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Dream Technologies, Ancient and Modern
From the earliest days of recorded history, humans have used special tools to explore dreams and amplify their powers. Today, the technologies of enhanced dreaming are more powerful than ever. These new tools offer exciting new possibilities, and also raise serious ethical questions. This presentation will start by reviewing the dream technologies of ancient peoples around the world, including rituals of dream incubation, methods for inducing lucid dreaming, and recording dreams to track patterns over time. Modern scientists are not the first to try influencing and shaping people’s dreams; this has been a human desire since the dawn of history. The difference today is the power of modern technologies, which enable us to peer more deeply into the dreaming mind than ever before and observe the fundamental processes of the nocturnal imagination. In addition to the findings of cognitive neuroscience, new tools of digital data analysis have been applied to dreams, with very encouraging results. This presentation will show how these modern tools can be applied to the study of dreams from the pandemic era, revealing the dynamic interplay in dreaming of individual and communal concerns. The year 2020 provided a kind of natural experiment of dreaming during a multi-dimensional collective crisis. The initial findings of a project devoted to the study of dreams during that year suggest that we give more respect to dreaming as a part of our natural emergency-response system, providing creative insights and healing resources not only for personal disasters but also for social disasters, too.