Are dream character's conscious?

What have you learned from your dream characters? What do they say, what do they represent, what motivates them, why do they exist?
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HAGART
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Re: Are dream character's conscious?

Postby HAGART » 09 Dec 2013 06:55

Summerlander wrote:Do you recall times when you have just discovered that you are dreaming right in the middle of a lively interaction with a dream character/s, and, in that moment of clarity, the character/s just pause (some stare at you) in eerie silence?


I never noticed this either. It doesn't mean it didn't happen, I just never noticed. I should read my dream journals and see if it ever did happen. That's what they're for!

I was trying to think of other questions to ask, to probe the DC's mind, but then I thought, why don't I just ask this very same question directly to one and see how they answer. My next LD Challenge: Ask a person in my dream (one that is lucid and knows it's a dream) whether they are conscious. (Do they have a sense of self and to them, am I the stranger?) They'll say something crazy, and it will be interesting. I'll post the reply here and feel free to do the same and post your own.
If we all lucid dreamed this world would be a better place.

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Summerlander
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Re: Are dream character's conscious?

Postby Summerlander » 09 Dec 2013 11:28

Or maybe dream characters, despite potentially unlocking useful material from the subconscious, are not conscious at all. Maybe in lucid dreams consciousness is more localised or more concentrated at one perceived point, a proprioceptory one. In ordinary dreams, it is more dispersed, like a low-frequency wave.

Dream characters may not be conscious entities at all, but rather, dream figures like any other which convey semblances of what we have been exposed to in waking life.

Maybe the consciousness that we appear to detect in DCs is nothing but the reflection of an active theory of mind, our necessity to recognise other human beings in real life as having a mind of their own, too.

Thus, when it comes to dream characters, the case may be that we are experiencing nothing more than dream pareidolia.

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"Empty cognizance of one taste, suffused with knowing, is your unmistaken nature, the uncontrived original state. when not altering what is, allow it to be as it is, and the awakened state is right now spontaneously present."

- Padmasambhava

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HAGART
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Re: Are dream character's conscious?

Postby HAGART » 10 Dec 2013 06:27

One thing I have noticed with dream characters is that they never have to think about what they are going to say. They just say it. They may pause, but they never appear to be thinking of how to word something. That's very telling. Perhaps they are just figments of our imagination, and the words are coming from the language center of our brains, and we are the ones who give them life in the dream, because we are social creatures and that's what we are use to. Still puzzling how it works.

In the article, "Ask the Experts", I was the one who posed the second question, about certain dream characters that seem self-aware. http://www.world-of-lucid-dreaming.com/ask-the-experts-december-2013.html I liked the responses, and you, Summerlander, would agree since your theory is basically the same. And I looked up 'pareidolia' and we all certainly do see faces in things. It's human nature. (Some say it's from survival instincts in the wild, but that's other topic).

The fact of the matter is, nobody is 100% certain of the answer. The sense of identity I have, the 'self' is also a fabrication of my mind when I truly think about it. (Just neurons firing). Why can't the brain create other 'selves' briefly from time to time? (Another, short-lived firing of neurons in the right pattern to create a personality in a dream).

If a brain made the concept of 'me', maybe it creates others too from time to time.....
(But then again, why do I always have the same point of view of 'me' in a dream and not as a fabricated dream character? Or are non-lucid dreams when I am that fabricated 'dream character'...???!?! :shock: I'm certainly not 'me' in a non-lucid dream.) I just keep coming up with more questions and need to think about it. In fact, it's getting late. I will sleep on it! Let my mind wrestle with that, while "I" am not there..., but if "I" do show up, then I'll start asking questions directly in the dream. ;)
If we all lucid dreamed this world would be a better place.

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Summerlander
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Re: Are dream character's conscious?

Postby Summerlander » 10 Dec 2013 18:27

I know what you mean, and I can't argue against your proposition because it could be true - especially when multiple personality disorder is a real condition. Our problem here is that what we are debating about hinges on the subject of consciousness, which still puzzles scientists all over the world. And that bugs me. It really does. It is a fun subject to discuss but I fear that the two of us will not get to the bottom of it here. We don't even have the means to test our theories. Even scientists encounter problems when studying consciousness. Consciousness has got to be the biggest mystery of all.

Scientists are now interested in lucid dreamers because we are giving them clues about the mechanics of the brain and consciousness itself. It is their job to find out and they might even find clues in what we speculate about - after all, lucid dreaming has turned us into deep thinkers - so that in itself is life changing. The impact the lucid dream state has on us is quite profound.

At best, what we can do, as oneironauts, is to experiment with lucid dreaming for clues. And then we can philosophise - as we have been doing all along.

And it's a lot of fun. ;)
"Empty cognizance of one taste, suffused with knowing, is your unmistaken nature, the uncontrived original state. when not altering what is, allow it to be as it is, and the awakened state is right now spontaneously present."

- Padmasambhava

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HAGART
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Re: Are dream character's conscious?

Postby HAGART » 11 Dec 2013 01:11

This of course is not science and we are just philosophizing for the fun of it.
I had another lucid dream, a few days before the first one I mentioned in this thread. It too was an interesting discussion, trying to figure out if dream characters are capable of independent thought.
I kept asking, "What do you think about?"

(This took place in a dimly lit dream version of my own back yard. It wasn't visually realistic, and morphed a lot. If it's in quotes it's pretty much verbatim to the best of my knowledge, but otherwise I had to paraphrase.)

There was a boy, and I asked him his name. It started with a G or J sound. I asked, What do you think about? He said, he likes building things. I thought to myself, when I am building, and creating that must make him happy. He is an aspect of my own psyche.

There was another boy, and I picked him up in my arms and asked what his name was. He replied, "Sevar". I asked what he thought about and he said he thinks happy thoughts and that the president wants him to be a circle. I put him down. He was in a weird yellow costume and mucky and my hands were sticky afterward. I was a little grossed out. (Later, after I woke up I thought, maybe it makes sense since a circle is the 'opposite' of a square. He was happy go lucky and not a "square", is one way to interpret it.)

There were some others sitting at a picnic table in the corner of the property and now the light was coming back and felt like day. There was also a little kiddie pool with water there and I wet my hands to get rid of the residue. There was an Asian woman sitting there that stood out and I asked what she thought about. She said, homeland security, and started to talk about conspiracy type things and how the U.S. Government needs to protect themselves. I was thinking to myself how ridiculous it is, because I'm from Canada. Then I saw a small device with SONY written on it, and an image on it which reminded me of the White House, and there was Canada written on the device too. I felt like the others sitting around the table felt she was a bit loopy too. (When I woke up, I thought, maybe it's possible that she was in charge of my body's immune system, and that's what she represented, by saying, 'homeland security').

Then I saw an Indian guy that looked a lot like an old friend of mine, but he had thick, dark razor stubble. I asked what his name was and he said Melina Oolirium. (New to me!) I had to ask again to make sure I got the pronunciation right. Then I asked, have we ever talked before? (I forget the response). I asked, Do you ever think about things? We were now walking and felt indoors all of a sudden. Then he said, "You mean about the president?", he pointed up, "Hell, no!" (I intuitively knew what he was talking about. Neither he nor I were the ones in charge of the dream and the true 'president' of that world and our mind). I asked, how do you know you exist if you don't think? You must think about something. He said, that is the Indian way. We don't think and then we have a nervous breakdown before we die. "You need to give up to live forever".
Then I said, "who want's to live forever"?

Then it ended.


(I'm not sure how to interpret it, but I had a lucid dream earlier that night and was talking to someone about how you wouldn't want to live forever, so it was probably 'residual' from that).

I feel like my question, "What do you think about", could be changed to, "What do you represent", a common question people ask of their dream characters, and it essentially has the same meaning. I've heard others report similar lucid dreams where they feel they are contacting aspects of their own psyche and each represents something. Whether true or not, it certainly feels that way.
If we all lucid dreamed this world would be a better place.

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Summerlander
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Re: Are dream character's conscious?

Postby Summerlander » 11 Dec 2013 01:56

Interesting and typical abstractionist responses from those characters. The US-Canada thing appears to be an element of a possible new reality in your mind created from exposure and memory of real things in waking life. Even if it was just a fragment. Then you got a name that rhymes with delirium which leads me to surmise that perhaps a part of you suspect the characters to be "delirious" or even nonsensical.

About seeing or recognising aspects of oneself in lucid dreams...yes definitely. I get that too. There is a degree of truth in what Robert Waggoner tslks about in "Lucid Dreaming: Gateway To The Inner." - It might have been a bit New Age in certain parts but it was definitely a good read and I'd recommend it. It is a lucid dreamer's perspective and he conveys it quite well.

I'd say you are a little more sceptical than he is, you have your doubts and uncertainties where they are duly justified and that isn't a bad thing.

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"Empty cognizance of one taste, suffused with knowing, is your unmistaken nature, the uncontrived original state. when not altering what is, allow it to be as it is, and the awakened state is right now spontaneously present."

- Padmasambhava

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Summerlander
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Re: Are dream character's conscious?

Postby Summerlander » 11 Dec 2013 02:15

It is ideal to keep oneself grounded to the evidence as far as it goes no matter how much one speculates. Whether conscious or not, the lucid dream certainly speaks to us in many ways. It has the power to create convincing realities. But being lucid is also rooted in seeing through the illusion...or even seeing what we'd like to see whether we're aware of it or not.

It is worth remembering John Nash, who pretty much 'dreamt' during the waking state and mixed reality with delusion and hallucination. There was a Commie conspiracy and anyone wearing a red tie was part of the secret organisation out to get him. He never really got rid of some of the characters that appeared absolutely real to him - some of which claimed to really exist and complained about being ignored - but what saved him from being completely engulfed by his schizophrenia was a moment of lucidity. Something didn't add up. With meds he managed to stay lucid and distinguish reality from mental fiction.

Some of you may think schizophrenia is irrelevant but there are parallels between it and lucid dreaming (even in brain activity), but, of course, the latter is the safer state.

Just like a dreamer can face his nightmares when armed with lucidity, so can the schizophrenic (often with a little medical assistance).

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"Empty cognizance of one taste, suffused with knowing, is your unmistaken nature, the uncontrived original state. when not altering what is, allow it to be as it is, and the awakened state is right now spontaneously present."

- Padmasambhava

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Peter
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Re: Are dream character's conscious?

Postby Peter » 11 Dec 2013 19:28

I think I read somewhere that lucid dreams are as close as a sane person can get to experiencing madness.

Tend to agree with this and imagine the horror of not knowing, instead of reality checks you would be doing dream checks and not knowing what was what.

DC's and being conscious, no more or no less that you as the dreamer are. There is an equal level in most cases or is in time. I have lost the dumb DC's now and they are very rare.
I feel that the lucid dream is a visual language and I am learning to speak it better and so the questions I can ask are getting more intelligent and the exploration is becoming intuitive.
Who are you I asked, the reply "dont be silly, we are your daughers" many years before they were born

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Summerlander
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Re: Are dream character's conscious?

Postby Summerlander » 11 Dec 2013 21:55

Yes, lucid dreaming definitely gives the sane person an idea about madness. And regardless of the consciousness business, lucid dreaming undoubtedly speaks to the oneironaut in profound ways. I've just come upon an interesting lucid dream in my journal where I'd made contact with a dream character:

"... I fell asleep during a meditative exercise and began to dream about having travelled to Portugal with my mother and trying to help my brother-in-law’s brother, Rui, to steer clear of drugs. In the dream, Rui was very thin and didn’t look well. In reality, he’s rehabilitated and is a happier family man. Looking back, there is nothing odd about this dream because it sort of reflects what I had been discussing with my mother over the phone before bedtime.

She is helping my cousin Riv to beat his drug addiction just like she helped Rui years ago. Riv wants to move forward in life and so far he’s been cooperative. The dream seems to reflect the conversation that me and my mother had. I remember telling Rui, in the dream, that he needed to eat. After that, I went for a walk in what I took to be my birthplace, Oporto. I was walking alongside a river, and, as I beheld a metallic bridge looming in the distance, I felt lost and couldn’t figure out my way back. That feeling of being lost suddenly seemed familiar.

I remembered saying to myself once that if I felt lost again I’d do a reality check. Bam! I became lucid when I realised it was one of my dream signs. The river, the bridge, the city and the sky were now crystal clear. I appreciated the exquisite beauty of sunlight being reflected by the river and yet the sun was nowhere to be found. I knew I had something to do or somewhere to be but couldn’t remember my plan. I was standing on a concrete pavement, rubbing my hands together, when a group of lads emerged from behind and jogged past me. They laughed and conversed with one another as though sentient and oblivious to my presence. This aroused my curiosity, and, although one might say that the dream figures distracted me from remembering my plan of action, what followed, in a sense, suggests that the unconscious mind prevented me from distracting myself with a plan of action and might have nudged me in the right direction of focusing on something else which might prove to be more important or urgent.

As the men were running uphill I shouted, “hey, you… wait!” One of them stopped while the others continued to run and disappeared. The character who seemed to have heard me turned around and walked towards me. He was a colossal Caucasian man, of muscular build and sporting short blonde hair. “Who are you?”, I said. He was frowning and replied in an angry tone: “Who am I?” He looked like he was going to hit me so I repeated my question. Finally, he divulged: “I am the part of you that tries to understand”. I was confused by this statement. Understand what? Before I could ask him to elaborate, the jogger began to decrease in stature and turned into a black man simultaneously. His arms and hands, however, seemed to have grown and he used them to grab me like I was a little ball before throwing me in the river.

I heard the splash and remained submerged when I realised that I could still breathe. Suddenly, I became aware of a predominantly blue tunnel made of patterned water waves and ripples. I became aware of concentric circles that conveyed depth and saw that there was a long way to go in order to reach the light at the end. As I looked at the water walls of this tunnel, I noticed colourless flower buds and petals of a crystalline nature and my observation appeared to change their protruding shapes as well as the patterns on the walls. I felt compelled to glide towards the distant peculiar light at the end. This attractive shiny speck was surrounded by swirling vibrant patterns of harmonious fluid.

These patterns provided a contrast against the peaceful still light that beckoned me and I was like a child who couldn’t take his eyes off the new toy. I began to shift towards the light and the thought of fouling before I could reach it crossed my mind. With that, I regained physical awareness."


I relived the experience in my mind and pondered about what it meant or represented. I wished I had asked the dream character what he tries to understand. Everything perhaps? Maybe I can meet him again. What would he look like? Would he continue to be a shape-shifter? Then I thought about the possible symbolism reflected in this lucid dream from all the dream dictionaries I’ve perused in the past since my mother’s interest in dream interpretation rubbed off on me from an early age. Could my subconscious have adopted and used that language in order to reflect what is really going on inside me?

The angry muscular man image could suggest that I am more set in my beliefs than I realised, and this, although establishing assuredness and a sense of certainty, can be limiting. By addressing this aspect of myself I may have unlocked and acknowledged the side of me that is “in the dark” about things and repressed or hidden - hence the black man. If a step towards unlocking content from the deep unconscious took place then it was an important step. Was the act of being thrown in the water by the black man image a push in the right direction?

The black man could also indicate the termination of clinging to certain beliefs and being open to other perspectives. The shape-shifting could indeed reflect my fickle nature or my progression in this journey. Perhaps embracing uncertainty is the best bet until a breakthrough or discovery is made. Did that character herald the path to the revelation of unconscious drives, the mysterious depths of the mind and the inner workings of reality?

The patterns of the underwater tunnel could reflect my mind’s inner structure, primordial, symbolic, with the concentric circles amongst the geometric patterns representing wholeness, infinity, continuity, connection, perfect balance - and perhaps, ultimately, the ideal self. The light at the end of the tunnel could indicate clarity and insight. Although this lucid dream was brief, it is abundant in symbolism and the answers, if one can call them that, may be staring me right in the face.

The water environment could convey the inner flow of my very nature. Traditionally, water also stands for emotions, life force, and suggests cleansing. I can also think of constant change, malleability and adaptability. The crystalline flower forms suggest a source of creation. The cool colour blue can be thought to represent infinite possibilities, spiritual development, open-mindedness and wisdom (remember Absolem, the blue caterpillar in “Alice in Wonderland”). Perhaps I was being ’pushed’ towards this as a step towards self-integration.

Finally, we have the river, which can symbolise the course of one’s life, and, it flows towards something greater - the ocean… the deep unconscious that drives us. If there is one thing I can be sure of in my lucid dreaming exploration so far is that, apart from being inspirational, it makes me think a hell of a lot about everything and this may be the natural aftereffect of a highly aroused cerebral cortex phase - the phase state (hybrid stage of brain activity which gives rise to lucid dreams and out-of-body experiences).

Brief but profound. So I drew it...

Image

Now here is a quote from an avid and experienced lucid dreamer that I think we should bear in mind because, as a reminder, it helps us to not lose sight about the nature of dreaming as far as we can tell:

"As lucid dreamers create the reality of lucid dreaming, they observe how beliefs strongly affect that environment. For example, in college, I read the Russian writer P.D. Ouspensky's assertion that a person could not recall his or her name in the dream state. I wondered about this. During my next lucid dream, I consciously recalled his assertion and lucidly found a pen and paper. "Robert," I wrote easily, and then I beban to write, "Watt," hesitated for a moment, thinking, "That's not right," scratched it out, consciously recalled my last name, and quickly jotted "Waggoner." Stephen LaBerge reports reading Ouspensky's book and notes that lucid dreamers who apparently believed in Ouspensky's assumption failed to announce their name in a lucid dream. He himself, not believing in Ouspensky's suggestion, had no trouble announcing his name. Undoubtedly, your ideas and beliefs have a major impact on your experiences in the lucid dreaming environment. Though many assert that in lucid dreams you can do whatever you want, as a practical matter, your lucid dream actions will be limited by your beliefs."

- Robert Waggoner; "Lucid Dreaming: Gateway to the Inner Self"

If we are limited by our beliefs when we lucid dream, then isn't it possible that our personal DCs respond according to our worldviews when they happen to be coherent? So Hagart's DCs might claim sentience and strongly exude the illusion of conscious individuals inhabiting a dream world, and the shape-shifter in my lucid dream above expressed exactly the very thing that my mind tends to niggle over: the unknown. Perhaps it visually represented my own curiosity, or at least in part.
"Empty cognizance of one taste, suffused with knowing, is your unmistaken nature, the uncontrived original state. when not altering what is, allow it to be as it is, and the awakened state is right now spontaneously present."

- Padmasambhava

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HAGART
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Re: Are dream character's conscious?

Postby HAGART » 12 Dec 2013 04:33

Peter wrote:DC's and being conscious, no more or no less that you as the dreamer are. There is an equal level in most cases or is in time. I have lost the dumb DC's now and they are very rare.
I feel that the lucid dream is a visual language and I am learning to speak it better and so the questions I can ask are getting more intelligent and the exploration is becoming intuitive.


I've noticed the DC's in my dreams tend to reflect my mood and expectations. (Of course sometimes they completely surprise us, and throw us into rivers!) But most of the time it doesn't matter how I or they word things. I tend to just know intuitively what they mean and vice versa. Why do we even use words at all in a dream? I once tried to speak only in my mind to a DC in a dream and see if they could hear me, but they didn't. (That was probably my own expectations stopping me, like from Robert Waggoner's quote). Perhaps in time, after questioning their existence, and getting to know the true nature of how they form, they will change in time, and not be the same again. My dream characters and I will exhaust the discussion and there will be no need in the future for it. It's a phase lucid dreamers should go through, instead of taking them as divine, all knowing beings that we should all revere. We should keep in mind that they are really just US all along, but with a clear mind. They don't seem to have an ego bogging them down at all, which is why they give such great insights without lies. (Even if we don't want to hear it). Although confusing at times, I can't imagine a dream character lying. They have nothing to gain.

Perhaps they are ourselves without the ego, and the ego, is 'us' in a lucid dream viewing it. In fact, I just looked up ego: The part of the mind that mediates between the conscious and the unconscious and is responsible for reality testing and a sense of personal identity. That sounds like me in a lucid dream, looking at the unconscious world I never made. But it didn't say, non-conscious, only un-conscious. Perhaps an unconscious can awaken.....
If we all lucid dreamed this world would be a better place.


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