2008.11.06 19:00 - Dreams and perception

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    The guardian for this meeting was Sylectra Darwin.

    Albertus Urvilan: Adelene,, I feel so prosaic, looking at your marvelous avatar.
    Adelene Dawner chuckles at Albertus. ^.^
    stevenaia Michinaga: seems tonight guardian is taking a nap, I may ahve to fill in tonight....sigh
    stevenaia Michinaga: pillow pillow, I jsut can;t decide
    Adelene Dawner: Tell me about it - I have two weekly slots, and I keep winding up posting Threedee's days, too.
    Albertus Urvilan: So comfy
    stevenaia Michinaga: have to sit so the fountain isn;t ki my way
    stevenaia Michinaga: pillow smillow, I;ll cool my feet here
    Albertus Urvilan: Rather intense for a bidet.
    Adelene Dawner: ...That really doesn't look right at *all*, Albertus.
    stevenaia Michinaga: hmm, here you are just a cloud Alburtus
    Albertus Urvilan: What, never been for a high colonic?
    stevenaia Michinaga: I don't get the good affect
    Albertus Urvilan: It's dirty, don't feel left out!
    Albertus Urvilan: Better shut up now, the recorder's awake!!!
    stevenaia Michinaga: so that's why this is a mature sim
    stevenaia Michinaga: whoda thought
    Albertus Urvilan: "Apart from science, what else is true?"
    Albertus Urvilan: I just visited the Kira website.
    Albertus Urvilan: Well science as I understand it is process, not in itself truth.
    Albertus Urvilan: inquiry.
    Albertus Urvilan: hypothesis
    stevenaia Michinaga: truth seeking, no?
    Albertus Urvilan: yes
    Albertus Urvilan: when does truth seeking find truth? I don't know that science posits we'll find it.
    stevenaia Michinaga: Hi ThreeDee
    Threedee Shepherd: hi, cooling your feet are you?
    stevenaia Michinaga: yes
    stevenaia Michinaga: well whatever they usually find is usually only the truth for a short time
    Albertus Urvilan: provisional.
    stevenaia Michinaga: so much for absolute truth
    Threedee Shepherd: everything is provisional, which is why time exists
    Albertus Urvilan: When I fin what's true for me, it is also fleeting.
    stevenaia Michinaga: are you a scientist?
    Albertus Urvilan: On my way to a new moment, a new truth
    stevenaia Michinaga: we try to focus on the moment there, whatever is now must be true, until the next now
    Albertus Urvilan: No, I'm more into Buddhism and Focusing, which are personal inquiries rather than "external" observations.
    Adelene Dawner: hm.
    Adelene Dawner: Here's an interesting line of thought.
    Adelene Dawner: Buddhism came to be before the scientific method was envisioned, correct? It seems that in some sense both are ways of discovering what is immutably true... and Buddhism's teachings don't take into account the existance of another way of doing that, because they were written first.
    Threedee Shepherd: a long line of thought
    Bell: *ding*
    Albertus Urvilan: In the Diamond Sutra it's said that all concepts will self-destruct ... total acknowledgement of ... well what's a word for it ...
    Albertus Urvilan: Personally, I like to say, "reality is always much more than I could imagine"
    Albertus Urvilan: In zen: "the finger pointing to the moon is not the moon:.
    stevenaia Michinaga: hi sylectra, we started with out you, heard you snoring
    Sylectra Darwin: Evening, folks.
    Sylectra Darwin: hehe
    Threedee Shepherd: hi
    Sylectra Darwin: thanks guys :)
    Albertus Urvilan: So what was "written" of the Buddha's teachings aren't to be dogmatically followed.
    Albertus Urvilan: Hi all
    Adelene Dawner: mmhmm. Science moves toward 'immutably true' from a very different angle... but it does, I think, converge on the same kind of understanding of reality.
    Albertus Urvilan: Like scientific method, it's dynamic in nature.
    Sylectra Darwin: you guys don't miss a beat! Great discussion.
    Albertus Urvilan: The last thing Buddha said was basically "don't take my word for it".
    Albertus Urvilan: "Be a lamp unto yourselves"
    Adelene Dawner: mmhmm.
    Adelene Dawner can't really carry this conversation, tonight - she's falling asleep.
    Sylectra Darwin: I'd rather be a teapot.
    Albertus Urvilan: lol
    Albertus Urvilan: cute
    Sylectra Darwin hands Ade some strong coffee.
    stevenaia Michinaga: or some green tea
    Sylectra Darwin: Indeedy.
    Adelene Dawner: Thanks, but I'm past the point where caffiene will do anything but make it worse. ^.^
    Sylectra Darwin: I know that point well from the last week.
    Albertus Urvilan: Chai
    Albertus Urvilan: very nice for nite
    Adelene Dawner: sounds nummy.
    Albertus Urvilan: cardamom chai
    Albertus Urvilan: mmmm
    stevenaia Michinaga: here's an example, I see Alburtus as a cloud, I assume the rest of you see his avatar form, which is true... both?
    stevenaia Michinaga: form
    Sylectra Darwin: Well, the perception of Albertus is not Albertus.
    stevenaia Michinaga: ok, you spoiled that moment albertus
    stevenaia Michinaga: cloud gone
    Albertus Urvilan: The perception of my cartoon avatar is not the being who is typing.
    Sylectra Darwin: Yes, Albertus, remain hazy for our amusement.
    Albertus Urvilan: Sorry to spoil your fun!
    stevenaia Michinaga: but how else can we seek the truth except through perception
    Albertus Urvilan: I'm in a fog in RL.
    Sylectra Darwin grins
    Albertus Urvilan: Do we require sensory input to discern truth????
    Sylectra Darwin: This is a really neat but also really hard to grasp concept - that your perception of a thing is not that thing.
    Threedee Shepherd: Back to Ade's point. I wonder *why* modern science arose in Europe and there was not an Asian equivalent. I suspect it DOES have something to do with Buddhist-type worldviews.
    Adelene Dawner: It is true that your monitor shows a cloud & it is true that my monitor shows a humanlike av. It's also true that both arise from a series of 1s and 0s in a computer that's probably in California somewhere, and that those 1s and 0s do not have a visual appearance until they're interpreted by a monitor (or, arguably, by our eyes... meh. tired.)
    stevenaia Michinaga: it is a perception, nothing more
    Albertus Urvilan: Sensory input, as we know, only accounts for about 10 - 20% of our awareness.
    Sylectra Darwin: If you really dig at it, the layers of reality begin to fray, and it seems that there is nothing underneath...but Being?
    Albertus Urvilan: Memory is more a part of perception than actual sensory input in the moment.
    Sylectra Darwin: Good effort, Ade!
    Albertus Urvilan applauds effort.
    Threedee Shepherd: Syl, I suggest it is not reality that begins to fray, but rather our perception of it
    Sylectra Darwin: Yes, i agree Albertus.
    Adelene Dawner *can* geek in her sleep. ^.^
    Sylectra Darwin: Ah, there you go, ThreeDee.
    Sylectra Darwin: Since we are talking about being sleepy, perhaps we can touch on how dreams impact our perception of reality and how they might even help us peel away the layers of perception?
    Albertus Urvilan: When we are met with situations that aren't immediately relatable to our experience, people either go into "denial" mode, or replace what's happening with a "placeholder", however implausable.
    Adelene Dawner: Can't help ya there - I only very rarely remember my dreams.
    stevenaia Michinaga: dreams? I thought reality (whatever that is) reacts in our dreams, not the other way around
    Albertus Urvilan: Row your boat gently down the stream. Life is but a dream.
    stevenaia Michinaga: got me there
    Albertus Urvilan: "All Dharmas
     Are like dreams, illusions, bubbles, shadows
     Like dew drops, a lightning flash... Contemplate them thus"
    Bell: *ding*
    stevenaia Michinaga: who are you quoting?
    Albertus Urvilan: That's brought us back to the Diamond Sutra, and evansecense.
    Albertus Urvilan: ephemerality
    Albertus Urvilan: The mystic peels away the layers, as does the scientist
    Threedee Shepherd: I suggest the possibillity that one (of many) things dreams accomplish is to imagine and try on alternate universes. However, the dream "machine" has a problem. Namely, it can only use what is in memory already, which is limiting. Limiting in the sense of, if all you have is preformed lego blocks, the parallel universes you can construct are limited.
    stevenaia Michinaga: but the scientist usually start with "something" and seeks to prove it, not sure the onion metaphore is the same.. but I am not a scientist
    Albertus Urvilan: Many dream images are not from memory
    stevenaia Michinaga: do you suggest there is no creativity in dreams, then how does it assist in problem soving?
    Albertus Urvilan: at any rate, what is synthesized out of those blocks can be quite illustrative and extraordinary
    Threedee Shepherd: Steve, much science starts with seeking, asking how or even, what. Proof comes much later.
    stevenaia Michinaga: or no proof
    Threedee Shepherd: I think there is creativity in dreams, but it is limited by what it has to work with. I can't get a new input by Googling during a dream ;D
    Albertus Urvilan: Didn't Einstein dream the theory of relativity?
    Sylectra Darwin: Three, we are assuming that when we dream the only tings which we perceive in that dream are those we can already perceive in reality. Is that a correct statement? As was said earlier, we perceive much more than our senses can perceive alone. Perhaps in dreams we process those perceptions which we weren't aware of from our real life memories.
    Threedee Shepherd: I don't know.
    Adelene Dawner: "we perceive much more than our senses can perceive alone" - say more?
    Albertus Urvilan: In meditation, the waking and the dream state can begin to commingle.
    Albertus Urvilan: As we loosen the reins of consciouness
    Albertus Urvilan: And deep truths emerge
    Threedee Shepherd: syl, I agree that some of the material used to *make* dreams may well have "gotten in there" without conscious perception. And, it is important that "You are all the people and items in your dream, no one else is writing the script.
    Adelene Dawner still wants syl to say more.
    Sylectra Darwin: Well I am quoting Albertus - perhaps he would like to elaborate?
    Threedee Shepherd: my statement "may well have "gotten in there" without conscious perception" allows for more that is not mystical.
    Adelene Dawner: Ok, Albertus then.
    Albertus Urvilan: Duh?
    Albertus Urvilan: Huh?
    Albertus Urvilan: I was dreaming of dessert.
    Adelene Dawner: "we perceive much more than our senses can perceive alone" - say more?
    Sylectra Darwin: Albertus Urvilan: Sensory input, as we know, only accounts for about 10 - 20% of our awareness.
    Albertus Urvilan: Yes, I was recently hearing about that.
    Albertus Urvilan: There was I think a Nova show about that.
    Threedee Shepherd: Now of course, there COULD be other kinds of perception that transcend those we know, and that arise in the dreamstate, but I have no evidence for or agfainst that.
    Albertus Urvilan: They found that at any given point, a person's memory centres were more active than their direct-sensory centres
    Threedee Shepherd: Syl do you mean the senses of the body sight, hearing, etc in that statement.
    Adelene Dawner: You may be using a nonstandard definition of 'sensory input' - for most people, probably for everybody, most of the sensory input never reaches consciousness. But it's still percieved and, to some degree, processed.
    Sylectra Darwin: Interesting video on YouTube - Perception: The reality beyond matter - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AqnEGu8VF8Y
    Threedee Shepherd: exactly, Ade!
    Albertus Urvilan: yes
    Albertus Urvilan: I'm thinking of a story about a plane that crashed in the Arctic years ago.
    Albertus Urvilan: The people in the plane were interviewd afterwards
    Sylectra Darwin: Yes, i was referring to those five physical senses which humans have.
    Albertus Urvilan: most survived.
    Albertus Urvilan: One woman said, "
    Albertus Urvilan: The plane shook, and I saw a shark swim down the aisle."
    Adelene Dawner: ok.
    Albertus Urvilan: I couldn't understand where the shark came from"
    Adelene Dawner: that's... hold on, I'm holding consciousness together by force of will here, arranginf ideas into coherent sentences is tricky.
    Albertus Urvilan: That speaks to the way in which memory, dream-state, and direct perception collide in a moment of synesthetic chaos
    Sylectra Darwin: "Your seeing your body makes you tink that you are in it..." (from the video)
    Sylectra Darwin: wow, Albertus.
    Albertus Urvilan takes a bow!
    Bell: *ding*
    Adelene Dawner: 'seeing a shark' - seeing. It's still sensory input. It may not be related to the mundane world in the way that seen things usually are, but it's still sensory, it's not something else. Similarly, brain scans have shown that the visual centers have the same kinds of activity going on if you remember seeing an apple as they do if you really see an apple - the memory is experienced as a sensory thing.
    Albertus Urvilan: I have a gut feeling about what you are saying.
    Albertus Urvilan: ;)
    Sylectra Darwin: So your experience is what you consent to perceive.
    Albertus Urvilan: Well, we are beings that are made of meat. Our perceptions are mostly going to be meaty ones.
    Sylectra Darwin: Ade, that's a very important point from a practical psychology standpoint.
    Adelene Dawner: It's something I'm very vary familar with, given that I'm synesthetic and tend to think in colors and shapes.
    Albertus Urvilan: Yes Adelene! That's the point!!! Sometimes, we REPLACE reality with what we remember.
    Sylectra Darwin: When I perceive a situation to be horrible, I make it so, physiologically, in my mind, with corresponding physical signs of that kind of stress and trauma.
    Adelene Dawner: o.O @ Albert.
    Adelene Dawner: I think you misunderstand, Al.
    Adelene Dawner: ...how to explain...
    Albertus Urvilan: brain scans have shown that the visual centers have the same kinds of activity going on if you remember seeing an apple as they do if you really see an apple - the memory is experienced as a sensory thing.
    Threedee Shepherd: yes, that is true
    Albertus Urvilan: The opposite is also true, is what I'm saying.
    Threedee Shepherd: what opposite, please restate iot
    Sylectra Darwin: Also, my memory of an event can take on an unreal aspect due to my own emotional reactions. But the memory, and the imagined future thing which we are worrying about, area both bringing about similar signs of psychological stress as if we had actually experienced that event to that extent.
    Adelene Dawner: If you're proposing what I think you're proposing, Al, I've suspected for a while that that's something people do.
    Albertus Urvilan: As Suzuki Roshi said, "when you hear a dog, do you think of the dog you had as a child? Do you imagine how big the dog is, what colour it is? Or is it just barking, nothing added?"
    Adelene Dawner: Syl, you're talking about a whole other level of complexity.
    Adelene Dawner nods at Al.
    Albertus Urvilan: People embellish. That is the nature of mind, how we form reality and make meaningful patterns
    Albertus Urvilan: Yes Sylectra
    Sylectra Darwin: nods
    Adelene Dawner: And, my conjecture was that people replace what's really there, in their map of local spacetime, with those memories. Something as simple as, for example, seeing a tree, and going 'oh, a tree' and not *seeing* the tree any more - if asked later, might the person describe an entirely different tree, probably a 'generic' one?
    Threedee Shepherd: yup
    Albertus Urvilan: That's how memory and perception collude
    Sylectra Darwin: yes, that's a good point, Adelene. And are these placeholders really helpful to us? They are like shortcuts so that we don't have to pay complete attention to everything around us all the time.
    Threedee Shepherd: Most of the time, the story told is functionally useful, nonetheless. Usually you can tell your asshole from a hole in the ground ^.^
    Albertus Urvilan: The mystic's path is one of perceiving without comment of that sort.
    Albertus Urvilan: 'placeholder' experience.
    Adelene Dawner: Well, Syl, there are downsides to being aware of everything all the time. It's not fun when one's brain runs out of RAM.
    Sylectra Darwin: smiles
    Albertus Urvilan: ha
    Sylectra Darwin: I thought you might have personal experience with that one.
    Adelene Dawner: Daily. :P
    Albertus Urvilan: Didn't Bill Gates say "64k outght to be enough for anyone"
    Sylectra Darwin: But the concept of mindfulness in general is one that can be used to help us feel more present in our lives.
    Albertus Urvilan: Clearly that was before Vista.
    Albertus Urvilan: Yes Syl
    Adelene Dawner wonders if Al is aware that she's autistic... her brain does the hyperawareness thing automatically.
    Albertus Urvilan: Tell me more please ...
    Sylectra Darwin: I read this great example of daily mindfulness. You are walking through a doorway and you are about to turn a doorknob. You normally pay no attention to the way the doorknob looks or how it feels in your hand as it turns, or even which way you turned it.
    Sylectra Darwin: But if you practive being mindul of how you are turning that doorknob, you will learn to come back to the moment and clear the mental distraction that keeps us from truly experiencing our lives. But is this hyper-reality rather than what we are practicing in PaB?
    Albertus Urvilan: "most folks", if I can make a generalization, are lost in a fog, with a mental soundtrack playing, turning the doorknob while internally rearranging the furniture.
    Sylectra Darwin: When I read this I tried it out. I discovered that I could stop losing my keys and worrying about whether I turned off the stove. If I was mindful during the event, I KNOW for sure that I turned off the stove.
    Sylectra Darwin: Yes, Albertus, mental clutter.
    Albertus Urvilan: So Adelene, do you find that with your condition, you're less in clutter of that sort, and more, shall we say, swimming in the tactile?
    Adelene Dawner: Well, one of the most signifigant differences is that I percieve a lot more of my surroundings, in several senses. Some of it is 'special senses' - apparently most people aren't able to percieve teh polarization qualities of light - some of it is more of the mundane sensory awareness - I'm aware of more objects in my visual field at any one time than most people - and part of it is a lack of some of those shortcuts, like the memory/disregarding thing, which I still do but to a much lesser degree. I also seem to have access to earlier stages of processing, in my brain - there's some evidence that *everybody* is synesthetic, actually, but that most people aren't aware of processing that happens that 'deeply' in the brain.
    Bell: *ding*
    Sylectra Darwin: I am not an expert at any of these philosophies we like to talk about here, but it seems to me that inner peace can be achieved throgh practicig such states of mindfulness.
    Albertus Urvilan: Adelene, that is fascinating, as is your ability to convey these percpetions to us.
    Albertus Urvilan: Thank you
    Adelene Dawner: Less that kind of clutter, but more of other kinds of clutter. It's interesting, for example, to notice that I have to almost intentionally try to remember things for them to be encoded in memory - which doesn't happen that reliably. I'm understandably pretty distractable.
    Sylectra Darwin: Ade, is this externally verified, or do you just perceive that your perception is wider?
    Sylectra Darwin: I may sound like the devil's advocate, but I do have a purpose in my question.
    Albertus Urvilan: May I ask how your condition was diagnosed, and at what age?
    Adelene Dawner: It'd be a difficult thing to externally verify, but I've had some experiences that come as close as is likely to happen in any case, and Three was around for that.
    Adelene Dawner: Al - I'm actually not diagnosed as autistic, though I was diagnosed as ADD at age 5 (very unusual for a female, at that time, so there was definitely something odd about me). This kind of situation is not unusual for someone my age.
    Sylectra Darwin: I thought so, just wanted to ask. In so doing, I was thinking of how some of us, in college, tried out substances which were supposed to broaden our awareness or creativity.
    Threedee Shepherd: Folks, Iafter many hours of deep conversation, comparing our neurological experiences, I fully accept Ade's self-description.
    Sylectra Darwin: nods
    Albertus Urvilan: I was thinking earlier of "e" and other "broadening" drugs
    Sylectra Darwin: I would hear stories from my friends about how they could be more creative under the influence, but also noticing that what they created - term paper, poem,, essay, whatever - was usually terrible.
    Albertus Urvilan: lol!!!
    Albertus Urvilan: Not connected enough
    Threedee Shepherd: life is a mind-altering drug ;D
    Sylectra Darwin: So we think that we are perceiving fully sometimes, and yet that is when we are most deceived.
    Sylectra Darwin: yes, Three! haha
    Adelene Dawner: I was involuntarily drugged as a teenager, with antidepressants and the like. I don't touch anything more interesting that Eccedrin or caffiene, now. I don't even drink alcohol. However, my unusual neurology led to an unusual reaction to a food additive some months ago, which did lead to that general kind of experience. (And I was *not* happy about it.)
    Albertus Urvilan: Which additive was that?
    Adelene Dawner: I'd prefer not to say - I know how dangerous that kind of information can be in the wrong cricles.
    Adelene Dawner: *circles.
    Albertus Urvilan: I don't really understand how, but I accept your discretion.
    Adelene Dawner sighs. "As I just said, I was involuntarily drugged as a teenager. I still have some PTSD from that, and will not knowingly do anything that may have even the slightest chance of another person being put through that kind of hell as a result."
    Sylectra Darwin: Maybe because perception is inherently untrustworthy, it is soothing to practice peeling all that stuff away toward the experience of Being.
    Adelene Dawner: It's not about the drugs. It's about the 'involuntary' part.
    Adelene Dawner re-reads and sighs. "That's not a coherent explanation without information about what I experienced..."
    Adelene Dawner leans on Three.
    Albertus Urvilan: I understand that part. It was the food additive part I was wondering about
    Albertus Urvilan: Dont sweat it.
    Adelene Dawner: Thanks, Al.
    Albertus Urvilan: I feel how difficult this are a is for you. I'm sorry you went through that.
    Adelene Dawner nods.
    Sylectra Darwin: Me too, Ade.
    Albertus Urvilan: Well being gay myself, I'm aware folks are still lobotomized in parts of the world for that "condition"!!!
    Adelene Dawner: Mmhmm. It's tough being different. The main barrier isn't the difference, it's people's asshatted reactions. :P
    Threedee Shepherd: Folks, this discussion is wonderful. However, I need to leave. g'night
    Sylectra Darwin: yep. If we could connect a little better with each other, we'd be less likely to run scripts of mental prejudice and the resulting idiotic behavior.
    Albertus Urvilan: Bye Three
    Sylectra Darwin: niht, Three.
    Sylectra Darwin: I need to go too.
    Bell: *ding*
    Sylectra Darwin: Hello, Claire.
    Claire Beltran: H-hello...
    stevenaia Michinaga: yes, night all, I'll send you the beginings of the log Sylectra
    Albertus Urvilan: Nothing wrong or unusual about the platypus. It's our systems of classification that lack.
    Adelene Dawner: ^.^
    Sylectra Darwin: thanks Steven :)
    Albertus Urvilan: I must away too!!! Bye all.
    stevenaia Michinaga: hi Claire
    Adelene Dawner: mf.
    Claire Beltran: Hi, steve...

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