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Your brain can fool your mind most of the time, but your mind can’t fool your mind all of the time. - the period of cosmography
anselmo_b
anselmo_b
Your brain can fool your mind most of the time, but your mind can’t fool your mind all of the time.

It seems to me that I have found – in a dreamlike state by the way – the one thing that lets us know dreamland from reality. Dreamland has several qualities that apparently characterize it unequivocally: absurdity, impossibility, profundity of meaning in inexistent words, extreme intensity of feelings and many more, which make dreams dreamlike. But these are neither sufficient nor necessary, some of them can be qualities of reality too and make it feel just as dreamlike.

Consciousness, it would seem, doesn’t seem to care too much about the plausibility of the context it operates in; we mostly don’t realize that we are in a dream because something is weird or unusual, we just go along with that. In fact there are not as many surprises in dreamland – in spite of how much more unexpected things are there – as in reality.

But there is one definitive difference between reality and dreamland: the latter is wholly esoteric to the mind. Reality is perceived through the senses before consciousness experiences it, but the world of dreams has to be made up on the go by the same mind that is going to experience it immediately afterwards. Now, do you know that little inner voice that comments on the world just as we are taking it in? That same little voice also comments on dreamland as it is being made up, but it goes on in a different tone. Instead of checking against memory and known fact, it checks the quality of what is coming up.

And that is the one subtle thing that we can know dreams by, the difference of tone. We don’t need the fictional oneironaut’s spinning top, all we need to do is listen to our inner voice as it chatters about what we are in the midst of.

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nellorat From: nellorat Date: July 16th, 2011 12:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
Fascinating!

I do experience some lucid dreams, in which I know I am dreaming--and can usually direct the dream--but I have no idea how I know it's a dream. It's not the quality of the sensory input, because sometimes I get into a state that is completely lucid and had incredibly high sensory quality. (That's great--I can eat foods that diabetics can't, have sex, etc.) It may be a kind of over-choice, but it mostly comes out as just a fundamental awareness. I think maybe I attempt to make changes in the environment or events by will alone, and I know it's a dream when they work.

some of them can be qualities of reality too and make it feel just as dreamlike.

Yes--and the idea is really, really interesting! It has links to Freud's concept of the Uncanny and even to one aspect of the problem of fear in magickal practice-- But why is it that feeling that reality is dreamlike often scares us, instead of delighting us?
anselmo_b From: anselmo_b Date: July 18th, 2011 09:38 am (UTC) (Link)
I've never been able to control a dream substantially. I read about it ages ago, and tried some suggested techniques, but it really doesn't seem to be my thing. However I do often become aware of being in a dream without disrupting it.
As to why we are scared when reality feels dreamlike, I think it is because we expect reality to be reliably consistent and congruent. That is I guess, what is at the bottom of the difference of tone that I was speaking above. While we take the world in through the senses, we check the input against what we already know and don't pay much attention unless there are big differences. We don't expect too large deviations from the familiar, and when they occur we become alert and exited. So when experience dreamlike situations while awake, their most immediate feature is their lack of familiarity and we become alarmed. I guess.
lizjonesbooks From: lizjonesbooks Date: July 18th, 2011 02:54 am (UTC) (Link)
Nice!
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