Last night, I was with a group of people I didn't know. In the group, there was a kid who claimed that he could read the minds of others. With utter disbelief, I approached him. He covered both my ears with his palms and asked me to think of something. I thought of the number '5' and he immediately said aloud, "5". I was shocked. How could the kid know that I thought of that number? To ensure he did not simply get lucky, I thought of another number, '7' and he immediately declared that I thought of '7'. I thought of a few more numbers and he correctly announced all the numbers I thought of. I was completely befuddled. The people around were equally perplexed. They felt that both of us were working together to hoodwink others. An old man in the group who seemed intrigued by all this approached us and asked us to perform more experiments in a structured manner. He proposed that the numbers be generated using a pseudorandom number generator of a scientific calculator and written down on a paper. He asked me to read the paper and then think of the numbers written there and see whether the kid could then read my mind.

While he was preparing a list of random numbers, I was trying to guess how the kid was reading my mind. He couldn't be correct every time just by luck. He seemed to have direct access to my mind. However, that would be a miracle. I kept on thinking, coming up with various hypotheses and discarding them. By sheer luck, I thought of a model involving one random number generator (RNG) connected to two displays. It provided me some clues. In the model, the output of the RNG appeared immediately on the first display, but only after a delay of 1 second on the second display. Now, it would seem that the first display was predicting the output of the second display. I started thinking more in that direction. What could possibly be the source of the thoughts that was accessible to both?

After a little thought, it occurred to me that it could be my own mind. Probably the kid and the people I could see were simply creations of my mind. Perhaps, I was asleep and dreaming. I wanted to test the hypothesis. If it was only a dream and my mind was creating all the experience, I should have been able to read the minds of others. I had no clue how the experience of reading others' minds would feel like but I went ahead to test the hypothesis. I asked a person to help me. He agreed. I covered his ears with my palms and asked him to think of a number and suddenly the number '17' echoed in my mind. I was thrilled. I asked him whether '17' was the number he thought of. He confirmed that it was indeed the number he had thought of.

Unfortunately, I could not stay in this state of lucid dream for long. I woke soon after I tested my hypothesis a few times. In case, you find lucid dreaming intriguing you should watch Waking Life, a very thought provoking movie that shows the experience of a man trapped in a persistent lucid dream state.

4 comments

Utkarshraj Atmaram said:

Interesting! Wikibooks has a great book on Lucid Dreaming.

Gokul Anand said:

Good read. Got me into lucid dreams and gave me a chance to feel more human now. :-)

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