Is Dreaming an Encryption Procedure?

Discuss any topics related to metaphysics (the philosophical study of the principles of reality) or epistemology (the philosophical study of knowledge) in this forum.
Michael McMahon
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Re: Is Dreaming an Encryption Procedure?

Post by Michael McMahon » August 11th, 2020, 4:46 pm

Belindi: “The physiology of dreaming is the province of neuroscientists.”

Well consciousness is also a mystery for neuroscientists so I think brainstorming any possible ideas is always helpful.

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Re: Is Dreaming an Encryption Procedure?

Post by Belindi » August 12th, 2020, 6:14 pm

Michael McMahon wrote:
August 11th, 2020, 4:46 pm
Belindi: “The physiology of dreaming is the province of neuroscientists.”

Well consciousness is also a mystery for neuroscientists so I think brainstorming any possible ideas is always helpful.


I don't think consciousness is a mystery for neuroscientists. It's true that brainstorming any possible ideas is helpful but why reinvent the wheel?

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Re: Is Dreaming an Encryption Procedure?

Post by Michael McMahon » August 13th, 2020, 4:06 pm

"Mirrors present an interesting puzzle in lucid dreams because their main property in real life - reflection - is driven by the laws of physics. Yet these laws are entirely moot in dreams...

Perhaps not surprisingly, people have reported similar effects when taking psychedelics. Looking in a mirror (in real life) while hallucinating can reveal strange facial distortions...

It's intriguing to interpret the symbolism of your dream. This experiment isn't simply to freak yourself out... although I admit that's part of the fun ;)
- worldofluciddreaming

“Yet, what most people don’t realize is that gazing into a mirror, under the right conditions, can be downright terrifying...

In the study conducted by Dr. Caputo of the University of Urbino, participants were asked to stare into a mirror in dim lighting for ten minutes. Results demonstrated that 66% of participants experienced huge deformations of their own face, 28% saw an unknown person, and 48% saw fantastical and monstrous beings.

These surprising results beg the question: How can staring into a mirror possibly cause our faces to shapeshift into unknown and potentially terrifying deformations? The answer lies in our brain’s penchant for selective processing. In simple terms, our brains can only handle so much information at a time... When faced with an abundance of visual stimulation, only some of which are considered relevant, our brains will tune out the non-relevant parts. This phenomenon is termed the Troxler Effect."
- psychologytoday

Our visual imagination is transient when we are awake. For example I can close my eyes and imagine myself swimming in the sea. However the image I can visualise is ephemeral. If it was any more intense then it could end up being a hallucination. So our daydreams tend to be less vivid.

Our eyelids block out the light when we go to sleep. We can only sense phosphenes. But during sleep these phosphenes somehow morph into complex dream imagery. It almost seems to occur ex nihilo. Our imagination seems to leave stronger imprints on on the visual field when we sleep. The pulsating phosphenes may perhaps alter our visual recognition to create the dreamscape. Indeed the erratic eye motion of REM sleep might amplify the effect.

“In 1804, Troxler made the discovery that rigidly fixating one’s gaze on some element in the visual field can cause surrounding stationary images to seem to slowly disappear or fade. They are replaced with an experience, the nature of which is determined by the background that the object is on. This is known as filling-in.”
- illusionsindex

Michael McMahon
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Re: Is Dreaming an Encryption Procedure?

Post by Michael McMahon » August 15th, 2020, 10:29 pm

Belindi:
“We suspend disbelief when we attend to a fictional narrative. Dreams are fictional narratives.”

discovermagazine:
“The topic of dreams touches on some of the deepest problems in neuroscience: the self, memory, and self-awareness... In dreams, we often have bizarre experiences that seem perfectly normal at the time. We do not realize that what’s going on is impossible...

The essence of a lucid dream is self-awareness. So lucidity could offer neuroscientists a window onto the nature of dream unawareness.

In normal dreams, some areas of the brain are less active than when we’re awake. In particular, activity in the precuneus, part of the medial parietal lobe, is lower.

The precuneus is activated during self–reflective experience as well as being a hub of the ‘default mode network‘...

In one small study, activity in the precuneus was higher during lucid dreamsthan in normal ones. So the precuneus, and connected areas, might be responsible for the insight that’s often lacking in dreams. An analogy might be that dreams are like a dramatic, attention-grabbing external event that leaves us ‘no time to think’ about ourselves or what it means.”

The preceding extract is about the neuroscience of lucid dreams. It’s intriguing how we get lost in the dream story by a “suspension of disbelief”. I certainly don’t think dreams bore us into remaining unconscious. Dreams are never tedious but rather marvellous. The perplexity of our inner speech during sleep is overwhelming so we obliviously zone out.



“Jake plays a character named Lou Bloom, who stumbles upon the world of nightcrawler. He becomes a stringer - someone who films breaking tragic or violent story and sells the story to local T.V stations. He is motivated,clever and a sociopath. Throughout the film his drive to success leads him to take increasingly unforgiveable actions, but he still remains the hero for the audience who stay engaged.

We tend to empathize with a character when we understand the motives behind their action.When despite disagreeing with a choice , we know why it was made. The movie does not pass judgement to Lou's action... Having Lou as our eyes to the world, we have a different way of looking at our world. ...When we empathize with someone who is not the ideal somebody and we look at the world with their eyes we have an amazing opportunity to learn about ourseleves.”
- wrytin web page

There is a large variation in the vividness of dreams. As we drift into sleep our imagination gets disjointed and pareidolic so we tune out. But when we wake up in the morning we can sometimes recall intricate fantasies. The more we can relate to the dream character, the less we forget it. Free will then looks to be inversely proportional to how unconscious we are. We might only remember a few minutes of dreams despite being asleep for several hours.

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Re: Is Dreaming an Encryption Procedure?

Post by Michael McMahon » August 17th, 2020, 3:01 pm

I’ll play devil’s advocate and say that dreams can often be quite confusing and peculiar. But I don’t believe this renders them epiphenomenal.

Detail: “Dreaming can be quite surrealistic , and can exhibit large scale unlogic and ununderstandable parts.”

Time magazine website: “If dreams were movies, they wouldn’t make a dime. They’re often banal, frequently fleeting and they’re screened for an audience of just one. As for the storyline? You’re in a supermarket, only it’s also Yankee Stadium, shopping with your second-grade teacher until she turns into Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Then you both shoot a bear in the cereal aisle. Somebody call rewrite.”

The plots within dreams are very different from what we see in literature and movies. But dreams are visceral, spontaneous and free-flowing. This fluidity is at the expense of a rational, ordered storyline. It doesn’t have to make sense to others as dreams are personal. Your unfiltered dreams are invisible to others. The storyline pertains only to your own inclinations. During sleep our subconscious takes the reins. Our impulsivity runs wild. Our instinctive and reflexive thinking patterns might be stress tested in nightmares.

Dreams could serve as our own inbuilt thematic apperception test. Dreams may well be a platform for us to discover our true desires. We are more in a more unguarded and open-minded state while sleeping. The hypnagogic images are interpreted narratively. It occurs too rapidly for our usual rational mind to analyse. Our subconscious is then left to interpret it and free write the plot.

“The rationale behind the technique is that people tend to interpret ambiguous situations in accordance with their own past experiences and current motivations, which may be conscious or unconscious. Murray reasoned that by asking people to tell a story about a picture, their defenses to the examiner would be lowered as they would not realize the sensitive personal information they were divulging by creating the story.” - Wikipedia

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Re: Is Dreaming an Encryption Procedure?

Post by Michael McMahon » August 31st, 2020, 9:54 pm

“Empathy allows for the perception of another's thoughts and feelings, and allows one to predict how they will behave (Whiten, 1991). Music listening and performance, which is a universal feature of human behavior (Blacking, 1995), also requires components of cognitive and affective processing. We listen and are exposed to music for hours each day... during which time we perceive the emotional and psychological content in music; interpret the thoughts, feelings, and proficiency of the musicians from auditory and visual cues (... Tsay, 2013); respond emotively to the music and the musician (Juslin, & Västfjäll, 2008...), and can predict the direction of a melodic phrase or narrative. Empathy is thus connected with the perception, interpretation, and emotional reactions to music.” https://emusicology.org/article/view/4603/4162

The rhythm of music is analogous to the flow of dreams. There can be cathartic or mellow beats in both of them. Sometimes music can be nostalgic but other times new songs evoke sensations we’ve never had before. Similarly we can dream about past events or else weird nightmarish situations. So we can detach somewhat from our immediate consciousness when we listen to music or sleep. In doing so we can potentially relate to feelings we’ve never directly had ourselves. The unconscious dream character can give us experience of what it’s like to have a different mindset as if one were another person. Therefore sleep could enhance our theory of mind.

“Theory of mind is necessary to understand that others have beliefs, desires, intentions, and perspectives that are different from one's own.” -Wikipedia




“Self-transcendence: the overcoming of the limits of the individual self and its desires in spiritual contemplation and realization.” -dictionary

We can derive a spiritual version of free will by means of our empathetic faculty and social interactions. We may attach to feelings and identify with ideals that exist beyond ourselves. We can learn from other people and their insights or experiences. So we don’t necessarily even require a mechanical version of free will over our body. People have many different opinions on whether we have libertarian free will. We don’t know what the ultimate answer will turn out to be. But this escapism through dreams can at the very least provide leeway for free will compatibalism.

“Compatibilism is the belief that free will and determinism are mutually compatible and that it is possible to believe in both without being logically inconsistent.” -Wikipedia

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Re: Is Dreaming an Encryption Procedure?

Post by Terrapin Station » September 1st, 2020, 10:02 am

Michael McMahon wrote:
August 31st, 2020, 9:54 pm
“Empathy allows for the perception of another's thoughts and feelings, and allows one to predict how they will behave (Whiten, 1991). Music listening and performance, which is a universal feature of human behavior (Blacking, 1995), also requires components of cognitive and affective processing. We listen and are exposed to music for hours each day... during which time we perceive the emotional and psychological content in music; interpret the thoughts, feelings, and proficiency of the musicians from auditory and visual cues (... Tsay, 2013); respond emotively to the music and the musician (Juslin, & Västfjäll, 2008...), and can predict the direction of a melodic phrase or narrative. Empathy is thus connected with the perception, interpretation, and emotional reactions to music.” https://emusicology.org/article/view/4603/4162

Music doesn't literally have emotional or psychological content. It's correlated to its authors' emotional and psychological states (assuming we're not talking about found music, in which case there is no author), though in complex ways that often don't resemble what we normally think of as emotions. For example, a given bit of music might solely be about what the creator finds aesthetically satisfying from a formal perspective (in other words, aesthetically pleasing about musical structures--pitches, harmonies, rhythms, etc.). The formal structures of music trigger emotional and psychological states in us as we listen to it, and we might attempt to guess how those structures were correlated to those states for the author, but we'll often be off-track in those guesses (as I can personally attest to as a professional musician/composer/arranger).

Re predictions about melodic cadences, chord progressions, etc., most of that is simply a factor of authors employing musical norms that we've been acclimated to. Of course, creativity often involves slight departures from those norms. We set up something stock and then do something surprising with it.

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Re: Is Dreaming an Encryption Procedure?

Post by Michael McMahon » September 4th, 2020, 2:33 pm

Terrapin Station: “The formal structures of music trigger emotional and psychological states in us as we listen to it, and we might attempt to guess how those structures were correlated to those states for the author, but we'll often be off-track in those guesses...”

Yes I agree with you that we often don’t exactly understand the intended meaning and emotion of a song. Music can have a subjective quality. Even if the lyrics of a certain song doesn’t engage us, we can still enjoy the overall beat and feel of it. A few people mightn’t like the content of a particular rap song yet they can appreciate its vibe. I was using the comparison with music as an analogy for dreaming rather than an explicit explanation. We can dissociate to a certain extent when we hear music or remember dreams. There might be facultative element to music. I guess our past experiences and personality might determine how much a particular song affects us. We often ignore music that we cannot relate to. But our favourite style of music or singer can have an intensely profound affect on us. Country and western music doesn’t appeal to everyone. Some people like the laidback style of reggae and Bob Marley. Others prefer the free-flowing style of pop and The Red Hot Chilli Peppers. Our favourite bands can have an almost psychoactive effect on us. Music addiction is pervasive!

“No denying it, this is definitely the coolest addiction ever. But how (and why) does music do this to us? The answer lies in a (metaphorically) delectable neurotransmitter called dopamine. Neurotransmitters are the chemical messages sent between neurones in your brain. Different neurotransmitters elicit different effects. The release of dopamine in particular is associated with pleasure and addiction.”
https://blogs.unimelb.edu.au/sciencecom ... s-a-thing/

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Re: Is Dreaming an Encryption Procedure?

Post by Michael McMahon » September 4th, 2020, 3:24 pm

“Theological determinism is a form of predeterminism which states that all events that happen are pre-ordained, and/or predestined to happen, by one or more divine beings, or that they are destined to occur given the divine beings' omniscience. Theological determinism exists in a number of religions, including Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.” - Wikipedia
Dictionary: “Predestination: the doctrine that God has ordained all that will happen, especially with regard to the salvation of some and not others. It has been particularly associated with the teachings of St Augustine of Hippo and of Calvin.”

I notice that some scientists seem to oppose free will and adopt materialism on spiritual grounds in order to oppose religion. I think this is self-defeating. Even if all of our future actions are totally caused by deterministic laws of physics, a religious person could simply posit that God created the laws of physics. God could still have determined our actions by adjusting the laws of physics at the beginning of time. So the existence of free will wouldn’t directly bear on the atheist/theist debate.

“I wish people would stop insisting they have free will. It’s terribly annoying. Insisting that free will exists is bad science, like insisting that horoscopes tell you something about the future – it’s not compatible with our knowledge about nature.

According to our best present understanding of the fundamental laws of nature, everything that happens in our universe is due to only four different forces: gravity, electromagnetism, and the strong and weak nuclear force. These forces have been extremely well studied, and they don’t leave any room for free will.” - Physicist Sabine Hossenfelder
http://backreaction.blogspot.com/2016/0 ... t.html?m=1

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Re: Is Dreaming an Encryption Procedure?

Post by The Beast » September 5th, 2020, 11:14 am

I think of Free Will as another force of reality. It is the force that installs intelligence in matter to discover and manipulate the nature of all other forces.

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Re: Is Dreaming an Encryption Procedure?

Post by Michael McMahon » September 7th, 2020, 1:48 pm

“I think of Free Will as another force of reality...”
-The Beast

That’s an interesting perspective. Perhaps to extend your analogy one could say that free will is a localised force. We are free only over our own thoughts and body movements. We our clearly not free to somehow think and move for others! There’s lots of discussion about panpsychism and the possibly non-local nature of consciousness. But the free will component of consciousness seems to only physically act on our own brain.

“In physics, the principle of locality states that an object is directly influenced only by its immediate surroundings. A theory that includes the principle of locality is said to be a "local theory". This is an alternative to the older concept of instantaneous "action at a distance".” - Wikipedia




“It has long been believed that people can’t change their personalities, which are largely stable and inherited. But a review of recent research in personality science points to the possibility that personality traits can change through persistent intervention and major life events.”
https://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/ ... ersonality

Our personalities can change gradually. But we always have new whims, intentions and commitments. So it takes a while longer for our new-found vows to trickle down to our subconscious emotions. We could try to become a nicer or more spiritual person for instance. But we can’t completely change overnight. It takes a while for our subconscious sensations and feelings to follow suit. So while we can spontaneously decide to be nicer, we’d have to continue this commitment for a few weeks to truly change our instinctive attitude.

So maybe dreams can have a role in emotional regulation. Our subconscious minds could extrapolate what our responses would be to a hypothetical event through repeating these nightly simulations. We have a lot more latitude to act as we want in a dream. Dreams are not reality so we can get away with doing something unwise or even pretend to do evil in a dream. Our subconscious wiring could then infer what our true desires are and how we should follow through on them. This might improve our sensation of free will.

“In mathematics, extrapolation is a type of estimation, beyond the original observation range, the value of a variable on the basis of its relationship with another variable. It is similar to interpolation, which produces estimates between known observations, but extrapolation is subject to greater uncertainty and a higher risk of producing meaningless results... Extrapolation may also apply to human experience to project, extend, or expand known experience into an area not known or previously experienced so as to arrive at a (usually conjectural) knowledge of the unknown (e.g. a driver extrapolates road conditions beyond his sight while driving)... Like slippery slope arguments, extrapolation arguments may be strong or weak depending on such factors as how far the extrapolation goes beyond the known range.” -Wikipedia




“Delusions of control – Belief that your thoughts or actions are being controlled by outside, alien forces. Common delusions of control include thought broadcasting (“My private thoughts are being transmitted to others”), thought insertion (“Someone is planting thoughts in my head”), and thought withdrawal (“The CIA is robbing me of my thoughts”).” -helpguide website

We can’t directly see the dreams of other people. But that doesn’t mean we can’t deduce their existence. A lot of knowledge on neuroscience comes from people who sadly had injuries to certain parts of their brain such as Phineas Gage. Likewise the derealised aspects of psychosis might potentially indicate the residual effects of the strange thought patterns that occur during sleep.

Other people can’t read our mind. Many strangers don’t even know anything about us. This is obviously further evidence that they aren’t dream characters and that the world is real. I suppose an actual dream character exists within your own subconscious and so you could inadvertently control their speech. It’s like the problem of other minds but it’s in reverse. While you can’t directly perceive the minds of others, that logic also applies vice versa. So if reality were a solipsistic dream, how can one explain some other people’s relative lack of knowledge about your own mind? People must therefore have their own independent conscious existence.

We’re not fully unconscious when we dream as otherwise we wouldn’t remember any of it at all. We only recall a few minutes of dreams despite being asleep for so many hours. Yet there’s a huge difference between the oblivion-like amnestic stage of sleep that we forget and then dreams. Therefore even in a normal dream we might still be 5% conscious. If we were zero per cent conscious we wouldn’t remember anything in the first place. So it’s not too much of a stretch to realise that we can increase the degree of consciousness in dreams to become lucid. Of course there has also been eye experiments performed to verify lucid dreaming.

“Hearne in 1975 (and LaBerge in 1978) realized that a dreaming person has rapid eye movement or REM, and may be able to ‘signal’ their conscious awareness inside the dream by moving their eyes left to right eight times. This movement would be recorded on the REM polygraph paper and provide hard evidence for lucid dreaming.

Hearne reports in his doctoral thesis (see http://www.keithhearne.com ) how lucid dreamer, Alan Worsley, signaled his awareness within a dream by moving his eyes left to right, while lucid dreaming in his sleep. This ‘eye signal verification’ technique has been replicated many times.”
https://www.dreaminglucid.com/the-scien ... -dreaming/

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Re: Is Dreaming an Encryption Procedure?

Post by The Beast » September 7th, 2020, 2:07 pm

So… in dreaming we catch the end of story. In lucid dreaming we change the end of story. It they both true, then I will change my story to my ideal end. This will change my personality. My current friends will not like me anymore and I will not like them as well as finding a new girlfriend to the new me.

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Re: Is Dreaming an Encryption Procedure?

Post by Michael McMahon » September 15th, 2020, 10:04 pm

“Sometimes, indeed, the truth does sometimes lie somewhere in between two positions.
But not always.
In fact, the assumption that truth always lies somewhere in “the middle” is actually a logical fallacy called the “middle ground fallacy.”” - intellectualtakeout website

Peoples’ position the free will debate seem to lie on a spectrum between hard determinism and libertarian free will. Perhaps it could be helpful to analyse the many other spectrums we come across in order to understand compatibalism. In politics for instance there is the left-right spectrum:

“The fundamental differences between left-wing and right-wing ideologies center around the the rights of individuals vs. the power of the government.” - diffen site

So in this example the centrist position of a mixed economy isn’t an exact middle ground between the left and right. Rather, there really is a completely private economy of business and then a collective government entity. They only interact through taxes and regulations. So centrism isn’t about getting an exact average of the two extremes but is instead an open-minded belief that tolerates aspects of both sides while rejecting their other elements. This counterbalance ends up with a unique mixed economy which varies slightly depending on the country.

I’m not trying to create a political discussion per se. It’s just an analogy. If you extend this line of reasoning to reality itself, there might be the strange chaos of dreams and then the clockwork universe of waking reality. I’m not entirely sure how they interact but maybe they both truly exist in a dualistic sense. Dreams and the material world neutralise to form this creative state that we call consciousness.

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Re: Is Dreaming an Encryption Procedure?

Post by Michael McMahon » September 15th, 2020, 10:59 pm

“Biological determinism, also known as genetic determinism, is the belief that human behaviour is directly controlled by an individual's genes or some component of their physiology, generally at the expense of the role of the environment, whether in embryonic development or in learning.” - Wikipedia

“Could it even be that the wild emotions experienced by artists through the course of history (Van Gogh, Gauguin, Cobain, etc., etc.) were partly a result of some genetics of perception (in addition to some well-classified cases of other co-existing psychiatric disorders)?

How much of our emotion is conjured up by an experience seems to be partly related to our genes – from tears of sorrow to tears of joy, and everything in between.”
https://geneticliteracyproject.org/2018 ... the-world/

A preprogrammed robot is made in a factory while humans evolved through biological evolution. Can our actions be traced back not only to our brains but to our actual genes? Maybe the intuitions from sentient memories of previous lives could be encoded in our genetic make-up. I’m not referring to the debate about reincarnation but merely the fact that we weren’t made biologically from scratch; that our genes come from biological ancestors.

So while physical traits can be passed on to our cellular bodies, could mental states and sentient emotions or real memories be as equally transferable? I don’t know. But to speculate; maybe dreams could be a genetic reinterpretation of our experiences. We’re guided by emotions that have evolved over vast time-scales. The content of different generational experiences are very different but there might still be overlap in certain areas. Themes of mortality or family life for instance have affected all humans through the ages. So even if one downplays our free will to a manifestation of genetic determinism, it remains to be seen just how inordinately complex those very genes actually are.

“In psychology, genetic memory is a memory present at birth that exists in the absence of sensory experience, and is incorporated into the genome over long spans of time. It is based on the idea that common experiences of a species become incorporated into its genetic code, not by a Lamarckian process that encodes specific memories but by a much vaguer tendency to encode a readiness to respond in certain ways to certain stimuli.” - Wikipedia

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Re: Is Dreaming an Encryption Procedure?

Post by The Beast » September 16th, 2020, 9:58 am

Whether I conclude that my understanding is a synesthetic function, it has nothing to do with my executive positioning to the left or to the right. Moreover, this is not undeviating; it is a fluid spectrum of many/few conditioning variables. If my dreaming is another synesthetic function arising from content in/on the time/space continuum, I Would benefit (IMO) if a contemplative executive function engages the synesthetic content. I agree with: Some dreamers have a specialized genetic architecture allowing them to have recurring dreams about a specific subject. Obviously, is this being true then there is such a thing as content of my past in the space/time continuum and, I could in fact access and change it with new content. As such I would say that “it could” be a different changing reality within a reality.

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