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The Psychology Thread, I Guess...

dreams meaning "why" here be dragons cummies HOW containment strategy geopolitics

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#51 LimpyLoo

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Posted 30 December 2016 - 07:17 AM

Well, is human-language mere description of nature?
Or is it a prescription for how to act in the future?
(many linguistic-philosophers would say that when we talk about the former we're always-and-necessarily talking about the latter)

Edited by LimpyLoo, 30 December 2016 - 07:19 AM.


#52 Zeffolia

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Posted 30 December 2016 - 08:23 AM

Well, is human-language mere description of nature?
Or is it a prescription for how to act in the future?
(many linguistic-philosophers would say that when we talk about the former we're always-and-necessarily talking about the latter)

 

I think your parenthetical is correct.  The predicted future is a set of states coming after the current state.  Predicted using a function taking all past experienced states as a parameter.  



#53 LimpyLoo

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Posted 30 December 2016 - 09:42 AM

Yeah...humans are natural Bayesians

#54 chim

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Posted 30 December 2016 - 09:12 PM

Can we talk about dreams in this thread? I've always been fascinated by dreams, although my interest has waned in recent years. I've often had vivid ones in the past, filled with craziness, symbols, fears, as well as deep longings. A couple days ago I had a long, vivid and strange one that I had to write down immediately after I woke up. It brought back my interest, and I started thinking about the meaning of dreams. In the past I was more interested in the esoteric understanding of symbols, which might have some importance, but I looked up a theory that was quite fascinating, after a Radiolab episode. Harvard professor Robert Stickgold had been studying the dreams of Tetris players, and the theory was dreams being an enactment or simulation of possibilities and options for the mind to be better equipped at dealing with them in real life. Also, there's an interplay between the subconscious experience of the dream and the conscious reaction to it afterwards. So if you do something in a dream, your reaction upon waking gives you more of an idea about who you are.

This entails a strong contrast to the symbolic understanding of dreams, which generally puts a deeper spin or significance to things, that they're about your deeper direction and so on, and I realized how destructive the latter can be. I've had recurrent dream themes and imagery to an absolutely absurd degree, over ten years. One of them is being lost in traffic, on trains, buses and so on. In the jungian approach this would often signify a sense of loss of direction in life and so on. So myself, having this type of dream over and over and over again, regardless of actual life circumstances or my feelings about them, have always, due to my exposure to jungian dream interpretation, been perplexed and worried about this. Similarly, people who stop drinking or doing other drugs often have dreams where they engage the drug and might feel beaten down about their "inner weakness".

Now, the problem-solving approach gives a softer interpretation of these types of dreams. I've commuted all my life, and it's really important for me to keep track of the right destination and direction. I'm always careful about times, getting off at the right stop and so on. So obviously, dreaming about traffic situations where I'm not in control is something important, on a subconscious level, to better handle that aspect of my life. It was really quite a relief to finally see this interpretation. Of course, I think there's an importance to the symbology of dreams, perhaps very difficult to understand and generalize. And of course, there's a strange beauty to them. There are things that cannot be felt or seen in real life. I've even had tastes and smells that I've never experienced. And some scenes feel quite personal, speaking from the soul in its own language, like good music or art. What are your thoughts on dreams? Any interesting studies to share?

For what it's worth, here's the dream I wrote down.

Spoiler


#55 Zeffolia

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Posted 30 December 2016 - 11:48 PM

Dreams are indeed EXTREMELY weird.

 

I have vivid experiences in dreams involving the recall of fake memories.  Many dreams involve a deja-vu feeling where I feel like something that's happening has already happened before and it's significant.  Many involve a feeling of the inability to remember something important.  As in like literally "the secret to life" or "the most important thing, that I should have always remembered but forgot".  It's kind of weird.  Dreams are fucking weird.

 

And you're right the symbology always has this important mental effect in dreams, mine at least.  You know how back when you were indoctrinated into religion, certain items like a cross had symbolic, metaphorical, spiritual significance?  Often random shit does in my dreams, like a feeling of "this is an important event" or "this is an important object, I can't fuck up this next part".  Lol


Edited by Zeffolia, 30 December 2016 - 11:48 PM.


#56 LimpyLoo

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Posted 31 December 2016 - 12:10 AM

Great post!
Damn son...


So for starters:
We might think of dreams as an evolutionary self-diagnostic routine, aimed at presenting the cognitive system with an under-developed behavioral strategy (i.e. the path to your 'ideal self') in need of repair.
But it's not just the cognitive system, but also the extended/embodied mind, which is how/why we understand the behavioral patterns of the people around us without even noticing it.

Also, we might think of a 'personality' as a model of how you think person/society/nature/world/universe will act, broadly and minutely, now and in the future.

Dreams trade in this low-grade behavioral information. They are saying 'your situation is like *this* personality'...and then they throw an old lady with an eyepatch and a cane at you, like some sort of old-timey RPG.

And so the homework assignment that a dream gives you is basically: 'figure out what the hell these personalities want from you and give it to them so they don't transform into chaos monsters and fucking destroy you.'

My girlfriend had a dream last night where she was walking down the street and she passed an unstable-looking woman who said something cross to her, and so my girlfriend splashed hot tea in the woman's face and the woman attacked her.

What is the solution to that dream?
'Don't be a person who antagonizes the world when it's ornery and thus turns it into a thing that might destroy you'

(p.s. I'd be more than happy to delve into the more Jungian approach to the nitty-gritty details of dreams, but by the sounds of your post you already understand that stuff quite well, so for the moment at least I'll spare you that whole rap)









Also, here are some invaluable conceptual tools for analyzing these sorts of concepts, behavioral patterns, decisions, archetypes, personalities, objects, transformations, etc:

-Phenomenology
-Classical Psychoanalysis
-Bayesian Psychiatry and Adaptive Intervention
-Comparative Mythology
-Cybernetic Psychology
-Evolutionary Psychology

(just in case you wanna know what models are rattling around in my particular brain)

And also immensely useful for analyzing/solving dreams is the 'wounded king' myth:
Hero has a personality/behavioral strategy in the world
Strategy is working perfectly
Suddenly the world/personality attacks Hero
The uselessness of Hero's strategy is revealed to him
Hero doesn't know how to appease the world/personality that's attacking him
Therefor Hero continues to be attacked
But then one day Hero learns crucial information about the world/personality
By paying close attention to himself and his world/personality
Which enables him to appease that world/personality
And therefor not be a depressed asshole anymore.

Edited by LimpyLoo, 31 December 2016 - 12:14 AM.


#57 Zeffolia

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Posted 31 December 2016 - 12:27 AM

=
And also immensely useful for analyzing/solving dreams is the 'wounded king' myth:
Hero has a personality/behavioral strategy in the world
Strategy is working perfectly
Suddenly the world/personality attacks Hero
The uselessness of Hero's strategy is revealed to him
Hero doesn't know how to appease the world/personality that's attacking him
Therefor Hero continues to be attacked
But then one day Hero learns crucial information about the world/personality
By paying close attention to himself and his world/personality
Which enables him to appease that world/personality
And therefor not be a depressed asshole anymore.

 

Deja Vu as fuck.  I swear I've had dreams that very closely followed this exact plot line.  Like tons and every time I'm inside one of those dreams I think to my dream-self "Wow I'll have to remember this for the future"

 

Dreams are like training an ML data structure with samples.  Maybe this "temporary personality" only possible through our ability to feel empathy through our mirror neurons or whatever and this is how we can learn enhanced things about ourselves.  Maybe consciousness IS empathy, the only way we can separate ourselves from others by acknowledging and understanding their unique presence.  Idk spouting shit now.



#58 LimpyLoo

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Posted 31 December 2016 - 12:59 AM

=
And also immensely useful for analyzing/solving dreams is the 'wounded king' myth:
Hero has a personality/behavioral strategy in the world
Strategy is working perfectly
Suddenly the world/personality attacks Hero
The uselessness of Hero's strategy is revealed to him
Hero doesn't know how to appease the world/personality that's attacking him
Therefor Hero continues to be attacked
But then one day Hero learns crucial information about the world/personality
By paying close attention to himself and his world/personality
Which enables him to appease that world/personality
And therefor not be a depressed asshole anymore.

Deja Vu as fuck. I swear I've had dreams that very closely followed this exact plot line. Like tons and every time I'm inside one of those dreams I think to my dream-self "Wow I'll have to remember this for the future"

Dreams are like training an ML data structure with samples. Maybe this "temporary personality" only possible through our ability to feel empathy through our mirror neurons or whatever and this is how we can learn enhanced things about ourselves. Maybe consciousness IS empathy, the only way we can separate ourselves from others by acknowledging and understanding their unique presence. Idk spouting shit now.
Yeah yeah totally.
Some of the 'crucial information about the environment' I mentioned would be visible social information that activates corresponding 'action potential' throughout our motor nervous system in 'mirror neurons'...and that information has tiny 1st-/2nd-level patterns embedded in it, but also more abstract higher-level patterns as well.

That is an interesting thought about empathy. Part of the fabric of our experience is constantly having other people's experiences being simulated by our nervous system.

Edited by LimpyLoo, 31 December 2016 - 01:00 AM.


#59 LimpyLoo

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Posted 31 December 2016 - 01:20 AM

P.S. According to your psychobiology, that 'wounded king' story is the only story there is.
(The only variation lies in whether he can climb his way out of the underworld or not.)

#60 Zeffolia

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Posted 31 December 2016 - 02:28 AM

 

 

=
And also immensely useful for analyzing/solving dreams is the 'wounded king' myth:
Hero has a personality/behavioral strategy in the world
Strategy is working perfectly
Suddenly the world/personality attacks Hero
The uselessness of Hero's strategy is revealed to him
Hero doesn't know how to appease the world/personality that's attacking him
Therefor Hero continues to be attacked
But then one day Hero learns crucial information about the world/personality
By paying close attention to himself and his world/personality
Which enables him to appease that world/personality
And therefor not be a depressed asshole anymore.

Deja Vu as fuck. I swear I've had dreams that very closely followed this exact plot line. Like tons and every time I'm inside one of those dreams I think to my dream-self "Wow I'll have to remember this for the future"

Dreams are like training an ML data structure with samples. Maybe this "temporary personality" only possible through our ability to feel empathy through our mirror neurons or whatever and this is how we can learn enhanced things about ourselves. Maybe consciousness IS empathy, the only way we can separate ourselves from others by acknowledging and understanding their unique presence. Idk spouting shit now.
Yeah yeah totally.
Some of the 'crucial information about the environment' I mentioned would be visible social information that activates corresponding 'action potential' throughout our motor nervous system in 'mirror neurons'...and that information has tiny 1st-/2nd-level patterns embedded in it, but also more abstract higher-level patterns as well.

That is an interesting thought about empathy. Part of the fabric of our experience is constantly having other people's experiences being simulated by our nervous system.

 

 

 

HOLY SHIT.  This is literally insane as fuck I've never thought of it that way.  That's mind-blowing or maybe I'm just way too high (:

 

But I think it's actually legitimately really important and I've never seen this mentioned before in any way.  Have any other philosophers you've read suggested or even brushed upon this?  I don't know as much about them all as I want to and should lol


Another question:  Is empathy equal to understanding?  Equivalent?

 

Is it possible to 100% understand and comprehend and grok a person's though process and reasoning for doing something, and not have empathy for them?  What does it indicate about you whether you do or don't?  Lol


Edited by Zeffolia, 31 December 2016 - 02:26 AM.


#61 LimpyLoo

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Posted 31 December 2016 - 02:41 AM

It's basically just Phenomenology, (a dab of) Existentialism and Piagetian Constructivism
Mashed together and boiled down into a pithy punchline

Edited by LimpyLoo, 31 December 2016 - 02:43 AM.


#62 chim

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Posted 31 December 2016 - 06:23 AM

Very interesting stuff. So in a sense it could be said that dreams are a way of our attempting to deal with the Lacanian eternal Other in all its forms. And this is so important that we'll spend large amounts of our downtime doing so. Just like the constant simulation of empathy (it sounds so horribly drab when you put it like that through!).

I'm a bit rusty on the dream symbols and all, but there's so much to dive into there. The reason I'm interested is partly because it's another problem to solve, but also that there seems to be a kind of logic, rhythm to the whole thing. I was very early exposed to the idea of dreams having a message, a kind of interaction with this ideal/higher self. It is a strange thing to consider today, let alone believe, but I am somehow convinced that there is a dream logic that corresponds to what would translate to us as that kind of interaction. It's a bit like the collective unconscious, that in us there are all these archetypes. But it's tremendously difficult to engage dreams from this angle alone, for reasons I mentioned in the previous post.

Another recurring dream I had ALL the time, that actually stopped, was that of myself stumbling into an abandoned, emaciated pet of some kind. I would feel horrible guilt over failing to take care of this animal, that I'd somehow missed it. And that'd be it, there'd be no further interaction, just this constant repeat of discovery-shock-guilt at a poor animal. Kind of like what Zeffolia was talking about, having to consider all these important things, and if you're not, then the whole dream turns bad.

Now, the jungian approach would translate this as a nurturing problem, self-nurturing to be precise. And it kind of checks out. At the time, it's not just that I wasn't self nurturing, I was plain unsure of who I was, and didn't know -what- to do to nurture. As I grew more stable and sure of myself, the dreams stopped. The problem is that dream messages like this have such a sense of urgency about them. And being self assured, stable and all that is not done in an assertive, heroic, outward manner. It's more of a maturing, reclining. In retrospect i felt quite fooled by this self-searching, symbolic interpretation and so on, because I was so sure it was a result of discovery, that outward projection, a connection with the Other.

Of course, that particular dream could all be my subconscious dealing with the possibility of lost and found pets and my degree of empathy, who knows.... But why did they stop?

Edited by chim, 31 December 2016 - 06:26 AM.


#63 Leon Sumbitches

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Posted 31 December 2016 - 10:26 AM

Threads like this are why watmm is gold; I knew Limpy was pretty switched-on about this stuff but didn't realise so many other people were into the archetype/comparative mythology/ Jungian stuff; it's something I've been really into lately.

 

Love the metaphor of dreams being like a training dataset for machine learning



#64 LimpyLoo

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Posted 31 December 2016 - 10:52 AM

=
And also immensely useful for analyzing/solving dreams is the 'wounded king' myth:
Hero has a personality/behavioral strategy in the world
Strategy is working perfectly
Suddenly the world/personality attacks Hero
The uselessness of Hero's strategy is revealed to him
Hero doesn't know how to appease the world/personality that's attacking him
Therefor Hero continues to be attacked
But then one day Hero learns crucial information about the world/personality
By paying close attention to himself and his world/personality
Which enables him to appease that world/personality
And therefor not be a depressed asshole anymore.

Deja Vu as fuck. I swear I've had dreams that very closely followed this exact plot line. Like tons and every time I'm inside one of those dreams I think to my dream-self "Wow I'll have to remember this for the future"

Dreams are like training an ML data structure with samples. Maybe this "temporary personality" only possible through our ability to feel empathy through our mirror neurons or whatever and this is how we can learn enhanced things about ourselves. Maybe consciousness IS empathy, the only way we can separate ourselves from others by acknowledging and understanding their unique presence. Idk spouting shit now.
Yeah yeah totally.
Some of the 'crucial information about the environment' I mentioned would be visible social information that activates corresponding 'action potential' throughout our motor nervous system in 'mirror neurons'...and that information has tiny 1st-/2nd-level patterns embedded in it, but also more abstract higher-level patterns as well.

That is an interesting thought about empathy. Part of the fabric of our experience is constantly having other people's experiences being simulated by our nervous system.

HOLY SHIT. This is literally insane as fuck I've never thought of it that way. That's mind-blowing or maybe I'm just way too high (:

But I think it's actually legitimately really important and I've never seen this mentioned before in any way. Have any other philosophers you've read suggested or even brushed upon this? I don't know as much about them all as I want to and should lol

Another question: Is empathy equal to understanding? Equivalent?

Is it possible to 100% understand and comprehend and grok a person's though process and reasoning for doing something, and not have empathy for them? What does it indicate about you whether you do or don't? Lol
Narcissistic manipulative people are often amazingly fine-tuned to social information
However, they use that information as leverage to exploit others
(I think) they're convinced they're in a purely antagonistic, zero-sum game against the world
And so of course their interactions with the world are more Machiavelli than Bruce Lee



Peter Thiel is actually a great case study for 'embodies cognition' and empathy:
Watch the awkward way he carries his body around
That is a person whose sensorimotor empathy was never developed through early-development socialization (i.e. becoming tuned/calibrated to the social world)
so yeah no wonder he's (by his own admission) happy to forego social democracy to maximize business opportunities

Edited by LimpyLoo, 31 December 2016 - 10:54 AM.


#65 LimpyLoo

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Posted 31 December 2016 - 11:37 AM

Have any other philosophers you've read suggested or even brushed upon this? I don't know as much about them all as I want to and should lol


Just to give a more useful, concrete answer to this:

You can go back to folks like Kant, Plato or Descartes and find ideas about how organisms might relate to their environment
And how what we experience relates to the environment, with varying degrees of concern for the biological practicalities involved therein

But the answer I think you're looking for is in the work of Jean Piaget
Who was a scary, scary genius
He is...well, he is the best example in history of exactly what I wanna be

But also keep in mind that your potential understanding of this stuff is mediated by your relationship to language
And there's no getting around this
So folks like Wittgenstein and John Searle had massively useful things to say about how the language you encounter is encoded by one mind and decoded by another mind (e.g. yours)
And that language isn't a window through which Reality automatically reveals itself to you
That you have to squint your eyes a bit when you are dealing language
The reason modern western scientists are so often 'radical empiricists' and 'greedy reductionists' is because they just take it for granted that language is perfect and frictionless
And that when they interact with language they think they are interacting with Nature itself (i.e. 'bucket-shaped water')

#66 LimpyLoo

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Posted 31 December 2016 - 11:55 AM

Very interesting stuff. So in a sense it could be said that dreams are a way of our attempting to deal with the Lacanian eternal Other in all its forms. And this is so important that we'll spend large amounts of our downtime doing so. Just like the constant simulation of empathy (it sounds so horribly drab when you put it like that through!).

I'm a bit rusty on the dream symbols and all, but there's so much to dive into there. The reason I'm interested is partly because it's another problem to solve, but also that there seems to be a kind of logic, rhythm to the whole thing. I was very early exposed to the idea of dreams having a message, a kind of interaction with this ideal/higher self. It is a strange thing to consider today, let alone believe, but I am somehow convinced that there is a dream logic that corresponds to what would translate to us as that kind of interaction. It's a bit like the collective unconscious, that in us there are all these archetypes. But it's tremendously difficult to engage dreams from this angle alone, for reasons I mentioned in the previous post.

Another recurring dream I had ALL the time, that actually stopped, was that of myself stumbling into an abandoned, emaciated pet of some kind. I would feel horrible guilt over failing to take care of this animal, that I'd somehow missed it. And that'd be it, there'd be no further interaction, just this constant repeat of discovery-shock-guilt at a poor animal. Kind of like what Zeffolia was talking about, having to consider all these important things, and if you're not, then the whole dream turns bad.

Now, the jungian approach would translate this as a nurturing problem, self-nurturing to be precise. And it kind of checks out. At the time, it's not just that I wasn't self nurturing, I was plain unsure of who I was, and didn't know -what- to do to nurture. As I grew more stable and sure of myself, the dreams stopped. The problem is that dream messages like this have such a sense of urgency about them. And being self assured, stable and all that is not done in an assertive, heroic, outward manner. It's more of a maturing, reclining. In retrospect i felt quite fooled by this self-searching, symbolic interpretation and so on, because I was so sure it was a result of discovery, that outward projection, a connection with the Other.

Of course, that particular dream could all be my subconscious dealing with the possibility of lost and found pets and my degree of empathy, who knows.... But why did they stop?


So, a modern psychoanalyst might say that those animals you were in charge of were elements of your personality that you were trying to wrangle into harmony with each other and the greater environment

And that the recurring dream ended because you 'solved' it:
Either through explicit cognitive understanding
Or through 'embodied' understanding of the behavioral patterns the dream was coded in

#67 Zeffolia

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Posted 31 December 2016 - 02:59 PM

I really hate how in dreams you wake up right before the good part.  Right before you win the thing, right before you eat the good food, right before you have sex, right before whatever good thing.  As if your body is preventing you from getting too much enjoyment from this mental simulation which might make you want to just live life in dreams alone

 

If dreams were enjoyable and preferable to reality and rewarding in their own right, we might be enticed to sleep more than we should.  So it's probably an evolutionary advantage that they're uncomfortable and claustrophobic and unsatisfying.


Also, you know that feeling where you're just about to nod off but at the last second your body wakes up and you get tense and sit up a bit, widely awake all of a sudden?  That feeling is extra weird as fuck while you're high on weed lol



#68 Zeffolia

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Posted 31 December 2016 - 03:01 PM

Also what do you guys think about whether there's legitimate significance to the psychedelic experience?  For a long time I've felt that "There's really something important here, this isn't just for fun this has scientific implications on consciousness and we should be paying more attention to it than we are as a society" but lately I've been taking the opposite view, that it's not really that important.  It just feels so important when you're in it.


Edited by Zeffolia, 31 December 2016 - 03:02 PM.


#69 LimpyLoo

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Posted 31 December 2016 - 04:09 PM

1) Believe the hype about the transformative power of psychedelics. The reason its healing effects (e.g. on stress-induced mental illness) are a bit foggy from a scientific perspective is because our current model(s) of mental illness--and really the whole spectrum of sub-clinical psychopathology exhibited (to varying degrees) by every person on the planet--are outmoded.
And they're more outmoded than they need to be, mostly because Western scientists tend to be 'greedy reductionists' (i.e. like bean-counters trying to solve Xeno's Paradox).

2) When you nod off but wake up at the last second, it's because an unexpected sensation you experience causes your hippocampus to clock a 'prediction error' against its 'prediction model' of the environment, which activates an (ultra-primordial) limbic 'orienting response', which allocates your energy/attention to the (supposed) environmental anomaly, so your hippocampus can repair its perpetual 'prediction model' of the environment, basically so you don't die.

3) I don't at all think it's an evolutionary accident that you don't get everything you want in your dreams.

Edited by LimpyLoo, 31 December 2016 - 04:12 PM.


#70 Zeffolia

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Posted 31 December 2016 - 04:47 PM

2) When you nod off but wake up at the last second, it's because an unexpected sensation you experience causes your hippocampus to clock a 'prediction error' against its 'prediction model' of the environment, which activates an (ultra-primordial) limbic 'orienting response', which allocates your energy/attention to the (supposed) environmental anomaly, so your hippocampus can repair its perpetual 'prediction model' of the environment, basically so you don't die.

3) I don't at all think it's an evolutionary accident that you don't get everything you want in your dreams.

 

I am so fucking mind blown.  We're all just a bunch of organic computational machines.  Computers running advanced AI have to be conscious if we are, period.  If it can remember the past, use it to interpret the present, and use it to predict the future, they are conscious.  There's no other reasonable way to interpret it unless you go some weird philosophical solipsistic route which is horrifying



#71 LimpyLoo

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Posted 31 December 2016 - 06:01 PM

Dude, your hippocampus encodes your experiences into your episodic memory using two seperate (7-10hz) low-frequency-oscillators, and all their phase cancelations are encoded into your "past."

Edited by LimpyLoo, 31 December 2016 - 06:05 PM.


#72 Zeffolia

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Posted 31 December 2016 - 06:20 PM

Dude, your hippocampus encodes your experiences into your episodic memory using two seperate (7-10hz) low-frequency-oscillators, and all their phase cancelations are encoded into your "past."

 

Oh my fucking mother fucking shit

 

Are you fucking with me lol.  I can't tell if this is insanely mindblowing or whether I've gone full retard believing horoscope Facebook memes.  That's amazing. (weay 2 high)


Edited by Zeffolia, 31 December 2016 - 06:20 PM.


#73 LimpyLoo

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Posted 31 December 2016 - 06:42 PM

I am not fucking with you.

https://youtube.com/...h?v=fd2Mm_xapbY

This 'hippocampus' lecture pretty much immediately descends into an argument about sampling theory, measurement error, and (basically) subtractive synthesis

Edited by LimpyLoo, 31 December 2016 - 06:43 PM.


#74 LimpyLoo

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Posted 31 December 2016 - 06:48 PM

***Not 'subtractive synthesis', sorry
I guess it'd be 'phase distortion synthesis' or (2-operator) 'FM synthesis'

Edited by LimpyLoo, 31 December 2016 - 06:49 PM.


#75 LimpyLoo

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Posted 31 December 2016 - 07:23 PM

Shit, double sorry...I posted the wrong lecture lol

This is the sampling-theory one: https://m.youtube.co...h?v=PcYMA27A14A

Edited by LimpyLoo, 31 December 2016 - 07:24 PM.




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