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    Thread: The minds ability to create new places

    1. #1
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      The minds ability to create new places

      Something Iíve always been fascinated by is the minds ability to re-create a location from memory. Before I started lucid dreaming I used to enjoy reminiscing about a certain memory or place whilst laid in bed. With my eyes shut and my body relaxed it became very easy to imagine a location I had visited before. I had a lot of happy memories in my childhood home and I often re-visited it in my mind. At first it could be difficult to really feel like I was there and the re-creation felt hazy and hard to solidify but with patience I could visualise each room in vivid detail and move through each door and room as if I was really there. This visualisation technique later became a handy tool in lucid dreaming as well and as my recall improved I began to see my childhood home a lot in my dreams as well and it felt even more realistic than my visualisations.

      Since lucid dreaming Iíve become even more fascinated by this, especially the minds ability to create a new place. I find it truly mind blowing that I have memories, real, clear memories of places Iíve never been, never seen and donít even exist. We hear the mind builds dreams from memories and during my exploration of these imagined locations Iíve seen traits here and there of things from my day to day life that I recognise, such as an object or a piece of furniture but usually the whole place feels completely new and unlike anything Iíve seen before.

      Laying in bed again I have tried and been successful at visualising new locations, not to the same quality as in dreams but itís entirely possible to visit a place that doesnít exist inside your own head and be able to see it so clearly with closed eyes. Itís insane when you really think about it. When you do this for long enough and then open your eyes again it can even feel as if youíve been gone for a while and returned from another world.

      I do wonder when weíre lucid and experiencing these new places how much of it is really a clear and stable image? Dreams, especially vivid ones give the illusion that what youíre looking at is physically there, but itís not? For example I walked through a clothing store recently in a dream and was amazed that I could see racks of clothing to my left and right. It was all there, I could see it so clearly in front of my eyes but upon waking I could barely remember the small details such as what colours the clothes were and what types there were. This is the same as a real memory though. I could walk through a clothes store in waking life and later not have any memory of the small things I had seen. It just makes me wonder, how complete and real are those memories of imagined places I see in dreams? Are there really many small details created by the mind that could have been examined and remembered if I had focused on them? I guess Iím asking whilst Iím stood there in this imagined clothes store is it as perfectly detailed and complete as my mind believes it to be or is it all a hazy illusion that I believe is more real than it actually is?

      One day I hope to create a completely new location I can re-visit again and again in a dream. If I visit often enough and really get to know the place then maybe in time I wonít even need the dream to visit it. Maybe I will just be able to shut my eyes and visualise it clearly as I once had. If I can do that then how different is it to any other place I have visited in real life? Is it not just another memory of a place Iíve been?
      Last edited by Tiktaalik; 05-02-2021 at 07:57 PM.

    2. #2
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      The thing is is no-one else will see inside your mind. If your mind believes and remembers how real and detailed the dream is, how can anybody else say that you just have a hazy illusion? I would say that you should trust what you have experienced. In general scientific literature there is an idea that dreams serve as a memory processing function. But you don't have to follow that, and should rely on your own encounters and build your own understanding and worldview.

      The only difference between your persistent dream world and a memory of another place, is that no-one else will be able to verify your experience. A memory of a real place is easier to keep as "real" because people in the physical world can relate to you and also can talk about the physical places you have been. Your own dream world, can be just as real to you, but your experience will only be shared with yourself and any see characters who inhabit those lands. People in the physical reality may dismiss what you experience, but that would be due to their lack of imagination.
      DarkestDarkness likes this.
      They say dreaming is dead, no one does it anymore.
      It's not dead it's just that it's been forgotten, removed from our language.
      Nobody teaches it so nobody knows it exists.
      The dreamer is banished to obscurity.
      Well, I'm trying to change all that, and I hope you are too.
      By dreaming, every day.

    3. #3
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      Certainly agree with Ametam and to me the inability to see into others' minds is what makes reading the DJ of others very interesting, because the likelihood will be so small that I'll be imagining it the exact same way as the person originally recalls/experiences it. This is no different from reading a book I'd guess, especially because in storytelling the lack of specific detail is very useful for promoting an imaginative world in a reader's mind. This is true even in television and games, where the omission or obfuscation of detail can lead to very imaginative fan-based ideas and lore.

      From my still limited experience with induced visualisation, it's just the same as the memory of any other place I've been to, both in the failings and successes of memory. A location from waking life is susceptible to the same variations and fluctuations in detail as a location original to my mind. The difference really is that there is no solid anchor as to what a place should look like if it's imagined, since the point of reference is internal and subject to these fluctuations.

      Maybe something worth considering is that even in waking life we are also constantly ignoring specific information rather than taking it all in. While I'm typing this, my focus is concentrated on my screen regardless of what is within my peripheral vision, becoming briefly aware of some things only because I thought about this. Things happening outside the focus may be registered into a short-term memory for practical environmental awareness, but most of it will be discarded very quickly, presumably as there is no requirement to commit vague details to a (consciously accessible) long-term memory. I can only make assumptions as to how memory actually works, but I imagine it's safe to say that even in dreams or visualisation, the feedback loop of becoming aware and unaware of specific details around you functions much the same way, thereby discarding much information.

      I have come to see the role of the ego (i.e. consciousness) as one of discriminatory nature. If there is a biological purpose to consciousness, I could make a guess that it exists in part to assess information that may be useful on a long-term basis, while the non-conscious processes deal with the "now" of living, such as I'm doing with typing. I'm not consciously thinking about typing or the exact words until I go and review my post, I'm just doing it. Yes, I learned to do it consciously at one point, thinking about every press and so on, but that extra thought is not required after a certain point, much the same with many practical skills in life.

      I imagine that in terms of cognitive limitations, the reason for discarding more information than not could be that the information may be quicker to process while possibly still taking it in on a non-conscious level within the initial moment of perception of that information, which can then be pre-discriminated to whether it is relevant or not and then sorted for short-term or simply discarded fully. I don't know what the speed limitations are for bio-electrical signals, but I can't imagine they're much slower than typical electrical signals in a relatively slow signal amplifier or something of the sort (which might run at a couple of MHz). I would love to read about this topic, if only I knew where to look.

      My assumptions and digression aside, who knows truthfully? Someone in a field dealing with this might, but I don't anyway. Our internal experiences are probably as real as anything else we experience, maybe limited only by our personal views. Whether these experiences can be crystallised into a solid memory or not doesn't have to affect how we experience them in a given moment. I had a very interesting dream this morning but remembered very little of it on waking. That doesn't mean that my initial experience was hazy, illusory or any less real than other dreams I've had.

      Anyway, I think you should have fun with your own cognitive processes, regardless of how they actually take place.
      Sageous and Ametam like this.
      Singled out from some of my favourite quotes from Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri: "Risks of [Planet] flowering: considerable. But rewards of godhood: who can measure? - Usurper Judaa'Maar: Courage: to question."

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