I was dreaming about nightmares the other night. That is to say, I was sleeping and when I had a dream, in my dream I was having another different, really bad dream. At least I think it was a dream within a dream. I woke up even more confused than usual. Or maybe I wasn’t even sleeping.
Then coincidentally or perhaps serendipitously or maybe just completely randomly, when I was doing my daily get-out-of-the-house drive to nowhere in particular, I was thinking about weird dreams, and suddenly a fascinating documentary came on the car radio. It was all about something called “lucid dreaming.”
Apparently, lucid dreaming is where the dreamer becomes aware that they are dreaming. “Lucid” from the Latin: “lu” – “am I” and “cid” – “awake, or what?” It seems about half of people have had a lucid dream and the phenomenon happens only once or twice a year. But some people not only have lucid dreams all the time, they can actually control those dreams and can even use certain techniques to enter into them whenever they want to.
I turned up the radio and learned that scientists have been studying lucid dreaming for decades because scientists like to study weird stuff and also they think there might be some benefits for a dreamer’s waking life in the form of improved problem solving skills and enhanced creativity, not to mention the fact that it would be great if you could go to sleep and fly like Superman anytime you wanted to.
So what does lucid dreaming feel like, you may wonder. That’s a good question, and one that I asked my car radio. The documentary dude said something like: you’re asleep and you know that you’re having a dream. You know what’s happening isn’t really happening but everything feels totally real and vivid. And sometimes you can even control the action in your dream – as if you’re “directing a movie.”
Now, I’ve directed a number of movies and I’m pretty sure I was more or less awake at the time, though some of the actors and crew might beg to differ. And when I think about it, I guess I’ve probably had an actual lucid dream or two before. But like many people, I often have trouble remembering my dreams. This got me thinking.
What if we could record our dreams? Stick a little plastic wireless remote button thingy on our forehead and go to sleep and everything you dream is recorded on a computer file on your laptop down on the kitchen table. When you wake up with a cloudy memory of bits and pieces of a dream you just had, you can brew a coffee, fire up the ol’ computer and play your movie-dreams back! You could save some of them, share some of them, or – and I know what you are thinking – destroy some of them immediately.
But think of the commercial possibilities! The online streaming of people’s dreams: DreamFlix! Prime Dream Video! H-Dream-O! Anyone (for a hefty price) could click on the dream-movies that people sell to the movie streaming companies, and we all know how whacky, weird and wonderful dreams can be. A whole new world of entertainment! Heavily vetted by a Dream Censorship Board, of course.
I’ll bet a person in on the ground floor of Dream Movie Inc. could make a bundle, right?! And there’s one person out there who has the moola and the lunacy to pull it off: Elon Musk. I think I’ll contact good old Elon with my idea. We’ll no doubt be in touch for some crowd-funding.
So I’ll let you know when you can record your very own dreams. I’ll message you from Elon’s flying car.
Harley Hay is a Red Deer author and filmmaker.