Salvador Dali photographed by Philippe Halsmann

Salvador Dali photographed by Philippe Halsmann

A case for Oneirology

Marie-Jean Léon Lecoq was the first person to coin the term réve lucide (lucid dream). The sinologist turned oneirologist (specialist in the study of dreams) diligently recorded his dreams on a daily basis from the age of thirteen and wrote extensively on the concept of controlling dreams. His own personal technique was to chew orris root before bed. One in five people lucid dream every month and regularly enjoy the experience of having conscious control during over their dreams – the rest of us slumber on guilelessly letting ourselves be carried tacitly along by the waves of our subconscious.

What if the same could be said for our waking life?  Are we just letting ourselves be carried along? Simply unconsciously reacting to outside influences without any real attempt to consciously shape and direct our daily experience. If in both cases we are just observers simply watching both our dreams and lives unfold, then how can a person distinguish their dream life from their waking life?

Psychologists and philosophers alike have been mulling this question over for millennia so we won’t attempt to answer it here! But we do invite you to explore it playfully on your own. Next time you are sleeping and become even the slightest bit aware that you are dreaming, ask yourself: Am I awake? …and when you are awake during the day just going about your business, ask yourself: Am I dreaming?

You’ll find that it’s quite an unsettling experience, but also fascinating. But beyond the ‘fun’ of it, asking yourself these questions will also help you to begin to shape both your subconscious and conscious experiences with more clarity, more lucidity. The definition of lucid being : easy to understand and/or bright or luminous; expect the side effects of this experiment to be a more vivid life and increasingly radiant dreams.


S+ suggested viewing: Richard Linklater’s groundbreaking 2001 film Waking Life.


W.K + M.U. 2015

Published: March 26th, 2015

Previous in this series:

A Case for Randomness 

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