0390: "Nightmares"

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BrianZ
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0390: "Nightmares"

Postby BrianZ » Fri Feb 29, 2008 5:06 am UTC

http://www.xkcd.com/390
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Alt text: Well, *I* think I'm real. Look at me. Look at my face. Cut me and I'll bleed. What more do you want? Please don't go.

That *is* a creative subconscious. I always get killed by getting shot in the stomach, and frankly, it's getting a bit boring.

Herman
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Re: "Nightmares" Discussion

Postby Herman » Fri Feb 29, 2008 5:08 am UTC

Well, good. Now I'm afraid of going to sleep.

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rwald
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Re: "Nightmares" Discussion

Postby rwald » Fri Feb 29, 2008 5:08 am UTC

My subconscious is more in favor of telling winding narratives, with me as the narrator half the time and the protagonist the other half. Switching between the two is somehow not as disconcerting as it ought to be.

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Re: "Nightmares" Discussion

Postby jouva » Fri Feb 29, 2008 5:08 am UTC

Sentient dreams sound scary.

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Re: "Nightmares" Discussion

Postby glasnt » Fri Feb 29, 2008 5:08 am UTC

Awwww... emotional strip (I read it with sympathy towards the girl, as she didn't want to die/leave him. There relationship was all a dream.. ) :cry:

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Re: "Nightmares" Discussion

Postby antonfire » Fri Feb 29, 2008 5:09 am UTC

I generally wake up with the impression that I've truly understood some important (possibly mathematical?) concept. Of course, once I am actually awake, I have no idea what it was. This makes me want to stay in bed, so I can keep that feeling for a while.
Last edited by antonfire on Fri Feb 29, 2008 5:10 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: "Nightmares" Discussion

Postby Hyunk » Fri Feb 29, 2008 5:10 am UTC

I guess *this* is a reference to Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, a great movie.

gtkarber
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Re: "Nightmares" Discussion

Postby gtkarber » Fri Feb 29, 2008 5:10 am UTC

I remember an episode of Home Improvement where Tim asked Wilson what he was afraid of, and Wilson said that he was afraid that the entire world was someone else's dream, and that when he woke up, Wilson would cease to exist.

So, I'm looking forward to the xkcd when Black Hat Man tries to super-charge something and ends up hurting himself.

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Re: "Nightmares" Discussion

Postby Tenth Speed Writer » Fri Feb 29, 2008 5:11 am UTC

Literal? Symbolic?


Could be both.. but absolutely genius.
I swear, I'm afraid I'll end up having one of these.

Thanks for poisoning my subconscious.
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Re: "Nightmares" Discussion

Postby kyevan » Fri Feb 29, 2008 5:12 am UTC

GET OUT OF MY HEAD.

Although this only happened once. And it was more an army of dream people trying to kill me (which they figured was like eternal sleep). But same idea.

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Re: "Nightmares" Discussion

Postby Sour Apple » Fri Feb 29, 2008 5:12 am UTC

That IS a great movie. I'm actually writing a sort of psychological script where it's hard to say whether their love is imagined or real or remembered or not... Of course, I may never finish it.

... and for some reason, that reminds me of Desmond and Penelope. Sigh.
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Re: "Nightmares" Discussion

Postby kyevan » Fri Feb 29, 2008 5:13 am UTC

gtkarber wrote:So, I'm looking forward to the xkcd when Black Hat Man tries to super-charge something and ends up hurting himself.

Except he doesn't have the hat anymore, does he?

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Re: "Nightmares" Discussion

Postby ravaet » Fri Feb 29, 2008 5:17 am UTC

[removed]
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Re: "Nightmares" Discussion

Postby 4=5 » Fri Feb 29, 2008 5:20 am UTC

it gets creepier when I notice she looks just like your mom

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Re: "Nightmares" Discussion

Postby Robin S » Fri Feb 29, 2008 5:21 am UTC

I've got a feeling I have had this, to a less extreme extent. Something along the lines of "please don't wake up", without the "I don't want to die" bit.

I still have nightmares fairly often when I'm stressed. They still feature childhood fears, with all of the rationality I like to think I've developed since then completely absent. I'll admit they probably don't feature pursuing dinosaurs quite as much as they used to, but it's still a fair bit (Jurassic Park came out when I was four. I didn't see it at the cinema, but the television showing was enough to cause chronic nightmares).
This is a placeholder until I think of something more creative to put here.

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cephalopod9
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Re: "Nightmares" Discussion

Postby cephalopod9 » Fri Feb 29, 2008 5:27 am UTC

Glad to know I'm not the only one with a subconcious that tries to outsmart me.
Mine usually just has me "remember" why what's going on makes sense tho'. Sneaky bastard.
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Re: "Nightmares" Discussion

Postby saus » Fri Feb 29, 2008 5:29 am UTC

I've read every single comic on XKCD, but this one really blew me away.

I often dream of being with that person that I can't be with, and whenever I wake up I have to go through the bitter realization that it was only a dream.[edit: actually it's more like.. I forget for 20 minutes after I wake up, then in an instant I remember it and think "Oh yeah, that was only a dream..."] And when I'm dreaming I feel such euphoria, I wish I could stay there forever. This comic, and especially the alt text, really summarizes those feelings well.

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Re: "Nightmares" Discussion

Postby Stickfodder » Fri Feb 29, 2008 5:37 am UTC

I had those kinds of nightmares too but the luckily I'm an insensitive bastard and laugh at the pain of the people in my dreams so my subconscious just gave up, I'm scared that its just waiting to spring some new kind of horrific psychological torture on me. :cry:
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Re: "Nightmares" Discussion

Postby jimic79 » Fri Feb 29, 2008 5:39 am UTC

Did you ever have a dream where you were dreaming that you couldn't go to sleep?

I just lose sleep trying to calculate the Big Oh notation of my recursive dreams.

*sound of brain pulling a muscle.
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Re: "Nightmares" Discussion

Postby 3.14159265... » Fri Feb 29, 2008 5:44 am UTC

I have gotten rather good at having lucid dreams.

I have tried having conversations like this before. No one has yet asked to not die.

Edited: For I is suck at grammar.
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Re: "Nightmares" Discussion

Postby aleflamedyud » Fri Feb 29, 2008 5:52 am UTC

glasnt wrote:Awwww... emotional strip (I read it with sympathy towards the girl, as she didn't want to die/leave him. There relationship was all a dream.. ) :cry:

Who says there was a relationship? Why does everything in this strip have to have a relationship read into it?

As for Stick Man's dream...

/me begins to play the Ballad of the Wind Fish.
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the_nexus_p
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Re: "Nightmares" Discussion

Postby the_nexus_p » Fri Feb 29, 2008 5:56 am UTC

My subconscious specializes in somehow managing to incorporate whatever's going on right before I wake up into its narrative.

"Hey, come here, I want to tell you something WAKE UP"

Gullible Jones
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Re: "Nightmares" Discussion

Postby Gullible Jones » Fri Feb 29, 2008 5:59 am UTC

I have to second saus' comment. This strip is wicked.

(Food for thought: could a dream-simulacrum of a person be sentient? Does the brain put any significant
amount of processing power into simulating peoples' behavior in dreams? Does anyone know?)

Ryaison
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Re: "Nightmares" Discussion

Postby Ryaison » Fri Feb 29, 2008 6:00 am UTC

Damn, I wish I had such creative dreams. The only dreams I have been having lately is in my dream I wake up and go take a shower. Then when I really do wake up im like, "Crap, I have to do this again?".

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Re: "Nightmares" Discussion

Postby Robin S » Fri Feb 29, 2008 6:03 am UTC

Gullible Jones wrote:(Food for thought: could a dream-simulacrum of a person be sentient? Does the brain put any significant amount of processing power into simulating peoples' behavior in dreams? Does anyone know?)
I'm no expert, but I strongly suspect no to both of your first two questions.
This is a placeholder until I think of something more creative to put here.

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Re: "Nightmares" Discussion

Postby Nullius in Verba » Fri Feb 29, 2008 6:05 am UTC

aleflamedyud wrote:Who says there was a relationship? Why does everything in this strip have to have a relationship read into it?
Actually, having tried to view it as both a total stranger and as someone very close to him- I found the total stranger to be slightly more terrifying an idea. I couldn't explain why, but somehow the overuse of people you know/love in dreams (and plots of all sorts) has lost its potency.

Ballad of the Wind Fish.

I've always been bitter that the song has been instrumental (both in Link's Awakening and the extended version from Majora's Mask) Ballads, by definition, tell a story. I feel cheated that Link, being a silent protagonist, can't give us the lyrics.
Or they could at least include them written down somewhere....

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Re: "Nightmares" Discussion

Postby Disiance » Fri Feb 29, 2008 6:06 am UTC

jimic79 wrote:Did you ever have a dream where you were dreaming that you couldn't go to sleep?

All the time. I'm an insomniac, so it confuses me to no end. My alarm will go off in the morning and I'll think I've had no sleep, when I've actually managed a full-night's rest.

What's worse though, is being stuck with a programming/coding issue in real life and dreaming about some 'magical' fix. I get all pumped the next day to implement the amazing code only to realize there is no friggin' way it can work. That is the ultimate nightmare: it doesn't hit you until you're completely conscious and cognizant.

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Re: "Nightmares" Discussion

Postby Mighty Jalapeno » Fri Feb 29, 2008 6:09 am UTC

I've had a dream like the comic.

Twenty-one years ago, and it still scares me.

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Re: "Nightmares" Discussion

Postby malenkylizards » Fri Feb 29, 2008 6:15 am UTC

Heh, in the past, after a hard breakup, I've had dreams where I meet up with my ex, and it's acknowledged and realized by both parties as a dream, for a few brief seconds. So there are a few brief seconds to have all the sex we'll never have in real life, because we know it's a dream and we can get away with this and not have to deal with the shitty consequences later.

But so far, I've never been able to maintain lucidity in a dream for more than these precious few seconds without waking up. Once I realize it's a dream it becomes infinitely less real, and less surreal, too.

While we're on the subject, has anyone ever had a dream that was so terrifying that your real-life hands went up to your real-life face and you pulled your real-life eyelids open just to get out? I had this once. I was having a nightmare, real surreal...sort of, The Grudge meets, um, They Live, with The Cube tossed in, and all the main characters of Alias just happened to be there. I went into this decrepit blue public bathroom and looked at my face in the mirror...and what I saw was so terrifying that I did what I just mentioned, I actually pulled my eyelids open. Since then, a useful cue that I'm in a nightmare is to find a mirror. If my face is all sorts of skewed and ugly, to the point that I can't bear to look at it, it's usually enough of a shock to wake up, or I can otherwise consciously abort it.

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Re: "Nightmares" Discussion

Postby Not an Evil Robot » Fri Feb 29, 2008 6:23 am UTC

I don't know why but this scared me, if my dreams end up like that I will go crazy. It also strikes home because recently my dreams have been getting more and more crazy, and according to my friend who was over a few nights ago, I ramble in sleep about crazy things, thats new :o.

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Shadic
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Re: "Nightmares" Discussion

Postby Shadic » Fri Feb 29, 2008 6:25 am UTC

I've never quite had this happen to me, honestly.

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Re: "Nightmares" Discussion

Postby aerojad » Fri Feb 29, 2008 6:26 am UTC

I absolutely love it, and it explains some dreams I've had.
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Re: "Nightmares" Discussion

Postby ++$_ » Fri Feb 29, 2008 6:28 am UTC

Robin S wrote:
Gullible Jones wrote:(Food for thought: could a dream-simulacrum of a person be sentient? Does the brain put any significant amount of processing power into simulating peoples' behavior in dreams? Does anyone know?)
I'm no expert, but I strongly suspect no to both of your first two questions.
My guess is that the brain does put an awful lot of processing power into the task; about the same amount as goes into guessing what people will do in real life. That's at the very least an algorithmically complex task.

But I don't think the dream-person is sentient, any more than the model of your mother/brother/girlfriend/dog that you have in your head is sentient.

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Re: "Nightmares" Discussion

Postby BlueNight » Fri Feb 29, 2008 6:35 am UTC

Yes, that dream is The Awesome and The Wicked together. Yes, I thought immediately of Link's Awakening. Yes, Wilson Wilson Wilson is in someone else's dream (a TV show is imagination, and imagination is dream, right?) and DID die after the dream ended! (I always thought that was creepy, but it turns out four years elapsed between the end of the show and the end of Earl Hindman.)

On the other hand, I simply relish dreams such as the one where I and my friends from a mailing list had a convention in our dreams; it was cheaper than the real thing, and more fun because we could do cool dream things like flying. I've also dreamed that if I hold onto something as I wake up, it will still be in my hand, and that I can walk through mirrors, but not glass.
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Re: "Nightmares" Discussion

Postby Robin S » Fri Feb 29, 2008 6:40 am UTC

++$_ wrote:My guess is that the brain does put an awful lot of processing power into the task; about the same amount as goes into guessing what people will do in real life. That's at the very least an algorithmically complex task.
Obviously "a lot" is a relative term, but I doubt that the brain expends a very signficant proportion of its resources on the task. If we model people as accurately in dreams as in waking life, why can people do things in dreams that we know they would never do during our waking hours?[/quote]
This is a placeholder until I think of something more creative to put here.

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Re: "Nightmares" Discussion

Postby Kni7es » Fri Feb 29, 2008 6:40 am UTC

Lucid dreams are very scary yet very awesome, but this comic is probably going to keep me from sleep now... I guess that's just the xkcd effect. Insomnia and indefinite procrastination (because I wouldn't be browsing through several years worth of comics if I had something better to do, right? Wrong).

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Re: "Nightmares" Discussion

Postby DSDM » Fri Feb 29, 2008 6:42 am UTC

Wow. That's a pretty fucked up dream.
My personal favorite is the one where you're asleep in the dream and you wake up in the dream and you're all tired and shit but you have to get up and drag your ass to work or school, and you're just starting to get some momentum... and then you wake up for real, and you're all tired and shit but you have to get up and drag your ass to work or school...

Or sometimes I get these semi-lucid dreams where I'm trying to solve some intractable math or programming problem, and I keeping using this weird logic that makes no sense, like taking the square root of chair and dividing by the color blue, and I feel like I'm coming up with the answer but I inevitably I circle around again to the original problem without reaching a definite solution, so I keep working on it. So basically I'm technically asleep all night, except my brain won't shut the hell up, so I don't get the good deep sleep and feel like shit when I wake up in the morning.

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Re: "Nightmares" Discussion

Postby Azrael001 » Fri Feb 29, 2008 6:44 am UTC

When I dream I will often have memories of things that never happened, and that would explain what ever was currently going on. I often wonder upon awakening whether or not the memories are memories of past dreams. Having a running narrative during sleep would be interesting, especially if the dream version of you slept while the other was awake.
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CrackTheSky
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Re: "Nightmares" Discussion

Postby CrackTheSky » Fri Feb 29, 2008 6:45 am UTC

This one was sad, funny, and creative. Bravo.

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Sour Apple
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Re: "Nightmares" Discussion

Postby Sour Apple » Fri Feb 29, 2008 6:47 am UTC

Damnit. Whenever XKCD says something deep I always want to run around and show it to people, and that means I have to spend large amounts of time thinking of clever ways to incorporate it into class discussions so I can whip it out.

Ex.: (philosophy) So you say solipsism is believing you're alone, eh? Sort of like in dreams, right? Take this comic strip, for example.
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