Dangers of lucid dreaming

For the past 5 years or so I’ve been having lucid dreams pretty regularly. To the unfamiliar, a lucid dream is where you realize you’re in a dream. And then realize that you can do whatever you want (kind of) since it’s a dream. Anyway, last night I was in the middle of one where I was running along a coastline on wet rocks. I noticed I was running much faster than I would want to in “real life”. Then I considered the psychological consequences of that. Is it possible that I’m subtly training myself to, in this case, be more reckless when running on wet rocks?

It doesn’t seem implausible. Some models of dreaming view it as a kind of “practice mode”. We use simulation to get more practice, thereby preparing us better for the real thing. That would imply that we are relying on dreams to learn. I can only hope that my kinesthetic learning from lucid dreams are sufficiently compartmentalized to only be active when a sense of “this isn’t real” is also present. That doesn’t sound like a great bet.


Also published on Medium.

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