Are dreams voluntary

Again one is faced with the questions of archetypes. Jung had a proof for his archetypes which contains the assumption that dreams are voluntary.

“the main source (for evidence of archetypes ), then is in dreams, which have the advantage of being involuntary, spontaneous products of the unconscious psyche and are therefore pure products of nature not falsified by any conscious purpose.” Jung. The archetypes of the collective unconscious, p. 48, parra, 100.

I’m not entirely certain this is indeed the case. Sleep is not voluntary. We need it from a evolutionary and biological point of view. Scientifically we must say since dreams are occurring in most humans and almost every animal we have been able to a study of. (Citations needed). We can get into the idea that in essence for the majority of the human race dreams are not voluntary.

This is not to go and show everything Jung says in his continuing proof is flawed. If he had indeed stated that dreams are not voluntarily entered into by the conscience, his remaining evidence actually makes a lot more sense.

Take the examples he draws from religious rituals. I’m certain, from both my experience of trance states and Jungs that he knew these were not involuntary. He most likely knew they were open to influence from those leading the rituals and processes.

He also says that dreams are free of outside influences. Just starring the fact that archetypes exist and then saying they form from dreams that is saying that this is clearly not the case. The dreamer is able to influence the telling of a dream.

I’m not the only one who has found flaws in Jungs work. And I am not saying that merit is vacant from it. However his concept of archetypes is influenced by these two assumptions. I’m not sure using them as he defines them in his work is as pure as many works of more modern times (often spuriously saying things I would rather not credit with the ink they are put to print on). This is of course why I have spent the time researching the actual original text from which of these authors claim to have.

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Fear of sharing

I’ve talked about this before and I have thought a bit about our fears of sharing dreams. In a lot of societies that share information in the way we do, we get this feeling about each bit of information we ingest. We don’t always have to believe it’s a true feeling to have, it’s still there. In the life !of information it’s our feelings and anthropomorphic model of the medium of that information that sets up how we digest it. I’ll show you what I mean.

Imagine that WordPress was a person. What do they look like? What do they wear? What does this tell you about the information WordPress tells you?

Do this again for another source of information, say Twitter. Again does this anthropomorphic model tell us about this medium?

We do this a lot as humans. We create identified models of things we interact with. Some become universal characters whom we share our daily lives with.

To me WordPress is the girl in highschool whose on the magazine, sharing everything she can with everyone. She cares so much about her little articles. Each one is a little pearl. You know sometimes it’s not the best, but you pay attention to it as most of the time it’s a pretty awesome magazine.

Twitter is a group of friends at a table, each talk about something they care and observe. I’m in this conversation as well. Every person can join this group but I have some favorites whom I keep together with. Every now and again we get together and share something really important, but mostly it’s just the thoughts and feelings about today’s stuff.

What does this have to do with dreams? Well one of these mediums is what we call common knowledge or common sense. If they were a person they would be the slightly dodgy guy who sometimes tells you silly bits of stuff that might be true but sometimes isn’t. It’s often very convincing so you listen to him as he’s your elder. One day maybe he says something that everyone seems to believe. Like our dreams are things people can tease us about if we share them. We can be hurt by this as they tell us our dreams are nuts. We are crazy and need to seek proper phychology all consulting. Secretly we believe we do.

This is now what we feel when we think of sharing our dreams. We get scared of being accused of being crazy. We don’t want other people to know we secretly feel like we are the only ones who are actually genuinely insane.

I will share something with you now.

This was me too.

I believed I was nuts because of my dream content.

I dreamed about becoming a girl. I wanted to be one so bad I was a girl in pretty much every dream I had. Mostly I ignored it. Or when it really made me feel bad I told my diary.

I did start to get over some of this fear. I found out that gender swapping dreams are pretty common.
It was my fears that stopped me from sharing them with anyone.

Transgender people don’t get a good wrap in the media. In the 90s the bad press around them was pretty saturating. There was however one moment that stands out for me.

Ace Ventura

This movie is rife with transphobic messages. I was horrified in my little teenage self I would be treated like the trans woman in this movie. People out to proove in every possible way I wasn’t a “real woman”, and never could be.

It pretty much set me back about 15 years. I was just staring to properly question my gender. The context of the medium, a movie, helped clinch the message home. Being transgender wasn’t a good thing. Of course I now know it to be a bunch of shit attempt at horrid comedy designed by a immature fuckwhit (not sorry). That being said it gets my point accross, the medium changes how we interpret and analyze our message. Our own personal dream medium is no different.

Not all transgender people have gender swapping dreams of course. In most of my dreams gender isn’t even a factor. Others it’s the main element. And it’s completely fine for it to be so.

There are a lot of people who ask me if any particular topic in a dream is normal. I have to say again, normal is a concept. It’s another one of these media we humans have created. My normal is vastly different to the normal of a Kenyan boy in his early teens, as an extreme example. My normal is also different from the guy in a business suit sitting across from me on the buss.

Being worried about dream content is kindof normal, as long as it doesn’t cause you anxiety or insomnia or fear of sleep etc. In those cases seek help.
Otherwise normal is just a word.

The medium of dreams should be as free and unfearfull as possible, and if others make you scared of sharing your dreams, they are not the people to share dreams with.

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You aren’t here

The concept of dream mapping is not a new one but the ability to create dream map that then make itself in a electronic system is. There are a lot of projects out their that do this, some more ethically sound than others. Many have dream statistics that look at key words and phrases that can then be mapped to the dreams within the system. Basic metadata stuff really. It’s not really what I mean by mapping. I mean creating a actual cartographic image of your dream content.

Each dream doesn’t create a data point in such a map. So it’s not pure meta searching like others, it’s focused on locations described, characters involved and emotions felt.

Creating such a dictionary is a hell of a lot of work, but a computer so programmed could make one fairly easily (if your keen to do this let me know). Once you input your dream data into the program it could search for locations, characters and emotions based on the search terms you give it and assumptions made from the data. The map would then have little islands of data from the characters that interacted and the locations and feelings involved.

It would be really cool to see this automagically done on a computer system, and the resulting map.
It’s a little project I am putting out their for someone so inclined to produce.

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Making your own dreams

There are a lot of people who want to make a dream. Some want to re-dream they have had before. Some want to dream about a particular thing. Some want to not dream about a particular thing. They all have one thing in common. Lucid dreaming.

Write it down
The main stay of dream control before anything else is writing your dreams down. This is essential. The more recall you have the more you will be able to see what LeBarge and other lucid dreaming advocates call dream signs. This is basically about recognizing what your doing right now is dreaming. You will know as you spot a dream sign or you will do a reality cgeck out of habit. Reality checks are things you do when your dreaming. There are heaps of apps out their for mobile users (no I am not endorsing one or the other). For fans of pen and paper you can use that too. I put my dreams into my journal I use for day to day entries, but I will also voice record them to write later as I have limited time on weekdays (like most of us). I find the best time to do a reality check is every time I look at a clock or every time I look at my phone. Making it habitual is not an issue for this method. There are others, but most fall back on reality checks as a first line of defense for lucid dreaming. The only exceptions are Ophiels little system, the “light body” method (which is also in his book but it’s in pretty much every book I have read on the subject of lucid dreaming/astral projection). Ophiels symbol method is just a very specific reality check method. LeBarge is a much more modern and down to earth writer and his methods are both easier and don’t patronize you. I recommend his texts as being a better source for beginners.

Sleep
Ok this sounds stupid but it’s not. The number of times someone has told me they don’t get recall or can’t get started and I have worked out that they are not sleeping properly is pretty huge. The best thing for making your own dreams is making sure you have a good sleeping pattern. It’s possible that this is really hard or impossible for you. Maybe for medical reasons, maybe for work reasons. Either of these can mean using a method like LeBarge’s Wake Back To Bed (WBTB) method is better for your circumstances. Seeing a Sleep Doctor may also be a good idea.

Write down your day
This I find is pretty essential to recall. When I am slack about journaling, I slack in dreamland recall. So writing down your day is important to get better recall for me. You may find it’s not the case for you though. I think it’s a pretty good habit to get into as a lot of what you dream ends up coming from your day. You will also find writing your fantasies and desires really useful as well. The dreams you have that relate to those will increase with the amount you write about them.

Visulistions
The next step is making what you want to dream about possible. You want to make it as real as you can. As you learn your dreams you will learn what your dreams think is possible. It may be highly based on reality or highly based on fantastic worlds. Don’t feel disappointed if your one who dreams the first. This does not mean your not creative and you can’t make your dreams yours.

You need to write about the thing you want in the dream. In your dream journal. This is important as your mind will associate it with dreaming. It needs to be as well described as possible. Draw it. Paint it. Make a model of it of you can. Imagine what it smells like if it has a smell. Imagine what it tastes like if it has a taste. As much as possible you need to see it clearly in your mind. When you do a reality check imagine it in your next dream. When you go to bed imagine it next to your near your sleeping place. Eventually it will be there in your dream. It will have as much reality as you can give it.

I know quite a few people who imagined lucidity potions. They did things like drawing the flask is was in, then they imagined it’s taste and look and so on. Some even made a drink like it and drank it before bed (if you do this don’t make it contain a stimulant or other drug). They soon had this drink in their dreams and as soon as they drank it, they were lucid. Others imagined warrior figures who helped them fight their nightmares away. Some imagines dream rooms, painted a door in their bedroom and pretended to open it every night until they dreamed it and could go into their dreamworld through it. Still others took a clue from literature and went into their wardrobe every night, even sleeping their sometimes till they had a dreamlike space beyond.

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For the night is dark and full of fiction

It’s been a very long time between posts on my dreaming interpretation blog. I have written quite a bit of poetry over at my other blog (http://enigmagarden.wordpress.com/) though, so if you feel like some poems / fiction sometimes inspired by dreams head over there.

My counsellor asked me the other day how common it is to have dreams influenced by popular culture. I.e. Game of Thrones (title for the reference).

Again, and again I come back to these sorts of questions “how common is it?” Well no one knows for sure. The complete lack of properly done, authorative peer-reviewed statistics on dreams is clearly the biggest issue. It’s probably also really hard to do. New “Apps” such as SHADOW and the like try to help, but either fail the ethics test so hard it’s not funny or are clearly not independent of commercialism, lack basic privacy tests or even worse contain upfront bias. The good stats on “commonality” of dreams are a long way off.

Being the massive cynic I am, it’s probably better just to answer “generally it’s very common”.

Putting aside any other inputs, fiction is a pretty big one, and readings, watching, listening to fiction will make it appear in your dreams. Your brain will use fiction to create dreams. Why? Well from my theory of the evolution of dreams, animals started dreaming because it was a safe way to practice hunting or surviving when you had this otherwise useless downtime. The creatures that got creative with this and used it to help them work out problems as well did even better. Sure enough with enough evolution stories would replay in dreams pretty easily as you could use the lessons from the stories as learning. It would help imprint the lesson into your memory and make it even more useful to you. It helped a lot if you could relate to the story.

This is why stories that show even pretty nasty aspects of humanity like Game of Thrones will be replayed in our minds. We can relate to the characters, even the nasty ones. We can learn what they learn and work out how to do better. So that’s why fiction replays happen in our dreams very commonly.

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A reality of dreams

Originally posted on Mind Hacks:

The journal Sleep has an interesting study on how people with narcolepsy can experience sometimes striking confusions between what they’ve dreamed and what’s actually happened.

Narcolepsy is a disorder of the immune system where it inappropriately attacks parts of the brain involved in sleep regulation.

The result is that affected people are not able to properly regulate sleep cycles meaning they can fall asleep unexpectedly, sometimes multiple times, during the day.

One effect of this is that the boundary between dreaming and everyday life can become a little bit blurred and a new study by sleep psychologist Erin Wamsley aimed to see how often this occurs and what happens when it does.

Some of the reports of are quite spectacular:

One man, after dreaming that a young girl had drowned in a nearby lake, asked his wife to turn on the local news in full expectation that the event would…

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How sleep makes your mind more creative

Originally posted on Mind Hacks:

It’s a tried and tested technique used by writers and poets, but can psychology explain why first moments after waking can be among our most imaginative?

It is 6.06am and I’m typing this in my pyjamas. I awoke at 6.04am, walked from the bedroom to the study, switched on my computer and got to work immediately. This is unusual behaviour for me. However, it’s a tried and tested technique for enhancing creativity, long used by writers, poets and others, including the inventor Benjamin Franklin. And psychology research appears to back this up, providing an explanation for why we might be at our most creative when our minds are still emerging from the realm of sleep.

The best evidence we have of our mental state when we’re asleep is that strange phenomenon called dreaming. Much remains unknown about dreams, but one thing that is certain is that they are weird. Also…

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