Author Archives: Latasha Monique Lorraine Day

Currently Reading – The Anatomy of Dreams

The Anatomy of Dreams by Chloe Benjamin

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I really really want to like this book because it’s about lucid dream research, but I’m having a lot of difficulty getting into it. Not sure if it’s because I can’t seem to really relate to the characters or what, but I’m finding myself losing interest in the parts of the story that don’t involve the dream research. I am about one third of the way through at the moment and will keep you posted. So far it seems to be not quite a love story between a girl and boy who are classmates at a boarding school and who meet up again in college and are recruited by their high school professor to become lucid dream researchers when after a while, Sylvie, the girl, begins to have doubts about the ethics of the research. I have read from other reviews that the last half of the book gets better so I will keep going….


More Lucid Dream Strangeness….a singsong voice said “You’re still dreaming…”

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Just had more lucid dream strangeness. I was on a balcony where I had just been, but the street had changed and I realized I was dreaming so I jumped off the balcony and started to fly. I asked the dream to take me somewhere and I ended up in this room with red/burgundy couches and all the doors were closed. I opened one and there were about 5 or 6 people sitting in chairs, kind of like a classroom. They all stood up when I came in. I recognized my mom as one of them. It was when she was younger maybe still in school. I think it was around the time that Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. So I went up to her and told her that I was her daughter, her future daughter and she hugged me. I told her I hadn’t seen her in 17 years. She looked at me and told her friends “she does look kind of like me doesn’t she?” Then the dream ended and I woke up. I looked at my cell phone and started to look at my messages, and noticed that they seemed strange, I couldn’t remember half of them, and then I found a picture on my phone of the room with the red couches from my dream. I heard this strange almost twilight zone type music and a singsong voice said “you’re still dreaming…” and I was whisked away again, this time to the apartment where I grew up. As I walked by my parents bedroom I saw two shadowy figures look at me, one of them waved. I continued to walk down the hallway, looked in the other bedroom, then the dining room and kitchen. I tried to look at the clock but it was kind of blurry. As my attention would shift from one room to the next, each room would change, the furniture, the decor, so that every time I looked at each room it looked different. I think I decided to take a picture of one, and this man appeared, he said he wanted to make it look believable for the picture. I asked “Who are you” and he said “The director”. I followed him thorough this hidden doorway to what looked like a movie set, but he would not say more. I then remember my attention shifting back to my body in bed which I could feel, but felt as if I was in a deep meditative state. It felt as if I was just awake meditating and thinking, I was aware of my breathing, my cat sleeping on the pillow above my head, I felt her tail brush against my face. I started to wonder if maybe lucid dreaming isn’t really sleeping at all, maybe it’s something in between dreaming and meditating. In this dream state, I felt it was less fragile than lucid dreams I have had in the past. I wonder if it is possible that I could have traveled back in time in my dream and visited her…


Adventures in Book Shopping

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I got these books last night after spending about an hour in the science section of Dimple books (http://www.dimple.com)…Yes I know I have an addiction. At least I wasn’t at the free bookstore (http://www.bayareafreebookexchange.com), I would have had 3 times this amount. So here’s my story: it’s about 10 minutes before they close, and I want to look at the philosophy section briefly, so I’m trying to carry all these books in my hands, I have them in a stack when I see a book I want to look at. I don’t really want to put the ones I’m carrying down so I kind of lean them against the shelf so I can pick up the book. As I’m doing this two guys come into the store. One of them says he wants to show the other one a book. As they walk by me one of them speaks, so I say hi. He asks why I’m holding the books like that and if I work there. I explain that I’m just trying to carry them so I can pay for them. He picks up an astrology book, opens it, and asks what my sign is:

Me: Scorpio

Him: Oh well we’re a perfect match!

Me: What is your sign?

Him: Libra

Me: Okay… (thinking: Right…not sure Libras and Scorpios go well together…but ok)

Him: I bet you have more books than friends.

Me: (gives him confused look while trying to read the back of the book I had picked up) Why do you say that?….What’s that supposed to mean? (I should have said: While that may be true, I have found they are much better company than most people.)

Him: (awkward silence) So you should give me your number. (He pulls out his phone.)

Me: (Seriously? shaking head) No, sorry.

He (thankfully) walks away.

So yeah, weird encounter aside, I’m excited about my new books :) Especially Bride of Science by Benjamin Wooley and Nature’s Numbers by Ian Stewart. The books I found seem to have certain themes. For a lot of the day yesterday, I was doing some research on genealogy and am very interested in learning my history and where my ancestors came from and then I find the National Geographic book on Deep Ancestry by Spencer Wells and Before the Dawn by Nicholas Wade. Also, the nautilus symbol seems to keep reappearing for me: 1. We recently talked about it in one of my classes. 2. I recently discovered this magazine and blog called Nautilus (http://nautil.us) 3. It’s on the cover of the Nature’s Numbers book and a Sacred Geometry book I found. So maybe there is some significance to it for me. The other theme I saw was the intersection of art and science which has always inspired me, but even more so after having re-read the book that sparked my interest in science (see last post) Properties of Light by Rebecca Goldstein. So definitely excited to get started. Now all I need is lots of time…

 

 

 


Properties of Light

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I just re-read this book, Properties of Light by Rebecca Goldstein. I first read it 14 years ago, it was then that I fell in love with the mysteries of quantum physics. I loved the mixture of poetry and science, the confluence of reality and unreality. It is why I studied science. But I think somewhere, I got a little lost… I think maybe I am still searching for that poetry, that sense of knowledge without reason, that exists somewhere between objectivity and subjectivity, forever suspended in quantum uncertainty.


My Story So Far

So, I want to tell you a story…

Actually sort of a recap of my life for the past year and a half since moving to California.

I remember how when I told people I was moving, they were always more excited than I was. I had no interest in moving here, it wasn’t really something I even wanted at all, it was something I felt I had to do, some unknown force. (Especially since I avoided California when applying to schools as an undergrad due to fear of earthquakes.) But this graduate program felt like something I needed to do. What I was excited about was going back to school (too bad it’s not quite what I had expected). And in hindsight, I realize I should have done a little (a lot) more research, and a little (a lot) more preparation. It’s hard to know what to expect when moving across the country on your own without family/ friends (although for me, it’s not the first time…I was seventeen then, an undergrad-with very few things…but I digress) to one of the most expensive areas (SF Bay area) in the country when you’re broke and dependent on an unknown (at the time) amount of student loan income, in a recession with unrealistic expectations of the length of time it will take to find a job in your field…

After two months, I put all of my things in storage and left my ridiculously expensive shared apartment and my jerk of a roommate whom I found on craigslist and chose as being the better of two unappealing living situations (the other having been less expensive but with four other people who didn’t seem to get along very well), having had only 1 week to find a place to live for me and my cat… (not to mention how pet-unfriendly most places in the area are…) and went back home (Chicago) for a month, where I subsequently lost, and found said cat, and decided to give California another try. This time with a little more insight (still nowhere near enough). But at least I was able to find a slightly better living situation (month-to-month lease, my own bedroom/bathroom/yard, but still shared, and still way too expensive for a struggling unemployed grad student with too many bills.) While I was home, I had told myself I would find my cat, find an apartment, and find a job. And within 2 months I had done all three. Although in hindsight, I should have been a little more specific…

I got a job tutoring high school students in math and science part time, which was cool for the most part…the kids were great….but it would have been nice if they paid me on a regular basis…

So at this point, I was ready to leave, move back to Chicago, Philadelphia, anywhere at all. And if I hadn’t gotten my current job, I would have…but apparently it seems to be in the cards that I stay, at least for now. And even though my grad program isn’t quite what I thought it would be, I have learned a lot (mostly about myself, which I guess is why they call it Consciousness and Transformative Studies). I’m still not sure if I will finish it, but I’m taking it one quarter at a time…

Even with my job, I couldn’t sustain life in the Bay area, so I moved to Sacramento and am definitely much happier there, even with the commute. I really don’ t mind the drive, but for me an hour commute isn’t terrible…(in Chicago, it usually takes about a half hour to get anywhere anyway so I’m used to that). I’ve noticed that most people seem to love San Francisco and the Bay area. I am not one of them. They’re definitely great places to visit, but not places I want to live…(SF = expensive tiny apartments, multiple roommates…I like my privacy too much, even Oakland and Berkeley are not much better); so now I have my own studio apartment in Sacramento and I feel much more at home :). It’s more suburban than I’m used to, and I may move to midtown when my lease ends, but my rent is affordable and no roommates (Yay!)

So I made another vow; to stop focusing on the problems in my life and know that everything will be okay. I have food to eat, a place to live, a job…that’s all I really need. Every problem, I think, has a solution and life is about finding them. The solution may not be obvious and you may have to be creative, but it’s there.

A couple of months ago, I started a full time temporary day job thinking it could be a solution. Because, although my rent is now affordable, my total expenses have not decreased much (the law of conservation of expenses has converted it into gas for my commute). Well it definitely helped, but not in the way I had hoped. I worked there for a week and a half before I quit. I found that I could not work a full time day job, part time (30 hour/week) night job and go to school. The work was boring, tedious, and I was so exhausted I could barely function. But in that week and a half, I learned something. It was because I hated it so much, that it made me realize everything I love about my current job (never having to set alarms and wake up early, not having supervisors monitoring my every move,  having free time during the day…)  It made the negatives mere annoyances (non-compete clause, ten hour shifts (as opposed to twelve), etc.). It helped me truly understand that I am lucky to have a job, especially one that I enjoy and that allows me to go to school. And I am definitely grateful, because a lot of the people I worked with there don’t have the luxury to quit.

So now I look forward to going to work (I work as a sleep tech). And I started taking math classes at another school as well during my free time during the day. I’m currently taking a Linear Algebra class (which is where I quit math as an undergrad) here’s to hoping I can get through it this time around…first math class I have ever had difficulty with and I took Calculus through Differential Equations…conceptually I love it (vector spaces, etc.) but I can’t seem to finish the exams… This summer, I’m taking Discrete Structures and a few courses in my other grad program probably on psychology of consciousness and starting my research project. I’m also working on writing a sort of fictional memoir as well as  starting a science literary project and preparing to apply for PhD programs… I think I have finally figured out that I am a philosopher after all and am looking into programs in Philosophy of Science (neuroscience, physics, cognitive science, etc.) because I love to think about this stuff… (and if I got to do that all day, it wouldn’t be work).

A few weeks ago, I attended a conference on consciousness in Tucson, which was very interesting…I will post my thoughts on that very soon… So until next time…

Latasha Monique


DreamSpaces & Lucid Dreaming

I’ve been thinking a lot about vector spaces lately…most likely due to the fact that I’m taking an linear algebra class and that’s what we’re currently learning. I must have learned about them before when I tried to take this class as an undergrad, but it seems to make more sense now. Anyway, vector spaces have even been invading my dreams, which got me thinking about dreams, which is not unusual since they are what I am studying. And no please don’t ask me to interpret yours…while I do maintain that they provide us with insights and guidance and can help us uncover unconscious material, my main interest is in why we dream and what they are. So back to vector spaces, this thought occurred to me earlier today: what if the dreamspace is a vector space. We all know that in dreams, different rules seem to apply, such that the normal rules of physics, such as gravity, etc., are no longer standard. Sometimes we fly, we walk through doorways into the past, the future, seem to travel instantaneously, etc.  Which makes me wonder if there are any rules in the dream world…. Also is there such a thing as “the” dream world, or does each one of us have our own different dream world? There are times where I feel like I have a completely different dream life, a familiarity like I’m remembering having lived there before.

Recently, there was an article published in Nature Neuroscience http://www.nature.com/neuro/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nn.3719.html that showed scientists were able to induce lucid dreaming, which is where one is aware they are dreaming within the dream, by inducing gamma waves (25-100 Hz), which have been observed during spontaneous lucid dreams, in the brain using an electrical current. This is extremely interesting because we may now have a way to study dreams and experiment with them in a more systematic way than finding people who are able to do it spontaneously or inducing them with various drugs.  So back to my idea about vector spaces and the dream world. We could possibly test whether there are limits in the dream world, if there are fundamental rules that are just different from the ones we know in the waking world, or maybe they’re aren’t and anything is possible. Are there limits to how much control we have?

But then, this introduces the question of whether the lucid dream state is different from the regular dream state… As well as what actually causes spontaneous lucid dreams? It happened once when I woke up from an interesting dream and tried to go back into it, and when I did, I knew I was in the dream again. There was another time when I knew I was dreaming and wanted to wake up, but couldn’t….every time I tried to open my eyes, I would be in a different dream scenario…

Anyway, just some thoughts, possibly future research ideas, but for now I’m going to focus on my first question of why we dream and I have my own hypothesis, but more on that later when I actually start working on my thesis…


Listening to Philosophy to Stay Awake

51G5cOxCB2L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_  So for the past week or so, I’ve been listening to the audiobook of Heidegger and  Hippo Walk Through Those Pearly Gates in order to stay awake during my 1 hr drive home after my 10 hr night shift and it seems to be working… Interesting that a book on the philosophy of death can keep me awake, but it definitely keeps my brain occupied which is what I need. Very interesting book so far, I’m about halfway through it. Taking it slow because I need it to last as long as possible until I find something to listen to next. Not only does it talk about various philosopher’s views on death, it combines with it the philosophy of consciousness and describes some of the basic areas such as dualism, physicalism, not much on materialism so far or panpsychism. The authors are interesting and include many jokes as well, all of which I don’t quite get, but that’s ok, still and interesting book so far and I will post an update when I finish.