Theories About the Nature of Truth

If one investigates the concept of truth If one explores the concept of “truth” among academics, philosophers, theologians, scientists and social scientists there are five major substantive theories of truth, many of which share some ideas in common. These five have been chosen because they are and have historically been discussed by many published scholars. They are:

(a). Correspondence theory

(b). Coherence theory

(c).Constructivist theory

(d). Consensus theory

(e). Pragmatic theory

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Recently we held a conference on stress management at the Catskills Bed and Breakfast – www.TheCatskillsBedandBreakfast.com -. We had speakers, training sessions and offered corporate on-site chair massage during the breaks. During the conference the question of “What is “Truth” kept arising.

There are other theories on truth, in addition to the basic five. Among these are:

Minimalist (deflationary) theories: Here the very concept of “truth” is questioned. Philosophers who accept this perspective are responding, in part, to the idea that any particular thing can be true or untrue. This discarding of the concept of truth is called deflationary since it attempts to deflate the presumed importance of the words “true” or “truth”. For these thinkers the tendency to call something true is no more than a functional convenience, a strategy for communication, an expressive convenience, rather than the actual description of something. Once one has identified the formal features of something and how it can be used practically then it is natural to say that it is “true” but whether it is true or not is not even a relevant question. It is only that which we have defined it to be. There is no truth to it beyond that. At best called something the truth enables us to express things that might otherwise require infinitely long sentences. For example, one cannot effectively communicate the accuracy of a statement by asserting it in some endless detailed sentence: It is easier to simply say that something is “true”. One has said all there is to be said about truth. One could say “the building is 70 stories high with so many feet from floor to ceiling with a tower on the roof and, so many basement levels etc.” It is easier to say, “It is true that the building is tall.”

Performative theory of truth: This idea concerning truth is based on the distinction between an action and communication about that action.Attributed to the 20th century British philosopher P. F. Strawson, performative theory of truth holds that some statements are more actions than communicative statements. An example might be to say, “’Snow is white’ is true.”  This is a speech act where one is actually signaling one’s agreement with the claim that snow is white (much like nodding one’s head in agreement). When a bride says, “I do” at a specifically defined time in a wedding, she is actually performing the act of taking this man to be her lawful, wedded husband rather than simply describing the act of taking this man. Strawson says: “To say a statement is true is not to make a statement about a statement, but rather to perform the act of agreeing with, accepting, or endorsing a statement. When one says, “It’s true that it’s raining”, one asserts no more than ‘It’s raining.’ The function of [the statement] ‘It’s true that…’ is to agree with, accept, or endorse the statement that ‘it’s raining.'”                                       

 

Redundancy and related theories: This idea asserts that ‘a statement is true’ is completely equivalent to asserting the statement itself. For example, if one asserts that the statement” ‘Snow is white’ is true” it is simply the same as stating, “Snow is white”. Redundancy theorists infer from this premise that truth is a redundant concept;  no more than a language game where  a word, though not a thing that equates to anything in reality is a “thing” traditionally generally used in conversation or writing, for emphasis. This theory is commonly attributed to Frank P. Ramsey, who held that  the use of words like fact and truth was nothing but a roundabout way of asserting a proposition. By proposition he means the “content” or “meaning” of a meaningful declarative sentence or the pattern of symbols, marks, or sounds  that make up a meaningful declarative sentence. The meaning of a proposition includes having the quality or property  of being either true or false, and as such propositions are claimed to be truth bearers. For Ramsey, treating these words as separate problems in isolation from judgment is merely a form of “linguistic” chaos.

To explore ideas related to redundancy theory on a deeper level I recommend exploring the ideas of C. J. F. Williams and his book “What is Truth?” and the prosentential theory of truth, first developed by Dorothy Grover, Joseph Camp, and Nuel Belnap as an elaboration of Ramsey’s claims.

Pluralist theories: Pluralist theories of truth assert that there may be more than one property that makes propositions true.  For example an ethical proposition might be true by virtue of coherence. Propositions about the physical world might be true by corresponding to the objects and properties they are about.

This idea is important because it links many different ideas in the five primary schools of thought concerning truth. For example some of the pragmatic theories of Charles Peirce and William James, include aspects of correspondence, coherence and constructivist theories.

Other  ideas on truth include Russell’s Paradox

Kripke’s Theory of Truth

Gödel’s First Incompleteness Theorem

The Liars’ Paradox

You may also wish to read my book “Spiritual, Not Religious: Sacred Tools for Modern Times”

http://www.amazon.com/Spiritual-Not-Religious-Sacred-Modern-ebook/dp/B00I9H41C4

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Lewis Harrison is a motivational speaker specializing in game based thinking and applied game theory. He is a  seminar leader, futurist, entrepreneur, NPR affiliated radio talk show (WIOXRadio.org) host, success and life coach and a best-selling author.

He is the creator of a web site – www.askLewis.com.  that focuses on the application of gamification, decision science, positive psychology, happiness,  and visionary thinking to solve basic, complex and extreme problems. He is the creator of a free course on personal growth and human potential.

Ask Lewis

Here is a short interview with Lewis;

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zp4DtXpPBeM

Lewis also owns a company that offers stress management programs throughout the United  States. Part of this company is  his corporate chair massage company, eventschairmassage.com provides seated and chair massage for stress management seminars and trainings as well to special events for  meeting planners and meeting professionals in New York City, New Jersey Las Veges, Dallas, Los Angeles, Cleveland, Greensboro NC, Florida and other major meeting and conventions venues.

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PSTD, Ocean Therapy and a state of “Flow”

In my community there are a number of young men who suffer from PSTD (Posttraumatic stress disorder). In fact there is a wounded warrior program at our local ski mountain in Windham.

Though you may be familiar with PSTD you may not be familiar with the symptoms and some new breakthroughs in treating the condition is an anxiety disorder that can develop after a person is exposed to one or more traumatic events, such asmajor stresssexual assaultwarfare, or other threats on a person’s life. Symptoms include disturbing recurring flashbacks, avoidance or numbing of memories of the event, and hyperarousal, continue for more than a month after the occurrence of a traumatic event.

Most people who have experienced a traumatizing event will not develop PTSD.[2]People who experience assault-based trauma are more likely to develop PTSD, as opposed to people who experience non-assault based trauma such as witnessing trauma, accidents, and fire events.[3] Children are less likely to experience PTSD after trauma than adults, especially if they are under ten years of age. War veterans are commonly at risk for PTSD.

PSTD 3

There are a number of young men that live in my area that suffer from PSTD. There’s no quick fix for post-traumatic stress disorder, but research has shown that surfing’s physicality and flow can give victims some relief and a way forward.

There is a  program at the marine base in Camp Pendleton, California  that uses  surfing to treat PTSD in enlisted men.

There are two common approaches to healing PSTD: 1. prolonged-exposure therapy (PE), which involves repeatedly and vividly revisiting the traumatic experience, and 2. cognitive-processing therapy (CPT), which focuses on how a person  responds to events in his or her postwar life. PE and CPT have the best pedigree of any recognized therapy available, but neither technique works for everyone. For many is experienced not as a treatment but rather as a punishment.

Many with PSTD also experience Soldiers who also experience chronic physical pain that is addressed by physicians with prescribed cocktails of powerful narcotics. These usually include opioids that tough effective is short term pain relief also interfere with physical and mental functions, and over time can lead to addiction or overdose.

There are many conventional methods as well as “holistically” based approaches that have been used to treat PSTD all with with varying degrees of success.

PSTD 1.

One of the great breakthroughs here took place in In 2003. Carly Rogers, a Los Angeles County lifeguard and graduate student at the University of Southern California, began developing a program called Ocean Therapy, in which soldiers learn to surf, bracketed by structured group discussions on the sand. In 2007, she tested the program with a dozen soldiers at Camp Pendleton and was shocked at how quickly solders who almost never spoke of their physical and emotional challenges were suddenly speaking openly – and this after only a few waves.

Since then more than 1,000 Marines have been treated with Ocean Therapy, and hundreds of veterans and surfers have worked as volunteers in the program in the American Journal of Occupational Therapy, Rogers wrote that most participants in the study reported significantly decreased PTSD symptoms after being in the program for just five weeks. Attendance at such things is usually spotty, but with surfing it was roughly 75 percent.

Why is this approach so effective? One soldier described it in this way, “In combat you wait and you wait, and then you engage in a firefight,” a surf therapy participant said. “In surfing, you wait and you wait, and then you get a beautiful adrenaline rush.”

PTSD symptoms usually remain a continuous and uninterrupted source of suffering for many individuals.  It appears that there is something about surfng that disrupts the cycle that makes PSTD what it is.  The reasons for this are not well understood. Rogers developed Ocean Therapy with psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s flow theory in mind. The physical exertion and intense focus required to surf often produces flow states, which flood the brain with neurochemicals like anandamide and serotonin.  These are the same chemicals used in antidepressants. There are also chemical changes in the body that seem to be related to what happen to people in deep meditation. Some experts theorize that when people are submerged in water, their bodies alter the balance of epinephrine and dopamine to the levels achieved during meditation.

In order to understand what is happening here it may be helpful to explore the work of Dr. John Lilly with sensory deprivation chambers and flotation tanks as well as the work of Frederick Leboyer. Dr. Leboyer  (born November 1, 1918) is a French obstetrician and author. He is best known for his 1975 book, Birth Without Violence, which popularized gentle birthing techniques, he found that, the practice of immersing newborn infants in a small tub of warm water — known as a “Leboyer bath”  seemed  to help ease the transition from the womb to the outside world….

Likewise it seems that to some involved in this process thatthere is an emotional aspect of weightlessness that is analogous to curling up in the fetal position.

Like wise surfing has a rhythm to it that enables a person suffering from PSTD to connect with others in a way that they could not before.

Rogers has has this to say about why her discovery is so effective, especially with those suffering of  combat related PSTD. “In combat you wait and you wait, and then you engage in a firefight,” she says, quoting a participant. “In surfing, you wait and you wait, and then you get a beautiful adrenaline rush.”

PTSD has been linked to changes in the neurocircuitry and neurotransmitters that balance the retrieval of memories.  These chemical changes also radically effect how a person thinks of themselves in the world and how they perceive oof other and the environment around them.

The have in essence been driven to a hightly dysfunctional quantum reality. Often they have difficult remembering what he/she was like before combat.

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A person with PSTD must sort out how to be in the world around him/her while they are plagued by emotional and often physical pain. This is not an easy thing to do when one has been immersed in violence and destruction.

Clearly Ocean therapy is a chance for wounded warriors to heal in a productive and supportive environment.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKXYkkR-9tE

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Lewis Harrison is an author, practical philosopher, motivational speaker, mentor and coach. He often speaks about Zen Buddhism and New Age self help philosophies. He hosts a weekly talk show on NPR affiliated WIOX 91.3 FM (Streaming at WIOXRadio.org)
You can reach him at LewisCoaches@gmail.com

He is the owner of Lewis Harrison’s Natural Healing Academy

Lewis offers stress management programs throughout the United States that combine the great spiritual principles with applied game theory.

His corporate chair massage company, eventschairmassage.com provides seated and chair massage for stress management seminars and trainings as well to special events for meeting planners and meeting professionals in New York City, New Jersey Las Veges, Los Angeles, Cleveland, Greensboro NC, Miami and Orlando Florida and other major meeting and conventions venues.

His book “Spiritual, Not Religious: Sacred Tools for Modern Time” addresses important issues on human potential and personal development
Here is a short interview with Lewis Harrison on unnecessary struggle and visionary thinking

Free Radicals and treating Depression Symptoms

A key to healthy functioning of the brain is the relationship of brain cell membranes to antioxidants and oxidants. We all need oxygen, but even the most important biochemicals may be damaging when they appear in the wrong place, at the wrong time. For example, oxygen is essential for life and yet, when oxygen appears where it doesn’t belong in the body, it can set off a chain reaction that ultimately results in the formation of molecular particles known as free radicals. Most, though not all, of these free radicals are destructive to the system. Some aspects of the immune system use free radicals as a protective factor against other foreign invaders. Free radicals may even assist in the breakdown of our foods into nutrients. However, generally speaking, anything you can do to reduce the creation of free radicals is a positive step for your mental health.

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Free radicals are impossible to avoid just by eating healthier. They are created from elements in our external environment such as water and air pollution, dietary sources, and even certain medicines. Many of the problems we encounter with free radicals result when so many of them accumulate in our bodies that damage to the system results. Researchers have discovered that specific biochemical agents possess antioxidant properties. These nutrients, which include certain vitamins, minerals, amino acids and substances found in certain herbs, can reduce the negative effects of free radicals by reducing or stopping harmful body process know as oxidation. Not all of these nutrients, known as antioxidants, are effective in the prevention of depression because they are incapable of entering the brain by passing through the blood-brain barrier. There are, however, lipid-soluble brain antioxidants that do reach their intended target in the brain and perform their tasks after moving from the circulatory system across the blood-brain barrier.

Some studies have shown that antioxidants can even help prevent the onset of certain neurological disorders.

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Lewis Harrison is an author, practical philosopher, motivational speaker, mentor and coach. He often speaks about Zen Buddhism and New Age self help philosophies. He hosts a weekly talk show on NPR affiliated WIOX 91.3 FM (Streaming at WIOXRadio.org)

You can reach him at LewisCoaches@gmail.com

Lewis offers stress management programs throughout the United States that combine the great spiritual principles with applied game theory.

His corporate chair massage company, eventschairmassage.com provides seated and chair massage for stress management seminars and trainings as well to special events for  meeting planners and meeting professionals in New York City, New Jersey Las Veges, Los Angeles, Cleveland, Greensboro NC, Miami and Orlando Florida and other major meeting and conventions venues.

His book “Spiritual, Not Religious: Sacred Tools for Modern Time” addresses important issues on human potential and personal development

Here is a short interview with Lewis Harrison on unnecessary struggle and visionary thinking

 

 

Q & A: An Exploration of Cause and Effect

A Conversation on Cause and Effect

Foundational: Principle for this Conversation: To explore the ways that events in the past or present may influence actions in the future.

Definition: Cause and Effect: That which induces something to happen and the response to that cause.

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STUDENT: How would an understanding of cause and effect enable me to live a life of greater love, freedom and wealth?

LEWIS: The concept of cause and effect is central to most of what we do in life. History, anthropology, memory, the choices we make in the present and the choices we make for the future are all based on some level on the concept of cause and effect. Change drives Life; the actions and responses of  life to those actions drives the path that change takes.  (See the A Conversation on Change, Futurism and Systems Thinking).

STUDENT: How does the concept of cause and effect tie into our religious beliefs?

LEWIS: Most of the major religions describe the role that cause and effect plays in our relationships with other worldly forces. Many westerners believe that Divine intervention (Grace) can redeem us from the results of our poor chooses but even so we are accountable for those choices.

In those cultures and religions that hold to the ideas of Karma and Reincarnation, the law of cause and effect is central to the lives of billions of people. If you can estimate the effect of some causative factor you can make choices that will give you greater love, freedom and wealth.

STUDENT: What is the connection of cause and effect to self- actualization?

LEWIS: The universe has laws of cause and effect. A self-actualized person knows how to live within these laws quietly and peacefully while doing their chosen work. Most people who think and behave in ordinary ways will attempt to fulfill their desires by controlling the world around them. Ultimately they will fail and in doing so allow all manner of chaos and struggle also to arise.

STUDENT:  How does being an ethical person eliminate unnecessary struggle?

LEWIS:  A self-actualized individual lives without struggle because he does not involve himself in those affairs that would create unnecessary struggle and difficulties.   Wu-wei is the ultimate example of moral behavior which also reflects absolute quiescence and inaction concerning material attachment, glory, honor and possession. So what is Wu-wei? It is action that appears to the common man as inaction. It is both action and inaction. It is the way of non-action in an action-focused world.

STUDENT: Is there a specific system with the Harrison Process for understanding the law of cause and effect?
LEWIS: Yes. Consider for a moment that for a person to be alive they must create.   Further remember that all that exists is the result of some cause and is itself the cause of something that we call an effect.   Now let us consider that a cause or an effect is created from some previous action. Thus one might say that cause and effect is indirectly connected in some manner to the concept of creativity.   An effect can operate in four patterns connected to creativity: as an antecedent to creativity; as a direct consequence of creativity; as an indirect consequence of creativity and as an occurrence taking place simultaneously with creative activity.   If we accept this concept we may then agree that an individual’s emotions and creative thoughts are interwoven in various specific and unique ways within the complex fabric of their daily lives. You might say that we are the cause of our own life experience!

STUDENT: You are not saying that I’m responsible for everything that happened in my life are you?

LEWIS: No. However I am saying that you are “the cause” of everything that happens in your life.

STUDENT: How can this be?

LEWIS: You are there when something happens to you.

STUDENT: Yes, but I did not make it happen.

LEWIS: But you did!

STUDENT: This sounds like psychobabble. How can I be responsible if a deer runs in front of my car on the highway?

LEWIS: I didn’t say you were responsible for the deer running into your car. But you are the cause of the deer running into your car.

STUDENT: The deer might have run across the road anyway. What’s the connection to my car?

LEWIS: You got in the car, you put the key in the ignition or got in the passenger seat. There you were by choice, in the car, on that particular road and there was the deer running and “bang!” Get it? You are not responsible but you are the cause.

STUDENT: OK, so I’m the cause, though I’m not responsible. I understand. So what?

LEWIS: When you understand that outside circumstances do not take place in a vacuum, that they are a step in a long chain of unseen causes and effects, then your entire perspective on life changes. You begin to see where and how you fit into the big picture. This gives you a more accurate sense of where your freedom lies and it also makes you more conscious when making choices.

STUDENT: So this is the essence of cause and effect?

LEWIS: If you can come to an understanding of the causes of the choices you have made in your life and the effect those choices have had in your life than you will act more consciously.

STUDENT: What does conscious choosing look like?

LEWIS: It includes clarity of thought, meditation, contemplation, and the integrating those things that are essential to creating the results that you seek.

STUDENT: How would I begin this process of conscious choosing?

LEWIS: The most proactive and creative means for beginning the process is through the experience and the creation of art. It is an intuitive rather than an intellectual approach to the exercise (See the A Conversation on Creating and Experiencing Art).

STUDENT:  Is there a system for determining the effect in response to a specific cause?

LEWIS:   There’s not an exact system but there is some very interesting mathematical work being done in this area.  Much of it is based on the research of MIT meteorologist Edward Lorenz. In 1960 Lorenz tried to create a model for predicting the weather. He wrote simplified equations that represented changes in wind velocity, pressure, temperature, and eight other variables. He then fed this information into a primitive computer. Just as he expected, his predictions of the weather were fairly accurate for the first few days.  However, as three, five or even seven days passed, the predictions were less and less accurate. Dr. Lorenz realized that the further an effect was from the cause the less easy it would be to predict what the effect might be.  He realized that eventually every long-term prediction would at some point depart from reality.

STUDENT: This seems obvious to me?
LEWIS:  It may seem obvious now, but back in 1960 the implications were staggering. Until Lorenz made his discovery, scientists assumed that a slight change in a cause would result in an equal change in the effect. Linear model demonstrated this fact. However, Lorenz’s research dealt with non-linear equations. His equations proved that the previous assumptions were incorrect and a small shift in a single variable could over time create a much larger effect.  (See the A Conversation on Linear Codes and Non-Linear Factors)

STUDENT:  What is the Conversation in practical terms of Lorenzo’s discovery?

LEWIS: This discovery shows us why long-term weather reports can be so unpredictable and why life may be equally unpredictable.  Consider weather as a metaphor for life. Both obey physical laws.  Like the weather, life is filled with many variables. A small change in the initial condition in a system (See the A Conversation on Introduction to this Level: Understanding Basic Systems Thinking) can cause a chain of events leading to large-scale phenomena. Any change in the system, even on a microscopic level, can affect the trajectory of the system and lead to a completely different sequence of events. Likewise any unexpected event in our life can lead to completely diverse results.  There is a unique and elegant orderliness even in this seemingly chaotic system – a system that may be affected by microscopic changes. The longer the time from the cause to the effect, the larger number of changes that will take place and the further the results will be from what was originally expected.

STUDENT: Is there a name for Lorenzo’s specific theory of how changes in a cause will result in a larger affect?

LEWIS: Lorenzo named his discovery “sensitive dependence on initial conditions.” Meteorologists began calling it the Butterfly Effect (technically, disambiguation).  The concept was that if a butterfly were to flap its wings in Manila in April, by the following August the extreme affect of this one small action might affect hurricane patterns in Miami in September.

STUDENT: Does this mean that every action results in an extreme reaction?

LEWIS: No. The minute changes in the atmosphere that take place from a Butterfly flapping its wings may also produce the opposite result, preventing a hurricane from appearing.

STUDENT: How would this discovery affect our ability to transcend obstacles and solve problems?

LEWIS: Many scientists began to rethink the way they solved problems. They realized that many problems that could not be solved seemed unsolvable because the questions were either inappropriate or too general.

STUDENT:  What are the other effects of Lorenzo’s theory?

LEWIS: For one, he showed us that the laws of nature are more complex than we ever realized and that the world is more chaotic than we ever thought.

STUDENT:  I have heard the term “Chaos Theory.” Does the Butterfly Effect relate to this in any way?

LEWIS: Yes. The butterfly effect is a “short hand” for the more complex, detailed and technical idea known as  “sensitive dependence on initial conditions” which is part of chaos theory.

STUDENT: What are some of the other implications of Lorenzo’s Theory?

LEWIS: His work also led to the understanding among scientists that small changes in the initial condition of a dynamic system can result in much larger variations in the long-term behavior of the same system. This is sometimes presented in extreme ways such as the Butterfly/Hurricane illustration. It can, however, be exhibited by very simple systems. For example, you are sitting in the driver’s seat of your car and your wallet falls out of your pocket onto the car floor. Where it will land will depend on slight differences in the wallet’s initial position when it left your pocket.

STUDENT: Can the Butterfly Effect be used in predicting results?

LEWIS: Yes. As an assessment process becomes more sophisticated (See the A Conversation on Assessments) and the questions asked about a problem more specific and accurate, there is a greater chance of tracking effects of a particular action.

STUDENT:  So the Butterfly Effect helps us to solve problems more easily by understanding more effectively the patterns in cause-and-effect reactions?

LEWIS: Yes.  For generations researchers, scientists and engineers of every variety have used different algorithms to predict events. However they were only capable of predicting those things that seemed predictable. How many miles will a car travel on a gallon of gas, or how deep and large a foundation will you need to support a sixty-story building? With this new information researchers could more easily predict, even extrapolate, what might happen given a set of variables.

STUDENT: This theory will not help them to solve every problem. Won’t there always be some butterfly whose wing flapping may change the course of history?

LEWIS:  Yes. And yet we also know that when that butterfly flaps its wings in Manila, something larger will happen besides another butterfly flapping its wings in Miami.

STUDENT: Do you have any final thought on the concept of cause and effect?

LEWIS: Remember that cause and effect must be tested quantitatively in order to get an accurate picture of what is going on.

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Lewis Harrison is an author, motivational speaker, mentor and coach. You can reach him at LewisHeals@gmail.com.

He offers advanced training in natural healing and for practitioners in life coaching and in alternative and complementary medicine

He offers stress management programs throughout the United  States and his corporate chair massage company, eventschairmassage.com provides seated and chair massage for stress management seminars and trainings as well to special events for  meeting planners and meeting professionals in New York City, New Jersey Las Veges, Los Angeles, Cleveland, Greensboro NC, Florida and other major meeting and conventions venues.

His book “Spiritual, Not Religious: Sacred Tools for Modern Time” addresses important issues on human potential and personal development

What is Lucid Dreaming?

In Western culture there is an idea of what reality is and is not. Dreams are a fascinating experience and subject for exploration but no one confuses them with reality…that is with the exception of the quantum thinker. For this individual a dream may be nothing more than a parallel reality. In fact some quantum thinkers use the term “lucid dreamer” to describe their experiences in dream states.

A lucid dream consists of pictures, images, people, events or symbols in the mind of a sleeping person who is aware that that he/she is dreaming.

The term was coined by the Dutch psychiatrist and writer, Frederik van Eeden (1860–1932), in his 1913 article: “A Study of Dreams”.  This paper was highly anecdotal and not embraced by the scientific community, but the term was embraced to describe a state of dreaming that had caught the attention of some important thinkers.

Lucid dreaming is not a modern discovery.  Many people report having experienced a lucid dream during their lives, especially in childhood.  Here are a just a few important historical points related to lucid dreaming:

St. Augustine of Hippo wrote a letter in 415 AD referring to lucid dreaming.

In the 8th century, Tibetan Buddhists were practicing what might be called Dream Yoga, a form of lucid dreaming.  They were able to maintain full waking consciousness while in the dream state.

Sir Thomas Browne (1605–1682), a noted physician and philosopher, described his ability to lucid dream in his Religio Medici.

Marquis d’Hervey de Saint-Denys published the book: Les Reves et les moyens de les diriger; observations pratiques (Dreams and How to Guide them; Practical Observations) in 1867, in which he documented more than twenty years of his own research into dreams.  Saint-Denys was probably the first person to argue that it is possible for anyone to learn to dream consciously.

In the late 1970s British parapsychologist Keith Hearne, working with a volunteer named Alan Worsley, used eye movement to signal the onset of lucidity, which was recorded by a polysomnograph machine.  This is the first specific scientific observation of lucid dreaming.

Stephen LaBerge at Stanford University published the first peer-reviewed article on lucid dreaming.  A few years later he independently developed a similar technique as Keith Hearne’s as part of his doctoral dissertation.

During the 1980s, scientific evidence is progressively gathered confirming that lucid dreamers are able to demonstrate to researchers that they are consciously aware of being in a dream state (again, primarily using eye movement signals).

Lucid dreams usually occur while one is in the middle of a regular dream and suddenly realizes that she or he is dreaming.

Most  lucid dreamers may not have a similar experience while being in this state. In fact person, who is in this state of “lucid” may enter one of many levels of lucidity.

Here is a description of some of the levels of “lucid”:

At a lower level, the dreamer may be dimly aware that he or she is dreaming.  In this state there is little, if any, rational awareness that realizes   that the actions/events/people/ in the dream pose no threat and are not even real.

At a higher level, the dreamer is fully aware that she or he is asleep.  He or she understands fully what is happening and can have complete control over his or her actions in the dream.

There is no universally accepted tiered system for evaluating Lucid Dreams.  It is known that when a lucid dreamer has low mental control, one’s decisions may be biased not by one’s opinion, but by the workings of one’s own brain.

There is nothing that you can control 100% of the time.  However, if you want to have a lucid dream about something or someone, there is a specific way to do this.  The key is to think about that object or person just as you slip into a light sleep.  Think very vividly about this object or person: the way it/they feel, the way it/they look, the way it/they smell, etc.  This will motivate your mind to focus intently on that object or person and your dream will reflect this intention.

Other reality checks include:

If you have recurring dreams, and you notice something happening in the dream that would ever happen in a waking state you can say to yourself, “this only happens in my dreams, I must be dreaming.”

If you notice something happening that is impossible in real life, such as you walking on your head for 26 miles in a marathon, this can act as a reality check to inform you to the fact that you are dreaming.

Lucid dreams are not necessarily dramatic or transformational events. The experience is different for each person. The awareness may range from very short, faint recognition of the fact that one is dreaming (often too brief and nebulous to be classified as a truly lucid dream) to something as momentous as an awe inspiring expanding of awareness.  Such an experience may transcend anything one has ever experienced, even in one’s waking life.

There are a number of benefits from  Lucid Dreaming. From a philosophical level the experience of lucidity helps us to understand the unreality of certain individuals, symbols and forms which appear in dreams, and which would otherwise be overwhelming during dreaming or in the death experience.

Psychologically speaking, some therapists have used lucid dreaming as a tool for reducing the impact of nightmares during sleep, as well as some of the problems that people experience in their waking lives including self-mutilation and depression.

In the end, what a dreamer does with lucidity will generally reflect their personal tendencies and the level of skill attained through experience and practice.

The term “Lucid Dreaming” doesn’t accurately describe what is happening in this state.  Lucid dreaming implies that one is experiencing a “clear or vivid” dream.  The alternative term, “conscious dreaming”, avoids this confusion.  Van Eeden chose this term because it implied that one was “having insight”, rather than as a reference to a perceptual quality of this experience, which actually may or may not be clear and vivid.

Lucid dreaming is not a superficial process to master. a fairly

Even seasoned lucid dreamers will continue to encounter developmental and psychological challenges in the dreamscape.  The distressing and agreeable, the difficult and the easy, the horrifying and the beautiful, are all part of lucid dreaming just as they are in regular dreaming

One should keep in mind that there is a  key difference between regular dreaming and lucid dreaming. Whereas a regular dream is filled with the convoluted subtleties of the subconscious mind presenting and struggling with its issues before a largely unconscious dreamer, a lucid dreamer has the opportunity to consciously explore these at many different levels.

Of course  Can one lucid dreaming doesn’t have to be serious shamanic business. Many explore and use this state  purely for the recreational benefits. You can walk on walls or the ceiling, and from there progress to flying.

I have found that many of my students  find flying for the first time a bit unnerving.  This is especially so if they are not sure that they are dreaming.  Of course, others find flying to be natural and very exhilarating…and then, of course, there is teleporting. Here you close your eyes, spin your dream body, and create a brand new landscape and open your eyes while still in lucidity.

When I was a shaman’s apprentice I spent time exploring the aboriginal concept of shape-shifting. Have you ever heard of shape-shifting?  It is part of the mythology connected to shamanism and many aboriginal cultures.  Westerners generally perceive of it as a superstitious idea of people changing into animals. In tribal cultures where there is a thin line  between, legend, sacred myth and ordinary reality is not so clearly defined shape-shifting may be part of a tribe’s cultural reality.  Very skilled lucid dreamers know that you can also make an “excuse” to transform from “you” into an animal.  These is done by creating a transformation machine or a magic assistant while in a lucid state and then have them change you into an animal.

In quantum realities you can create anything you want, be whatever you want, and do whatever you want. Lucid dreaming is part of the process where this takes place.

Of course Lucid Dreaming takes skill, practice and experience, just like most things.

Lucid dreaming has been the center of much research especially among neurophysiologists. Most of the research being done in lucid dreaming is a mixture of pure science (much of it conducted by neurophysiologists) and social science.  Since the 1960’s more and more scientific evidence has been discovered confirming the existence of lucid dreaming.  Lucid dreamers have consistently demonstrated to researchers that they are consciously aware of being in a dream state.  In addition, techniques have been developed to enhance the likelihood of achieving this state.  The first book to recognize the therapeutic potential of lucid dreams was Celia Green’s 1968 study Lucid Dreams.  She was also the first to link lucid dreams to the phenomenon of false awakenings, and recognized that lucid dreams were a category of experience quite distinct from ordinary dreams.  She also correctly predicted that lucid dreams would be associated with rapid eye movement sleep (REM sleep).

Accumulated observation over decades has shown that dreams are strongly associated with what is known as Rapid Eye Movement or REM.

We do not  experience REM sleep throughout our sleeping period. Most REM sleep occurs during stage I of sleep (there are four different stages of sleep).  Most REM stages last 90-100 minutes and the average human will go through 4-6 of these stages during sleep each night.  Subsequent REM stages increase in length, so the last REM stage before awakening is the longest and the most vivid.

Most research indicates that humans  do not ever dream without REM sleep. REM sleep is specifically associated with unique experiences and different mental abilities.  The thought process at this time often bizarre and is non-logical.  During REM sleep sensation and perception is vivid but, rather than being the result of external stimulation, is created internally by the brain.

For decades there was much debate among many important thinkers as to whether or not lucid dreaming even existed.  However, the discovery that eye movements performed in dreams affected the dreamer’s physical eyes offered a path to proving that actions agreed upon during one’s waking life could be recalled and performed once one was lucid in a dream.

I begin teaching my students this work by directing them not to remember a dream but rather to focus on the feelings that were felt while in the dream state. Trying too hard to remember the dream will only take your mind away from it.  Chances are your mind will think of everything but the dream.

When recalling a dream upon waking, try not to move.  Activating your muscle neurons can make it more difficult to access the parts of your brain that allow you to recall your dream.

When you wake up naturally – that is without an alarm – focus your gaze on the first object you see as you open your eyes.  Look at the object; focus on it.  That object will most often take the vague recollection of your dream to a place mark in memory where it is easier to recall details.

A doorknob, a light bulb, a set of car keys, or a nail in the wall, for example, will quell your urge to begin your day and will help you to settle into memories of what you experienced while sleeping.

Though it is not necessary to do so many of my mentees, students and apprentices have a interest  in spirituality, mysticism, and the esoteric in relation to lucid dreaming.

This is an area of great interest to many people, but I will not venture into here on any level more than the most superficial.  Let me leave this idea with this concept: there is a great overlapping between lucid dreams, near-death experiences, out-of-body experiences, astral projection, and many other experiences related to trance states and altered states of consciousness.

If you wish to train yourself to be a lucid dreamer there are a number of techniques, all based on the same principles that can be explored.  Many are based on the use of external cues to facilitate lucid dreaming.  These cues are connected to REM sleep (Rapid Eye Movement).  Basically, there are two ways that a lucid dream is likely to begin:

A dream-initiated lucid dream (DILD)

Or

A wake-initiated lucid dream (WILD).

A dream-initiated lucid dream (DILD) begins as an ordinary dream.  While in the dream state, the dreamer realizes that they are dreaming.

In wake-initiated lucid dream (WILD) the key to these techniques is recognizing the “hypnagogic stage”, which is within the border of being awake and being asleep.  If one is successful in staying awake while this stage occurs, one will eventually enter a dream state while being fully aware that it is a dream.

Essentially a WILD state occurs when the sleeper is actually entering REM sleep with an unbroken self-awareness directly from the waking state. The dreamer goes from an ordinary waking state directly into a dream state, without any sense that there has been a lapse in consciousness.

One can be taught to go into a wake initiated lucid dream (WILD).Of course there is no rigid standard for whether one has had a lucid dream or not. Some individuals experience some aspects of what might be called “lucidity” while not experiencing other aspects.  Research has shown that less than a quarter of lucidity dreamers exhibited all four. There are new categories related to dream research that are interested in those states that include corollaries 1-3  but miss the realization that of #1 “knowing that one has dreamt.”

The four elements, known by researchers as “corollaries” include:

  • Knowing that one has dreamt.
  • Knowing that objects, symbols, and individuals won’t persist beyond waking.
  • Knowing that physical laws need not apply in this state.
  • Having a clear memory of the waking world.

Today  research on techniques and effects of lucid dreaming continues at a number of universities and other research centers.  Much of the work is being done from a neurophysiologic approach, as well at Stephen LaBerge’s Lucidity Institute.

Whether one is or is not a lucid dreamer has little to no importance as to their ability to create an extraordinary quantum reality. It is simply one more path to explore.

Lewis Harrison is a stress management speaker. He combines trainings on Stress, Lucid Dreaming with Corporate Chair Massage. This blog is based on a stress management seminar he offered at a chair massage conference and meeting in Baltimore and Washington. D.C.  Learn more at http://www.eventschairmassage.com

Here is a video on dreams:

What Does Holistic Mean?

Definition: Holism: any doctrine that emphasizes the priority of a
whole over its parts.

STUDENT: Can you expand upon this basic definition of holism?
LEWIS: Holism is an approach to systemic thinking that states that the
various elements within a system influence each other in ways that
cannot be explained or determined by understanding, measuring, or
defining any individual unit within that system. It can include nutrition, herbs, corporate chair massage, stress management and many other approaches.

STUDENT: What is the origin of the word Holism?
LEWIS: The word Holism comes from the ancient Greek word (ὅλος holos,
meaning total, all, or entire). The concept of holistic thinking has
ancient roots going back to Aristotle and was greatly expanded upon by
Jan Smuts and R. Buckminster Fuller (See the Conversation: R. Buckminster
Fuller). Jan Smuts named the concept Holism and explained it in his
1926 book, Holism and Evolution. According to Smuts holism is “The
tendency in nature to form wholes that are greater than the sum of the
parts through creative evolution.”

Interestingly, the term Holistic did not come into common usage until
the 1960’s. Since then, the words holism and holistic have become
clichés of sorts for every “new age” idea to come along and this has
lead to some resistance among scientists to explore scientific
interpretation of holism.  However, respected visionaries like Fuller
understood the concept and wrote extensively on it, even naming the
process of the sum being greater than the parts “Synergy.”

STUDENT: How can the sum be greater than the parts?
LEWIS: Read on and you will see.

STUDENT: How widespread is holistic thinking in the academic world?
LEWIS: It is commonly used in the social sciences but is still
considered a radical concept in the mainstream scientific community.
Much of what is now known as “systems thinking” can be traced to
holism.

It has greater popularity in the social sciences than in the natural
sciences (See the Conversation: Social Paradigms and Paradigms). However,
scientists are encountering problems of ever-greater complexity, that
though unsolvable by the traditional approach of deducing information
from the properties of the basic parts of systems alone, can in fact be
explained by exploring the influence of certain units in a system upon
other units in that same system.
STUDENT: Are their any scientific systems that accept holism as a
valid interpretation of systems?
LEWIS: Yes. Any scientist knows that even in the most logical
approach to natural systems may produce surprisingly unexpected behavior.
Holism based models can address why these events occur.

STUDENT: What professions and academic specialties are most inclined
to explore holism as a valid approach to systematic thinking?
LEWIS: Holistic Theory has applications in fields as diverse as
architecture, biology, economics, industrial design, linguistics,
philosophy and sociology.

STUDENT: What is Holistic medicine?
LEWIS: There are also many physicians that apply holistic models to
health care and there are many physicists that accept the concept of
which many now call “scientific holism”. In healthcare, these approaches
have come to be known as Holistic medicine and Holistic healing.

STUDENT: Define Scientific Holism?
LEWIS:  Scientific Holism holds that the behavior of a system cannot
be perfectly predicted, no matter how much data is available. In the
Harrison Mentoring Process this is addressed in the Conversation “Linear Codes
and Non-Linear Factors.”

STUDENT: How does holism apply to linguistics?
LEWIS: Through a theory called “semantic holism.” This theory presents
the idea that the meaning of an individual word or sentence can only
be understood in terms of its relations to a larger body of language.
(See the Conversation: Language and the see the Conversation: Ludwig
Wittgenstein).

STUDENT: As I study the many Conversations that make up the Harrison
Mentoring Process, I often come across two seemingly valid points that
also seem to contradict each other. How can this be and still be
rational and logical?

LEWIS: Much of the Harrison Process is fueled by a dance of Polarities
– the interaction of contradictory opposites. This can be confusing.
There are schools of thought within academia that wrestle with this
reality of opposites.  Two such schools of thought are “Holism” and
“Reductionism.”
STUDENT: Please speak about reductionism?
LEWIS: Reductionism is the most popular of theories for solving
problems and understanding the world through the scientific method.
Reductionism presents the idea that any system, no matter how complex
it may be, can be understood by reducing it to its most basic units.
Thus, from the reductionist perspective, the basics of chemistry can be
found in physics, the basics of biology can be understood through the
essential elements found through chemistry and psychology and
sociology can be reduced to biology. Reductionism defines much of what
has come to be known as the classical scientific perspective.

STUDENT: How does the Theory of Reductionism contradict the theory of Holism?
LEWIS: Reductionism tells us that if we can understand what is basic
in a system, than we can understand what is complex. Holism
tells us that nothing is as it seems in a system, since that basic
thing you can isolate will still be influenced by every other unit in
the system.

STUDENT: One might say that in reductionism what you see is what you get?
LEWIS: This is correct.  There is much more going on between the
lines. In Holism the sum may end up being greater than the parts. 2
plus 2 is four in reductionism. In holism there will be times when 2 plus 2 will equal 5.

STUDENT: How can the contradiction between the holistic model and the
reductionist model be reconciled? LEWIS: There is no need to create
forced conciliation of these ideas. When things are linear and logical,
reductionism is the way to go, however in a world where all things are
not as they seem and intuition, the visionary process, and right
brain/left braining thinking exists, it will be a natural process for
these two ideas to integrate. For the extraordinary person Holism and
Reductionism become complementary. (See the Conversation: Right Brain/Left
Brain).

STUDENT: What can an extraordinary person see here than an ordinary
person will miss?
LEWIS: That Holism is really just a non-linear form of reductionism.
After all, in a holistic model, you are reducing the system to its basic
unit. In many cases, the most basic unit consists of more than one
quality.  For example In Holistic medicine a human being may seem like
a single unit, but we know that in fact all humans are made up of many
chemicals and can also be characterized as structural, chemical, and
emotional parts.  He or she may seem like “one” but is actually “many.”

STUDENT: What is the practical application of this explanation?
LEWIS: Holistic healing and Holistic medicine –the emotional
biochemical, structural and spiritual aspects of the client must be
addressed to have a successful outcome. Only dealing with one of these
will limit the success of the healing process.

To explore more advanced applications for Holism see the following
Conversations in the Harrison’s Applied Game Theory Manual:
•   Linear Codes and Non-Linear Factors
•   Black Swan Theory
•   The Butterfly Effect

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