Goals, Dreams, Needs and Lucid Dreams

Ponderings April 14th, 2007

I think there is a an important distinction between a goal and a dream. A goal has some achievable outcome and a deadline. A dream is something less substantial and it’s something you will probably never actualise. As I said in my previous post, setting too many goals can be dangerous to your general well being because you end up chasing your goals. But you can’t really chase a dream, it’s always so much further away than a goal, and it’s so hard to grasp what you actually want from it so I don’t think it’s such a problem. I get a warm fuzzy feeling when dreaming, but I don’t get the same nice feeling when I think about my upcoming goal. I think having dreams is important, because dreams give hope. And hope is essential to feel human. Or maybe I should say something quotable like “to be human is to hope”?

I think my darkest moments have been filled with a distinct feeling of complete hopelessness, which correlated highly with a complete lack of will to live. Not as in “I want to die”, but “live” as in to get up, move around, do something proactive, achieve etc etc.

I’m no great thinker, here are some quotes from some people more eloquent than I (source):

  • To eat bread without hope is still slowly to starve to death. (Pearl S. Buck)
  • He who has never hoped can never despair. (George Bernard Shaw)
  • Hope is the worst of evils, for it prolongs the torments of man. (Friedrich Nietzsche)
  • A sobering thought: what if, at this very moment, I am living up to my full potential? (Jane Wagner)

Anyway, my original intention with this post was to bring to your attention the Maslow Hierarchy of Needs, and discuss whether it relates at all to the general well being of the person. See I think you can reach the top of the pyramid, self actualisation, and still be terribly unhappy. In fact, I don’t think it addresses well being at all. What DOES it address? Anyway, those down the bottom have some simple needs, and I’d say they have a lot of hope. I’m not saying the beggar is happier than the aristocrat, but those at the top may have everything except hope, and hence feel completely lifeless, where as the beggar feels hungry but alive. Hope is necessary but not sufficient for happiness.

The other thing I wanted to bring your attention to was this really interesting article on lucid dreams. This ties in with both the “dream” theme of this post (although it relates to sleep dreams as opposed to life dreams) and the Maslow Hierarchy of Needs. Basically it says that you can have some level of control your dreams and actually use them as a tool. The lucid dreams FAQ briefly mentioned being able to use it to achieve “self actualisation”. Certainly an interesting article anyway and it related to what I was thinking about at the time.

Since the FAQ said there is not harm in attempting to enter into lucid dreams, I’m going to try it out. Getting the “rush” of knowing I’m in a dream sounds like fun to me. I’ll let you know how I go. Then you can brand me as a new age hippy and be done with me. I’m not a hippy, I’ve just got an open mind (maaan).

3 Responses to “Goals, Dreams, Needs and Lucid Dreams”

  1. grandad Says:

    Lucid dreams? Been there done that but didn’t think that it was any big deal.
    When I read your link I realized that I’d used this type of dreaming, many years ago mainly. It was during a time when things weren’t so easy and there was a bit of worry and, I suppose a bit of doubt about my ability to cope. I got so good that I could carry the dreams over several days and eventually didn’t need to be asleep to join the world of make-believe.
    I think that it was probably therapeutic but I think that it could be a bad thing if one lets ones self move too far into the dream world.
    Funny, I’d never thought about this till your blog then I could remember zooming up and diving and another one I had was being able to swim under water because I’d developed gills. Trouble is that they get to be so real and enjoyable that they begin to have a drug like influence!

  2. Gemmell Says:


    Interesting that you’ve experienced this without knowing what it was (or at least that it had a name). Apparently it’s quite common, but it seems that most people wake up when they realise they are dreaming. Or they only have slight control of the dream.

    I used to have dreams and I’d always end up falling. When I hit the ground I’d go completely black and the rest of the night would be a deep dreamless sleep. It was good sleeping.

    So you are unable to do lucid dreaming anymore? Or you choose not to?


  3. grandad Says:

    If you have a real lucid dream you shouldn’t end up in a mess, the thing I found about these dreams was that you are always in control and invincible.
    I don’t have lucid dreams as such now because I don’t need to dream the impossible, I’ve got to the state of comfortable security that I accused you of being in! I still dream but the dreams are of being able to again do all the things that I used to be able to do and not end up aching or puffing!
    Age only stunts the performance not the desire!