23 December 2011

Lucid dreams, Disney, and a new philosophy department

copy of a letter to a salaried philosopher

I suppose a Philosophy Department would be the most obvious thing for my incipient (squashed and suppressed) independent university to start with. It is incredible that no university anywhere has taken any interest, nor any sufficiently wealthy individual.

On the face of it, a Philosophy Department is cheaper to set up than a Science Department, which makes it less good from our point of view. The larger the scale of the operation, the easier to include a dining hall and kitchens, and live-in staff.

A further shocking reminder of our continued lack of support (not to mention hostility towards us) is provided by the fact that lucid dreams are now part of the popular culture, as well as continuing to provide an area of research for many salaried academics. A recent episode of a popular new Disney cartoon series, evidently expected to reach a wide audience, starts with one of the main characters having some odd experiences, then saying, ‘Oh, this must be one of those lucid dreams.’

I was shocked when I first found that lucid dreams were being taken up by various American academics without the slightest benefit to me, and I have been more amazed the longer lucid dreams have continued to receive attention (of a kind – though not of such a kind as to advance understanding of them, or to provide the slightest opportunity to any of us).

As you know, I worked on them in bad circumstances as the best thing I could find with which to regain entry to a suitable academic career.

I do not think you, or any other senior academic, should find the continuance of our cold-shouldered position acceptable.

David Cameron is proposing to spend about half a billion pounds on advising ‘problem families’, and it is long odds that this will do no good to anyone, in fact it may make things somewhat worse. But that amount of money, although small for setting up a full-scale university with several research departments, would enable me and some other downtrodden people with high IQs to use our abilities to be productive.