The term “lucid dream”

“Lucid dream”

was first coined by Frederik Willems van Eeden, a Dutch psychiatrist and poet. Towards the end of the 19th century van Eelen had established a “free psychiatric practice” in the Netherlands and on the 22nd of April, 1913 at a meeting of the Society for Psychological Research he reported 352 documented “lucid dreams”. It is known, that van EEDEN wrote several letters to FREUD about lucid dreaming.

What van EEDEN called “lucid dream”, THOLEY called “Klartraum” – transl. “clear dream” or “dream of clarity” defined it thus:

Clear dreams are those dreams in which the dreamer has complete consciousness and awareness about the fact that one is dreaming and can therefore interfere or influence, even create the dream as he or she wishes. (THOLEY 1980c, P. 175)

Lucid dreams are distinguished from regular dreams by the dreamer’s self-imposed awareness of the dream status. With this conscious realization comes the ability for a free transformation and the capability of decision making within the dream itself. During a lucid dream the abilities to recognize, to reflect, to orientate as well as to recollect the waking state are completely intact. The range of possible experiences in lucid dreams extends from perceptions and sensations similar to real-life experiences to fantastic creations, ideas and visions, which can change your life.

For THOLEY (1985) the following points have to be fulfilled to define a lucid dream: THOLEY compiled a list of prerequisite factors that have to be present to define a lucid dream:

  1. Clarity (Klarheit) about the status of consciousness: Awareness that one is dreaming
  2. Clarity (Klarheit) about the freedom of decision: The ability within the dream to choose a course of action…
  3. Clarity (Klarheit) of consciousness, as opposed to a state ofconfusion
  4. Clarity (Klarheit) about the waking life: about who you are and what, if any, your plans were for this dream
  5. Clarity (Klarheit) of perception: what can be seen, heard, smelt, tasted or felt sometimes much more intense
  6. Clarity (Klarheit) of recollectionof the dream. You know, that you will remember this dream, that you can remember other dreams already dreamt while dreaming
  7. Clarity (Klarheit) of meaning: You know, why you dream this dream and you know, what the (hidden) meaning is
Eierkopf der Erketniss

Paul Tholey – Egghead of knowledge

The term „dream of clarity“, as introduced by Tholey, implies as essential prerequisite the actual presence of clarity in the sense of (1) to (4), whereas the clarity in the sense of (5) to (7) is not mandatory. Other authors, as Stephen LaBERGE, use the term “lucid dreaming” or “lucid dream” for our research subject. So, when I use the terms “dream of clarity” or “lucid dreaming”, I mean the same phenomenon: dreams, in which we know that we dream and therefore can deliberately intervene and freely take action in the dream plot. This condition is often experienced as being particularly intense and pleasurable.

Literature sometimes refers to the term pre-lucid dreaming.  This notion describes a dream state in which the awareness of the dream state is given, but not the awareness of the consequence of being able to intervene take action in the dream plot: therefore the consciousness which characterizes the lucid dream cannot fully unfold.

Paul Tholey

Paul Tholey (* 1937 in St. Wendel, † 1998) was a German psychologist. He was a student of Edwin Rausch; studied psychology at the University of Frankfurt am Main and sports psychology at the Technical University of Braunschweig. He conducted research in the field of lucid dreams, among other things, and published many books. One of the better-known titles is “Creative Dreaming”. The scientific foundation upon which Paul Tholey’s works in the fields of lucid dream research, sports psychology, and consciousness research were based was Gestalt theory and Gestalt psychology. In the field of sports psychology, he was significantly influenced by Kurt Kohl. He continued and enhanced Kohl’s Gestalt theory of the sensory motor feedback system and sports.

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