Strange Dreams always fascinate me, especially when it's been a long time coming. For the better part of half a year, or something to that effect, i've been unable to really remember dreams as I once used to.
I remember for a while i used to once wake up and write down my dreams because they would fill me with so much wonderment and creativity. But somewhere along the way, some time during high school i just sort of let go of those feelings.
Dreams were dreams, i decided. No need to waste time placing meaning or substance to after images of information carelessly adrift in my mind. The casual firing of certain neurons in my cortex, the lack of communication between my hippocampus and neocortex, the heightened release of levels of cortisol in my body; I suppose none of this should be of any concern to us in reality. Of course that description only applies if you choose to subscribe to the idea that dreams are merely an outlet for memory consolidation.
I remember I spent a brief time last year researching Oneirology(the official name for the scientific study of dreams) only to come to the conclusion that there was way, way too much research out there in such a vast, vast variety of different areas of interest that it was almost impossible to come even close to a solid conclusion regarding what in the hell dreams actually meant. If you're interested, I suggest you wiki that shit here and here; it'll give you a pretty good idea of all the different field of thought out there.
So I gave up.
Dreams are dreams simply simple.
But of course (yes i know i hate starting sentences with a conjunction, but fuck off it's my blog, apparently, so i'll do as I wish and wish as I do) during my Psychology 1001 course last semester I had to take a neuroscience elective and we dabbled in the brain physiology and chemistry of dreaming. I found myself again immersed and fascinated in it all. Primarily I really wanted to know more of the different states of dreaming, that is to distinguish between the way one perceives a dream in the dream state.
What I really found fascinating was lucid dreaming, that is the state where-in you are fully aware that what you perceive is in fact a dream, yet you continue to dream and create the rest of your dream as you go. This differs of course from dreaming in the more traditional sense (at least for me anyways) in which you are placed nonchalantly in an illogical, unordered flow of a dream and in which you merely exist.
I wont go so-for-as-to-say one is better than the other; but I do prefer lucid dreaming (mostly because it's very rare for me).
So according to wikipedia:
The key to these techniques is recognizing the hypnagogic stage, which is within the border of being awake and being asleep. If a person is successful in staying aware while this stage occurs, that person will eventually enter the dream state while being fully aware that it is a dream.
Also, some fucking awesome ideas that i HAVE to try next to I go lucid:
§ The pain test—"Pinch me, I think I'm dreaming!"—is only effective in very few dreams. Stephen LaBerge's book Exploring the World of Lucid Dreaming proves that dreamed action produces real effects on the brain and body. Therefore, if the dreamer pinches himself, he indeed feels pain but it is unlikely to induce lucidity, because the schema for pain in the dreamer's brain activates and the dreamer feels pain even if there is no real physical stimulus. This same logic applies for other sensations, such as pleasure, heat, cold and a variety of other feelings the dreamer could experience in the waking world. (DOES NOT WORK)
§ Looking at text or one's digital watch (remembering the words or the time), looking away, and looking back. The text or time will probably have changed randomly and radically at the second glance or contain strange letters and characters. (Analog watches do not usually change in dreams, while text and digital watches have a great tendency to do so.) A digital watch or clock may feature strange characters or the numbers all out of order.
§ Flipping a light switch. Light levels rarely change as a result of the switch flipping in dreams.
§ Looking into a mirror; in dreams, reflections from a mirror often appear to be blurred, distorted, incorrect, or frightening.
§ Looking at the ground beneath one's feet or at one's hands. If one does this within a dream the difference in appearance of the ground or one's hands from the normal waking state is often enough to alert the conscious to the dream state.
A thought occurred, wouldn't it be interesting if dreams were in actual fact triggered by a specific mechanism(not to say that it is or isn't) or sequence of neural activation or chemical release, and advances in neurology/neuroscience some day lead to a point where you can choose to enter into a specific type of dream state whenever you wish. So basically take a pill or plug yourself in, whatever the case, and let your mind take you on a nice ol' lucid dream whenever you want.
Tbh, if that ever happened. I would probably spend the better part of my life dreaming. Some crazy shit happens in dreams.
MY POINT throughout this whole ramble, is that dreams are pretty fascinating things. Well actually there is no real point to this ramble, I just had the most intense lucid dream i've ever had last night and I decided to write something up about dreaming. Im not going to post what the dream was about, because I tried doing that on livejournal. That is, writing out the dream and i got about 800 words in when i accidentally motha-back-ed the page and all the writing magically disappeared. Sooo, instead of wasting my time I figured it was a sign that dreams are personal things and it's perhaps better left as an inherent, existential part of yourself and your memory. So that's that.
But basically the end of it involved me having to hack/slash my left hand open with a fruit knife in order to get out of a hallucination within a dream.
Inception style motherfucker.
I wish it were that straight forward.