Rax Oha Tal: The Reality Engineering Handbook

Dream Logs and Musings on the Mechanisms of the Matrix

Reality Handbook
IMPORTANT NEWS: I no longer use LiveJournal for my dream transcripts, so please visit the new main page at realityhandbook.org

This site is mostly about my dreaming life. I consistently become aware that I'm dreaming while still asleep. After waking up, I write down the conversations and experiments that I performed in the dream—and there are literally hundreds of these logs here.

In scientific parlance, what I do is called lucid dreaming. Fortunately, enough people have done it "on command" in laboratories that it has been proven to be possible! (If you are interested in the peer-reviewed experiments and how sleeping people can communicate with scientists, you should read up on the very interesting work of Dr. Stephen LaBerge at Stanford University.)

So given that it's a 'known' phenomenon, what's noteworthy about my experience? Here are the points as I see it:
  • I did not intentionally pursue lucid dreaming, nor do I use any machines to try to induce them. Yet they happen every night (often several times) and they can last for several minutes or longer.

  • What I try to do is interview dream characters, and carefully listen without letting preconceptions influence what I "hear". The things they "say" are more surprising, original, and coherent than most lucid dreamers report.

  • I'm often able to accurately relate facts to dream characters—such as the current date, recent news events, or where my body is sleeping. When I find an Internet terminal I'll often do searches on myself or about other topics.

  • I've written hundreds of accounts down to be studied as a data set. Since we can't video-record the dreamworld (yet) there are going to be plenty of mistakes in my reports... but I've tried to be as accurate as possible while keeping it readable.

  • There are no self-help books or psychic services that I have to sell, I don't do drugs, and this is not some joke project for a sci-fi writer. I am just a software developer who is trying to get to the bottom of some very strange experiences—and I am eager to engage any sleep-research lab that wants to study me.

On realityhandbook.org you'll find more than just hundreds of lucid dream transcripts (and the occasional interesting non-lucid dream. There are also letters, essays, and other writing. If you wish, you can instead jump straight to the index recent posts, or browse by a growing selection of tags.

But as a quick introduction to the type of experiences I am documenting, here are a few excerpts:


I am often in scenarios as if I'm being revived from cryonics or being simulated, as in Sour Grapes of the Future...

Some email addresses I'd used were up on the screen. A man who looked a bit like Mr. Sulu from Star Trek was looking through some files on another computer, seemingly old posts on the internet.

"Sulu": (mumbling) "Okay, that explains that comment. I wasn't clear on what that meant before."

He handed me something in a bowl, and began to speak:

"Sulu": "There is something you need to understand about showing people Future Things. You have to be careful. It's a lot like if you are dealing with someone who has never had a grape before. When you give them their first grape you must be 100% sure it's not a sour one...because if it is sour, then every time they're asked if they want a grape after that they will say no."

Whenever I can, I try my best to see if there is knowledge to be brought back which could be useful to science, like in The Facet Logic of Linear Time. I try to establish how I got to a place and who the people think I am, and then if they tell me something that I don't understand I just keep asking...

He pointed me toward an older German-looking man standing at the desk of a library, who was wearing a name card around his neck that said DATA MANAGER.

me: (jokingly) "Hi. I'm some data, I need to be managed."
manager: (amused) "If you are data, then where is your method?"
me: "My method is perhaps lost in my madness."

Because I got the impression that he was smart, I decided to abandon my quest to go elsewhere and just talk to him.

me: "Have you heard of schizophrenia? Or lucid dreaming? Do you know what it means when I say 'I am asleep somewhere'? From my point of view, I entered your world moments ago and will wake up shortly in my own reality."
manager: "You are confused because you try to model that these things are happening in a simple sequence. You have a constructed idea of linear time, and it isn't *actually* working like that."
me: "Can you explain to me how time *actually* works then? It would be great if I could take some testable information back. Some kind of scientific breakthrough would be very helpful if I were to make it on the basis of talking to you."
manager: "That will be difficult to express in your... what you call... 'Facet Logic'."
me: (confused) "Facet logic?"
manager: "Umm... I need to translate..."

His accent got heavier, and he paused.

manager: "The 'physics'?"

Indeed, the science of the dream world can be frustrating to have explained, such as when I was trying to figure out how audio was being produced in My Claymation Audiopad Lesson...

me: "There's no speakers and no mixer. I don't see how volume of the waveform I'm getting in my head can be controlled. How is the audio stream being represented? What's the limit of how loud it can get before it can't get louder, and it clips?"
man: (waving his hands) "No, no. There's no limits like that."
me: (skeptically) "Then I don't see how this can possibly be working. Whether carried in a sound wave or not, all information needs to be transmitted though a substrate."
man: "No it doesn't. It's not analog, it's not digital, you can't really think of it that way."
me: (frustrated) "There's got to be some way you can explain this to me. I've heard this not-analog-not-digital argument before, but it's just makes no sense. Where is the darn stuff STORED?!?"

He paused to choose his answer carefully.

man: "In our expanding minds."

Generally I have a lot of Matrix-type experiences suggesting Earth is a technology-based or "game". But at some points, I also run into a lot of more typically 'religious' or 'spiritual' answers to some of my questions, as in Extended Visit to the Ether...

I ran into a couple talking about someone who wasn't in the room. I understood them to be speaking about a person in the material world.

girl: "She's probably taking a bath right now."
me: "Ok. So how are you connected with this person?"
girl: "We're married. Every spirit is married with a body."
me: "So you're married to a body...but, you've got some kind of body here too. Who's YOUR spirit?"
girl: "There is another spirit above me, and a spirit above them..."
me: "Ok great. So what the heck am I? I mean, do I have a spirit, or am I the spirit? Because I don't remember this place too well...am I passed out on the floor 99% of the time? And why is it I seem to be the only one of us who can relay information back and forth? Is my spirit anything special or powerful or do I have badass friends?"

Suddenly a copy of a Dave Gahan album titled Overconfident appeared on the bed. No such album exists AFAIK.

couple: "He's your brother."
me: "You mean, spirit brother?"
couple: "Yes."

Sometimes when I ask questions, issues of the legality of contact are brought up. One of my most memorable examples of that was when I was talking to some people who looked like the sketch comedy group Kids in the Hall...

me: "Last night, let's see, um...today is Saturday so that would have been Friday. The, uh, 20 somethingth. Look, what I'm doing is difficult and you should be impressed. Though the accuracy of what I'm saying should be questioned."

I looked Dave straight in the eye.

me: (exaggeratedly) "I'm. Asleep. Y'know."

Dave Foley's face was now very strange, with black eyes and a hat, and deformed a bit like Freddy Krueger, though less scary. My staring proceeded.

"Dave": (equally exaggerated) "Yes. We. Know. In. Fact. We. Are. Not. Supposed. To. Talk. To. You."
me: "Why not?"
"Dave": "Firstly, because of the fact that you all are drugged and basically unaware of the forces of evil—it's considered a bad idea. Secondly, there are certain biases which exist in the community."

He lowered his voice and whispered.

"Dave": "...and there actually are some lawsuits going on right now."

Impersonation and the idea of using celebrity identities come up often. So just as there is a LiveJounal for jesus, I take any appearance of a famous person with a definite grain of salt. Here someone was impersonating the author of Harry Potter in Psychokinetic Potential of 1 in 15...

He guided me through various hallways that were full of people, and occasionally they would wave. One pretty girl seemed to take notice that I was looking at her.

pretty girl: (beaming) "Hi there!"

I smiled back but tried to keep pace with the guide. He stopped at a closet and gathered some items, it said "J.K. Rowling" on the door.

me: "Wait, that name...that's the author who wrote the Harry Potter series?"
guide: "That's correct."
me: "I've not read any of the books but they are popular where I am from. The author is depicted as an English woman. Why are you taking things out of her closet? Do you feel this identity is yours, hers, stolen, shared?"
guide: (shrugging) "You should re-evaluate the question of if there's any such thing as truth or not. I'd argue that truth is more about knowing what makes a 'good' lie, and what makes a 'bad' one."

That's just the tip of the iceberg. It's not always pleasant like this, though. I can also face brutal attacks, injections, and all manner of nastiness as a response to my friendly inquiries. A little bit unfair to be happening to someone who doesn't squish spiders but evicts them with a piece of paper and a cup, no? I'm pretty much numb to the violence and horror, though...

Filter vs. Crystal Method Trip Like I Do Frame #3   Filter vs. Crystal Method Trip Like I Do Frame #2   Filter vs. Crystal Method Trip Like I Do Frame #1

So do I think this is "all in my head"? Well, Alan Worsley was one of the test subjects that helped scientifically validate lucid dreams. After a lifetime of working with them he said "I believe that the virtual characters in dreams have no minds of their own." I deferred to the experience of trained researchers like him around the time of my first lucid dream over ten years ago, and just assumed I would necessarily come to agree as I became better at it—if I became better at it.

But I did get remarkably better (there was a major jump in ability that happened around 2002, and a sort of steady progress since)—and I did not come to agree. It is simply not useful to model everything that goes on in my dreams as being less real than the walking world. Plus, it might be a self-fulfilling prophecy for solipsists—if someone models their life on Earth as if no one else is real, they will probably wind up locked alone in a padded room. So if you act as if you are the only being who matters in a lucid dreaming scenario, I'd think a similar result might ensue.

Despite that philosophical issue, I acknowledge that our mind is indeed able to build complex projections onto inanimate objects. Tom Hanks projected a personality onto Wilson the Volleyball in Cast Away, and I don't think that's too far off from what can happen...it's certainly more likely in dreams. But if we aren't going to be solipsistic about everything, we have to measure for signs of "otherness". I've drawn my conclusion, but then again I know what it feels like to have a thought come from my mind and to hear it come from elsewhere. You'll just have to draw your own conclusions from the body of data I've written down.

Here are a few dreams I like to start people out with:

I've come to think of myself as something like a SETI researcher, except instead of filtering through radio signals from space I'm filtering the signals that I receive in my own mind. (It seems rather fitting that one of the most famous bands of our current time is titled "Radiohead"!)

I probably shouldn't set my hopes on being the linchpin that finds the bridge between parallel dream universes, but...I do. One aspect of my hope is that with the advent of search engines and archiving we might have a tool history did not in terms of linking together people who might have exchanged information in a dream... separated by traditional constructs of space and time.

Though my focus has been trying to bring back some kind of alien gift or solution to an unsolved problem, it hasn't happened yet. So on various occasions I've tried some internet outreach to this world. I've not managed to draw enough attention to this journal to be approached by any scientists who wish to study me, and moreover have very little readership—though I appreciate the support of long-term reader mrnihil.

(Note: I saw a comedian once who was saying that there's nothing more boring than hearing about other people's dreams. She said the only exception was when you are *in* the other person's dream. Her joke went like: "This guy was telling me his long boring dream, about how he had just been late for class but he was being attacked by Mr. Rogers, except he was evil, and he couldn't get away because he was swimming in a bunch of baked beans. And I was tuning out, like 'yeah, yeah' until he said '...and you were there'. Suddenly it got interesting and I had questions! 'Was I running from Mr. Rogers, or was I helping him chase you? Was I also in the baked beans, or was I standing somewhere else?? What was I wearing?') :)

If I were to be studied, I'd think it could be something like the studies of Daniel Tammet, who is as an otherwise normal "savant" who can describe the visualization process he uses to do intense computation in his head, involuntarily. I believe that some people can serve as linchpins in the understanding of our minds and our reality, and if I can contribute to that I would be happy... (well, if it doesn't destroy the planet)!!! ^o_o^

Day the Earth Stood Still Frame #1   Day The Earth Stood Still Frame #2

Due to not really getting much feedback, I will sometimes communicate in unusual ways to get attention. This is in order to make people think about and challenge the notion that there aren't filters blocking us from receiving certain kind of knowledge. Because as it has been stated before, "just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you". To read more about what I think about spam and filtering...and why I make such odd pictures sometimes...here's a few thoughts.)

WARNING!!! — Please, if you are new to lucid dreaming, and are in general finding yourself starting down the path of discovery of a world a bit more complicated than the one you were taught about by your parents, your church, or your university... READ THIS FIRST before you get caught up in a web of too much alternative literature.

(Note: I have some unusual interests listed below which are not necessarily things I am "interested" in—such as 'jesus', 'aliens', 'astral projection', and 'the cia'. The reason is that though I often find myself using the terminology of the lucid dreaming community, many of the issues I tackle preoccupy those who would use these terms. Though people who use these words might be instantly labeled bonkers by today's psychiatrists, I do not think someone is crazy just because of the words they use. Distilling the vocabulary out of the experience is something I would like to do, so don't hesitate to speak to me in your terms. But please be calm and respectful—I do not have the background for helping people work through the emotional problems of being an angry/paranoid person or dysfunctional communicator.)

Royksopp Remind Me Frame #3   Royksopp Remind Me Frame #2   Royksopp Remind Me Frame #1

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