On his blog, Kelly Bulkeley has an interesting question and answer in regards to Jared Loughner, plus this interesting conclusion about lucid dreaming
…It’s rather that we need to ask the right questions about lucid dreaming. The characters in Dreamside are so intent on figuring out how to induce lucid dreaming that they never ask themselves why they want to do so in the first place. The “how” question is relatively easy, but if you haven’t reflected carefully on the “why” question you may find yourself woefully unprepared for what you encounter. This is the same message that Hindu and Buddhist sages have taught for centuries: it is indeed possible to learn lucid dreaming techniques, but those techniques are best practiced within a context of spiritual training, guidance, and self-reflection. The college students in Dreamside have grown up in the morally impoverished world of Thatcher-era Britain, and they have few cultural resources to help them make sense of their experiences. Perhaps the greatest achievement of Joyce’s novel is that it provides what its characters lack—a wise and healthily cautious understanding of human dreaming potential…
When the 63 students applying to my class answered the three application questions to register, the near majority stated they were interested in lucid dreaming. A year ago, there was no interest in lucid dreaming; I attribute the spike to the movie, Inception. I certainly do not know if they have or live in a “morally impoverish world of Thatcher-era Britain with few cultural resources” but I can hazard a guess and say they are normal kids: many of them very bright and inquisitive with a well rounded exposure to a diverse and interesting culture. I agree answering their questions as to how is easier to tackle, but to answer the question of why they’re interested will be found with open dialogue, and a lot of it. My goal, which has changed since I first introduced the class, is to teach them to think for themselves. By thinking critically they can analyze movies and literature and determine what is real, what is possible and and what is mere entertainment. It’s no different than analyzing a math problem or looking at scientific data. To this point, I agree with Dr. Bulkeley that a wise and healthy approach to understanding dreams and lucid dreaming is key. What is interesting about my current class of students is that most are planning careers in science, most believe AI will be a part of their future, and most believe the basis of Avatar is probable, (growing a body, settling a planet, hooking up to machines for AI, and capitalism will destroy nature ) and the tech and concepts in Inception are not.
Interestingly, Wired.com had a story recently about a “thinking cap,” designed by the Sydney Center for The Mind, that suppreses the eleft side of the brain to encourage a more creative right side. This seems to be no different than the wiring connected to the brain “used” in The Cell, The Matrix, Avatar and Inception. Evidently the future is already here. (No doubt the CIA has had this for decades…. and that’s another topic!)
As to whether of not Jared Loughner’s dream journal is a valuable piece of evidence, I answer yes. The unconscious state and dreaming is the accumulation of a person’s intake and a reflection of his conscious existence, even if dreaming is often illogical and makes no sense. The difference, as a comparison, is that most people do not dream about violence; if he did indeed dream violence, that’s a reflection of a very real persona. The diary will explain his state of mind and provide the medical evidence of his inability to function as a whole and healthy human being and if he was sliding into violence. I also think it will bear witness on our current culture and the downward spiral as increasing numbers of people believe conspiracy theories, that we’re controlled by the government and outside forces, because so much of this has become part of our culture and entertainment systems. Was he schizophrenic or was he merely the product of what he read and watched? Answering that will become part and parcel to the defense of how and why a young mind that went terribly wrong.