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Could lucid dreaming have played a significant role in our evolution?

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posted on Apr, 9 2010 @ 06:33 PM
First of all let me introduce myself: I am a German student running a website that tries to provide the opportunity for people interested in learning how to lucid dream in my country, which is sort of lagging behind most of the rest of the world when it comes to said topic, to find all the information they need to succeed in this endeavor.

While my thoughts danced [snip], I involuntarily developed a theory concerning the impact lucid dreaming may have had on our (conscious) evolution. I wanted to create this thread on a forum, where I would be sure to find people with the open-mindedness needed to debate highly theoretical topics.
What I am proposing is the following Theory:

Since I was a little child I had a fascination with our ability to dream. I had naturally occurring lucid dreams almost every night of my childhood without realizing what I was experiencing. Over the years, especially during puberty and the growing complexity of my day-to-day live, I had lost that ability and it took me almost ten years to rediscover and begin to regain it.
This made me think about our ability to dream, both in general and in the form of lucid dreams.

It seems to me, both from personal experience and other people’s accounts, that we are losing the ability to both remember our dreams and being able to experience them consciously as we grow older. This is most likely related to a growing complexity in our lives, as we grow up. We begin to focus on our “real” lives as opposed to our dream world, as the circumstances of our lives grow more and more complex. If you wake up in the morning instantly thinking about the troubles and challenges your day has to offer, starting to not remember your dreams as vivid as when you had no such things to worry about as a child, seems only logical.
So let’s rewind to a time, where the everyday life was simple enough to not get caught in that trap of losing focus on our dreams. If people living in that time, when the basic instincts ruled everyday live, had nothing but perfectly lucid dreams, enabling them to use some sort of a natural trial-and-error simulation of life whilst asleep, which had no consequence to their physical world, could that have ultimately enabled us to significantly increase the speed of both our psychological and physiological evolution?

Think about the implications of this theory. I do not doubt the science showing, that animals also dream during their sleep, however, the ability to consciously dream in the form of a lucid dream (which you will agree is nothing “paranormal” and a scientific fact) might be unique to humans. We will most likely not be able to prove this either way in the near future, but I think contemplating this theory is very exciting, as it is capable of possibly accounting for a lot of unanswered questions.
While this train of thought is, in my opinion , intriguing enough, let’s take this a step further:

If you start with the assumption, that every complex living being has the ability to dream, you could theoretically account for our relatively unique development in the capability of complex, logical thought and communication, by proposing that we someday achieved the ability to lucid dream, which started to separate us from the other animals roaming this planet of ours due to the fact that we were given the opportunity to basically double the speed of our progress?
This theoretical, evolutionary “supercharger” could have been started by numerous sources ranging from the first collective, conscious “original thought” of the dream state by an individual, over multi-dimensional alien intervention up to divine intervention.

There’s a lot more to elaborate on within this theory. I am, however, first and foremost interested in what you make of this basic assumption without further steering you in a particular direction.
So please feel free to take this anywhere you want or just bash me for this [idea].


Removed comments about illicit drug use

[edit on 9/4/10 by masqua]

posted on Apr, 9 2010 @ 07:41 PM
A very thought-provoking post ...

My personal belief is that lucid dreaming is the result of a number of factors, not simply evolutionary - that is to say we all have the ability to lucid dream but most people do not experience it with any clarity or skill thus not experiencing a fraction of the "experience".
As a normal physiological effect, I would think that lucid dreaming may be nothing more than the brain having excess capacity, and is thus able to process the normal dream state (alpha, theta waves) while awake, yet still leaving the subject in a highly cognitive state.
On a higher level, lucid dreaming, such as I have experienced has been controversially linked to things like higher consciousness, awareness of paranormal phenomena, psychic ability and even future prediction.

I am not a practioner of lucid dreaming but I did experience one inexplicable and intense period of lucid dreaming a year or so back. The experience scared the heck out of me, yet left me convinced that there is more to lucid dreaming than is currently believed.

posted on Apr, 9 2010 @ 07:46 PM
I just wanted to add that the use most kinds of psychotropics will distort and invalidate your lucid dreaming - thus rendering your conclusions false.

Of course, it is well known that many native tribes (shaman, witchdoctors etc.) all over the world use certain natural substances to stimulate and/or enhance this state ...

I would love to see an EEG of a Shaman or witchdoctor while they are undergoing specific rituals.

posted on Apr, 9 2010 @ 07:49 PM
Very interesting. I am a lucid dreamer. I always have been naturally, but then I also have an easier time than most when it comes to remembering my dreams.For me the only time I lost the ability to lucid dream was when I was on Ambien. I am a pieces and a very creative and artistic person so I always figured it had something to do with that. .

posted on Apr, 9 2010 @ 07:54 PM
I have observed the influence of mind-altering substances on the dream state, both lucid and non-lucid myself numerous times. I found that they do more harm than good for the overall experience, sometimes making it virtually impossible, however, I have also experienced using them within a dream to get a perfect replication of the effects they have on waking life within the dream state.

Glad I haven't just provoked my own thoughts and hope to see further discussion on this.

posted on Apr, 9 2010 @ 08:00 PM
Please refrain from discussing the personal use of illegal substances. The topic honestly does not require it.

Terms And Conditions Of Use

2e.i) Narcotics and illicit mind-altering substances: Due to abuse of the subject matter by some (promoting various aspects of personal use, and discussing actual personal use), no new topics on this subject are allowed in any form.

[edit on 9/4/10 by masqua]

posted on Apr, 9 2010 @ 08:03 PM
The more I lucid dream, the crappier I feel during the day for some reason.

It usually depresses me, I think lucid dreaming, instead of sleeping, keeps your brain running and processing things...when sleeping is like wiping the days events clear from your mind.

I sometimes have no idea if I'm sleeping or awake when lucid dreaming, and then I move, and reality all seems to come back in a rush. It's like fooling your body that it's asleep when it's really not.
Then I always ask myself...was I just sleeping? I mean there is drool on my pillow and everything...

Anyone else know what I'm talking about?

posted on Apr, 9 2010 @ 08:03 PM
You have come to the right place my friend ... there is a very active and knowledgabe core of people here on ATS - I hope they join in.

Also do some sifting through the Predictions and Prophecies board.
It is where I found a lot of interesting discussions about lucid dreaming.

posted on Apr, 9 2010 @ 08:12 PM
Lucid dreams have been a part of my life since I was a very young child, I have consistantly lucid dreamed, I have never lost my ability to lucid dream. I can say that it has most deffinately been a factor upon my development as a person, the way that I think and how I see the world around me has been shaped by these experiences.
Lucid dreams in my experience have been learning experiences, they have ALWAYS taught me somthing new and different.

I must agree with the OP, prehaps this is part of our evolution.

I lucid dream EVERY night and in perfect clarity.

posted on Apr, 9 2010 @ 08:15 PM
reply to post by Nostradumbass

Yes I do, I often feel very bad during the day after a particulary intense lucid dreamining experience.

You feel worn out, that is because you have put most of your mental proccesses into the lucid dream, it takes a lot of effort and yes it will take the energy from the mental proccesses of the day.

[edit on 9-4-2010 by Resentedhalo08]

posted on Apr, 9 2010 @ 08:15 PM
reply to post by Nostradumbass

Yes I think I understand what you are saying, but something is wrong ... I don't think you should not be as tired (as you described). You could also be describing a mild form of sleep paralysis (this is when the brain is awake but is slow to send the signal to the rest of the body - it's quite terrifying and it is one thing I suffer from but I am learning to control by consciously projecting/injecting highly specific patterns of thought into the "nightmare/dream/experience")

Think of your brain as a computer that has spare capacity to run parallel processes during the day that it may not have completed during the night.
It is still able to do all it's normal processing and the two run as separate but not exclusive threads - in other words the main process (awake state) has the ability to override the lucid state (dream state).

That is not a bad thing ... for the average person, it means a fit and healthy brain.

Edit to add: I am referring to involuntary lucid dreams - I have limited experience with voluntary lucid dreams. I am envious of people who get the full 3D experience.

[edit on 9/4/2010 by deltaalphanovember]

posted on Apr, 9 2010 @ 08:17 PM

Originally posted by masqua
Please refrain from discussing the personal use of illegal substances. The topic honestly does not require it.

Terms And Conditions Of Use

2e.i) Narcotics and illicit mind-altering substances: Due to abuse of the subject matter by some (promoting various aspects of personal use, and discussing actual personal use), no new topics on this subject are allowed in any form.

[edit on 9/4/10 by masqua]

I was not aware of that rule since I am a fairly new member, who seems to remember other topics referring to such things. I agree, this is not a vital part of the discussion at all and I will honor the rules in my following posts. If you need me to edit my thread/posts please contact me via U2U.

@Nostradumbass: Lucid dreams seem to have the opposite effect on me. When I awake from a lucid dream with perfect recollection, I am almost always in a euphoric and energized state.

You might be surprised to learn, that during our dream state, our brain actually increases activity to create the world you experience whilst asleep in the REM phases.

I can however relate somewhat to your concerns as, when I was a little child experiencing lucid or pre-lucid dreams, I sometimes fought with sleep paralysis once I woke up. This was terrifying out of context and before I realized, that I was experiencing a natural phenomenon and just had to "wait it out", I struggled to move my body and open my eyes, leaving me exhausted once I was able to move my body.

posted on Apr, 9 2010 @ 08:33 PM
Here is an excerpt from an article online detailing the research into the psychophsyiology lucid dreaming:

Furthermore, it may be possible, as LaBerge (1980c) has suggested, for one sense to remain functional and 'awake' while others fall 'asleep.' Similarly, Antrobus, Antrobus and Fisher (1965) argued "...that the question -- awake or asleep -- is not a particularly useful one. Even though we have two discrete words -- sleep and wakefulness -- this does not mean that the behavior associated with the words can be forced into two discrete categories. ... not only do sleeping and waking shade gradually into one another but there is only limited agreement among the various physiological and subjective operations that discriminate between sleeping and waking. At any given moment, all systems of the organism are not necessarily equally asleep or awake." (pp. 398-399)


My understanding as I wrote in a previous thread, is confirmed in the linked article with one very important exception: in my own month long experience of lucid "dreaming" there was no doubt whether I was in a sleep state. I was awake, with images flashing before my eyes like an old-fashioned movie projector.

posted on Apr, 9 2010 @ 09:03 PM
I am very familiar with the works of LaBerge on the subject. I have experienced the movie-like quality of lucid dreams you refer to, however, I have also experienced a form of lucid dreams, where you have a very "high-definition" view of things not possible in the waking life. Especially since I rely on quite powerful aids to counter my bad vision in real life, this experience has been very powerful to me.

I am thrilled that this topic has sparked discussion early on, however, I would love to get back on topic instead of just debating the general area of lucid dreaming for now. Not to say this general discussion can't continue, but if someone has to say something relating to the theory proposed, you are very welcome to share your thoughts.

posted on Apr, 9 2010 @ 10:01 PM
catfishman, good job

Dream states are another pathway to our perception, lucid dreaming as I understand it, allows us to constructively use our mind during that state.
It makes perfect sense these capabilities and our abstraction abilities affect our "evolutionary process". I'm willing to concede any number of other abilities that may influence development of mind and spirit as well.


posted on Apr, 9 2010 @ 10:11 PM
reply to post by catfishman

apologies for straying off-topic ... on this topic I get over-excited sometimes

On topic:
If lucid dreaming is indeed an evolutionary trait, then two questions come to mind:
1. is it evolving, and if so, is it becoming more or less frequent? If less frequent, then can it be grouped with the human appendix?

2. What is purpose does it serve that normal REM sleep cannot fulfill? Is this another secret of the human that needs to be unlocked before we truly transform as a species?

posted on Apr, 9 2010 @ 10:39 PM
Now we're getting into it, deltaalphanovember.

1) I think it, in fact, seems to be devolving, at least by the measure of scrutiny I am facing while trying to once again establish this "ability" in my culture, so far. If you take a look at the way, for instance, the Buddhist culture treated this ability, one can only come to the conclusion that the level of exposure and acceptance in todays culture is a step in the wrong direction.

I don't know what you are trying to say with your "appendix" comment, however, you could argue that the modern world has succeeded in distracting us from that ability in a way, that may, ultimately, slow down the increased speed, especially concerning our spiritual/psychological advancement, in our natural development, proposed by my theory.

2) The purpose above what is considered today as "normal" REM sleep, is, that you can carry the experiences in the dream state over to your "real" life and apply it to whatever situations you face in the waking live. If you are familiar with the topic, you might be aware that there is real, scientific evidence, that physical actions "trained" in the dream state carry over as real skills in you waking life. You can basically train things like your golf swing in the lucid dream state and see significant improvement in the real world.

[Edit for spelling]

[Another edit]

I was only aware of the "appendix" relating to the thing that hangs from our bowels. There's a translation issue here, still, please elaborate on what you mean by referring to a human asset in reference to the ability to lucid dream. Are you saying how this ability could have a "greater purpose" to our lives while seemingly decreasing in importance on a universal scale?

[edit on 9-4-2010 by catfishman]

[edit on 9-4-2010 by catfishman]

posted on Apr, 10 2010 @ 12:53 AM
reply to post by catfishman

hmmm very interesting ... I do need to do more research in study of sleep ...

What I mean by my reference to the human Appendix(the useless human organ that ends up poisoning or killing some of us) is that at some point it had to have served a purpose, right?
So to link this up with the possible devolution (I like that word) of Lucid Dreaming ... is it possible that Lucid Dreaming fulfilled an unknown but vital purpose in our distant past?

Slightly off-topic again ... but I really need to raise the Appendix issue with Christians. If you think about it, it really blows a hole in their belief system.

posted on Apr, 10 2010 @ 01:09 AM
Don’t forget to mention that the difference between animals and humans (even though we both dream) is that humans have reason and free will, and act on those ideals. Animals are carried by instinct. As for dreams and higher consciousness, take a look at '___'.

[edit on 10-4-2010 by switch182]

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