Thursday, July 18, 2013

Dreams, the Creative Free-for-All

This is part 2 of a 4 part series starting with Do Androids Dream of System Updates? You should read that first if you want to know what the hell is going on. Cheers!
Ever since I was young my experience with dreams has been profound. They come and go, some vivid, some faint, but always a movie shot exclusively for me.

What is happening during the night to produce such an imaginative free-for-all? Ideas that seem foreign to me appear as if I'm sampling them from some universal mind. Vsause gives a good rundown of the theories behind why this may be. But at the end of the day, there is no conclusive evidence to support any sold dream theory. What can be said is that it happens to all of us, and if we don't have REM sleep (where the dreams happen) our minds eventually break down and go insane.

There are lots of ideas that seem to come to me in my sleep, and definitely notice a positive difference when approaching a problem in my art after a good night's rest. But as I get older I seem to have lost my grasp on the dream world. My nights have devolved to just being stupid boring sleep.

Which brings me to why I'm doing this experiment in the first place. Can dreaming be used to generate ideas? Can it be controlled? Despite what theory of dreaming you subscribe to the undeniable answer to this is yes. Howcast covers this in more detail if you want to give it a try.

My general attitude towards this is dreams are awesome and I'd much rather be doing that than simply loosing 7-8 hours of time each night. My job is creative, so I should be looking for every chance I can to experience new and crazy ideas. Why limit myself?  Besides dreams are healthy for you, so everyone should try to connect with their dreams.

My brain is the most advanced equipment I have, so I plan to push it to full potential.

Here's some more reading if you want to learn more about this topic and find out about all the people who used dreams to help in their creative work:

And now for my Dream Report:

This is 7 days of notes and sketches from my Dream journal
So, right away there was a difference. I had a dream the first night which suggests to me that all you have to do is communicate with your own mind that you want a dream, and with enough focus you can get it. It seems strange to talk to yourself like this, but it's effective so what can I say?

When I addressed my own mind I referred to it as my "Dream Director" and gave him a signal every night by placing a lightly moistened cloth on my head while saying "This is a signal to my Dream Director to produce a creative dream."

I had a dream every night except last night when I admittedly deviated from the routine. My offenses include: eating too close to bed time (root beer float), not following the 3 step sleep pattern exactly (reddit... y u so distracting?), not moistening the towel for my dream signal (pure laziness), and taking a nap earlier in the day (pure sleepiness, and comfy couch). Low and behold, no dream and terrible sleep.

I've definitely noticed an increase in what I can only describe as "Big Picture Creativity" through the week. This is where I can see my artistic ideas as being a part of an entire universe and story as opposed to being an interesting artifact. The have more detail in this perspective.

Overall I think it was a success and I can't wait to share with you how it goes this next week when I write about Maximizing Sleep Quality.

Thanks for reading, and if you shared this experiment with me please post your experiences below.

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