Project Lucidity
December 29, 2013 3:27 PM   Subscribe

Lucid dreams are overrated. First time I had one I was all "wow, this is awesome. I can do anything!"
So I thought I'd walk through a wall. I was on a beach. No walls. But hey I'm omnipotent! I just think "I want a wall!" and a wall is there.
So I walk into the wall and hell it hurt.
posted by edd at 3:34 PM on December 29, 2013 [10 favorites]

Because I was bored and didn't have access to drugs in High School, I did a lot of a lucid dreaming experiments.

I had sex with so many celebrities you guys.
posted by The Whelk at 3:38 PM on December 29, 2013 [9 favorites]

And I have a crowd-funded open-source bridge to sell you.
posted by blue_beetle at 3:38 PM on December 29, 2013 [1 favorite]

Fiiiiinally. I needed a new iDrug.
posted by tybeet at 3:49 PM on December 29, 2013

Hardly the first - there's been several on Kickstarter, Pozible, etc over the last few months. All have fallen through / been removed, mostly due to being obvious scams (e.g. this Kickstarter, with their 'prototype' being a photoshop mockup, the circuit details as shown being laughably improbable, and a … let's say 'unique' … approach to testing and analysis of results).

This one doesnt look to be any further along than the earlier scams - the alleged source code to drive the thing is 'close to being complete', and the hardware design apparently not yet finalised.
posted by Pinback at 3:51 PM on December 29, 2013 [1 favorite]

I had sex with so many celebrities you guys.

Is that "I had sex with so many celebrities, you guys." or "I had sex with so many celebrities: you guys."? Lucid punctuation lets me make any comment say anything!
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:11 PM on December 29, 2013 [10 favorites]

Let your heart tell you what is true.
posted by The Whelk at 4:15 PM on December 29, 2013 [5 favorites]

I tried lucid dreaming for a while, and had success actually getting into the dreams. However my subconscious apparently does not want me to have fun, as about the most effective thing I could do is hop about 10 feet in the air. Eventually when I was trying to summon somebody again, a mirror image of myself appeared and punched me in the nose.

I gave it up after that.
posted by solarion at 4:15 PM on December 29, 2013 [6 favorites]

I distinctly remember the end of my lucid dreaming experiments. It was a penthouse party for all kinds of glamours and important people, some of whom are fiction and or dead, and was also somehow on a ocean going penthouse party and I was there with my then boyfriend and he was FREAKING OUT. The entire dream was me trying to calm him the fuck down so I could go clink glasses and suck face with like, Captain Nemo and Lord Byron, but boyfriend was having NONE of it and I eventually, and I remember this very clearly, explained to him that none of this was real - do you remember getting onto the boat? How were we invited to this party? How do we know these people? See, you can't answer these questions, so this isn't a real place and there is nothing to worry about but then the dream itself unravelled and I woke up at like five a.m all upset and confused.
posted by The Whelk at 4:20 PM on December 29, 2013 [14 favorites]

By flashing these unique light patterns only when you are dreaming, the stimulus will show up as anomalies in your dream. Your brain is tricky though, it will incorporate this visual stimulus into your dream. You might start seeing police lights, feel like the sun keeps flickering, or for some reason a firefly wont stop dancing in your face. With practice, you will recognize these anomalies and realize when you are in a dream, allowing you to become lucid and control your dreams.

This is dumb: Becoming lucid doesn't turn the flashing lights off (how could it, unless the device can recognize when you are aware that you are dreaming?). Annoying lights always flashing in my lucid dreams? I'd never use this.
posted by 3FLryan at 4:27 PM on December 29, 2013 [2 favorites]

I'd love to see a post here with links to decent lucid dreaming resources, I've never had any success myself. Not going to buy an untested mask though.
posted by ElliotH at 4:33 PM on December 29, 2013 [1 favorite]

Metafilter: I woke up at like five a.m all upset and confused.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:35 PM on December 29, 2013 [2 favorites]

I tweet the dreams I remember, because for the last five years, for whatever reason, I've been having a lot of really strange ones. I've thought about trying to do the lucid dreaming thing, but I kind of don't want to mess with a good thing. I also kind of like that I'm not in control of what's happening in my dreams, at least now that I've stopped repeatedly dreaming about fighting my father... My brain really does write fiction in my sleep, and while it comes from me, it's not something I consciously made. That's kind of cool.
posted by limeonaire at 4:37 PM on December 29, 2013


A good place to start would be this video by Stephen Laberge - as far as I know, he's the world's foremost scientist studying lucid dreaming. Here's the link to the DVD. I've never seen the DVD, but I'm sure it would be a rather interesting and informative view.

For a quick and dirty how-to guide, this wikiHow actually has a good overview of some techniques. Personally I find steps 1, 2, 5, 6, 9, and 11 to help the most. You could go in-depth on any of the steps listed here by Google-searching the terms used.
posted by 3FLryan at 4:58 PM on December 29, 2013 [9 favorites]

I used to lucid dream a lot. Then I realized it was wasted on me. Then I started dreaming exclusively that all my old friends and family were zombies, but they didn't so much want to eat me as just kind of lurk around. Then I just stopped caring or remembering my dreams at all, and with only a couple of exceptions, that's where I am now.
posted by saulgoodman at 5:02 PM on December 29, 2013

Ah, just saw that video by LaBerge is $24.95. Kinda steep for info you could get for free on the Net if you do some digging, starting with that wikiHow. But, still could be entertaining.
posted by 3FLryan at 5:06 PM on December 29, 2013

I'm not a fan of lucid dreaming. The one time it happened to me my brain had a definite nope nope nope nope reaction.

That said, I picked up one of Mitch's Neurodreamer sleep masks about a year ago and it's been fantastic. It helped me break a decade-long cycle of insomnia. I never use the LEDs; I just flip on the white noise generator and I'm out in five minutes or so.

As far as this particular project goes: FFS, people. If you're going to promote your project as open source, bite the bullet and publish your source. I don't care if it's messy and undocumented. Get over it and put it out there. If you're not ready to do so, don't promote it as open source. *eyeroll emoji goes here*
posted by phooky at 5:10 PM on December 29, 2013 [1 favorite]

(Also, I should point out that the Neurodreamer is open source. You can find the schematics and source here.)
posted by phooky at 5:11 PM on December 29, 2013 [1 favorite]

I honestly cannot understand the "I've lucid dreamed, meh."

Bank heists, fighter jet battles, Grand Theft Chariot: Rome, things beyond any mere porno, and more are all available AND YOU SAY MEH?!
posted by codswallop at 5:24 PM on December 29, 2013 [1 favorite]

Bank heists, fighter jet battles, Grand Theft Chariot: Rome, things beyond any mere porno, and more are all available AND YOU SAY MEH?!

I hear ya, but now I'm more interested in it to help solve problems in real life.

"Hmm. I have this problem in real life. Now that there are no constraints, how might I solve it?"

I can see that leading to some really interesting insights.
posted by 3FLryan at 5:31 PM on December 29, 2013

In my experience, you don't really need a gadget of any sort for lucid dreaming. The secret is simple and easy to obtain though it does have some negative side effects.

Nicotine patches.

Apply right before bedtime and that's pretty much it. I've never dreamed so vividly or wonderfully as with the patches. Still use them once a week or so as my low-key, non-intrusive-into-any-actual-real-life-stuff, and easy to find psychedelic. Why spend your waking hours talking with God while riding around in her spaceship, hunting ghosts and fighting clown demons, when you can do it in a block of otherwise unused time?
posted by honestcoyote at 5:43 PM on December 29, 2013 [7 favorites]

Sometimes I like to eat a bunch of cheese before going to bed, to give my dreams a little more pep. It's probably a lot more fun than going to bed with a 5v arduino system strapped to your eyeballs.
posted by The River Ivel at 5:47 PM on December 29, 2013

Friends and I did a lot of lucid dreaming experiments back in 2007-2008. Things got pretty intense in late August, starting around the 24th. Then on the 29th, something…happened. I

t came through from the other side and on August 29th, 2008, we shut down the experiments, but it was too late. It was here to stay.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:54 PM on December 29, 2013 [1 favorite]

Seconding honestcoyote. The last time I quit smoking I was on the patch and had the most lucid dreams of my life. Some mornings I'd wake up a little confused and tired, having been so busy in my dreams. I eventually started taking the patch off before going to bed.
As it turned out, one of the side effects listed on the box of patches was lucid dreaming.
posted by islander at 5:55 PM on December 29, 2013 [1 favorite]

Is there really any difference between lucid dreaming and day dreaming? I mean, other than being asleep or awake?
posted by grog at 5:58 PM on December 29, 2013

I once went to a 10-day Lucid Dream Camp at Stanford run by Stephen LaBerge. It was co-taught by Alan Wallace, sometime interpreter for the Dalai Lama and expert on Tibetan dream yoga. Kinda goes beyond words so I'll just say it was fabulous.

LaBerge's Lucidity Institute now does them in Hawaii. Next one is March 2014. I would recommend it to anyone.
posted by ecourbanist at 6:07 PM on December 29, 2013

Bank heists, fighter jet battles, Grand Theft Chariot: Rome, things beyond any mere porno, and more are all available AND YOU SAY MEH?!

There's just the thing. I would think about bank heists or pornography but inevitably I would just end up wandering around some streets jumping off things because it didn't really seem to work. In this regard it was far too much like real life.
posted by solarion at 6:19 PM on December 29, 2013

There are triggers in dreams that can kick me into lucidity, most notably phones, which never work in dreams. Generally, though, I don't really do anything super-amazing with the lucidity - I tend to use it to solve the problems at hand. I can also use it to fly somewhat, or to become someone else, or change perspectives (I am watching a movie, then I am in the movie, then I am on top of the house.) I find my dream imagination is somewhat dimmed, so I don't manipulate my environment a lot.

My dreams are very vivid and tactile. I not only hear and see, I can taste food and feel sensations. If I am injured in a dream and I am awakened, I can still feel pain for a short amount of time when I wake up (which freaks me out - imagine not having a cut on your hand, but feeling a cut on your hand.) And sometimes my dreaming mind comes up with incredible things, connections that would never have occurred to me if I were attempting to make things happen.

Like, say, when I walked into the women's bathroom at a nightclub that seemed to be sort of a hybrid of First Avenue and Cabaret Metro and there was a full on ferocious ballroom drag queen battle in progress, and also there were tigers for some reason.

The only machine I want is one that would make that real, because it was amazing.
posted by louche mustachio at 6:35 PM on December 29, 2013 [2 favorites]

I hate lucid dreaming. My brain wakes up just enough to hook into my actual nervous system instead of the dream version, so I can do whatever I want as long as I'm lying down and unable to move.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 6:50 PM on December 29, 2013

Having a device that genuinely did help you balance between being asleep enough to spectate your dreams but awake enough to direct them is definitely part of my "fun sci-fi future" fantasies, but I'm sure I remember reading about watching flickering sun beams through tree branches being a thing a hundred years ago. I was hoping for something a bit less crude.

The remixing of ideas and sensations that dreaming does is pretty interesting in any case though. For a long time, my method of getting airborne in a dream involved very carefully lifting one foot, then the other, as explained by Douglas Adams. After Super Mario 64 though, a hop, skip and jump became a sort of semi-reliable short cut.
posted by lucidium at 7:12 PM on December 29, 2013

If this is "open source" then where's the source? Oh, here it is... a few lines that he hasn't changed in a year.

Earth to you - an open source project means that you check as you go. Here's a real open source project of mine for contrast

Note also that he's started several other open source projects - but not gotten any further than the README.

I'm not 100% sure this is the same guy - but, well, I'm deeply skeptical now...
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 8:20 PM on December 29, 2013

Or it might be this guy - with even less checked in. Still, completely dubious...
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 8:22 PM on December 29, 2013

I never got lucid dreams on nicotine patches, but oh hell yes those things have some serious recreational value.
posted by Now there are two. There are two _______. at 9:02 PM on December 29, 2013

Another vote for the Neurodreamer here, I picked up one through his Kickstarter project a while back.
posted by mrbill at 9:50 PM on December 29, 2013

I've had quite a few "semi-lucid" dreams, but only one fully lucid dream. The technique I used was a reality checking one, where you get in the habit in your waking life of doing reality checks. The one I chose was turning on a light switch. If it didn't turn on, that would mean I'm dreaming (because apparently, some things don't work normally in dreams). It could mean that the light is busted, but hey :)

Anyway, in my dream, I'm standing on the threshold to my housemate's bedroom (in real life, her room was directly above mine). I flick her light switch, and nothing happens. I then become lucid.

And by lucid, I don't mean, oh I get the sense this is not real, or that I may be dreaming. I mean FULLY FUCKING LUCID, as in I knew exactly what was going on. I remember, in the dream, having full comprehension that my physical body was in the room below. I had the same sense of awareness and sanity that I would while awake.

When this happened, I became overwhelmed with excitement. It literally felt like I was in the matrix. I was stunned at how real everything looked, and how much detail was rendered without any visual sensory input from the real world.

I looked in my hands and I had two or three silver (or gold) balls. I decided I was going to do something cool and make the most of this. I was able to get them to float in front of me, but it wasn't like I had full control over everything. After a few incredible seconds, I became so excited that I woke up. Apparently there are techniques that you can use to remain grounded in the dream if you start slipping. I think one of them is spinning really fast.

Anyway, that was my one and only truly lucid dream. It was years ago, and ever since, in the back of my mind, I want to re-explore this space.

When I get around to it, of course.
posted by spacediver at 11:03 PM on December 29, 2013

I got into lucid dreaming when I was a teenager. I had a few successes, but it took willpower to maintain. Eventually I would lose focus and the dream would reassert control.

One time I was flying, realized I was dreaming, and instantly started to fall. I panicked and lost control as quickly as I had gained it. But now it was a falling dream, and I hit the ground and woke up. I lost interest in lucid dreaming after that.
posted by foobaz at 1:00 AM on December 30, 2013

The one time it happened to me my brain had a definite nope nope nope nope reaction.

Me too. My brain thinks "WAKE UP NOW" is the correct response to the explicit realization that I'm dreaming.
posted by cosmic.osmo at 8:38 AM on December 30, 2013

« Older HOT SINGLES IN YOUR AREA, GAZING AT YOU WITH THAT...   |   Catch Me If You Can: Real Estate Edition Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments