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Thread: Row Your Boat Gently.

  1. #1 Row Your Boat Gently. 
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    Now you may laugh.

    But I think this is philosophically profound. And I thought of it myself.


    It can be laid out in three points.

    1. Night-time Dreaming time, is subjectively much longer than ‘normal’ (real) time.


    This is crucial. If you don’t get/agree with this, you can stop reading right now.


    I can only refer to anecdotal evidence, my own, and everyone I’ve ever asked.

    I mean that one can be dreaming for 15 minutes, and yet awake and recall a dream that seemed (subjectively) to last for hours.

    I’m convinced that ‘dream time’ is an order of magnitude ‘longer’ than real time.


    Before I wank-on to point No.2 – how is my point 1?


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  3. #2  
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    Sounds right so far.

    I have my own hypothesis about #1 but I'm keen to learn yours.


    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
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  4. #3  
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    Point 2

    - and this is equally debatable - but I believe that recent Science has shown - that contrary to what Science had previously told us, we 'dream' every moment that we are asleep.

    I know this from personal experience, but only lately have I seen reported Science what agrees with me. This "we only dream while in REM sleep" was obviously wrong (to me), and now Science is saying so too.

    So, proposition two:

    We dream the whole time that we're asleep - say as an average - eight hours a day.
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  5. #4  
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    I'm still with ya.

    I reckon dreams aren't much different from thoughts, than say excited thoughts are different from idle thoughts. And the fact many people can "set their inner alarm clock" and wake on time, proves there's at least something running uninterrupted through the whole course.

    Everybody knows we "slip into dream" before REM begins. So okay continuous dreaming seems plausible to me.
    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
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  6. #5  
    Forum Masters Degree Numsgil's Avatar
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    I use to sleep a lot during class in highschool. Only it was never really sound sleep, I was always pretty aware of what was going on from moment to moment. It's just that the moment awareness was tuned way down, and no record was being kept. Like the bell ringing or someone calling my name would wake me up immediately. Or if the teacher was assigning homework...

    Anyway, I would tend to dream during these cat naps. What were idle thoughts when I was conscious smeared into dreams as I started napping. That is, it was a continuous gradient from day dream to proper dream. However during days when I was genuinely tired, and fell into proper sleep (drool puddle, the whole bit), I don't remember ever dreaming. It was literally like my mind just turned off.

    Take from that anecdote what you will
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  7. #6  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vexer
    Point 2

    - and this is equally debatable - but I believe that recent Science has shown - that contrary to what Science had previously told us, we 'dream' every moment that we are asleep.
    Dennett (Consciousness Explained) points out the opposite model, and one tht has some confirmation from empirical evidence, that in fact though dreams seem to last for hours, they may actually be inventions of our brains to provide a narrative explanation for the reason we woke up - hence the commonplace sensation of hearing a whistle in a dream and waking up to find your bedside alarm is going.

    According to Dennett's notion, therefore (and he's not the only one who holds it), a 'dream' actually lasts no more than a few instants, but your recollection of it, once you're awake, is composed of instant invention of those episodes in order to maintain a sense of narrative continuity and explanation.

    He uses this, of course, to defend his 'multiple drafts' theory of consciousness, and I like his theory, though it is very cotnroversial in philosophy of mind circles, so I'm not presenting it as a settled fact or any such thing, just further grist to this particular mill.
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  8. #7  
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    Sunshinewarrior, very interesting (sincerely). So insteresting in fact, that I’m going to ignore it for now.


    3) Therefore (if you buy my first two points)

    The majority of your life occurs in dreams.

    That is, if ‘life’ is what one experiences subjectively, which technically it can only be.

    Then our ‘dream’ life is our ‘main’ life by a factor of many.

    The majority of your subjective experience occurs in dreams.

    The majority of your life is dreams.

    Actually, technically, really. Your waking life is a third, quarter, hundredth of your ‘real’ life.
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  9. #8  
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    I'd agree with #3 but only in the sense that if you read every tenth page of a novel, you've read the novel. Or even, if you draw a stick-man at the edge of every page, then animate it, you've finished the book. I don't believe dream time or dream content so full as it seems.

    Here's my take on #1:

    It's often said that people dream in black and white. This is partly true: Most people rarely dream colour. Colour's seldom relevant, so we don't dream it. What we do dream, is just what's necessary to the content - often story-like - of the particular dream. For example say you dream you're in the Gobi desert. You probably can't conjure a good image of that desert, but that doesn't matter because a dreaming mind needn't sense it as in waking experience. You have your shorthand concept and associations about Gobi desert and that's enough for the dream. That is the dream - your associations, feeling their way along without goal in mind or tether to reality.

    So I can dream I'm playing Chinese Checkers and even winning without minding where the marbles are. This is qualitatively identical to the conscious waking experience but quantitatively much less than what it represents.
    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
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  10. #9  
    Forum Professor sunshinewarrior's Avatar
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    I'll just stick my oar in here too (rowing gently the while, of course ), and point out that your life, for most people, consists of the sum of experiences, themselves evidenced by our memories. Apart from a few copious note-takers, very rarely do dreams create lasting and detailed memories for people - hence the lack of influence of dreams for most of us in our subjective experience of what our lives might be. Them's my thinks, anyway...
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  11. #10  
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    sunshinewarrior and Pong, good point, in that:

    (my last understanding) was that the brain has a specific ‘chemical erasure’ (or, more, correctly, wallpapering-over) system that ‘intentionally’ ‘erases’ (or, more correctly, “blocks easy access to”) dreamt experiences. In theory to let us tell ‘real’ memories from dream ones. Makes sense. Evolutionary speaking.

    But your point entirely aside: my point remains. It’s a literal fact (apparently), that most of your life occurs while you’re asleep.

    I mean these are actual experiences, as far as your brain knows.

    That’s a philosophical block-buster, IMO.
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  12. #11  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vexer
    these are actual experiences, as far as your brain knows.
    Do you like novels? Ever been absorbed in a good story? Maybe you traveled across Middle Earth. Why not add the spans of those adventures also?
    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
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  13. #12  
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    You're saying a book or movie is the same as a dream?

    Can you not see, how it is not?
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  14. #13  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vexer
    You're saying a book or movie is the same as a dream?

    Can you not see, how it is not?
    To me personally immersion in fiction is more like dream than "real life". Especially with head on pillow, drifting off while reading.

    My point was that if you're going to clock fast-forward time of dream (e.g. the ferry docked, and I walked off, and I was lost in forest) then you might allow the same for stories. You see how that's cheating dont' you?
    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
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  15. #14  
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    Ok, I see your point better now, 'Pong'. So, yes.


    But I can't quite agree that books, movies, count the same, as dreams.

    I have had a lot of 'lucid' dreams, that is, I know I am dreaming, while I'm dreaming, and even then I can say it's an order of magnitude more real that one's immersion in books or film.



    I guess my main point is still the time spent. Your brain lives mostly in dreams.
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  16. #15  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vexer
    I guess my main point is still the time spent. Your brain lives mostly in dreams.
    Does that add up? And then when I'm a dozy old space cadet and dream of my youth, do those experiences count again?


    Your treating dream like virtual reality. In my experience at least it's just thinking that tends to run wild (sometimes it remains banal, like where in the grocery do I find muffin wrappers).
    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
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  17. #16  
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    Your treating dream like virtual reality.

    I can see why you'd think that. My point is that it's actual reality.
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  18. #17  
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    I don't treat dreams as "virtual" reality, I think of them as actual reality. My whole point really.
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