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Premonitory dream





theotex
Last week my wife had a premonitory dream of which I can't contest the reality. Of course the possibility of such a phenomenon is not compatible with a materialistic conception of the world (i. e. just material universe exists).

Can the fact to see a future event question the liberty of man ? In a materialistic system does the concept of liberty as any meaning at all ?
nickfyoung
Dreams such as those can be a blessing or a curse. Pretty handy to dream stuff that actually happens especially if you dream about horse races or lottery numbers. But who wants to know in advance some horrible stuff like major accidents or deaths in the family. I suppose if you do know about those things you can take steps to avoid the situation and then the dream does not happen but then somehow you are tampering with fate.
watersoul
I don't believe any 'future dreams' stuff.
Last night I was dreaming about my car and being pulled over by the police for some reason regarding it's roadworthiness. I woke up, then thought about when the MOT was due to run out, went downstairs, rummaged through my paperwork, and it turned out that it had expired at midnight. My subconscious mind reminded me, nothing else.

I'm replacing two tires I know don't meet the standard tomorrow morning, and a test mid afternoon. Dreams have never been proven to me to be anything other than my subconscious mind interacting with my conscious.
I continue to await proof in the form of predictions which come true from dreams.
I read a lot of 'way out' forums, and often laugh at the predictions which never come true Laughing
theotex
She had the dream at 3h00 0'clock in the morning, about a car accident involving our son. It was so vivid that she awoke and pray. At 5h30 the phone rang : it was our son saying that he just had a car accident ; the vehicle was totalled but himself had not a scratch. So for us it is not a question of belief or unbelief, it's something that happened, it's a fact.

The philosophic problem remains : how can we accept this kind of facts if we stick to a materialistic conception of the world ? The only way is to deny what we can't explain, which is indeed a very unphilosophic attitude.

To answer Watersoul, my wife (who is in AZ) didn't even know our son was on the road in NC ; in fact we have had no phone communication wtih him since quite while.

Another weird thing is that on the morrow, she wanted to call me in France (where I am now,) but she didn't, not to wake me up. But at this very time I couldn't sleep, and was reading the chapter of a book by Camille Flammarion (a french astronomer 19th century) about... premonitory dreams ! and I was pondering why I never had one, thinking that maybe women are more prone to those experiences, remembering that she had sometimes shared some personal cases, which at that time I had found not decisive.

When I was 25 I became a christian, so the concept of a spiritual world above the observable one is familiar to me ; but to exeperience it's reality is always astonishing.
watersoul
It is an interesting story of unusual coincidence.
Without repeated results through any controlled tests it remains anecdotal at best though.
*Edit* I'm curious, when your wife woke and prayed at 3am, did she try to phone your son?
I would have phoned or sent a text at least before a prayer if I was that convinced.
coolclay
I think it's a very real phenomena but like Watersoul mentioned something nearly impossible to study.
There are many ethereal phenomena that are mostly impossible to study much less get any accurate qualitative or quantitative data from.

I don't believe that it changes our freedom to make choices. It really depends on your beliefs in predestination. Even if you look at every thing you do and every choice you make as being your own personal choice, it doesn't matter whether the future is predestined, it is your perception that truly gives you liberty.
Klaw 2
2 things;
1st
well a lot of people have dreams all 7 billion of us so in the event that someone dreams something wich then happens isn't so suprising. Especially considering that losing one of you children is something that parents fear.
And accidents are one of the leading causes of death of young people that happen suddenly...

2nd
Question:
did she tell you that she dreamed about the crash before or after he crashed?
I sometimes have these moments that I vaguely get a deja-vu feeling& "remember" something. In such a case it feels like a dream predicted it but it actually is your brain putting some "puzzel pieces" together after it has happened.
deanhills
coolclay wrote:
I think it's a very real phenomena but like Watersoul mentioned something nearly impossible to study.
There are many ethereal phenomena that are mostly impossible to study much less get any accurate qualitative or quantitative data from.

I don't believe that it changes our freedom to make choices. It really depends on your beliefs in predestination. Even if you look at every thing you do and every choice you make as being your own personal choice, it doesn't matter whether the future is predestined, it is your perception that truly gives you liberty.
I thought Theotex was agreeing that it cannot be grasped with the rational mind. However he was asking if we focus on the rational only, and deny everything that cannot be explained by the rational, how can we ever hope to figure out the irrational? I personally believe there is a bond between mothers and their children that creates a telepathy of sorts and that it is physical. And I'm almost certain one day in the dizzy future there will be a rational explanation for it. Along the same lines as Watersoul's mind telling him he has to renew his car registration. It is not so much about predestination for me, but about close bonds between people. And people being linked to one another in ways the rational mind has not got an explanation for yet.
Indi
theotex wrote:
Last week my wife had a premonitory dream of which I can't contest the reality. Of course the possibility of such a phenomenon is not compatible with a materialistic conception of the world (i. e. just material universe exists).

That is not true. There is no reason materialism would rule out predestination or precognition.

In fact, experiments are being done right now that suggest we might be able to send information backward in time.
LxGoodies
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synchronicity

Quote:
Among his patients Jung observed that synchronicity often happens during circumstances of emotional intensity and upheaval, and often peaks right before a psychological breakthrough. These situations of an “aroused psyche” include such life-changing major events as:

· Births
· Deaths
· Falling in or out of love
· Turning points or personal crises
· Rescues from danger
· Travel

Our awareness and uncertainty is heightened during these times of turmoil, change, and challenge. When we’re groping for solutions, or even learning how to appreciate unexpected joy, we are much more open to input from all sources. Synchronicity may reassure us, point us in a whole new direction, or give us the missing piece we need to make everything work.


http://www.flowpower.com/understanding_synchronicity.htm

Quote:
Jung's concept of meaningful but acausal events, synchronistic events, has intrigued and confused scientists for decades.

For increased clarity, this paper distinguishes several types of causal events from synchronistic ones. Physical causality postulates a physical mechanism to account for meaningful correlations between events, psychological causality a psychological mechanism.

Presumed physical causality and presumed psychological causality are categories of faith that puzzling correlations will eventually be explained by straightforward extensions of current knowledge.

State-specific causality recognizes the limited and semi arbitrary qualities of our ordinary state of consciousness, as noted in the author's systems approach to consciousness, and the possibility that different cognitive styles in altered states can make puzzling correlations comprehensible and causal while in the altered state.


http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/ciencia/ciencia_synchronicity11.htm

Quote:
Synchronicity can best be described by examples. A friend of mine was wondering whether or not he should follow through on his decision to get a divorce. He turned on the radio and found an ad for available apartments. He smiled and knew what he needed to do.

Another example would be thinking of a friend and receiving a phone call from that friend at that time. Another example would be watching a movie and seeing within the story of that film a metaphor for your own life situation. When you are open to synchronistic events, they can help you make choices in your life, because they are a form of guidance from the Universe.


http://www.synchronicitytimes.com/what_is_synchronicity.htm

Ok come in and shoot me now, Bikerman Very Happy Very Happy

Lx
Bikerman
I don't particularly have a problem with the notion of synchronicity per se. It is quite reasonable, it seems to me, to speculate that at times of emotional arousal we may well be prone to 'pattern spot' in a way different to normal. That might lead us to establish causal links where no such links exist or it might even lead us to spot actual causal links which we might otherwise have missed. That presents no problems to a materialist.
The last of your citations is pure woo-woo, as one might guess from the web-address. It seeks to transform something which can be understood as a perceptual phenomenon into a mysterious external communication from 'the universe' - a completely unwarranted and unjustified leap of faith.
nickfyoung
And of course there are instances of God using dreams in the Bible and interpretations of dreams indicating that some dreams have a reason or a purpose Biblically.
Bikerman
[Moderator - the last posting is off-topic and a sidetrack. I do not wish for this topic to be sidetracked into yet another bible says this..bible says that.. exchange so please keep the bible out of it unless it is specifically relevant to a point under discussion
Bikerman]
LxGoodies
Excuse me for my late response, Bikerman..

Bikerman wrote:
I don't particularly have a problem with the notion of synchronicity per se. It is quite reasonable, it seems to me, to speculate that at times of emotional arousal we may well be prone to 'pattern spot' in a way different to normal. That might lead us to establish causal links where no such links exist or it might even lead us to spot actual causal links which we might otherwise have missed. That presents no problems to a materialist.
The last of your citations is pure woo-woo, as one might guess from the web-address. It seeks to transform something which can be understood as a perceptual phenomenon into a mysterious external communication from 'the universe' - a completely unwarranted and unjustified leap of faith.


Part of it is no speculation, rather observation. Causality as observed by materialists also supposes, that no other fields than "known fields" are involved. How about unknown, of unexplained fields ? Materialists e.g. cannot explain morphogenetic fields. There is no way a brain has enough electrical field strength to spread actual knowledge, so there must be another field and another force that explains it. As morphogenetic fields are found in animal behaviour too, no culture involved, materialistic or psychologic explanations don't suffice to explain them properly. Rupert Sheldrake investigated knowledge in birds, yielding surprising conclusions. While birds are not supposed to be aware of knowledge, nor able to transfer knowledge by way of language, they seem to do it anyway. Before WW2, birds were known to ransack milk bottles by penetrating the cap. Before doing that, no smell indicates the availability of food. They learned to do it. During WW2, there were no milkmen delivering milk at the front door. However, very soon after WW2, 5 years with several generations of birds, the birds seemed to be able to reproduce the behaviour.. how come ? Did they learn it from their grandparents, or is "knowledge" something that just exists and can be "picked up" by living entities ? And what medium facilitates that ? How did these post-WW2 birds learn so fast ?

Lx
Indi
LxGoodies wrote:
Causality as observed by materialists also supposes, that no other fields than "known fields" are involved.

That's just completely untrue.

Honestly, if there's just one thing I really want to punch the woo-peddlers for, it is their slanderous bullshit against materialism. Thanks to those idiots, the popular conception of materialsm now is that it's a bunch of people sitting around with their eyes closed and fingers in their ears, refusing to see or acknowledge anything they can't find an equation in established physics for. What horseshit.

Materialsm does not "suppose" that all the fields science knows about now are all the fields that possibly exist. All materialism claims is that everything can be reduced to something material (which doesn't necessarily mean matter - it could be energy). There could be additional types of fields or energy that we don't know anything about. All materialsm has to say about that is that when we do discover these things, they will somehow boil down to something physical.

As for causality in particular, there is nothing about materialism that presumes causality, or that requires it. In fact, there are currently people asking scientific questions - which are materialist by definition - about whether causality can be violated or not.

LxGoodies wrote:
Materialists e.g. cannot explain morphogenetic fields.

Materialism doesn't need to "explain" morphogenetic fields, or anything else. Materialism is not an explanatory framework, it is a philosophical theory (which is not the same as a scientific theory). Specifically, it's a declarative philosophical theory, which means it's just something you assume, then try to justify... it's not something that tries to explain anything else. All materialsm claims is that whatever morphogenetic fields (or anything else) are, assuming they really exist, their underlying causes will be something physical (as opposed to something magical). That's all materialism claims about anything.

LxGoodies wrote:
As morphogenetic fields are found in animal behaviour too, no culture involved, materialistic or psychologic explanations don't suffice to explain them properly.

The problem with the term "morphogenetic field" is that it is a loaded term. It means at least 3 completely different things.

There is a very old scientific theory about "fields" during morphogenesis (the creation of specific parts of the body during the development of an embryo - that is, assuming you start from a single cell type, the fertilized egg, how do you get all the different cell types, and different organs and such, and how do you get them all in the right places). The idea was that somehow "fields" were created during embryonic development - each field would influence the embryonic cells within its influence in different ways (for example, one field would influence the cells to form legs, another would influence them to form lungs, and so on). There was even experimental evidence for these fields. The morphogenetic field theory was always in close competition with the gene theory, and when chromosomes were actually mapped in the 1920s, that pretty much clinched it for gene theory.

It's important to understand that there is nothing mystical involved here. "Morphogenetic" is not a magic word. It just refers to the relationship between genetics - the biochemical structure of an organism (it's genes) - and morphology - the actual structure of an organism (it's shape - it comes from the same root as the word "morphing", which means changing shape). Scientists at the turn of the 19th century didn't think the morphogenetic field was magical, or that it could not be explained by science - quite the opposite, it WAS science. They didn't know what it was made of at the time, but they assumed they would find that out. (They didn't know what electromagnetic fields were made of at the time, but they assumed they would find that out, too... and they did.) Eventually, the theory was abandoned, because genes just explained so much more (and they started actually seeing genes).

So that is the first definition of "morphogenetic field". The second definition is also a scientific one. There is a very new scientific hypothesis about "morphogenetic fields", to try to explain some curious results in the transfer of bulk information during embryonic development. The important thing to understand, though, is that unlike the old-school idea of the morphogenetic field, the new concept doesn't actually involve a physical field. There is no actual "morphogenetic field", it's just a convenient fiction (just like Gaussian surfaces don't actually exist; they just make it possible to solve physics problems). It's a way to better model and understand the way cells are behaving as they differentiate into their different functions, and form structures.

Aaaaaand, then there's the third definition of "morphogenetic field". Now we're no longer in the world of science. This is the world of the woo.

The third type of "morphogenetic field" is a special case of the "morphic field" proposed by Sheldrake. The morphic field is... something... which exists, because of... things. Seriously. That's literally the definition (as far as I understand it). Structure, or pattern, creates the morphic field. I suppose it's in some way analogous to Platonic notions of forms having some kind of substance. Regardless, that's it. Shape, form, structure, pattern... these things create the morphic field. The morphogenetic field is a special case of the morphic field caused by living structure - like people (and animals and plants). This morphogenetic field is how telepathy happens.

So, yeah.

LxGoodies wrote:
Rupert Sheldrake investigated knowledge in birds, yielding surprising conclusions. While birds are not supposed to be aware of knowledge, nor able to transfer knowledge by way of language, they seem to do it anyway. Before WW2, birds were known to ransack milk bottles by penetrating the cap. Before doing that, no smell indicates the availability of food. They learned to do it. During WW2, there were no milkmen delivering milk at the front door. However, very soon after WW2, 5 years with several generations of birds, the birds seemed to be able to reproduce the behaviour.. how come ? Did they learn it from their grandparents, or is "knowledge" something that just exists and can be "picked up" by living entities ? And what medium facilitates that ? How did these post-WW2 birds learn so fast ?

First of all, your description of what happened is not quite correct - your facts are garbled. The foil caps were in use decades before WW2. What you may have heard was that milk was delivered without caps before the First World War, and caps came into use shortly after... but milk delivery did not stop during WW1 (though it was reduced), and it is not true that the birds had cap-free bottles, then nothing for a long time, then bottles with caps. In fact, the birds had cap-free milk one day, then milk with caps the next, as the new capped bottles were gradually phased in, with no generational break. In other words, the same bird would be getting free food one day, then find the foil... so obviously they had a clue to try and break it even without the smell (but, for the record, there would have been PLENTY of smell - they didn't exactly sterilize the milk bottle after sealing it).

This story about the birds and the milk bottles is famous. If you do any reading about animal intelligence, there will be a mention of birds. And, more often than not, a mention of the milk bottle story. It was widely studied for decades (and is probably still being studied!).

As I mentioned, birds are well-known to be extremely intelligent. There have been experiments that prove they can use tools, identify people from photographs, remember photographs for years and even count. Yes, birds can apparently count, more or less.

It is long well-known that a bird just has to see another bird getting into the milk bottle, and they will imitate the behaviour. But what was demonstrated experimentally is that birds are so clever that if they - just once - see an open milk bottle, they will figure out to puncture the foil when they see a closed milk bottle. They don't even need an example. Who told you that you needed language to translate knowledge anyway?

There's no mystery here. Just fascinating nature. For years birds were drinking the froth at the top of milk bottles with no caps, then the caps came, and a few birds were clever enough to figure out how to get in. This is not magic - it's the exact same behaviour they would use to crack snails and bark to get at sap. And they have plenty of clues that there's food in there - as i said, the smell does not vanish just because of the foil cap (you probably get milk in a carton sealed with plastic... can't you smell the milk on the outside?). Others just had to see it done once and they did it, too. Nothing about this requires hypothesizing a magic telepathic field.

The only real relationship between Rupert Sheldrake and bird intelligence is this: Sheldrake is a quack.
LxGoodies
Wow thx for your elaborate submit, Indy.. For now, I suppose the negative qualifications in your first paragraph are not too directed toward little me.. I'm a sceptic as well, I don't believe anything. I just reminded the readers of some notions, that could explain the dream mentioned in the OP.

Anyway I think the first part of your submit (about materialism) is quite right if you regard materialism as a framework only. But I feel that is not the usual context, in which this word "materialism" is used. As I understand materialist skepticism, to be precise, is that they do require existing scientific concepts such as energy or mass as a preset condition for any field or force. That is for a sound analysis of natural phenomena, "classic" notions are required as an explanation, else the explanation should be rejected. Now instantaneous communication can e.g. be explained using quantum-paired particles.. but there is strong doubt wether such couplings can have any more structure than e.g. a "cloud".. synchronicity, or telepathy is a different ballgame.. these are quite structured and instantaneous things.

And I don't really understand your ambiguous standpoint about morphogenetic (or morphic) fields.

Quote:
Shape, form, structure, pattern... these things create the morphic field. The morphogenetic field is a special case of the morphic field caused by living structure - like people (and animals and plants). This morphogenetic field is how telepathy happens.

On the one hand you qualify it as bogus and woo, on the other hand you accept it as an explanation for telepathy phenomena? or is this meant ironically?

My account of Sheldrake's bird experiment may not be correct, I'm not an expert in this field, for me it is hearsay. You tend to reject the complete notion, that is the need for any morphic field in this case, it as I understand you right. We can agree on that one, np..

Lx
loremar
Indi wrote:
theotex wrote:
Last week my wife had a premonitory dream of which I can't contest the reality. Of course the possibility of such a phenomenon is not compatible with a materialistic conception of the world (i. e. just material universe exists).

That is not true. There is no reason materialism would rule out predestination or precognition.

In fact, experiments are being done right now that suggest we might be able to send information backward in time.

Have a link of these experiments?

Is it even possible for a brain to receive or utilize signals from the future? just wondering...
We have even yet to discover faster than light particles right?
Bikerman
http://www.seattlepi.com/local/article/Going-for-a-blast-into-the-real-past-1219821.php
I think the above is fundamentally wrong, but Cramer thinks differently....
http://phys.org/news/2011-03-grandfather-paradox.html
The above is, IMHO, more realistic...

Why would it NOT be possible? Particles are particles....
Faster than light? Well, that is one way but there are other ways - Closed timelike curves are a theoretical possibility, and there is also the possibility of using frame-dragging....
Indi
LxGoodies wrote:
For now, I suppose the negative qualifications in your first paragraph are not too directed toward little me..

Oh no, not directed to you at all - directed at the woo-peddlers. That is, people like Deepak Chopra and his ilk that peddle the woo. Pick up any book on mystic bullshit, or go to any website, and the first thing you'll find them all doing is smack-talking materialism, saying that "materialism can't explain this" or "materialism ignores that" and so on, and therefore you need to believe their mystic crap. And i stress every single book or website, even if they don't use the word "materialism" explicitly, they all go on about how "science can't explain this" or "skeptics won't believe what they can't measure or put in an equation". And in just about every single case they're wrong.

You'll see claims such as that materialism can't explain thought, or emotions or qualia (like the "feeling of seeing red"), or claims that you can imagine infinity (you actually can't) but infinity can't exist in a finite material universe... the claims come in many forms, but they're all nonsense. And i'm not exaggerating when i say that every single book or website that is trying to sell something related to mysticism or the paranormal does it. For me, that's the first litmus test of whether they're talking out of their ass or not - if i see them write something like "science can't explain love" or "science can't explain why sometimes you have bad feelings that turn out to be true", that's that, game over, i know they're full of crap. There's no point in taking any more of their argument any further, if they're that intellectually lazy and clueless about science and materialism yet feel they know enough to criticize it, then they're probably just as intellectually lazy and clueless about everything they're talking about.

LxGoodies wrote:
As I understand materialist skepticism, to be precise, is that they do require existing scientific concepts such as energy or mass as a preset condition for any field or force.

There is no such thing as "materialist skepticism", there is only skepticism. What you're seeing is simply a fundamental skeptical tool that often gets summed up as: "If you hear hoof beats, think horses, not zebras."

In other words, if you see something that needs explaining, the first things you should reach for are well-established explanations, such as the ones that come from science. If you have some kind of force field, the first thing you should assume is that it is probably a force field made up of some already known type of field, whether electric, magnetic, gravity or whatever else. Only after you rule those things out can you start to assume that maybe there's something new and different there. You do not immediately leap to assuming you've discovered a heretofore unknown-to-science force until after you've ruled out the established ones. That's just skepticism; normal, every day skepticism. There's nothing "materialist" about it.

LxGoodies wrote:
And I don't really understand your ambiguous standpoint about morphogenetic (or morphic) fields.

There's nothing ambiguous about it. There are three different definitions of "morphogenetic fields".

The first is an old scientific theory, which was respectable in its time but was eventually ruled out when we mapped genes. If this were 1913, than it would be perfectly rational to believe in those kinds of morphogenetic fields. But this is 2013, and we have advanced science beyond them. So it would not be rational to believe in them anymore.

The second is a new scientific theory, but they don't believe morphogenetic fields are real "things". They are just imaginary tools to help make the system easier to model and understand. No one believes they really exist (or at least, no one should), so it would not be rational to believe in them. However, they're still useful tools if you're trying to model morphogenesis.

The third is the Sheldrake theory of morphogenetic fields. Those are complete nonsense.

So the first kind was rational a hundred years ago, but science has advanced, and they're not rational anymore. The second kind were never claimed to be real, but they're convenient and handy fictions. And the third kind is complete nonsense.

LxGoodies wrote:
Quote:
Shape, form, structure, pattern... these things create the morphic field. The morphogenetic field is a special case of the morphic field caused by living structure - like people (and animals and plants). This morphogenetic field is how telepathy happens.

On the one hand you qualify it as bogus and woo, on the other hand you accept it as an explanation for telepathy phenomena? or is this meant ironically?

I don't accept any of it. I was just explaining what Sheldrake's theory is. Nothing in that entire paragraph is my opinion. It was all just the explanation of Sheldrake's theory. And part of his theory is that the morphogenetic field allows telepathy.

But i think the man is a quack.

LxGoodies wrote:
My account of Sheldrake's bird experiment may not be correct, I'm not an expert in this field, for me it is hearsay.

I only know of one experiment that Sheldrake ran on birds, with Steven Rose. It showed the opposite of what Sheldrake claimed it would. Sheldrake insisted that it still proved his theory, Rose said it didn't. They got third parties to check the data, everyone agreed with Rose. But to this day, Sheldrake still insists that the data proves him right.
Bikerman
The scumbag who was convicted today of selling explosive detectors that did not and could not work - sold a PILE of them to people going to Iraq, and Afghanistan, still claims that they work - even after we found out that they have no active parts,
Fake bomb detector graphic
Klaw 2
Bikerman wrote:
The scumbag who was co.....


uhm bikerman wrong topic? theres no connection between dreams and this scam.... at least not an explained one...
Bikerman
The connection is that obvious and blindingly public revelation as a charlatan doesn't mean that the guilty party will cough to the offence - comparing what Indi remarked about Sheldrake still saying the data supports him with this git who still says that his scam device actually works. It is responsible for the deaths and life-changing injuries of a lot of people.
Tenuous connection perhaps but topical and there is a link....
Indi
Speaking of synchronicity!

There is a blowup happening right now over TED/TEDx. What happened was this:

TED is a prestigious conference series that invites some of the greatest thinkers to come and present their ideas on Technology, Entertainment and Design (hence the name, TED) and so much more. It's become very influential, and more likely than not, if you haven't seen a TED talk yourself, you've probably heard some of the discussion surrounding one. TEDx is an extension of TED, where TED allows smaller-scale conferences - like mini-TEDs - to use the TED name, provided they stick to certain standards.

For a few years, TED/TEDx talk videos were paragons of the best of innovation in science, technology, philosophy, and more. There were always criticisms you could make, such as the generally pat nature of the TED formula, where "big ideas" are supposed to solve everything, but generally TED/TEDx were well-respected. Recently, though, some shit has been seeping through the cracks, and a few of the TEDx talks were... a little dodgy.

A backlash ensued, and TED took it surprisingly seriously. The heads of both TED and TEDx got together to write an open letter to TED/TEDx organizers, setting clear standards for quality, and giving guidelines for recognizing cranks and pseudoscience. (It's actually an excellent letter, and i strongly encourage everyone to give it a read because its guidelines for recognizing cranks is brilliant.) They also pulled a couple of the most dodgy talks (though you can still watch them on the TED site).

Aaaand, cue the pissed off cranks.

King of the cranks Deepak Chopra, backed up with a crack team of crackpots (featuring Stuart Hameroff, Rudolph Tanzi and a couple of nobodies) wrote an open letter back to TED/TEDx accusing them of censorship. No, wait. Semi-censorship, because of course TED/TEDx didn't actually censor anybody. And of course, Chopra's accusations read like a by-the-numbers sound-off of the usual woo-peddler crap. Of course he accuses people of being blinded by science and materialism, using a bizarre Game of Thrones analogy about people who "won't look over the wall". He even blames "militant atheism", and draws Richard Dawkins into the fray. (What is with the woo-peddlers' fixation on Dawkins?) His ultimate point is that TED shouldn't be deciding what is good enough for TED, the audience should. As if TED should just throw any shit out there that happens to pop up on their radar then let the audience decide what is sane and what is gibberish. As if the whole point of TED, and the reason people like Chopra want so badly to be on the TED stage, isn't that it is prestigious, and you can only get there if you've earned the honour by actually having a really good idea.

(By the way, if you read the Chopra letter, he also lies about the talks that were redacted. He says that the one just "covered ten dogmas in mainstream science that need to be examined; there wasn't a hint of bad science in it", and the other was on "consciousness and psychedelics". In the first case, that talk didn't just cover "dogmas" (which, by the way, aren't even real dogmas - some are being actively researched by real scientists), it also made absurd claims like that the speed of light is changing (it changed by 20 km/s between 1928 and 1945), among other things (crystals have a collective unconscious memory!). In the second case, the talk was not just on "consciousness and psychedelics", it talked about encountering other beings, like Mother Ayahuasca, getting messages from them and learning from them, being healed by them, and even being literally taken to Hell. (It was also a pretty transparent screed against "big pharma" and modern society in general, hardly just a talk on consciousness and psychedelics.))

Anyway, there's another reason why i call this spat a case of synchronicity, beyond the obvious clash of sanity and anti-materialist nonsense. You see, TED pulled two videos that were called out by viewers as especially dodgy, after having their own panel of experts review them. They did not delete the videos; they merely pulled them out of the main TED/TEDx YouTube stream, and put them on their own blog, along with the reasons why they were pulled, so that viewers could review them themselves. So, why synchronicity? Well one of the videos was by Graham Hancock. The other speaker whose video was flagged as bullshit?

Rupert Sheldrake.

Synchronicity!

(More synchronicity: watch those two videos. How do they talk about science and materialism? Do they not do exactly what I said all woo-peddlers do? Both of them!)
Bikerman
I am a HUGE fan of Ted/TedEd - I watch every new video that comes out. Haven't got into TedX - I watch on Youtube mostly (the TEDEd vids are a must for any teacher - uniformly good teaching with some absolute perls) - so I was unaware of this whole back-scene battle waging.
Chopra really is one of the biggest stars in my pantheon of Bosmologists. I am currently writing a mini biography for Bosmology.org (it will go with his recent life-membership award), and the more I read the more I appreciate his character, ethics and behaviour.

I must mention Sheldrake to the membership committee - they may have overlooked him. I will organize a showing of the videos for their consideration.
Indi
I don't know that there's much of a battle being waged within TED/TEDx. They seem pretty comfortable insisting only on quality speakers, and drawing a clear line between science and pseudoscience. Sure some of the TEDx organizers are going to get a little miffed at having some of their choices vetoed, and sure woo-peddlers (like Chopra) are going to be miffed at losing a shot at TED(x) prestige, but i don't think there's really any serious discussion going on among the TED/TEDx power players about changing the decision. As with most discussions of pseudoscience, this spat is mostly taking place outside of where the real work is done, out where the media can see it.
GuidanceReader
I do dream analysis sometimes and take the stance that dreaming is merely your subconscious communicating with you. The symbolism that is presented in even the strangest dreams often relate to how you view that symbolism, which makes the dream usually interpretable as symbolism is often taught on a community level at least (red means stop for most people and a heart means love etc).

In cases of predictive-type dreams, I have yet to make my mind over. I have had some pretty convincing dreams that have appeared to come true (there is one I had when I was four, where I dreamed of a truck coming around the corner, my sister running under it and then the truck dragging her down the road, pulling into our drive. I told my mother and the next day while we were gardening, my mother decided to keep an extra eye on my sister and as she ran towards the road, grabbed her. At that precise moment a truck came around the corner and pulled into our drive - they had the wrong house). I remember the dream, the event itself is recount by my mother, so may have been told to fit my dream. Did I have the dream because my subconscious (at four) thought my mother was not supervising us efficiently? Was it just co-incidence?
Bikerman
Sorry, I don't buy it at all. I have no doubt there is all sort of symbol flying around during dreams but I don't think they are standard enough in terms of iconography, or 'logical' enough in terms of role/interaction/appearance to be amenable to any particularly deep or significant analysis. This is where Freudian analysis (and Jungian of course) becomes pseudo-science as far as I am concerned. There is no falsifiability about dream analysis - whatever you interpret the dream as can usually be made to work and there is no interpretation which would enable a proper test of the hypothesis.
Indi
GuidanceReader wrote:
In cases of predictive-type dreams, I have yet to make my mind over. I have had some pretty convincing dreams that have appeared to come true (there is one I had when I was four, where I dreamed of a truck coming around the corner, my sister running under it and then the truck dragging her down the road, pulling into our drive. I told my mother and the next day while we were gardening, my mother decided to keep an extra eye on my sister and as she ran towards the road, grabbed her. At that precise moment a truck came around the corner and pulled into our drive - they had the wrong house). I remember the dream, the event itself is recount by my mother, so may have been told to fit my dream. Did I have the dream because my subconscious (at four) thought my mother was not supervising us efficiently? Was it just co-incidence?

When you were FOUR?!?! Come on. You don't seriously expect anyone to take that anecdote seriously, do you?

All "predictive dreams" are is a combination of statistics and fuzzy memory. Most people only remember their dreams in the vaguest, fuzziest terms - in fact, any "narrative" in the dream may actually be created after the fact, when you wake up, as your brain tries to make sense of the random shit that was going on during the night.

By the time you're 20, you've had over 7,000 dreams, and in each dream you've probably had dozens of images. Chances are very high that, in some of those cases, some random elements of the dream will happen to be mirrored in something you experience the next day. Even if that only happens in 0.014% of cases (which is absurdly low!), that one case will be the one you remember - you won't remember the other 6,999 times you didn't see anything from your dreams the next day, you'll only remember the one time it actually randomly happened. That's just a case of statistical perceptual bias, not prediction.

And then, once it happens, your memory will embellish it, and distort the facts to make it more interesting. Each time you tell the story, it gets more and more fantastic, not because of any deliberate deception, but because your psyche needs it to be interesting, and for you to look good in the story. It might work like this:

  1. What actually happens is that at some point you tell your mother about a dream about your sister being hit by a car. Some weeks later, your sister runs out into the road, and your mother grabs her before a truck hits her. The truck does not pull into your drive. Your mother mentions offhandedly how it resembles that dream you had a while back.
  2. Weeks later, when your mother is telling the story, she makes it more interesting by saying that she "had a feeling" because of your earlier dream. She doesn't do this to be dishonest - it's a tactic used subconsciously to protect her ego. Suddenly it's not a story of being lucky despite half-assed parenting, suddenly it's a story of magic!
  3. Months later, someone is recounting the story yet again, and you're asked what you actually dreamt. Now when you tell the dream, it was not a car that hit your sister, it was a truck - just like the one that almost hit her. You also start adding details - not deliberately, but you're reconstructing a memory you don't actually have, so your brain fills in the gaps with lurid details - like being dragged, and the truck pulling in to your drive (which gets added to make the story more interesting than that it was just a random truck).
  4. Years later, the story gets recounted even more, but now the time between the dream and the incident gets more and more compressed until it becomes "the next day". Again, not because of deliberate distortion, but just because our brains our wired to squish things together temporally to make the story easier to hold in a single "memory". Also, the truck becomes more and more similar between the dream and what actually happened... now the colours are the same, it actually pulled into the drive like the one in your dream, and so on.

And so it goes from a case where your mother pulls your sister back from running out into the road, then vaguely recalls a dream you had some time ago that was somewhat similar in some ways... to a story of magic! Suddenly your mother is having "feelings", you're having precisely predictive dreams, and so on. That's how myths get made.

And yes, this actually happens, very often. I've seen some absurd cases of exaggeration. But the person telling the story really believes it happened just that way, even when it contradicts actual physical evidence. (This was actually the cause of a series of major cases in the 80s, with people "recovering repressed memories" of childhood sex abuse. It turned out, in some of those cases, that the memories were totally impossible - there were inconsistencies like that the alleged rapist wasn't even in the person's life until years later - but in many cases, the "victim" still swore blind it happened. It destroyed a lot of families. Don't underestimate the power of your brain to ****** with you.)
nickfyoung
Indy
Quote:
Most people only remember their dreams in the vaguest, fuzziest terms - in fact, any "narrative" in the dream may actually be created after the fact, when you wake up, as your brain tries to make sense of the random shit that was going on during the night.



Many men will recall some dreams in vivid reality, especially those in which they dream they are having sex. Most of those type of dreams are so real for them there is the 'wet puddle' of evidence in the bed giving them the term 'wet dreams'.
Indi
nickfyoung wrote:
Indy
Quote:
Most people only remember their dreams in the vaguest, fuzziest terms - in fact, any "narrative" in the dream may actually be created after the fact, when you wake up, as your brain tries to make sense of the random shit that was going on during the night.



Many men will recall some dreams in vivid reality, especially those in which they dream they are having sex. Most of those type of dreams are so real for them there is the 'wet puddle' of evidence in the bed giving them the term 'wet dreams'.

See the bolded bit. You don't "remember" dreams, you reconstruct them.

"Wet dreams" are caused by spikes in testosterone levels, not by dreams. In fact, you may not have a dream at all. When you have too much testosterone, the various sexual chemicals get pumping, you eventually get an ejaculation, then when you wake up, you interpret the sensations as an erotic dream.
nickfyoung
There is a comprehensive article on Wiki about dreaming including dream recall. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dream

Both the article and personal experience don't seem to back up your assertions.
Indi
nickfyoung wrote:
There is a comprehensive article on Wiki about dreaming including dream recall. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dream

Both the article and personal experience don't seem to back up your assertions.

Personal experience counts for squat, unless you have some insight into how your brain is actually functioning (you don't). The Wikipedia article actually does back up what I say if you bother to read it. So does modern neuroscience.
LxGoodies
Indy wrote:
See the bolded bit. You don't "remember" dreams, you reconstruct them.

"Wet dreams" are caused by spikes in testosterone levels, not by dreams. In fact, you may not have a dream at all. When you have too much testosterone, the various sexual chemicals get pumping, you eventually get an ejaculation, then when you wake up, you interpret the sensations as an erotic dream.

I'm afraid that is a catholic myth Indy.. saying it was not actually a dream, to be able to punish the poor boy for having such a dream. I feel there is a clear difference between a masturbation fantasy and erotic dreaming, which is experienced as far more realistic ! The assumption you make of "reconstruction" afterward, as opposed to remembrance, seems difficult to proove anyway.. do you have any sources for that statement ? Someone deprived of sex for a long time was put into a brain scanner or something ? How can you be so sure about this ?

Lx
Indi
LxGoodies wrote:
I'm afraid that is a catholic myth Indy.. saying it was not actually a dream, to be able to punish the poor boy for having such a dream.

Good grief, what in the hell are you talking about? Catholic myths and punishing boys? I've never heard of such a Catholic myth, and i can't imagine there are a lot of Catholic myths about hormones and endocrinology.

This is well-established science - not even new science - that's actually quite well-known among people who have to deal with hormonal problems, such as those undergoing gender change and even bodybuilders who use testosterone supplements. Increased testosterone leads to increased nocturnal emissions. This is why it usually happens to teenage boys during puberty, when their testosterone levels are out of whack.

It's also quite well-documented that nocturnal emissions don't necessary mean erotic dreams.

You want a link? Google it and see for yourself. Try "nocturnal emission" and "testosterone", and pick a link (obviously a reputable one, from a medical or science site).

LxGoodies wrote:
The assumption you make of "reconstruction" afterward, as opposed to remembrance, seems difficult to proove anyway.. do you have any sources for that statement ? Someone deprived of sex for a long time was put into a brain scanner or something ?

Basically, yes. (Though... why "deprived of sex"?) Neuroscience researchers have been studying sleep and dreams for decades, using EEG, PET and fMRI scans of people while they sleep and dream.

There's a lot we don't understand about exactly what happens during dreams, and why we have them, but we do know this much: when people are dreaming, it isn't really the cognitive parts of their brain that light up, it is the lower brain - the emotional parts - and the parietal lobes - the parts associated with sensory input. In other words, while you're "dreaming", you're not really "understanding" or "thinking". All that's happening is your lower brain and parietal lobes get fired off by various inputs from your endocrine systems and from what's happening around you. In other words, you're having flashes of somewhat random images and feelings, usually things that are still "warm" - that is, feelings and images that were recently activated.

Then when you wake up and try to remember your dream THAT is when your cognitive brain starts kicking into action. It takes those mixed up images and feelings - emotions and sensations - and tries to form a coherent story out of it. That story did not exist in the dream; you make it up when you "remember" it, because that's the only way your brain can makes sense of the random images and feelings.

We not only have the technology to watch this happen, we can actually see the images and feelings you're dreaming about. Yes, really. Basically, scientists will sit a subject down and show them pictures, while watching their brain activation patterns in an fMRI. Then they match the patterns to descriptions of what's the images, and they effectively have a "map" which tells them that when they see a certain pattern of activation in your brain, it means you're imagining (or seeing) this or that kind of object. Then all they do is redo the experiment, this time while the subject is asleep, and they can see what the subject is imagining during sleep. When the subject wakes up, they ask them what they dreamed off, and compare what the subject says to what their scans revealed.

Now that is fairly cutting-edge research being done in Japan right now. But the general idea - that "dreams" are just emotional and sensory data, and you put a story to them later, after you wake up - while it's still new science, it is well-supported by neurological research. Our cognitive functions don't really fire during dreaming, just our sensory and emotional ones. Our cognitive functions only start working when we wake up. That means that "dreams" are just sensations and emotions - not stories - and we don't really "understand" anything about those sensations and emotions, or form a story about "what happened" until we try to recall them.
nickfyoung
indy
Quote:
Our cognitive functions only start working when we wake up



Is there an intermediary period where we are part asleep and part awake or drifting in and out of each one.
LxGoodies
Amazing to read that the subject of a dream can be "decoded" from some image..

Indi wrote:
But the general idea - that "dreams" are just emotional and sensory data, and you put a story to them later, after you wake up - while it's still new science, it is well-supported by neurological research

Lucid dreams don't (or can't) exist ? And if they do, how lucid are sexual dreams ?
Indi
LxGoodies wrote:
Amazing to read that the subject of a dream can be "decoded" from some image..

It's not that the subject can be decoded - that's tricky. It's that we can scan the brain, and guess the imagery.

There's actually a video where they show them doing it for a subject that's awake. I don't know if there any videos of them doing it for people that are asleep, but you can almost certainly find pictures.

Nope, never mind, there's a video showing them decoding a dream.

LxGoodies wrote:
Lucid dreams don't (or can't) exist ? And if they do, how lucid are sexual dreams ?

Lucid dreams exist, but are different - a lucid dream is not a dream, despite the name, it's something else entirely. In regular sleep (and dreams), several parts of your brain shut down - most famously, the parts involved in motor control, which is why sometimes when you are woken suddenly, you can't move (this is called sleep paralysis). When you lucid dream, your frontal lobe (according to Wikipedia, the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex) doesn't shut down - it stays active, which means you continue to think and form memories.

A normal dreamer doesn't think or form memories while they're asleep - their brain creates wild imagery during sleep that is still "hot" when the dreamer wakes, and in those first few moments of waking, the brain tries to make sense of those crazy images and feelings. What it can't make sense of, it forgets. That's why it's important to "write your dreams" immediately as you wake - if you wait, the crazy images fade, and you can't reconstruct them (because they were totally random and meaningless), but if you start trying to form a narrative while they're fresh, right as you wake, the images are still there so you can form a narrative with them. Once you have a narrative, you have something your brain can remember.

A lucid dreamer isn't doing the same thing. They're basically still "awake" in a way - they're still thinking and reasoning and remembering. They're not dreaming, they're imagining. If they become lucid after a period of dreaming, then it's the same as waking up - you have a short period to try and make sense of the residual crazy images from dream and form a narrative. If you do, then you can sort of continue that story in your lucid dream, but that's not the same as dreaming - it's imagining.

But if you stay lucid while going to sleep - in other words, if your prefrontal cortex never shuts down - then you don't dream at all.

The latter happens to me: every "dream" i have is lucid. I've never had a real dream in my life. I just go to sleep thinking of something, and at some point i realize i'm no longer awake, but i'm basically thinking the whole time. I'm usually even aware of what's going on around me, unless i'm really tired. But i never dream. I never get the weird and bizarre dreams that other people get, and I never experience the emotions people do during dreams (or nightmares). It's just like daydreaming for me. In fact, i often go to sleep thinking of an engineering or philosophical problem, and just keep working on it while i'm asleep.

Basically, this is what a real dream looks like:
  1. Subject relaxes, while thinking of something.
  2. Subject falls asleep. Parts of the brain shut down, including motor control and the prefrontal cortex. No new memories are being formed, no cognition is happening.
  3. During sleep, the lower brain and parietal lobe fire randomly (scientists don't know why - some speculate they're pruning useless neural links, but no one is sure). These are the parts of the brain associated with emotions and sensory input.
  4. In the first moments of waking, parts of the brain start reactivating.
  5. The freshly woken prefrontal cortex tries to "figure out what's going on", and finds all this crazy shit in emotional and sensory input. It tries to make some sense of it so the subject can consciously understand it.
  6. The subject fully wakes, and their prefontal cortex is telling them, "well, this shit happened...", that feels a lot like a memory, even though it was only constructed in the microseconds during the waking process.
  7. BONUS: If the subject tries to force the prefrontal cortex to really try to make sense of it by concentrating on it (for example, by trying to remember it clearly or write it down), the prefrontal cortex does its best to make sense of the nonsense. This makes the "memory" of the dream seem clearer (what it really does is make the fake memory better defined), and allows it to pass into long term memory (as opposed to simply being discarded as junk). Thus, you remember your dreams more clearly if you try to write them down just after waking.


This is what a lucid dream that starts after a real dream looks like:
  1. Subject relaxes, while thinking of something.
  2. Subject falls asleep. Parts of the brain shut down, including motor control and the prefrontal cortex. No new memories are being formed, no cognition is happening.
  3. During sleep, the lower brain and parietal lobe fire randomly (scientists don't know why - some speculate they're pruning useless neural links, but no one is sure). These are the parts of the brain associated with emotions and sensory input.
  4. At some point, the prefrontal cortex reactivates, even though the subject is still asleep.
  5. The freshly activated prefrontal cortex tries to "figure out what's going on", and finds all this crazy shit in emotional and sensory input. It tries to make some sense of it so the subject can consciously understand it.
  6. The subject has their prefontal cortex telling them, "well, this shit happened...", that feels a lot like a memory, even though it was only constructed in the microseconds during the time that the prefrontal cortex activated.
  7. Even though still asleep, the subject starts using their imagination (because their prefrontal cortex is active), possibly using the "remembered" dream as a starting point. But they are no longer dreaming.
  8. For the rest of the sleep, the subject just imagines stuff (or observes the world around them), forming thoughts and memories just like they do when they're awake.
  9. Some time later, the subject awakens fully - the other parts of the brain and body reactivate - and all their memories of what they've imagined since their prefrontal cortex activated persist. Since these are real memories, and not reconstructed bullshit masquerading as memories, they are clear and vivid memories (that's why lucid dreams are called "lucid").


This is what a lucid dream without a dream looks like:
  1. Subject relaxes, while thinking of something.
  2. Subject falls asleep. Parts of the brain shut down, including motor control, but NOT the prefrontal cortex. It stays active. So new memories are being formed, and cognition is happening.
  3. At some point - while still thinking of what they were thinking about - the subject recognizes signs of sleep (the other parts of their body and brain are still shut down as they would normally be during sleep).
  4. For the rest of the sleep, the subject just imagines stuff (or observes the world around them), forming thoughts and memories just like they do when they're awake.
  5. Some time later, the subject awakens fully - the other parts of the brain and body reactivate - and all their memories of what they've imagined since their prefrontal cortex activated persist. Since these are real memories, and not reconstructed bullshit masquerading as memories, they are clear and vivid memories (that's why lucid dreams are called "lucid").


(As for the sexual part, that really makes no difference. Sexual arousal is just another emotion; sexually arousing imagery are just images like any others. Sexual dreams are the same as regular dreams; sexual lucid dreams are the same regular lucid dreams.)
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