Aired Tuesday August 24th, 2010 at 11:00 pm on KUED HD Ch. 7.1
Amy Hardie and her daughter
Can dreams predict the future? The Edge of Dreaming documents a year in the life of a woman researching death who finds that her research has taken over her life -- literally.
Amy Hardie, a wife, mother of two and maker of science films, was involved in a documentary investigating death when she had a startling dream -- her beloved horse George was dying. She awoke disturbed enough to go into the field and check on the horse. She found him dead, though he had shown no signs of illness. As unsettling as this was, Hardie's rational temperament led her to believe it was a coincidence. Then, in another dream, her deceased partner of many years warns her she will die at the age of 48 -- the following year.
Hardie's documentary research took on new urgency. The first dream had come true. Did that mean she really was under a death sentence? Hardie documents the entire year, exploring scientific reasearch, her own family life as well as her increasing alarm as her lungs begin to fail. In The Edge of Dreaming, thoughts and dreams combine with neuroscience as Hardie explores every avenue to prevent her dream from coming true.
Amy Hardie's The Edge of Dreaming has its premiere on Tuesday, August 24 at 11 p.m. on KUED as part of the 23rd season of POV.
"Some people love to find meaning in their dreams," says Hardie. "I don't think I do." But Hardie's dream that she would soon be dead, shook her out of her rational skepticism. To address her growing dread, Hardie turns first to the science of dreams. She discovers that in this post-Freudian age, it turns out dreams are almost as mysterious as they have ever been.
Professor Mark Solms, a neuropsychologist best known for his pioneering research of the brain during dreaming, tells Hardie, "Dreams give us information we know subliminally but don't want to know. Our prefrontal cortex may not accept it, but it sneaks into our consciousness in dreams. So our dreams can be signals from the real world."
Dr. Irving Weissman, a professor of developmental biology and director of the Institute for Stem Cell Biolog at Stanford University, offers an evolutionary perspective. "Dreams have something to do with reality or we wouldn't have evolved and retained them," he says. He goes on to tell a story of having once dreamed about doing a dance he didn't know how to do. When he woke up, he found he could perform it.
The scientific research explored in The Edge of Dreaming leads Hardie to believe that her progressive lung illness is tied with the reality of the dream. Hardie decides not to tell her daughters about the dream so as not to frighten them. But at school one daughter learns to read palms, and looking at Hardie's hand, she announces cheerfully that her mother will have a "happy life, but a short one."
When Hardie has a third dream, showing how she will die, even her husband loses his composure. As her lungs deteriorate further and she is hospitalized, she realizes she has to take urgent action. For Hardie, her 48th year turns out to be the year that rocks her scientific reductionism and expands her sense of what science really is.
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