When I went to graduate school, lucid dreaming (link is external) was a concept everyone knew of, yet knew nearly nothing about. Generation X missed the lucid dreaming debates of the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. After that, the debates faded out and lucid dreaming became the geeky subject matter of a few liberal intellectuals hardly anyone had heard of. Christopher Nolan’s movie Inception (link is external), perhaps misleadingly, brought the concept back into the core of the minds of the masses.
Almost every Radical Remission cancer survivor I’ve studied used their intuition to help make decisions related to their healing process. Research on intuition and following your ‘gut’ instinct may explain why. Scientists have discovered that humans appear to have two, very different “operating systems.”
At the turn of the century, Sigmund Freud suggested dreams were a window into our unconscious minds, wishes that we held while we were awake and expressed while we were asleep. Since then, we've learned how to study dreams and even pinpoint when a sleeping person might be dreaming. But there are still unanswered questions about why we have them, what they symbolise, and how they can give insight into our lived realities.
WIRED asked psychotherapist David Billington, MA from The Dream Research Institute and co-author of The Neural Correlates of Dreaming, Dr Francesca Siclari, what are dreams and what, if anything, do they mean?