How do we know what is real?

“To celebrate my success, they take me to the “restaurant”, where the maitre’d shows me to a table in a luxurious country club setting – lots of polished wood and an extensive menu.”Two women” come over and ask if they can join me – one looks around 40, the other in her teens. They both present themselves as “real people”, who have visited VR a few times but who still feel quite excited about it all.”

Above is an extract from Kellogg’s description of his lucid dream in Virtual Reality Dreaming: Wave of the future?’ (2002). ‘Lucid dream’ is a term coined by Frederik van Eedan which refers to a dream where one acknowledges they are dreaming. Lucid dreaming often leads to the phenomenon of out-of-body experiences. Here, the dreamer experiences somatic sensations like vibrations and paralysis, as well as the distinct feeling of ‘leaving’ the physical body.

Lucid dreaming ties in with the idea of virtual reality because in many instances dreamers interpret their vision as vividly ‘real’. They experience a sense of hyperreality as they are unable to distinguish an elaborate dream from a simulation of reality. Notice, in Kellogg’s dream scenario he makes reference to the term ‘VR’. This stands for ‘virtual reality’, reflecting Kellogg’s belief that the world manifested within his dream was really an extension of his everyday reality.

Shifts in consciousness are not the only means through which a virtual reality can be experienced. In ‘Augmented Reality Overview’ (2009) Grayson discusses the augmentation of reality via technology. He points out that augmented reality can used for commercial purposes, and provides the example of Ray-Ban’s virtual mirror and furniture retailer TOK&STOK’s in-store kiosks. These retail ‘customisation devices’ reminded me of the ‘Coke Freestyle’ device I saw in a McDonald’s in the United States. This interactive appliance was introduced in 2009 and has been called the ‘fountain of the future’. It enables customers to use the touch-screen to select from over 100 choices to create a custom beverage.

Well, if i'm going to rot my teeth I may as well do it MY way!

I feel that lucid dreaming and its association with virtual reality could provide a solid foundation for the upcoming research proposal and essay. Another topic I have considered for the assignment is the impact of subliminal messages (in film, music or advertisements) on thought, perception and memory.

References

Berge, S. & Levitan, L. (2007). ‘Lucid Dreaming FAQ. Version 2.31’ <http://lucidity.com/LucidDreamingFAQ.html&gt;

Grayson, Chris (2009) ‘Augmented Reality Overview’, GigantiCo <http://gigantico.squarespace.com/336554365346/2009/6/23/augmented-reality-overview.html>

Kellogg, Ed (2002) ‘ Virtual Reality Dreaming: Wave of the Future? , The Lucidity Exchange <http://dreamgate.com/pomo/kellogg_virtual.htm&gt;

Lucid dream- Virtual Reality <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tcEsA8a_Jzw&gt;

Pollock, W.(2010). ‘New Custom Coke Machines Will Let You Create Near Infinite Flavours’ Asylum <http://www.asylum.com/2010/05/26/coke-coca-cola-freestyle-machine-test-drive-results-in-soft-drink-innovati/&gt;

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