Among All These Dreamers: Essays on Dreaming and Modern Society

SUNY Press
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This multidisciplinary volume examines the cultural and social relevance of dream studies, looking at various ways that the field can contribute to the resolution of the modern West’s most troubling social issues. The essays offer novel insights on education, sexual abuse, ecology, crime, race, gender, religion, politics, death, and cross-cultural conflict. The contributors argue that the study of dreams can provide valuable resources to regain a vibrant, trustworthy sense of moral and spiritual orientation in life.
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About the author

Kelly Bulkeley is Chair of the Board of Directors of the Association for the Study of Dreams, and teaches at the Graduate Theological Union at University of California at Berkeley. He is the author of The Wilderness of Dreams: Exploring the Religious Meanings of Dreams in Modern Western Culture, also published by SUNY Press, and Spiritual Dreaming.

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Additional Information

Publisher
SUNY Press
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Published on
Dec 31, 1996
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Pages
259
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ISBN
9780791497975
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Best For
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Language
English
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Genres
Psychology / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Big dreams are rare but highly memorable dream experiences that make a strong and lasting impact on the dreamer's waking awareness. Moving far beyond "I forgot to study and the finals are today" and other common scenarios, such dreams can include vivid imagery, intense emotions, fantastic characters, and an uncanny sense of being connected to forces beyond one's ordinary dreaming mind. In Big Dreams, Kelly Bulkeley provides the first full-scale cognitive scientific analysis of such dreams, putting forth an original theory about their formation, function, and meaning. Big dreams have played significant roles in religious and cultural history, but because of their infrequent occurrence and fantastical features, they have rarely been studied in light of modern science. We know a great deal about the religious manifestations of big dreams throughout history and around the world, but until now that cross-cultural knowledge has never been integrated with scientific research on their psychological roots in the brain-mind system. In Big Dreams, Bulkeley puts a classic psychological thesis to the scientific test by clarifying and improving it with better data, sharper analysis, and a broader evolutionary framework. He brings evidence from multiple sources, shows patterns of similarity and difference, questions prior assumptions, and provides predictive models that can be applied to new sets of data. The notion of a connection between dreaming and religion has always been intuitively compelling; Big Dreams transforms it into a solid premise of religious studies and brain-mind science. Combining evidence from religious studies, psychology, anthropology, evolutionary biology, and neuroscience, Big Dreams makes a compelling argument that big dreams are a primal wellspring of religious experience. They represent an innate, neurologically hard-wired capacity of our species that regularly provokes greater self-awareness, creativity, and insight into the existential challenges and spiritual potentials of human life.
Big dreams are rare but highly memorable dream experiences that make a strong and lasting impact on the dreamer's waking awareness. Moving far beyond "I forgot to study and the finals are today" and other common scenarios, such dreams can include vivid imagery, intense emotions, fantastic characters, and an uncanny sense of being connected to forces beyond one's ordinary dreaming mind. In Big Dreams, Kelly Bulkeley provides the first full-scale cognitive scientific analysis of such dreams, putting forth an original theory about their formation, function, and meaning. Big dreams have played significant roles in religious and cultural history, but because of their infrequent occurrence and fantastical features, they have rarely been studied in light of modern science. We know a great deal about the religious manifestations of big dreams throughout history and around the world, but until now that cross-cultural knowledge has never been integrated with scientific research on their psychological roots in the brain-mind system. In Big Dreams, Bulkeley puts a classic psychological thesis to the scientific test by clarifying and improving it with better data, sharper analysis, and a broader evolutionary framework. He brings evidence from multiple sources, shows patterns of similarity and difference, questions prior assumptions, and provides predictive models that can be applied to new sets of data. The notion of a connection between dreaming and religion has always been intuitively compelling; Big Dreams transforms it into a solid premise of religious studies and brain-mind science. Combining evidence from religious studies, psychology, anthropology, evolutionary biology, and neuroscience, Big Dreams makes a compelling argument that big dreams are a primal wellspring of religious experience. They represent an innate, neurologically hard-wired capacity of our species that regularly provokes greater self-awareness, creativity, and insight into the existential challenges and spiritual potentials of human life.
Set in late sixteenth-century Spain, this book tells the gripping story of Lucrecia de León, a young woman of modest background who gained a dangerously popular reputation as a prophetic dreamer predicting apocalyptic ruin for her country. When Lucrecia was still a teenager, several Catholic priests took great interest in her prolific dreams and began to record them in detail. But the growing public attention to the dreams eventually became too much for the Spanish king. Stung that Lucrecia had accurately foreseen the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588, Philip II ordered the Inquisition to arrest her on charges of heresy and sedition. During Lucrecia's imprisonment, trial, and torture, the carefully collected records of her dreams were preserved and analyzed by the court. The authenticity of these dreams, and their potentially explosive significance, became the focal point of the Church's investigation.

Returning to these records of a dreamer from another era, Lucrecia the Dreamer is the first book to examine Lucrecia's dreams as dreams, as accurate reports of psychological experiences with roots in the brain's natural cycles of activity during sleep. Using methods from the cognitive science of religion, dream researcher Kelly Bulkeley finds meaningful patterns in Lucrecia's dreaming prophecies and sheds new light on the infinitely puzzling question at the center of her trial, a question that has vexed all religious traditions throughout history: How can we determine if a dream is, or is not, a true revelation?

Big dreams are rare but highly memorable dream experiences that make a strong and lasting impact on the dreamer's waking awareness. Moving far beyond "I forgot to study and the finals are today" and other common scenarios, such dreams can include vivid imagery, intense emotions, fantastic characters, and an uncanny sense of being connected to forces beyond one's ordinary dreaming mind. In Big Dreams, Kelly Bulkeley provides the first full-scale cognitive scientific analysis of such dreams, putting forth an original theory about their formation, function, and meaning. Big dreams have played significant roles in religious and cultural history, but because of their infrequent occurrence and fantastical features, they have rarely been studied in light of modern science. We know a great deal about the religious manifestations of big dreams throughout history and around the world, but until now that cross-cultural knowledge has never been integrated with scientific research on their psychological roots in the brain-mind system. In Big Dreams, Bulkeley puts a classic psychological thesis to the scientific test by clarifying and improving it with better data, sharper analysis, and a broader evolutionary framework. He brings evidence from multiple sources, shows patterns of similarity and difference, questions prior assumptions, and provides predictive models that can be applied to new sets of data. The notion of a connection between dreaming and religion has always been intuitively compelling; Big Dreams transforms it into a solid premise of religious studies and brain-mind science. Combining evidence from religious studies, psychology, anthropology, evolutionary biology, and neuroscience, Big Dreams makes a compelling argument that big dreams are a primal wellspring of religious experience. They represent an innate, neurologically hard-wired capacity of our species that regularly provokes greater self-awareness, creativity, and insight into the existential challenges and spiritual potentials of human life.
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