Is Lucid Dreaming Real?

   A guide to the true nature and science of lucid dreams and conscious dream control.

By Rebecca Turner

“Is lucid dreaming real or theory?”

Scientists only really became interested in proving the existence of lucid dreaming in the last 40 years (see below). But prior to that, there were still lots of tantalizing references to lucid dreams throughout history. Let’s start there.

We can trace the concept of self-awareness in dreams through the personal records of philosophers, artists and authors over the centuries. For example, the French philosopher Rene Descartes found his lucid dreams so vivid, he concluded that our waking senses are illusory and not to be trusted.

Meanwhile, Tibetan Buddhist monks have incorporated heightened self-awareness and dream control in their path to enlightenment for at least one thousand years.

The concept of conscious dreaming is widely accepted in both Eastern and Western cultures, underpinning the universal nature of this human condition which doesn’t rely on any particular esoteric interpretation or spiritual belief system (unlike, say, belief in the afterlife or psychic ability).

Those who say lucid dreaming is “just a theory” need to check their definitions of what a theory is. Allow me to clarify:

·         A hypothesis is a tentative explanation for an observation or phenomenon that needs to be tested by further investigation. It’s basically an assumption which is yet to be explored scientifically.

·         A theory is the result of scientific testing, in which the reality stands up to our original assumptions. A theory is a set of statements which best explain our observations. Einstein had a couple of particularly good ones: The General Theory of Relativity and The Special Theory of Relativity.

So claiming lucid dreaming is “just a theory” is not at all damning to the existence of lucid dreaming as the accuser implies.

It’s the same as saying that evolution or gravity are “just theories”.They are of course theories, and they are strong ones – the best kind of theories you can have – backed by hard evidence.

So, theories are great! They use known observations (independent pieces of the jigsaw puzzle) to form conclusions (joining the jigsaw pieces together). The completed jigsaw is the theory.

“Just a theory” means solving the puzzle as best we can and in no way should equate to belittlement of the subject at hand.

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