Pretty pompous title for an article, I know. But hear me out, the idea isn't as far-fetched as you might think.
To start things off, I want you to have a decent foundation of knowledge concerning dream control so I can try to pull it all together for you. Below are some resources I'm expecting you to have read through before continuing. Yeah, it's a lot, but hopefully it'll help ground your understanding of the relevant topics. When reading, I particularly want you to focus on understanding how dreams are formed and maintained, as all dream control is obtained by manipulating that process.
To be read in order:
After going through all of those myself, I'm surprised I didn't come to the conclusion I'm about to share with you sooner. But one thing in particular was holding me back, a rather large oversight on my part that a friend pointed out during a lively discussion. See, for the longest time, I was convinced that control through archetype and schema manipulation operated separately from expectation. Silly, considering schema are, by definition, preconceived expectations that shape how we view our world, both real and imagined.
Until that moment, I adamantly rejected the idea that all there is to dream control is expectation, to the point where I scoffed at those claims. For what was archetype control if not a form of attention manipulation? And indeed, it is, but here I was thinking that was all there was to that particular technique. My sudden understanding of the underlying expectation behind it radically changed my viewpoint and helped me see the simple idea that has been staring us all in the face for so long.
So, I think I've been beating around the bush long enough. The theory I'm going to share was developed by pulling ideas from numerous resources and years of personal experience spanning hundreds of lucids. Keep in mind, it's just a theory, a well-tested one, yes, but it could be proven incomplete or even incorrect as our scientific understanding of dreams progresses.
I'm going to try to put it simply: Dream control is achieved through the manipulation of expectation via shifts in attention.
Yes, expectation is key, but that expectation, no matter how absolute, is worthless without the proper focus.
For instance, you can know, with all your being, that flight is a piece of cake, but if your focus is on the ground, on the constant pull of gravity, it becomes that much harder to fly. The same is true if you're focusing on all the right things, but can't help doubting your ability to lift off the ground, to shoot upwards, into the cosmos.
However, if your expectation and focus are in sync, suddenly, everything becomes simple. The only trick is recognizing how to use the two in conjunction with one another. Basic archetype control is a great example of these two processes working together to achieve a powerful effect. After all, archetype control is nothing more than simple, calculated focus combined with automatic expectation.
So. . . that's basically all I wanted to share with this thread. Please, don't think of this as full guide so much as a accompanying piece to all the resources I shared above. The main purpose of this thread was to call to light a few fundamental principles behind every aspect of dream control and offer a simple model for their interaction. Yes, even the effects of emotions, visualization, and willpower fit into this theory, so I feel it's rather complete in that regard. Still, feel free to try and contest/disprove it.
Also, I understand this wasn't a very comprehensive introduction to the theory, but if you've read through all the threads I provided you'll see a lot of ground has already been covered, albeit in pieces. I'm willing to put together a more complete guide, but only if people care enough and still can't grasp the theory's implications after studying it properly.