Trope Workshop:Lucid Dream
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"Often when one is asleep, there is something in consciousness which declares that what then presents itself is but a dream."
—Attributed to Aristotle, in Hypnogogia: The Unique State of Consciousness Between Wakefullness and Sleep by Andreas Mavromatis
A Lucid Dream is, simply put, a dream where the sleeping person is aware that he/she is dreaming. Consequently, he/she can exploit this awareness over the dream and manipulate it at will. It's not always easy -- sometimes manipulating a dream from the inside can take considerable mental effort -- but when managed it can be fulfilling and entertaining.
This is Truth in Television, although not terribly common. Most people seem to experience a lucid dream once or twice in their lives, but those for whom such dreams are frequent, let alone predominant, are rare.
The Trope Namer was Dutch psychiatrist and writer Frederik (Willem) van Eeden, who coined the term "lucid dream" in 1913 in an article called "The Study of Dreams", published in the Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research.
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- The ending of Kirby Right Back At Ya had Kirby falling asleep and ending up in a nightmare realm filled with food, it's then that the baby star warrior realized that he can attack with his powers in this dream. Unlike before when he was awake.
- The 2006 film Paprika centers around a device that (like Inception four years later) allows people to enter others' dreams and manipulate them.
- In the incomplete Harry Potter and the Wand of Uru by JoeHundredaire/alienyouthct, Harry was plagued by a series of dreams which he thinks may be showing him various alternate futures, and explicitly wishes that they were lucid so that he could ask questions and discover more details.
- In Astral Journey: It's Complicated, narrator (Emma) learns about this during her coma and partial return to her body.
- Waking Life: through a series of loosely related dream sequences, this film explores the concept of lucid dreaming and associated psychological concepts. The Dreamer encounters several interesting people who impart information of varying degrees of profundity.
- Inception's "extractors" are all by definition lucid dreamers who jointly dream a dream with their target and manipulate it and them into giving up the information they want. According to The Other Wiki, writer/director Christopher Nolan wrote the original proposal based on the concept of lucid dreaming.
- The Indian action/Thriller film 118 employs lucid dreaming as a key device to its complex plot.
- In the 2017 South Korean science fiction film Lucid Dream, an investigative journalist tries to track down the whereabouts of his son who was abducted three years before, and uses lucid dreaming to explore his memories of the event.
- In 2001's Vanilla Sky, a company called "Life Extension" uses lucid dreaming to "exercise" the minds of terminally ill persons whom they are keeping cryogenically-suspended until cures for their diseases can be found.
- The various Nightmare on Elm Street films all revolve around Freddy Krueger, a malevolent entity who can enter people's dreams and manipulate them. The third film of the original series, A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors, centers on the efforts of a psychiatrist to help a group of teens learn how to use their own dreaming to fight him.
...often when one is asleep, there is something in consciousness which declares that what then presents itself is but a dream.
- Encouraging and cultivating lucid dreaming is central to the Dream Yoga of Tibetan Buddhism.
- Likewise the ancient Indian Hindu practice of Yoga nidra.
- In general early Buddhists encouraged the mastery of lucid dreaming, believing that it was a step toward Enlightenment.