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    The Recalling Experiment

    by , 06-29-2023 at 02:32 PM (312 Views)
    Date: 26/06/2023
    Bedtime: 4am
    Awakening: 7.30am
    Return to bed: 7.40am
    Method: deferred direct
    Attempt: successful
    Final awakening: 9.30am
    The Recalling Experiment


    It's a dark night and I'm part of a brigade searching for an unknown enemy. Next to me, armed and wary of danger lurking in the dark, is the actor Bruce Willis. Suddenly, we observe the infantry being attacked by an invisible agent; petrified soldiers begin to levitate and haemorrhage from every orifice before being dropped from an altitude of fifteen feet by a mysterious force. Me and Bruce look at each other before running for our lives. We hide in a cave-like shelter and keep quiet, hoping that the enemy won't find us. There is a mutual agreement that we are no match for the invisible enemy who wiped out the infantry. We are probably the only two foot soldiers left. We lie down on a mattress on the floor and hide under the covers. I feel hot and sweaty.


    I feel hot and sweaty as I wake up to the sound of my alarm. I get my son up to get ready for school and, exhausted after having had a bad night, I return to bed. Lying on my back and relaxing, I wonder if I'll be able to have an out-of-body experience. I keep imagining standing at the foot of the bed and looking back at myself lying asleep. After a couple of lapses in consciousness (or so it seems), I succeed in reifying the thought of being out of bed.


    It feels like I am actually standing next to the footboard and partially facing a wall which I proceed to rap in order to deepen my phantom environment. My wife rises from under the covers and asks me what I'm doing. 'I'm lucid dreaming!' I excitedly reply and begin expatiating on why it is amazing and deserving of joint exploration before pausing at the realisation that I've been talking to a figment of my dreaming mind. Tapping the wall appears to intensify the environment and the grainy surface melts like a white marshmallow as I press it with my fingers. At this point, I remember the recalling experiment (as part of a plan of action) as well as the previous nightmare where, as a foot soldier, I witness my brigade getting killed by an invisible agent.

    I make an attempt to delude myself (according to this counterintuitive experiment) by entertaining the idea that the nightmare where the infantry perished was real and that I must've been knocked unconscious and carried to this bedroom replica by the invisible agent. Not feeling confused in the slightest about what's real and what isn't despite trying to contrive a confabulation, I also feel the need to tell myself that waking life memories were implanted in my brain by the enemy. This still doesn't seem to be enough as my sceptical mind emphatically rejects self-delusion for lack of evidence, so I tell myself that the enemy is conniving, that absolute certainty of any world being 'real' is impossible and that what I need in this situation is a leap of faith.

    I penetrate the melting wall to find a peculiar staircase adorned with a myriad of glossy beads (instead of my youngest son's bedroom as would be the case in the real world). The stairs appear to reflect weak sunlight coming from arched, stained-glass windows displaying complex mandalas and I scuttle downstairs with the purpose of somehow finding and confronting my mysterious enemy. Before I can reach the exit of the building I'm in, however, I suddenly feel myself to be back in bed. Refusing to give in to these dispiriting sensations, I wilfully interpret them as the enemy magically pulling the wool over my eyes before forcing myself out of bed to glide out of the window with blurry vision.

    I land on paving slabs in broad daylight and begin stomping the pavement, producing echoey footsteps that help me to intensify the scene. There is a hyperreal quality to the esplanade before me as I run alongside a concrete wall—at the end of which is the looming suggestion of a beach hiding behind it. I glance at my bare feet and notice crystalline water in the gutter running counter to my direction. I look up and see a man in black watching me before disappearing behind the wall towards the beach. I feel I must reach him as he might be able to lead me to my enemy. Reaching the end of the wall to access the beach (it never occurred to me to go through concrete as a logical shortcut), I come face to face with the figure wearing a black trenchcoat and a fedora hat. He's a dead ringer for the actor Ed Harris but his eyes are uncannily blue and his gaze chillingly penetrating.

    'Where is the enemy?' I demand as I display my infantryman persona. 'The wizard is in the tower,' the man in black softly replies as he points to a lighthouse on a rocky promontory beyond the sandy beach. I waste no time in gliding to the top of the lighthouse, entering an empty garret overlooking a calm sea and cloudy horizon. Where is the 'wizard' who wiped out my brigade? Perhaps he is invisible in this very room. Could the man in black at the beach be the real enemy? I leap from the lighthouse and descend on the beach next to a stall that wasn't there before. The Ed Harris lookalike is there, apparently polishing an amulet and a few trinkets are on display. 'Are you the wizard?' I enquire. The man in black appears to be smirking as he turns his back on me before vanishing into his little shop as the beach fades.


    I dash off some notes in my journal in conclusion of this experiment. In hindsight, my lucidity was solid enough to maintain the knowledge that what was unfolding wasn't real. I never came to fully believing what I wanted to believe for the sake of this experiment. The most I could achieve was entertaining a what-if scenario, which is surprising because in many past experiences what usually takes effort is countering the loss of lucidity and preventing the manifestation of ordinary dreaming. Most of the time it felt like I was pretending to be a soldier looking for answers to see how it would influence the phantom world of lucid dreaming. Curiosity of what would happen if I entertained a mere hypothesis is what drove me. Deep down I still knew that I would eventually wake up to the real world where my family and everything I care about exist.
    theshirecat, Harlequin and Meiseki like this.

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    1. Meiseki's Avatar
      Willfully inducing false memories... interesting! What would distinguish it from a regular non-lucid, if you managed to convince yourself? The vividness? Or are you just trying to induce a specific storyline?
      Summerlander likes this.
    2. Summerlander's Avatar
      My guess is that if you really came to believe in a false memory that entailed believing the dream world to be real in the same sense as the waking world, then lucidity would be lost and one would be ordinarily dreaming. How vivid the dream environment is has nothing to do with how lucid the dreamer is because people can have vivid non-lucid dreams and they can also have lucid dreams that require intensification of the senses and overall clarity.

      With this experiment I was more curious to see what would happen if I tried to believe in a false memory, i.e., that I wasn't having a WILD but instead had been brought into the bedroom by something from the previous dream. The result was that lucidity was retained and I felt more like the protagonist in The Truman Show, where he already knows the world around him is fake but he goes along with the illusion to see where it takes him.
      Meiseki likes this.