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Everything posted by DrmDoc

  1. It's true and I agree, these internal aspects and influences of the body do indeed affect brain function. I agree that organisms and diseases that impair or influence brain function can and do affect the quality and content of our dreams. However, IMO, these are all influences caused by factors that must somehow enter or influence the sensory systems afferently attached to the thalamus to stimulate dreaming--factors external to the brain itself. However, you've raised a compelling perspective, which I will further consider.
  2. There is this generally accepted perspective that the stimulus inspiring dream content emerges either wholely or partly from within the brain itself. My study and view of brain function suggests that this generally accepted perspective isn't entirely accurate. The view we should keep in mind is that dreaming and dream content are reactions to stimuli, which means that they are the efferent (output) product of some afferent (input) influence. There's no doubt in my mind that dream content emerges from afferent influences that arrive in the brain through the thalamus via our body's sensory array. We know that the thalamus is where all sensory data, other than olfactory, arrIves in the brain before reaching upper brain regions. We also know from comparative animals studies that these upper regions remain inactive without a neural connection to the thalamus. This neural configuration confirms the hierarchal dependency of upper brain function on the functional nature of our thalamus. As the core and most primal aspect of brain structure, the thalamus is where our reflecsive and instinctive behaviors originate. The thalamus doesn't necessarily engage a thought process as it does not appear to store the experience memories essential to that process. Other than preprogrammed, reflecsive memory, the thalamus relies on the memory store and processes of upper brain regions to attenuate and refine our behaviroal responses--which are the qualities those regions add to our dream content. Nevertheless, there are no behaviroal responses without our brain's reception of stimuli, which infers that there's no dreaming without our thalamic reaction to sensory stimuli. Given this view, it's more likely that all dreams emerge as a response to sensory stimuli in sleep that affects the thalamus--stimuli that is externally rather than internally generated.
  3. Excellent question! The only meaningful difference is the purely mental state of our existence when we are dreaming. When we are awake and aware, physical reality and material concerns dominate our brain's cognitive focus. When we're dreaming, our cognitive focus isn't as limited by physical experience as it is when we are awake.
  4. Greetings All, If you’re familiar with my postings in this Psychology Forum under MIND & CONSCIOUSNESS, you may understand my perspective on the precarious nature of our mental stability. Therefore, I urge that you not become too obsessed with your dream experiences as that may askew your perspective on experiences of real consequence to your life and wellbeing. Dreams & Meaning continued—In prior comments, I describe dreaming as our brain’s interpretive response to the sensory stimuli it perceives as we sleep. That stimuli focuses our unconscious perception in ways that can produce a miriad of dream experience. Also, in previous comments, I further described our dream content as interpretations of mental affects. However, that last description is imprecise. A more precise description of what our dream content interprets is suggest by our brain’s interpretive processes. Those processes likely involve a comparison of sensory afference (input) with memory data. Essentially, our brain assesses our current sensory experiences by comparing those experiences with its library of similar past experiences. From this perspective, dream content is a comparative assessment of the unconscious impact of our sensory experiences in sleep. I may have further to discuss on this topic. I welcome your comments and continued interest.
  5. No, I'm not accessing my dreams to find what I may already know or have forgotten. My goal is to expound on what I already know about mind, consciousness, the unconscious, and brain function. My study of dreams--not just my own--and the dreaming brain are one means among several that I have chosen to reach that goal. In my attempt to reach that goal, I have become convinced that our unconscious may have access to an immense amount of sensory afference (experience data), which could provide immeasurable insight that has escape our conscious awareness. The only way we may consciously access that insight--what we know and are capable of knowing--is through a better understanding of how this insight manifests through dreaming and dream content. I don't particularly endorse hypnosis, I think it is more harmful than helpful. However, there's considerble evidence supporting its theurapeutic benefit and there are some who are believed by many to have gained access to considerable amounts of insight, which they could not possibly know or gain otherwise ( See Edgar Cayce). I'm still on the fence about that last bit.
  6. That metaphor references everything humanity does not yet know, which is limitless in my opinion. My specific interest isn't as much about exploration as it is about enhancing what I already know.
  7. Agreed, humans are finite but I can't agree that the potential insight available to humans is also finite. If I did, I'd be like that idiot Lord Kelvin who proclaimed around the turn of last century "That there's nothing new to be discovered in physics." Obviously, Kelvin was wrong. The trove of insight available to humans may only be limited by human imagination, which has frequently proven to be boundless. Again, with clarity, my use of "universe" in my phrasing was not a reference to aliens or the universe itself. My phrasing of "universe" was as a "metaphor" for how I view the vast or expansive nature of the potential insight I believe would be available to us through the focus of our unconscious eye.
  8. Although dream content regards our psychology, not all dreams are about the deep dark recesses of the unconscious. One may have a dream that advances our society and insight without harm to one's psyche. My reference to a universe of potential insight isn't about aliens but rather about the infinite nature of that potential insight.
  9. I’ve had several discussions about the unconscious in this forum and didn’t want to make this another. However, one can’t talk about dreams and dreaming without a discussion of the unconscious and unconscious brain function. To begin, we should have a clear perspective of my view on the unconscious. In my view, the unconscious is everything about brain function and its processes below the threshold of our conscious awareness. If we are not concurrently aware of the intricate brain functions and processes comprising our conscious responses as they are happening, then those functions and processes are occurring within the realm of the unconscious. As I have previously commented, our conscious awareness and behaviors are merely the outcome of those unconscious processes in the brain that converge in response (efference) to the stimuli (afference) our brain experiences. Focusing our unconscious eye on just the “stuff in basements” is limiting, selfish, and not the only view available to that eye. The potential gain from a better understanding of the unconscious and dream content isn’t just about looking inward—it’s also about looking outward, beyond self to a universe of potential insight.
  10. What we've been doing, IMO, has been haphazard at best and more like fumbling around in the dark trying to find a switch that may or may not light the room. Indeed it does and that's a wise perspective. However, bending our unconscious to our conscious will isn't as simple as it sounds. Afterall, our conscious will and thoughts emerge from our unconscious brain function. Essentially, our conscious mind is secondary to the unconscious processes from which that mind originates.
  11. Where? If one truely understands the interpretive nature of unconscious brain function in sleep, one may potentially aquire an ability to focus their unconscious eye at will on perceiving and understanding an infinite number of affects and experiences that could have a real physical/material impact or outcome on their wellbeing and the wellbeing of others.
  12. I commented before about the nature of the unconscious mind and how we at once tend to ascribe too much and too little to its nature. However, through dreaming, our unconscious isn't offering any particular assistance to our conscious perceptions or problem solving, it is merely revealing some resonant mental affect influencing our brain function in sleep. When we have problem-solving dreams it is because something about our sensory experiences in sleep has focused our unconscious perception on the mental affects of the problem absorbing our conscious attention. Our dreams can provide solutions to our waking-state problems by characterizing the mental impact of those problems, which can present them in a way that provides clarity. Although dreams can provide us with clarity and ingenious invention, again with clarity, dreams are not about our unconscious mind's intent or effort to address issues involving our waking state--they are about the interpretive processes involving the resonant mental affects of the stimuli our brain detects during sleep progression.
  13. I understand why there are varying views about the nature of memory and dreaming but I think one only needs to look at the likely evolution of memory in brain function to better understand that nature. Memory most likely evolved concurrent with the cerebral development and evolution in ancestral spieces. We know from current studies in humans and contrasting animal studies that brain development is, among other things, experience dependent. This means that neural development, brain volume, and memory function are inextricably tied to real sensory experiences. It is likely that ancestral species developed memory in response to experiences that had a concurrently real physical/material impact on their survival. Although dreams are mental experiences, they do not arise concurrently with experiences that have a real physical/material impact on our survival. We know that this is particularly true because comparative studies between the dreaming and conscious brain show distinctly different patterns and levels of activation in specific brain regions. Most notably, the prefrontal cortex experiences a state of diminished activation (hypofrontality) amid dreaming, which suggests certain executive brain function are not sufficiently stimulated during the dreaming state. Essentially, our dreaming brain does not process dream experiences with the same concern and attention as it does real experiences. Our general inability to recall the details of our dreams when awake is likely because memory was not evolved for experiences that don't impact our concern and attention the way our consious, waking-state experiences do. Dreaming has as much to do with memory formatiion as fleeting emotions, which are only important for a moment. What most impacts memory is the neural connectivity of the brain and what may improve or hinder that connectivity. The glymphatic processes that occur during sleep are crucial to the neural connectivity within the brain. Dreaming actually increases interstial cell waste, which can diminish connectivity and memory formation. However, the brain's system of cleansing itself responds more efficiently during sleep progression. That response is suggested by the increasing length of dreaming that occurs as sleep progresses. I welcome your continued interest.
  14. Greetings, Dream Content & Meaning – In earlier comments, I said that dreaming was an interpretive response to “something” our brain believes it is experiencing as we sleep and that this “something” makes our dreams meaningful. So, what is this “something”? Although dreaming occurs amid sleep progression, it isn’t sleep relative to brain function. Dreaming is an active, albeit unconscious state of brain function. In other words, is a wakeful state of brain function that occurs as we sleep. This is essential to our understanding of dream content and meaning because the state of brain function while dreaming is somehow equivalent to the state we experience when we are awake and aware. If you’ve read my prior comments in this forum on MIND & CONSCIOUSNESS, you should know how homeostasis is likely a primary impetuous for brain function and that all brain activity is essentially our brain’s effort to maintain its metabolic stability against the stimuli it experiences. Dreaming is our brain’s unconscious effort to maintain its functional stability in sleep against the stimuli it experiences as we sleep. Although our dream content may not be real experiences, they are responses to real stimuli. So, what is that stimuli? As suggested in Peterkin’s response to this discussion, something as innocuous as sleeping with one’s feet uncovered may stimulate dream content. However, what we physically experience during sleep may not always generate a dream or determine what a dream ultimately interprets. For an understanding of what our dreams likely interpret consider that they are empirically mental experiences, which suggest experiences that are psychological or of the mind in nature. The texture, sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and even our thoughts and feelings amidst our dreams interpret something entirely of the mind. In Peterkin’s example, the link between sleeping with one’s feet uncovered and dreaming about standing in water provides a clue to the precise nature of the mind that dream content interprets. Sleeping with one’s feet uncovered and subsequently dreaming about standing in water is equivalent to the conscious experience of smelling a freshly baked apple pie that then inspires thoughts and feelings of an earlier time in one’s life. In these examples, significance isn’t conveyed by the uncovered feet or apple pie materially but rather by the mental and emotional affects of standing in water and the recollections those wakeful experiences inspire--succintly, dream content and meaning interpret the mental and emotional "affects" of stimuli in sleep. If interest prevails and moderators permit, I will provide a bit more on the topic of dream meaning in my next post. Until then, I welcome your thoughts.
  15. Greetings, Before we proceed to a discussion of my next topic, Dreams & Memory, we should have a clear perspective of the distinction I’ve discussed between our brain and our sense of self. Our brain is an organic machine whose function is fueled by our bodily systems and informed by our body’s sensory array. Conversely, our sense of self—our individuality and personal identity—is a product and expression of that machine’s function. “We” do not exist without brain function; therefore, our personal perspective and expression does not exist without that function. Dreams & Memory—most researchers agree that dreaming serves memory function by transferring short-term memories into permanent storage. This shared perspective is rooted in an abundance of sleep and dreaming deprivation studies involving acuity observations and testing. Unfortunately, this popular and generally accepted perspective is not entirely accurate. Through sleep studies, researchers have observed sharp declines in mental acuity and memory formation of study participants when they experienced prolonged periods without sleep. Researchers have also observed the same effect when they studied interruptions in the dreaming portion of sleep solely. However, these study results are deceiving and do not provide a mechanism in brain function for the conclusions researchers have reached. What researchers have failed to consider in reaching their conclusions are the effects of interrupting the glymphatic processes that occur most efficiently during sleep progression. Glymphatic processes in the brain during sleep more efficiently remove the interstitial cell waste produced by the metabolic activity of the brain. At a rate of about 20%, our brain is the largest consumer of our body’s energy uptake. That consumption rate produces a substantial amount of cellular waste in the brain during all periods of wakeful activity, which also includes dreaming. Researchers of sleep have failed to consider and assess how experiments that interfere with the brain’s ability to remove extracellular waste may also interfere with communication between those cells. With sleep/dreaming function, the idea that memory is like removing an item from a refrigerator (short-term memory) and placing that item into a freezer (permanent memory) is imprecise. Memory is more like the path between distinct locations that must be continuously cleared of debris to not be overgrown and forgotten. In a final note on this topic, one might question if dreaming and memory are so closely tied as some researchers believe, why are our dream details difficult to remember without continual practice? As I have explained perennially, memory was evolved for experiences that had real, physical/material impact on ancestral species and dreams are not real, physical/material experiences; therefore, our dreams aren't as easy to recall as real experiences. Pending further responses to this and prior topics, my next topic will be a further discussion of dream content and meaning. I welcome your thoughts and continued interest.
  16. That's unfortunate...I thought we communicated quite well...my apologies.
  17. “Behavior” isn’t a term that uniquely describes physically expressed activity. To clarify relative to brain function, “behavior” refers to any activation of brain function in response to stimuli. Dreaming is a response to stimuli amid sleep and is, therefore, an expression of brain “behavior” in sleep. Rather than “informing itself,” the sleeping brain is aroused to a dreaming state by the stimuli it can detect in sleep. Albeit an entirely a mental state, the behavior our brain engages in response to stimuli in sleep is dreaming. My reference to aggression refers to all forms of its expression that may elicit an interpretive brain response. Stimuli impacts our sensory system similarly in that our system is primed to similarly perceive and interpret sound as auditory stimuli, visual experience as ocular stimuli, taste as oral stimuli, touch as tactile stimuli, and so on. Barring sensory and brain defect, our sensory system is similaryl primed to perceive and interpret stimuli by their distinct nature. By quantify I am referring to the depth and breadth of dream imagery and experience. Through dream content, our dreaming brain assigns a deminsion of perception and understand to our experience that belies the simple nature of the material stimuli inspiring that experience in sleep--much like dreams of standing in water as an affect of having one's feet uncovered while sleeping.
  18. In retrospect, I understand and have given my perspective further thought. Our brain relies on two distinct neural processes: Those that deliver sensory information into the brain (input) and those that issue responses from the brain (output). Respectively, these are what I referred to as the afferent (input) and efferent (output) processes of brain function, which should clearly be a distinction between what is sensory input and what is behaviroal output in response to that stimuli. What I now understand is that the interpretive aspects of brain function are more aligned with the efferent response systems of the brain, which rely heavily on what has been our individual experiences. Consider, for example, the sensory input associated with aggression. When we encounter aggression, it's associated visual, tactile, and auditory sensory information is initially interpreted or identified by it's immediate impact on our senses. Barring sensory abnormality, the impact of external sensory on our sensory system is the same for all of us. Divergence only occurs during the quantification process where that impact is weighed against what has been our prior experience stored as sense memory. Quantification only occurs as a response to stimili. The images in our dreams quantify the affects of the stimuli our brain believes it is expereincing while dreaming. As quantification relies on personal experiences stored as memories, this would indeed belie the idea of a universal meaning for every aspect of dream content. This perspective, however, does not invalidate the empirical nature of dreaming relative to all dreaming species--dreams are mental experiences and are, therefore, defined by the nature of mental experience. The mental nature of our experiences regards those that exclusively affect and involve our psychology. The images in our dreams describe the affects of something that has or is having a mental influence akin to what that dream imagery depicts. Using your example, the affect of your uncovered feet while sleeping had an affect on your dreaming brain akin to standing in water. However, it is unlikely that everyone with uncovered feet will have the same dream experience while sleeping. This suggests that your uncovered feet has aroused perceptions unique to you, which your dreaming brain depicts as standing in water. This is akin to how the smell of a freshly baked apple pie could arouse thoughts and memories in me that are different from yours due to our different life experiences. However, a dream imagery of standing in water likely suggests something more than how our dreaming brain interprets uncovered feet while asleep. Unlike the thoughts, feelings, and memories inspired by our conscious experiences, the mental nature of our dream experiences interpret influences relevant to our psychology; therefore, it is likely that dreams of standing in water describe something that is mental in nature. I welcome your thoughts.
  19. From my perspective, there are subtle distinctions between the processes in brain function involving the "we" and those involving "our brain". The "we" is a distinctive output of those processes intergrating our sensory experiences with our memories and memory function. " Our brain," in the context of this discussion of dreams and dreaming, refer to those processes that quantify and categories the nature of our sensory experiences. What I'm referring to in all this is a distinction between the efferent and afferent processes of brain function. Using your examples here, the heat you detect, the uncovered feet you feel, and the noises your hear are your brain's interpretations of the afferent stimuli it has detected, felt, and heard. Your brain's afferent processes are what quantifies your sensory experiences as heat, uncovered feet, and various noises. Your brain's efferent processes are what generates your responses to the stimuli it quantifies. Dreaming is an efferent response to the stimuli you experience in sleep and your dream content interprets the affects of that stimuli in sleep. Our responses are individual because they are predicated on our individual life experiences. My responses to heat, uncovered feet, and various noises may be distinctly different from yours because we have likely had different life experiences involving those sensory perceptions. Nevertheless, our afferent interpretations of those sensory experiences as heat, uncovered feet, and various noises are likely the same because of the neural structure and sensory system we share in common as humans. Perhaps is does sound that way but it doesn't invalidate this approach if properly understood. The examples I provided where not meant to infer the use of puns, homonyms, or tropes to understand dream content. As you observed, that approach may not work for all nationalities. Instead, the words "mental" and "social" are meant to quantify the basic nature of dreams and dream content for the dreamer. Dreams are mental experiences and in any language their content interprets that mental and social nature. In any language and regardless of nationality, a firehouse, butterfly, or boxing, using my examples, describe something specific or culturally significant. Adding the words mental or social to these examples identifies and defines the common and basic nature they convey when they appear in dream content--much like a surname identifies a family of related individuals. I welcome your further thoughts.
  20. Over the years I've met individuals and read the research whose ideas many considered doctrine in this area of interest. They believe that the individual and deeply personal nature of our life experiences renders the dream content they inspire virtually indecipherable by anyone other than ourselves. These experts believe that there's no Rosetta Stone one may universally apply to understanding all dreams and the influences their content interprets--they are mistaken. The interpretive responses of our brain in sleep isn't about how we as individuals interpret our dream experiences, it's about how our brain interprets stimuli in sleep. The commonality of brain development and function that all humans share virtual assures some commonality in how our brain perceives and processes the things we see, taste, touch, and smell. What makes these experiences different for each of us isn't how our brain interprets this stimuli but rather how we respond to that stimuli. Universally, our brain interprets all stimuli the same way and without variance. Variance only occurs when there's a defect in the sensory systems our brain relies on to receive and experience stimuli. What this means for dream content is that there is a Rosetta Stone of sorts for understanding their meaningful nature. First and foremost, dream content invaribly interpret stimuli arising from mental and/or social influences; therefore, the content of our dreams describe something our dreaming brain perceives as either mental and/or social in nature. For example, any and all buildings in dreams are how our dreaming brain interprets the affects of mental and/or social structures. That word "structures" does not relate to the buildings themself but rather to something more abstract in nature. In fact, the easiest way to understand dream content is to simply add either the word "mental" or "social" to your description of its depictions (e.g., mental firehouse, social butterfly, mental boxing). Dreams are not materially real physical sensory experiences and our dreaming brain is able to perceive that distinction. The imagery and experiences of dream content are interpretations of stimilu facilitated by our brain's library or store of real life experiences. Whatever you have consciously experienced or envisioned in life is stored in your memory and can be used by your dreaming brain to interpret whatever it may be perceiving as you sleep. Your dreaming brain cannot interpret something it has not experience; e.g., cogenitally blind individuals do not experience visual dream content.
  21. Greetings, It’s been a while since I’ve posted here on this titled subject, so I thought I’d do so now with this brief discussion. I thought I might correct some misconceptions about the nature of dreams and dreaming and answer any questions you may have. My perspective is based on the science of the dreaming brain, which traces the intricacies of dreaming in brain function. You are free to critique my perspective and, as always, I will try to keep this discussion palatable to respondents of all knowledge levels. Let’s begin with the most basic question about the nature of dreams, which is are they important or meaningful? If you never learn anything about or from dreams, you can still live a full and happy life. There are likely billions of peoples who have lived long and healthy without ever knowing a single thing about their dreams, which suggests an outcome that it’s fine not knowing. Understanding your dreams is not important to your day-to-day life unless you believe they are important or their experiences somehow interfere with your daily functions. Repetitive or traumatic dream experiences, for example, can be symptoms of deeper unresolved mental health issues you should address with a seasoned professional. For most of us, whether our dreams are important is subjective; however, whether they’re meaningful is not. Dreaming is an interpretive response in brain function caused by its increased sensitivity to the stimuli it experiences during sleep progression. Our brain’s sensitivity to stimuli decreases during the early stages of sleep. This diminished sensitivity begins to reverse as the metabolic processes of sleep ultimately increase blood flow to the brain. However, the key words to note and understand in my comments here are “interpretive response”. Those words are key in that they infer our dreaming brain is attempting to understand something it believes it is experiencing as we sleep—and that “something” makes our dreams meaningful. Depending on your responses or unless you have questions, I will move on to a discussion of dreams and memory from here. I welcome your thoughts and continued interest in this brief discussion.
  22. The distinction between logic and reason is slight but not, IMO, indistinguisable. Logic is about a methodical summation or answer based on relative truths or facts; whereas, reasoning is about a ponderance of the evidence supporting a truth or fact. For example, If a=b and b=c, then logic suggests that a=c. Conversely, reasoning suggests that a=c because of the evidence a=b and b=c provides. Essentially, logic regards our methodical somewhat mathmatical approach to a conclusion, while reason regards the evidence we ponder to reach that conclusion--logic is the equation and reason is it's elements.
  23. I agree because this is clearly not a discussion about the science of consciousness. If it were, this discussion would certainly involve how it likely emerges from and is described by brain function.
  24. As I am always interested in oddities of mind and consciousness, today I learned a bit more about a little known syndrome--aphantasia. Aphantasia, a condition first described in 1880 paper and named by neurologists in 2015, is an inability to form mental imagery. A recent Health Digest article discusses emerging research suggesting that this condition may have something to do with low neural connectivty between the visual and prefrontal cortices. It's a condition that may emerge at birth or from brain injury. It seems some of us--1 to 5%--lack imagination for legitimately real medical reasons--Huh, imagine that.
  25. Forgive this delayed response but there is a definition for "mind". Mind is the environment of cognitive activity within a brain, which arises from that brain's functional matrix. That matrix involves a brain's capacity to integrate dicotomous sensory stimuli with its memory functions to produce behaviors independent of an organism's instinct. In essence, an organism has a mind when its behaviors suggest a thought process--a process that allows an organism to engage behaviors contrary to its instinctive nature. To produce a mind, an organism must demostrate a capacity to experience stimuli and an associative capacity to store and recall the affects of that stimuli. This is more about the science of brain function that philosophy.
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