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Dreams and the Indeterminacy of Experience

edited September 2006 in Consciousness
...Perhaps dreaming has no function. If it really does have no bearing on whether we live or die, or whether we mate or fail to, perhaps it's not subject to the pressures of selection. Its functioning seems to be largely random. Perhaps its origins were, too - a random series of mutations in the brains of individuals whose genes were dominant for quite other reasons.

DreamtimeIt's difficult not to see elements of the random and the indeterminate in all our experience, most striking in dreams but also present, as we have seen, in waking perception. There is a parallel here with the indeterminacy of particles. (And the indeterminacy of experience prevents it shaping our knowledge and behaviour no more than the indeterminacy of particles prevents them determining physical structure and chemical behaviour.)

Then again, maybe there is an element of pure randomness in the apparently unlocatable deciding force at the heart of dreaming (and of all our thinking). Maybe this generative principle, which is both I and not-I, stems from the quantum behaviour of individual particles in the system, deflecting and shaping the throughput of information from external sources as fundamentally and massively as the random release of the beta-particle affects the state of Schrödinger's cat.

One way or another, we have lost the deterministic thread of the universe right here, inside ourselves. - The Guardian

Comments

  • Here's a whole site on lucid dreaming which I highly recommend:

    Dreamviews

    There's detailed descriptions of induction techniques and a whole community of lucidites.

    Well, we do spend 1/3 sleeping, so why not make the most of it??
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