op/ed: online lucid dreaming

by Alphaville Herald on 05/07/04 at 12:33 pm


it is true that art captivates, entertains, challenges, and explains. that is true. art also procides us with models for how to approach and negotiate the challenges that may appear in our lives from time to time. this ability that art has to work as a tool to assist us with the navigation of our daily lives is often overlooked, and is unappreciated. art is nothing if not a lighthouse.

unfortunately in our society people have chosen not to be well-informed about art. we are taught to make it some big holy unapproachable thing with a big A and those of us who are not scared shitless of it, look upon the work of imagination as a suspect activity. we do the same thing with play. people who are engaged in professions that center around the exploration of play or art are put into a box that is somewhat similar to the condition of those people who, a long time ago, were “not received”. the child of this attitude is the assumption that anybody who throws any piece of shit up on a wall has, in some way, created a work of art. i don’t agree with that. not everybody can create art although i think that everyone has the innate capacity to do so.

our culture does not support the desire or passion to make. our culture actively interferes with making: it sets up white noise, it discourages the inner journey, it dislikes observation, and it is suspicious of people who live non-standard lives.

our culture wants us tied to tools of mass communication. it wants us tied to screens while at this point it refuses to openly admit that the information one can get from a screen is at best inadequate.

the human spirit however is better and smarter than the tools and strictures that it creates.

i am saying this because the whole business of oline interaction over the past several years fascinates the hell out of me. i have watched and what i think i see happening is that online interaction is moving with increasing intensity towards becoming a way to explore and talk about those inner and quiet worlds that in the past have only been visible to us in our dreams. even when online interaction was conducted in the form of texts i noticed that it chose the realm of the fantastical and the imaginery — even at times where it became a joke, such as when people meeting through chat or email would present their ideal
selves rather than the creatures that the meat world insisted that they were. as the technology advanced, i saw that it moved more and more into the world of dreaming.

on some level people insist that online apps like games provide them with the tools and technologies that they need in order to express dream-like states of being: they want to fly. they want wings. they want families, spouses, children. they want to be pirates, or criminals. this is where the scammer’s statement that “i am really a nice person” becomes a sane statement. the scammer is a nice person because the scammer on some level understands that the game-world is a dream-scape. in-game, the married man and his paramour can live a standard life as they dream of doing. in-game, the paraplegic can run, as he/or she might run, in their dreams.

on some level peole use gaming and gaming forms to express desires and impulses acceptably that they cannot or will not express in their waking lives. this is, as i said above, why i think it is so easy to encounter non-mainstream sexual and social behaviors online. i think there is a way in which a game like SL can be de-constructed using the language of dream analysis. that i think the game-world can be analyzed this way makes me think that the game world is really a kind of community lucid dream.

11 Responses to “op/ed: online lucid dreaming”

  1. Ian

    Jul 5th, 2004

    Uh is this Second Life Herald, or The Hippie Manifesto.

  2. mafioso

    Jul 5th, 2004

    Good points. But even if it is a “lucid dream” of some sort, it still involves a RL person; the scammer saying “I really am a nice person” still has no credence to me.

  3. humdog

    Jul 5th, 2004

    ian there are probably some people who are interested in what you have to say. these people
    no doubt include your mother and may possibly include the editor in chief of this newspaper,
    but i am not one of those people.

    please keep that in mind next time you want to issue one of your little broadsides.

    thank you,


  4. Ian

    Jul 5th, 2004

    My mother is deceased.

  5. Dyerbrook

    Jul 6th, 2004

    I want to fly. I want wings. And now they have them in TC lol.

  6. Z

    Jul 6th, 2004

    I like capital letters, and spellcheck.

  7. Ava Adore

    Jul 6th, 2004

    Humdog im impressed by your observations. I would go even further and suggest the lines are blurred dramatically for those of us who actually have metaphysical talents. I have used my short time online to observe how I form connections with people. Dreams may be entertainment for most or allow one to act out specific situations in a romantic environment and at times make a great learning tool But, what I learned from being online is the same thing I learned from mastering lucid dreaming and astral travel. Making contact and forming connections is much more fullfilling than remaining a detached observer and in that sense it is no different than RL any place a dream may take you the internet has that ability already. And to me this speaks volumes about the future of the internet and online worlds. Put some soul in your machines.

  8. mafioso

    Jul 7th, 2004

    Wow, like that comment Ava

  9. humdog

    Jul 11th, 2004

    i like your comments, ava. they are interesting.

    people do not seem to take play as anything worth looking at, other than as something to make money from. playing is one of our best instincts: it requires imagination, a friendly point of view, and resourcefulness.

    i am interested to look at MMORPG as an opportunity to openly play from the dream-world.

  10. Urizenus

    Jul 11th, 2004

    In the immortal words of Johnathan Richman and the Modern Lovers: “Tonight I’m gonna meet ya on the astral plane…”

  11. Ian

    Jul 11th, 2004

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