Is there any real difference between reality and a dream?

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  • #126
DaveC426913
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I think I'm being misunderstood. I never said that a lucid dream or any other kind of mental state while asleep is reality as we commonly understand it or that it is something other than the commonly accepted defintion of a dream. I simply find it curious that under certain circumstances a dream can appear to be an actual reality in the way that we commonly test reality such as presence of mind, stability of the environment and so on.
Wait. So are you saying that you're only talking about types of dreams? When you talk about "out of body" experiences that's a paranormal phenomenon. Did I misunderstand?

I'm confused.


The degree to which this seems to happen is more than normal and that is all I'm claiming.
What do you mean "more than normal"? what do you mean by "normal"?
 
  • #127
Buckethead
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Wait. So are you saying that you're only talking about types of dreams? When you talk about "out of body" experiences that's a paranormal phenomenon. Did I misunderstand?

I'm confused.
Geez, this is hard to explain because there is a preconception of what a "dream" is and I don't think this preconception is all that helpful. It's simply not so cut and dried as you are making it out to be. Yes, it's a type of dream but I have to be careful when I say that because of that word "dream". OK, let's just cut to the chase. In your opinion how do you define reality? Break it down to the nuts and bolts. Is it stability? Is it because it always seems to be around? Is it because of how "real" it feels? What?

"out of body" does not just refer to interaction with our common known reality BTW and that's what makes it particularly tricky.

What do you mean "more than normal"? what do you mean by "normal"?
By more than normal I only mean that there is a "standard dream" that we all can relate to and when one is conscious and in control and the dream becomes more real than we expect then this might be considered more than normal.
 
  • #128
Entropee
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There are different realities other than this one, people just tend to only classify reality as concrete things. The universe is a very mysterious place.
 
  • #129
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Personally, I'm still waiting for the peer-review references for this stuff. Seems you've changed your position on out of body experiences.
They no longer mean out of body but merely 'in a dream'? (non-standard dream that is... whatever that means)

I define reality as what I can perceive and reason based on these perceptions. Nothing to do with because it is stable or because it is always around. If I woke up and my perceptions told me I was in China I would not think I wasn't in reality.
Of course it's because how 'real' it feels we do call it reality. How else would reality feel, fake? How could you make such a comparison anyways?

Anyways before I continue post your
A) References
and
B) Definitions of words or concepts you have. (I.e. Dreams have a definition they have already been defined within this thread as well and you seem to be saying we have no idea what we're talking about with regards to dreams... so enlighten us)
 
  • #130
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I simply find it curious that under certain circumstances a dream can appear to be an actual reality in the way that we commonly test reality such as presence of mind, stability of the environment and so on. .
Is the world you see after you take a psychotropic drug "reality" ?

Are hallucinations defining a new reality ? Is seeing and talking to your long dead uncle a reality ? No matter that you are the only one who can see it ?

Is a schizophrenic experiencing reality ?

Is dreaming that you make sex with the weather girl from TV reality? No matter the reality is that you don't stand a chance in hell to score her ?


Reality is independent of perceptions and beliefs. It simply is. It doesn't need validation in the mind of a human. The weather girl is safe.
 
  • #131


We definitely differ here as I realize a dream is only a dream, it is not real. You can dream that you are on another planet, then you wake up and you're in your bed.

Being able to control dreams is just an ability some people have. But it is still only a dream.

There is a craze right now with the lucid dreaming thing where people are convincing themselves that they can alter reality. Oy.
But can these dreams tell you more about yourself? Can one use the "fakeness" of dreams to find out more of their real selves? This is what the guy who first proved lucid dreaming is always talking about. Lucid dreaming helps you unlock your highest potential. It reveals to you your deepest identity. Your conscious self(or the ego, as Freud would call it) is not all that you are. There are other layers. Dreaming can help you see these other layers.

"Let’s suppose I’m having a lucid dream. The first thing I think is, "Oh this is a dream, here I am." Now the "I" here is who I think Stephen is. Now what’s happening in fact is that Stephen is asleep in bed somewhere, not in this world at all, and he’s having a dream that he’s in this room talking to you. With a little bit of lucidity I’d say, "this is a dream, and you’re all in my dream." A little more lucidity and I’d know you’re a dream figure and this is a dream-table, and this must be a dream-shirt and a dream-watch and what’s this? It’s got to be a dream-hand and well, so what’s this? It’s a dream-Stephen! So a moment ago I thought this is who I am and now I know that it’s just a mental model of who I am. So reasoning along those lines, I thought, I’d like to have a sense of what my deepest identity is, what’s my highest potential, which level is the realest in a sense? With that in mind at the beginning of a lucid dream, I was driving in my sports car down through the green, Spring countryside. I see an attractive hitchhiker at the side of the road, thought of picking her up but said, "No, I’ve already had that dream, I want this to be a representation of my highest potential. So the moment I had that thought and decided to forgo the immediate pleasure, the car started to fly into the air and the car disappeared and my body, also. There were symbols of traditional religions in the clouds, the Star of David and the cross and the steeple and near-eastern symbols. As I passed through that realm, higher beyond the clouds, I entered into a vast emptiness of space that was infinite and it was filled with potential and love. And the feeling I had was-- this is home! This is where I’m from and I’d forgotten that it was here. I was overwhelmed with joy about the fact that this source of being was immediately present, that it was always here, and I had not been seeing it because of what was in my way. So I started singing for joy with a voice that spanned three or four octaves and resonated with the cosmos with words like, "I Praise Thee, O Lord!" There wasn’t any I, there was no thee, no Lord, no duality somehow but sort of, ‘Praise Be’ was the feeling of it. My belief is that the experience I had of this void, that’s what you get if you take away the brain. When I thought about the meaning of that, I recognized that the deepest identity I had there was the source of being, the all and nothing that was here right now, that was what I was too, in addition to being Stephen. So the analogy that I use for understanding this is that we have these separate snowflake identities. Every snowflake is different in the same sense that each one of us is, in fact, distinct. So here is death, and here’s the snowflake and we’re falling into the infinite ocean. So what do we fear? We fear that we’re going to lose our identity, we’ll be melted, dissolved in that ocean and we’ll be gone; but what may happen is that the snowflake hits the ocean and feels an infinite expansion of identity and realizes, what I was in essence, was water! So we’re each one of these little frozen droplets and we feel only our individuality, but not our substance, but our essential substance is common to everything in that sense, so now God is the ocean. So we’re each a little droplet of that ocean, identifying only with the form of the droplet and not with the majesty and the unity."

-Laberge

"The unconscious plays a role that is far from being fully understood. Like all the higher forms of life, man is in tune with the living beings around him to a remarkable degree. He perceives their sufferings and problems, their positive and negative attributes and values, instinctively-quite independently of his conscious thoughts about other people. Our dream life allows us to have a look at these subliminal perceptions and shows us that they have an effect upon us."

-Freud
 
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  • #132
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But can these dreams tell you more about yourself? Can one use the "fakeness" of dreams to find out more of their real selves? This is what the guy who first proved lucid dreaming is always talking about. Lucid dreaming helps you unlock your highest potential. It reveals to you your deepest identity. Your conscious self(or the ego, as Freud would call it) is not all that you are. There are other layers. Dreaming can help you see these other layers.
From a very practical point of view, I dont think they reveal to you "your deepest identity".
"Your deepest identity" may very well be a joke nature plays on you, various levels of gene expression or lack-thereof , which in the end may define your mental processes.

This doesn't mean that they cant be a viable technique of improving cognitive and behavioral processes. They may very well have such an effect.

In sports I seen used many times the so called "Schultz relaxation" technique. Primarily is used to control arousal and anxiety, 2 factors which play a pretty big role in performance. It does work. There are a lot of tricks you can learn to improve your mind processes.

But it has nothing to do with "reality"
 
  • #133


From a very practical point of view, I dont think they reveal to you "your deepest identity".
"Your deepest identity" may very well be a joke nature plays on you, various levels of gene expression or lack-thereof , which in the end may define your mental processes.

This doesn't mean that they cant be a viable technique of improving cognitive and behavioral processes. They may very well have such an effect.

In sports I seen used many times the so called "Schultz relaxation" technique. Primarily is used to control arousal and anxiety, 2 factors which play a pretty big role in performance. It does work. There are a lot of tricks you can learn to improve your mind processes.

But it has nothing to do with "reality"
Ya, I mean, I think dreams are symptoms of real problems. Like anxiety. Anxiety and other mental states can invoke certain dreams.
 
  • #134
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"The unconscious plays a role that is far from being fully understood. Like all the higher forms of life, man is in tune with the living beings around him to a remarkable degree. He perceives their sufferings and problems, their positive and negative attributes and values, instinctively-quite independently of his conscious thoughts about other people. Our dream life allows us to have a look at these subliminal perceptions and shows us that they have an effect upon us."

-Freud
Well, we do not need conscious thought to do a lot of things. For example, I dont need conscious thoughts to start my bowl movement. Its an autonomous process. I wonder whatever my dreams can help me see into my bowl movement. And surely, this process has a big effect upon me.

I wouldn't be too shocked to learn that some mental processes may very well be the same, having a very high degree of autonomy.
 
  • #135


Well, we do not need conscious thought to do a lot of things. For example, I dont need conscious thoughts to start my bowl movement. Its an autonomous process. I wonder whatever my dreams can help me see into my bowl movement. And surely, this process has a big effect upon me.

I wouldn't be too shocked to learn that some mental processes may very well be the same, having a very high degree of autonomy.
I'm thinking more along the lines of intuition. That's what genius really is. A stroke of genius is really a stroke of intuition. It comes out of nowhere. Not the product of linear, conscious thought.

"It is better for people to be like the beasts...they should be more intuitive; they should not be too conscious of what they are doing while they are doing it."

-Einstein

"There is no logical way to the discovery of these elemental laws. There is only the way of intuition, which is helped by a feeling for the order lying behind the appearance."

-Einstein

"The intellect has little to do on the road to discovery. There comes a leap in consciousness, call it intuition or what you will, and the solution comes to you and you don't know how or why."

-Einstein
 
  • #136
106
1


Ya, I mean, I think dreams are symptoms of real problems. Like anxiety. Anxiety and other mental states can invoke certain dreams.
Sure, but I think that molecular biology has a better chance for now to advance the field than psychological than interpretation of dreams. "Molecular psychology", if you will...

By the same token ,psychoanalysis is great, awesome, a great revenue generator for psycho-therapists, but I believe its a highly inefficient technique of "healing". I bet molecular medicine
will yield better results in shorter time.
 
  • #137


Sure, but I think that molecular biology has a better chance for now to advance the field than psychological than interpretation of dreams. "Molecular psychology", if you will...

By the same token ,psychoanalysis is great, awesome, a great revenue generator for psycho-therapists, but I believe its a highly inefficient technique of "healing". I bet molecular medicine
will yield better results in shorter time.
lol. I will not defend the scientific rigor of psychoanalysis. i know it has mainly fell out of favor. but the study of dreams is still really a protoscience from any angle because of lack of technology. I mean, how do we even know that the person is being honest about the dreams they are having? I think we will have to wait until we can actually project dreams on a screen or something.
 
  • #138
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I'm thinking more along the lines of intuition. That's what genius really is. A stroke of genius is really a stroke of intuition. It comes out of nowhere. Not the product of linear, conscious thought.
Many quotes and famous last words sound very cool. But in the end, they represent nothing of substance.

That being said, you believe that capacity of abstraction, so useful in math and physics, is a "stroke of intuition" or a highly conscious process ? I believe the latter.

Special relativity came in 1905. It took 10 years of work for Einstein to come out with General Relativity. Why , if it was a stroke a intuition ? Because I believe it was not. It was due to highly conscious processes, a lot of abstraction, and was built upon his previous relativity work. It didn't came from nowhere, it was the product of many years of work and highly grounded in his previous theories.

Intuition fail humans very often. Use intuition alone in business negotiations for example, and you have all the chances in the world to end up poor.
 
  • #139


Many quotes and famous last words sound very cool. But in the end, they represent nothing of substance.

That being said, you believe that capacity of abstraction, so useful in math and physics, is a "stroke of intuition" or a highly conscious process ? I believe the latter.

Special relativity came in 1905. It took 10 years of work for Einstein to come out with General Relativity. Why , if it was a stroke a intuition ? Because I believe it was not. It was due to highly conscious processes, a lot of abstraction, and was built upon his previous relativity work. It didn't came from nowhere, it was the product of many years of work and highly grounded in his previous theories.

Intuition fail humans very often. Use intuition alone in business negotiations for example, and you have all the chances in the world to end up poor.
It doesn't fail animals often.

Maybe it was the initial stroke of genius followed up by hard work. Or maybe it was hard work followed by intuition. Hard work alone could not have done it. Einstein, like Fenyman, was an intuitive thinker. It was images or ideas that popped into his head out of nowhere that gave him the initial spark on his work. Even dreams.

I think you should read the book Blink. Intuition is quite genius and you use it even when you don't think you do. The subconscious plays a huge role.

Read the first few pages of the preview to see how smart it can be:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/0316172324/?tag=pfamazon01-20&tag=pfamazon01-20
 
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  • #140
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It doesn't fail animals often.
No idea, I didnt seen any stats on how often animals are failed by their "intuition". Are you sure it's intuition at all ? Maybe it's just a response to stimulus you as a human cant perceive. Your smell is highly ineffective. You cant sense ultrasounds. You cant sense the earth magnetic field directly, and the list can continue.

What you call "intuition" in animals may very well processes determined by sensory information you simply cant perceive.

Maybe it was the initial stroke of genius followed up by hard work. Or maybe it was hard work followed by intuition. Hard work alone could not have done it. Einstein, like Fenyman, was an intuitive thinker. It was images or ideas that popped into his head out of nowhere that gave him the initial spark on his work. Even dreams.
Is this the same Feynman who wrote on his blackboard "know how to solve every problem that has been solved" ?

Do you really believe that Einstein and Feynman's ideas came out of nowhere ? IMO its ridiculous to think they could have the same "intuitions" without the tremendous math and physics knowledge they amassed. None of them could do what they did without their previous experiences.

And as a last question, how can you know how Feynman or Einstein thought and what popped in their minds ?
 
  • #141
Buckethead
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I define reality as what I can perceive and reason based on these perceptions. Nothing to do with because it is stable or because it is always around. If I woke up and my perceptions told me I was in China I would not think I wasn't in reality.


If you are having what is called a Lucid Dream or fully conscious dream, then you are in a position to "perceive and reason based on these perceptions". If you can agree on that then you will have to redefine your definition of reality otherwise you will have included Lucid Dreams in your definition.
Of course it's because how 'real' it feels we do call it reality. How else would reality feel, fake? How could you make such a comparison anyways?
If you are someone suffering from schizophrenia the imaginary person you are talking to seems very real to you so if you define reality as something that "feels real" then again you might be surprised.

The bottom line is, it's not that easy to define reality.
 
  • #142
Buckethead
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Is the world you see after you take a psychotropic drug "reality" ?

Are hallucinations defining a new reality ? Is seeing and talking to your long dead uncle a reality ? No matter that you are the only one who can see it ?

Is a schizophrenic experiencing reality ?

Is dreaming that you make sex with the weather girl from TV reality? No matter the reality is that you don't stand a chance in hell to score her ?


Reality is independent of perceptions and beliefs. It simply is. It doesn't need validation in the mind of a human. The weather girl is safe.
I will agree that it is independant on perceptions and beliefs, and it simply is. However, that does not help in defining what reality is as there is much that fits these definitions that is not considered in the mainstream to be reality.

For one example take Schrodinger's Cat. Before we look in the box is the cat dead or alive? Which is real? Is it both dead and alive and is this real? There is speculation that matter is made up of Strings. Are Strings real or are they just a math model? If they are just a math model does this translate into reality at the smallest levels of matter? In other words are strings just non-real pieces of information that on a macroscale reveal themselves as what we perceive to be real?

With regard to hallucinations, one would have to define reality carefully before answering that question. If someone sees an elephant in their living room and 9 other people don't and if reality is defined as what 9 out of 10 people see, then the one person in the room is not seeing anything real. But if 9 people see that elephant and one doesn't then the definition of reality here dictates the elephant exists even if it doesn't. I don't think this is a very good definition of reality either.

So I guess I'll give you my definition of reality (subject to change) and invite you to chime in with your own. Reality is something that requires two things: Mind and Matter. Mind is required because without it, there is simply no existance and there simply is no reality. Matter is required because just having a Mind is like having a spaceship and no planets or stars to go to. It is actually less than that because if there is no Matter, then there can be no thoughts, no thoughts, no reality. So reality is the interaction of Mind and Matter on the grandest scale of the definition. From this point one can break the definition of reality down into sub catagories such as stable waking reality which is the reality I am currently experiencing while I am typing this post. Then there is alternate waking reality which could include visual hallucinations or a a more subtler level how I feel if I am taking something as simple as a Prozac. Then there is reality as experienced when one is asleep which can have various degrees of importance. If one is conscious during a dream and one has the ability to examine (touch, smell, see, hear, taste) matter in that environment, then according to my initial defintion this is also reality. You might argue here that the "matter" in a conscious dream is not real, but there is no way for you to prove that and at the time this is occurring, all tests that I can perform indicate that there is indeed matter here. In addition everyone in the dream can verify that there is matter around them as well. Now I awaken and the matter falls from my view. Did it exist? Suddenly there is a Big Crunch and Earth and the universe is wiped out and we are all dead, Did the Earth exist? Was it real? Well, if this explosion ends up taking with it all matter, and if mind is all that's left, then it is a reality that exists no more. And then there is a Big Bang, mind once again has matter and now we have a new reality.
 
  • #143
DaveC426913
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If you are having what is called a Lucid Dream or fully conscious dream, then you are in a position to "perceive and reason based on these perceptions". If you can agree on that then you will have to redefine your definition of reality otherwise you will have included Lucid Dreams in your definition.


If you are someone suffering from schizophrenia the imaginary person you are talking to seems very real to you so if you define reality as something that "feels real" then again you might be surprised.

The bottom line is, it's not that easy to define reality.
Yes it is.

If you knock over a chair in a lucid dream, you will wake up to find that you didn't knock the chair over. While the dreamer may have difficulty determining that he's in a dream while he's in it, that does not prevent him from realizing his mistake once he's awake.

A schizophrenic will hear voices but it can be demonstrated that those voices are internal, not external. His reality includes voice, yes, but that is what makes him delusional.

What you're failing to see is that reality is not simply what the subject thinks it is. Indepedent verification can correct one's misperceptions.


For one example take Schrodinger's Cat. Before we look in the box is the cat dead or alive? Which is real? Is it both dead and alive and is this real?
Invalid example. Schodinger's Cat is recognized as a thought experiment, and is not applicable to reality.

If someone sees an elephant in their living room and 9 other people don't and if reality is defined as what 9 out of 10 people see, then the one person in the room is not seeing anything real. But if 9 people see that elephant and one doesn't then the definition of reality here dictates the elephant exists even if it doesn't.
This is overly-smplistic. Reality is not simply determined by a show of hands.
 
  • #144
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What you're failing to see is that reality is not simply what the subject thinks it is. Indepedent verification can correct one's misperceptions.

...Reality is not simply determined by a show of hands.
How do you propose that this independent verification is performed, if not by a show of hands? Science is done exactly by a show of hands: Everyone jump from 1m and time how long it takes you to land. Okay, cool, looks like gravity is 9.8m/s. You got 12m/s? We all got 9.8. You must be wrong.

It seems pretty clear from the problem of induction, however, that it is invalid to infer anything conclusive about objective reality. When you are living your normal life you use certain unjustified operating assumptions, like the assumption that you aren't dreaming. When beginning from a position of doubt and questioning these assumptions, you find that you have no logically valid justification for their belief. That's what makes it hard to define reality, and that's why we're basically limited to a show of hands or some other unjustified method.

How do you, personally, verify that you aren't just imagining the "show of hands?"

I'm assuming here that we're talking about knowledge of an objective materialist reality, as seems to be the trend in the thread.
 
  • #145
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Regardless of if it seems absurd that to a person while they dream may think that a lucid dream is reality it is definitely real. Are you trying to say that what they are dreaming is fake... I don't understand they are having a dream and those actions are taking place in this dream.

Whether or not they know they are in the dream doesn't matter. They will soon wake up and realize soon enough it was a dream. If it were say a coma and during a coma you dream then yes that because your 'new' version of reality.

If 1 person out of 10 sees a elephant in a room and uses his reasoning skills to determine that the other 9 other people are incorrect and the elephant is in the room with them then yes this is reality to him. The other 9 people will probably conclude he is delusional but it doesn't change the fact. Instead this helps my definition of reality as being perception based.

The definition of reality that you give seems suspiciously close to the one I gave. Just a few words are altered and a few assumptions are made further than mine (I don't think I grant any assumptions other than we perceive and reason but these are minor assumptions because regardless of your ability to perceive and reason you still live in your reality).
 
  • #146
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The truth about reality is that none of us are actually living in it :) So it could very well be true that this is really just a dream world... Just not like you would think it is. What I wouldn't give to have a full night worth of dreams one day. I don't know if I could control my glee if I did though. Just imagine 8 hours of dreaming of being on sandy beach and fun!!! I would suspect that I wouldn't wake up as refershed if I did have that experience though. I think the refreshed part comes from having xyz hours pass without realizing it or at least thats what im most glad about when I do fall asleep... Not having to spend the last 4-6 hours trying to find something interesting to do...
 

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