10 July 2014

Appeal for funding to lucid dream researchers

The following is an edited version of something I published on the web some years ago. Since that time, no financial contributions have been made by any of the individuals mentioned.
I continue to appeal to anyone who has derived advantage from the topic of lucid dreaming, either as a field for research, or as a topic of personal interest, to contribute not less than £2000 per annum towards funding for my research and my personal income.

When I was interviewed by the head of the Oxford University philosophy appointments board, a senior professor, to discuss how I might get onto a salaried university career track as an academic philosopher, I did not attempt to conceal my bitterness at the fact that my book on lucid dreaming, which I had written under duress because I had no other way of advertising my need for funding to do laboratory research to force my way back into a university career, had provided academics around the world, already safely on career tracks, with advantageous areas of research.

The professor hastened to defend the academics for doing nothing to improve my position, by saying that once a piece of work had been published it was free to anyone to work on it. And of course there is no law asserting that anyone should recognise the socially disadvantaged position of someone else, or do anything more than is strictly prescribed by law to help them. But spontaneous decency is not illegal, even where not socially prescribed. It is not explicitly recognised that it is socially proscribed. There was no law against the professor himself, having recognised that he had become aware of someone so seriously disadvantaged in life in comparison with himself, donating to me half of his own salary, or any other fraction of it, from that time forwards. Or he might have wished to make a mailing to all academics around the world known to have worked on lucid dreams, in which he could have expressed to them his own recognition of my disadvantaged position, and his own hope that each of them would make a significant annual donation out of their own salaries towards compensating me for my continuing lack of a university career, despite the fact that there was no legal obligation on them to do so.

Many years ago an international conference on lucid dreaming was held at London University and I was invited to contribute by giving a paper, although no one had shown any sign of wanting to provide me with funding to contribute by way of research.

At the conference someone informed me that he was sure I should be really pleased that some more of my ideas for research were going to be tried out at Stanford University. I felt about as overjoyed as if I had been slapped in the face, and it just illustrates how insensitive to my predicament those who themselves benefited from my work on lucid dreams have always been.

I was (and still am), in my grievous and destitute position, very embittered that it did not occur to any of those who worked on lucid dreams, salaried as nearly all of them were, to send me money to relieve my unsalaried position. If each of those concerned had sent a contribution of £2000 per annum (even if only while they were actually working on lucid dreams) my position would have been significantly improved and by now I would probably have been able to publish enough research to force my way back into a university position. It is not too late for my position to be relieved in this way. In fact the urgency that it should be has only increased with the decades of delay, since I am still physically alive, and needing to get started on my forty-year academic career.

So I am appealing to anyone who has derived advantage from lucid dreaming, either as a field for academic research or as a topic of personal interest, to contribute either a lump sum towards the £2 million which I need to set up a residential college, or to contribute not less than £2000 per annum towards my research and my personal income.

Legacies of any size are also requested. There is no upper limit, as the endowment required for residential colleges and research departments is considerable. Please note that any donations or legacies should be made direct to me, and not to any organisation with which I may seem to be associated. The latter leads to so much complication that the benefit is severely reduced, and probably completely aborted.

I address this appeal particularly to the following, who are known to have made use of the concept of lucid dreaming in their careers.

List of lucid dream researchers

A. Baker
A. Brylowski
A.A. Sheikh
Alan Moffitt
Alan Worsley
B. Kediskerski
B. McLeod
B. McWilliams
B. Rodenelli
B. Shillig
B.G. Marcot
C. Sachau
C. Sawicki
C.N. Alexander
Charles Tart
D. Armstrong-Hickey
D. Davidson
D. Foulkes
D. Orme-Johnson
D.B. Jenkins
D.E. Hewitt
D.S. Rogo
David B. Cohen
Elendur Haraldsson
F.A. Wolf
Fariba Bogzaran
G.S. Sparrow
Gayle Delaney
George Gillespie
Gordon Halliday
H. Reed
Harry Hunt
Harvey J. Irwin
J. Adams
J. Dane
J. Walling
J. Wren-Lewis
Jane Bosveld
Janet Mullington
Jayne Gackenbach
Judith R. Malamud
K. Kelzer
K. McGowan
K. McKelvey

K.P. Vieira
Keith Hearne
L. L. Magallon
L. Levitan
L. Nagel
L. Rokes
L.L. Magallon
M. Walters
M.L. Lucescu
Mary Godwyn
Morton Schatzman
N. Heilman
O. Clerc
P. Maxwell
P.D. Tyson
Patricia Garfield
Paul Tholey
Peter Fellows
Peter Fenwick
R. Boyer
R. Cranson
R. Curren
R. George
R.J. Small
Robert D. Ogilvie
Robert F. Price
Robert Hoffmann
Robert K. Dentan
Robert Van de Castle
Roger Wells
Ross Pigneau
S. Boyt
S. Hammons
S. Stone
Sheila Purcell
Stephen LaBerge
Susan Blackmore
T. Neilsen
Thomas Snyder
V. Zarcone
W. Dement
W. Greenleaf
Wynn Schwartz

07 July 2014

Dream research

We recently received an enquiry from the magazine of the International Association for the Study of Dreams, requesting an interview. This is the text of my colleague Dr Charles McCreery’s reply.

“Thank you for your email addressed to Celia Green, to which she has asked me to reply. I am the co-author with her of Lucid Dreaming: the Paradox of Consciousness During Sleep, which was published by Routledge in 1994.

We were invited by Routledge to write this book. We would not otherwise have considered writing a follow-up to Dr Green’s first book on the subject, Lucid Dreams, published by Hamish Hamilton in 1968, since the latter had not resulted, as we had hoped, in any financial support being forthcoming to enable us to carry out any of the experimental work which Dr Green had in mind.

Instead, several years after the publication of Lucid Dreams, we found other people entering the field, who were funded by university appointments in most cases. They began to carry out work which acknowledged Dr Green’s priority and the influence it had had on their own decision to enter the field of research, but which did not represent the sort of research which she had had in mind to do herself. Nor did it have any effect in making it any more possible for us to raise funds for our own work.

We are still appealing for funding to continue our work in this and other fields. We are also appealing for funding to keep Dr Green’s first book on lucid dreams in print, as well as books on other topics which we have written and published, and further books which we could write, or edit and publish, if we had funding to do so.

We are short-staffed on account of our lack of funding. Dr Green does not give interviews as we have found it impossible to avoid misinterpretations.

I add below three links to pieces which Dr Green has published on the topic of lucid dreaming in recent years on her blog, and which describe our attempts to get funding for continuing her research in this area.”

Lucid dreams: watching others get the benefit

An appeal to Harvard

More on lucid dreams and the BBC

04 July 2014

An evil headmaster

I reproduce below an account by one of my associates of an experience they had with the headmaster of their primary school. The account illustrates what is seldom acknowledged: that teachers, especially those employed in the state sector, may have destructive motivation towards some (or all) of their pupils, particularly those of high ability.

“Mr ‘X’ was the headmaster of the primary school I attended. When I was nine, he was in charge of the relatively small class of pupils deemed as possibles for passing the 11-plus exam. There was a parallel, and larger, lower-ability class. Although I was not aware of any formal policy on this, there were clear signs that this second class were regarded as no-hopers for the 11-plus exam. For example, the first class were occasionally given hints about how to do well in the exam, which was not done for the second class.

At that time, pupils of age 9 at the school entered either the 11-plus class or the parallel class, and left the school at 11 to go to secondary school – normally a grammar school if they had passed the 11-plus, or a secondary modern school if they had not.

At nine, I was among those selected to enter the ‘top’ class (as I, not the school, called it). I was at that time a bouncy, sociable and self-confident person. I was also conscientious, and felt identified with working hard and doing my best.

However, after entering the top class it soon emerged that I had not completely learnt my multiplication tables by heart, as I was apparently supposed to have done. This gave Mr X an excuse to punish me. As a result of my relative weakness in multiplication, I scored badly in the mental arithmetic tests Mr X gave regularly, and he began threatening me with the idea that I might be relegated to the ‘lower’ class. I was too full of shame and panic to tell my parents about these threats.

In due course I was relegated to the lower class, which happened towards the end of the first term. I did not tell my parents immediately that it had happened, because I felt ashamed. Mr X made no attempt to teach me the tables himself, nor did he contact my parents to encourage them to do so.

Mr X generally treated me as if I were a criminal or similar moral reprobate. He appeared to attribute my not having learnt the multiplication tables to laziness and frivolity, and hinted that my defect might consist in something even worse. When I thought about it later, I realised that (at the time) I felt that I had not known how wicked I was until Mr X had told me.

Eventually I had to tell my parents about the situation, and they reacted as I feared they would. They assured me that they ‘loved’ me but took it for granted that my being relegated to the lower class by Mr X meant that I was deficient in arithmetic, and that I would not pass the 11-plus. They started to console themselves with the idea that even if I went to a secondary modern school, I might still have a chance to take O-levels, like the children who got into grammar school.

Being in the ‘lower’ class damaged my self-confidence and did not improve my prowess at mental arithmetic. In neither the ‘top’ class nor the ‘lower’ class were the multiplication tables actually taught. I felt cowed.

One thing I remember vividly is that I had been in the school choir, which Mr X was in charge of, and that I had greatly enjoyed it. However, it appears I was penalised for my ‘sins’ by being excluded from choir events as well. That school year, the school choir performed with a number of other choirs at a concert in a nearby town, and one of my brothers was on stage as a member of the choir, but I was not. Instead, I was in the audience with my parents and younger siblings (they were too young to be in the choir).

At the end of that school year, I only managed to come third in the ‘lower’ class, even though I had previously come top of my year. I am sure this was because I felt demoralised and unable to identify with myself.

At the start of the next school year, Mr X graciously allowed me back into the ‘top’ class. I was relieved that I was back in the ‘land of the living’, i.e. in the same class as other obviously intelligent children, but my confidence had been damaged and I continued to think of myself as naturally lazy and frivolous.

All the pupils who turned 11 in that school year, including me, took the 11-plus. I made my best attempt at it. By that time I had learnt the multiplication tables by myself, at home. I didn’t feel I was doing particularly well at school (we didn’t get much feedback about how we were doing, until the end of a year) and so I fully expected not to pass the 11-plus. Nevertheless I did pass it, along with a few others in the top class. Also, at the end of the year it was announced, to my surprise, that I had come first in class, in terms of marks for schoolwork during the year.

I expect Mr X was fuming as he signed my book prize for coming first, as he evidently hated me. During the ‘demotion’ episode he had treated me as if I had somehow injured him, and as if he had to try to take revenge.

Although I could be said to have left that school on a relatively high note, my self-confidence did not return until many years later. I remained disconnected from my schoolwork throughout most of my time at the secondary school, and only achieved mediocre results in my O- and A-levels.

Thirty years later, I was only reminded that I had in fact come first at the end of the last year of primary school when I visited my parents, noticed the prize book there, and opened it to see the inscription signed by Mr X.

In retrospect, I expect Mr X had first noticed me when I went with my mother, at the age of four and half, to meet him for an interview about my attending the school in due course. At that time I could already read. While my mother was talking to Mr X, I took a great interest in the school noticeboards which I found in the corridors. Mr X asked me about what I could see, so I told him what I had read. I came to his attention again when I came top of my school year at the age of eight, and he was no doubt reminded to keep an eye on me.

By the time I was nine I was on the board of distinguished readers, an elite group of about ten pupils. One bad thing Mr X did not do when I was put down a year, though he had the capacity to, was to wipe my name off that list. But it was not my ability that he had called into question; it was my character. This may have done me more harm than if he had merely implied I was stupid.

My tentative interpretation of what happened is that Mr X was hostile to me because I was clever. Hence his desire to punish me by making me appear stupid. I think this reaction to ability, and desire to do someone down, is more common among teachers than is generally realised. The concept of the sadistic teacher is relatively commonplace, but the idea that hostility is particularly aroused by the able is less so. Of course this characteristic can be found among private school teachers as well as those working in the state sector. However, in the private sector there is at least a modicum of competitive pressure to keep anti-ability motivation suppressed.

Parents may not always care about the effects of a school as much as one might hope. However, they care more if they are paying, and are liable to transfer their children to another school if they think their money would be better spent elsewhere. By contrast, there is little pressure on state school teachers not to behave destructively. The parents aren’t paying and they typically have little power to change schools. Even if they do change, the school being rejected doesn’t suffer financially, so it has little reason to avoid teachers who behave like this, or to give them an incentive not to do so.”