2009.07.24 01:00 - At the point of sleep.....

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    The Guardian for this meeting was Scathach Rhiadra. The comments are by Scathach Rhiadra.

    Filling in for Wol, who had just returned from holiday, I sat alone for a while, then was joined by Bertrum...


    Scathach Rhiadra: Hello Bertrum!
    Bertrum Quan: Hi Scath.
    Scathach Rhiadra: how are you?
    Bertrum Quan: I'm fine thanks. How are you this morning?
    Scathach Rhiadra: fine too, thank you
    Scathach Rhiadra: standing in for Wol, who has just come back from holiday
    Bertrum Quan: Do we have a topic for the session?
    Scathach Rhiadra: not really, do you have something?
    Bertrum Quan: I've not come with an agenda...
    Scathach Rhiadra: :)

    From previous conversations with Bertrum, I know of his interest in the conscious/unconscious, dream and sleep states.  So I ask about an issue which has interested me for a long time......

    Scathach Rhiadra: you have an interest in the process of dreaming Bertrum, do you know anything about the transition from conscious to unconscious in sleep?
    Bertrum Quan: Is that called the hypnogogic state?
    Scathach Rhiadra: mmm, I don't know , but is it possible to be aware of losing consciousness?
    Bertrum Quan: The hypnagogic state is the transition between waking and sleep states.
    Bertrum Quan: Are you thinkg about moving between sleep and no consciousness?
    Bertrum Quan: /thinking
    Scathach Rhiadra: maybe, or actually being aware of the process of losing consciousness, like external senses, then internal senses closing down as it were, but still fully aware, if that makes sense
    Bertrum Quan: Yes, intuitively, I think that's possible. But in terms of the neuroscience, I don't know. I did witness something along the lines that you are suggesting. I witnessed the final moments of someone on their deathbed. They were deeply unconscouscious--not responseive to any stimulation, cold (losing oxigen and turning blue) and yet at the moment of death (perhaps for a few seconds beyond, they suddenly came to consciousness--essentially bid farewell. What you suggest, it what I believe I observed,
    Scathach Rhiadra nods
    Bertrum Quan: What you suggest is what I believe I observed.
    Bertrum Quan: What are you intuitions about it?
    Bertrum Quan: This ability to be aware as everything shuts down?
    Scathach Rhiadra: oh I think it is possible, and when you are going to sleep, as well as dying, but I suppose I am wondering why we don't normally do it
    Scathach Rhiadra: sleep is similar to death in some regards
    Bertrum Quan: I'm not sure I agree with that.
    Bertrum Quan: Hi Wol.

    Wol arrives.  Her appointment having been unecpectedly cancelled.  I passed her a notecard with the chat so far, and we continue....

    Wol Euler: morning scath, bert
    Scathach Rhiadra: Hello Wol
    Scathach Rhiadra: can you say more/
    Bertrum Quan: In sleep you are fully alive. Your senses have not shut down. Your brain waves are active.
    Wol Euler: ty, reading
    Scathach Rhiadra: yes, but if you retain your awareness while becoming unconscious, it seems like your senses shut down, until you reach a state of no consciousness?
    Bertrum Quan: I'm just not sure entering the sleep state equals entering a state of no consciousness. What's interesting about the sleep state is how memory functions for most of us. That is to say, there are large segments we don't recall. But that does not equate in my mind with a lack of counsciousness.
    Scathach Rhiadra nods

    Wol raises an important point......

    Wol Euler: perhaps we need to discuss what "consciousness" means. If somebody who is alseep is not "unconscious", then you are using hte word in a different sense than I would use it.
    Scathach Rhiadra: and I am talking more of the moment of actually losing consciousness, and having a continuing awareness of the process, not when you are asleep, if that makes sense
    Bertrum Quan: Wol raises a good point about how we define our words here. Do you equate sleep with losing consciousness?
    Wol Euler: as I use the words, yes.
    Scathach Rhiadra: me too
    Wol Euler: to me consciousness equates to thought. While I am asleep my brain continues to work, but the "I" that speaks to you right now is not thinking.
    Scathach Rhiadra: ah, to me it also means recognition of sensory inputs, both expernal and internal, as well as thought
    Scathach Rhiadra: external*
    Wol Euler: granted, but these are to me not sufficient to define "consciousness"
    Wol Euler: if I am in a condition to think, then I am conscious, even if my entire body has been numbed by anaesthetics
    Bertrum Quan: We can divide the question. As I mentioned earlier, hypnagogic state is the transition between waking and sleep. "Daydreaming" would fit in there as would "drifting off to sleep."
    Bertrum Quan: ALthough I don't necessarily feel one is unconscious when one is asleep. That may have something to do with my definition... But if we're exploring that transitional state, I'd be interested in hearing your sense of how awareness functions in this mode.
    Wol Euler: (please continue where you were, I didn't want to detour the conversation)
    Scathach Rhiadra: well, exploring may not be the word I would use, it is a sort of accidental exploration
    Scathach Rhiadra: it started with something Wol mentioned, a full anaestethic, during which I 'woke up', but had no sesnse of being located anywhere, or having a body
    Wol Euler: ooooh
    Wol Euler: tell us more?
    Scathach Rhiadra: it was just like being aware, but not of anything, there were not thoughts or feelings. then I became aware of sound, like murmuring, still no location or direction.
    Scathach Rhiadra: that was the doctor and dentist talking, I realised later
    Scathach Rhiadra: I never had any visual experience and I don't know much about the drugs used in operations, but thoughts or thinking was definitely supressed, though I have to say I was awake, or awre, if that makes sense
    Scathach Rhiadra: aware*
    Bertrum Quan: Yes, it makes sense. But the drug it seems to me influenced your experience... that disorientation, etc.
    Scathach Rhiadra: ah, but there seems to be a remnant which carried over to to the sleeping process, or the going to sleep part. Instead of drifting off to sleep as normal, sometimes I just don't lose awareness during the process
    Scathach Rhiadra: it is usually when my mind is very still anyway, so not much thinking

    At some point here, Wol suddenly disappeared, either a bad connection. or jet-lag kicking in!.....

    Scathach Rhiadra: and the operation experience didn't feel disorientating, or pleasant or unpleasant, I really felt or experienced nothing, just aware or awake
    Bertrum Quan: How has this experience changed you? added to your understanding of consciousness? of reality?
    Scathach Rhiadra: I suppose is has made me think that being conscious is not the fundamental state we think it is, there is something more basic to our nature
    Bertrum Quan: Can you say a bit more about what you mean by basic?
    Scathach Rhiadra: maybe it encompasses consciousness, like it is there all the time, even if we are not aware of it, and consciousness/unconsciousness can arise within it or from it
    Bertrum Quan: Yes, there is probably far more there that most of us can routinely access.
    Bertrum Quan: /than
    Scathach Rhiadra: and certainly thought or feelings or perceptions are part of what I call consciousness, but there is still this awareness that is very alive, maybe not the right word, but difficult to describe
    Bertrum Quan: Yes, I think I know what you mean.
    Scathach Rhiadra: anyway, it is just a curiosity I suppose, I just never knew what to do with it, if anything, the sleep experience I mean
    Bertrum Quan: It's an inherent part of the whole of life
    Bertrum Quan: and it gives of evidence of important aspects of reality.
    Scathach Rhiadra nods
    Bertrum Quan: /us evidence

    We had gone well past the hour by this time, so time to say good night/morning.....

    Bertrum Quan: Need to log off now. Thanks, Scath, hope you have a fine Friday!
    Bertrum Quan: Take care.
    Scathach Rhiadra: you too, Bertrum, thank you and see you again soon:)

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