Clifford Simak, in his 1963 Sci Fi book The Way
Station , told the story of a interstellar gateway that happened to be located in
a rural 20th Century farmhouse on Earth. Due to the time delay between crossings, the
farmer became the gatekeeper, host and friend to a wild array of galactic ambassadors
building interstellar alliances and networks between a multitude of civilized worlds. I
see my role as somewhat similar. You are the ambassador and representative of your world
and I'm offering you a gateway, a way station, to other ambassadors and their worlds.
Like Simak's farmer, I just happen to be in the right place where the gate occurred.
I'm a Bay Area dream educator and entered the Internet looking for bibliographic material
and reference information. What I found was whole new universe of people (though even the
word "people" may now have to be reformed to encompass a definition of the
cybercreature's new boundaries and identities see Harraway, 1990). I soon began working as
the editor of a dream sharing magazine, Electric Dreams, which is now a world in and of
itself as well as a gateway between individuals on the net. Lately, I've been interested
in the gateway between offline and online dream resources and have been developing the
International Internet Dream Community Center to coordinate projects and dissolve the
boundaries between online & offline dream concerned individuals, organizations and
In this column we are going to talk about the gate offered by Internet, and then jump
through . You can join along at your own pace, as a "lurker" (a
non-participating watcher), as an interested ambassador seeking ways to connect your
world, or as an immediate cybernaut leaping into the heart of cyberspace.
Offered in this column are the basics of connection and well as more advanced
networking projects. The tools of internet and how to use them will be covered and I'll
include the ways that dreamers and researchers have been and could be using these tools.
I'd like for you to think about these tools in a non-technical way, at least at first.
Although we will offer, seek & exchange technical advice, I want to mention again that
the main issue here is about people connecting with people in an easy, affordable, non-
technical way (I'll be saying this over and over again). We'll be including the hot new
net sites in this column as well as the ways to find all the sites online and how to
create your own. You can look forward to reviews and interviews of individuals and
projects related to dreaming. (See asd newsletter 12#2 p. 7) But I'm also very interested
in your becoming interactive. Let's create and experiment as well as honoring what already
exists. Write in to this newsletter or email me directly and tell me what you would like
to see in this column. If you have special interests, skill or projects, send those in
too. One project already starting is the computer and internet connections for the ASD
convention next year at the Claremont. Watch this column for updates.
DREAM GUIDE TO THE INTERNET I. Background and getting online.
WHAT IS INTERNET AND CYBERSPACE?
The origin of the Internet is usually attributed to a U.S. Defense Department project
in the sixties (Fraase 1994, p. 8, Glossbrener 1995, p. 39). The idea was to create a
network (of computers) that could exchange information and re-establish itself even if
parts were destroyed by a nuclear attack. This project became connected with non-military
use and is now, physically, a connection of computers, phone lines, institutions,
businesses, government funded projects and people dedicated to distributing and sharing
resources. The backbone is kept in place by the National Science Foundation and a
hierarchy of more than 5,000 agency, campus and corporate networks and 2,000,000
computers. But these physical networks hardly describe the Internet, nor does Al Gore's
phrase "The Information Superhighway" (Gore, 1991). The Internet is not so much
about information as about a new way and place for people to connect and interact with
people. The place of this connection is commonly referred to as "cyberspace", a
term coined by William Gibson in his novel Neuromancer (1984) to mean virtual reality
maintained by a vast telecommunications network. Dream resources in cyberspace have been
pretty limited up until about a year ago, and still are surprisingly sparse, especially
considering how comfortable most dream concerned individuals are in imaginal realities.
Columbus has again landed, and this time their are no natives to be displaced.
GETTING ONLINE IS NOW VERY EASY
If you have a computer and a modem, the next step is finding an internet connection. If
the university, business or government department you work for has a connection, simply
ask around for an account. Most of us use either a commercial online service (like America
Online, CompuServe, Prodigy, Genie, Delphi, CerfNet) or subscribe to an internet service
provider. Local providers are now abundant, and easily found by looking in your local
newspapers and news stand magazines. In the Bay Area, both Computer Currents and the
MicroTimes are free and rich sources of information. I noticed at the London Internet
Convention this May that some of these providers are now offering services in the most
remote of European countries - even Malta! However, since most of the commercial online
services offer a free trial, have fairly easy installation and are easy to use, I would
recommend starting with one of them. All have USA toll free numbers, call 1-800-555-1212.
San Francisco Bay Area: The last issue of Computer Currents 13(3) has a price and
service comparison for Bay Area servers.
INTERNET & COMPUTER PROJECTS FOR ASD 1996 CONVENTION
For those of you who are planning internet or computer projects for the 1996 ASD
convention at the Claremont, or would like to participate via remote from other parts of
the country or world, we invite you to join our discussions on the ASD-DREAMS96 internet
mail list! Besides discussing just the technical side to the projects, we also need
participants who would like to connect to the convention via internet from the remote
parts of the globe in a variety of dream related activities. For information on how to
join the mail list, send an email to Richard
Wilkerson at firstname.lastname@example.org
NEXT ISSUE: Computers at Claremont update, Internet tools and dreaming, Hot List of
special sites, and we jump online!
Please link me up to online dream
resources and projects Now! *
OK, for a summary of dream activities online you can:
1. Download a free copy of my Dream
Guide to the Internet published by DreamGate
2. Stop by the Stanford
Yahoo Sleep and Dreams Directory
3. Visit the ASD Conference XIII Index and
4. Drop me a line at email@example.com
For general online Internet education, see the ROADMAP in the Bibliography, or visit
the above mentioned Education site.
Cripsen, Patrick (1995). ROADMAP: (an Internet document ) For info send email to:
LISTSERV@UA1VM.UA.EDU (that's "you-ay-won-vee-em") with the command GET MAP
PACKAGE F=MAIL in the *BODY* of your e-mail letter.
Cummings, Dan (1995). The dream of cyberspace: Mosaic-based dream interface to the
Internet. ASD Newsletter, 12(2), 7.
Fraase, Michael (1994). The Windows Internet Tour Guide. Chapel Hill, NC:
Gibson, William (1984). Neuromancer. New York, NY: Ace Books.
Glossbrenner, Alfred (1995). Internet 101: How to survive in cyberspace. Bay Area
Computer Currents, 13(3), 38-43.
Gore, Al (1991 Sep.). Infrastructure for the global village. Scientific American,
265 (3), 150- 153.
Harraway, Donna (1980). A manifesto for cyborgs: Science, technology and socialist
feminism in the 1980's. In Linda J. Nicholson (Ed), Feminism/Postmodernism ( pp.
190-233). NY: Routledge.
Rheingold, Howard (1993). The Virtual Community. Reading, MA: Addison Wesley.