Can the physics of consciousness transcend space-time?

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  • #1
While reading an article on time travel I came across a section titled 'Is Time an Illusion?'. Immediately I was drawn to a conversation I shared with a good friend of mine a few months prior. We had been talking all night about different subjects that are unexplained but interested us to look into. One of our topics was Deja Vu.

The article explained a little about quantam mechanics and a sort of "handshake" made by an electron and another particle it interacts with. An electromagnetic wave is emmited from one particle at light speed into the future (retarded wave)and the other particle, at the same time, emits another wave back (advanced wave). Thus, the "handshake" is made where the two waves meet. What is interesting is that this is very close to the idea I had about how Deja Vu occurs.

It is my understanding that during the R.E.M. (rapid eye movement) portion of our sleep, our brains are literally going haywire doing all the necessary things it needs to do to give us rest, produce our dreams, and perform many other functions. Could it be that during this time our brains break free of space-time, actually visit parallel dimensions and can even see ourselves in the future. What if while dreaming, our "brainwaves" hyperactivate and shoot out,at light speed, to the future (retarded wave) where our future brains simultaneously send out waves of us perceiving our environment (advanced wave) forming our all to real dream. Then when we finally catch up with the future and start to experience the same EXACT things we saw in a dream, we remember and experience Deja Vu.

I am no authority on quantum mechanics, "brainwaves", or time travel, but this seems like it could have some credibility behind it. This is only a rough draft type theory and I would love to have some feed back.

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Answers and Replies

  • #2
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The article was apparently describing Cramer's Transactional Interpretation of quantum mechanics (at least going by the term "handshake"). In this interpretation quantum wavefunctions go forward and also backward in time (all this in accordance with the Schroedinger equation which is invariant under time reversal). They bounce off "absorbers" in the distant past and future. Tha past absorber is usually interpreted at the Big Bang. In the old days when a big crunch was expected in the future, that was the future absorber. I don't know what they use now.

Anyway the reflected wave functions then interfere ("handshake") in the present and produce quantum weirdness. It all computes.

How this correlates with consciousness I don't know either.
  • #3
Mind has to be a basic property of reality. If not, then where did it come from.
  • #4
That's an interesting idea. However, I find it more likely that Deja Vu experiences are just a psychological phenomenon - we imagine that we remember something. Yes, it feels 100% real - I've felt it too - but I think the mind is a very powerful thing, capable of fooling even ourselves.

The question is, did you really know about an experience before it happened, or do you just think you did? The true way to test it would be to document all dreams and predictions that you have about the future, and then see if they ever happen. In fact, many people keep dream journals. But I've never heard of any clear-cut cases when someone's documented dream came true, to the closeness that Deja Vu experiences feel like.

I encourage anyone who is interested in Deja Vu experiences to try this. Dreams are interesting anyway, so it's nice to keep a record of them.

selfAdjoint, what you said about "absorbers" is very interesting. I've only read about the transactional interpretation in John Gribbin's biography of Richard Feynman. There was a section towards the end of the book titled "physics after Feynman", and it gave a brief overview of the transactional idea. What you're saying about absorbers sounds great, and I think I'll have to look into it some more!
  • #5
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Google on Transactional Interpretation. John Cramer also has a website, where he posts his Alternate View columns from Analog sff magazinte.
  • #6
Thanks for the input Self, and it was John Cramers work I read about in the article.

That is a good point you bring up Smiley, because I had also looked into that aspect and read that in one theory the two parts of the brain dedicated to short term memory and long term memory are close enough to each other that minor chem imbalances in the brain can sometimes throw your experience directly to long term bypassing short term therefore fooling you into believing you knew this for some time. I have never actually recorded my dreams and then had them come true, so that point, to me, is quite valid.

Another phyisics question I have towards dreams is this:
When we dream, time seems to last much longer than in the waking world. Could this correlate with Einstein's relativity in the sense that speed can slow time to the one moving while it remains constant to those standing still? If the processes in the brain do hyperactivate could they move fast enough to cause this sort of time dillution?
  • #7
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Kenneth, I think you're thinking of the subjective experience too much in terms of our descriptions of objective reality. Note that just as our scientific theories are models of reality, our minds and attendant subjective experiences are equally models of reality-- just a very different kind of model. A model, of course, does not necessarily map perfectly onto the thing it is emulating. Case in point, both deja vu and subjective time dilation can be explained as artifacts of the subjective model the brain creates of reality rather than being indicators of actual phenomena of reality.

The subjective experience of time is a function of how the mind works; there are even some theories postulating that the subjective experience of time is caused by regular, periodic chemical interactions in certain parts of the brain. Thus, if we experience time dilation, it doesn't necessarily mean that time is being dilated in the relativistic sense; it could just be that our mental mechanisms for perceiving the flow of time are functioning differently than usual.
  • #8
Kenneth V,

I'm sure everyone has a rough idea
of what a seizure is. Let me ask
you if you are at all familiar
with what's going on with the
neurons in the brain when a per-
son has a seizure?


P.S. Pertinence to your topic to
  • #9
Seizures are caused by uncontrolable electrical changes in brain activity. The location and severity of these changes determine what kinds of seizures will occur. Some changes in brain activity stay in one part of the brain (partial seizures) and others can spread to both sides of the brain (generalized seizures). Some people experience and "aura" before, and sometimes during a seizure. Headaches, "weird" noises, and "funny" feelings in the stomach are some examples of these auras. That's about all I can think of for now.

  • #10

That is a more than excellent

Just to tune it up a bit:
The exact nature of the uncon-
trolled electrical activity is
the hypersynchronous firing
of neurons. Normally the firing
is unsynchronized. The signals
traveling in intersecting circuits
will each allow the other its use
of the common path by not firing
at the same time. During a seizure
every circuit deriving from
the seizure focus will begin to
fire all at exactly the same time.
The result is a signal whose amplitude is vastly larger than normal, and which will act to
entrain a greater and greater
number of circuits into the riot.
The worst case scenario is the
full brain involvement of a Tonic-
Clonic seizure - full body con-
vulsions and loss of conscious-

The least that can happen is, as
you correctly pointed out, the
Simple Partial seizure, one that
does not spread very far and re-
mains localized to a very small
region of the brain.

There are two kinds of partial
seizures, the Simple Partial, and
the Complex partial. In the Comp-
lex Partial although it does not
spread to the whole brain it does
manage to cross from one hemi-
sphere to the other causing, not
unconsciousness, but a "defect in
consciousness" such that the pers-
on would appear drugged or stupi-

In the Simple Partial the seizure
activity always remains confined
to one hemisphere only and there
is no alteration in the level of

This sounds harmless enough but
the fact is this hypersynchronous
neuronal firing (amplitudes at
least ten times normal) can cause
sensory distortions so outrageous
that the person often fears for
his sanity.

Lets say the seizure activity
spreads back into the occipital
lobe where vision is controlled.
Suddenly whatever the person is
looking at might start to grow
larger and larger right before his
eyes untill it fills his vision.
This is Macropsia: the
horrible experience of seeing the
world as if throw a huge magni-
fying glass.

Lets say the seizure activity gets
to the auditory center in the
Temoro-parietal region. Now small
sounds become horrible roars. For
the brief (hopefully) duration
of the seizure the poor sufferer
is scared out of his wits by all
sound being jacked up to the
volume of a jet engine. Since this
sound isn't actually coming in
through his ears there's no limit
to the loudness - it can get loud-
er and louder and never deafen him

But now, let us suppose the seiz-
ure activity travels inward, to
the inner temporal lobe where an
amazing organ called the Hippo-
campus is located. What's the
Hippocampus? It is something like
an orchestra conductor, and the
symphony it conducts is Memory.

Whenever any information comes
into our brain through our sences
it is sent to many parts of the brain for processing but whereever it goes it always goes to the
Hippocampus where it is checked
against stored memory. If the
Hippocampus recognises the info,
which it usually does in some
connection, it adds to it just
exactly the correct proportion
of familiarity it should
have. That is: is triggers just
exactly the right level of
physiological response in the body
to how familiar the info is.

Now you may think that the familiarity of an object or situation is a quality inherent
in that object or situation and it
may seem passing strange to say
that some part of the brain is
needed to tell the physiological
orchestra to play a little more
softly here, but woodwinds please
a little more, in response to the
object, but this is, in fact, the
case. Normally the Hippocampus
does its job so perfectly we do
not notice it is even there, do
not even suspect it exists.

You don't know what you got, till
it's gone.

The hypersynchronous ionic dominos
fall, each toppling the next,
untill the electrical surge
reaches our conductor, freezing
him in a rictus of the FORTE gesture. The orches- tra obeys, crescendoing to its
loudest possible volume. The
seized victim stops and is stunned
overwhelmed by the unbelievable
strength of a feeling of familiar-
ity from nowhere.

But remember, he doesn't know he
has a Hippocampus or that he needs
one. As far as he knows familiar-
ity is a quality inherent in the
things around us. Everything in
the vicinity is what must be so
amazingly familiar. But from what?
How? He can't have been in this
exact moment before, can he? And
yet his physiological reactions
are telling him not just that it
is familiar, but extremely, extr-
ordinarily familiar!

The seizure subsides. Everything
feels normal again, except he is
now bewildered as to what just

Is he Epileptic?

No. Roughly 50% of the general
population has at least one simple
partial seizure in their lifetime.
Epilepsy is a term that only
applies to people with chronic
seizures. A simple partial in a
non epileptic is usually the re-
sult of an unfortunate coincidence
of several factors, such as lack
of good sleep, coupled with bad
diet, and stress.

If you google up Simple Partial
Seizure you should find several
sites that list these "experient-
ial" kinds of symptoms, along with
autonomic symptoms, and localized
convulsions. Intense fear with no
known object is probably the most
common simple partial symptom,
followed by Deja Vu as a close
Now you speak of the peculiar
experience of seeming to realize
that what seems familiar during
a Deja Vu is something you saw in
a dream.

I have had this experience as well
in addition to Deja Vus where I
have NO idea where I "remember"
the present from.

When it seems to be something I've
dreampt it has all the very same
intensity (hyperintensity) the
regular Deja Vu has, yet I seem
to be able to vividly remember
having dreampt it.

This, I cannot explain.

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  • #11
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Originally posted by zoobyshoe
Lets say the seizure activity
spreads back into the occipital
lobe where vision is controlled.
Suddenly whatever the person is
looking at might start to grow
larger and larger right before his
eyes untill it fills his vision.
This is Macropsia: the
horrible experience of seeing the
world as if throw a huge magni-
fying glass.

zooby, I don't know if you've had personal experience with this phenomenon but I believe I have, and it's sort of misleading to say that visual objects grow until they "fill vision." It's something much more subtle and interesting than that; the objects retain their objective 'size' in the visual field, in the sense of subtending visual angles and all that. Rather what changes is some sort of tacit perception of their size. This is a rather dumbfounding thing to experience, but as you explain analogously with memory, apparent size is not so much a function of the object itself as it is a function of brain activity. Specifically, implicit perception of size is not as directly and inextricably correlated with size in the visual field as you might think. So when you experience macropsia while looking at a lamp, it's not that the lamp looks like it is physically "in your face" and occupying your whole visual field so much as the lamp just somehow seems inordinately big, even though it remains in essentially the same visual context of an entire room.

In fact, everything we perceive is perceived in virtue of how our brain constructs its model of the world, so this observation of perceived qualities being functions of brain activity and not phsyically existent external qualities really applies to everything we subjectively think/feel/know/believe. The only reason it appears otherwise is that our brains are normally so good at mapping a logically consistent perceptual picture onto logically consistent sensual inputs that we are blind to the inherent mental construction underlying it all. Case in point, we usually don't think of the perceived size of an object as being distinct in any way from visual awareness of that object, and so it is natural to think under normal circumstances that the one follows directly and naturally from the other; i.e., to think that perceived size is essentially a function of the external object and not an internal creation (and thus, for an object to look bigger it must actually subtend a larger visual angle than normal). But in fact perceived size is implicitly created by the brain at least partially independently from 'direct' visual awareness, which underscores the extent to which it is a purely mental fabrication. It is one thing to come to a philosophical understanding of the illusory nature of naive realism, quite another to viscerally experience it by actually observing firsthand where the ornate and tacit mental construction of reality begins to break down.

As for the partial seizure explanation of deja vu, I don't doubt that it accounts for some cases, but it doesn't seem to be the final explanation for all of them. This much is implied by the following (from

During simple partial seizures, the person remains fully conscious and the seizure is usually very brief. Often it is only the intensity and suddenness of these feelings that differentiates between someone having a usual déja vu experience, for example, and someone having a simple partial seizure.

edit: As for having deja vu involving a recognition of a previously dreamed experience, this could potentially be explained by the same anomalous functioning of the hippocampus that you used to describe the deja vu experience that occurs without a corresponding dream element. I.e., not only having the anomalous memory experience that "I have been here before," but also "I have dreamt this before." An easy way to discount this explanation would be to keep a dream log; if a deja vu experience corresponds to a dream you have already documented, then it must be corresponding to an actual dream you have had in the past rather than to a spontaneously created image of a dream that never really happened, or one that did not happen precisely as you remember it.
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  • #12

No, I haven't ever had the experi-
ence of macropsia, myself. Most
often I've heard it described only
briefly, in words to the effect
that things look larger than they
actually are as if they are being
seen through a magnifying glass.
Here is the only description I've
ever read that went into detail:

"One morning, a gray-skied Sunday
in late October, I was sitting on
the living room couch, feeling
normal enough, when suddenly I
found myself staring at a book
lying open on the coffee table in
front of me. The book began to
grow untill the rectangular pages
were folio size. At the same time
the markings on each page grew
larger and larger. Those on the
left-hand page retained their or-
erliness, but those on the right
began to tumble and rearrange
themselves, dissolving into fiery
lines and molten shapes that moved
faster and faster always growing
larger and larger untill I could
see only the right-hand page. When
it was so large I no longer saw
its edges I cried out `I'm

That is from Epilepsy: A New
By Adrienne Rich and
Joel Reiter M.D.

I have to compliment you on the
clarity wth which you described
your experience. Most people with
simple partial seizures become
tongue-tied when trying to put
these perceptual distortions into

It makes it clear that what you
were describing is not the same
thing this woman experienced. This
makes me wonder what the other
people I've heard talking about
it as "things looking larger than
they actually are" were saying.
Were they refering more to what
you experienced or what this
woman experienced. It could be
an even split.

In order to see what might be
going on here I have solicited
some more testimony about this
experience from my corespondants
in the world of Epilepsy. There's
no telling how quickly they'll
get back to me if at all, so
please be patient.

As for Deja Vus, the site where
you found that quote is one of the
many unfortunate sites aimed at
comforting people with Epilepsy.
These are most often put together
by non-neurologists and there is
often a gem of misinformation or
two, babbled with the best of

Some people, when they find out
Deja Vus are a seizure, go into
denial and assert:"Well, maybe
some of them are, but why are you
assuming all Deja Vus are
caused by seizures?"

There are, in fact, M.D.s still
cranking out different theories
about the cause of Deja Vus. I can
only speculate that they haven't
heard about simple partial
seizures, or that, if they have,
they can't accept that such a
large percentage of the population
could be having seizures. The
seizural cause of Deja Vus has
been undeniably proven with hard
data collected from EEGs done with
depth implanted electrodes many
times over. Yet the myth of the
non-seizural Deja Vu persists
despite a complete lack of proof
of any kind.

Neuro-Psychiatrist Paul Spiers
adresses his audiences thus:

"How many of you in this room" he
asked his audience, "have had a
deja vu?" More than half of
the forty people in attendence
raised their hands. "Welcome,
fellow epileptics," chuckled

"...Now, we all have these experiences,"he said. "Does that mean we all have seizures?" Sever-
al in the audience shook their heads. "Probably, it does," Spiers
corrected. "We probably all
have seizures, but that does not
mean that we all have a seizure

That is from the book Seized, by Eve LaPlante.

  • #13
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Sorry for the delayed response zooby (can I call you zooby? :wink:). Very interesting stuff. The example of macropsia that you recount seems to be more directly related to a mismatched or changing objective/subjective mapping-- information that once occupied 20% of the visual field now occupies 100%-- whereas the phenomenon I reported (if it is properly called macropsia and not something else) seemed more to do with purely subjective constructs of perceived size (since objects are not inherently 'big' or 'small'). On the other hand, it could also be that I was experiencing a very mild micropsia of the 'magnified' kind and could not appreciably detect an objective size difference even though my subjective intuition of it was skewed. (I doubt this as it doesn't really seem to characterize my experience as well as the alternate explanation, but of course I can't discount it outright as a possibility either.) In any case, I look forward to the potential further insights you might get on this from your insider connections.

As for the deja vu issue, hopefully you can answer this question from your prior reading experience: in something like your "growing book" example, does the surrounding environment grow or shrink in proportion to the book, or does it look something like a giant book sitting on a normal sized table? The former would constitute a rescaling of the information in the image (ie 'zooming in') while the latter would constitute actually restructuring the information in the image. The answer to that question, I think, can tell us a lot about the nature of macropsia.

As for the deja vu issue, I haven't read extensively on the subject of seizures and their relationship with deja vu, but please for the moment bear with my purely rational concern over a statement to the effect of, "all episodes of deja vu are caused by partial epileptic seizures." Can scientists induce the deja vu experience in the lab? If so, can they be sure that they are inducing a representative set of all types of deja vu experiences? I don't mean to refute any scientific claims out of hand, just to tread carefully. Having mounds of documented evidence that partial seizures are correlated with deja vu experiences solidly establishes that at least some deja vu's are caused by seizures, but to say that ALL deja vu's are caused by seizures, it seems as if one would have to show the impossibility of some alternative neural mechanism causing the experience as well.
  • #14

Of course you may call me "Zooby".

I don't have much more to say about the macropsia. The only person who responded to my query has a huge variety of visual distortions happening at once and had a hard time describing them in any way that would allow someone who hadn't had the experience to form an understanding.

I answer to your last question: in order to be able to say that all deja vus are caused by seizures one would, indeed, have to rule out any other possible cause. No one is making that claim, however. No one is saying there can be no other cause. Spiers says wer are all probably having seizures.

My objection is to the people who are asserting the opposite: that there must also be another cause. No one has ever shown there to be any other cause. It is my personal opinion that people keep wasting their time looking for another cause for the simple reason that they cannot come to grips with the concept that they have had a seizure of any kind,no matter how small and isolated and harmless a phenomenon that actually is.

Wilder Penfield was the first neurosurgeon to induce deja vus and a variety of other seizure experiences in epileptics whose heads were open already for tumor removals, by stimulating the brain with electrodes carrying millivolts. This has been reproduced frequenty since. The exact location of the hipocampus and surrounding tissues as the origin of deja vus was done with depth implanted electrodes in patients being prepared for surgery. They can both pick up the the gross amplitude changes in spontaneously occuring seizures, and, induce seizures by applying voltage to these electrodes.

By stimulating seizures in this way they have, indeed, reproduced all the same kinds of deja vus that are reported in other situtions, including the ones where it seems to be something you have previously dreampt. The other main kind seems to be that the feeling of deja vu is accompanied by a very vivid memory of a childhood scene. I have never experienced that, myself, and can't say for sure I understand the implications of it.

The guy who responded to my solicitation for information has seizures as the result of traumatic brain injury. From what I have read, that, and having advanced tumors (and having them removed) cause the very worst, most intense seizures of all kinds. In addition to things seeming "magnified" he has huge problems with shifts in depth perception, field of view, and several problems related to things separating from the background: he says that sometimes when he's looking at an object it "floats" and seems to be in a different coordinate system than that of the background. Looking at a book on a wooden desk, he says the grain of the wood starts to flow like a river and waver around while the book just sits there.
Those were a couple of the things he said that I could make some sence of. He reported that he was in the throes of some of these things as he wrote (it doesn't seem to let up often for him) and his writing was getting less lucid as he went along.

All for now.

  • #15
Or it could be your brain associating a familiar memory or memories with the one you are having in the present. Thus, making you believe you had said or did something or was in a certain place before. Yet, not true.

Even if it has something to do with Quantum Mechanics it doesn't change much. Admittedly, deja vu (spelled wrong I think) is still descriptive of something you've never done before. At least, in this reality.

However, I consider it more likely your brain is playing tricks on you. But, don't take me wrong. I'm a really optimistic enthusiastic type but I have to watch it or I end up believing in some bull ****.
Much as I love to think of alternate universes and especially alternate me's.
  • #16
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Kenneth V said:
Could it be that during this time our brains break free of space-time, actually visit parallel dimensions and can even see ourselves in the future. What if while dreaming, our "brainwaves" hyperactivate and shoot out,at light speed, to the future (retarded wave) where our future brains simultaneously send out waves of us perceiving our environment (advanced wave) forming our all to real dream.
How could you test this, even in principle?

On the one hand, as many have said here, by recording dreams and comparing them with future events.

Are there any tests that would involve the brain, rather than what a person says they dream or feel?
  • #17
Kenneth V that is an intersting thought but it's speculation. Much as I love speculation to an extent, that is getting out of control. I'm no scientist but I think we should also be thinking of possible ways to test these things (yes, thats all you nereid). Just because we aren't UCLA specialists doesn't mean our ideas are any less valuable. Oh, what I mean is don't sell your self short, sometimes us little guys think of amazing things (all about perspective :D ).

I know we are just scratching the surface in studying the brain. Of course, correct me if I'm wrong but what we can do externally is very limited. Right now they are experimenting with magnets to alter moods. So far they can't penetrate deep enough to safely treat serious depression or other mood disorders.

Also, they have a machine that has a high chance of telling whether you are lying or not. Better than a polygraph but not full proof and that says something awful about the polygraph.
  • #18
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Some crazy (?) ideas for tests:
1. do some more of those EEG experiments on sleeping people (wake them up when the EEG shows one pattern or another, or when the pattern changes; ask them whether they had a deja vu dream, etc)
2. repeat, only this time let them dream inside an MRI machine, or have PET to hand to use when deja vu dreams begin (as determined by 1). Expect some difficulties with the experimental setup.
3. in parallel with 2, do EEG studies on various primates, looking for similar deja vu signatures
4. repeat 1 and 2 to the limit of ethics, using drugs etc
5. repeat 2, with primates
6. repeat 4, with primates
7. do much more invasive, intensive studies of primates to isolate and (if possible) reproduce deja vu brain states (may be necessary to do these experiments somewhere other than the US or western Europe)
  • #19

I think you are misunderstanding the dream/deja vu connection, which is this: sometimes when people experience a Deja Vu it is accompanied by the memory of having seen the situation before in a dream. In other words, the reason why the present, novel situation seems familiar is that the person is suddenly sure he dreamt of himself being in that exact situation sometime prior to it actually happening. Most often the person can't account for why the present situation, which he intellectually knows to be new and unique, seems so uncanily familiar. There is no accompanying "memory" of it having been seen before in a dream.

For this reason your idea of hooking people up to an EEG and waking them to see if they've had a deja vu dream would be useless because the person wouldn't know if it were later going to "come true" or not. It is only during the deja vu experience itself that a person might feel that the experience was first seen in a dream.

The other problem is that simple partial seizures only show up on surface EEGs something like 20% of the time. They happen too deeply in the brain to be picked up on the surface. The deja vu EEG readings that have been recorded were picked up with depth implanted electrodes. They would never do an invasive procedure like that on anyone except someone who was being worked up for brain surgery.

  • #20
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So the only way to test this idea would be to record all dreams, and all future events, make comparisons after the event, and do some statistical analyses?
  • #21
Originally posted by Nereid
So the only way to test this idea would be to record all dreams, and all future events, make comparisons after the event, and do some statistical analyses?
That's really the only way I can think of.

As far as prophetic dreams go, there is no need to only talk about the ones that seem to be remembered in conjunction with a Deja Vu. Recording all the dreams you can remember would probably turn up some intriguing situations where life seems to have been forecast accurately in a dream.

It would be hard to make this scientific enough to convince a real skeptic, I think. But a person could do it to their own satisfaction.

As I said earlier, I can't explain the Deja Vus that seem to result from having dreampt the siruation before. That doesn't mean I believe there in authentic precognition going on in this. It could be the result of an elaborate retroactive false-memory
but I don't know how to explain the mechanism that would produce such a thing. Not in the way I can explain a simple Deja Vu. But false memory happens.

I don't know if you've ever read The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat by Oliver Sacks, but there is a chapter in there called The Lost Mariner about a sailor with Korsakov's amnesia: he can't remember anything that happened nore than ten minutes before. What happens, it seems, when long term memory is destroyed is that imagination takes over and people start creating an endless series of false memories about the people around them and themselves. This is called confabulation. Some people with Alzheimer's do it also.

What that suggests to me is that creating false memories is a process somehow resorted to by default when the mechanisms of actual memory are interrupted in any way. We do this in our dreams all the time, if you think about it, constantly "filling in" huge jumps in the plots of our dreams such that, while we're dreaming, all kinds of transitions that would be chaotic while awake seem perfectly acceptable.

So, the Deja Vu as a memory of a dream, may be this sort of thing coming into play, but I don't know what all parts of the brain would be involved. I'm just speculating about that part.

  • #22
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Hmm, interesting.

It would seem, then, that a serious study of 'precognition' using the scientific method won't happen any time soon. For starters, there's just too much about the chemical, physiological, and electrical behaviour of brains that would have to be hypothesised and tested before breath-takingly egotistical (anthropomorphic? hubristic?) claims could be examined. Right?
  • #23
Originally posted by Nereid
For starters, there's just too much about the chemical, physiological, and electrical behaviour of brains that would have to be hypothesised and tested before breath-takingly egotistical (anthropomorphic? hubristic?) claims could be examined. Right?
"Breath-takingly egotistical"? It's not clear to me why you cast these claims in this light.
"Anthropomorphic"? Ascribing human qualities to that which is not human? How does this fit in?
"Hubristic"? Pride-driven? Here again, why are you suggesing this?

At any rate, I don't see a good way to test anyone's claims of precognition, after the fact. When someone says "I knew that was going to happen, I saw it in a dream," there is nothing to test. Even an infallable lie detector would only tell you that, in the event they passed, that they believe what they're saying, which, because of the possibility of illusions and false memories, does not constitute proof.

Ask yourself why you are interested in testing this in the first place. You might come up with an answer like: "If people can see the future it would mean that consciousness can transcend space-time (as KennethV suggested). Then examine your conclusion for assumptions and underlying desires. Always ask yourself what you want to be the case, and how that desire might be coloring your perception of the subject. If you can do that then you will probably reformulate the question to address what you're really interested in finding out. It is usually possible to arrive at questions that can be answered, or data that can be tested to your satisfaction. That is, if once you've figured out what you want to be the case you are able to accept what you actually find the case to be.
  • #24
The signal from the retina takes 300 miliseconds to get to the visual cortex at the back of the head, and then get processed.

There are several stations along the way where the signal gets pulled out for other processing (eg, is this object a threat to my life, because if it is, I should activate the sympathetic nervous system).

Some people think that it's the "leaking" out of this earlier signal, into the frontal lobes, that gives the phenomenon of "deja vu".

But, like so many things to do with the brain, nobody really knows, yet.....

I also heard that we (as humans) have about two thousand dreams per annum there is a good chance that one of these dreams are going to resemble a situation or place and trigger the subconscious mind into thinking it has experienced this before.

Who knows... or do we?
  • #25
Originally posted by Jeebus Some people think that it's the "leaking" out of this earlier signal, into the frontal lobes, that gives the phenomenon of "deja vu".
Wild speculation. Deja Vu is not a visual phenomenon, but an emotional one. You might think of it as an emotional hallucination, where the emotion is generated erronously from within having no relation to outside stimuli. Once the emotion is generated the experiencer is compelled to look at the environment and wonder what it is that seems so familiar, but is unable to explain it.

But, like so many things to do with the brain, nobody really knows, yet.....
The simple partial limbic seizure as cause of Deja Vu is known already. It is well known among neurologists and epileptologists but not among the general public.

I also heard that we (as humans) have about two thousand dreams per annum there is a good chance that one of these dreams are going to resemble a situation or place and trigger the subconscious mind into thinking it has experienced this before.
I have had this happen. Just last month, actually. I recalled the dream before the event that resembled the dream actually occured. When the thing actually ended up happening, I felt surprise, but not a sence of Deja Vu. A deja Vu is unique in that the powerful feeling of familiarity calls attention to itself, in and of itself.


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