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    Thread: Dream and Fantasy Morals

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      Dream and Fantasy Morals

      Hello Dreamviews community!

      I went off the radar during my final exam period and then I was enjoying my summer vacations but I thought I might try to stay a bit more active

      So, I was wondering what you had to say about morals in dreams/lucid dreams or in fantasies/daydreams vs in real life.

      I think most of us think that morals are relative and not a simple matter but they are part of everyone's lives (or almost). And when I talk about morals, I don't mean is a person a good or a bad person for doing something in a dream, I just mean, is it morally healthy to do this or that in a dream or fantasy vs real life.

      Obviously, there are not consequences in dreams and fantasies but there remains the issue of integrity.
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      In non lucid dreams my DCs are down right hostile, so I figure Lucidity is a chance to get even death to virtual morals, death to the DCs. Yesterday I was attacked by a heard of Racoon/Deer/Dogs, when I get lucid I'm gonna hunt down the whole pack with a light saber
      Sure LUCID DREAMS are all fun and games until someone loses a third eye.

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      I've always seen lucid dreams as an escape from reality, including the morals that usually guide us through it. Unparrellelled freedom and all that. Its not really in my nature to do anything particularly vindictive, though, so, I rarely exercise this freedom to its highest degree. As for integrity, I judge actions based on how much they hurt others. Because DCs are non-sentient, they don't count as others in my eyes, so, morality is less nonexistent and more inapplicable.

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      It is my first nature to be amoral, but I've worked very hard in my life to make it my second nature to be very moral. When you naturally are cold and have no regard for authority or respecting others' rights, unless you plan on being an antisocial criminal your whole life, you have to take steps to change this about you. I have to make a conscious effort to be moral in social situations because otherwise I would be nothing more than a sociopathic dick. In a lot of ways, I really am. However, I model my behavior after values like loyalty, integrity, respect, honor, and honesty because I feel that people who don't are not only immature and a lot of times trashy, but are a detriment to society and really have no purpose for living other than to breathe others' air, eat others' food, fill up others' shelter, and generally be a worthless nuisance to everybody. Someone more trouble than they are intrinsically worth as a human being. So, in a way I force myself to behave morally out of hatred for those with no self-control and who are supremely lazy and unintelligent.

      That being said, this is how I force myself to act in society, but when it comes to fantasy like dreams or video games, all that flies out the window. I'm pretty much just a cold, calculating, arrogant, self-centered hedon. I let my natural personality show through and I do what I want because not only does it feel liberating at times, sometimes it's really funny and very rewarding (in the short term). I turn into a thrill-seeking hunter of sorts--with a penchant for doing things for sport and turning things into a game.

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      If you perceive moral as a constructed code of conduct designed for the social aspect of existence (interaction between living beings), then you could argue that moral has no place in lucid dreams. And I say lucid dreams, because you surely cannot apply or judge moral conduct of ordinary dreams, given the fact that you're not in control of your actions.

      Regarding lucid dreams, we have the integration of the self with a constructed reality derived from a brain-simulation: if you consider your thoughts and the substrate of dreaming as something different from the physical matter, or in simpler terms, if you assume that people are people and dream people are not people, then a sense of morality seems largely irrelevant in this perspective of interaction with the other.
      On the other hand, some people still perceive dream characters as entities, maybe even independent or sentient ones. In that sense, while it wouldn't be particular problematic if you threw trash into the ground in a lucid dream (given the frailty of the duration of the experience) maybe crashing a plane into a city, even without provoking injuries or casualties, could be consider immoral by eliciting negative psychological responses on those dream characters, such as anxiety, stress, etc.

      In my personal view, dream characters don't seem anything else that interesting (sometimes amazing) constructs, a sensory representation of an agglomerate of unconscious processes that seem to model external input (a kind of bottom-up view in neuroscience terms I'd guess), not necessarily with a purpose, but forcibly with a degree of realism that influences your experience but is ultimately originated by you. Given that, I am extremely amoral in my lucid dreams, and the only reason why I'm not sometimes able to perform what we could consider "immoral" actions is because I start thinking about what it would be like if I got caught doing it in real life and even start to wondering if I'm really dreaming (guess it seems like an unconscious response that kicks in when I'm minimally conflicted 0o).
      Quote Originally Posted by nito89 View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by zoth00 View Post
      You have to face lucid dreams as cooking:
      Stick it in the microwave and hope for the best?
      MMR (Mental Map Recall)- A whole new way of Recalling and Journaling your dreams
      Trying out MILD? This is how you become skilled at it.

    6. #6
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      Quote Originally Posted by snoop View Post
      So, in a way I force myself to behave morally out of hatred for those with no self-control and who are supremely lazy and unintelligent.
      Haha, I find that comment comical and ironic.


      Quote Originally Posted by cooleymd View Post
      In non lucid dreams my DCs are down right hostile, so I figure Lucidity is a chance to get even
      Quote Originally Posted by splodeymissile View Post
      I've always seen lucid dreams as an escape from reality, including the morals that usually guide us through it. Unparrellelled freedom and all that.
      Quote Originally Posted by snoop View Post
      That being said, this is how I force myself to act in society, but when it comes to fantasy like dreams or video games, all that flies out the window. I'm pretty much just a cold, calculating, arrogant, self-centered hedon. I let my natural personality show through and I do what I want because not only does it feel liberating at times, sometimes it's really funny and very rewarding (in the short term). I turn into a thrill-seeking hunter of sorts--with a penchant for doing things for sport and turning things into a game.
      I am seeing a pattern here which reminds me of the Freudian model of the id and superego. In dreams, your id is free and no longer needs to participate in its never-ending battle with the superego. This does sound very refreshing and pleasant. I wonder if there could ever be an experience where the superego is free from the ego and can have its own nirvana.

      Seeing this pattern is very interesting to me because, personally, I don't relate with the superego and id model. I do not experience my moral struggle as a battle between my personal desires and my healthy integration in society. Well, I guess a bit, but not primarily.

      Quote Originally Posted by splodeymissile View Post
      I judge actions based on how much they hurt others. Because DCs are non-sentient, they don't count as others in my eyes, so, morality is less nonexistent and more inapplicable.
      Quote Originally Posted by Zoth View Post
      If you perceive moral as a constructed code of conduct designed for the social aspect of existence (interaction between living beings), then you could argue that moral has no place in lucid dreams. And I say lucid dreams, because you surely cannot apply or judge moral conduct of ordinary dreams, given the fact that you're not in control of your actions.
      It is also my assumption that my dream characters are not sentient and so no social morals would be necessary. The thing is I do believe I have a responsibility to myself (not others) to nurture wise, loving, and generally healthy thoughts and emotions (not just actions that will have impacts on others).

      Also, even assuming that dream people are not people, are they not a representation of the people in real life. So wouldn't doing ill upon dream characters reflect in real life or is this a matter of being aware of which reality you are in, being aware that these people are not people and these people are people?

      Quote Originally Posted by snoop View Post
      It is my first nature to be amoral, but I've worked very hard in my life to make it my second nature to be very moral.
      That's interesting. I would say I have a type of opposite experience to this (not saying that I am moral.) But what I mean is, some of my daydreams are quite... amoral, but because I am trying to explore outside of my generally moral self rather than taking a break from it. I feel a lot of stress to the simple idea that someone may feel uncomfortable. So I have been daydreaming about hurting people (while still feeling love and compassion for them). I am trying to feel more comfortable with the idea of hurting others.

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      It is also my assumption that my dream characters are not sentient and so no social morals would be necessary. The thing is I do believe I have a responsibility to myself (not others) to nurture wise, loving, and generally healthy thoughts and emotions (not just actions that will have impacts on others).
      One thing I think we need to bear in mind is the idea of catharsis. Having difficulty in real life? Take it out on something that can't feel pain, but gives off a convincing illusion. Negative thoughts in a dream aren't necessarily bad, since they can prevent those same thoughts from occuring in real life, where they can do far more damage.
      Also, even assuming that dream people are not people, are they not a representation of the people in real life. So wouldn't doing ill upon dream characters reflect in real life or is this a matter of being aware of which reality you are in, being aware that these people are not people and these people are people?
      They share the same appearence and, once in a blue moon, a similar personality quirk, but its often just a shell. Even if they near perfectly reflect real people, I'm aware that they're not the real person and, so, I'm free to treat them however I want. I should probably point out that as amoral as I sound here, I often don't actually treat them as utterly disposable. Some real life morals will involuntarily slip through.

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      Two quotes to live by:

      "The mind is everything. What you think, you become" ~ Attributed to the Buddha but some dispute that

      "Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habits. Watch your habits; they become your character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny" ~ Lao Tzu

      I think there's a lot of sense in these quotes because there is no need for anything that is truly immoral to take place in your dreams or in reality. Once it becomes customary in one reality, who's to say it's not going to impact the other? Our waking life habits affect our dreams, why shouldn't our dream habits affect our waking life?

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      I would agree with Araishu. The dream state is probably one of the best training grounds we have for morality (probably THE best one) and one of the swiftest ways to change negative habits, simply because of its immersive and realistic qualities. If we follow studies that have suggested the correlation between mental actions and mental rewards (gamers playing WoW, for example) research has shown that the brain does not differentiate between rewards gained in a virtual environment versus a physical environment (both will stimulate the reward centers of the brain, and both will release dopamine). For addicts, these rewards will be greater than what they feel they receive from a physical environment.

      If you are getting your dopamine shots from killing DCs, then your brain is learning from that, whether you want it to or not, and I don't think it knows the difference. You might know the difference, but you are not the totality of your working brain. The brain is a mechanistic organ and is going to operate based on a series of habits or grooves built for it. It may not be enough to make you a killer in waking life (and probably won't, for the majority of us feel societal penalties outweigh any joy we could get from breaking laws in waking life), but you are still building a set of standards on which your brain is going to operate in the future. I think this is one of the reason many religions have stressed mind training as foundational. The Buddha of course, but many other Eastern religions. Christ discusses it in the Sermon on the Mount, and it is one of the points of perfection.

      I also think it is telling that the moment we realize "this isn't real," we respond amorally to the situation, which suggests that the ego feels these things (killing, raping DCs, and so forth) will bring pleasure or an escape. For snoop this is perhaps obvious, but for others it might not be, especially if we are using "it's just a dream" as an excuse to indulge in violence.

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      If we follow studies that have suggested the correlation between mental actions and mental rewards (gamers playing WoW, for example) research has shown that the brain does not differentiate between rewards gained in a virtual environment versus a physical environment (both will stimulate the reward centers of the brain, and both will release dopamine). For addicts, these rewards will be greater than what they feel they receive from a physical environment.
      Could you give a link to some, please?

      If you are getting your dopamine shots from killing DCs, then your brain is learning from that, whether you want it to or not, and I don't think it knows the difference. You might know the difference, but you are not the totality of your working brain. The brain is a mechanistic organ and is going to operate based on a series of habits or grooves built for it.
      I agree, but the inverse is true. Subconscious desires don't make up the totality of us either.

      It may not be enough to make you a killer in waking life (and probably won't, for the majority of us feel societal penalties outweigh any joy we could get from breaking laws in waking life), but you are still building a set of standards on which your brain is going to operate in the future.
      As you pretty much said here.

      I also think it is telling that the moment we realize "this isn't real," we respond amorally to the situation, which suggests that the ego feels these things (killing, raping DCs, and so forth) will bring pleasure or an escape. For snoop this is perhaps obvious, but for others it might not be, especially if we are using "it's just a dream" as an excuse to indulge in violence.
      Presumably, you're against violence in any form of media, especially video games? I apologise if I've missed the point.
      I think what we need to ask is if we should behave morally in a fantasy. I may have killed god knows how many in video games, but I literally can't bring myself to hurt so much as an insect in reality. Moral judgements, to me, need some weight or sense of permanence to make sense. Obviously, in video games and other forms of interactive media, we treat the fantasy as real and, so, act morally as we like to think we would if the scenario presented itself in real life. On repeat playthroughs (or even the first) we can recognise it as a fantasy and act against our nature without actually changing our nature. Its the same for lucid dreaming, I feel. I suppose I think that "its just a dream" is actually a decent excuse for anything in a dream really. And if it does affect us in real life, it doesn't seem to be by a massive amount.

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      Could you give a link to some, please?
      https://books.google.com/books?id=Ma...reward&f=false

      I agree, but the inverse is true. Subconscious desires don't make up the totality of us either.
      Could you expand on what you are getting at? I'm not making the connection.

      I'm not against violence in games or films, as some of my favorites involve violence. I think it is interesting that I take pleasure in some fantastic depictions of violence, however, and it's certainly worth investigating and asking why. If one is trying to perfect oneself, or lead a more perfect life morally (which may or may not be the case for anyone here) then I don't think taking pleasure in violence helps. If anyone can suggest how it does, I would be interested to hear it.

      The problem with lucid dreaming, splodeymissile, is that we as dreamers do not have a perfect understanding of the dream state. While we are awake we think we do, but in the dream it is a different story. We often slip back and forth between lucidity. One can read numerous examples of dream journals depicting dreamers beating dream characters in frustration and rage, even though they "know it's not real." Really? That sounds like the brain is having an incredibly negative experience, and one that is creating new (and not positive) neural pathways on how to respond to similar situations.

      Also, about not changing our nature. I think that is inherently untrue--consciousness is changing all of the time. It experiences, and as it does it learns and integrates. Every thing we choose to do changes us in some way. To say video games (for example) have no effect on consciousness, and have no effect on brain waves and thought patterns (because that is what it would mean to not change our nature) seems to suggest that these activities happen in a vacuum where consciousness is safe from contextual influence. Which I think is incorrect.
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      Could you expand on what you are getting at? I'm not making the connection.
      I'm really just reiterating your point about how its probably not enough to make us into serial killers, if only because we consciously (key word) weigh up whether an action is worth it or not. We're neither dominated by the conscious nor the subconscious. In short, I'm agreeing with you mostly on that front.
      I think it is interesting that I take pleasure in some fantastic depictions of violence, however, and it's certainly worth investigating and asking why.
      I absolutely agree.

      If one is trying to perfect oneself, or lead a more perfect life morally (which may or may not be the case for anyone here) then I don't think taking pleasure in violence helps.
      Probably not, but, while I'm all for self-improving, perfection seems both unattainable and overrated. That aside, obviously not everyone is going to use the dream state for self-improvement. Some just want to live out fantasies. And I think my catharsis idea still holds up. Feel like you're about to punch your boss? Take out a dream version instead. Could stop you from doing so in real life where it has real repercussions. It'd be best if in this situation he could let go of his rage, but that's not always possible. And in those situations, perhaps taking the lesser of two evils counts as a step towards perfect morality where the only real alternative is to commit it in real life.

      While we are awake we think we do, but in the dream it is a different story.
      Only the truly arrogant feel this way. I certaintly know that as I am, awake (I think), I do not have perfect understanding of dreaming or anything related to it.
      We often slip back and forth between lucidity. One can read numerous examples of dream journals depicting dreamers beating dream characters in frustration and rage, even though they "know it's not real."
      Perhaps I'm stating the obvious here, but this seems to suggest that there are greater underlying psychological issues that would require a professional to sort out. If we slip out of lucidity and then perform these actions, though, can we say to have chosen to perform them at all? Dreams follow their own logic and when we're not lucid (and sometimes when we are) we have to obey those rules. To put it another way, if you commit an immoral action without knowing its immoral, can you say to have acted immorally? I would personally say no.
      Really? That sounds like the brain is having an incredibly negative experience, and one that is creating new (and not positive) neural pathways on how to respond to similar situations.
      Its entirely possible that it happens, but I don't recall any crimes or atrocities being caused because something acted up a bit in a lucid dream, so, I'm going to have to say it's a bit of a non-issue. Also, perhaps "only do this in a lucid" comes alongside these new neurons, which, to me, would make it neither a negative or positive connection in terms of morality.
      Also, about not changing our nature. I think that is inherently untrue--consciousness is changing all of the time. It experiences, and as it does it learns and integrates. Every thing we choose to do changes us in some way. To say video games (for example) have no effect on consciousness, and have no effect on brain waves and thought patterns (because that is what it would mean to not change our nature) seems to suggest that these activities happen in a vacuum where consciousness is safe from contextual influence. Which I think is incorrect.
      I'll concede this slightly by changing my statement to a limited effect on our nature, as opposed to no effect. At least in terms of morality. But context is key and I'm afraid I still don't see how killing in a video game for fun and killing in a lucid dream for fun is going to make you meaningfully more likely to kill in real life. The fantastical context is still there and most will see the difference from a real life context. I'll freely admit that some will be pushed over the deep end through this enjoyment, but I imagine they're the exception rather than the rule. I'll give that link a peruse, as well.

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      Unfortunately, most (some would say all) decisions are not made consciously. They are made based on a series of pre-established patterns developed by our culture, our society, our family life, and so on. The brain chooses these patterns and we react to situations based on which pattern seems to fit any given situation. We largely do this entirely unconsciously, without even being aware of what we are doing. If this seems a bit far out, simple mental exercises can be done to demonstrate the truth of this to the self.

      If one commits a crime in a non-lucid dream, they are still committing the crime. They are simply doing it based on a new (and fantastic) context, and without societal repercussion. In this context, certain barriers are removed, new plot lines are constructed, and we react based on them. This is the essence of non-lucidity and is fundamentally how the majority of people live their lives, both awake and asleep. This sort of goes back to the argument as to whether or not the non-lucid you is the "real" you. Placing aside the question of what the "real" you even means, lucid dreaming makes it fairly clear that the mind at work in a dream is the mind at work in waking life, merely with different context. I think one of the benefits of lucid dreaming is that it allows us to remember ourselves in the dream context, to take advantage of working with the mind at a much deeper level than is possible during waking life, and possibly to find some benefit outside of escapism, which is essentially not escaping at all, but continuing to engage in the same thought patterns that leave us frustrated in waking life. Punching dream boss neither eliminates the problem of waking life boss, nor does it make it easier to deal with waking life boss. In a sense, it's just a further avoidance of the problem. If we teach ourselves in dream that dream boss is not really the problem, and rather dream me needs to ascertain some of the thought patterns that are leading to wanting to punch dream boss, then that will be much more productive--for waking life and the dream.

      Concerning the fact that you've never heard of lucid dreaming being linked to a crime, I think the relatively small number of dedicated lucid dreamers, coupled with the fact that lucid dreaming is still a fringe area and not one likely to be taken seriously at all by anyone except proponents and detractors (who are also going to be few in number) I don't find it surprising at all. There have been links observed between observing violent media and committing acts of violence. I think any neural connections made in the dream state are going to as powerful as those formed in waking life, especially if it is "us" committing the act of violence. But, I'm not really trying to argue that point. What I am suggesting is that lucid dreaming could be used in more beneficial and positive ways, but rarely is in the west.

      How can perfection be overrated if we've never experienced it?
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      Unfortunately, most (some would say all) decisions are not made consciously. They are made based on a series of pre-established patterns developed by our culture, our society, our family life, and so on. The brain chooses these patterns and we react to situations based on which pattern seems to fit any given situation. We largely do this entirely unconsciously, without even being aware of what we are doing. If this seems a bit far out, simple mental exercises can be done to demonstrate the truth of this to the self.
      I mostly agree, although I still think the conscious mind still has more significence in life than you seem to be implying.

      If one commits a crime in a non-lucid dream, they are still committing the crime. They are simply doing it based on a new (and fantastic) context, and without societal repercussion. In this context, certain barriers are removed, new plot lines are constructed, and we react based on them.
      I disagree with this, though. You're probably getting sick of the video game analogies, but its the best way I know to express my point, so, hopefully, you'll endure. If I kill someone in a game, I'm not committing a crime. Nor am I doing so, if I kill someone in a dream, lucid or not. And, again, if its an immoral action, but you're unaware thats its immoral, can you be said to have acted immorally. Would you say an incredibly young child, mostly unaware of the very concept of death and certainly unaware of how dangerous certain items can be, who winds up killing someone, is blameworthy? And if fantastical crime is still counted as a crime, then because of the unreal nature of who's getting affected, it seems victimless to me and, therefore, not morally significent. Finally, (for this point), you mention how contexts are removed when we dream. I agree. But surely they are brought back when we wake? If so, aren't we basically nullifying any potential negative change? Maybe not completely, but enough to make it barely worth mentioning.

      This sort of goes back to the argument as to whether or not the non-lucid you is the "real" you. Placing aside the question of what the "real" you even means, lucid dreaming makes it fairly clear that the mind at work in a dream is the mind at work in waking life, merely with different context.
      It is an interesting question. Personally, I feel that the real us would be how we act in real life, if only because it is the only plane that everyone can agree on having both existence and significence. Thr true us, however, would be how we react to no expercience; prior, present or otherwise. Our personality (as it is now) would remain, but it would seemingly have no origin. Because dreaming, both lucid and non, takes away certain experiences (memory, presumption of what is currently real etc.) it is closer, perhaps, to the true self than anything we could do in waking life. Obviously, by itself, its not going to get us to this true state. We still have to put some effort in.

      Heading towards something a bit more relevent, while they obviously remain the same mind, the difference in context is enough to make it seem wrong to judge the dreaming mind by the laws of the waking world and vice versa.

      I think one of the benefits of lucid dreaming is that it allows us to remember ourselves in the dream context, to take advantage of working with the mind at a much deeper level than is possible during waking life, and possibly to find some benefit outside of escapism, which is essentially not escaping at all, but continuing to engage in the same thought patterns that leave us frustrated in waking life.
      Perhaps you're not implying the opposite at all, and I'm just jumping the gun here, but they're different levels of lucidity we can experience, which can range from near on absolute (what you just mentioned) to merely having awareness of the dream state but no real memory from waking life. God knows how many times I've reached lucidity but have forgotten dream goals. So, again, I don't think its fair to judge one by the laws of the other. And what would true escapism be, anyway? I mean, punching boss was just an example I gave. One of the dream tasks we've got now, is to jump into a black hole. I don't think a desire to see what your mind can conjure on the other side necessarily speaks about real life frustrations. And, who knows? Maybe a desire to improve yourself through dreams is escapism, as well. After all, why would you improve yourself if there wasn't some suspicion that you're not as good now, as you could be?

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      Punching dream boss neither eliminates the problem of waking life boss
      Agreed

      nor does it make it easier to deal with waking life boss. In a sense, it's just a further avoidance of the problem. If we teach ourselves in dream that dream boss is not really the problem, and rather dream me needs to ascertain some of the thought patterns that are leading to wanting to punch dream boss, then that will be much more productive--for waking life and the dream.
      I think it can, in some way, help. Taking out a bit of anger in a fantasy can stop you from exploding in real life, which can then give you more time to actually seek help. Maybe not the best solution, but it can sometimes be effective. The last part of this, I agree with in principle, but it easily can be seen as victim blaming. If we change the boss into being a bully, then a desire to punch him, while I'd caution against it, seems understandable. Not every problem can be solved simply through your own mind and used improperly this can lead to becoming a pacifistic doormat, conditined to abuse.

      There have been links observed between observing violent media and committing acts of violence.
      There have also been studies supporting my catharsis view, that suggest that fantasy violence mat have some beneficial purposes. I'll link you a few, if you're interested.

      I think any neural connections made in the dream state are going to as powerful as those formed in waking life, especially if it is "us" committing the act of violence.
      The added context of fantasy might be just as powerful, though. Also, why do you think this? Looking at your example of someone lashing out at rage I'd imagine they experience a lapse in lucidity. In this case, they wouldn't quite be...."them".

      But, I'm not really trying to argue that point. What I am suggesting is that lucid dreaming could be used in more beneficial and positive ways, but rarely is in the west.
      Agree, although it seems a bit presumptuous to suggest the large distinction between easterners and westerners. I imagine many easterners "waste" their lucidity on escapism, as well.

      How can perfection be overrated if we've never experienced it?
      How can we consider worth attaining if we don't the first thing about it? Going on to actually answer your question, I find myself wondering what we should do once we achieve perfection? Seems like a full stop to me. Then again, I don't believe perfection exists in any meaningful sense to begin with nor do I think that, even if it did, we could attain it, no matter how much effort, natural talent and time we have. Self-improve by all means, but don't expect an end point. As a final thought, how do you know that your current method has a remote chance of even reaching perfection? Maybe we need a full range of experiences to achieve perfection and that could involve going lower before we go higher.

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      Most of the discussion on this thread is predicated on the idea that DCs are non-sentient, which I'm not sure is at all the case. After all they simulate sentience, and who is to say that the simulation is not the thing itself? Just because we are responsible for creating DCs does not at all mean we are not responsible for their well-being. It's the old AI question. Do we have the responsibility to treat other intelligences with respect, even if we create them? I would say yes.

      It's also interesting that we are only asking this question in a lucid context. The reason is because the question has already been answered in the non-lucid context. I suppose we bring our own morality into non-lucid dreams hence why, as someone mentioned, they would stop doing a particular action in a dream because they were unsure of whether they were dreaming or not. It is only when we become lucid that we question this morality. Becoming lucid is, in a sense, becoming a god with reality warping powers. If your average human were to gain reality warping power suddenly, I wonder if she too would begin to see her fellow humans as non-moral characters? "With great power comes great responsibility," said Spider Man. It may be that our very lucidness has clouded our minds to the sentience of DCs.
      Last edited by mzungu; 08-13-2015 at 07:48 PM.

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      After all they simulate sentience, and who is to say that the simulation is not the thing itself?
      The problem I have with this is that our own consciousness and sentience is very much tied to the physical structure of our brain. Chop a part off and a part of us goes. DCs don't have a brain in terms of physical structure and, at best, only represent an aspect of our consciousness. Because of this, I can't see them having sentience or indeed any sense of a complete being. They're basically us, just slightly fragmented and wearing interesting clothes.

      Do we have the responsibility to treat other intelligences with respect, even if we create them? I would say yes.
      I agree, but I don't think this is a good comparison. For one, AIs and potential aliens can be relatively easily tested for intelligence. Secondly, they're not likely to fade from existence, as soon as we open our eyes, unlike DCs, who are inevitably going to "die" by our hand. Finally, even if they do possess sentience, how do we know that the moral rules we follow in the waking world remotely apply in our dreams? For all we know, doing a kindness to a DC could feel like the worst torture. Logic is out to lunch. Even if AIs and aliens have they're own different moral codes, they at least follow the laws of the universe. What actually is a moral action in the dream world, especially since it all fades when we wake?

      Becoming lucid is, in a sense, becoming a god with reality warping powers. If your average human were to gain reality warping power suddenly, I wonder if she too would begin to see her fellow humans as non-moral characters?
      It's a terrifying thought to consider. Especially if the universe follows her mind and her desires, with little imput on her part. (Dr. Doom had this problem when he stole the Beyonder's powers, which is why he refused to sleep). Considering how the first thing many people do when they first become lucid id have sex with whoever they want (though this may due to seeing them as insentient), I think very few could actually wield this power without turning some into sex slaves and playthings and making it hell for the rest of us. And if you feel the slightest twinge of guilt, you've literally got the power to remove the very concept from your mind.

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      Quote Originally Posted by splodeymissile View Post
      The problem I have with this is that our own consciousness and sentience is very much tied to the physical structure of our brain. Chop a part off and a part of us goes. DCs don't have a brain in terms of physical structure and, at best, only represent an aspect of our consciousness. Because of this, I can't see them having sentience or indeed any sense of a complete being. They're basically us, just slightly fragmented and wearing interesting clothes.
      I don't see how common origin has any relation to the question of morality. We assume because we are the egos that get to experience waking life and dreaming life that we are primary, that somehow we make up the entirety of the human form in which we inhabit. Perhaps there is more to our being that we perceive. Perhaps the human brain has the ability to create many different egos. We know that this is in part true, at least in the dream world. Any DC can become lucid and attain lucid powers. We don't really know enough about the mind to say that our waking minds completely encompass our brain's capacities, and that other egos aren't floating around somewhere down the rabbit's hole.

      I agree, but I don't think this is a good comparison. For one, AIs and potential aliens can be relatively easily tested for intelligence. Secondly, they're not likely to fade from existence, as soon as we open our eyes, unlike DCs, who are inevitably going to "die" by our hand. Finally, even if they do possess sentience, how do we know that the moral rules we follow in the waking world remotely apply in our dreams? For all we know, doing a kindness to a DC could feel like the worst torture. Logic is out to lunch. Even if AIs and aliens have they're own different moral codes, they at least follow the laws of the universe. What actually is a moral action in the dream world, especially since it all fades when we wake?
      We assume that the dream world disappears when we wake up, but that assumption may not be correct. The dream world is a realm of infinite creativity, and we can access that creativity even in the waking world through our thoughts and imagination. So the dream world, in some sense, is still functioning. As the DCs may be. And you can also turn this question of fading from existence on its head. Don't we also fade from existence when we fall into a deep dreamless sleep? And can't we also be said to fade from the dream world whenever we wake up?

      As for morality, well I think the best test would be to ask DCs themselves whether they feel pain, like being raped, having their faces beaten in, or having their stuff stolen. After all, morality always arises from a moral consensus arrived at through the interactions of several different individuals. And, if you want to go deeper, you can make them lucid and then ask them whether they are a separate entity from yourself or the same, and want their rights to be respected. Or, again to turn this around, what would you say about morality in the dream world if one of your DCs became lucid, stripped you of your powers and raped and tortured you every night, whether you were lucid or not, until you are absolutely terrified of falling asleep?

      I think the point I want to get across is that we don't know enough about the relationship between our dreams, our waking life, our mind and our brain to make a valid conclusion about the sentience of DCs one way or the other. So shouldn't we err on the side of sentience?

      BTW the term sentience refers to being able to feel pain. So if DCs are able to feel pain, the requirement for sentiency is fulfilled.
      Last edited by mzungu; 08-13-2015 at 11:49 PM.

    19. #19
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      Quote Originally Posted by mzungu View Post
      BTW the term sentience refers to being able to feel pain.
      It does?

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      Quote Originally Posted by Sageous View Post
      It does?
      Yes Sageous. From the wiki:

      Sentience is the ability to feel, perceive, or experience subjectively.[1] Eighteenth-century philosophers used the concept to distinguish the ability to think (reason) from the ability to feel (sentience). In modern Western philosophy, sentience is the ability to experience sensations (known in philosophy of mind as "qualia"). In Eastern philosophy, sentience is a metaphysical quality of all things that requires respect and care. The concept is central to the philosophy of animal rights, because sentience is necessary for the ability to suffer, and thus is held to confer certain rights.
      If we are to answer the question of whether DCs deserve moral consideration, the first thing we must establish is whether DCs can suffer. If they can suffer then the argument for consideration grows stronger. Sentience often gets conflated with the word intelligence, but at its root it only refers to the ability to suffer. The intelligence of DCs is another question... but I would say that they exhibit sufficient intelligence for us to consider then an intelligence similar to our own.

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      I don't see how common origin has any relation to the question of morality. We assume because we are the egos that get to experience waking life and dreaming life that we are primary, that somehow we make up the entirety of the human form in which we inhabit. Perhaps there is more to our being that we perceive. Perhaps the human brain has the ability to create many different egos. We know that this is in part true, at least in the dream world. Any DC can become lucid and attain lucid powers. We don't really know enough about the mind to say that our waking minds completely encompass our brain's capacities, and that other egos aren't floating around somewhere down the rabbit's hole.
      Perhaps I'm being closed-minded, but I also thought possessing multiple egos was a sign of split personality disorder. I wouldn't say we know for a fact that DCs are different egos. Its possible, but, as far I'm aware, there's no proof, so, it seems like an assumption on my part. And are DCs becoming lucid or are they acting as we expect them to (subconsciously or not) when faced with this realisation? I know that the waking mind doesn't encompass the entire brain's functions, but the rest is the subconscious and automatic responses, like breathing. Other egos could be down there, but there's no real proof, so, I'm going to assume that I'm the only one in my head.

      We assume that the dream world disappears when we wake up, but that assumption may not be correct. The dream world is a realm of infinite creativity, and we can access that creativity even in the waking world through our thoughts and imagination. So the dream world, in some sense, is still functioning. As the DCs may be. And you can also turn this question of fading from existence on its head. Don't we also fade from existence when we fall into a deep dreamless sleep? And can't we also be said to fade from the dream world whenever we wake up?
      I wouldn't say its infinite. Immensely large, but still limited by the individual whose mind it is. Speaking of limitations, the dream world and imagination, while definitely linked, seem to me to be based on perception. In that, unlike reality, they disappear when unobserved. Even in dreamless sleep, we still possess some (mostly automatic) mental functions. In terms of the actual consciousness, though, I agree. I don't think we completely fade from the dream world, if only because we can still use our imagination and daydream. However, this is probably going to be our main source of disagreement. You seem to be implying that the dream world is sort of like an independent plane, existing alongside ours, with sleep being akin to a portal between realms. Why, then, do Dream characters seem unable to enter our world and, if they have entered, are they able to "lucid reality"? If I'm completely wrong, I apologise. My own personal view is that the dream world is just a sophisticated hallucination, created so we have some stimulation whilst the body sleeps. This is the reason I have such a lax attitude towards morality in dreams. Its about as real to me as fiction.

      As for morality, well I think the best test would be to ask DCs themselves whether they feel pain, like being raped, having their faces beaten in, or having their stuff stolen. After all, morality always arises from a moral consensus arrived at through the interactions of several different individuals. And, if you want to go deeper, you can make them lucid and then ask them whether they are a separate entity from yourself or the same, and want their rights to be respected. Or, again to turn this around, what would you say about morality in the dream world if one of your DCs became lucid, stripped you of your powers and raped and tortured you every night, whether you were lucid or not, until you are absolutely terrified of falling asleep?
      Again, it comes down to how I see the dream world, but like with supposed lucidity, I think the DCs would just be acting as we expect them to act. Considering how DCs act differently in terms of sheer logic sometimes and often are barely self consistent themselves, its going to be difficult to arrive at anything remotely resembling a consensus view of dream morality. Because of this, unless you want to painstakingly ask every dream character (sometimes multiple times because they may completely ignore you or even change their answers) whether a proprosed actions is good or bad in their book, you're never going to be sure whether you've ever done good whilst dreaming. And DCs will act immoral. Numerous people suffer from nightmares where DCs abuse them. If they do not care for morality in their own world, why should we? We could strive to be the better person, but because of the problems already outlined, its going to be difficult and make lucid dreaming seem more like work.

      So shouldn't we err on the side of sentience?
      Even if we do, morality is still tricky there. So, would it reasonably change our attitudes? You can't prove a negative, but if there's no evidence for the positive, it really falls to personal preference on how we should act. Personally, and perhaps I'm slightly evil, I still see DCs as not real. So, unless I'm following the dream narrative for fun, I see no reason to treat them as such.

      BTW the term sentience refers to being able to feel pain.
      Not quite. It refers to the capacity to feel, perceive and experience subjectivly. This would mean emotions, opinions and how our other senses see the world. A DC might react appropriately about a painful response, but this doesn't mean it actually "felt" it.

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      If we are to answer the question of whether DCs deserve moral consideration, the first thing we must establish is whether DCs can suffer. If they can suffer then the argument for consideration grows stronger. Sentience often gets conflated with the word intelligence, but at its root it only refers to the ability to suffer. The intelligence of DCs is another question... but I would say that they exhibit sufficient intelligence for us to consider then an intelligence similar to our own.
      Bold 1: No. The capacity to suffer pain is a branch of the whole concept, but not the whole tree. If I stripped you of all pain receptors and removed the capacity for emotional pain, you would still be sentient because you can experience stuff like light, sound and other emotions.

      Bold 2: Why? How do you know they're not putting on a convincing show?
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      ^^ I couldn't have said it better myself...

      Mzungi, I don't believe you can list a long "wiki" definition of sentience (which surprisingly is a fairly decent definition, even though it omitted sentience's key aspect of self-awareness) and then pick out a couple of words from it and decide that is what sentience means. Yes, sentient beings have the perhaps unique ability to understand their pain, but that understanding is a product of sentience, and not its reason for being. Sentience involves a whole lot of other things, and non-sentient beings are more than able to feel pain, even if they do cannot metaphysically grasp what they are feeling. So I guess DC's could potentially feel pain without being sentient, even if they cannot comprehend their suffering.

      And yes: why couldn't DC's simply be excellent unconscious constructs that are "putting on a convincing show" of sentience? That doesn't seem too farfetched, given the creative capacities of our dreaming minds, and our conscious expectations of how DC's ought to behave.
      Last edited by Sageous; 08-14-2015 at 03:42 AM.
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      DCs may not be sentient independent of us, but we are sentient and we create the DCs. I think that DCs may have some semblance of sentience through us, because they are not separate from us. They are built from our experiences, our thoughts, and our expectations, the same as everything is both inside and outside of our dreams. However, there isn’t the element of external reality tied into our dreams like it is in waking life. I think that interacting with DCs is interacting with ourselves, whether we are conscious of that or not. So there is no real moral dilemma as to whether we harm other people in our dreams, but I do think that we can still harm ourselves, even if only psychologically or spiritually.
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      I agree with pretty much everything you said, dreamer.

      but I do think that we can still harm ourselves, even if only psychologically or spiritually.
      Except for this bit. I see the DCs as mere projections (thank you, Inception) of our mind and not the thing itself. Because of this, the potential for harm to ourselves is pretty insigificant, comparable to viewing violent media. If you're close to the deep end already, maybe it'll push you over the edge, but for most of us, I don't think we're going to be any worse for wear, regardless of what we do, morally or otherwise.

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