reflecting some stuff. Of course it is anonymous and you always may choose not to answer a question which still seems too personal for you.
Welcome to the Fractal Future Forum, sandu, and thanks for reporting about your fascinating project!
Dreams are interesting, because they represent an organic and highly complex form of virtual reality. They are a core topic of the science fiction novel Augmented Dreams by Stephen Kagan, just to drop some future related reference.
Yes, that is certainly quite true. The progress in those areas has been disappointingly slow, or even almost non-existent. Perhaps we need a really good paradigm shift to advance our knowledge about the mind and its functions. Not sure what that paradigm shift should look like, anyway. If I knew, I would have probably already made the shift already.
Excellent! That’s how research in the digital age should be done, always!
Thanks for your warning! I really appreciate that!
That totally sounds like big data to me. I wonder how contemporary and future AI could help find patterns in such studies.
For the relation to the future, there might be many things to say about dreams and sleep.
One thing, for example, is that technology changes the way we sleep - in the middle ages, people often had biphasic or polyphasic sleeping patterns, which changed to the monophasic sleep with the uprising industrial revolution and the monophasic working day. I think this was a bad influence, but in my opinion this is in the course of a change again right now. And, as a side note, i really am glad about the possibility of using audio noise these days - like http://mynoise.net/NoiseMachines/waterfallNoiseGenerator.php this one or similar help me sleep without distraction.
Also, of course, dream contents did change, so technical devices are being parts of dreams and they even turned into symbols or can be used as “magical” shortcuts in lucid dreams (e.g. entering a monitor screen as a portal), so it changed the way we think.
Another relation between dreams and technology or the future might be the fact, that every skill and knowledge could be considered a technology or something similar. So I have the impression, our minds are capable of many many things which we don’t use yet. Even before technical implants and so on improve these capabilities, we can improve the way we use our already existing capabilities. The skill of lucid dreaming for example is something that is certainly some kind of rare but in the last 10 years there was a huge uprising of the knowledge about and people’s interest in this skill. Imagine how it could help improve our lives if it was something we really could teach and learn and share - if it wasn’t something considered “weird” by most of the people.
Well, I just brainstorm about connections to technology. Another thing that pops up in my mind are inventions and discoveries that were assisted by dreams. Like the discovery of the sturcture of the benzole molecule. If lucid dreaming was more widespread, I assume, many people also would use it for intentionally getting new, creative ideas and inventions.
And I am curious what AI would dream about.
Well, some thrilling news or perspectives I can present you if you don’t already know about it. Researchers were able to induce lucid dreams by stimulating the frontal lobe with some kind of 40 hz currency (it is deadly dangerous to try that out on your own - end of disclaimer ) - it worked like 77% of the time or so. No functioning gadgets are being readily built yet, but the time will come.
Another possibility is that shared dreaming might be possible to induce by technology. People in the sleep laboratory were able to communicate from inside a dream with the outside researchers by eye signals and muscle tonus, and researchers also were able to communicate with the dreamers. Up to now they used morse code for communication, but I’m sure it will improve and eventually there will be gadgets to communicate - maybe even by internet - with other people which are wearing those devices. (And of course if you like the dytopian feel, insert all the dream cracking and sensitive dream data collection scenarios here - maybe Inception wasn’t quite unrealistic after all )
But, aside from those applications, it is true, progress is slow in really understanding what is going on in our minds here.
Well I got some ideas about that. Certainly academic psychology is focusing far too narrowly on physiology of the brain these days. Although much interesting stuff can be learned from that, we have to return looking at the mind as a different category than the brain to really understand it. It is as if we try to understand software by only analyzing it on a bits-and-bytes hardware level. (Yet, I don’t want to imply too much metaphysical analogy with this figure.)
Also, as I stated, I’d like to set aside techniques to induce lucid dreams, to influence your sleep and related experience. Because I think, if you really master a technique, you understand its underlying principles and thus you can use those in a far more flexible way than by following a certain reciepe. It’s the same with arts, sports, cooking and so on. If you understand how things are connected, how it works, and if you got a feel for it, you can break the rules, because they didn’t exist in the first place. And you begin to really get a grasp of the core of the art you endeavour.
And dreaming I consider to be a kind of art. But, if you like, you can also consider it a tool or a technology. Or both - like technology is always being used as a form of art or a life-style as well. E.g. coding, hacking, digital artwork…
There is a method in statistics, being called “neuronal networking”. It really is no AI, or just something preliminary, but it processes different kinds of data without for the researchers having to know what exactly are the patterns of the data. Also it is being used when your data is in very different scales. As far as I understand, you firstly have to feed your neurnal network with preexisting data before you conduct the study, so it can learn how to interpret the actual study-data. Anyways, I can’t do that
But a really different thing would be that an AI would need to be at least sophisticated enough to understand or to ask for and learn about the theoretical presumptions of the data. So it can apply the right statistics to it and of course interpret the results correctly.