Our time last week was cut prematurely short , as my contact's parents (he was only 16 at the oldest, as far as I could tell) gave him a call requesting his help at home. He agreed to meet me at the same time the following week.
When I arrived, he was already waiting. I asked him to continue where he'd left off.
"So as I was saying, every couple years or so, tops, a monk will travel around and catalogue other people's dreams. They usually stay in the city, but not always.
Anyways, a few years back, one of these monks came through my part of town. I guess he met with some students – older than me, college age – and they were really interested in him. Usually, these guys'll just ask people to remember their dreams, and they'll write'em down. They don't ever talk much, except to get more information. Seems they're really good at drawing out the details, even stuff you normally wouldn't remember. But these kids, I guess they were prodding back. One of'em, I've heard, was having really wild dreams at the time, so the monk played along.
So they were asking all these questions about lucid dreaming – you know what that is, right?"
I assured him I did.
He continued, "so yeah, all of the people who live in this part of the city, that's all they do. That's why they don't have any windows, and everything's painted the same color. It's so they don't have anything for their conscious mind to grab on to when they wake up, and they can slip into and out of dreaming like nothing. They wake up periodically through the night, transcribe their dreams to that point in the dark, and then go back to dreaming.
And well, a bunch of these kids were studying neurology in school, and were wondering if it might be possible to go the other way – rather than tricks to stay dreaming, what about ways to bring it on at will?
The monk, so I'm told, viewed this as pretty much sacrilege, and wouldn't discuss it any further. But these kids were fascinated by the idea, and eventually built the prototypes you see us wearing."