GOOD

Why I'm Building a Community of Dreamers

Like astronauts gazing back on Earth for the first time, SHADOW is way to see the world from a different angle.

I don’t really believe in limits. Since I was a kid, I’ve always seen obstacles as opportunities: to make ourselves vulnerable, to learn about each other, to stretch way beyond our boundaries. Looking at life this way is generally exhilarating. But it can also be exhausting. So a year ago, when my work with the Watch the Throne tour wrapped up and I suddenly had some free time, I did what most of us would do. I slept. And in that sleep, the deepest I had in a very long while, I dreamed of SHADOW.

SHADOW is the world’s first alarm clock that helps people remember and record their dreams. It transcribes your dreams, pulls out the keywords, strips away any data that could identify you, and pushes it to a giant global data cloud—where other SHADOW users can see global dream patterns and find dreamers like them around the world.

Why do I care so much about dreams? Because we sleep for a third of our lives, and we forget 95 percent of our dreams within five minutes of waking up. But some really pivotal things—laws of physics, technological advancements, classic works of literature—were born of dreams. We’re socialized to think of sleep as inactivity, but certain parts of our brain—the parts that handle things like problem-solving and memory—are most active while we’re sleeping. That’s a huge amount of potential we’re forgetting each morning.


Like astronauts gazing back on Earth for the first time, SHADOW is way to see the world from a different angle. It’s also a bit of a gamble. We want to create a global dream community and assemble the world’s largest dream database. This week we've launched a crowdfunding campaign in order realize this. I don’t know what all this data will reveal about our world, but I’m sure it will be mind blowing.

At least, that’s the dream.

This project is part of GOOD's series Push for Good—our guide to crowdsourcing creative progress.

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