A more in depth look at the study of dreams, done for a project outside my normal blog content. I was told to be as in depth as possible, which is fully impossible given the long history of dream research, dating back to Ancient Egypt. However, for the purposes of this blog, what I did obtain, below, can inevitably be linked back to surrealist practices and maybe even used to make surreal images in the modern day, using technology to track your dreams.
Becoming in Touch with your Unconscious without the Help of a Steel Ball
You have an idea for an art piece, business endeavor, home renovation, but can’t quite figure out the full picture, the ins and outs of how to make it work. So you push that idea to the back of your mind and just let it sit there. Occasionally the idea comes back to the forefront with new pieces added, and over time the full idea comes together and you’re ready to make it happen.
What if instead you let your subconscious do the work? The creative ideas, all fully formed, sitting right there, ready for the taking.
Hypnagogia and the Steel Ball Technique
Hypnagogia is a stage of sleep experienced right at the onset of sleep. Psychologists and Surrealists have worked for years at taking control of this sleep state for creative and self exploratory purposes.
Sigmund Freud sought to understand dreams, to come into contact with his unconscious. Surrealists, and many psychiatrists at the time followed suit. Edison and Dalí, among others, practiced what is called the steel ball technique, holding a steel ball in hand while falling asleep. The ball would be released as the muscles relaxed, and as soon as it hit the floor one would awake, immediately remembering the experienced dream.
In Touch with Psychic Influence
Edgar Cayce was known as “the sleeping prophet,” He would give psychic readings while unconscious. During his sleep state, people would ask him questions about their future. Cayce would answer straight back with, what was believed to be, accurate information about what was to come.
Carl Jung, took his dreams, on what he called a journey. He believed dreams were part of a collective unconscious. In Jung’s belief, our dreams are callings lying under the surface. Those dreams are not unfulfilled wishes, as Freud believed, they’re unrestrained truths that should be followed.
With both Cayce and Jung’s beliefs, dream like states show us truths.
MIT’s Dormio and Dream Incubation
An MIT company, called Dormio, created a dream tracking technology, through which, we can follow those callings. Or, at this point, you can think of them as unfulfilled goals and aspirations if you like.
The research team of Dormio tracks sleep stages, particularly, hypnagogia. With their hand worn device they slightly wake the subject from hynagogia sleep right before that subject goes into a deeper state of sleep. This allows the subject to converse with the researcher about their dream content without being fully awake. This semi asleep state allows for recall of the experienced dream.
While remembering the creative thoughts your brain reveals in sleep is applicable in furthering creative practice, this technology can also be used, and is explicitly designed to be used, to implant dreams. If you think of something, see something, say something and then immediately fall asleep, in most cases, you dream of that subject. In this way, you can think of the project you’re working through before sleep and allow your unconscious to guide you further.
Implanting dreams has always been possible. Thomas Edison, whose research Dormio was based on, was known to nap while considering a problem for which he needed a solution. Sigmund Freud, in his 1899 The Interpretation of Dreams, stated that he believed every dream begins with a wish.
With Dormio’s accurate sleep state tracking, the dream that came from the implanted influence can immediately be recalled and recorded. Once slightly awakened, and the dream recorded, the subject falls back asleep. They can then be awakened again as hynagogia begins to end. So, unlike the steel ball technique which fully awakens the subject from sleep, Dormio’s technology can record hynagogia dreams over and over in one sitting.
The unconscious mind communicates with the conscious mind. Jung and Cayce had already tapped into this a bit, however, a skill termed ‘Remote Viewing‘ was developed based on this break through in the early 1980s. This research and skill began in the military, but made its way into the private sector and the public eye.
The TRV Video Training Course that stemmed from this practice can help you learn and work within this concept on your own. That said, it’s mostly only available on VHS.
Referred to as a sort of psychic, learned skill, the course website states:
“TRV® is the trained ability to acquire accurate direct knowledge of things and events — targets — distant in time or space, while conscious awareness remains totally “blind” to details about the target itself. It is a data collection skill. Like any other skill, practice is required to become proficient.” – stunned.org
PSI Tech Intelligence, which also stemmed off from this practice, still exists and states that they can help you solve any problem.
Could this be used as well for dream implanting? In linking this research back to Dormio’s, yes, and the military is working toward that goal, if they haven’t already achieved it, but that’s a topic for another time and space.
Deeper understanding of dreams can lead to better creative pursuit of ones own goals, it also has other potential applications.
Schizophrenia and Narcolepsy
Carl Jung developed a theory on Schizophrenia, what was called Dementia Praecox at the time. He related Schizophrenia to a dream state experienced while awake.
Dreams in patients with Schizophrenia are often less elaborate than those without. REM states of those with Narcolepsy are much shorter than average.
The better understanding we have of dream states, their causes, the way they work in the brain, and further, how to control them, the better understanding and control we can have of these disorders.
Multiple Sclerosis, Alzheimer’s, Lupus and Strokes
Mark Solms’ published research in 1997 on brain lesions and the inability to dream based on lesion placement in the brain.
Being able to further understand the neural pathways through the study of dreams could potentially better help the understanding of these diseases.
Emotions and Sleep Disorders
Sigmund Freud, in recording his patient’s dreams, was working to understand their underlying moods. Freud could only rely on the patient’s much later recollection.
With immediate recall however, emotions, even when not fully recognized by the subject in a conscious state, could be reveled based on dream content.
It could have been that right before Cayce fell asleep, was when the questions were asked of him, and his responses were from hynagogia dreams formed from the implanted information. Or, it could have been psychic abilities, as even people today still believe. Or maybe those two thoughts aren’t that much different.
Getting in touch with our dreams could lead to information about our futures.
With new dream tracking technology, you could follow your dream content as if it were callings from God or psychic visions, make surrealist art pieces, channel your dreams to better pursue your goals, or maybe even find keys to assisting and curing medical conditions.
What do you think will come next?
On this site:
- How Toy Photography Fits within Photography
- Historic Dabbling in the World of Toys – Bahaus, Fotografia Metafisica, Surreal
- Surrealist Figure Photographers of the Mid 1900s
- The Line Between Art as a Whole and Surrealism is Very Thin
- Dream State
- Dream Vortex
- The Conception and Sensation of Time, 2013
- Rewrite | Small Surrealism, Toy Photographers Blog
- Baird, Benjamin, et al. “Inspired by Distraction.” Psychological Science, vol. 23, no. 10, 2012, pp. 1117–1122., https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797612446024.
- “Edgar Cayce’s Life: The Sleeping Prophet: Psychic: Edgar Cayce’s A.R.E.” Edgar Cayce’s Life | The Sleeping Prophet | Psychic | Edgar Cayce’s A.R.E. | Edgar Cayce’s A.R.E., https://www.edgarcayce.org/edgar-cayce/his-life/.
- Fritscher, Lisa. “Understanding the Collective Unconscious.” Verywell Mind, 2020, https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-the-collective-unconscious-2671571.
- Horowitz , Adam Jedidiah Haar. “Incubating Dreams: Awakening Creativity.” Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2019.
- Johnson, Brian, and Daniela Flores Mosri. “The Neuropsychoanalytic Approach: Using Neuroscience as the Basic Science of Psychoanalysis.” Frontiers in Psychology, Frontiers Media S.A., 13 Oct. 2016, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5063004/.
- Jung, Carl Gustave. “Red Book by Carl Gustav Jung : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming.” Internet Archive, 2009, https://archive.org/details/RedBookByJung/.
- Michel, Karen, and C.G. Jung. “’The Red Book’: A Window into Jung’s Dreams.” NPR, NPR, 11 Nov. 2009, https://www.npr.org/2009/11/11/120129676/the-red-book-a-window-into-jungs-dreams.
- Rosello, Oscar. “Project Overview ‘ Dormio: Interfacing with Dreams.” MIT Media Lab, 2018, https://www.media.mit.edu/projects/sleep-creativity/overview/.
- Ruby, Perrine M. “Experimental Research on Dreaming: State of the Art and Neuropsychoanalytic Perspectives.” Frontiers in Psychology, Frontiers Research Foundation, 18 Nov. 2011, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3220269/.
- Scarone, S., et al. “The Dream as a Model for Psychosis: An Experimental Approach Using Bizarreness as a Cognitive Marker.” Schizophrenia Bulletin, vol. 34, no. 3, 2007, pp. 515–522., https://doi.org/10.1093/schbul/sbm116.