AuthorTopic: Official Off-Topic Thread  (Read 772164 times)

Offline huZba

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Re: Official Off-Topic Thread

Reply #1340 on: February 11, 2010, 06:59:29 pm
In terms of evolution, us getting to see glimpses of our dreams MIGHT be just a random leftover because it doesn't have an effect on "real" things.
Maybe the brain is constantly accessing and processing all the information in our heads while we're asleep, and if we happen to wake up while it's happening, it gets partly stuck in our active conscious memory. Maybe it's incoherent at times because there is really no events taking place, but our minds make up the narrative with the information that was available the moment you woke up. Like for a millisecond files: running, monsters, water were accessed, you wake up, bam, you have a memory of running away from flesh eating monsters in a rainforest.

Offline Mathias

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Re: Official Off-Topic Thread

Reply #1341 on: February 11, 2010, 09:10:55 pm
Interesting thoughts, gents. I've pondered dreams as well, but you guys hatched some new points. I assume we'll never know the real answers. I did keep a dream journal for a while, too.

If I dream, it's almost always during naps and short bursts of sleep, almost never during sleep at night. I don't think we dream once in deep REM sleep.

I rarely remember my dreams, but when I do they're epic. . .
One from a couple of years ago, pitted me against a horde of demons/monsters. I was forced to take refuge at the top of this giganticly tall and pointy white spire tower. It had no opening, yet I somehow got to the very top (typical non-sensical dream logic for ya). At the very top was this through-way opening where you could enter one side and exit on the opposite, like a tunnel borrowed through it, at the top, where the spire's circumference was very skinny. Anyway, the countless monsters were climbing up on all sides, tryin' to get meh (don't know why). I was a warrior type (bahaha!) and so I defended myself by kicking and bashing them as they attempted to get onto my platform, making them all fall to their deaths as a consequence. I recalled feeling remorse for all the killings. Not sure who prevailed; I woke up. hahah, it was awesome . . . I got another crazy dream I'll tell if the theme continues here . . . let's hear more!
« Last Edit: February 11, 2010, 09:13:49 pm by Mathias »

Offline blumunkee

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Re: Official Off-Topic Thread

Reply #1342 on: February 11, 2010, 09:24:05 pm
Actually, I remember reading that just about every normal human being has multiple dreams every night, but it takes specific conditions for the conscious mind to recall them. You have to wake up during or right after the dream, or else it gets sucked back into the sub-conscious. Having a rough night and being unable to sleep or taking short naps gives you a higher chance of coming to at the right time. A small minority of people have some chemical or biological difference that lets them recall most or all of their dreams in vivid detail, like that Ulillillia guy who has an extensive log of his dreams.

One of the major purposes of the dreams seems to be to work out the stuff we either are unaware of or unwilling to face when we are awake. I, for example, realize my weird bus dream was my sub-conscious self telling me I need to find a more fulfilling career.

Offline NaCl

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Re: Official Off-Topic Thread

Reply #1343 on: February 11, 2010, 09:40:21 pm
I have a theory on what dreams are, if anyones interested.

First a little theory on how brains work, I wont ramble about this too much. I think brains (when I say brains I'm talking pretty much just about the cortex, the part of the brain that does the stuff we think of when we think of brains), are a hierarchy of nodes that recognize common patterns, tell their hierarchically superior node what sequence of patterns they are seeing, and send predictions about the next pattern they will see to the nodes below them. So if you were feeding numbers into a node, it would first of all recognize each of the numbers because it had seen them before, and stored their spatial pattern. Then it would recognize the most common temporal patterns of these numbers, and assign an arbitrary label to them. So if it saw 1, 2, 3, 4 a lot, then it would remember that, and when it was seeing part of that pattern, it would send the arbitrary label up to its mother node, even if it didn't have the complete pattern. Also, if it saw 1, 2, 3, then it would see that the 1234 pattern was likely coming in, and send down a prediction of the number 4 to its children nodes. The children nodes could use that to resolve any confusion. If the predictions get all the way down the hierarchy, with agreement all the way, then you have understanding.

As a more relative and real example, people sometimes lose part of their visual field for whatever reason. A section of neurons will stop sending information into the brain. For a good chunk of people that this happens to, they will eventually start seeing strange and almost random things in that blind spot, with a superphotorealism quality. They look more clear and real then the stuff they are actually seeing. What I think is happening is that without any conflicting input coming in, then neural signals higher up in the hierarchy will activate adjacent unused parts of the hierarchy randomly, and start sending down garbage. Without the conflicting input, then whatever random thing happened to be sent down will be agreed upon by the entire hierarchy, to the primary visual cortex and then will appear real to the person.

Using that phenomenon, and the fact that when in the sleep state where you dream neurotransmitters that connect your sensory and motor to your brain are suppressed, then I think dreams are simply random garbage coming down the hierarchy. With no conflicting input then it feels real because it is activating your brain in the same way as real input does. I also think that sometimes a dream feels very powerful and emotional, even though it may have just been random stuff is because the garbage activation is propagating down all the way to the emotional centers of the brain, and creating a highly emotional and meaningful experience.

B.O.B. asked if bacteria or cells sleep, and the answer is no. Sleep is a function of having a certain type of brain, and really is mostly in vertebrates. Also Mathias, we only dream during REM sleep.

Offline ArcherofLight

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Re: Official Off-Topic Thread

Reply #1344 on: February 11, 2010, 11:33:39 pm
Alright, I'll share a dream then too.

Honestly, I passed out on the couch, meaning to take a quick nap. When I woke up, I had a vivid memory of this dream:
It was me and my friend, who I'm not gonna name. We were in a post-apocalyptic world, and it happened to have quite intelligent zombies. We were all geared out with rifles, handguns, and really large, weighty swords(dunno why). I was in a little store, he was waiting outside while I looted what I could carry in four trips. He shouts something about zombies, and I reply with "Yeah. Annoying, aren't they? Fuckers won't leave us alone for five minutes!" and the next thing I hear is several sniper rifle shots, which sounded quite far away. I drop the bottled water I was holding and run outside, to find him laying on the ground, holding his hand, which was all bloody. I shout, "Who's there?" and get a sniper bullet into the wall near my head in return. I throw myself to the ground, pull my rifle and look around. Nothing is there. Deciding to drag my friend inside, I slowly stand up. Thats when I notice a glint in a window on a high-riser. I get my friend inside, and go back out and shoot at th window I saw the glint in. After two full magazines of ammo, a figure falls out of the window. I run over, but nothing was on the ground where it landed, not even a mark. I look around, and see a horde of zombies heading towards the store. I hang the rifle on my back, and pull my blade, running ninja-style towards the zombies. I get there, and with one slash take like twenty down, and keep going till I'm at the store. I get there, help my friend hold a few more off(he was using his handgun, his hand apparently healed fully) and then we make our way across the horde and get inside a large building. We get to the top, and the figure I saw falling from the window is there, laying as if thats where it landed. Zombies climb the outer walls of the building, and we shoot several back down, but there are just tons and tons. I dunno what happened, my dad woke me up.

Offline Larwick

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Re: Official Off-Topic Thread

Reply #1345 on: February 12, 2010, 02:12:48 am
Hehe this is quite interesting. I once had a passing thought that dreams were like defragmenting a hard drive.  :crazy:

Offline Mathias

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Re: Official Off-Topic Thread

Reply #1346 on: February 12, 2010, 02:48:24 am
Yes, that's all quite interesting, and convincing, NaCl.

. . . Also Mathias, we only dream during REM sleep.

But REM stage is only achieved after at least 2 hours I thought. How do you explain napping dreams, like Huzba's?



. . .When I woke up, I had a vivid memory of this dream:

Geez, straight out of a Zombie movie, thanks for posting.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2010, 04:26:40 am by Mathias »

Offline blumunkee

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Re: Official Off-Topic Thread

Reply #1347 on: February 12, 2010, 03:12:20 am

Offline Mathias

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Re: Official Off-Topic Thread

Reply #1348 on: February 12, 2010, 05:59:30 am
But it's funner to speculate and argue.

Offline ArcherofLight

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Re: Official Off-Topic Thread

Reply #1349 on: February 12, 2010, 10:48:25 pm
And post dreams that we remember.