[extropy-chat] Fwd: [NEWS] BOOK REVIEW: Dreamer, by Richard L. Miller

Giu1i0 Pri5c0 pgptag at gmail.com
Wed Jul 7 10:34:51 UTC 2004

I just finished reading Dreamer, by Richard L. Miller.


I have been strongly impressed by Dreamer and wish to
recommend it to everyone.
Funded by some government agency, a clinic recruits
volunteers for a "total recall" memory retrieval
project. With the help of hypnosis and suitable
technology patients are able to travel within their
own memories and re-experience their past in all
detail. The main character Mike is in advertising and
participates in the project hoping to retrieve useful
memories of the sixties' look-and-feel. Of course, he
becomes more and more involved with his own past
friends and love stories. Miller's accounts of Mike's
trips to the past are very good visual descriptions of
America in the sixties. Of course Mike and his fellow
patients start by experiencing the past as passive
observers (like watching a movie), but at some point
things become more complex, with questions on the deep
structure of reality and hints at "many-worlds"-like
(Everett) interpretations of quantum physics.
Surprisingly for a book with a lot of challenging
intellectual content, Dreamer is very well written and
has believable characters in the past and in the
Besides foundational work in quantum physics Miller
acknowledges a debt to Ernest R. Hilgard's psychology
book "Divided Consciousness". From his review on the
book's Amazon site:


"I liked Hilgard's Divided Consciousness so much I
based a novel (Dreamer) on the research.
Divided Consciousness is the only psychology book you
will read that will give you chills. It is *that*
good. In fact, I use it as a test for books on
"quantum consciousness" and the like. If the index
doesn't include Hilgard or "hidden observer" then I
don't buy the book. Here's why: E.I. Hilgard
discovered what may be one of the most important
aspects of human consciousness--the hidden observer
phenomenon. It appears only during deep hypnosis--at
+50 or +60 level--where time and space are perceived
(by the subject) as one. Hilgard thought the hidden
observer performed an executive function for the
mind--essentially organizing the various personalities
according to task (suppose you're driving down the
road, listening to the radio, thinking about work and
a deer jumps into the highway ahead of you--who is it
that causes you to put your foot on the brake?)
Several psychologists have discussed "multiminds" in
books, but the hard fact is, the hidden observer
phenomenon has never really been studied thoroughly.
It's like talking about the company organization
without ever mentioning the CEO--or IT group.
Nor has the hidden observer been studied vis a vis any
other psychological phenomenon. Read this book and
you'll want to send it to researchers like Rupert
Sheldrake, or Brenda Dunne at the Princeton
The hidden observer may even explain an annoying
near-death study phenomena--the fact that the life
review is occasionally seen from a third person point
of view. In other words, if you're on the stage acting
out your life, who's the guy in the audience with the
There really has been only one researcher, Finnish
psychologist Reima Kampmann, who has explored the
hidden observer phenomenon. *Supposedly* he asked a
sample of subjects under hypnosis just who the hidden
observer really was--the replies were uniformly this:
"I am soul." There are hundreds of books on the
subject of consciousness, but "Divided Consciousness"
is the one you should read first. It will change the
way you think."

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