Lucid Dreaming in Western Literature

  • Stephen LaBerge


Although Plato wrote that the faculty of reason is suspended during sleep, his pupil, Aristotle, was the first to state clearly, in his treatise On Dreams, that often, when we are asleep, there is something in our consciousness that tells us that what we are experiencing is only a dream. Beyond merely describing lucid dreaming, the “first scientist” also sought to explain how such a thing could happen. He argued that if someone were to place his finger directly in front of your eyes without your observing his doing it, the resulting double image would cause you to believe that you were seeing two fingers. If on the other hand, you were to observe his finger as it nears your eye, you would not be misled by your double vision into believing that there actually were two fingers. “Exactly so it is in the states of sleep,” Aristotle continued, “if the sleeper perceives that he is asleep, and is conscious of the sleeping state during which the perception comes before his mind, it presents itself still, but something within him speaks to this effect: ‘The image of Koriskos presents itself, but the real Koriskos is not present’ ” (Aristotle, 1952, pp. 702–706).


Western Literature Dream State Black Kitten Dream Recall Psychical Phenomenon 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephen LaBerge
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyStanford UniversityStanfordUSA

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