Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Dream 643

'Abducted by Greys'
Date: 30 May 2016
Time: 11:00 - 17:00 (I woke up from this dream - naturally)
Type of dream: Vivid dream
Dream recall: Strong recall

Scene 1: A Domestic Interior (Location Unknown) - Night
I was in a domestic interior, with a number of dream characters, who were not known to me in real life, but seemed to be my friends in the dream. The room we were in was a downstairs room - a lounge or kitchen (I cannot recall the decor). It was well lit, and there were French windows/doors showing, which I could see through, noting that it was night. There was a strange sound from outside. A small girl (she may have been a child, or just a small female adult) went to investigate. On a tree just outside the French window (which was open a slight gap), or on the outside glass of the window, was a large (the size of a tennis ball) neon glowing snail (in it's shell). It was an orange colour. The female dream character was drawn to the brightly shining snail and tried to reach out to it. Suddenly, as very small (about the size of a 5 year old child) alien - a typical 'Grey' type reached out and grabbed the arm of the female, trying to pull her through the glass to abduct her. Everyone in the room - including myself - were scared and panicked by this. One of the male dream characters ran to the window, grabbed the female and pulled her to safety. We then all started feeling worried and were discussing how the glowing snail was a 'trap' to get one of us to go to the window so the alien could attack. 

Scene 2: A Radio Station (Location Unknown) - Time Unknown
I was in a radio station with a series of other dream characters. We were all to broadcast a radio show of some kind. I was there to discuss some kind of meat, but was unprepared to do so. I told one of my male co-hosts that I did not want to do the radio broadcast. We were sitting in a semi-circle (there were approximately 6 of us in the room, I was the only female). He told me that I would have to do it. I cannot recall what else happened in this scene.

Scene 3: My Bedroom, Norwich (Time Unknown)
I was in my bed, it felt like I was waking up. Something made me decide to practice contouring my face with makeup, so I got out of bed and walked over to my wardrobe, where my makeup is stored, and where my makeup bag is sitting, on the floor. Everything was as it should be in real life. I picked up a compact, which I thought was contour powder/bronzer. I then looked in my makeup bag for the brush I use for applying such makeup. This is a pale blue handled brush, of which I have 2 - one for contour and one for powder/blusher. I saw the larger blusher brush first, then noticed I had 2 more pale blue brushes (I should only have seen one more). I picked the right brush and started to apply contour makeup for my cheekbones. I then noticed that the contour powder/bronzer was actually highlighter, so my face looked overly shiny where I applied the makeup. I realised that this was an expensive makeup product my Mum had recently bought me, so I looked at it closer. The pan of makeup was circular, but concave rather than flat. The mirror inside the lid was not a mirror, but a weird concave shape that looked like a seashell. I noticed I had 'hit pan' already in the highlighter (this means when you get down to the bottom of the container). I was surprised that this had happened after one application of makeup (I would expect such makeup to last for months at least). I also realised that this product was made by Estee Lauder.

There was much more to this dream, but I cannot recall anything else at present, mainly because it was so long and complex, that when I woke up, I was only able to focus on these elements, and the rest was forgotten quickly. If I recall anything else, I will record it below.

Extra Information: None of note

Recurrent Dream Themes: 

  • None of note

Dreamsigns: 
  • The entirety of Scene 1 was a dreamsign

Day Residue: 
  • The day of this dream, there was a lot of coverage about the shooting of Harambe, the gorilla in Cincinnati Zoo, after a 4 year old child fell into the enclosure
  • In the days before this dream I had been reading the recent news on the Madeleine McCann case
  • A few days before this dream I had been watching Mid Morning Matters with Alan Partridge in which Alan Partridge hosts a fictional radio show in my home county. In the main series of I'm Alan Partridge there was an episode (S01E03 - 'Watership Alan') where he antagonises local farmers by making ignorant comments about the BSE crisis affecting cow farming and the beef industry
  • The day of this dream I had been watching Grav3yardgirl videos online. Bunny Meyer has a new makeup palette in collaboration with Tarte Cosmetics. I watched videos which referred to brushes and highlighter - and her contouring/highlighting routine. Bunny had also made a video some time ago about her complaint with an Estee Lauder perfume, which had been changed from its original scent

Waking Reactions: 
I think I have forgotten some details of this dream, as it seemed much longer and more interesting when I woke up from it - and was quite thought provoking. I was actually quite frightened in Scene 1, although I would not necessarily describe it as a nightmare. 

Monday, 30 May 2016

Dream 642

'Bitchfight!'
Date: 29 May 2016
Time: 02:00 - 09:00 (I woke up from this dream due to an alarm clock)
Type of dream: Vivid dream
Dream recall: Moderate 

Scene 1: The Two Lifeboats Hotel, Sheringham - Day
I was working as a waitress in The Two Lifeboats Hotel, the pub/restaurant my Mum used to manage, and where I also worked as a teenager. There was a large party of men present, who wanted to sit at a table in the Augusta Bar, which has a seaview. A large table was placed in the bay window (I wondered in the dream how we managed to fit a table in this area, as there is fitted booth-style seating and only room for a small round table). The men were in a good mood and I was assigned to be their main waitress for the course of their meal. I was bringing plates of food to the table, and one man in particular - an older male with grey hair and a beard - was particularly happy with the service, and was smiling at me, nicely. 

Across the other side of the room, I saw my housemate, SH. She just stood there. I was aware she was also working as a waitress. Standing still at the end of the room, she shouted: 'NO!' at me aggressively. Without hesitation (in a complete rage!) I ran towards her, pushing her back against a wall (which turned out to be a wall in another part of the building, close to the kitchen area). I then grabbed her by the throat and punched her straight in the face with all of my strength, screaming: 'Don't you dare speak to me like that when I'm working!' SH looked scared and I felt both justified in my actions and triumphant in frightening her.  

Someone told me - or I became aware - that SH was 'snitching' on me for smoking cannabis. DL - who was randomly present at this stage of the dream - said he didn't have any cannabis left.

I cannot recall anything else about this dream at present, but some memories may come back to me at a later stage. I know there were some other elements of this dream, including some which also took place in the hotel. 

Extra Information: None of note

Recurrent Dream Themes: 

  • The Two Lifeboats Hotel as a dreamscene location

Dreamsigns: 
  • I was working at The Two Lifeboats Hotel (real life past) and my current housemate was also working there (real life present)
  • The dimensions and layout of TTLH was shifting/changed in the dream

Day Residue: 
  • Shortly before this dream, I had been thinking about a recent dream which also took place in The Two Lifeboats Hotel

Waking Reactions: 
I think I have forgotten some details of this dream, as it seemed much longer and more interesting when I woke up from it.

Sunday, 29 May 2016

Dream 641

'Face-Swap'
Date: 28 May 2016
Time: 04:00 - 10:00 (I woke up from this dream due to an alarm clock)
Type of dream: Dream fragment
Dream recall: Weak recall

Scene 1: An Exterior Location (Unknown) - Day
I was in an exterior location - it seemed to be some seating outside in the sunshine, where there were other dream characters (I think they were unknown to me in the dream and real life) also present. I then was able to see myself in third-person perspective, alongside another female, who was almost a hologram - she was like a see-through ghost version of herself. I cannot describe what she looked like, other than 'ghostly'. I cannot remember if I looked different to how I normally do in real life - or I didn't notice in the dream. 

It seemed like electricity running down the body of the dream character and myself (in third-person perspective), from the head to the feet, with the bolts of electricity being yellow and horizontal, crackling like lightening. This electricity caused our faces to swap bodies - the faces were superimposed for each, like a mask.

Extra Information: None of note

Recurrent Dream Themes: 

  • Holographic imagery

Dreamsigns: 
  • The whole dream fragment was a dreamsign

Day Residue: 
  • The day of this dream I downloaded a Face-Swap app on my phone, but I couldn't get it to work properly

Waking Reactions: 
This dream was largely based on recognisable Day Residue. I think there was more to this dream than I can recall, but nothing more has come back to me. 

Friday, 27 May 2016

Dream 640

'East London Screwface'
Date: 27 May 2016
Time: 06:30 - 13:00 (I woke up from this dream due to an alarm clock)
Type of dream: Vivid dream
Dream recall: Moderate 

Scene 1: A Fairground (Location Unknown) - Day
I was at a fairground - with JCA, a Facebook friend who is from America. He was running the fair. It was daytime, but not sunny and I was performing squats. I found I was able to squat so low that my butt could touch the floor and I was surprised by this new ability.

I then noticed that JCA had a large poster of his face on a noticeboard nearby. He was screwfacing (frowning, looking tough). I asked him about his expression and he said: 'DL took the photo because he's influenced by East London now'. I asked what this meant. JCA told me that DL had a new girlfriend who lived in East London and he (DL) had 'autographed' her glasses (spectacles) for her. I telephoned DL and said: 'Do whatever you want, you don't have to hide stuff from me...'

I then decided to take a ride on a fairground ride, which was run by JCA. It was a car-shaped seat - red and yellow, which was mounted at an angle (so not vertical, nor horizontal). The front of the car (black and rounded in shape) came down to act as the safety bar. holding you into the ride. I was scared (I don't like fairground or theme park rides in real life, and this was also true of the dream), but once the ride started, I saw that it was gentle and not scary at all - it just rose up a short distance in the air, and rotated at a relatively comfortable speed. 

I cannot recall anything else about this dream at present, but some memories may come back to me at a later stage.

Extra Information: None of note

Recurrent Dream Themes: 

  • None of note

Dreamsigns: 
  • JCA was running a fairground
  • I could squat so low that my butt touched the floor
  • The situation with DL and the new girlfriend from East London

Day Residue: 
  • I perform around 100 squats per day - including the day before I had this dream
  • I saw JCA post some selfies on a Facebook page we are both members of

Waking Reactions: 
I think I have forgotten some details of this dream, as it seemed much longer and more interesting when I woke up from it.

Dream 639 (Multi-level Dream-within-a-Dream)

'Dream-within-a-Dream'
Date: 26 May 2016
Time: 13:00 - 17:00 (I woke up from this dream due to a my alarm clock, I had a telephone conversation with DL - I then fell back asleep until approximately 21:00, waking up naturally)
Type of dream: Vivid dream - dream-within-a-dream
Dream recall: Strong recall - some loss of recall due to falling back asleep after a brief wakening following parts of this dream

Scene 1: A Domestic Interior (Location Unknown) - Day
I was in a room which appeared to be similar to my bedroom in my former childhood home in Pine Grove, Sheringham - but with a double bed positioned under the window, as it had been in a previous dream. DL was sitting at the top of the bed and telling me that we could leave when he had finished playing a game. He was holding a silver laptop and showed me an online fruit machine game, which you could earn real money with if you won. DL said that his target was to win £40 so that we could but some weed. I thought that we might be going somewhere, as I was anticipating that we had to leave soon, and DL was taking time. After waiting for another period of time, some of it spent watching DL play, and tell me what buttons he was going to press (the laptop was seen to be a touch-screen at this point, as this was how you press/held the buttons of the fruit machine down). He then said to me: 'I've got £32 now, so I'll be finished soon.

Sitting in a lounge, just to the side of some sofas (orange) on which some middle-aged female dream characters (unknown to me) were sitting, I was told by some of these females - in a patronising manner: 'You've been androided'. I saw silverness (in some form).

I cannot recall anything else about this dream - and woke from an alarm clock. 15 minute phone conversation with DL. I then fell asleep again.

Scene 2: A Domestic Interior (Location Unknown) - Day
I was looking at something on social media. My friend, BS had somehow become very famous. It seemed that he and KL had separated (but we were all our younger selves - BS and KL did not have children yet, plus there were more clues to this, later). He was searching for the ideal lipstick for his new partner, who was a blonde girl (a dream character) who was (in the dream) in his year at school, so slightly older than both KL and I. He had written a Facebook status, asking people on his friends list to help him with the lipstick search. I wrote a response, saying that I had just watched Grav3yardgirl's review of some chocolate-themes lipglosses on Youtube and could recommend them, since it seemed he was looking for a pink/brown nude-toned lipstick. 

I then realised that this entire scene - me seeing BS post on social media about the lipstick was a dream. It had not happened, but it was a recent dream. I then assumed that this dream of BS and the search for the lipstick must have happened in Scene 1 - the dream scene which happened prior to me waking up in real life and speaking to DL on the phone. 

I thought: 'I better write this down in my Dream Journal so that I can blog it...' but then realised that BS was famous, and had separated from KL - so therefore, even in my dream-within-a-dream, the facts which had led me to conclude the earlier events must have been a dream, because they were dreamsigns - i.e. events I know to be untrue in real waking life were actually present  and true in this part of the dream, and I was not prompted to reality check, so accepted them as reality! 

BS - I am not sure what he was famous for, exactly - was hosting an event locally, to promote something, or perhaps to speak to his fans. I decided to go to this event, and tell him in person about my dream of him. I thought that I should also describe the dream to him on Facebook - on the post about the lipstick search, which had apparently been part of  'the dream' - my whole motivation for communicating with BS at this point was to convey the 'dream' I had of him, but the facts of that 'dream' were the truth of this next-level dream, making the events of this dream sequence possible...(I know this is confusing!) 

Scene 3: A Shopping Centre (Location Unknown) - Time Unknown
I went to a shopping centre, where BS was doing his public appearance. BS was standing at a small display which had both a touchscreen monitor, showing the Facebook status about the lipsticks and also a poster of several lipsticks in pink/brown nude tones. I realised that I had neither replied to BS's Facebook thread about my dream of him, or recorded the dream on my Dream Journal. BS was surrounded by several dream characters who were his 'fans'. I approached him and said: 'I had a dream about you. The dream was the same as what is happening now, but I forgot to write it down in my Dream Journal'. I then looked at the screen (the Facebook status/conversation thread about the lipsticks) and scrolled through until I found my original message about the chocolate-themed lipglosses reviewed by Grav3yardgirl (which I had sent in 'the dream' - paragraph 1 of Scene 2). I pointed it out to BS and said: 'See this is the comment I wrote to you in the dream I had about you doing this'. BS seemed amused by this and said that he wanted me to be able to record it in my Dream Journal so that he could read it. I said: 'I could just record it on your Facebook conversation thread' and tried to access my own Facebook account on my mobile phone, so that I could reply to BS's Facebook status (I was aware that the Facebook screen being displayed on the monitor was logged into BS's account, so I could not comment directly using that screen). BS said: 'No, if you write about it on Facebook, it'll just be part of the dream, you need to write it in real life'. My mobile phone screen then got stuck, I could not scroll or exit the crashed Facebook screen. 

To my left, sitting on the floor, just behind BS's display were 2 female dream characters. One of them was slim with straight blonde hair to her shoulders. I am not sure what the other one looked like, but she had dark hair. The blonde girl said: 'What are you doing talking to BS?' in a jealous/accusational tone, which implied I had some kind of bad motive. I then realised that she was BS' new girlfriend - the person he had been trying to find the perfect shade of lipstick for. I said: 'I had a dream about the lipsticks, so I came to tell BS about it. In the dream I was helping him to find your lipstick...' The blonde girl seemed content at this explanation and said: 'Was your dream the same as this one?' to which I said: 'No, my phone screen froze' (meaning: my phone screen froze now (in this second-level dream, which I was not conscious of), but in the original 'dream' I was able to comment on Facebook). The girl summonsed me over to join her and her friend, indicating that she could help me with my phone. 

She started trying to scroll on my phone. Instead of the page moving up and down, it moved side-to-side. I noticed that on one page which she managed to scroll to the left onto (also a Facebook page), there was water on the screen, which appeared out of nowhere. I wondered what the water was (questioning if it was 'spit'), but the girl wiped it away with her hand and turned and laughed at her friend. I said: 'If you fix the phone, I will show you that I wrote about the lipsticks on my Facebook in my dream about this'. However, the girls did not seem interested, so I decided to leave. 

Before I left, I started to play a computer-based game - I am not sure if it was arcade or console, but it involved making selections of golden boxes on a screen and had the word 'Vegas' involved somewhere (either the name of the game, or within the game itself). I knew I was just wasting time between now and when I would be able to go somewhere else, as I 'didn't want to be early' (I am not sure what I was supposed to be doing).

Scene 4: A Commercial Kitchen, which was apparently in The Two Lifeboats Hotel, Sheringham (Day)
I then went to The Two Lifeboats Hotel, where my Mum used to be the manager and chef. She was working in the kitchen, as was KL and a number of other members of staff. The kitchen was much smaller and a different shape. The stainless steel counters were in an L-shape, and then there was a small recessed area with a large fridge and some crates/boxes stacked next to it. I approached KL and we went to the back of the kitchen, beside the fridge. It was apparent that KL and I were our teenaged selves again - around the age we would have been when we both worked for my Mum. I often used to think my Mum favoured other staff over me, treating me more harshly so that she wasn't accused of nepotism. This used to annoy me. 

I told KL about seeing BS after having the dream about him. The way I described it was as if I was telling her I had predicted all the events - including their relationship breakdown and his subsequent relationship with the blonde - in the earlier dream, which led me to going to meet BS and realising the dream was true. KL then started to explaining what went wrong in the relationship to me. She was upset and angry about it, blaming BS and saying (unrecalled) things about how he had ruined her life and how she hated his new girlfriend, who she confirmed was in the year above us at school. I said I did not remember her from school and KL said: 'She was friends with the parasol lot' (I do not know what this means, but in the dream I knew it meant a particular clique). 

I then saw JGH (my ex-boyfriend's younger sister, who would be a teenager now). She was carrying an ice cream tub containing something else, which she wanted to put in the fridge. KL and I were standing in her way, just in front of where the fridge door would open. KL said to me (whispering): 'It all went wrong when she started working here, because she flirts with everyone and gets her own way'. This surprised me, because it seemed out of character for JGH. I expressed either surprise or doubt (given I lived with JGH for a number of years when she was a child/young teenager and I was in a relationship with her older brother). KL said: 'She did it all under the umbrellas, so you didn't see'. I accepted this and walked over to my Mum, who was by the stainless steel counters, where there were also some deep fat fryers.

I said to my Mum 'Can I have some shifts?' to which my Mum said: 'No'. I said: 'What about in the morning?' but she told me she already had enough employees and couldn't employ me in the kitchen. I was annoyed by this. Suddenly the kitchen looked more like the kitchen my Mum used to work in in the pub across the road, The Crown. I noticed the change within the dream itself, and wondered how I had not realised that the kitchen was a composite of 2 different pub kitchens. My Mum said: 'You can have a job doing the hotel admin, part-time'. She emphasised the 'part-time' and I noticed this. I said: 'I can't do the maths' to which my Mum said: 'No, you'll just be writing the letters'. I was pleased by this job, but wondered why my Mum's friend, CC who was the hotel secretary was no longer doing this job. I saw a vision of a filing cabinet full of paperwork which needed to be worked through, because it had been ignored and stuffed into the filing cabinet. I realised that the part-time admin job would actually be quite challenging given the amount of unreplied correspondence. 

I asked my Mum if the admin job was 'minimum wage' and she said that it would be. 

Scene 5: Earlham Road, Norwich - Dusk
The scene then immediately changed to Earlham Road, Norwich, at dusk, I had just exited the university campus and was walking in the direction of the Tescos garage. I calculated in my head that if I did at least 20 hours a week at minimum wage in the admin job for my Mum, my weekly wage would be quite lucrative and I felt pleased with myself. 

There were some more events of this dream, which I have forgotten.

Scene 6: Location Unknown - Night
I then was outside - I know I was, because the background was the night's sky, with stars shining. There were a couple of dream characters (unseen, but male and known to be involved with fashion or media somehow). We were watching a 3-dimensional hologram of my head - no body - floating in mid-air. The hologram was about 5 times bigger than my actual head and was quite faint - you could see the starry sky through it slightly. The head was rotating, slowly, and I was able to see that I had a very crooked nose - it was hooked at the top. I wondered how my nose had become so crooked, as I knew it should be straight. One of the men - both of whom were reviewing my face, for a purpose unrecalled or unclear to me - said: 'It's a Persian hook'. He said his like he admired it and thought this was attractive, which confused me, as I thought my nose now looked very ugly. The other man agreed with him. I wished my nose looked like it should (in real life), even if this meant that no-one else found me attractive anymore, or preferred the 'Persian hook nose'.

I cannot recall anything else about this dream at present, but some memories may come back to me at a later stage.

Extra Information: None of note

Recurrent Dream Themes: 

  • My former childhood home at Pine Grove, Sheringham as a dreamscene location - bedroom appearing different from real life, but similar to its altered appearance in an earlier dream
  • Changed appearance

Dreamsigns: 
  • We were in my former childhood home, with its appearance altered in the same way it had been in a previous recent dream
  • The scheme to make money from an online fruit machine game to buy cannabis
  • The events surrounding BS & KL - younger selves, different biographical events, unlikely dream actions
  • The false memories of a 'dream' in the dream-within-a-dream situation, which should have prompted me to reality check, since my perception of dreams/reality were confused in such a complex manner here
  • The events of Scenes 2 & 3 generally
  • Rooms changed in appearance, which I was able to notice within the dream
  • My appearance was changed

Day Residue: 
  • The day before this dream I watched an episode of Peep Show (E52 - S09E04 'Mole-Mapping') - Super Hans tells Jeremy of a 'gastropub' where he goes to clean out the fruit machines as a form of income - scenes of him playing on the fruit machine
  • I had been watching the CinemaSins videos on the Star Wars series (1977 - 2015) - partially to see Ewan McGregor play Obi-Wan Kenobi in the prequel trilogy - 1999 - 2005, without having to actually watch the movies in full. Strangely, given I don't really like many movies or going to the cinema (that's why I prefer to watch movie trailers or comedy reviews), I realised I had watched the first 6 Star Wars movies in the cinema - with SL. The original trilogy was remastered and then re-released in cinemas to create excitement for the release of the prequel trilogy. I don't even like Star Wars, so that is quite a feat of endurance for me to have actually seen the entire series in the cinema!
  • BS is a massive Star Wars fan. He is local to my home town and used to work for my Mum at the Two Lifeboats Hotel in Sheringham, as did his girlfriend, KL, who was a popular and successful girl in my year at school. BS was slightly older than KL and I, and they had been dating since they were teenagers. They have subsequently married and had 2 children - so are the precise illustration of the 'childhood sweethearts' ideal
  • The day before this dream, DL and I had been discussing how there were always a select number of very attractive girls during high school and what this is like from a female/male perspective - given I had opened the conversation by saying that I blossomed into my looks fairly late in life (20s) and am considered more objectively attractive now, as an adult, than I had been as a teenager - KL was attractive as a teenager (blonde haired, blue eyed, slim)
  • Just before this dream I had watched a Grav3yardgirl video on Youtube, where she tested some  chocolate-themes lip glosses
  • Just before this dream, I was reading Jay Z's lyrics on the remix version Fat Joe's new track 'All the Way Up' - which are a response to wife Beyonce's Lemonade (2016) - 'You know you made it when the fact your marriage made it is worth millions / Lemonade is a popular drink and it still is / Survival of the lit-est / N****s who really up vs. n****s up in your business'
  • I am currently writing a poetry collection, Cherryade, which deals with my very chaotic romantic/sexual life and the impact my relationships with men have had on my subsequent relationships with men and my own sexual identity. This involves a lot of reflection on the past, right back to my teenage years. My sexual history is the opposite to both BS/KL and also Jay Z and Beyonce's enduring marriage. In one poem I write about someone's whose profile is 'like a crescent moon' (see below)
  • Several days before this dream, I wrote a review of the way dreaming was depicted in Inception (2010) - a movie about multi-level dream-within-a-dream scenarios
  • The day before this dream I had asked a Facebook friend how to use a certain app on my phone, stating that I was 'useless with technology'
  • The day of this dream I had been reading the comments section of an online article on Buzzfeed about things which annoy kitchen staff working in commercial kitchens. I had also referred to working in a commercial kitchen in an earlier Facebook conversation regarding my cooking ability - referred to in the Day Residue section of a recent dream
  • The day before this dream I had watched a Youtube video by Grav3yardgirl, titled as a 'Storytime' where she told the story of going to a seafood restaurant and being served fries with a piece of arrow-shaped metal on one, which she described as 'deadly'
  • The day before this dream I watched an episode of Peep Show (E53 - S09E05 'Kid Cave') - Jeremy breaks into Super Hans' home to search through his filing cabinet to find proof that he co-wrote the lyrics to a track which he has not been credited on, despite it being popular on Youtube
  • In my game on The Sims 3 I rotated my newly-aged-up teenage daughter sim so that I could take a screenshot of her from every angle
  • I described myself (metaphorically) as a planet (and used language referring to orbits and rotations) in one of my poems, the day before I had this dream

Waking Reactions: 
This was one of the hardest dreams I have ever had to record! It was so multi-layered and fascinating, and - viewed retrospectively - so highly influenced by intertwined Day Residue. This was an extremely vivid and weird dream experience, and one which had the potential to be a lucid dream, had I taken any of the multiple opportunities to reality check!

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Dream 638

'Fuck, Your Long Chat x'
Date: 24 May 2016
Time: 21:00 - 00:40 (I woke up from this dream due to a Facebook notification about a message from RBA - I then fell back asleep for approximately another hour, until 01:40)
Type of dream: Vivid dream
Dream recall: Moderate - Strong recall - some loss of recall due to falling back asleep after a brief wakening following this dream

Scene 1: A Domestic Interior (Location Unknown) - Time Unknown
I was in a room, which was very dark. HM (my cousin) and SL (my ex-boyfriend) were both present, and both were annoying me, although I cannot recall why. There was a large TV against the wall of the room, about waist-height. It provided the only light in the room, except the light from the hallway outside the room, entering through the open doorway of the room, just a short distance away from where the TV was. On the TV, all I could see was the face of Chucky the doll, from the Child's Play movie franchises - it was just a series of images of his head, sneering or smirking in an evil way, moving in an anti-clockwise circular pattern on the screen. I was not pleased to see this, and thought: 'It doesn't scare me as much as it used to, because I can turn it off'. I turned the TV off. 

Scene 2: Composite of Seaside Resort/Inner-City Council Estate (Location Unknown) - Day
I was then in some place which was halfway between a beach holiday resort, and halfway between an inner-city council estate. I was wandering around it for some time, taking in the details of my surroundings. At one point, I was at dinner with my family, in a part of this resort which was on the seafront, in a tourist-y area. I think we were sitting outside, or at least, in front of big windows, beyond which was a seaview - most of my relatives were there, including HM. HM and I were still in some kind of unrecalled dispute. Someone (unrecalled) was showing around a photo album, which was full of sepia photographs. There was one photograph of a series of females lined up, like a school photograph, all in what seemed to be school uniforms. The dream character said: 'They all grew into swans'. I felt angry that women were compared to swans, because I hate swans and am phobic about being in their presence. 

I then saw a pathway, which was orange or brown. It was partially covered, with arches a wall on one side, and Romanesque arches on the other, looking out onto an area of lush green grass. The sun was shining. I walked around to an area which instantly became very urban, like an inner-city. I knew I had not walked far, because I thought: 'The scenery changes quickly here'. I could see a lot of rubbish/trash laying around on the ground, in between large towerblocks, which were a deep royal blue colour, but dirty, cracked and crumbling. I knew they were council towerblocks. Nothing looked modern - it was more like 1960s or 1970s architecture, which had been left to fall into disrepair and ruin through neglect.

Many dream characters were standing around in this area - they were all representative of the working-classes and therefore I felt comfortable in this atmosphere, although confused as to where I actually was, geographically. Some males - teenagers or young adults, who would be described as 'roadmen'  approached me. I did not feel worried, because I am friends with a lot of guys who are also stereotyped as a 'roadman' - I just assumed that they were wandering who I was, because they seemed to be members of the local community, and I was a visitor, trying to enter their apartment building. The males asked me what I was doing there, standing in a circle close to me. I said: 'I'm here to petition David Cameron to help clean this place up'. They were pleased with this answer, and let me pass into the particular blue towerblock I was standing in the entrance of - which was surrounded by some kind of metal wire fencing.

The ground floor of this towerblock was dirty bare concrete, and quite large, with elevators/lifts and some stairs in the centre of this public area. There was rubbish/trash of all sorts, laying everywhere. A short distance away, in this open public space in the ground floor of the towerblock, I could see SL standing with 2 male dream characters. Behind him were some smashed windows. SL signalled something to me, which I perceive to mean: 'What are you doing here?' I ignored him, and turned around. 

At various points in this dreamscene, I saw that in the elevators/lifts and on the stairscases of the towerblock was lots of shit. I was disgusted and did not know if it was animal or human shit. I realised that I was there to petition the Prime Minister and Conservative Party Leader, David Cameron - who was there on a publicity campaign - to clean up the towerblocks for the local community. I saw an image of what the flats/bedsits (or 'apartments') looked like inside (without going into a flat/apartment, I was able to see an image of what they looked like behind the front doors). One flat was pristine, with a double-bed with a pink cover. I realised that inside, all the flats were clean and tidy and the residents took pride in them. The contrast between the inside (domestic areas) of the flats, and the public area (the ground floor which looked like a dirty/messy warehouse and the shit-stained lifts/elevators and staircases) was stark in my mind and I felt bad for the residents who had to live like this. I went up to the very top of the building, via stairs - it was about 10 storeys high. I saw that in the public area (the hallway where the flat doorways were), there was a large central space, with a pillar in the middle, and some smashed windows at the far end. David Cameron, wearing a navy suit, a hi vis waistcoat and a hardhat was standing with 2 other males, who also looked like MPs, in business suits. I started to approach Cameron, to complain about the state of the flats, but SL came and said: 'No, you're not allowed to talk to him', He directed me onto the exterior walkway of the flats. There were a group of young adult dream characters there - residents of the apartments.

Suddenly, I saw a nightmarish figure - a very creepy skeletal looking man in a black cloak, peeping out from round a brick wall on the walkway. I knew his intent was to cut off all my limbs and leave me a paraplegic, but oddly I was not at all scared by him, and simply thought that he was useless and would fail in harming me. I walked away from the walkway and re-entered the inside area of the building. 

I cannot recall anything else about this dream - and woke. I then fell asleep again.

It felt like I was still awake, and I was looking at my phone, checking my Facebook messages. Under a long message that I had sent to someone, they had responded: 'Fuck, your long chat x'. I wondered why they had put the comma after 'fuck', since it would make more grammatical sense if they had omitted it, and also was surprised they ended a hostile message with an 'x', symbolising a kiss. 

I cannot recall anything else about this dream at present, but some memories may come back to me at a later stage.

Extra Information: None of note

Recurrent Dream Themes: 

  • HM & SL as dream characters - both creating a sense of disagreement or discomfort at their actions

Dreamsigns: 
  • The dreamscene location in Scene 2 - I even questioned the way the scenery seemed to change in this location
  • The events of Scene 2
  • Scene 3 (Recalled Dream Scene - see below) - my slightly altered appearance when looking in a mirror - this would have been the optimal time to perform a reality check

Day Residue: 
  • The day of this dream, I had been watching Youtube videos associated with Creepypasta in particular the ones about 'lost episodes' (including the famous Candle Cove, which features descriptions of dolls/marionettes)
  • The day before this video, I had watched a Youtube video of a house which was destroyed by a tornado. I commented on the video 'The TV was OK' - because the TV was one of the only possessions left undamaged. Another Youtube user responded about my 'boobs' and 'tight puss'
  • I always used to have a fear that Chucky from Child's Play would appear in a dream, because I watched the movies as a small child, and had recurrent nightmares about him throughout my life
  • HM and SL have both appeared in very recent dreams
  • I recently (perhaps the day before this dream) told a Facebook friend that I came from a small seaside resort town (he knew it), and had also lived on a London estate
  • A few days before this dream, a Facebook friend told me he also had a phobia of swans
  • The day before this dream I saw a photograph of Björk, wearing her 'swan dress' at a media event - in an online article about the popularity of the 'nude dress' fashion
  • The day before this dream I had been into the blocks of student accommodation I am responsible for in my welfare role at university - I wanted to take the elevator/life, because I needed to go to the top floor of the block, but I found it was not working, so I had to take the stairs instead
  • A short while before this dream I had sent a long private message to a Facebook friend - a male who I felt was sexually harassing me. I lectured him on how to converse respectfully, given my explicit objections to discussing sex with him and his unrelinquishing desire to discuss it with me
  • The day before this dream, someone on a Facebook page I follow corrected a very basic grammatical mistake I had made (I wrote: 'If I was a man or a lesbian...' when I should have written 'If I were a man or a lesbian...' I responded, pointing out 4 grammatical errors in this female's reply to me, which prompted 2 men from the same conversation thread to personal message me, making fun of the woman and stating that she had been ignorant in correcting me, yet making so many mistakes of her own

Waking Reactions: 
This dream felt really odd, and left me with a feeling of intrigue when I woke up. I wanted to explore the places in Scene 2 much more! 

Recalled Dream Scene
Recalled: 25 May 2016 at 08:50
Trigger: Looking at my reflection in the mirror while moisturising my face
Sometime while in Scene 2 or in a new (unrecalled in further detail) Scene 3 (before I woke up due to the Facebook notification on my mobile phone and the final dreamscene fragment), I was looking at my reflection in a mirror. I was able to recognise that I looked quite similar to how I do in real life - i.e. my appearance was not overly changed or distorted as it often is when you look into a mirror in a dream. However, I also noted that my features all looked more sharply defined - as if I had used a lot of contour makeup, or perhaps even lost weight from my face and had some subtle cosmetic surgery. My nose in particular, was now very defined and pointy at the end, almost ridged, reminding me of how Sarah Michelle Gellar's nose looks. My chin was more pointy and I had sharper cheekbones. I also noted that my hair was flatter, straighter and much silkier. I think my eyes may also have now been blue, instead of the brown they are in real life. There was something different about them. In fact, ever since I first thought that I looked 'normal', the closer I examined my reflection, the more I became away of slight changes in it. I didn't notice all these things at once, it was gradual. I was turning this way and that, checking out my slightly altered appearance in the mirror. I wondered if my face had changed 'due to age'.

Dream 637

'Is it a Toy?'
Date: 23 May 2016
Time: 03:45 - 14:00 (I woke up from this dream with an alarm clock)
Type of dream: Vivid dream
Dream recall: Moderate recall - some loss of recall due to not writing the dream down in my Dream Journal as soon as I woke up from it

Scene 1: A Domestic Interior (Location Unknown) - Time Unknown
I was in a room which seemed to be empty and very large, with either pink or yellow walls (or maybe even a peach colour). On one side of the room there was what appeared to be a concrete staircase, partially behind a partition wall, leading downwards. The stairs were obscured somewhat by the partition wall (I could only see the top 3 stairs), and were in the same concrete and same colour of the walls. I was with SL (my ex-boyfriend) and some other people. One of these people was a male dream character - a good looking white man of early to mid 20s, with very thick light blonde hair, in a grown out bowl-cut style (popular in the 1970s). He was wearing a white outfit. 

SL told me I had to do something (I cannot recall what), but I was reluctant to do it. He kept on at me to do whatever it was, and when I eventually said that I would, the consequence of my (unrecalled) actions caused the blonde male dream character to fall down the concrete stairs, into what was a basement. I felt very guilty, but SL seemed nonchalant about the incident, telling me it did not matter. 

The blonde male dream character crawled back up the stairs. His head was bleeding. He turned around, while still crouched on the floor and I noticed that he had a huge bald patch on the back of his head. I said to SL: 'Look! We've ruined his hair!' (this caused me to feel extra guilty). SL didn't seem to care and said: 'It was like that before'. This allowed me to feel somewhat relieved, but also a little confused and sceptical, as I had not noticed this bald patch before (it was half of his head in size).

Scene 2: A Domestic Interior (Location Unknown) - Time Unknown
I was sitting on the floor of a lounge, which was very decorative, with a lot of gold antiques and blue embroidered objects. I was beside a blue, silk sofa - embroidered with flowers. Sitting on the sofa was SL's mum, JL. She was teaching me something - I cannot recall what it was.

Time passed.

I noticed a male known to me in real life (I cannot recall who). It is someone with brown or tanned skin (but not SL, who is very dark skinned). SL was definitely in the other room, and I knew this male was someone else. He was sitting on the floor. I crawled over to him, and found a fake acrylic nail. I touched it onto the male's lips. He said: 'Is it a toy? It better not be a toy?' I said: 'It's not a toy', but I didn't know what a 'toy' meant in the dream.

I cannot recall anything else about this dream at present, but some memories may come back to me at a later stage.

Extra Information: None of note

Recurrent Dream Themes: None of note


Dreamsigns: 

  • The entire events of Scene 1 were dreamsigns - unlikely events
  • I questioned what I was being told by SL in the dream
  • I could not understand the meaning of the word 'toy'

Day Residue: 
  • A few days before this dream, a Facebook 'friend' (not someone I particularly like) questioned by knowledge/ability to cook Asian food. I replied that I had worked in commercial catering for many years and also taught techniques from the family and friends of 2 ex-boyfriends with Asian heritage (SL and PS), as well as a prolonged interest in learning to make cuisine which shaped my childhood interest in international foods and obsession with 'desi foods' (to categorise the broad and diverse range of cuisines from the Indian subcontinent/Pakistan. A few days later he posted a photograph of his own attempt at making a curry on Facebook - I was not impressed! 
  • Around the time of this dream, my friend LD2 had posted 2 photographs of him side-by-side - one where he was a teenager, with bleached blonde hair (which I liked!) and another of him now - nearly a decade later, with his current (chestnut coloured, natural) hair, in a recent haircut which I think looks awesome on him
  • My friend CEC has recently been posting about her nail technician course - she also has a Facebook page for nail art
  • The day of this dream, I had been watching Youtube videos associated with Creepypasta
  • A short while before I had this dream, there was a video circulating in the news and social media about which featured a young female from China, attempting the 'corn drill challenge' (in which people film themselves eating an corn on the cob rotating on a power drill). The girl's hair wraps around the drill, pulling out a huge amount, leaving her completely bald at the front - she looks completely calm and says 'what happened?' touching her head

Waking Reactions: 
I thought this dream was really odd when I woke up from it. The first scene of this dream was particularly disturbing to me, because I felt intense guilt as hurting the male dream character and also ruining his hair. SL was very callous and ambivalent to suffering in this dream, which made him seem negative, even though I do not consciously perceive him in this way.

Monday, 23 May 2016

Lucid Reviews: Inception (2010)

I will be doing a series of reviews of movies (and literature, music and art) which focus on the topic of dreaming and lucid dreaming. This will be an ongoing project which I will post on periodically. Note that when writing my reviews, I will not be concentrating on the quality of the general narrative, direction,  set/costume design or acting, as would be the case in a normal review. I am not a movie buff (I rarely watch movies) and my personal taste tends to be non-mainstream and quite narrow, meaning I am not ideally positioned to comment on film-making or acting generally. I am only concerned with reviewing the elements of the movie which deal with dreaming/lucid dreaming and how this phenomenon is portrayed in the work - for example, whether it is scientifically possible or reflective of the reality of dreaming etc. 

Inception (2010)
Written/Directed: Christopher Nolan
Movie Trailer

Plot Synopsis
Cobb and Arthur are 'extractors' who perform corporate espionage using experimental military technology to infiltrate the subconscious of their targets and extract valuable information through a shared dream world. Their latest target, a Japanese businessman, Saito reveals that he has commissioned their most recent mission, setting an impossible task for Cobb: planting an idea in the subconscious of another person - inception. 

Saito wants to break up the energy conglomerate of his main rival, Fischer and wants Cobb to convince Fischer's son and heir, Robert, to dissolve the company. Saito promises that he will use his influence to clear Cobb of a murder charge which would allow him to return home to his children. Cobb accepts the job and with the help of his father-in-law, Professor Miles, assembles a team - Eames (a conman and identity forger); Yusuf (a chemist who develops a sedative serum for the 'dream within a dream' strategy); and Ariadne (an architecture student, able to design complex dream labyrinths). While dream sharing with Cobb, Ariadne realises his subconscious contains an invasive projection of his late wife, Mal. 

The elder Fischer dies in Sydney, and his body is flown back to Los Angeles, accompanied by the younger Fischer. The team - and Saito - sedate Fischer and take him into a shared dream. At each dream level, the person generating the dream must stay behind to set up a 'kick' (a hypnic jerk) which is used to awaken the other team members from the deeper dream level. To be successful, these kicks must occur simultaneously at each dream level, which is complicated by the fact that time proceeds much faster at each successive level. 

The first level is Yusuf's dream of rainy LA. The team abducts Fischer, but are apprehended and attacked by armed projections in Fischer's subconscious. which has been trained to resist extraction. Fischer and Saito (wounded) are taken by the team to a warehouse. While dying in a dream would normally awaken Saito, the powerful sedatives required to maintain and stabilise the multi-layered dream will instead send a dying character into 'Limbo' - a world of infinite subconscious, from which it is nearly impossible to escape, as the dreamer risks 'forgetting' they are in a dream. Eames impersonates Fischer's godfather, Browning, to suggest Fischer reconsider his father's will. Yusuf drives the van as the other members of the team are sedated into the second level of the dream.

The second level of the dream is Arthur's dream of a hotel. Cobb convinces Fischer that he has been abducted by Browning and that he (Cobb) is Fischer's subconscious protector. Cobb, as a ruse to infiltrate Fischer's own subconscious, convinces him to go down another level of the dream to explore Browning's subconscious. 

The third level of the dream is Eames' dream of a snowy mountain fortress, which is protected by guards. The team must infiltrate it in order for Cobb to take Fischer down into his subconscious. Yusuf, chased by Fischer's projections in the first level of the dream, deliberately drives off a bridge and initiates his 'kick' too early, which removes the gravity at Arthur's (second) level of the dream, which forces him to improvise a new kick which will happen simultaneous to the van hitting the water. This causes an avalanche in Eames' (third) level of the dream. Mal's projection emerges and kills Fischer; Cobb kills Mal and Saito dies. All 3 'dead; characters fall into Limbo. Eames sets up a 'kick' by rigging the fortress with explosives and Cobb and Ariadne enter Limbo to rescue Fischer and Saito. 

Cobb reveals to Ariadne that Mal ended up in Limbo after he and she experimented with the dream sharing technology. While sedated for a few hours of real-time, they spent 50 years in a dreamworld, constructed from their shared memories. Mal refused to return to reality, so Cobb used a rudimentary form of inception by reactivating her 'totem' (an object which is used as a 'reality check' which allows the dreamer to distinguish between dreams and reality) and reminding her subconscious that the dreamworld was not real. When she awoke, Mal was convinced that she was still dreaming and and in an attempt to 'wake up for real', commits suicide, framing Cobb with her 'murder' as a way to force him to do the same. Facing a murder charge, Cobb flees from America, leaving his children with Prof. Miles. 

During this confession, Cobb makes peace with his guilt over Mal's death. Ariadne kills Mal and wakes Fischer up with a 'kick'. Now revived at the mountain fortress, Fischer enters a safe room to discover and accept  the planted idea - a message from his father who tells him to 'be his own man'. While Cobb remains in Limbo to find Saito, the rest of the team ride synchronised 'kicks' which takes them back to reality. Cobb finds an aged Saito in Limbo and reminds him of their agreement. The team awaken on the airplane and Saito makes a phone call. 

When they arrive at LA airport, Cobb is able to pass through the US Immigration checkpoint and meet Prof. Miles, who accompanies him home. Cobb tests reality using a totem - a spinning top which spins indefinitely in the dreamworld. However, he ignores the result of the spinning top totem, instead joining his children in the garden, leaving it unclear if this is reality or a dream. The totem is actually Mal's totem - Cobb uses his wedding ring as his totem (he only wears it in the dreamworld) and it was not on Cobb's finger when he handed his passport to the Immigration Officer. 

Dream Themes
  • Lucid dreaming
  • Shared dreaming/sharing of a mutual dream space
  • Use of dream totems
  • Manipulation of the subconscious
  • The analogy between (shared) dreaming and the cinematic experience

My Review
On of my main problem with Inception is the fact that it led countless amateur lucid dreamers to fully invest themselves in the potential reality of the movie - and treat it like it was the next technological step in neuroscience and dreaming. In the aftermath of the movie release, many oneironauts stopped focusing on the basics of lucid dream induction and began to try to create the conditions of the shared dream and the dream-within-a-dream, which are key themes. This is encouraged by the reactions of the media - including some scientific literature - which used the release of the movie as inspiration for articles questioning whether Inception could become a reality and taking actual dream research and manipulating the theories and findings to reflect the themes of the movie. This is typical of the mainstream media - using buzzwords and 'gimmicks' or current trends to create interest.

This isn't necessarily the fault of the movie, itself, but my enjoyment of it was affected by the fact that in countless discussions of the science of lucid dreaming, Inception was used as a blueprint for the scientific potential of lucid dreaming. Suddenly everyone was using a 'dream totem' - and lucid dreaming experienced a surge in mainstream popularity - albeit a very Hollywood-version which focused on the fantastical elements, rather than what we know to be scientifically or psychologically factual.

I am aware Nolan may not have set out to make a realistic movie which portrayed the actuality of lucid dreaming, but I still hold him responsible for misinterpretation of what lucid dreaming is and how it works.

Of course, we have various emerging technologies which enable us to induce lucid dream states and also recreate very basic images of what a subject may be dreaming of, by using MRI scans to monitor their brain responses. But shared dreaming has never been proven empirically, and essentially remains categorised as a 'pseudoscience'.

It is clear that some scientific investigation informed the making of the movie. Producer and writer, Jeff Warren describes how the consciousness appears to act in 'predictable ways' when there is no sensory input. Further, there are 'informal laws' which exist in the dreamworld - 'the law of self-fulfilling expectations' (where if you expect something will happen, it will) and 'the law of narrative momentum' (where the dream begins to fray if you remain in one place for too long). 

In Inception, time runs slower in the dreamworld than in real time - with a scaling effect, so that time slows down even more so when entering subsequent dream levels. This seems to accord with most people's experience of dreaming, with an important exception - in lucid dreams, research by Stephen LaBerge has shown that the dreamer tends to experience time almost in real time. Therefore, there is very little time dilation at all in a lucid dream. In respect of the laws of physics, Inception at some points in the plot suggest that the laws of physics do not apply in the dreamworld - for example, when Paris is folded like a piece of paper and with the 'impossible staircase' (based on that designed by M. C. Escher).

In Inception, the main characters use a drug ('somnacin') and a dream machine (Portable Automated Somnacin IntraVenous (PASIV) Device) to upload a dream scenario into the mind of their target and then enter the dream. While we are very much aware of powerful drugs which can modulate our sleep processes, there is of course, no way to use drugs - or machines - to enter into a shared dreamworld. 

Although Inception does not explicitly refer to 'lucid dreaming' (although note that Nolan is himself a lucid dreamer), it does make reference to concepts familiar to lucid dreamers, which may contribute to the acceptance of the the movie as factually accurate by many oneironauts. Notably, Cobb describes 'dreamsigns', stating that 'Dreams feel real when we're in them. It's only when we wake up that we realize something was actually strange'. The movie also leans heavily on the concept of 'reality checking' - specifically by the use of the dream totems. This is of course an aesthetic choice - the spinning totem belonging to Mal and used in the final scene by Cobb - was used in movie publicity and promotion, largely due to it's symbolic appearance. 

However, any regular lucid dreamer would know that there are far more reliable and easy reality checks which could be performed by a lucid dreamer - such as trying to push the fingers of one hand through the palm of another, or looking in a mirror. Remembering to carry a dream totem around - or using a wedding ring as a dream totem - seems to over-complicate the process of reality checking. In fact, given the way in which the (lucid) dream state is entered by the main characters, there seems little need for them to perform such a reality check anyway - and therefore this little more than a plot device. 

Further, the way the totems work in the movie is inconsistent. One of the rules we learn is that no-one must touch your totem, as figuring out how it works could lead that person to trick your subconscious into believing you were awake in reality. So, for Cobb, his dream totem (Mal's spinning top, and to a lesser extent, his wedding ring) will topple over in waking reality, but spin forever in his dream world; Arthur's die is weighted so that it will always land on one number in waking reality, but in someone else's dream, it could fall on any random number; Ariadne's metal bishop is weighted in a certain way; and Eames' poker chip has a misspelling of 'Mombasa' ('Mombassa'). Cobb explains to Ariadne how the spinning top totem works - which means he can never be sure that he is not in Ariadne or Mal's dream, even if it continues to spin for infinity. The problem arises in relation to the spinning top. According to the movie, if the top falls, Cobb must be awake - but why? Surely everyone would be aware that a spinning top would definitely fall in waking reality, not spin forever. Therefore, if someone wanted to enter into a shared dream world with Cobb and trick him into thinking he was in waking reality, they would simply make the top fall. There are only 2 options: one which would never happen in waking reality; and the alternative, which you would implicitly assume was the 'in a dream' option if you understood the function of a totem and how they are used to check consciousness and reality. To make sense, the totem would need to behave in a unique way in waking reality (such as the other totems used by other characters) and an ordinary way in someone else's dream world (assuming the other person is unaware of the special quality of the totem, such as how 'Mombasa' is misspelled on Eames' poker chip). If Cobb's totem is to be an effective reality check, then it can't be so easy to predict how it would operate in reality.

The 'rules' of dreaming as portrayed in Inception seem to be overly convoluted to the experienced lucid dreamer. For example, Cobb states that in order to wake yourself up from a dream, you must first kill yourself. This is a needless 'rule' which runs counter to the lucid dreaming experience. Any lucid dreamer will tell you that lucid dreams are very unstable and difficult to anchor. It is incredibly easy to wake up from a lucid dream prematurely, just by becoming too excited - given the REM state is a very light stage of sleep and a lucid dream occurs when the sleeping mind is very close to being fully awake. Most lucid dreamers could wake themselves from a particularly stable and strong lucid dream simply by telling themselves to wake up. 

This also means that the concept of the 'kick' (hypnic jerk) becomes pretty obsolete in terms of how lucid dreaming actually works. A hypnic jerk is an involuntary muscle twitch/spasm which happens when the brain is trying to test whether the body is asleep or awake. The hypnic jerk is often incorporated into a fragment of dream narrative (falling/slipping/being attacked). Therefore, it would be wholly impossible to set up a 'kick' of this nature anyway - hypnic jerks are always involuntary and unconscious, and in any event, not related to the lucid dreaming experience. It seemed that Nolan just wanted to incorporate a common dream experience into a movie which dealt with lucid dreaming without any necessity for inclusion. 

Another random 'rule' is that in a second/third level dream (a 'dream within a dream' scenario), the dreamer must not die or they will become stuck in Limbo, where time is so slowed down that decades pass there, when in waking reality, it is simply a matter of minutes. This is - at best - speculative fiction, but from the perspective of a seasoned oneironaut, a completely illogical addition to the plot. There is no reason why the rules of the dreamworld would be any different in a second/third layer dream, as anyone who experiences dreams within a dream will likely concur. 

One of the more interesting aspects of the movie is the fact that the audience is kept guessing as to whether scenes are 'reality' or 'dreams' - encouraging them to look for clues, such as upside down clocks or the presence of Cobb's wedding ring.  We also see how subconscious elements creep in to influence what we see in dreams - for example Mal and Cobb's anniversary suite number is number 3502; the train that barrels down on the team in Yusuf's dream is also number 3502, and the taxi they hail is numbered 2053. Additionally, the random string of numbers Fischer arbitrarily gives as the combination to his father's safe is 528491. This is also the combination to both safes in Eames' snow fortress dream, the fake telephone number Eames gives Fischer (as the sexy blonde) in Arthur's hotel dream, and the room numbers in the hotel are 528 and 491.

My main issue with the way dreaming is portrayed in Inception is that I get the impression that Nolan wanted to make an all-purpose movie about lucid dreaming/shared dreaming etc and did his research, cramming in various elements of dream science which do not necessarily work together to produce a cohesive understanding of the complex ideas which inform the movie. It appears that the most interesting elements of dreaming have been cherry-picked, but Nolan doesn't stake his position on the subject. The movie is complex, relying on clunky narrative, which is both exposition and jargon-heavy, which adds to the difficulty in understanding the plot. When non-lucid dreamers try to untangle and interpret the movie, it's frustrating that the science/art of lucid dreaming is misunderstood - largely because the movie provides half-baked or mixed-up conceptualisations which are necessary to drive the plot and create interest, but don't further or support actual understanding of the themes so intrinsic to the storyline. 

The way the dream scenes are portrayed in the movie is one of the best things about it, in my opinion. Still, these scenes are not free from my criticism. Nolan reminds us we are watching a heist movie by including the gunfight scenes - seemingly forgetting that in a dreamworld, there is no necessity in using 'real' weapons in a realistic way. Any dreamer with superior dream control should be able to manifest and use any means of tackling an enemy without the constraints or rules of the waking world. The zero-gravity fistfight, the city of Paris being folded like a piece of paper and the crumbling beach scene were all visually stunning - and in particular, the latter had a very 'dreamlike' quality about it, which gave a sense of authenticity to me, as an oneironaut. 

Commentary from Dream Experts
Deirdre Barrett, a Dream Researcher at Harvard University states that Nolan did not accurately portray all aspects of dreaming, but conceded that the illogical, bizarre and disjointed narrative of dreams would not lend themselves to a complex thriller. However, she cites a scene in which a sleeping Cobb is shoved into a full bath, and in the dream world water gushes into the windows of the building, waking him up as an example of how 'real stimuli get incorporated, and you very often wake up right after that intrusion'.

Robert Stickgold - Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School 
'I thought it was a lot of fun. It’s a funny story, I got a call from Sony when they were just about to release it, sort of probing if I wanted to be a go-to person to talk to about dreaming that they could pass out. And I said no [laughs]. I said no because I felt I was going to watch the movie and say: 'Well, the movie was really dumb,' but it actually wasn’t bad at all. A, I enjoyed it a lot, and B, I love the sort of playfulness of getting you to forget where you are in the dream. You say: ‘Oh wait a minute, is this actually happening? Are they really on the train? I’m confused. What’s actually real and what’s a dream, and what’s the dream within a dream?’ And I think they did that beautifully, and I just enjoyed it. 

I don’t think at any point in watching the movie – I have two kids that went to M.I.T. and they sit around and watch all the science fiction movies and give them one to ten thumbs down depending on how bad the science is – and I don’t remember any point in that movie where I had that feeling. Obviously, the basic supposition that you can control things in the real world by controlling dreams is wonderful science fiction, but that’s out front I think, and I just enjoyed it'. 

Jane Gackenback - Dream Researcher & Former President of the International Association for the Study of Dreams
'It was great fun. I was on the documentary about dreams on the Blu-ray. They flew me down there and the whole thing. Anyway – a lot of the points [Christopher Nolan] got right. With Hollywood, it always goes too far. Yes, we do have lucid dreams. Yes, you wake up into another dream, and wake up into another, and I think they did that four deep in Inception. I had a colleague who did it seven deep once. Yes, you can have a certain amount of control over the dream. I don’t think to the degree in which they have it. Some indication – I hesitate and say ‘some,’ big time – we can share dreams – particularly people who have lived together for 50 year, or identical twins, that sort of thing. Lots of places he got it right. He’s an amazingly thoughtful film maker'.

Dream Myths in Inception
  • If you die in a dream, you wake up - this may be true for some dreamers, but it is not a hard and fast rule of dreaming - many people experience their own death in dreams and continue to remain dreaming for some time
  • Shared dreaming - this is not scientifically possible, anymore than ESP or telepathy is empirically proven. While there is subjective anecdotal evidence from some dreamers who claim to share dreams with other people, there is no objective evidence. Further, Inception does not explain in any depth how shared dreaming via a shared dream network actually works in the movie. While it is possible to summons dream characters into a lucid dream, these dream characters may seem to act completely independently from your conscious dream self, but they are simply projections/personifications of your subconscious mind
  • Dream Limbo - in dream Limbo, the dreamer (who entered as a result of dying in a second or third level dream) is no longer lucid - they accept the dream as reality and do not realise they can simply wake up from it - this is a fictionalised aspect of the plot, which seems to stem from Nolan's desire to depict time dilation in the dream state
  • Dream within a dream - while dreams within a dream are possible in theory, the reality is not quite like that portrayed in Inception. Dreams within a dream are conceptual, rather than literal - in reality there aren't defined levels of dreaming which you pass through, but rather, a series of dreams in sequence
  • Dream architecture - while in theory it is possible to create a dream scenario (i.e. dream incubation) or control a dream from within - and even influence someone else's dream, for example, by introducing stimuli such as certain sounds or smells into their environment while they are in REM sleep, the levels of dream architecture shown in the dream goes beyond what we know to be the reality. Our dreams may reflect our waking influences or preoccupations - and lucid dreamers can often exert surprisingly high levels of control over their dreamworld with practice, but in fact, dreams are not as susceptible to our conscious interference as we might like to think. There is also no reason why a gifted architecture student would be used as a 'dream architect' - Ariadne's ability to design architectural structures in waking life gives her no special advantage over dream control