Reply to Bulkley: "A thoroughly confused picture of what ethics is all about ...utterly antithetical to any sort of valid ethical position"
Kelly Buckley (1988) claims that the ethical significance of lucid dreaming is foremost among the questions that face us in the field today. Outside the confines of Divinity School, I cannot see how this can be so. Although some have felt that there exist significant ethical problems regarding lucid dreaming (e.g., Gackenbach, 1987), I agree with others who have doubted that ethics are relevant to the private behavior of lucid dreaming (e.g., Schatzman, 1987). Ethical issues could become relevant, if for example, it were ever shown that lucid dreaming is potentially more harmful than non-lucid dreaming. Then it we might be ethically bound to inform people of these hypothetical dangers. Since no one has shown this, I do not, at present, consider ethical issues paramount. In my view, the most important questions for the field today are how lucid dreaming can be made more accessible and how it can be used most beneficially. However, I have a few comments in response to Buckley's piece. Ethics refers to"the specific moral choices to be made by the individual in his relationship with others" (American Heritage Dictionary). The word moral derives from the Latin word for custom, which should remind us that the concepts of ethics and morality essentially refer to notions of behavior currently in vogue in a given culture. Of course, these moral standards of good and evil vary wildly with time, people, and place.