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Thread: The Nature of Dreaming

  1. #1 The Nature of Dreaming 
    Jon
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    Introduction

    A while back I posted a theory for the causes of déjà vu. When I awoke from a dream not too long ago, the connection between dreams and déjà vu hit my mind so hard I practically began to panic. I am going to put out the second part of my predictions theory; I call it the second part, because it is somewhat of an offshoot to my original déjà vu theory. The part of the déjà vu theory that is necessary to understand this theory went like this:

    Our minds are constantly working, thinking, trying to figure things out. Part of figuring things out is making predictions. We do this all the time. The light turns red, we expect to see people stop. We turn on the light switch, we expect the light to come on. This is a simple concept of gathering information, and predicting what new information will be available based on the information you just gathered.

    Now, I propose that our minds do this subconsciously all the time, and at a level of detail far greater than what our conscious minds can grasp. Also, that our subconscious not only predicts a few things here and there, but is capable—and readily does—predict hundreds of different outcomes for any one event. Imagine predicting not only that the cars will stop, but which cars will come around the corner, how fast they will move, how hard they will hit their brakes, the looks of the drivers, do some spill their coffee?, the music they are playing, etc.

    If our subconscious could predict an infinite number of possible outcomes, then we would essentially always have at least one correct prediction. Unfortunately, our minds are limited in how much they can do, and so we cannot always be sure we have a correct prediction. But, let's say we do. We are in our cars, have just made 100 predictions, and little do we know, that one of them is about to be shown as correct. The cars stop just how you predicted, the music is just like you predicted, they are the colour you just predicted, etc. These images of the cars all stopping flows into your head, and through your subconscious. Your subconscious recognizes that what just flowed into it is the same as what it just created, and your mind sparks, and your subconscious communicates this information back to your conscious mind.

    So what your mind sees, then, is the instance of the cars actually stopping, and the instance of it happening as your subconscious prediction. In other words, you consciously encounter two instances of the same event; one is what you just saw, and the other is an instance from a time you cannot remember, but you sense it anyway. Because you are consciously aware of the fact that you cannot know anything you did not encounter, you assume that this second message (which is the prediction, which is the same as what you actually saw happen) must have been something you encountered at a different time, and you interpret it as a feeling that you are seeing something in the real world that you believe to have seen at a prior unknown time. You interpret it as deja vu.

    Why don't you feel deja vu all the time? Simple, your subconscious makes only so many predictions. Because the number of ways the event can occur far surpass the number of predictions you can make, it is more likely the event will be one you have not predicted, and so your subconscious will trigger no reaction.

    The Theory

    Now the premise has been accepted that the subconscious can store only a limited number of predictions. Some predictions are processed out from the subconscious when they turn out to be correct, but what of the others? What of the ones we do not pick out as déjà vu? Where do they go? Here's my theory:

    As you sleep, the subconscious, for the purpose of freeing space to store more predictions, begins dumping its "unrecognized" predictions into the conscious, where it can then be decided what will be done with them. What the conscious does with the information is a topic with which my theory is not concerned. All that is important is that the information is processed through the conscious and the events are experienced as vague memories.


    Method for Testing

    There is something simple of a way for testing this. Getting a large sum of people, let's say 100, and splitting them into two groups of fifty. One group will be allowed to sleep and wake as necessary, while the other group will be for a time sleep deprived. If my theory has any truth behind it, then the sleep deprived group should experience far fewer episodes of déjà vu than the other group, for the simple fact that their subconscious will soon become filled to its max capacity and no longer able to make or store new predictions.


    Problems for Theory

    What about the events in dreams that seemingly are not related to events in real life? The issue here is that we are assuming our predictions to be somewhere seated into reality—that is, we would expect them to be plausible scenarios. But why should this be the case? As it is, our subconscious could be very good at choosing a few starter predictions—predictions of events that might happen immediately after the ongoing event—and expounding on these in such exponential fashion as to remove the final prediction from the realm of possibility, yet, nevertheless, store it safely away in the subconscious. Now, to really get this to make more sense, I would like to bring an example into this. Several years ago, I had an episode of déjà vu whilst my family was trying to put out a fire of sorts that had started inside of our stoves while preparing Easter dinner. It would seem to me, that the conscious mind would be far from irrational enough to make a prediction of the stove starting on fire; such an event seems too unlikely to even consider for possibility. Yet, the subconscious clearly had made this prediction, as it was experienced as an episode of déjà vu; unless, of course, my theory for the cause of déjà vu is inaccurate, a point which is here irrelevant as we are accepting my theory to be correct as a premise for this argument.

    If the subconscious can predict such outrages events, then what is stopping it from predicting yet more "insane", implausible scenarios? From being chased by a wild boar to sex with strangers, I'd postulate that our subconscious can and does predict damnnear anything it wants, as if programmed with some sort of runaway algorithm. So, you're working in a pizza restaurant, and the pizza gets pulled out of the oven. As this happens, your subconscious immediately starts making predictions—indeed, it is making predictions all the time—, and perhaps one such prediction is that the pizza gets dropped on the floor. From there, it can make more predictions: that the pizza is picked up, swept up, or perhaps gets up on its own. Next, the subconscious may follow through on the last prediction and predict the pizza running around the store. Before long, your subconscious could potentially predict a full episode of attack of the pizza monster. You might not be aware of the crazy predictions being made by your subconscious until you rest later that night and the subconscious does a memory dump into the conscious where [dreaming] that slice of pepperoni you ate earlier decides to get up and eat you!

    The subconscious, without the parameters of logic that bind the conscious to predictions that are more rational, can trail off in what would appear the most fanciful of areas. It knows not which prediction leads are ideal to follow up with more predictions, and which ones should be snuffed out as they are formed.

    This then is my theory for the reason of dreams.


    Other Phenomena Explained

    Another peculiarity of dreaming that my theory addresses is the predictive nature of some dreams. We may all have had that moment when we felt like we were actually living out a dream we had had the previous night, or several nights ago. Now, I realize that in the upcoming sentences I am going to contradict something I have said earlier, which was in the déjà vu thread:

    For this reason, I suspect that deja vu is a point-by-point system, which predicts events that might immediately follow events currently being witnessed, and predicts for an exact point of time in the future—like the pause frame of a video cassette—instead of for what might be a long string of events—like if the cassette were in play mode.

    I am no longer as convinced that the subconscious uses the "point-by-point" method of prediction that I postulated in the déjà vu thread. For this, I want to take a sidetrack for just one paragraph to help reconcile my new thoughts and my old theory.

    I believe, now, that the subconscious is indeed capable of making predictions further into the future than simply a few seconds, and can accept that déjà vu had at 5:00 o' clock may be based on predictions from noon. But since the subconscious is essentially dumped during sleep, predictions made for the next day are not going to survive in the subconscious, and so that in reality our predictions have a time limit equal to the time spent in one awake period.

    Speaking of predictions made for the next day leads well into the explanation for the predictive nature of some dreams. I would postulate that some of these next-day predictions in the subconscious that have some basis in reality are actually transferred to the conscious during the subconscious memory dump. The conscious then reads these as vague memories—what we'd call dreams—, and if we remember them for the next day, we will remember them as dreams. When in real life we encounter situations similar to this, we have a moment, and we realise that what we "dreamt" actually is happening, more or less, right in front of us. Essentially, when we live out our dreams, we are just experiencing a moment of conscious déjà vu—where the prediction has been stored in the conscious instead of subconscious.


    I would hope to be able to answer any questions, and work out any other dissimilarities between this theory and the theory of déjà vu. I especially want to address any blatant contradictions that I may have made in the formation of these two theories: theories of prediction, 1 and 2.




    Regards,
    Rv. Jon
    __________
    Edited: (23 Sep. 2010) Fixed UTF-8 formatting inconsistencies.


    :-)
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  3. #2  
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    Nice work there, all logic and stuff.


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  4. #3  
    Forum Ph.D.
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    Well, there are some biological theories, that hold that the coherence we experience when having dreams is illusory - our mind seeking patterns - and that dreams are actually just random firing.

    There are quite a few dream theories, and not all of them suggest that it has anything to do with the subconscious, or even with in dreams processing memories.
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  5. #4  
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    You people surrrrrrrrr-prise me.

    Watch the younger-generation............you program them.........with DISNEYLAND.

    They wake up to a world that seems..........an advertiser's d-d-d-reeammmm.
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  6. #5  
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    In the food be the desire to live, the more desire, the more it cost. I couldn't care less if the desire carries a message, but IMHO, it's fag.
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  7. #6  
    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
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    Jon

    is it OK if i copy your theory in Philosophorum ?

    i'd like to see if i can start a discussion on the subject
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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  8. #7  
    Jon
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    Quote Originally Posted by marnixR
    Jon

    is it OK if i copy your theory in Philosophorum ?

    i'd like to see if i can start a discussion on the subject

    I'd be delighted to hear what happens with it too. You have my permission.

    Thank you for your consideration,
    Jon
    :-)
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  9. #8  
    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
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    cheers - posted in the 'Sleeping, Dreaming and Lucid Dreaming' section
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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  10. #9  
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    Nice post ,, i appreciate your work ...







    Rose
    http://delnaz.livejournal.com/
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