posted on Jan, 4 2010 @ 04:28 PM
For the last 21 years I have had a personal interest in dreams and consciousness during sleep. My interest is not academic in nature and I am not a
certified scientist, philosopher or psychologist. That said, dreams and being conscious during dreaming has allowed me to explore a wide range of
dream experiences within a spectrum of dreaming.
The experiences always exceeded my expectations and knowledge base when it came to dream literacy. For the most part, everyone I know is dream
illiterate and this problem of dream illiteracy is quite rampant on this planet, let alone my social circles. When I had my first conscious or lucid
dream, I was 15 years old and the experience fuelled my enthusiasm for this type of dreaming. It didn’t prepare me for the more phenomenological
realities of dreaming such as precognitive dreams, lucid precognitive dreams, shared dreams and more.
The revelation of the reality of these types of experiences were totally unsuspected results of dreaming and would cause a paradigm shift in how I
would perceive the nature of reality and the role dreams played in that nature. The obvious starting point for understanding dreams at this personal
level comes from understanding what the role of perception and cognition of dream data entails. I will attempt to share this with you for some peer
If we look at reality, we have two ideologies which have opposed each other since Plato and Democritus battled out their beliefs over idealism and
materialism. Materialism adheres to the belief that reality is only what matter and energy is made of, and is bound by physical law. Democritus is
said to be the father of modern science with his atomic theory. Idealism is a belief that reality is made of thoughts and ideas. Plato is said to be
the father of idealism with his famous, “I think therefore I am”.
The paradigm shift for me was realizing both Plato and Democritus were right. Reality was made up of atoms, and reality was also made up of thought.
Both men argued over two very real aspects of reality. Physical reality which is the realm of materialism, and Cognitive reality or non-physical
reality which is the realm of idealism. For the conscious observer, both realities co-existed simultaneously.
Physical reality is our objective reality from which we use our sensory apparatus to gather sensory data. Our physical senses perceive this data and
send encoded electrical signals to the brain where our neurons are stimulated. The stimulation of neurons starts the rendering process inside the
physical brain. The brain must take this sensory stimuli and render the result into a mental canvas. Daniel Dennett is known for his theory on how
perception models itself within the mind, and he introduced the metaphor of the Cartesian Theatre.
The Cartesian Theatre is an important cognitive metaphor and describes the canvas by which our perceived sensory information is then rendered. This is
where cognitive reality comes in. Plato clearly had his focus on this inner realm of cognition and had a high level of regard for how it operated.
Cognitive reality is the result of the brains ability to render a model of reality for the observer to experience. Each of us have a seat at the
center of our Cartesian Theatre as we watch the rendering of sensory data projected onto this mental canvas by the mind.
The Cartesian Theatre and the reality it projects is a cognitive model of Physical Reality, but is not at all physical itself, it merely represents a
model for the observer to experience through the interface of the body. I can get into how each observer models their cognitive reality differently
from other observers due to the limits of perception. I’ll just summarize it as qualia and color blindness. Suffice to say, no one sees physical
reality. The just see the end result of the minds rendering of sensory data and how this information is projected onto their own Cartesian Theatre.
When we dream, the Cartesian Theatre comes with us. It is the same cognitive local where our dreams are perceived and rendered. Unlike physical
reality where we need our sensory apparatus to interface with that physical data stream, dreams play a much grander role in how perception plays a
role in how the mind renders a dream on the Cartesian Theatre.
From the perspective of a dream, there is no external stimuli to stimulate our physical senses and excite our neurons. The dreamer must create the
context of the dream then project a local by which to observe this context and finally render the experience and project it on the mental canvas. It
is here where Plato will find idealism alive and well. There is no physical matter in a dream, only organized thoughts.
Realizing this relationship with the Cartesian Theatre and how the mind renders this cognitive model of reality has elevated my understanding what the
material is that the mind uses to render that view. If you take 3D modelling software and create a 3D mesh, you need to apply a bitmap to the mesh so
the computer can render a colourful representation of the model. All of this information to a computer is just binary code and the end result is a
view on our monitor of a nicely rendered and colourful 3D object.
Our brain is a biological quantum super computer. Hopefully you are familiar with Stuart Hameroff’s work and how he has proven that the brain
operates at a quantum level. He states that the brain takes incoherent energies (thermal, chemical and electromagnetic) and transforms this energy
into coherent photons. The brain uses photons as part of is data type to start the rendering of reality. The link between light, consciousness and
coherent photons may be right in front of us. This also then implies all the laws of Quantum mechanics must also affect the photons used by the brain.
Hence, the reality that the brain is not only a biological computer, but a biological quantum computer.
If you understand photons and how they work, you must also be familiar with the Holographic Principle, and how light is used to form holograms. How
does photons and the holographic principle work with how the brain organizes photon information into the final rendering of reality. Do we exist in a
macroscopic hologram within cognitive reality? You will like where I go with this theory when it comes to the dream state and it’s quantum
relationship with these coherent photons.
Back to the dream. Dreams are awareness dependant experiences that occur during sleep. They exist within a broad spectrum of experiences ranging from
nightmares, fantasies, beliefs, desires and at some point we find anomalies such as shared/mutual dreaming and precognitive dreams on this
We know that our consciousness is creating the dream, and our mind is observing the dream and rendering it on the Cartesian Theatre. What may not yet
be agreed upon is what the material component of the rendered cognitive reality is made of. That component is thought. Consciousness organizes
thoughts into thought forms which model and represent sight, sound, touch, smell and taste.
Even right now while you are awake and lucid, you are observing the very same mechanics at work in how the mind renders thought into the cognitive
reality. You can see the cognitive reality right now and see these mechanics at work. This text you are reading now resides within this Cartesian
Theatre in your mind, and the text is rendered as a thought form in the shape of text. Your not really looking at the text in Physical Reality, rather
looking at the rendering of the text as a thought form in your mind.