Societal perceptions of Lucid Dreaming

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Societal perceptions of Lucid Dreaming

Postby JessicaSP » 14 Apr 2012 23:23

I've gotten my fair share of weird looks when I tell people I'm doing my high school research project on lucid dreaming. It feels that people associate sleep science with palm reading and the like...

Have you ever had anyone react negatively or oddly to the revelation that you practice lucid dreaming? If so, why do you think there are so many misunderstandings about lucid dreaming?

I've emailed Peter and Summerlander about this question because of their response to alex's thread "Looking for an Expert" (I hope they don't mind!), but I was interested in everyone else's experiences too!

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Re: Societal perceptions of Lucid Dreaming

Postby Ryan » 15 Apr 2012 06:11

Well, if you were to stop random people on the street and ask them their opinion of "Lucid Dreaming", you'd probably get a mix of people who have no idea what you're talking about... or think you're crazy. lol

It SEEMS to be getting a bit more common lately, but it's still a subject that most people won't touch for fear of being called crazy.

When I talk to people about this kind of stuff, I feel it's important to talk to them in a language which they'll both understand and accept. People accept you and your ideas easier if you can use their terminology and language.

The "misunderstandings" that come about due to this subject, I feel are mostly because experiences of this nature are very personal and unique to the person experiencing it. Interpretations are, quite literally, going to vary from individual to individual... and unless a person has figured that out, there are going to be a lot of "NO, MY WAY IS THE RIGHT WAY!!" arguments that arise. lol Sadly.

That's why I love forums such as these... they really provide an outlet for me to discuss things of this nature. :)
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Re: Societal perceptions of Lucid Dreaming

Postby Arcadian » 16 Apr 2012 01:10

Ryan wrote:That's why I love forums such as these... they really provide an outlet for me to discuss things of this nature. :)

I agree. You are not crazy when you have a lot of people think the same way you do. Sure we are still a minority in general public, but not here :)

I think it's just ignorance on the subject, and yes it has been getting more attention lately.

All my close friends understand it from me talking about it and one came close to devoting time to do it.

Outside of my friends, I've talked to about 5 people about LDing and all of them said it sounded interesting and beneficial. Were they captivated by it like me when I first heard it? No. But at least they are open minded toward it.
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Re: Societal perceptions of Lucid Dreaming

Postby Rebecca » 16 Apr 2012 09:01

I encounter this a lot, when people ask me what I do for a living. I tell them I write a website... about what... about lucid dreaming... <pause and wait for giveaway reaction>...

Generally smart people already have a good idea of what it is. The term is becoming more of a household phrase, and these people realize it's something real. It sparks some interesting discussions, and I find more and more people I know already naturally lucid dream (but just don't call it that).

Some people just ask what it is outright, and I explain as best I can without sounding like a broken record. This can be hit or miss... on the plus side, what starts out as polite small talk quickly becomes quite deep and you get to know complete strangers on a more meaningful level. On the downside, some people just don't get it.. it's hard to explain lucidity when they don't understand the difference between conscious and subconscious awareness... so that ends in an awkward moment and I quickly move on.

A few times I've had people give me funny looks and say things like "do you really believe in all THAT?" as if it literally means invading other people's dreams or psychically dreaming of the future or some other hocus pocus. Again, these are the ones who just don't get it and though I'll try to explain, it's difficult to teach people whose minds have already been made up about something, especially when you know their believe completely lacks foundation. It's like trying to argue evolution to a creationist, you have to change their whole belief system just to define the concept to them.

So, why the misunderstanding? Allow me to step on my soap box for a minute...

We live in a world where the scientific method is not revered as it should be. Science gives us every piece of technology in the world today. Yet when you apply science to people's personal beliefs, they suddenly want no more of it. Many people believe in angels, ghosts, the afterlife, mediums, telepathy, psychic energy, chakras, auras, the list goes on. These are all beliefs based on wobbly "I-want-to-believe-it-so-I-will" theories which have not been back by evidence, and so science rejects them until such time that they do.

This creates a whole lot of uncertainty for people stuck in the middle. These are people who were never educated properly in the scientific method, and so have no system to decide what is and isn't real.

So at one end of the scale you have people who believe anything if it suits their philosophy. In the middle the uncertain ones who have no way to measure what's real and what's not and so flip-flop on their beliefs. And at the other end people who trust in the scientific method to find objective truths.

The middle group, who flip-flop over their beliefs, are the ones who will potentially label you crazy for believing in lucid dreaming. Partly because they are uneducated and don't know what it is nor the science behind it, and partly because they don't know how to categorize something as scientific even if the evidence hit them in the face.

If that all sounds pompous, then forgive me. I don't know everything, this is just my educated opinion. And I place a huge amount of importance on education. This doesn't mean you have to have a fancy college degree, you just need a thirst for learning. The day you stop learning and caring about finding answers, settling instead for whatever you are spoonfed by your local spiritual / religious group, then you have officially given up on meaningful intellectual progression in life.

Also, don't worry about what these other high school students think. They're too immature for now. When I explained the OBE vibrational state to my friends in school, they said "Haha. You used a vibrator." :roll: QED

One of the best things I've found about getting older is you and your peers get wiser, and you can have proper discussion of these things. I love when I see teenagers on these boards introducing meaningful topics. You already struck a chord with me. I hope you stick around 8-)

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Re: Societal perceptions of Lucid Dreaming

Postby torakrubik » 16 Apr 2012 23:18

I just don't understand why anyone wouldn't want to develop lucid dreaming skills. It's such an awesome experience!
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Re: Societal perceptions of Lucid Dreaming

Postby Jack Reacher » 17 Apr 2012 03:05

I think dream interpretation is a bit like palm reading, which is why I dont go to that side of the forum much. I dont usually talk about it much with my friends as most of them smoke weed too much so they will never really be int he mindset to do it, but they do know that I do it and understand what it is.

I think most people will find lucid dreamers to be weird because most people are so caught up in what is relevant and what isn't, and their idea of what is relevant or not usually is spoonfed straight from social norms and such.

Basically you rarely have conversations about dreams [probably because they are only interesting to the dreamer no matter how trippy they sound, honestly I generally dont find other peoples dreams interesting] because people just dont find that part of life relevant.
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Re: Societal perceptions of Lucid Dreaming

Postby Ikamon357 » 17 Apr 2012 03:12

It isnt as far fetches as most people think. Self aware dreams happen very often. The only difference is thr realization of dreaming itself. Try explaining how ordinary it actually is and how 1:5 people do it consistantly.
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Re: Societal perceptions of Lucid Dreaming

Postby Chrispy » 20 Apr 2012 03:01

Haha, I remember when I first told my family about Lucid Dreaming and what it was. They all thought it was odd - but cool. And of course my mom told me to be careful and not to go "crazy." :lol:
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Re: Societal perceptions of Lucid Dreaming

Postby Snaggle » 20 Apr 2012 10:37

One needs to consider the origins of lucid dreaming, unfortunately it was and still is linked to occultism and yoga, even the early western scientific study started with parapsychologists (Celia Green and Keith Hearne), later Stephen LaBerge who at least was not a parapsychologist. All of this happened in the 70s meaning lucid dreaming is linked to Hippie flakedom. Next sleep science is both a very minor area of science and a new area. Psychiatry taught for decades that lucid dreaming did not exist and old ideas never die even long after they've been proven wrong. To given an example from mainstream established science, the theory of continental drift was proven in 1912 yet was laughed at by mainstream geology until the late sixties and did not become mainstream until the seventies.

The internet has made lucid dreaming a sort of weird fad. It likely will still be decades before the weirdness of lucid dreaming wears off and it is really accepted.
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Re: Societal perceptions of Lucid Dreaming

Postby Worldenterer1 » 21 Apr 2012 19:27

Lots of people at my school seem unable to wrap their minds around the possibility and capabilities of lucid dreaming. They either claim that it is made up, and call me a liar, or if they do believe me, seem to be unable to get used to the idea of anything being possible in the dream.

By the way, that reply from Rebecca was amazing.
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