Lily Freedman

Lucid Dreaming: Cognitive and Creative Problem Solving and Insight

Prompt: How are messages embedded in visual culture? How, in turn, are photographs, videos, illustrations, performances, graphic novels, sculptures, and technological innovations - and more - used to communicate an idea or position? And what might it mean to make something that doesn't fit into any one category as we know it?

Humans have sought to access and understand the unconscious mind for thousands of years. Lucid dreaming, the act of being aware that one is dreaming, is one way to be in touch with one’s unconscious. Sigmund Freud thought of dreams as “the Via Regia, or royal road to the unconscious mind.”1 He said, “Anyone interested in personal growth can hardly afford to ignore the insights derived from a study of his or her own dreams. And to reap the fullest harvest from the dream state requires lucidity.”2 In other words, lucid dreaming can help one with self-development if done regularly.3 Frequent lucid dreaming can enhance one’s quality of life by improving cognitive and creative problem solving abilities and by offering insight.4

Dreams are described as lucid not just because the dream is exceptionally vivid or visually clear, but because the person dreaming knows that he or she is dreaming.5 The lucidity has to do with the idea that the dreamer’s mental awareness is clearer, not that one can see more clearly in the dream, although some experiences have been described as having strange visual qualities.6 Regular dreaming is typically defined by its “irrationality and discontinuity with waking experience,”7 but in lucid dreaming there is usually a connection between one’s waking life and dream life. This means that ordinary dreams do not follow real world logic and the dreamer does not have memories of everyday life to relate what is happening in the dream to what had happened in their awake life. This causes the dream to be disconnected from the rest of the dreamer’s experiences.


1 Stephen LaBerge Ph.D, Lucid Dreaming (Los Angeles: Jeremy P. Tarcher, 1985), 3-4.

2 Ibid.

3 Ibid., 2

4 Ibid., 3

5 C.E. Green, Lucid Dreams (London: Hamish Hamilton, 1968), 7.

6 Ibid.

7 Ibid., 15