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Unusual dreams and the subconscious mind

  1. Aug 16, 2013 #1

    Monique

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    Last night I had a dream so vivid I can still remember every action and emotion, really unusual. It was about a major worldly crisis, I was in a large house and the outside had completely flooded with water filled with ice and people were dying in it. My boyfriend and parents were inside and we were trying to figure out how to set ourselves up for survival. I've never had that dream before.

    I looked up the possible meaning on the internet and the first hit says: "To dream of ice, betokens much distress, and evil-minded persons will seek to injure you in your best work." :bugeye:

    How accurate is that? In the light I'm appealing a grant rejection. I can't belief it! Funny how the mind work :biggrin:
     
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  3. Aug 16, 2013 #2

    Ryan_m_b

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    Dream analysis is 99% nonsense. I've read all sorts of books that say things like "losing your teeth means you're worried about money" but dreams are highly personal. It is interesting to look at the symbology of a dream and see how it relates to ones life (distress in dreams mimicking distress in life for example) but its important not to get too carried away :smile:
     
  4. Aug 16, 2013 #3

    Monique

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    Based on what it's nonsense? Surely a random comment on internet can't be trusted (the accuracy of the find was mostly serendipious), but I'm convinced on symbolism and that it is shared among people of the same culture.
     
  5. Aug 16, 2013 #4

    Ryan_m_b

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    Where is any credible research to show dream symbolism is consistent in one person? Let alone multiple people. Dreaming about ice in one dream can mean something totally different to ice in another and the same concern can be expressed by very different symbols.
     
  6. Aug 16, 2013 #5

    jim hardy

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    Symbols in dreams are not universal but highly individual.
    Beware of instant interpretations.

    I believe dreams relate to what is going on in your life at the time.

    Your dream's themes of chaos and things beyond your control are interesting.

    You might see what Carl Jung has to say about dreams. Caution: he's become the darling of the 'New Agers', so there's a lot of nonsense floating around. So go to the source.
    I liked his "Man and his Symbols".
     
  7. Aug 16, 2013 #6
    In before Evo closes thread.

    I dream instensely every single night and I remember every little detail. I love my dreams because I've worked on lucid dreaming for a while now and I can control aspects of my dreams. I'm dreaming about something and then I'll wake up, but I'll keep my eyes closed and then tell myself I'm still dreaming even though I know I'm awake. after about a minute I'll be asleep and I can knowingly control things in my dream.

    It's somewhat limited though because while I can control everything I do, I can't control the things that happen in my dream, I can't control the other people or the enviroment or anything, but I know I am dreaming and therefor can just jump off a cliff and know that I'll be safe. It's very nice :)
     
  8. Aug 16, 2013 #7
    I don't believe dreams are symbolic in a Jungian sense. I think Freud was barking up a much better tree when he asserted they are a disguised form of unacceptable wishes and desires we have repressed during the day.

    It we put "unacceptable" aside, it's clear that, for whatever reason, we have to repress certain trains of thought that get started. That might be because we can't accept them or it might just be because we have to turn our attention to something else before they get played out.

    Dreams would, therefore, represent the brain's attempt to clear all these stopped trains from the tracks, so to speak. In sleep they're all allowed to run their course, and the result is the remarkable surreal nonsence that often results.
     
  9. Aug 16, 2013 #8

    lisab

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    When I took Psychology 101 many years ago, "the subconscious" was taught as fact; when my daughter took the class a few years ago they dove straight into biology and neurology and never mentioned it, or "dream analysis". Too squishy!

    Freud is often credited with 'discovering' the subconscious but in fact it was mentioned as far back as the 1500s. It's completely ingrained in Western culture, but has it ever been shown to exist? Isn't it just an outdated model of how brains work?

    It's comforting to believe "the subconscious" exists, like an uncivilized beast in us. It relieves us of *owning* our most disturbing thoughts. That alone makes me very skeptical.
     
  10. Aug 16, 2013 #9

    Pythagorean

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    Some say dreams a result of memory consolidation (whereby the hippocampus writes episodic memories into semantic and other memories):

    http://www.sciencemag.org/content/294/5544/1052.short

    Others demonstrate a lack of objective evidence to that point:

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0896627304005653

    The recent critical paper above holds that "the primary function of sleep is restitution for the brain/CNS, and within this context, the role of REM sleep is to prepare the brain for recovery from sleep. As previously discussed in detail (Vertes, 1986), we hold that the foremost function of REM sleep is to provide periodic endogenous stimulation to the brain, which serves to maintain minimum requisite levels of CNS activity throughout sleep. REM is the mechanism used by the brain to ensure and promote recovery from sleep."

    In this regard, I think dreams are essentially equivalent to daydreaming... your unconscious mind wandering with little rhyme or reason.
     
  11. Aug 17, 2013 #10
    Meaning is contigent on your feelings experianced in the dream and current life situation. You will probably give yourself the best analysis. But, it seems like you are anticipating something bad or at least challenging.


    Dreams do have some meaning. Its a combination of useless junk and useful info. What I do and what has worked very well for me is to look at the big picture.
     
  12. Aug 18, 2013 #11
    I've been reading a lot of math books, so this being a physics place, it may not be to uncommon to say that I've been dreaming math. It's mostly nonsense (ever tried writing down what you see when you wake up?) but either way, it's interesting to visually see math in a very non-mathematical way, and to play around with it in sleep.
    The worst dream I had was some mechanical being ripping the fabric of reality. No science or order existed there anymore. Perhaps that's anxiety over losing a scientific thinking friendly environment or something.
    I think dreams do have shared cultural symbols, though maybe it's just that humans have a consciousness that is highly affected by it's environment socially, and we focus on people a lot, and basic experiences. Though considering the mind as a single whole, no different waking or sleeping biologically, dreaming is the same function as in waking, though the source of stimulus is not known to me. Whatever the brain is doing at night, it's a little antsy logically by current understanding. Impressions are easy to run away with though, so there is a source of caution. I'm sure it'll make sense one day, and then dream reading will be a hard science!
     
  13. Aug 19, 2013 #12

    jim hardy

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    Who knows? Electricity was just a parlor game until what, early 1800's?
     
  14. Aug 19, 2013 #13
    It sure exists, there are many indirect evidences it does. Whatever model you use to describe the brain, any model that doesn't postulate a subconscious isn't a serious model.
     
  15. Aug 19, 2013 #14
    Dreams feel real while we're in them. It's only when we wake up that we realize something was actually strange
    -Inception

    which leads to

    what is real? how do you define what is real ? if you're talking
    about what you can feel,what you can smell, what you can taste and see, then real is
    simply electrical signals interpreted by your brain
    -morpheus

    i also have this thought at times regarding dreams,
    i sometimes wonder if dreams are a combined stored thought's (possibly subconscious,or unrealized) then purge when you are sleeping.
     
  16. Aug 20, 2013 #15

    Pythagorean

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    It depends on what you mean. There's a lot of B.S. surrounding the word "subconscious" (usually focused into marketing self-improvement techniques) and most of this has no evidence behind it

    If you just mean the more vague concept of consciousness outside of attention/awareness, then it likely exists, but thinking of it as just one isolated state is probably misleading.
     
  17. Aug 20, 2013 #16

    Monique

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    Are there any good reviews/books on subconsciousness or dreams?
     
  18. Aug 20, 2013 #17
    Freud actually used the term "unconscious" rather than "subconscious". His interest in the idea of an unconscious mind was specifically in regard to it's negative effects, its "symptoms":

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unconscious_mind

    Freud was the popularizer of this concept, and he believed the unconscious accounted for dreams as well as neurotic behaviors. Inevitably, though, many others stepped in and decided the notion needed redefinition. Now there are so many schools of thought that the term is meaningless unless you specifically state what you're referring to.
     
  19. Aug 20, 2013 #18

    jim hardy

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    I'm not aware of anything approaching definite.

    Richard Restrak's book "The Brain", the one that's a companion to PBS TV series by same name, has a brief digression (I think in a sidebar) called "The old brain and the new". It suggests that the subconscious resides in or near limbic system while our conscious everyday thinking goes on in the cerebrum. The cerebrum is a relatively new evolutionary addition.
    He also says that the physical connections between the two are not particularly efficient and that's why we have a hard time finding our "subconscious".

    It was twenty plus years ago I read that.
    I'll be surprised if there have not been more recent investigations of sleep with those fancy machines that map what part of a brain is active at any time.
    But brain physiology is so far from what I know anything about that I don't try to keep up.

    I'm not much good at psychology either.
    The information was of interest to me only as part trying to find myself in a 1980's "mid life crisis".
    I decided, as some wag from the 1950's wrote: "I envy schizophrenics - they're only split in two."
    Peer Gynt's 'onion' scene was a comfort, though.


    old jim
     
  20. Aug 23, 2013 #19
    Yesterday I had a dream of a guy who said that he had computed the complete quantum state of his wife, down to elementary particles. When I started asking him, he admitted it was only an approximation by taking discrete lattice and ignoring 2nd order terms. (The moment he said that I saw a zoom on his wife, digitized and rendered using too few polygons, like in old computer games.)
    The guy was in his middle-40, short grayish hair, a little fat. The wife in question was a blonde (platinum flavor), shoulder-long straight hair, rather short and quite nice.

    I wonder what it means. Some mystical thing I suspect.
     
  21. Jul 24, 2014 #20

    WWGD

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    Isn't there a subconscious ? What about the brain's regulation of breathing, the organs, hormone secretion etc? And, hasn't it happened to you that you have a question you don't know the answer to, and a few days later the answer comes to you? How to explain this last other than that there was some thinking going on in the "background " that led to the answer? How about being able to determine , e.g., why something you
    experience makes you angry, sad, etc. Can we always explain why the event elicited a given emotion in us? Not quite proof , but suggests the answer is yes.
     
  22. Jul 24, 2014 #21
    As with a lot of things in science (if we are calling psychology that) distinctions that we made a long time ago are often found to be oversimplified later. Certainly there is some type of "foreground" thinking, "background" thinking, and a lot of stuff that our brains regulate without are conscious attention. But I think it's very unlikely that there is a single line between conscious and unconscious.

    Studies in meditation and possibly certain types of drugs can shed some light on this. Anecdotally speaking, in meditation, I become "aware" of a lot of the stuff that's going on in my brain that I am otherwise distracted from knowing about because I am engaged in doing other stuff. After a lot of hours of this, you can start to witness other stuff that seems to be kind buried.

    I'm pretty certain that levels of consciousness are more like an onion. I'm not sure exactly what this equates to in psychological terms, but certainly the consious/subconsious distinction is oversimplified.

    -Dave K
     
  23. Jul 24, 2014 #22

    jim hardy

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    Maybe.

    This book has a short discussion on how there could be one that resides in the more 'primitive' parts of our brain, around the limbic system..

    https://www.amazon.com/Brain-Richar...Y_1_16?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1406238475&sr=1-16
    The author has decent credentials
    http://www.richardrestak.com/

    I happen to believe in it but i think most folks don't.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  24. Jul 24, 2014 #23

    collinsmark

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    Personally I view the subconscious as a matter of semantics. Whether we call it the "subconscious" or call it a combination of partial memories and the autonomic nervous system it doesn't really matter. Sure, it's not totally understood (yet) but there's nothing mystical about it either.

    The capitol of Peru is Lima.

    I didn't even have to look that up. I knew it somehow off the top of my head, but for the life of me, I cannot recall where I learned that fact.

    Marketers try to take advantage of this in advertising. When shopping for a new toothbrush, Oral-B certainly seems familiar to me. Maybe I'll buy that one. Why does it seem familiar? I suppose I probably saw a commercial for it some time ago. Commercials tend to repeat the brand name of the product several times.

    I know not to touch a hot stove/fire, but I can't quite remember where I learned that. Sometimes when standing at a high place, I get vertigo. Maybe there's a little evolutionary instinct involved in the autonomic nervous system somewhere? I would guess so.

    I have a copy of The Illustrated Dream Dictionary by Russell Grant (http://books.google.com/books/about/The_Illustrated_Dream_Dictionary.html?id=3FNLfKqvmE0C). It's fun. I can't remember where I bought it, but I think it was an impulse buy at a bookstore coffee shop. There's a relevant sub-topic for this thread, if I ever heard one: Impulse buys!

    The book is total bunk though, of course. I knew that when I bought it. You can tell it's total bunk by looking at the bibliography: there isn't one. No peer reviewed journals, no credible sources, no scientific method, no nothing. All the interpretations are presented as absolute and established fact, without any justification whatsoever. Yes, total, unadulterated bunk.

    But that doesn't mean it can't be fun. :biggrin: You don't have to believe in ghosts to enjoy a good, scary movie. Same goes here. Sometimes I'll look up something I dreamed about for kicks and giggles. I just don't take it seriously.
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2014
  25. Jul 24, 2014 #24

    Pythagorean

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    I'm not sure the concept of subconscious is disputable if we limit the definition to unconscious thoughts, generally in the context of behavioral motivation.

    I think what's rightly disputed is Freud's model that goes too far about the the roles and functions of the subconscious. And modern educational marketing that claimed you can learn while you sleep.
     
  26. Jul 24, 2014 #25
    A lot of what you're talking about here would come under the heading of "Procedural Memory":

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Procedural_memory

    "The capitol of Peru is Lima," would come to you easily as the memory of the procedure of saying it to yourself, without necessarily paying attention to what it means as you did so. (You didn't say, "I happen to recall the capitol of Peru is Lima." You performed the procedure of saying [writing], "The Capitol of Peru is Lima.")

    Anyway, the wiki asserts procedural memory is unconscious: " Procedural memories are accessed and used without the need for conscious control or attention." In this situation, "unconscious" equates to "automatic". One the procedure is triggered, it proceeds without deliberate effort.

    In this sense, the term "unconscious" is probably not controversial. I should think most people would agree we perform a lot of automatic behaviors. ("Automatic" not being synonymous with "autonomic".)
     
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