(Topic suggested in a comment by philosophe007, here. Feel free to comment with suggestions for more topics!)
5 minutes, 1 topic… get set: go!
I’ve tried lucid dreaming before, but I’ve always gotten locked into dreaming that I’m dreaming lucidly and should try and do one fo the cool things that can eb done in dreams, like fly, or be invisible, or something. But I always end up dreaming that I’ve become lucid, and then just dreaming that I can try and fly, without actually becoming conscious of whats going on… and then the dream shifts and it all changes.
There’re lots of questions I could ask about dreams: what if they’re really being awake, and being awake is asleep? What if dreams are another life we step into when we sleep? What if…? But none of these seem interesting to me anymore,* I’m rather more interested in how we dream. How is it that we build up these worlds so vividly, and can have coherent stories that we are completely immersed in, and yet they somehow have a different quality to them to waking life?
Technically I assume dreams are built up by the brain playing, but then why aren’t the images just random flashes of things, rather than actual narratives (albeit often fragmented)? Maybe because the impulses follow particular patterns through the brain, ok… but then why do dreams have a different quality to waking life, if its all just what happens when impulses fire?
Could it be that life actually is more than just impulses, that the quality is actually embodiment, say?
We are more than just neurons, and life is more than just what happens when impulses fire, more than the experiences we have because neurons have fired… life is embodied experience. (Perhaps.)
*Post-5-minute comment: these questions are less interesting to me now because I’ve spent several years in academic philosophy classes in which ‘we might all be dreaming’ is an all-to-often recurring thought experiment, and they don’t make sense. We not awake because ‘awake’ is classified as the bit we call being awake, ‘reality’ is the classification of the bit while we’re awake (although certain versions of ‘awake’ and ‘reality’ can be argued for other than the everyday ones) and we are, it seems to me, creatures that live and move and do, and part of that is being embodied. As we don’t take our bodies, which lie sleeping, into dreams with us (or do we?) then its only a part of us that go into that dream-life… so the interesting questions there, I suppose, are about what makes us us, whether that can be disembodied and if we are still the same people we are when embodied if disembodied, or instead are in part the same, but are different? I mean, don’t we experience the world as embodied beings? And if we’re experienceing the world differently, then how can we be the same kind of being, and thus the same person? Identity, identity… the question of dreams brings these issues up.
(And so I cheat and this becomes a 10 minute post!)