November 26, 2013
A Shadow To Catch Your Dreams
The horror is still there, but time has allowed it to fade. In the worst nightmare of my life, I am pointing a gun at two standing terrified figures. They are my children. I am surrounded by a gang of terrorists. Apart from narrow openings for their eyes, the faces of the gang members are masked. One of them points a pistol at my head and tells me to shoot. I tell him I can’t do it but he tells me again that I must choose which of my children to kill. If I don’t choose one the gang will kill them both. I must kill one to save the other but I cannot choose. I threaten to kill myself but they say they will shoot the kids anyway. I scream, a blood-curdling primal roar of terror and pain. The scream is real and terrifies my partner who had been peacefully sleeping beside me. She tries to calm me down to no avail. For a while, I had lived what must be a man’s worst possible dilemma and for days I couldn’t get it out of my mind.
All this came back to me when I read about a new App designed to record and share dreams. Shadow is a crowd-funded App that reached its $50,000 target in 46 days following a highly successful Kickstarter campaign. The basic idea has been used before, however, Shadow aims for more sophistication in the way it records not only your dreams but your sleep patterns and level of awareness on waking, as well as building a global database of dreams.
We forget 95 percent of our dreams unless we log them immediately after waking, so Shadow is designed to track your sleep patterns and wake you slowly with a series of escalating alarms. It then prompts you to record them either by on-screen text or voice recorder. At that point, you can choose if you want to share your dream with the community.
Would I have wanted to share my nightmare? I think it is far more likely I would have hurled the device with Shadow installed across the room. But, of course, for most people such nightmares are very rare and the world of dreams is fascinating. So the prospect of collating the dreams of countless people around the world does have some appeal.
The App was developed by Hunter Lee Soik a creative consultant who has worked with Kanye West and Jay-Z as well as Stella McCartney.
The website gives prominence to a quote attributed to John Lennon, “A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality.” It sounds good, but I’m not sure how true it is. I doubt anyone would want to share my nightmare and, as with most community based systems, the Shadow dream-world will depend on the quality of the uploaded information and the integrity of the people that contribute. That being said, it is an interesting idea and definitely one to watch.