11-30-10, 10:33 AM #1
The science of reality
Nobody will dispute the fact that everything we perceive to be reality is simply a representation of electrical signals interpreted by our brain but a large percentage of people clearly don't truly acknowledge this or have not thought of the implications of it because they still think that they experience reality and live in the "real world". Experiments with hypnotic suggestion unveil one variable that influences how our brains represent "reality" for us. Hypnotic suggestion has been used to induce both positive hallucinations (seeing things that aren't there) and negative hallucinations (being unaware things that are there) and also to induce alterations to our perception of things such as synesthasia. A hypnotic suggestion is just the implanting of a belief. It can be logically deduced then that ones beliefs is a variable that heavily influences how the brain represents these electrical signals to us.
Although its hard to setup scientific experiments involving many of the interesting aspects of lucid dreams, we can do our own personal experimentation. I've been having them my whole life and I have gained some highly interesting observations which unveil some of the mechanisms of the interactions between our active thoughts + beliefs and what we experience as reality. An example: one dream I remember, I knew I was dreaming so I started experimenting. I tried to make a spoon materialise in my hand but I couldn't do it. I tried for a long time but it just wouldn't appear. I wasn't surprised though cuz I didn't really think I could actually do it even though I knew theoretically that in a dream I can do anything. Eventually I gave up and started doing something else. At one point I realised there was a spoon in my hand. This is something I have observed many times in dreams. Our conscious attention seems to prevent something from happening but when we move our attention away its as if the brain seizes to opportunity to materialise the seeds we planted with our conscious attention.
Scientists have access to many of these unconventional routes to unveiling the mechanisms of the brain and reality itself but a lot of these routes can only be taken by the individual and cannot be shared with others because we don't have the tools to record the observations yet.
11-30-10, 12:01 PM #2
What we call objective reality or what we imagine it to be is a construct
of our mind pieced together with sensory input, we have no direct
experience of the external world that is not mediated by our senses
and processed by the brain to form our personal model of reality.
It is all mind, we all create our own universe. OM
For research on lucid dreaming see: Exploring the World of Lucid Dreaming,
Stephen La Berge.
12-01-10, 02:03 AM #3
This notion that the “mind is the brain” that is authoritatively disseminated by minds I will admit that are far better educated than my own actually strikes me as having a lot of problems with it...
Concerning those hypnotic suggestions, I would point out that they are de facto part of the environment, and as such interact with the brain as any other stimulus. The alteration in perception is hence an organic distrubution of 'altered' experience, not anything that supports the brain as mind premise. It's not actually possible to do any experimentation on the brain without first manipulating the external environment. The brain is a useless pile of junk without a body to sustain it and universe to reciprocate with it. Those electrical signals in the brain are not generating consciousness, or fabricating an elaborate simulacrum of the real world. They are simply fascilitating experience, on top of which we arbitrarily impose false explanatory models (Cricks astonishing hypothesis). In fact, from thinking in evolutionary terms, it is wholly implausible that the brain would take all the trouble of recreating external reality when external reality is already here, ready-made, for inspection. Errors in perception are simply errors in perception. Because we don't passively experience the world as idle witnesses but actively interact with it consciousness can be more readily described as an “activity” rather than any substantial and set “thing”. In this respect the computer model of the mind as a processor may be the misdirection of an inappropriate metaphor. There is no evidence (too my knowledge) that electrical signals in the brain are capable of being aware of anything. But that doesn't mean there is anything mystical about consciousness either. It just that the brain exists in a torrent of stimuli, and the mind in an ocean of memes. Of it's own accord, it's just a hunk of rotting meat.
I've experienced bouts of success with lucid dreaming myself over the course of my lifetime. Sadly I'm in a prolonged drought, however I do remember a lot of really interesting and compelling attributes to the phenomenon. Of these, the permeability of perception from one moment to the next is interesting. If our waking perception is really just a simulacrum of the actual, the real, the forever alienated from and intangible external reality, should our brains not be able to construct a more stable environment sans the distractions of the daily barrage of sensory imputs? Yet there is a premium to what the brain can accomplish when left to its own devices, morever consider that it takes experience in the real world to form the raw material of dream images. In so leisurely traveling through the realm of the unconscious mind in the lucid dream state, it also becomes evident that we experience in life an active dialog with hidden portions of our own mind. When that spoon pops up unexpectedly in your dream, you are interacting with an aspect of reality every bit as valid and active as it is in the waking state. Our minds are embodied in reality, not the other way around. I think the best we can do is be as passionate in our pursuit of understanding ourselves as is required for the task, as we are all living in the matrix of our own perceptions and prejudices. Consciousness is an inside job, after all!
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