I just did a very primitive experiment — a Saturday afternoon-type experiment — at Marine World. I was floating in an isolation tank and had an underwater loudspeaker close to my head and an air microphone just above me. Both were connected through an amplifier to the dolphin tank so that they could hear me and I could hear them. I started playing with sound — whistling and clicking and making other noises that dolphins like. Suddenly I felt as if a lightning bolt had hit me on the head. We have all this on tape, and it’s just incredible. It was a dolphin whistle that went ssssshhheeeeeooooo in a falling frequency from about nine thousand to three thousand hertz in my hearing range. It started at the top of my head, expanding as the frequency dropped, and showing me the inside of my skull, and went right down through my body. The dolphin gave me a three-dimensional feeling of the inside of my skull, describing my body by a single sound!
I want to know what the dolphin experiences. I want to go back and repeat the experiment in stereo, instead of with a single loudspeaker. Since I’m not equipped like a dolphin, I’ve got to use an isolation tank, electronics, and all this nonsense to pretend I’m a dolphin.
“Dream incubation is much easier than lucid dreaming (conscious control of dreams in progress) or learning to interpret your dreams,” says psychologist Gayle Delaney, Ph.D, who pioneered the modern techniques of psychological dream incubation in the early 1970s. Her program is summarized below:
Choose an issue of immediate concern to you in relationships, work, creative endeavors, self-image, hobbies, or sports.
On a piece of paper, to be kept at your bedside, write the date and a few lines about your problem or challenge.
Compose a one-line phrase clearly expressing what you want to know, understand, or discover.
Turn out the light and silently repeat to yourself your incubation phrase. Every time your mind wanders, bring it back to the phrase as if it were a mantra or a lullaby. This will keep you from worrying about your issue, and will put you to sleep quickly.
When you awake, write down whatever is on your mind whether it is a dream or not. Often your response will come in a brief dream tempting to discard as meaningless if you are not yet skilled in reading your dream metaphors.
After breakfast, interview yourself about your dream or early morning thoughts and see if they are a literal or metaphorical response to your dream incubation.
Dreams spring from a mysterious, unending well of images. I call it the unconscious Lucasfilm Arts. They are not rehashed images we’ve already seen in waking life, although motifs, elements and characters familiar to conscious experience populate them. It’s exciting to realize that both conscious and unconscious imagery are created by consciousness as is postulated by Donald Hoffman’s Interface theory. And that’s the crux of why I want one of these machines so badly. I can count on myself to remember a lot of my dreams, but to watch them unfold during their very manifestation, including the parts I forgot in the first go round will be outstanding.
It literally sounds like a screeching zombie. We can only imagine what it would be like to hear hundreds of the whistles from an Aztec army on the march. We’re not entirely certain what the whistles were used for, however. They may have been used as an intimidation tactic in war, but there’s one aspect of Aztec society in which they certainly played a role: human sacrifice.