Who moves: you, or the dreamscape?

Remember those old racing games at the arcades where the car stayed in one spot and the track flowed beneath it? And then 3D gaming picked up and you actually moved around the computer-generated environment. It got me thinking… in a lucid dream, do you believe that we move around the dream, like a conscious entity tracing our neural pathways, or does the dream move around us? I’m writing a blog on this and would love to hear your experiences.

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Well I’m taking the physical approach: As Einstein kind of figured out, everything is relative. If you and the dreamscape are the only two systems that exist, then only their motion relative to each other matters.

Things change and possibly get more interesting if you have other references to relate those things to, then considerations become less simple. In the arcade video game machine you mention, that is the frame around the screen that is limiting what gets displayed, for example. What third (or fourth, fifth, …) reference system do you have in mind?

That’s interesting, Marvin. I like what you say about the frame around the screen as a limiting factor. I guess I’m more interested in people’s experience of traveling through their dreams. Whether it feels to them as though they are actually moving around the dreamscape, or whether they fell as if the dreamscape moves and they are a fixed point of observation (or perspective I suppose). What do you feel when you dream lucidly?

Alright, I see what you mean!

I’m definitely moving by myself a lot. The dreamscape I guess is not moving, but it frequently changes right under my nose. So in a sense, you could actually say that it is traveling and not I in many instances. But I’d say inside the dream it always feels like I’m moving by myself.

You also mentioned the fixed point of observation. And here it gets interesting. Because this point is also shifting a lot in my dreams. Most of the time I spend in first person, but it also frequently switches to third person or even to completely different places/times/perspectives. I think this is because I clearly reached an age where I have spent most of my life familiar with television and working and playing with a computer. So this evident disembodiment feels more natural than not. I wonder if people a hundred years ago had this at all or how common it was back then in dreams.

So as usual, in a dream anything goes :mrgreen: What are your usual and your peculiar experiences regarding this topic?


I love this! I find the shifting perspective so intriguing, and totally get what you mean about the effect of the TV and computer. Personally, I almost exclusively feel as if I am experiencing the dream in first person, but occasionally, I’m watching the dream as if it’s on a television, without actually being present. I recall experiencing third person, and seeing myself in the dream… so I find it so interesting when people have. Although perhaps I have and have simply not remembered it. Thanks for sharing, Marvin.

The concept of third person view is common enough that we have the acronym DO for it: Disembodied Observer

It encompasses more than seeing yourself in third person. Even if you don’t have a body at all in the dream this can be used. You’re a spectator in a show or a person who’s reading a story, for example.

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usually I move. I explore and then DCs try to stop me from leaving the current scene or to hurt me/