Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Are Dreams a Gauge for Measuring One's Consciousness?

I had a rather interesting dream last night.  In this dream I and a few people I knew were a team of super heroes.  We were fighting in a giant flying fortress (the kind that a super villain  would have), one which reminded me of the inside of a large hotel.

We actually thought the experience was rather funny because of how easily we were shredding through this fortress. We would look up and see holes in the ceiling that passed through four or five floors and one could see outer space at the hole's end. Two or three of us were on the other side of the flying fortress, happily shredding through the walls.

As I passed into the central chamber of the fortress, I realized we'd actually hollowed the thing out, and this fortress was now nothing more than a skeletal husk of framework floating in space above the Earth. The instant I saw this, I had a semi-lucid moment in which I realized something was off and I started to become aware that this was a dream.

This brief lucid moment caused the dream to momentarily have real world physics, and the fortress suddenly started plummeting to the Earth. I could actually feel the fortress falling.  I had butterflies in my stomach. I felt the g-forces build up as the fortress fell and I started lifting up off the floor.

As I was hanging in mid dream-realm air I started to panic. (I was only semi-lucid, so a large part of me still thought this dream fortress was a real place.) I thought to myself "To save myself, I need to fly." and so I took control of my fate by making flight a conscious act.

I brought myself to a halt in mid air, and let the fortress fall to the Earth beneath me.


For our civilization, the attempt to understand the mind is a very new science. Western culture is not like the civilizations of Africa, Indo-China or MesoAmerica who recognized early on just how important the inner-world of the mind is. These civilizations have almost always viewed the dream realm as being at least as real, if not more so, than the material world that we westerners naively call "the real world." Ever since the days of Greece, Western civilization has been in love with the concept of materialism. (Materialism, meaning that matter and only matter really exists.  Matter has value. Different objects are made of different matter and it is therefore possible to be a separate thing.  Life is nothing but a biological machine that exists as the sum of its parts, and consciousness is somehow the product of the interaction between matter.) As an extension of materialism, Western Civilization has given almost no value to anything not material, including the workings of the subconscious mind. The Western world view, on the most shallow of levels, appears to be a very stable view even to our supposed "spiritual leaders" who are supposed to know better.  When one completely ignores the inner world of their own mind the idea of materialism appears to be "the way things are."  It wasn't until the mid-1900s that people like Sigmund Freud, Albert Einstein and Niels Bohr started bringing to the AVERAGE Westerner's attention the concept that materialism might just be a house of cards and that there could be much more to existence than mere particle interactions.


I bring up the subjects of both my dream, and Western Society's "noob-ness" on the subject of the mind to make a point.  It seems like every time the subject of dreams comes up people start making false statements about not being able to do certain things in dreams. Every time I've heard someone say "You can't _____ in a dream." there have been others who are actually doing it, and most of the time one of the people actually doing it is ME.

During the 1980s, a common misconception held by our 'Experts' was that you can't see color in a dream. If someone ever had a dream-like experience in which they wondered if they were awake, it was very common for someone with lots of opinion but no real information to say "What color is my shirt?  See?  You're awake because you can't see color in a dream."  And they would say it so matter-of-factly that most people found it very difficult to debate the issue.  But there's a flaw in the theory that you can't see color in a dream and that flaw is that I DREAM IN COLOR.  There are even multiple written accounts of people seeing colors in their dreams that are so bright and vivid that nothing in the 'waking' world compares. All one needs to do to read these accounts is to pick up anything written on the subject of lucid dreams. Color also appears in many dream symbolism books as having meaning, so I'm not the only one who sees color in my dreams.  It should be noted that one hardly hears anybody voicing this theory anymore.

Today, we have another misconception that the 'experts' keep spreading around. Today's misconception is that you do not feel physical sensations in dreams.  People mainly bring this one up as a way to go lucid while in the dream state. They say things like "If you're not certain if you're dreaming or not, pinch yourself.  If you feel it then that means you're awake, because you can't feel things while dreaming."  This is nonsense. I feel in dreams on a regular basis. I have felt heat, I've felt cold, I've felt touch, I've felt the water I was swimming in, I've felt the ground beneath my feet, I've felt a dream woman's kiss, and perhaps most importantly of all I've felt being dream pinched.  Even if you have never felt physical sensation while in the dream state, you only need to study "Wet Dreams" to find all the proof you need. My own experience with wet dreaming as a 12 year old boy felt so real and vivid that I actually thought, at the time, I was losing my virginity. It wasn't until after I was awake and sneaking my bed sheets and underpants into the laundry that I realized it hadn't actually happened in what we call "The real world."

I have also had dreams where I was walking down the street and I could smell the rankor of the people, the gutters, and the back alleys. So you have the sense of smell in dreams too.  Although I cannot currently think of any times where I have tasted flavor in a dream, I'm certain there are many people who do it all the time.

Another possible misconception spread by just about everyone today is that "You can't die in a dream."  The problem with this statement is, "How do we know?" People keep saying that you always wake up the instant before you experience a dream death. Is it the instant before? What if it's a death where you die instantly? I have had several dream instances where I'm pretty certain I experienced a death. I don't know for a fact that I experienced a dream death, but this is only because I have no point of reference.  I know what it feels like to be pinched, so if I'm pinched while dreaming I know that I've been pinched. I've never fallen off a 20 story building and splattered on the pavement below, so I don't know if what I dreamed is like the real experience or not.  People like to say "You don't really die in a dream, because if you dream die you just wake up."  Once again, how do we know whether or not that's what death is like? How do we know that dying doesn't simply feel like waking up? I certainly read a few accounts of near the experiences that describe death as being exactly like that.  Now of coarse there is also the Atheist's view to take into consideration. An Atheist might say something like "You can't die in a dream because when you die there's nothing." This is a valid argument for a materialist to make, but let me pose another question in response. "What does 'nothing' feel like?  What is it like to experience nothing?" One time I went in for surgery and, thanks to the anesthetics the doctor gave me, I experienced a case of missing time. I was getting prepped for surgery, and I was sitting in recovery. No observable time had passed.  I just was. Perhaps this is why we experience waking up after dream dying? Perhaps we don't wake up after dream dying at all?  Perhaps we experience missing time until it's time to get up? (Of coarse I am not saying that time has any relevance in the dream state, I'm only trying to list possibilities here.)


Now to change modes of thought. Up until now I've been talking about a dream I had and some misconceptions about dreams. But there is an important point that I feel needs to be brought up about dreams. While I do feel physical sensation in the dream state, I don't ALWAYS feel dream sensations. While I have smelled fragrances in dreams, I don't ALWAYS smell dream fragrances.  And while I do always see color in dreams, different dreams will have varying degrees of color, and the degree of color seems to be related to how lucid I am.  In other words, the more conscious (lucid) I am, the brighter the dream colors are and the more additional senses I seem to have. And what about the people who claim they don't dream at all?

This leads me to pose a hypothesis...

What if your ability to experience the dream world is determined by how consciously aware you are?

I have no idea how accurate this hypothesis is.  I've always known that I dream, so I don't know what it's like to be a person who claims not to dream.  Perhaps they simply don't remember their dreams?  Perhaps they actually don't dream? Now I'm well aware of watching Rapid Eye Movements to determine if you're dreaming and that our scientific community claims that not only does everyone dream but that we must dream in order to stay sane. I actually agree with this particular statement, but it's a mistake to think we know what's going on inside another person's head and our scientific community doesn't exactly have a spotless record when it comes to accuracy or even in the ability to stay scientific in their questioning. Also, I have no idea what the experiences are of people who are far more adept dreamers than I am.

I only have my own experiences to call upon, and my experiences say that the less lucid I am, the more dim (or even forgettable) my dreams are, yet the more lucid I am the more expansive and complete my dream senses become.

So, perhaps when those scientific "dream experts" from the 80s said that it is impossible to see color in a dream, perhaps it's because they were so unconsciousness that THEY really couldn't see color in their dreams?  Perhaps when the dream experts of today say that it's impossible to feel pain in a dream, it's because they are unconscious enough that THEY can't feel pain in their dreams. Perhaps the only reason people say that you can't die in a dream is because they are unconscious of their dream deaths?  Perhaps the people who don't dream, or can't remember their dreams, are so unconscious that they basically die when they close their eyes?

I don't know, but it's interesting conjecture.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A bit of conjecture regarding the "Dumb Blond" steriotype. (Read if you want. Don't if you don't.) :)

As a mental exercise, I've spent the past week thinking about the phenomenon known as the "Dumb Blond" joke that the people of our society so enjoy.

The reason for this contemplation is my realization that I can't honestly think of very many blonds I know who are dumb. Actually, I can't think of very many people, period, who can honestly be called dumb.  Now granted there are a large number of people who disagree with me about a great many things, and culturally we are taught that our own opinions are not only more valid than other people's opinions but they are more valid than other people's actual experiences and therefore we are supposed to think of anyone who disagrees with us as being stupid.  In reality a person's intellect is unrelated to their opinions, no matter how much this concept might chaff the ass of our egotistical culture.

Once again, I can't honestly think of very many blonds who are actually dumb.  Quite the contrary, I've met several blonds who have great depth to their thoughts, but they think emotionally rather than what we call "logically."  This has led me to wonder about what it means to think emotionally versus logically.  From what I can tell, the only real difference between the two is in the acceptance of socially agreed upon limitations to thought.

To describe what I mean, let me use the example of "Time."  We experience "time" as being an all-inclusive "thing" that we all exist within. (That last sentence seems redundant, but there is a subtle difference in the meaning.)  We also experience "time" as being linear with a past (that has already happened), a present (that is currently happening), and a future (that will happen).

To approach this subject from a logical point-of-view, time appears to have a certain amount of solidity to it.  Sure, time appears to be something that one can stretch and pull with gravity (there are documented scientific experiments which prove this can be done.  They can be found in any physics text book.) but time still appears to be some sort of 'thing' since only physical things can be stretched or pulled in a physical manner.  Also, because time appears to be linear (with a past, present and future), the logical perspective also suggests that time has a beginning, a middle, and an ending.  Logically, if time flows in a linear direction then time must start and finish.  Even people who acknowledge that there must have been something before the beginning for the beginning to happen still think in terms of a start and a stop to time.  Also, logically speaking, since time must be "some-thing" that we exist within, then existence as we know it cannot possibly exist outside of time.  Once again, even the people who logically acknowledge that there must be something outside of time for time to exist behave as if all existence exists within time.

Now, to approach the same subject of "time" from an emotional point of view.  Emotional thinking is very difficult to describe within the confines of the English language since English itself is a physical/masculine/materialistic language.  If one who speaks English wishes to discuss a non-material subject, they really have no choice but to learn at least a few words from one of the Eastern languages.  Never the less, I will attempt to describe this subject from an emotional point-of-view.  Emotional thinking has a certain transcendence to it's ability to conceptualize ideas.  While the logical mind has the ability to recognize that there must have been some"thing" (for lack of a better term) before the beginning, the logical mind is still bound to following the start/finish mind set of time whereas the emotional mind is able to actually visualize the existence that existed before existence.  The emotional mind can actually see how this is possible.  The logical mind can acknowledge that something must exist outside of time for time to exist, but the emotional mind has the ability to understand that "thing" (once again, using the word "thing" because English can't describe any"thing" else.) for what it really is.  The emotional mind can, in fact, imagine time as being something other than a thing.

To sum up the last two paragraphs, the "logical" mind has no choice but to confine it's thinking to being within the accepted ideas that time is a thing and that every"thing" must be a thing as well.  An "Emotional" mind, however, can visualize beyond the physical limitations we've set for ourselves.

Now back to the subject of "Dumb Blond" stereotype.  As I've already stated, I've met many blonds who appear to be Emotional thinkers.  In our society, where we are taught that logic and intellect are the same thing, we view anything non-logical as complete nonsense.  This doesn't mean the emotional concept actually is nonsense.  It only means that because we cannot logically visualize the concept, we decide that the idea can't hold any merit.

The result, we declare anything non-logical as being stupid.  Because we've declared the idea stupid, we free ourselves to ignore the idea, therefore freeing ourselves to be prejudiced against the person who had the idea.  This also allows those "logical" thinkers among us to stroke our egos by declaring ourselves superior (i.e. more intelligent.)

Basically, this line of thinking has led me to believe that emotional thinkers (which we associate with being blond) are of equal intellect, but they think in a way that our culture is incapable of understanding.

-Why Blonds?-

The next part of my conjecture has dealt with "Why blonds?"  Why not people with dark hair?  Why not people of other ethnicities?  Something I've noticed is that being an emotional thinker has nothing to do with being blond, or white, or female, or anything else.  The very idea that "blonds are like this" is completely flawed and based on the limited "logical" viewpoint of our culture.

In logic, we attempt to take the things we see and set up separations and limitations based on our observations.  To put it another way, we constantly work to "pigeon-hole" everything in our lives into nice neat little files whether the ideas in those files belong together (or separate) or not.

I do want to point out that logical thinking itself is NOT flawed, but rather that it becomes flawed when we treat it as the only "proper" way to think.  Logic fails when the person doing the thinking becomes a thought bigot.  Under these same circumstances, emotional thinking will also fail.

Many aboriginal societies throughout history have actually preferred emotional thinking over logic.  When the Aboriginals of Australia, the tribes of Africa, the shaman of the Natives of both North and South America, and in fact most people from around the world are taken into consideration it becomes apparent that being white and blond has nothing to do with emotional thinking or, by extension, being a "dumb blond."  Many whites who are "dumb blonds" aren't really even blond.  Their color came in a bottle.

So why have the "dumb blonds" received the bulk of the bigotry regarding intellect?

One reason may be that (as uncomfortable as this idea is) racism might be so rampant in our society that whites are punished for treating non-Eurocentric ideas with merit.  In other words, "If you think like a tribesman, then you must be as dumb as a tribesmen."  This would be a very deep running and highly subliminal cause of the phenomenon yet it still wouldn't explain why "blond" emotional thinkers are the ones associated with being dumb.

A second reason might be the perception that blond people are from Northern Europe.  Ireland and Scotland have a long history of rebellious behavior against authority. During the expansion of the Christian religion across the European continent, these peoples were among the last cultures to abandon their 'pagan' ways. Even after their Christian conversions these people chose to embed their traditional beliefs into Christianity instead of abandoning those beliefs entirely.  This embedding of the old beliefs can be seen most easily in Church architecture and Legends of King Arthur and Robin Hood.  The Irish monks, especially, found many passive-aggressive ways to rebel against the church.  While the monks from the rest of the Christian world ritualistically shaved the tops of their heads to show that they were monks, the Monks of Ireland grew out the hair on the top of their heads and shaved from the temples down and they did this for no other reason than to raise a middle finger towards the Vatican. (I have no idea what the monks who were naturally balding did.)  Also, ancient bibles transcribed by Irish monks are renowned for for having doodles and fun pictures drawn in the margins of all the pages of this very serious book.  The people of these cultures probably maintained their emotional thinking despite the Western culture's efforts to drive this sort of thinking out of them.  This coupled with the idea that blond people came from North Europe could be the cause for our concept of the "dumb blond."

A third possibility could be the personalities of emotional thinkers, themselves.  Anyone who stands in the presence of an emotional thinker can attest that even when they are in a bad mood there still seems to be a "brightness" to their personalities.  The English language, despite its many limitations, has several terms that we use to describe emotional thinkers.  We call them "bright" or "bright and cheery."  We describe emotional thinkers as being "A ray of sunshine" or "Airy."  We talk about how when they enter a room they "lighten the mood."  Perhaps "blonds" who aren't really blond lighten their coloration simply because it feels right to them?

Personally, I suspect the cause of the prejudice is a combination of the three reasons I gave above.

If you made it this far, I thank you for reading.  Remember, this is all hypothetical.  I wouldn't even call it a theory.  But this has been occupying my mind the last few days so I thought I'd share it.  Good day.  :D

Saturday, September 10, 2011

A visit from a praying mantis.

This pretty little lady paid me a visit while I was on my computer, the other night.  She just flew up and clung to the side of my monitor.  She is brown and about four inches long.

Because mantis are so sensitive to visual stimuli I covered the flash on my camera with my finger to keep from freaking her out.  It was the flash shining through my finger that made the picture red.

According to my shaman literature, Mantis comes to you when you need to practice just sitting still.  This is true.  My attention span has been rather short lately.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

A Red Dragon

I recently saw a red dragon flying over my house.  It coalesced from all those specs of light which dance around ones vision.  She was big, about the size of a jumbo jet, and was a fiery red color.
I asked this shaman I know about it, giving only a partial description of what I saw and she finished the describtion for me.  Apparently Red Dragons are fierce and protective.
Has anyone else had a similar experience?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

What is an Advanced Civilization?

Last Wednesday I was in my usual evening unknowncountry.com chat, and we were discussing the museums and libraries of alien civilizations and the sorts of wonders they might contain.

While I think it would be a lot of fun to spend an evening in such a place, especially if the librarian/guide was knowledgeble and interested in being helpful, it seemed to me that an advanced alien civilization would not have such things as museums or libraries.

My point of contention is this: The difference between a primative civilization and an advanced civilization could very well be in whether or not they believe matter really exists. 

A civilization who believes matter is real would also believe that matter is solid (the chair your sitting on is real), matter exists under a set of rules which must be followed (Laws of Physics), and that the collection of material things is a worthwhile goal (Material Wealth).  This primative civilization would believe that it's important to collect trophies of past experiences, which when one looks at museums and libraries honestly this is what they are, a collection of a civilization's trophies.

On the other hand, a civilization who nolonger believes matter is real would see only consciousness as actually existing.  What we call 'existence' would be nothing more that a playground for life to play in.  The laws of physics would be whatever these beings wanted them to be at the time.  They would have direct access to all knowledge in the multiverse.  They would not 'die' because even the bodies they are wearing, assuming they chose to wear bodies, would only be figments of their imagination.  This species would be (for lack of a better term) a species of gods.  The people themselves would become the relics and documents normally found in a museum or library.

The only reason for an advanced civiliation to have museums and libraries is if someone thought they would be fun to have.

I guess another point I'm trying to make here is that we as human beings of the planet Earth tend to make the mistake of thinking we are somehow 'normal' as far as civilizations go.  We use ourselves as the point of reference upon which all other civilizations are judged.  (Which Judgement is the topic for another blog post)  We assume that our views are 'Universal' and as such can be applied to other civilizations.  We assume that because we are adversarial and polarized then everyone else must be too. Because we are greedy materialists who use technology as the yardstick for measureing a civiliation's advancement then that must be how all civilizations measure advancement.  Then again, we also assume that the idea of 'advancement' means the same to everyone else that it does to us or that they even have such a concept.

In our science fiction we always treat humanity as if it's the middle of the road with all the other beings being some left or right extreme of who we are.  If you look at the show Star Trek for example, you have the Klingons who are the war-mongers, the Romulans are the fascists, the Vulcans are the peaceful scientists, the Borg are the Hive-Minded egoless race who's merged with their technology, the Beta-zed are psychics (and one of the only feminine races on the show).  Then you have the humans, who are just normal. 
Quite the contrary, we appear to be one of the extremes.  In my personal opinion, the reality of our standing in relation to what is normal is that we would be a combination of the Klingons and Romulans.  We as a society seem to be warmongering fascists.  While I know many people will take acception to this description of our species, I ask that you take some time to watch us as a people (yourself included) with loving detachment.  Take your ego out of it and watch with open eyes the way we treat each other. 
The motto of our society seems to be "Free will is important, but only as long as you think the way I want you to think.  And if you disagree with me, I'm going to go to war with you and kick your ass until you think the way I tell you."  There is no peace or freedom for anyone in that mindset, but apparently it's the mindset most rampant in our culture.

To wrap things up here, what this blog post is getting at is that an advanced civilization seems to have two traits, neither of which we have.  The first trait is that they see matter as a figment of the imagination, to be played with.  The second trait would be that they recognize others have completely different points of view from their own and that these differing views are equally valid.  Being 'Advanced' is a matter of one's world view, not technology.

What do you think?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Dear Woman (to previous post)

Masculine and Feminine energies, a commentary.

I write this because I just watched a video that deeply disturbed me.  It's a video that, on the shallow and superficial level, appeared very kind and sweet and even gave the impression of being a solution to the problem of sexism.  However, when viewed at a deeper level it seems to be promoting many greater problems.

The video that I'm discussing involves a group of men apologizing to women for their mistreatment at the hands of men throughout history, once again this appears to be kind, sweet, and a solution.  But, the video proceeds to take on the flavor that everything Feminine is 'good' and everything masculine is 'evil' and it proceeds to behave as if men and women are separate.  These are very destructive views that, in my opinion, ignore the core problems.

In my own journey of self discovery I have learned that in my past lives I have been a wide variety of people.  I have been a ruthless feudal Hungarian lord who beat his servants mercilessly for the sake of beating them.  I have been a shaman in a small Aztec village who was deeply in love with my wife, whom I had great respect and admiration for.  I have been a woman sold into slavery to be used as a sex object by the Egyptian nobility.

The first of my points is this, I personally have lived both as men and women.  I have been the cause, opponent, and victim of tyranny.  ...and I suspect we ALL have done the same.  To treat the issue of sexism from the point of view of 'men' apologizing to 'women' for 'their' treatment at 'our' hands is a small view that seems to miss the mark.  It's a view that treats us all as if we are separate from each other and ignores us ALL as being both victims and oppressors on this issue.

It would be a far more profound statement to apologize (regardless of the gender of body we are currently living in) for our treatment of all those who have ever been at our own personal mercy, regardless of the reasons be it gender, ethnicity, beliefs, or anything else.  The reason why I believe this apology would be so much more profound is because not only does it accept that we are all both victims and oppressors of prejudice in all its forms, but it also promotes real change.  It promotes the sort of understanding that by hurting others we are hurting our selves.  The statement takes an act of selfishness (I want to be treated well by others) and turns it into an act of greater good.  (I will end sexism in order to insure my own well treatment, regardless of the body I am living in.)  This apology should be aimed at yourself as well as your victims, for you are a victim of yourself too.

The second concern of this video I would like to point out is the "Everything feminine is 'good' and everything masculine is 'evil'" message this video had as an underlying theme.  This creates multiple societal problems.

In the people who currently live in the bodies of women, this statement builds the idea that everything they think and feel is both 'good' and an 'improvement' regardless of how hateful or sexist their ideas are.  This actually leads many women to living more in the darker side of the masculine energies than most men do.  These women want the domination of women over men as opposed to equality between women and men.  In other words, they do not want a better world, they want to perpetuate the same problem but with the roles reversed.  (It strikes me as important to remember that these women will eventually be born again as men and the current men will eventually be born as women.  And then where will they, personally, be?)

Another important aspect of the "Feminine is good, masculine is evil" theme is the damage that it does to the self esteem of young boys.  Any message spoken often enough will eventually be believed, (as any woman raised in this over-sexed society can attest to.)  If you are a small boy, and you are constantly told that by being a boy you are bad or (even worse) evil, this will do horrible  psychological damage to your view of self.  You will grow up not liking yourself, and this dislike of self will usually manifest in one of two ways.  You will either choose to not be a man (take that sentence in whatever way you wish), or you will choose to become the evil definition of what you are told men are supposed to be.  Not only is neither outcome healthy but neither outcome will allow the small boy to grow up to be what he is meant to be, which is a strong but nurturing man who protects his family and feels comfortable with being himself. 

Currently everyone in our society seems to be well aware of the subconscious message to young girls that you have to be "Sexy" to have value, but everyone also seems universally blind to it's sister message to young boys that it's "bad" or "wrong" to be a man.  Both of these messages deserve our equal attention if we really do want a better world to live in.

Both masculine and feminine energies have their light and dark sides. The light side of masculinity turns you into a loyal protector and provider.  The dark side of masculinity turns you into a selfish tyrant.  The light side of feminine energy turns you into a loving parent with strong ties to the community.  The dark side of femininity turns you into ruthless manipulator.

We all have both energies and we have all lived as both genders.  Instead of treating ourselves as if one half of the species is responsible for the suffering of the other half, we need to understand that ALL have oppressed ALL.  And ALL of this needs to change.  The goal should be to build the light energies in both our masculine and feminine sides as opposed to switching which gender of body is dominate in our society.

There is no 'them.'  There is only 'us' and we are ALL responsible for us ALL.