Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Dreams

Dreams are weird shit, aren't they. This is one of those areas where different people can be very different, as I understand it. I am one of those people that can occasionally remember dreams - usually if I somehow wake up during a dream. My latest medication woes have meant different sleep cycles and dreams, but overall for the better I think.

I have to say that I do wonder what the underlying evolutionary process is that created the state of dreams we experience, and as I understand it is experienced by animals as well. There is some logic in the idea that it is a way for us to review our experiences and "safely" try many possible strategies and see how they play out. This makes some sense, but dreams have a whole load of sanity checks turned off.

Obviously, the most basic disconnect in a dream is our actual control of our body - we may move our eyes, but for most of us we are not actually moving our muscles otherwise and getting up and walking around and doing shit - we un-plug our brain from the world for a while. Errors in that process lead to sleep walking, and the rather odd moments we can experience as we wake up some times.

To some extend that makes sense - if this is the ultimate role playing experience to try out scenarios and work our strategies for the future. I have dreams of upcoming events, whether a meeting with BT or a live TV broadcast or, well, anything new that I know is going to happen. I expect these dreams help me prepare. I also have dreams of coding and solving puzzles. Some times (as I have blogged) theses really work to find the answers. The other day I was designing an XML system in great detail for creating a comedian's script to tell jokes, in a dream - I have no idea why!

But what puzzles me is how dreams (at least for me) also un-plug so many "sanity checks" on reality. So many things can happen and not be questioned.

So, one of my latest dreams for amusement:-

The idea of flying is not uncommon - but for me this is a recurring theme where I cannot actually fly but, with a lot of mental concentration, I can sort of hover several cm over the ground and then sort of "glide" along the ground.

In this dream people can do that - not many, but I can. It is seen a lot like skateboarding - something some people can do well (not me!). There are kids that do it recreationally, in like skateboard parks, but if you saw someone doing it in the street you would think a bit childish and maybe even a bit dangerous.

In this context the fact I can do this is a bit of showing off, occasionally, but not seen as a very useful skill. Obviously someone doing the long jump would be cheating when using this skill, but that was about it.

Now, the weird bit is that in the dream I realised it was impossible - it made no sense in terms of laws of physics, and it dawned on me that it meant that the universe in which I lived was fake!

I was realising that the universe was some sort of simulation or something fake and not real as I had an impossible ability!

What was strange is that in the dream I did not make the leap that the reason the universe was fake is that I was in a dream! I was thinking simulation with a bug in it somehow.

As I awoke I had what seemed like several seconds of dread that the real universe was fake because I could do something impossible, and a sort of double take that no I cannot really float a few cm over the ground.

So yes, some times dreams can be fun!

P.S. I like someone commenting to me of dreams of "no pants", not a dream I have ever had, having spent some of my youth living in a naturist club where such was clearly not an issue!

3 comments:

  1. I often have the "glide" ability in my dreams. Often i can repeatedly use it to rise higher and higher until falling too quick becomes a real issue!. Another common theme in my dreams is being in the rear of a vehicle, but being required to drive it from there. I somehow have controls but crap visibility and its a very frustrating experience! Oh and having teeth come out and realistically experiencing the blood and hole in my gums.

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  2. It was noticing these inconsistencies that led me to achieve lucid dreaming with a high degree of control as a youngster before I'd even heard it was a thing. Particularly the same broken physics repeated on many nights made it possible to set a mental note for when I saw it next. Entertaining for a while till I got bored of it and stopped bothering.

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  3. If you want your dreams to be more lucid and want more control over them, write down your dream in the dream diary. Just the act of writing the events of your dreams forces you to recall them in more detail than you would normally remember them. Also the act of snoozing IE going back to sleep after waking up from a dream will cause you to forget it.

    The most lucid and controllable dreams happen just as you are waking up. Often as busts of compressed time IE you actually dream for 2-3 mins but in your dream it seems like hours. The problem with this is that you are very susceptible to being woken up by outside noises or the strong light of say the sun streaming through your window.

    There is a large amount of tech available to assist in lucid dreaming, just google for it.

    Just my 2 cents worth.

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