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Thread: Are You Awake? Are you SURE?

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    Default Are You Awake? Are you SURE?

    I think today's generation is very familiar with this concept of dreaming vs reality because of films like The Matrix, but I looked into it with a little more depth recently because I covered a tidbit of Descartes' Meditations in Intro to Philosophy.

    The argument goes that it's impossible to distinguish whether you are asleep or awake.

    He's just finished talking about how things can be different than they actually seem to be, such as the sun seems very tiny to us in the sky, but in actuality, it is many many times larger than Earth. This is to establish that you can't always trust your senses to get reliable factual data.

    "But perhaps, even though the senses do sometimes deceive us when it is a question of very small and distant things, still there are many other matters concerning which one simply cannot doubt, even though they are derived from the very same senses: for example, that I am sitting here next to the fire, wearing my winter dressing gown, that I am holding this sheet of paper in my hands, and the like." - Descartes, Meditation 1, 19
    Uh oh, now he's beginning to examine his own existence...

    "This would all be well and good, were I not a man who is accustomed to sleeping at night, and to experiencing in my dreams the very same things. ... How often does my evening slumber persuade me of such ordinary things as these: that I am here, clothed in my dressing gown, seated next to the fireplace--when in fact I am lying undressed in bed! But right now my eyes are certainly wide awake when I gaze upon this sheet of paper. This head which I am shaking is not heavy with sleep. I extend this hand consciously and deliberately, and I feel it. Such things would not be distinct for someone who is asleep. As if I did not recall having been deceived on other occasions even by similar thoughts in my dreams! As I consider these matters more carefully, I see so plainly that there are no definitive signs by which to distinguish being awake from being asleep." - Descartes, Meditation 1, 19
    So read over what he curtly says, and think about it. Think to yourself what you think dreaming is, and what you think being awake is. Do you recall ever having a dream that was very close to reality? If you cannot recall, can you possibly believe that a dream can be similar to reality?

    So, do you think you're awake or asleep right now, and why?

    As for me, I don't know what to think anymore.

    (P.S. No evil genius arguments please, this isn't Pay to Post forums)



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    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solipsism#Responses

    ^^
    My opinion, mostly (I do happen to see a way to counter a few points there, but still).


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    Thats weird because recently I have had a dream where I told myself in the dream that I was in fact dreaming and I woke up gasping.

    I've had a dream where I would tell myself "This is a dream, I have to wake up" and I would...but only to wake up in another dream THEN wake up for real. Its was FREAKY.

    Wait is that relevant? Well...in the dream it felt unbelievably real but I woke up in my bed staring at the ceiling.

    I've asked myself if this whole world could be just one messed up dream and maybe I am asleep. If I am...why cant it be wonderful like a dream always is? ;_;
    Last edited by John Watson; 04-08-2010 at 08:07 PM.

    "They didn't need to tell eachother. They never needed to tell eachother."



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    Quote Originally Posted by .Lali View Post
    Thats weird because recently I have had a dream where I told myself in the dream that I was in fact dreaming and I woke up gasping.

    I've had a dream where I would tell myself "This is a dream, I have to wake up" and I would...but only to wake up in another dream THEN wake up for real. Its was FREAKY.

    Wait is that relevant? Well...in the dream it felt unbelievably real but I woke up in my bed staring at the ceiling.

    I've asked myself if this whole world could be just one messed up dream and maybe I am asleep. If I am...why cant it be wonderful like a dream always is? ;_;
    I know exactly what you mean. I frequently have dreams where I'm late for school because I overslept, and suffer lots of repercussions because of it, but thankfully wake up from those; except it's actually a subsequent dream where I'm still late for school.

    When I wake up from that, it always takes me a while to make sure that I'm actually awake this time and that the clock is telling me the right time.



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    Wow, I am complete opposite of anyones spectrum.
    If I dream, it's just a dream all about my past.
    Then of course, my past WAS reality since it happened IRL ages ago.
    But, that's all I'm going to say about that.

    All I know is that I have sleep paralysis constantly.
    No bueno. =(
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    I rarely remember my dreams. If I do it's likely once every few months, if even that. But then I tend to be a heavy sleeper so that may be part of the reason for that. Though I have woken up in strange positions such as my legs being crossed Indian style while I was on my back.

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    My dreams do not last long and are extremely fuzzy. I'm generally doing something I'd never do in real life because my personality in dreams is like "I must do this, I must do that" without any hesitation or for-thought.

    It's extremely unlikely that I'm in a dream right now.

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    Movies with that premise tend to scare me. Mulholland Drive scared the heck out of me by doing just that.

    I really don't know if I'm in reality. Usually when I have dreams (or nightmares) it's usually in a warped version of my day. I've dreamt of the mall before, and it was this really inverted version of it. The windows were painted black*, the food courts were all messed up, etc. I think I'm awake at the moment. I feel that I can actually feel things in present time, but I can't touch things in my dreams.

    * No reference to the Rolling Stones

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    Or in your dreams you are hesitant and impulsive while awake. Who's to say what a dream actually is. Are you the dream or the dreamer?

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    Quote Originally Posted by GameGeeks View Post
    Or in your dreams you are hesitant and impulsive while awake. Who's to say what a dream actually is. Are you the dream or the dreamer?
    I've never really believed in that idea. I don't know about anyone else, but I sure as hell can't change the angles of my dreams. My dreams tend to feel like an extremely linear JRPG from Square Enix. I'm pretty sure that reality would at least allow me to let me look at all the angles of my face in a mirror.

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    I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say that I don't think I'm awake or dreaming, simply in a state of mind we have yet to perceive or begin to understand.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cantelope-sama View Post
    The argument goes that it's impossible to distinguish whether you are asleep or awake.
    If the two are completely indistinguishable, then I say it doesn't matter whether you're asleep or awake.

    Anyway, Descartes efforts to re-construct philosophy from scratch are admirable, but foolish, as demonstrated by Gödel's incompleteness theorem (which says that in logical systems there exists statements that are true, but can never be logically proven).

    He also had some pretty peculiar ideas about dualism that I don't particularly buy into.

    His coordinate system is excellent, though.
    Last edited by Eris; 04-12-2010 at 03:45 PM.



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    Bah!
    Don't creep me out like that.

    I have this thing for dreams, though.
    I keep a dream journal and I'm writing (just finished) a book about dreams.

    They're so fascinating!

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