The Lucidity Continuum

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Part 1 of the Lucidity Continuum series.
  "The Lucidity Continuum", ©1994 E. W. Kellogg III, Ph.D. 1 [First presented at the Eighth Annual Conference of The    Lucidity Association   , in Santa Cruz, June 28, 1992. First published in the October, 2004 issue of Electric Dreams , Volume 11 , Issue #10 .]   THE LUCIDITY CONTINUUM   E. W. Kellogg III, Ph.D.   © 1994 ABSTRACT: Many researchers define a lucid dream as one in which dreamers realize, however vaguely, that they dream while  they dream. However, in dream-life as in waking-life, lucidity ranges across a continuum, and may depend on a number of factors. These include the ability to think clearly, the ability to remember, the power to control the dream, the feeling of embodi-ment, reality tone or vividness, the emotional content of the dream, and the sense of self of the dreamer. Despite the many factors involved, the experience of lucidity  depends most closely on the interaction of two factors that together determine the freedom of choice experienced by the dreamer in the dream. The first corresponds to clarity of thought and perception, and the second with the power to control the dream. By looking at the degree to which a dreamer has made cov-ert assumptions overt, and at the degree to which the dreamer can act on this knowledge, one can evaluate dreams on a scale that runs the gamut from ordinary dreaming to super-lucidity. The author has developed a series of maps of consciousness that illustrate the differences between many different kinds of both lucid and non-lucid dreams. INTRODUCTION   What exactly do dreamworkers mean by the term lucidity ? In common usage, one might define it as an aspect of awareness characterized by clear perception and understanding. Many re-searchers define a lucid dream as one in which dreamers realize, however vaguely, that they dream while  they dream. Although dream lucidity by accepted definition depends most strongly on the awareness of dreaming, a number of other factors also play important roles. These in-clude such parameters as the ability to think clearly, the ability to remember, the power to control the dream, the feeling of embodiment, the reality tone or vividness of the dream, the emotional content of the dream, and the sense of self of the dreamer. For the moment, let us take lucidity in the limited sense to mean a mental state characterized by clarity in thought and perception. I have found that I can evaluate this best in a dream by looking at the degree to which the dreamer has an overt awareness of the complex of previously unques-tioned assumptions that comprise what phenomenologists call the natural attitude  towards the world. Basically, this meta-schema includes such judgments   as that we live physically as hu-man beings in "objective reality", that physical objects exist independent of our awareness of them, that events juxtaposed in space-time exist in some sort of a cause and effect relationship, and that we experience a "physical universe" directly and without significant distortion, etc. Or-dinarily, dreamers continue to apply this natural attitude to their experience while dreaming. By looking at the degree to which I have made such covert assumptions overt, I can evaluate the de-gree of lucidity attained.  "The Lucidity Continuum", ©1994 E. W. Kellogg III, Ph.D. 2 In ordinary dreams, I usually make a covert global judgment that: (dream experience) = (waking  physical reality experience). In a minimally lucid dream, one gains a conscious awareness of this judgment and then replaces it with another judgment in line with one's cultural or personal  prejudices about the nature of dreams. For example: 1.  (dream experience) = (the purely subjective projections of one's sleeping brain); or 2.  (dream experience) = (an independently existing spirit world); or 3.  (dream experience) = (a parapsychological realm with both subjective and objective elements); or any number of other possibilities. Once made, the judgment often becomes covert and unquestioned. Some western researchers believe that an unquestioning acceptance of the currently popular neu-rophysiological theory about the nature of dream experience, as summarized in judgment #1, constitutes full lucidity. To me, such a limitation and definition seems both naive and prema-ture. Ironically, current neurophysiological theory supports this view as it proposes that each of us lives in a virtual reality regardless of our state of awareness, whether waking or sleeping. This theory posits that each of us do not, indeed can not, directly experience objective physical reality, but only our own, hypothetically more or less adequate, mental representation of it. If so, then all of the physical world (including one's physical brain) becomes a dubious construct known only by inference, as we can only confirm its existence indirectly. As Stephen LaBerge (1985) wrote in his book,    Lucid Dreaming  : "The dream body is our representation of our physical body. But it is the only body that we ever directly experience. We know, by direct acquaintance, only the contents of our minds. All of our knowledge concerning the physical world, including even the assumed existence of our "first", or physical bodies, is by inference." By most definitions, a lucid dreamer must at least understand that his or her experience does not take place in an objective, physical world. However, even the major insight that (dream reality)  waking physical reality), only begins the task of unmasking assumptions, as the dreamer may still operate through a residuum of unquestioned beliefs and judgments. For example, I may dream of my brother Scott, yet even on realizing that I dream, I might naively continue to identi-fy the (dream Scott) with the (physical reality Scott) without qualification. I do this despite the fact that the two may even differ greatly in appearance. Rather than simply replacing one set of unexamined beliefs with another, from a phenomenological viewpoint true lucidity requires first gaining an overt awareness of one's beliefs, and then after suspending judgment in them, shifting the focus of one's attention to the apodictical realm of the directly experienced (Kellogg, 1989). Edmund Husserl (1859-1938), the founder of the phenomenological movement called this fun-damental shift in perspective the epoché  , or phenomenological reduction  ,   (see Husserl, 1973,  Natanson, 1973, and Zaner, 1970). I will use brackets [ ] in this paper to indicate examples of its use (e.g. [Scott] rather than Scott). A detailed description of the epoché   lies beyond the scope of this paper, but for demonstration  purposes try to question whether at this moment   you really experience this presentation in an ob- jective physical reality. Consider seriously some alternatives. For example, you may find your-self caught up in a very realistic dream, hallucinate due to a hypnotic suggestion or a mind alter-  "The Lucidity Continuum", ©1994 E. W. Kellogg III, Ph.D. 3 ing drug, or in these days of advanced technology, undergo unknowingly exposure to an ad-vanced virtual reality set-up in cyberspace. If you find this difficult, you may want to read Tart's (1986) presentation on "Consensus Trance: The Sleep of Everyday Life" to get a better idea of some of the inner constraints that may prevent you from accomplishing this exercise. None of these possibilities seems likely, but if you can move beyond the naive certainty of the natural at-titude, you can recognize at least a theoretical possibility and can, in fact, doubt. Tholey's (1983) successful approach to inducing lucid dreams through the development of a "critical reflective at-titude" in ordinary waking life, wherein one asks: "Am I dreaming or not?", also approximates the beginning of a movement towards the "phenomenological attitude" that results from the straightforward application of the epoché  . If you can shift your focus to the realm of direct experience after suspending judgment, you can complete the process of the phenomenological reduction. After the epoché  , both "Waking Phys-ical Reality" ( WPR  ) and "Dream Reality" ( DR  ) become only special cases of a more general "Experiential Reality" ( ER  ). Regardless of how you wish to explain your present experience ( WPR  , DR  , hypnotic imagery, etc.), the [experience] remains. The epoché  can allow one to move towards greater lucidity in ordinary waking life, and as such it can serve as both a model and a preparation towards the development of lucidity in one's dream life. When I perform the epoché  my whole attitude towards the lifeworld changes, as dramatically as it does when I "wake up" in a dream. Both dream lucidity and the epoché  require an awareness of formerly uncon-scious judgments in order to occur, and both can proceed more or less adequately in each par-ticular circumstance. MAPPING TERRITORIES   I normally recall 3 to 5 dreams per night, and have written down and indexed well over 7,000 dreams. Of these dreams I've categorized 500 or so as lucid to a greater or lesser degree. The "maps of consciousness" presented here describe my own experiences in the "lucidity continu-um", and do not depend upon, or derive from, the experiences of other lucid dreamers. Even so, my work has received some consensual validation in the sense that other lucid dreamers with whom I have shared my maps have generally found value in them as diagnostic and descriptive tools.  "The Lucidity Continuum", ©1994 E. W. Kellogg III, Ph.D. 4 Figure 1   To begin, I must first present a basic diagram of how I ordinarily experience myself. In Figure 1   I've diagrammed a relevant two dimensional section of my four dimensional consciousness pro-cess. For present purposes, thinking  ,  feeling  , and knowing   each corresponds to a different depth in intentionality . By intentionality I mean the fundamental act by which consciousness directs it-self at something within experience. Simplistically, by thinking   I mean that aspect of myself that labels, and works with abstractions; by  feeling   that aspect which attributes meanings and signifi-cance to things; and by knowing  , that aspect of creativity that structures pure experience. These three "levels" coexist in a hierarchical order, with thinking as the most superficial (closest to the "outside" world), feeling occurring at greater depth, and with knowingness occurring at the greatest depth, closest to the functioning of what I experience as my essential source-self. Each level contains many different aspects, and I have delineated some of these in the "Lucidity Cor-relates" questionnaire that I've developed, included as Appendix A .  Let me try and make this clear by example. "Looking across the room I see a chair next to the doorway." In perceiving the chair, I see it first as a particular  structure  or form, and differentiate it from my experience as a whole; I impose meaning   on the form, and see it as a stationary ob- ject, made out of wood, on which a person can sit, etc. I understand this at a glance without words. Finally in my thinking I may label   this object a "chair" or more specifically as a "ladderback shaker style chair". All of this occurs automatically and routinely, and with little apparent conscious effort. We take this tremendous activity for granted, and even talk about consciousness as "passive"! Try the exercise for yourself on a variety of objects paying attention to how you intend the structure, the meaning, and finally the labeling of a particular object. At each level of intentionality we can make choices about how we intend an object, what we choose to call it, how we choose to use it, and even how we choose to perceive it. If you have trouble "restructuring" an object, look at Figure 2  , and notice how the object perceived changes depend-ing upon whether you "view" the figure from above or below, as a three-dimensional cube or as a two-dimensional diagram. In a very demonstrable sense each of us creates, or more specifical-  "The Lucidity Continuum", ©1994 E. W. Kellogg III, Ph.D. 5 ly intends, our own reality. Husserl termed this automatic, and many layered making sense out of the world  functioning intentionality . As I'll describe below, the operation of functioning in-tentionality can change dramatically in the dream state. Figure 2    THE LUCIDITY CONTINUUM   ORDINARY WAKING  ( Figure 3  ) With this as a necessary prologue, we can now look at the figures that present the "maps of con-sciousness" associated with different stages of the lucidity continuum, from "awake" to "asleep". Figure 3     portrays my ordinary waking consciousness, and we will begin by studying its sche-matics in detail. The area inside of the parabola represents my field of consciousness, and the area outside corresponds to physical reality. The transparency or opaqueness of the limiting line of the parabola indicates my awareness or non-awareness of the physical world. The illuminat-ed area within the parabola represents the light of awareness that defines my experienced self and the functioning available to it, in this case mostly cognitive. Oddly enough, no matter how dramatically my sense of self changes, the essence of self (source-self on the diagram) does not appear to change. In waking physical reality ( WPR  ), I usually have my identity focus and "cen-ter of gravity" in the thinking levels; e.g. feelings happen to me, and I have little direct conscious control over them. The shaded area corresponds to the "unconscious" of the experienced self as  presently constituted. Please note that this does not mean unconscious in any other sense.
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