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Am I Dreaming Right Now?
“Once upon a time, I dreamt I was a butterfly, flittering hither and thither, to all intents and purposes a butterfly …suddenly I awoke… Now I do not know whether I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly dreaming I am a man.”~Chuang Tzu, circa 4th Century BC
Have you ever wondered if you are currently dreaming? If so, how would you know for sure? The reality is that we spend around one third of our lives asleep, during which time we have an average of three to five dreams per night.
That means over the course of a lifetime, we dream for approximately 100.000 times! With such a significant portion of our lives spent in this strange state, it’s not surprising that the question has already crossed all of our minds at one point or another: Am I dreaming right now?
Is it possible that i am dreaming right now?
No. If you are reading this paragraph right now then you are definitely not dreaming – because this was written by me. And we can not be present in a dream together.
Or can we?
What are dreams?
Dreams are stories and images that our minds create while we sleep. Dreams can be entertaining, fun, romantic, disturbing, frightening, and sometimes bizarre. Dreams can help you learn and develop long-term memories. Dreams are usually forgotten by the time a person gets out of bed. Dreams can be associated with different sensory components such as sight and sound.
What is lucid dreaming?
Lucid dreaming is when someone has control over their dreams. It was studied scientifically in the 1970s and its effects have been validated as a “hybrid state of consciousness”. Lucid dreaming happens every night for some people but it is quite rare in general. It allows people to access the limitless potential of dream and consciousness together, as well as creativity and emotional issues.
People with lucid dreams can work on various issues related to their life or work through the dream state.
When do you dream lucid?
According to a typical sleep architecture lucid dreaming occurs during the rapid eye movement (REM) stage of sleep. REM sleep is when most dreams occur. During REM sleep, your brain is active and you can have vivid dreams. You may be able to control the narrative of your dream and influence what happens in the dream.
Am I dreaming right now?
There are a few ways to determine whether or not you are currently dreaming. One way is to look for inconsistencies within your current environment. Dream expert and therapist Leslie Ellis suggests that lucid dreaming can help you connect with your spiritual side and develop a sense of connection.
It also helps treat nightmares because it allows dreamers to create new content during the nightmare itself. Reframing is a term used in lucid dreaming which means altering the content of the dream in order to feel more empowered and less fearful by changing it from within the dream. Hanging a dreamcatcher in your bedroomalso helps to catch bad dreams or nightmares.
Lucid dreaming is typically not as easy to do on demand as it is suggested but it may take patience and perseverance, though it can be done with practice.
What are the different types of dreams?
There are five main types of dreams:
- Lucid dreams
- False awakenings
- Recurrent dreams
Each type of dream has its own specific purpose. Lucid dreams help you understand your personality and emotions. Nightmares can be a warning sign from your subconscious mind. Daydreams can be a way to escape from reality. False awakenings can be a way to relieve stress or anxiety. Recurrent dreams can be a way to process traumas or unresolved issues.
What is the difference between dreaming and being awake?
Dreaming and being awake are two different states of consciousness. When you dream, you accept the dream as reality. To learn lucid dreaming, you must be able to spot the difference between a dream and waking reality.
There are several ways to tell if you’re dreaming or not:
- Pay attention to your surroundings. In a dream, your surroundings may be fuzzy or change abruptly. In contrast, your surroundings are usually stable when you’re awake
- Look for inconsistencies. Things that don’t make sense or follow the laws of physics are often clues that you’re dreaming
- Notice your body position. In a dream, your body position may change suddenly or feel uncomfortable. When you’re awake, your body position is usually stable
- Pay attention to your emotions. Dreams can evoke strong emotions, while it’s harder to feel intense emotions when you’re awake
How can you tell if you are dreaming or not?
There are a few things you can do to confirm if you are dreaming. The first is to perform a reality check. Checking to see if you can fly or walk through walls are two popular examples. If you still can’t validate your dream state, then simply explore the dream until it gives itself away. Something irregular will eventually pop up if you keep pulling at the thread.
For example, in my dreams people are often pixelized. If I focus on the them and try to make it clear, it will stay checked or change entirely to another person.
How to do a Reality Check in Your Dreams
To do a reality check in your dreams, you need to ask the question “Am I dreaming?” and truly mean it. You also need to look around your environment every time you do a reality check, and consider wheter it looks real or not.
At this point, you should question the reality of your surroundings. For instance, you might look at a laptop on your desk and wonder does that really exist or am I imagining it?
Does it go away when I stop looking at it? How about the tea in my mug – can I taste it? Is it warm, cold, salty?
By assessing and checking your dream environment in this way, you will start to become aware that you are dreaming and become lucid.
What Makes a Good Reality Check?
A good reality check should have a simple question and an “impossible” pre-determined action. For example, look around you. Can you find and read a newspaper around you? Is the date appropriate on the newspaper? Are the pictures on the wall real ones?
Reality checks can be tricky because if you are trying to do them correctly, they may fail. However, if you are having a very vivid dream, it may be accepted as a dream without any further questioning. Likewise, if you have a false awakening – that is, if you think you have woken up but find yourself still in bed – it may also be accepted as a dream without further questioning.
What is the probability that you are dreaming right now?
The probability that you are dreaming right now is far greater than the probability of hitting the jackpot in a lottery or suddenly dropping dead. This is because, according to some estimates, the odds of dreaming at any given moment are about 1 in 8. It does not matter whether the $5 note in my pocket is just dream-money, or the cake I have bought with it is only a dream-cake. In either case, it exists only in my dream.
Despite what some people may think, if you are dreaming right now, it doesn’t mean that you can’t still plan your life and follow through with your plans. In fact, a lot of dream research suggests that the dreamer is still in control of his or her dream. So go ahead and make your dreams a reality!
The probability that you are dreaming may depend on a number of factors, including how well you know yourself and your own dream state, how aware you are of your surroundings, and what type of reality check you perform.
How do I know that I’m not dreaming right now?
Perform reality checks. Try to push your finger through your palm. We accept dreams as reality because they feel just as real as our waking life. Dreams are often bizarre and don’t make sense, but we still believe them while we’re dreaming. Reality checking is when you question whether or not what you’re experiencing is really happening. In a dream, your finger will go right through your hand.
If you’re able to do these reality checks in your dreams, then you’ll know for sure that you’re dreaming.
There are a few ways to determine whether or not you are dreaming. The most famous method is from Descartes, who recommended checking to see if you have the so called raw materials in your dream. If you do not have any of them, it is likely that you are dreaming.
Lastly, dreams often feel more vivid and surreal than reality; if your experience feels particularly strange or unreal, it might be a sign that you’re dreaming.
How aware is one of a dream?
Lucid dreaming is a state of consciousness where someone is aware of their dream. This means that they are aware that they are dreaming and can often control the direction of the dream.
Lucid dreaming is a hybrid state of consciousness that has definable and measurable differences from waking and REM sleep. These differences include, but are not limited to, increased heart rate, more movement in REM sleep, and an increase in alpha waves (which are associated with wakefulness).
What makes a dream feel real?
A dream can feel real when it includes sensory details like smells, tastes, textures, and sounds. Dreams can also feel real when they are vivid and lifelike. Dreams can feel real because of the emotions we feel in them. Dreams can feel real because we believe they are true.
If you still can’t validate your dream state, but have some basic level of dream control, then simply explore the dream until it gives itself away. Something irregular will eventually pop up if you keep pulling at the thread. Full lucidity will ensue.
Philosophy of Dreams
Descartes’ Dream Argument
The dream argument is used to support the sceptical hypothesis that everything we currently believe could be false. The argument goes as follows:
Dreams can have the same content as waking life and so dreamers are regularly deceived into thinking they are having waking experiences. Dreams make it feel as though the dreamer is carrying out actions in waking life, for during a dream we do not realize that it is a dream we are experiencing.
How do you know you’re not dreaming in philosophy
The experience of a dream could be indistinguishable from waking life- whatever apparent subjective differences there are between waking life and dreaming, they are insufficient differences to gain certainty that I am not now dreaming.
Thus, Descartes is left unsure that the objects in front of him are real- whether he is dreaming of their existence or whether they really are there.
There are a few things to note here. Firstly, it should be noted that the sceptical hypothesis being supported by the dream argument is not the claim that all of our beliefs could be false, but rather that we cannot know for certain that any of our beliefs are true. That is, the dream argument does not show that empirical knowledge is impossible, but rather that we cannot have certainty that our empirical knowledge is true.
Secondly, it should be noted that the dream argument does not show that we cannot know anything at all, but rather that we cannot have certainty about our beliefs. That is, the dream argument does not entail global scepticism, but rather local scepticism.
Lastly, it should be noted that the dream argument is not an argument for the conclusion that we are currently dreaming, but rather an argument for the conclusion that we cannot know for certain that we are not currently dreaming.
With all of this in mind, we can now turn to consider some of the objections that have been raised against the dream argument.
One common objection is that, the dream argument does not rely on the claim that there is no difference between waking life and dreaming, but rather that any apparent differences are insufficient to ground certainty.
In conclusion, the dream argument is a powerful sceptical argument that shows that we cannot have certainty about our beliefs. However, it should be noted that the argument does not show that we cannot know anything at all, but rather that we cannot have certainty about our beliefs.
Is life a dream – in philosophy
Hobbes believed that an absence of the absurd in waking life was a key difference. He says that in waking life, we would never see a man with a head like a dog. Therefore, if we see something like that in a dream, we can be sure that we are dreaming.
Locke compared real pain to dream pain. He asks Descartes to consider the difference between dreaming of being in the fire and actually being in the fire. Locke says that the pain in the dream is not as great as the pain of actually being in the fire. Therefore, he concludes that there must be some difference between dreaming and waking consciousness.
Dreams can be confusing, strange and sometimes surreal. But do you ever wonder if what you’re experiencing is actually a dream? There’s no easy answer—it depends on the individual Dreamer and their interpretation of reality.
There are some methods however that can help determine for sure whether or not someone is dreaming. After reading this guide, hopefully you will have a better understanding of how to tell the difference between reality and dreams.