Dreams and alternate realities

Dreams and alternate realities
MikiVanity
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Posted Mar 23, 2010 - 8:48 PM:
Subject: Dreams and alternate realities
I have not found anything on what I am about to describe, and I was wondering if anyone could give me some feedback.

I read a series when I was in middle school called the Everworld series. Now a key point in the series that caught my imagination and got me to seriously thinking was, when the kids were transported to everworld, they learned that when they were asleep in everworld they were awake in the real world, and when asleep in the real world awake in everworld.

So my question is, could our dreams not be an alternate existence, and when we are conscious here we are truly sleeping there.
Veritas Vincit
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Posted Mar 24, 2010 - 4:23 AM:

Hi and welcome to Philosophy Forums. smiling face Science does not have a really good account of dream states, or other mental states for that matter. I think that will change dramatically in the next few decades.

To answer your question, in my opinion dreams are just brain activity, not an alternate world or existence.
mric
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Posted Mar 24, 2010 - 5:38 AM:

For dreams to count as a plausible alternate reality, I would want them to show some regularity and continuity.

In this world I wake up in the same place I fell asleep, and the world around is explicably continuous with the one I 'left' while I slept. My dreams have no such order, even within one night's dream sequence.

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Posted Mar 24, 2010 - 5:40 AM:

MikiVanity wrote:
... when they were asleep in everworld they were awake in the real world, and when asleep in the real world awake in everworld.

So my question is, could our dreams not be an alternate existence, and when we are conscious here we are truly sleeping there.


IMO you speak of the two parts of human mind, the conscious and the unconscious. Though both happens inside our heads we can well call them two worlds, even two existences. Still they form an unseparable whole and are totally dependent on each other. I like the metaphor that the conscious is the top of the iceberg of our mind.

The foundation of our conscious world lies on the objective reality learned by sensory experiences. Characteristic dimensions of the conscious are space and time. The unconscious world where dreams happen lack significant spacetime. Space and time may appear in dreams in minor roles but characteristically not as a general framework.
Metaphysician Undiscovered
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Posted Mar 24, 2010 - 6:56 AM:

MikiVanity, the immediate problem I see with your supposition is that the people you react with in your dreams, when you wake up, claim they weren't reacting with you in their dreams. You can't blame this on memory because we do remember our dreams, so each person has their own dream world.
Gontuzic
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Posted Mar 24, 2010 - 11:11 AM:

Imagine your mind is a office of records, and each one of your memories are different records that are divided into two different rooms.
  • One of the rooms has a sign over it labeled "short term."
  • The other room has a sign over it labeled "long term."

Throughout the day, our minds absorb a lot of information, and our minds sort out the information into three categroies.
  1. The records it has - Long term memory. (LTM)
  2. The records it does not have but are desired. - Short term memory 1. (STM1)
  3. The records it does not have but are not desired. -Short term memory 2. (STM2)

The LTM that is absorbed is dumped almost immediately; much like a 911 call about a subject that has already been reported. "911? help theres a man robbing this bank" "A police cruiser is already on its way." The police operator acts like the sorter of this office of records, the man robbing the bank is already in the records so the incomming information that has already been processed is dumped.

The STM1 is absorbed and processed and is put in a pile to be further analyzed in the near future. Again, using the 911 call. "911? help, there is a man with a gun at this bank" "What is the name of the bank and what is its location" "its Dreamtime bank on the corner of hoping sheep and floating Z's" "okay police are on their way." The information is informally taken down and distributed.

The STM2 is absorbed but the exposure to the material is too limited or in the case of a police officer irrelevant. "911? A man just held a door open for me" *Click * The mind needs roughly 30 seconds of constant exposure of material or a subject to transfer from STM2 to STM1.
  • Ever walked into your house and placed your keys on something you normally do not and just walked away? How easy is it to remember where your keys are? Where do you look first? the usual spot correct? Now if you think about where you put your keys when you put them down for atleast 30 seconds, you will know right where they are.

Any way, Getting to the point. When we go to sleep, as the rest of our body, the logic center of our brain shuts down for repairs and the after hours learning center opens up.

While we sleep, our brains sort out the remaining new or modified information we recieved that day. Much like a police operator turning the informal notes of what happened into formal doccuments to be placed on record. In other words, our STM1 is rewritten down as LTM; our minds use dreams to pracitce and learn the STM1 until it is fully encoded. Each time new information comes up, and a significant amount of time is given to that subject, the brain will pull it up in a dream.
  • Athletes who practice day in and day out will have a higher likelyhood of dreaming about their sport.
  • if you play a new video game for hours on end you will have a higher likelyhood of dreaming about it.

Dreams are not alternate worlds, They are how the brain learns and are so strange because the logical center of your brain is in a dormant state. I hope this helps.
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Posted Mar 24, 2010 - 12:35 PM:

mric wrote:
For dreams to count as a plausible alternate reality, I would want them to show some regularity and continuity.

In this world I wake up in the same place I fell asleep, and the world around is explicably continuous with the one I 'left' while I slept. My dreams have no such order, even within one night's dream sequence.
Oh, come on! Haven't you figured that one out? The reason for the apparent lack of continuity and order is that it's not just one alternate reality you experience when you fall asleep. It's a whole bunch, possibly an infinite number of them. A different one possibly every night, or several different one's per night. There may be some that you revisit time after time. Those ones are just more interesting, you see. It's all very simple really. grin
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Posted Mar 24, 2010 - 8:05 PM:

MikiVanity wrote:
I have not found anything on what I am about to describe, and I was wondering if anyone could give me some feedback.

I read a series when I was in middle school called the Everworld series. Now a key point in the series that caught my imagination and got me to seriously thinking was, when the kids were transported to everworld, they learned that when they were asleep in everworld they were awake in the real world, and when asleep in the real world awake in everworld.

So my question is, could our dreams not be an alternate existence, and when we are conscious here we are truly sleeping there.


If we take an entirely subjective view of reality, ie. the reality we know is entirely in our heads, then our dream-like experience (and hallucinations in general) as as real as our waking experiences.

The difference then, isn't in some poorly defined concept of "what is really real!?", but rather that the external world is more consistent, constant, predictable, and understandable than the random babblings of our restless neurons.
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Posted Mar 24, 2010 - 8:45 PM:

That's actually a very old idea and there are primitive tribes that share such beliefs.

Of course, if this really is a dream then you can't trust anything anyone says....
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Posted Mar 24, 2010 - 9:11 PM:

wuliheron wrote:
That's actually a very old idea and there are primitive tribes that share such beliefs.

Of course, if this really is a dream then you can't trust anything anyone says....


Yes, of course, I don't think anyone seriously thinks that dreams are anything more than the somewhat haphazard firings of neurons as we sleep, and that our consciousness is literally being transported off into some other metaphysical or spatial dimension.

We can, however, distinguish dream experiences and objective-reality experiences on the basis of consistency, permanence, understandability and predictability etc, as opposed to declaring one to be "real" and one to be "fake".
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