By Guest Author RTW
Lucid dreaming itself is just one subject within a myriad of sciences, philosophies, and ways of thought. Most importantly, it’s a concept still well within it’s infancy in the western world.
Although lucid dreaming has been imbedded in the likes of Tibetan Buddhism in the form of dream yoga for centuries; the ability to gain awareness in your dreams was only first verified for western science by the pioneering experimentation of Keith Hearne in 1975. A very similar experiment was later completed by Stephen LaBerge in 1985 in prime example of multiple discovery.
As of 2018, so called ‘proof’ that lucid dreaming was in fact ‘real’ only occurred around 40 years ago. To put things into perspective, it took the scientific community over 50 years for the theory of continental drift and seafloor spreading to be accepted (and that was only 60 years ago!). For many cutting-edge theories, their acceptance and application in the modern world is by no means instantaneous. A great example for the speed of development for both ideas and technology can be derived from the fast-paced business world. Here it took 30 years following the invention of the computer for a machine to be applied to office organisation – and another decade before Microsoft Windows was released!
As you might expect, things take time to grow from theory to concept, and from prototype to finished product. Even in a final evolved state, technology take even longer to spread amongst the population – and that’s with such life-changing products like computers!
Throwing numbers around like that may be a little confusing. However, the application of such timescales can be displayed graphically by rather intuitive ‘Technology Adoption Curve’.
This diagram is an example of bell-type curve, representing a sociological model depicting how a new product develops amongst a user group (or population). Nearly every popular piece of tech, software, or coherent theory has gone through an evolution similar to that shown in the Technology Adoption Curve – This graph can even be applied to memes!
Innovators are those individuals that are first to the scene. They create or develop an idea – Turning it into something viable (although at notably very high risk). For computers you’ll be familiar with names like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and maybe even Masatoshi Shima. They were lucky to be in the right place at the right time, helping to co-create (with many, many others) a new multi-trillion-pound industry. Following on from this innovation were those happy to accept new technology, becoming early adopters (e.g. the infamous ‘paypal mafia’). These are then trailed by the early majority keen to hop on the bandwagon. For computer users at the time, the early majority resulted in the ‘Dot-com bubble’. At that point, the full potential of computers and the internet was realised - best summarised by ‘The Million Dollar Homepage’.
But how does this have anything to do with Lucid Dreaming?
Much like the tech industry, we can also put scientific studies and advances on the Technology Adoption Curve. By reading this I can assume that you’re interested in what lucid dreaming has to offer. Well, as a concept it’s only barely been accepted into many scientific fields. Like I mentioned above, lucid dreaming is new to the scene of modern science and has so far typically been disguised under the cover of studies relating to other psychological effects (with little depth beyond preliminary meta-analysis). If you were to place the use and study of lucid dreaming on the bell-shaped Technology Adoption Curve, we’d barely be into the ‘early innovators’ section. Although lucid dreaming has been proven in a small surge of research in the early eighties – nobody has really picked up the baton since…
Lucid dreaming has fallen in the backwaters – comparable to being in the museum of failure (right next to the DeLorean DMC-12). And like many failed great inventions of the past, maybe the world just wasn’t ready yet? And for those that enjoyed the business aspect; any economist will likely tell you that demand drives supply. For a phenomenon requiring intensive commitment and training – maybe we just weren’t that interested after all?
Where We’re Going We Don’t need roads…But Maybe We Do!
What has been depicted above is a general look at the bigger picture for dream studies and technology as a whole. However, this can be distilled further to a more plausible and a more personal level. It’s possible that lucid dreaming is not, and might never be, the ground-breaking science it deserves to be. We can blame a lot of things for this fact – but none more so than our own general ignorance.
Where did you learn to lucid dream? How well do the methods you use work? I don’t wish to bombard the reader with questions here, but there are a range of points worth considering. The art of lucid dreaming has been made accessible to all by the internet – and everything that entails. You can pick up a choice of books all claiming to tell you the tips and tricks you need. Hundreds of webpages teach method after method all appearing to end in ‘-ILD’ – not to mention a gaggle of youtubers repeating the same content like online echoes.
The practice of lucid dreaming has been blighted by the modern consumer-focused society we live in. Nowadays, everything is available whenever we want it for whatever cost we can afford. People view the mindfulness and awareness needed whilst dreaming in the exact same way. There’s a myriad of cash grabbing platforms selling obviously fake books and devices claiming to get you lucid dreaming instantly – almost as if it’s not an entirely new skill you’re leaning! You don’t see book promising to teach you the guitar, overnight do you? The again…maybe you do.
Whether the demand is there or not, it’s simply not the type of demand we need to fuel a surge in lucid dreaming publicity.
This skyscraper-worth of material floating around the somewhat arbitrary lucid dreaming community has very, very small foundations. There seems to be an awful lot of ‘stuff’ for a concept that was only proven a few decades ago. Lucid dreaming still remains under-researched with nearly everything you come across limited to the studies of a few key individuals. It’s almost like the car was invented before the road. We’re sat with what we’ve got but with nowhere to go. Those individuals wishing to chase lucid dreaming to find its full potential are hitting a roadblock before they even start!
For those reading this, it may be fair to say that we were born before our time. We are the early few willing to embrace and support a science which has yet to even bud, let alone flower into its full potential. But that’s not all bad news! Although we can’t guarantee the use of lucid dreaming as the sandbox virtual reality environment with applications to a range of real-world issues – I’m optimistic that it’ll only be a matter of time. Whether we look at it through the eyes of an economist or not, lucid dreaming has potential.
All we have to do is wait for the next wave of innovators – or push for innovation ourselves!
About the author:
Arty is friendly writer and blogger from the UK. A practiced lucid dreamer, he runs a popular blog under the pseudonym RTW. You can visit his site here: RTW on Tumblr