0203: "Hallucinations"

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0203: "Hallucinations"

Postby Mr. Jeff » Fri Dec 29, 2006 6:54 am UTC

Here's the comic

Well, never really thought about it that way. It makes me wonder how much of my life I have wasted away doing something I won't remember the next day.
Last edited by Mr. Jeff on Fri Dec 29, 2006 7:00 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby kertrats » Fri Dec 29, 2006 6:58 am UTC

203.

not 202.

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Postby Mr. Jeff » Fri Dec 29, 2006 7:00 am UTC

Thanks, I knew I was forgetting something.

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Postby Peshmerga » Fri Dec 29, 2006 7:08 am UTC

...it's not even on the main page. Cheaters.
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Postby johno » Fri Dec 29, 2006 9:46 am UTC

a very good comic.

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Postby ph33l_da_l0v3 » Fri Dec 29, 2006 10:19 am UTC

Ive actually recently began training myself to dream lucidly, and i think it may be one of the more worthwhile endeavors one can pursue because it makes very good use of the time we "waste" sleeping.

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Postby warriorness » Fri Dec 29, 2006 12:34 pm UTC

ph33l_da_l0v3 wrote:Ive actually recently began training myself to dream lucidly, and i think it may be one of the more worthwhile endeavors one can pursue because it makes very good use of the time we "waste" sleeping.


My understanding of lucid dreaming is very limited, but doesn't it sort of defeat the purpose of sleeping? The point of sleep is to let your brain "recharge", and being conscious during lucid dreaming is brain activity.

I will now excuse myself and read Wikipedia.

EDIT: My mistake, I had confused it with sleep paralysis.
Last edited by warriorness on Fri Dec 29, 2006 12:47 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby LE4dGOLEM » Fri Dec 29, 2006 12:41 pm UTC

The sorts of things happen in my dreams that make me go, once I'm awake, "What the hell? How could that work?", but when I'm asleep, it somehow makes sense.

But yeah, hooray for comas! (comae?)

EDIT: woot, first page!
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Postby Cctoide » Fri Dec 29, 2006 1:10 pm UTC

LE4dGOLEM wrote:The sorts of things happen in my dreams that make me go, once I'm awake, "What the hell? How could that work?", but when I'm asleep, it somehow makes sense.


Yes, me too. Then I confuse every waking person trying to explain it.
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Postby thomasjmaccoll » Fri Dec 29, 2006 1:34 pm UTC

dreams are incredible. i think about this at great length sometimes, but my thoughts are kind of jumbled and i just got up... maybe later in the thread. in the past couple of weeks, i have been having very vivid dreams which i could remember most of, and i love it... hyperreality 4eva'n'that. also, in my opinion, this has to have been the best week of xkcd for a long long time, if not ever... randall's on a roll.
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Postby Gelsamel » Fri Dec 29, 2006 2:41 pm UTC

Cctoide wrote:
LE4dGOLEM wrote:The sorts of things happen in my dreams that make me go, once I'm awake, "What the hell? How could that work?", but when I'm asleep, it somehow makes sense.


Yes, me too. Then I confuse every waking person trying to explain it.


Yeap, I brought this up in the dreams thread. Things that in real life would be totally freaky and stupid are perfectly normal things to happen in my dreams.

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Postby Grincement » Fri Dec 29, 2006 2:48 pm UTC

ph33l_da_l0v3 wrote:Ive actually recently began training myself to dream lucidly, and i think it may be one of the more worthwhile endeavors one can pursue because it makes very good use of the time we "waste" sleeping.


How does one train themselves to lucid dream?
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Postby william » Fri Dec 29, 2006 3:38 pm UTC

Gelsamel wrote:
Cctoide wrote:
LE4dGOLEM wrote:The sorts of things happen in my dreams that make me go, once I'm awake, "What the hell? How could that work?", but when I'm asleep, it somehow makes sense.


Yes, me too. Then I confuse every waking person trying to explain it.


Yeap, I brought this up in the dreams thread. Things that in real life would be totally freaky and stupid are perfectly normal things to happen in my dreams.

Same here.
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Postby wmoonw » Fri Dec 29, 2006 4:04 pm UTC

It always frustrated me that I can't remember my dreams after the fact . . . if I wake up in the morning and can actually remember what happened, I usually try to find someone who's awake (siblings, boyfriend, roommates, random people on the street) so that I can tell them about it before I forget it . . . that way, when I forget it, at least they will remember it and be able to tell me :lol:

Even if I tell someone, though, I can't remember; I have to have someone tell it back to me. Writing it down takes too long, so I always forget before I'm done.

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Postby jestingrabbit » Fri Dec 29, 2006 6:13 pm UTC

Squeak wrote:
ph33l_da_l0v3 wrote:Ive actually recently began training myself to dream lucidly, and i think it may be one of the more worthwhile endeavors one can pursue because it makes very good use of the time we "waste" sleeping.


How does one train themselves to lucid dream?
I don't know if there are better techniques, but I used to ask myself at several points throughout the day "Am I dreaming?" After a while, I started asking it in my dreams and I started to lucid dream. I don't think its all its cracked up to be, but can be fun. It seems to be something that kicks in for me when my dream becomes disturbing.

I don't know if there are techniques which allow you to turn it on and off like a tap, the one I used wasn't like that at all. It took about a week or so for it to kick in, and it lasted for as long as I kept asking the question in my waking life, then became somewhat habituated then I stopped asking the question and stopped regularly having lucid dreams.

Good luck.

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Postby YQM » Fri Dec 29, 2006 8:02 pm UTC

I found that I have always been able to alter my dreams at least a little. I some times come up with ideas for comics based of my dreams.

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Postby Twasbrillig » Fri Dec 29, 2006 10:44 pm UTC

Feynman had some fun with dreaming.

Try not to sleep with your head on top of a brass rod, though. :P
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i've always thought the same thing

Postby malaislinn » Sat Dec 30, 2006 1:11 am UTC

I like this explanation:

"It would seem that we spend our waking days gathering information--our experiences, thoughts, and feelings all constitute a form of data. When we sleep we deposit these findings, transmitting the information via dream images into a well of collective consciousness. This Dreamwell is a swelling biotic storehouse, constantly absorbing and filtering everything it recieves.

Amazing, is it not, that our egocentricities lead us into viewing dreams as either irrelevant surrealism or a private psycho-oracular message service, when in fact dreams are merely the back-projected discharges of our own sensory gatherings"

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Postby RealGrouchy » Sat Dec 30, 2006 4:53 am UTC

LE4dGOLEM wrote:The sorts of things happen in my dreams that make me go, once I'm awake, "What the hell? How could that work?", but when I'm asleep, it somehow makes sense.

But yeah, hooray for comas! (comae?)


Heh, I thought you said "commas", in reference to the many of them in the previous paragraph.

My favourite quote about dreams is from George Carlin: "It's called the American Dream because you have to be alseep to believe it!"

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Postby Jerf » Sat Dec 30, 2006 7:31 am UTC

My #1 Fun Stupid Pet AI Theory is that some form of dreaming is actually a prerequisite for human-class intelligence.

I've got no particular evidence for this, really, it's just a really fun theory.

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Postby Belial » Sat Dec 30, 2006 9:51 am UTC

Odd, Jerf....

I had an odd start when I realized how similar the ostensible function of dreaming is to a defragmentation program....

I believe my words at the time were "Hmm. It appears we taught our machines to dream..."

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Postby Canoeman » Sat Dec 30, 2006 10:21 am UTC

My pet theory is that dreaming is the brains way of making sure everything is working correctly. Like a system scan, kind of.

That would explain why people often have similar dreams when in similar situations. For example, dreaming about your teeth cracking or falling out is supposedly a sign that you are stressed, dreaming about the ocean means you're scared (or whatever it was, I forget).

So when the brain figures out that you are scared of something in the future (i.e. you're stressed), it makes sure everything related to survival is working. So it starts activating certain hormones to see if there is something wrong with them, it checks that certain brain centers are working correctly by using them a bit, and so on. All this is experienced as a dream to us since there are a lot of horomones, muscle twitching, and brain centers going on and off.

So it's just a coincidence that the brain program for "stress" expresses itself as teeth falling out, but when you dream about teeth you try out those areas of the brain best suited for handeling stressful situations. If anything is wrong, then the brain tries to fix it.

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Postby athelas » Sat Dec 30, 2006 4:02 pm UTC

I once had a dream in which I was in chem lab and titrating fish.

Yes, fish.

You see, you keep dripping acid on the fish, until the last bit of it is dissolved, then take the buret reading. Makes perfect sense to me.

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Postby hassitude » Sat Dec 30, 2006 7:43 pm UTC

man. i've been lurking around these forums for a while, but this is such a wild coincidence i finally had to register.

i've had some interest in lucid dreaming for a while now, and had a little success with it, but i've really been slacking off on it for a while now. last night, though, i stayed up until around two reading up on techniques and whatnot, then settled down for a couple attempts (only mildly successful). this morning i get up, read the cartoon, think it's fairly coincidental, and then read the alt-text. i've heard people say on here before that these comics always seem wildly appropriate, but this is a little over the top.

but yeah, jestingrabbit, there are a couple techniques that are supposed to be able to turn it right on or off. the one i'm working on right now is called a "wake-induced lucid dream" (wild) where you actually fall asleep while remaining conscious. you start by visualizing yourself doing something (not so exciting that it keeps you awake, but not so dull that it bores you straight to sleep) and let all your focus shift over to that, until the sights and sounds you're imagining seem more real than what you're actually feeling. at that point, all you need to do is remain calm, but interested, as your body slips into full-blown sleep. easier said than done, though - people tend to hallucinate pretty vividly at that point, and it freaks a lot of 'em out too much to continue. it certainly keeps throwing me off. :?

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Postby Wikey » Sat Dec 30, 2006 11:14 pm UTC

I've always been able to steer my dreams in the direction I wanted.

I've been able to remember all of my dreams for like a week now, I think it's because it's been one of the happiest weeks of my life...

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Postby ohki » Sat Dec 30, 2006 11:18 pm UTC

I have no idea what goes on when I sleep. Though, I've found that if a particular type of problem or piece of code is giving me trouble, I can look at it right before I fall asleep and wake up knowing the solution. Obviously.... not the numeric solution (that would be awesome), but rather which approach to use... something I missed while awake.

I've always thought of dreams as a sort of data compression mode, where our brains take any new sensory info we've gathered and form connections between various concepts. Setting up nets to use for heuristics and stuff like that.
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Postby mezz » Sun Dec 31, 2006 8:09 pm UTC

I looked into this a while ago and am trying to learn to lucid dream regularly.
I found a forum when I was looking at the Wikibooks .pdf on lucid dreaming. At the end they basically said that it was almost entirely written by people from LD4all.com so I checked it out. Cool stuff.

http://ld4all.com/

They have all sorts of info and helpful people (which at first just confused me, but I guess they do exist somewhere). I think the forum is the most useful part, but most of the common questions kind of things are on the main site directory to just read.

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Re: "Hallucinations" Discussion

Postby Rabu » Sat Dec 08, 2007 12:11 am UTC

How does one train themselves to lucid dream?

I don't know if there are better techniques, but I used to ask myself at several points throughout the day "Am I dreaming?" After a while, I started asking it in my dreams and I started to lucid dream. I don't think its all its cracked up to be, but can be fun. It seems to be something that kicks in for me when my dream becomes disturbing.

I don't know if there are techniques which allow you to turn it on and off like a tap, the one I used wasn't like that at all. It took about a week or so for it to kick in, and it lasted for as long as I kept asking the question in my waking life, then became somewhat habituated then I stopped asking the question and stopped regularly having lucid dreams.

Good luck.


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Some tricks besides just asking yourself if you're dreaming, to be used in the same way (i.e. get into the habit in your waking life and it will carry over into your dreams.):
-Look at yourself in reflective surfaces. Dream-reflections are usually distorted or reflect your perception of yourself.
-Throw something like your keys in the air and catch it repeatedly. If you are dreaming, it will probably stop coming down. (I got this from Donnie Darko.)
-Turn a light on or off, open the blinds or otherwise change the light levels. There's something weird in your brain with light in dreams. Don't expect me to explain.
-Try to read and then reread something. See if it changes.

...and to stay lucid once you get there:
-If you think you'll wake up, spin in circles and pick a setting. You will probably arrive there.
-Don't focus too long in one spot.

Just stuff I've gathered. Some of it's worked for me.

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Re: "Hallucinations" Discussion

Postby '; DROP DATABASE;-- » Mon Dec 10, 2007 8:51 pm UTC

I've had lucid dreams a total of 3 times, but I didn't do anything to trigger it. Something in the dream made me realize I was dreaming. The problem is every time, I wake up a few seconds later. :(

My crazy theory on dreams is that they're a form of line noise. When you sleep, the brain is recharged. Electricity flows through paths that would carry sensory input when you're awake. However, the parts of the brain that process that input stay on so that you can still respond to things like loud noises that may indicate danger and wake up. They see the electrical flow as nonsensical sensory input, thus, hallucinations.
(I'm probably COMPLETELY wrong though. :P)

As many have mentioned already, I noticed everything seems to make sense in a dream. You see things that defy the laws of physics but you never realize "hey, that doesn't make sense" until you recall it when awake. I suppose the explanation for this is simply that the majority of the brain's logic-processing systems shut down. Lucid dreaming, then, would be when those systems turn back on while the rest of the brain remains asleep. You realize something doesn't make sense and thus you must be dreaming. Once you know you're dreaming, if you can manage to stay asleep, you have full control. That's how it's been for me, anyway. I just don't know how to keep myself asleep at that point. >_< I suspect memory does not work very well either, so it can be difficult to remember what to do.

My dreams have changed over the years, too. When I was younger they were often just a bizarre visual hallucination. Just random shapes and colours. Then for a few years I would have dreams that take place in the real world, often with minor changes to it, with me in strange and illogical situations, such as climbing over the edge of a bridge onto an invisible platform and sitting down there to watch TV. Nowadays, they're usually in what are almost certainly nonexistent, made-up worlds, although it's not uncommon for multiple dreams to take place in the same imaginary world. Sometimes I'll be in a new place but find my way to a place from another dream. I wonder why they've changed like that?

The absolute strangest dream-related occurrence I've had is twice seeing brief glimpses of the future. The first one was me playing Super Mario 64. It was in perfect detail, but only lasted a few seconds. Except this was a few years before the game's release, long before I'd even heard of it. The other was a glimpse of me walking along the edge of a road. A few years later on vacation I found myself walking along the edge of that very same road, even though I'd never been there before.

Conclusion: dreams are fucking weird, but awesome. :D

Belial wrote:Odd, Jerf....

I had an odd start when I realized how similar the ostensible function of dreaming is to a defragmentation program....

I believe my words at the time were "Hmm. It appears we taught our machines to dream..."
Interesting point of view. A defrag program would be accessing some interesting things as it shuffles the data around. Parts of files, unused space between files, etc. One "chunk" of data could be the end of one file, some unused space, and the beginning of another file. I bet it'd look interesting in a hex editor. Dreams could certainly be similar, if you think of ideas as files. I wouldn't go so far as to say the brain defrags itself at night, but it may well be accessing memory similar to a defrag program accessing a disk. The question, then, being why.

There must be millions of theories about what dreams are, though. :P
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Re: "Hallucinations" Discussion

Postby Owehn » Mon Dec 10, 2007 11:21 pm UTC

I've never had truly lucid dreaming, but I remember trying several years ago to manage it. I had several of those tests to see if you're dreaming, and they didn't work out so well:

1. Ask yourself whether you're dreaming during the day, and eventually you'll do it in dreams as well.
So far so good, until (dreaming) I asked myself whether I was dreaming and answered "no, it's too real." Incidentally, I had died, and I was on the subway that takes you to...wherever.

2. Read a bit of text or a digital clock twice, and see whether it changes.
I looked at a digital clock, and noted the time. Then I looked away and back, and the LEDs were lit completely randomly! Turns out it had chosen that moment for the battery to run down. It's not the first time I've watched a clock stop. (I must have that kind of face.)

I have, a couple times, known I was dreaming. That knowledge didn't seem very helpful at the time; it usually just means I start playing the mental game of "how should I interact with these people so they don't catch on that they're figments of my imagination?" and don't bother worrying about absurdities.

Locations are also rather strange in my dreams. For each of the places I've lived, there's a corresponding dream version that is very different from the reality, but always the same in each dream that's set there. (I could draw you a rather complete map of dream-Seattle, complete with subways, ferries to dream-Bremerton, street layout, airport, university, travel agency, shopping mall, and other buildings. Everything's different except the bus numbers.)
[This space intentionally left blank.]

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Re: "Hallucinations" Discussion

Postby scarletmanuka » Tue Dec 11, 2007 1:00 am UTC

'; DROP DATABASE;-- wrote:Interesting point of view. A defrag program would be accessing some interesting things as it shuffles the data around. Parts of files, unused space between files, etc. One "chunk" of data could be the end of one file, some unused space, and the beginning of another file. I bet it'd look interesting in a hex editor. Dreams could certainly be similar, if you think of ideas as files.

Read "Transition Dreams", by Greg Egan. (ebook version here, also collected in "Luminous".) Then go and read anything else of his you can find. 8)


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