Brian Nuckols on Dreams, Pt. 3: Techniques | Who Shaves the Barber? #11

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Lucid dreaming
Lucid dreaming

In this final installment of our interview, Brian Nuckols begins by explaining the metaphysical and social implications of dreams within dreams and recurring dreams. We then pass through a fascinating digression on how falsifiability applies to psychoanalysis and on the politics surrounding therapeutic modalities. We conclude with Brian’s actionable suggestions for the curious listener, divided into three parts: remembering our dreams, interpreting our dreams, and lucid dreaming.



Next week: Against Certainty, Pt. 1: Knowledge and Experience
Special thanks for Jackie Blum for the podcast art, and The Tin Box for the theme music.

Topics discussed

00:36 – Metaphysics of dreams within dreams and recurring dreams
7:32 – Interpretations of common recurring dreams
14:28 – Falsifiability
21:03 – Politics behind evaluating effectiveness of different therapeutic modalities
30:57 – Techniques – Remembering
35:02 – Techniques – Interpreting
43:54 – Techniques – Lucid dreaming
55:00 – What you do when you ludic dream
1:03:41 – Dangers of lucid dreaming


An Overview of Lucid Dreaming Tech” by Brian Nuckols
Kicking Anima Possession for Fun and Profit” by Brian Nuckols…

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My First Philosophical Theory


When I was a kid, I had a dog. I’d take him out for a walk at night. He usually took care of his business within a few minutes, but I’d walk him for 2 hours, sometimes more, circling the same few blocks over and over. I’d just think. My thoughts tended to go to the nature of reality. I’d look at streetlights and wonder what the hell light was anyway.

I must have been around ten or eleven when I put the name “philosophy” to my growing interest. I remember telling my mom and aunt about it. They laughed, and my aunt made a snide remark about how much money that was going to make me. But a few weeks later, she bought me a book. It was a collection of one-page summaries of the views of important philosophers throughout history. I’d read through it and only partially understand. The philosophers got harder to make sense of with time. Once the book got to twentieth-century philosophers, I hadn’t a clue what they were talking about. But I knew it was exciting. The prospect of eventually understanding them was thrilling to me. I felt as if learning reasons why the world might not be as it seems would give me some special kind of power.

I was about thirteen when I started thinking rigorously about what the purpose of my life was. It seemed obvious that it should be – broadly – happiness. I developed the following way of thinking about it: at any given moment of experience, I am always happy or unhappy to some extent.…

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