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Re: OBE or Lucid Dream?

Posted: 22 Dec 2012 06:19
I can't help but be reminded of Summerlander's Venn Diagram from earlier, but instead, I place Danmc on one side and Summerlander on the other. And the whole debate is about some middle place where it overlaps. That is what it seems like to me. You guys are so similar, but overlap on a small area. I love debates and let's face it, you guys would not debate if you did not respect each other and I think you guys know it. You are friends, if not, quarrelsome brothers, but the debate must continue!

I have had... (I will not use the term OBE), but lucid-false-awakenings, but they are never the same as the waking world. There is always something askew. And when I read Danmc's account about the true to life realism of his, I actually thought he may have a photographic memory or something and Summerlander actually said the same thing.

But I wonder about this: How can science measure the 'mind'. (It could be 'consciousness' or 'awareness'. They are just words to describe that same thing). But is the 'mind' measurable? We can measure brain activity, but what about the 'mind'? Where does it exist? We truly are the universe perceiving itself (our brains and subsequent minds are composed of it) and it is hard to measure the TRUE universe when our minds are bound by the same laws that the universe follows. Do we need to define a new dimension to account for our 'minds'?

I am open minded and agree with both of you on many points. But when Danmc defied Summerlander's logic it made me think about all those people that believed the Earth was round even though the common ideology of the day explained that it was indeed flat. And whether right or wrong, I like someone who stands up for what they believe in. I am conveniently in the middle. I am constant mediator by nature, but wouldn't mind jumping into the fray with you two and then clanging beer steins together in a bout of quarrelsome, yet brotherly arguments.

Re: OBE or Lucid Dream?

Posted: 22 Dec 2012 14:32
by Summerlander
I know what you mean, Hagart.

We continue to explore the brain and we have the more recent Christof Koch's research on identifying the neural basis of consciousness. Yes, consciousness is still a mystery but give scientists about a decade and we will know more. So far, Koch supports the integrated information theory of consciousness by Giulio Tonomy, an expert in the fields of neuroscience and psychiatry.

Tonomi formulated the theory on the premise that conscious states are marked by massive amounts of information. A simple example of integration is the fact that the colour and shape of objects are combined in our minds even though colour and spatial processing are localised separately in the brain. In his studies, he also uses the measure of "phi" to distinguish the different degrees of consciousness in individuals and we see that from the integration a multi-dimensional qualia space can arise.

It is also worth considering some of what is already observable:
"Underlying this unity of consciousness is a multitude of causal interactions among the relevant parts of your brain. If areas of the brain start to disconnect or become fragmented and balkanized, as occurs in deep sleep or in anesthesia, consciousness fades and might cease altogether. Consider split-brain patients, whose corpus callosum—the 200 million wires linking the two cortical hemispheres—has been cut to alleviate severe epileptic seizures. The surgery literally splits the person’s consciousness in two, with one conscious mind associated with the left hemisphere and seeing the right half of the visual field and the other mind arising from the right hemisphere and seeing the left half of the visual field."
More here:

Here's the equation for measuring consciousness from his integration theory for those who understand scientific gobbledygook - you can see the phi symbol at the start of the second equation: :ugeek:
Another article:

A diagram for the glial cells for the thery:

And the fact that we are conscious of less than what we think should be considered. To me, this shows that consciousness is secondary and only emergent - it sits at the surface while its computerised roots are unconscious:

The studies go on and a few years of extensive work are predicted before they get to the bottom of it all but the theory maintains that consciousness does in fact arise from a physical system. Without that system, it is gone. But science does not adhere to dogmas, only facts supported by empirical evidence. The theory requires more empirical evidence, and, as we all know, scientific theories lead to falsifiable predictions until views are refined and we get to the bottom of what is in question.

I trust in science because it is not about beliefs. It is about observations, discoveries and always questioning reality. It is about learning about what is truly happening and really is the best method we've got. It always dispels tripe spouted out by the illiterate - especially where the mystical and esoteric are concerned. Not because it abhors concepts grounded on faith but because it keeps proving many of them wrong time and again with fair trials. A simple and perfect example is where we have gone from Ptolemy to Copernicus to Galilei as regards astronomy and cosmology. It was also science that showed us that the eclipse was not a sign from the gods but a very natural occurrence in space. The point is, I believe the same thing will repeat itself in studies of consciousness and the mind-body relationship.

In my opinion, consciousness is very much hyped by those who have a tendency to be biased by mystical worldviews and superstitions - generally seeing what is not there so to speak.

By the way, here is a quote from a book about lucid dreaming that I recommend as it contains a lot of scientific information - some of which may be outdated - but I have highlighted useful and currently applicable excerpts which support the "phase state" diagram I posted earlier - seriously, give the book a read:

"...Incidentally, it would seem more logical a priori to look for parallels, if not identity, between the neurophysiology of hallucinations and descending stage 1 deep sleep rather than REM, since by definition waking hallucinations begin from the waking state, as does stage 1 sleep, whereas REM phases normally arise from non-REM phases of sleep rather than from waking consciousness.

In conclusion, we suggest that the occasional appearance of paralysis in the various different hallucinatory states under consideration - lucid dreaming, false awakenings, ecsomatic experiences, and apparitions - supports the view that there is a degree of continuity between them. We further propose that the factor making for this continuity may be sleep in its various manifestations or phases.

In addition, we suggest that a characteristic that many examples of totally hallucinatory experience have in common is a 'paradoxical' combination of muscular relaxation with cortical arousal."

- Lucid Dreaming - The Paradox of Consciousness During Sleep (Celia Green and Charles McCreery)

By the way, Hagart, sorry for wrongly addressing you earlier! :D

Re: OBE or Lucid Dream?

Posted: 22 Dec 2012 18:02
by danmc
Peter wrote:I have a very guarded use of words and its hard sometimes to get meaning into a post without it going sideways a little

I feel the sideways is good, not detracting. Dreams have that sideways quality to them.

Peter wrote:In a dreamstate i feel there are at least 3 infomation flows, memory, blended memory and the other I have no name for yet. The parts of dreams that are beyond normal experience and becoming more common - the void and other light and energy experiences, I hesitate to call them dreams but we use the word dream or dream state (will I do) as a basic term for this other reality.

I want to know more about this third flow, it really piqued my interest. Can you expand? Or point me to previous posts?

Peter wrote:I still puzzle over how we create thougth, like emotion being the end result not a pure state and to have a thought is a few levels deeper than the thougth itself and way ahead in real time as well

Yes. And don't you find it interesting that we always say "my" thought, like the personality is responsible for their generation? I am fascinated that this is the generally held belief, considering most people could never hold one thought to the exclusion of all others for even a single minute. Nor could they exclude all thoughts for that length of time. When we speak we have no idea how the sentence will end, even though it does. Even meditators will admit that even though thoughts lessen for periods of time longer than a minute, they always reappear at some point. i.e. thoughts come and go no matter what.

Yet, we still believe, beyond a shadow of a doubt, they are our thoughts. I'm not making a declaration that they aren't, just pointing out that given our rather weak ability to control them, the fact that we immediately jump to that conclusion id fascinating.

I also agree that all realized thoughts are in the past. I feel this is because the awareness that they appear to is only ever NOW, and itself never in the past (or future)
Peter wrote:On thougths I feel it is 1, 2, 3 and so on, some people can hold and work and swap around very fast but it is still in a line,

This is how it is for me, 1, 2, 3. For me realizing this came with the further realization that the mind is simply what ever thought is up in the order, not a box in which experience of any kind takes place.

And to answer Summerlander who asked what my point is, the point being that the integration of all the data in experience, whether internal or external, is happening somewhere else, the mind just being part of the data, not the integrator.

Peter wrote:If I read correctly noise is the only sense that can be truly multtasked with and I tried this by listening to 2 sets of music and one book using 3 devices and 3 sets of ear peices and it worked but again might just be the speed and buffer of my mind at work

And did you have the experience that knowing them all at once meant that you didn't know any particular channel with clarity? I'm going to try this over the holidays. And my experience with binaural beats is the same-- no effect. I found that all they did was interfere with my more tried and true techniques.

In fact, I've never had, unfortunately, much luck with aids of any kind. I did try Calea Z, and will again, but what I got was really, long, mundane dreams. their length was surprise to me. One that went on forever was about about looking for something that was lost. What a tedious dream that was! Good Lord, I do that in waking life with my damn keys!

Re: OBE or Lucid Dream?

Posted: 22 Dec 2012 18:34
by danmc
HAGART wrote:There is always something askew

Don't get me wrong here, there are almost always anomalies, but they are so incidental in relation to what is "replicated", they don't bother me at all.For example, in one episode, everything was pretty much in place in my living room, except that stacked on a table near the window was a pile of tupperware containers, which were not there in waking life. In another, in my neighbor's yard there was an agave type of plant, maybe four feet high, "growing" near his front window. It absolutely glowed with an inner gold colored light. It was stunning. These are just a couple of examples, but anomalies appear in every episode.

Again, though, I am sane enough to know that this doesn't PROVE anything. Again, it just piques my interest.

HAGART wrote:And when I read Danmc's account about the true to life realism of his, I actually thought he may have a photographic memory or something and Summerlander actually said the same thing.

Don't I wish! If you knew me, such a hypothesis would be laughable! If I had to chalk it up to some other possibility, it would be that awareness sees everything, personality no so much.

HAGART wrote:But when Danmc defied Summerlander's logic

What logic? I don't mean that as a joke. I mean, where? What are you referring to? I don't have a problem with Summerlander's logic, his premises maybe, but not his logic

People believed the Earth was flat. It's true that their direct experience seemed to indicate that. What I am saying is different. They took their expereince and turned it into a concept. I'm saying why believe in concepts at all? Certain concepts are practical, fire burns, be careful. But holding on to a concept to the point where it actually, most of the time, unknowingly, hardens and defines things in error is nothing but trouble! The hard part is unearthing them, the hard part is honestly seeing that what you thought was so true, was merely a belief underneath. Some of the beliefs we carry around around are insidious, and those at the bottom, the root beliefs, are practically unknown unless you really go after them.

Re: OBE or Lucid Dream?

Posted: 22 Dec 2012 19:36
by Summerlander
The reason why people say "my thoughts" is because the ego has a tendency to claim that which does not arise from itself as its own. It like the ego is a company importing fairtraded products and branding them with its logo in order to sell it as its own...

Experience happens in the brain. It is not surprising that it is the most complex organ we know. We also think we have "free will" and yet, whether you look at cosmology from a deterministic or probabilistic point of view, free will cannot happen.

It has already been demonstrated in the lab that the brain areas involved in moving parts of our body light up before we become conscious of the decision to move. There are so many factors involved in processes that we are not conscious of which influence decision and yet the ego at the surface reasons, justifies and hijacks responsibility. It also likes to think of itself as being immortal - a more complex version of the survival instinct that lies at the core of the "lizard" brain and requires more feeling than thought.

There is will, but it is not free. It can never be free as it defies physicalist logic. What we can say is that, given how far the brain has evolved, it has become apparent that the body influences the mind and vice versa in a cycle that is also dictated by other elements of the natural surroundings.

Of course our language will reflect notions of free will and we may use it in our speech but that is only expressing the illusions of responsibility that we feel and which are applicable and conventional in the rule-based world that we live in. Recently, a study has even shown that the brain of conservativists differs from that of liberalists - which politicians didn't like. Things are not always what they seem.

It's funny how you have completely ignored my last post and continue to play the same notes no matter what. I expected you to at least refute some of the points I've made - unless you're about to?

I'm sorry but I find it extremely unscientific that you hold a hypothetical stance and claim it to be the right one without empirical evidence or valid points. If you had valid points, don't you think the experts would not be testing the integration theory by now?

Like I said before, if you claim dreams happen elsewhere and that a soul exists in the body, the ball is in your court to prove it in the face of overwhelming evidence against such notions. You don't just get to say this is true based on blind faith.

Out of curiosity, how old are you? Really, be honest...

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Re: OBE or Lucid Dream?

Posted: 22 Dec 2012 20:39
by Peter
has the brain evloved or are we using our brain in better ways and for me this raises the question of what is using the brain. its that little step away from self that interests me and why I suspect we are more than one awareness and lucid dreaming is one way to understand and connect a little deeper

Re: OBE or Lucid Dream?

Posted: 22 Dec 2012 21:30
by Summerlander
No, that would defy Darwinian evolution. The initial process that gave rise to life was random, but, once the organism formed, it became natural selection (or natural preservation as Darwin would like to call it). There is no intelligent design involved as much as creationists fancy the idea.

Also, not everything we do is for the best and we can suffer the consequences of our actions. What we can say is that we can learn from our mistakes, which is natural for our survival - like a pigeon can learn that humans can be sources of food and if they get used to such fulfilling perceptions, it can take them an awful long time to unlearn that if humans suddenly decide to stop giving food - they'll keep coming because memory taught them that. But a pigeon's brain is not as evolved as a human's so the birdies are excused.

Lucid dreaming is useful in that we can visualise (although it is more than visualisation) where we would like to be in the future. For example, you might find motivation to quit smoking if you want to be an old person full of energy in the future and you can create this future in the dream world and see how good it feels to reinforce the intention.

Likewise, the consumption of certain drugs can alter your brain chemistry, influence how you feel and think and complete change your behaviour. It isn't a novelty either that drugs or even brain damage can turn psychotic even the nicest of folks. It is our physical make-up and how it is influenced by the environment that determines who we are. Hell, even the suggestible state of hypnosis canmake a person forget things or believe they are someone else.

We see how brain alteration or fragmentation can make people lose their mental faculties and yet they still want to believe that at death they'll be able to see, hear and have the power of speech. It is not a novelty that people assign supernatural "explanations" to that which they don't understand - and granted that there is much to be learned about the brain - but once discoveries are made the cookie starts to crumble. It happens time and again.

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Re: OBE or Lucid Dream?

Posted: 23 Dec 2012 02:05
by Peter
it gets interesting as if life is random then its possible we are the only form of life like us that exists, there may be the building blocks of life elsewhere but that is a big leap from life itself and the other random events that lead to the point where I can type on a laptop.

I am yet to be convinced that we life in any way after body death but also have had enougth experiences withing the dreamspace to say that there is a lot that I dont understand and cant say that we dont in some form. If some spark of energy lives like a radio signal that keeps going after the station is turned off then there is life but it needs defining in new ways. This is a big step down from some from of existence with awareness as is believed by a lot of people but it a reminant of a life and so is an interesting concept to me.

I just keep on keeping with my dreams and as always will see what I can find and so regardless of outcome it is a great adventure this inner world.

Re: OBE or Lucid Dream?

Posted: 23 Dec 2012 08:08
by danmc
Summerlander wrote:It's funny how you have completely ignored my last post and continue to play the same notes no matter what. I expected you to at least refute some of the points I've made - unless you're about to?

Yes, that's the case. 1.) other people were chiming in, which was refreshing, so posts this morning went that direction. 2.) job, family, holidays, not much time at the moment. 3.) I did make a post to you this morning, a short one, before running out the door to visit relatives. Evidently I never hit the send button or something. Which is too bad because I had a really funny line in it!

Posts to you take some time because I want to avoid misunderstandings. Such as:

Summerlander wrote:you hold a hypothetical stance and claim it to be the right one without empirical evidence or valid points

I'm not claiming anything! In fact, I've said time and again that I don't know. For me the door is open. I feel like with you the door is slammed shut, at least the way you flatly make statements in which there is no possible way on earth you could ever know such a thing, either in the scientific sense or not. Statements such as when the brain dies so does consciousness (this was in my post this morning). These kinds of statements are decidedly unscientific. Science types always say "We know" when they should be saying "We think", or "We believe".

Summerlander wrote:Like I said before, if you claim dreams happen elsewhere and that a soul exists in the body, the ball is in your court to prove it in the face of overwhelming evidence against such notions. You don't just get to say this is true based on blind faith.

None of this paragraph is true in any way. Please link me to where I have used the word "soul". To my knowledge I have never said anything about a soul, especially in the sense you're claiming here, and I would be surprised to find out I did. And if I have made a definitive statement that dreams happen elsewhere without a qualifier then it was in haste. My point with OBE has always been that I don't know, but my experience with dreams tilts me toward that it may be a possibility, but that's all.

Anyway, I'll get to all that and more from your other posts. I really do enjoy discussions such as this, but it's hard writing everything. We'd cover more in a hour of conversation then in five days of back and forth like this. Holidays are going to kill my time, though, so be patient. I'm definitely not the kind to only say and not respond.

Summerlander wrote:Out of curiosity, how old are you? Really, be honest...

Why would I lie? You sound like you're trying to pigeon-hole me. I'm 51. And I'd be interested to know why you think I wouldn't be honest.

Re: OBE or Lucid Dream?

Posted: 23 Dec 2012 14:38
by Summerlander
Based on over a hundred years of neurology and in the face of overwhelming evidence, even though not conclusive, I can make a posteriori assumptions that an afterlife is very likely to not be the case.

By the way, I only asked how old you are because it isn't the first time I get 15 year-olds who think they've got it all sussed, but I am glad your age is the reverse.

I am also glad that you guys have brought the focus back to the topic. You see, as far as I can tell, when we use our methods to induce dissociative experiences, we are bringing ourselves to experience the world of lucid dreaming, and that's all it is.

Seen as lucid dreaming makes you feel like you are somewhere else other than lying in bed, isn't it logical to think of them as out-of-body experiences too? Not that they really happen elsewhere because there is no evidence of that, but, what I mean is that the experience is dissociative in the same manner that the OOBE is.

Now, since we can all agree that in a lucid dream anything can be experienced because the mind is the limit, isn't it feasible that the lucid dream state can realistically emulate the separation of consciousness from the body?

I would also raise the same point on epiphanies being experienced which make a lucid dreamer think there is more to consciousness than meets the eye. Heck, I've felt like I knew something profound about reality when I was younger and tripping on salvia and psilocybin.

The point is that we all have fertile imagination and a mind with the power of creativity as the mishmash of thoughts come together and many associations are made in our heads that we are not even conscious of. It is worth keeping in mind that the brain tells porkies too and this can effect our perception.

All in all, I see a lot of people not giving their brain potential enough credit as they so readily dismiss their experiences as originating from their subconscious and prefer to credit supernatural powers as being the real authors.

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