Supposedly an impossible thing to do, since dreaming is done with the right brain, and reading is done with the left brain, and the one cannot create the functions of the other. This is almost accurate. During sleep, certain parts of the brain are inactive, including those responsible for making out forms of letters and words (parts whose failure causes disorders such as dyslexia or dysgraphia). However, this does not preclude reading, only making out the forms of letters and words.

There was a study on the relation of dreams to memory, in which amnesiacs who played heavy amounts of Tetris reported dreaming about the game. Any sufficiently intellectual addictive activity puts enough strain on the memory to affect a person's dreams. This is straightforward enough in the cases of games like Tetris or Devil Dice, but also applies to activities such as text-based MUDs or Everything.

In my days of psychological addiction to MUDS and to Everything, I have often dreamt of doing these things, as odd as that might sound to someone less neurotic. I sometimes dream about reading books, only to be disappointed when I wake up and realize that I can never figure out how the story ended, since it was being written by my subconscious and no hard copy exists. Once I dreamed that I nearly missed an important math test because I didn't have a ticket marked "5 pm" and everyone else did.

What is impossible in dreaming is the sense -- not the perception -- involved in reading. Therefore it is possible to read in a dream, but not to focus on actual letters and words.

Reading in dreams not only occurs, it's one of the more frequent triggers of lucid dreaming (rare enough, granted). Y'see, as is noted above, the subconscious spontaneously produces words to fill whatever text-bearing objects may appear in your dream every time they come into the range of your dream-sensory-organs - sometimes the text is rambling, surreal, stream-of-consciousness; sometimes it's like a program loading variables from a part of memory containing unwiped garbage from previously-run programs; and sometimes it actually seems to make sense.

It is in the first and last instances where the possibility for the trigger emerges; as the illusion of meaning and comprehensibility occurs, you are presented with strings and phrases which can be read and remembered. Often this recollection doesn't go so far as the capability of making notes of what the words were after waking, but it tends to be persistant enough for you to realize, after looking away and back at the text-bearing object, that the words you are now reading are not the same words which were just a second ago on the page / storefront / street sign / whatever. And you do a double-take; and they're changed again.

At this point one of those "questioning reality" moments occurs and you either

    a) dismiss your dream-perception as faulty, concocting some rationale for the words having changed,

    b) realize that you're dreaming, and immediately wake up, or - if you're lucky...

    c) realize that you're dreaming, and make the best of your situation.

Keep reading everything you see in real life, and the habit may persist in your dream-life, leading to increased opportunities of that mythic commodity - lucid dreaming.

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