Lewis Cass High School, Walton, Indiana,

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Lucid Dreaming

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I’ve had some very strange and interesting dreams in my life. Whether they were meaningful or not, sometimes I’ve had the sense that I can control certain things within my dream. In the movie Inception, Leonardo DiCaprio and his team go into a state of sleep in which they can control the dreams they are entering. By definition, they are entering a state of lucid dreaming. According to Webster’s Dictionary, a lucid dream is a dream during which the dreamer is aware of dreaming. During lucid dreaming, the dreamer may be able to exert some degree of control over the dream characters, narrative, and environment. Warning this article contains spoilers from the movie so if you haven’t seen it, go check it out! The characters in Inception build and create dreams which they control. Although not as extensive, people all over the world do this every single day.

Lucid dreaming has been scientifically proven; however, no cases of planting ideas in another person’s mind have ever been recorded, but multiple cases and descriptions of Lucid dreaming have been. According to Rebecca turner, a writer for the World of Lucid Dreaming, lucid dreaming occurs in REM sleep; however, instead of going through the motions like every other dream, one is conscious of the dream. Accounts of lucid dreaming will describe “becoming lucid” or realizing something about the dream is wrong or does not feel right. When one realizes he is dreaming, the dreamer can then control what happens since there are no real consequences. This happens in the movie several times. For example, Saito realizes he is not in his apartment when Cobb is threatening to kill him because Saito detects the carpet on the ground is not made of the right material and wakes up from the life threatening dream.

“I realized I was lucid dreaming because I started realizing things that weren’t normal. For example the night would immediately turn to day. The dream didn’t last very long, but it felt as if I were fully awake and I had full control of where I was going in the dream,” said Olivia Salyers.

In the movie, being able to tell whether or not one was in a dream was either very helpful or fatal. Cobb’s wife Mal lucid dreamt so much that she could no longer tell the difference between reality and her dreams. I don’t believe this could actually happen in real life- the average dream is only 20-30 minutes (Wikipedia). Mal and Cobb spent all night, 50 years in a dream, dreaming, which ultimately led her not to be able to tell the dream from reality. Not to mention, many people will awake faster when lucid dreaming because their awareness of the things around them may scare them or take them by surprise and wake them up. This is partly why the characters have to use a sedative in order to go four layers deep into a dream. Without the sedative, the characters would’ve woken up and not have been successful in their mission.  

Another example of becoming lucid occurs when Cobb takes Ariadnae to a small cafe and has her try to think how she got into the cafe. When she can’t remember, she becomes lucid and realizes she’s dreaming. This technique is how Cobb teaches his team to detect if they’re in a dream or not.

However, not all lucid dreaming is flying to Europe by simply snapping one’s fingers. Many lucid dreamers have recorded the same account of an old witch or hag sitting on his or her chest. The dreamer can’t move but feels as if an unbearable weight on his chest. Some people have also noted shadows of people standing beside them or they claim to have seen red eyes. These are all forms of sleep paralysis. While sleep paralysis is not deadly nor can it harm a person, it can be truly terrifying. However, ways to prevent this kind of sleep paralysis and lucid dreaming exist.  

Lexi Jackson had a somewhat terrifying dream as a child. She said, “the dream starts in my old house. I start walking upstairs and I go into my parents bedroom when I see someone hiding under the sheets. I lift up the blanket and I see my aunt’s boyfriend but his head rolls off his body like a screw coming undone.”

Inception accurately depicts lucid dreaming with a little bit of drama added for effect. I thought this was a great, very informative movie. The movie gives an great idea as to what it might be like to lucid dream. Many steps and procedures exist for a person to be able to acquire the ability to lucid dream.

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1 Comment

One Response to “Lucid Dreaming”

  1. Cjay74 on December 4th, 2017 1:40 pm

    Lucid dreaming is fascinating. I have always wanted to experiance a lucid dream. Inception is a very good movie; I enjoy it every time I see it. Great article!

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Lewis Cass High School, Walton, Indiana,
Lucid Dreaming