Dreaming is an inherently dichotomizing agent. Dreaming splits phenomenological perception into two distinct realities, namely, that of wakefulness and that of sleep. During dreams, we experience fantasy worlds and fully developed non-sensory environments: we forget where and who we are; surreal monsters, giants and therianthropes manifest themselves among the splintered escutcheons of epic battles, shape-shifting fairies turn into fire-breathing dragons, while dwarfs, evil witches and other hags are brought to life on a nightly basis.
To make matters worse, dreaming can become integrated with various components of wakefulness and waking cognition to generated what are known as “hybrid-states-of-awareness” (HSA), such as lucid dreaming, sleep-paralysis (SP) and sleep-walking (SW). During HSA, components of wakefulness are actively incorporated in the architecture of dreams to generate increasingly convincing hallucinatory experiences. For example, during SP, sensory input is hybridized with components of anxiety to generate corresponding frightening dream mentations, such as encounters with dwarfs, witches or space aliens, which are in turn experiences in the experiencers immediate physical environment. SW, on the hand, continuously integrates sensory input into an ongoing, sensory correlated, dream episode. During this experience, the sufferer remains unaware of their immediate physical environment, while engaging in complex motor activity, such as playing musical instruments and driving. While lucid dreaming induces the opposite phenomenon: control over sensory isolated dreaming.
Taken together, these experiences give rise to a plurality of HSA, or alterations in the physical, sensory-modulated, world. In this presentation, I will present an overview of HSA and their phenomenological characteristics, overlapping components, and show how they can become integrated with various components of wakefulness to generate rich, and vivid individualized experiences.
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