• BrianW
    481
    Suppose you're asleep and dreaming. Then, when you wake up you can remember the dream.
    1. While dreaming, what was your state of consciousness? (Please explain your answer.) (10 votes)
        1. Conscious
        50%
        2. Unconscious
        10%
        3. Sub-conscious
          0%
        4. Super-conscious
          0%
        5. A combination of some of the above
        40%
        6. All of the above
          0%
        7. None of the above
          0%
  • BrianW
    481
    I think it's a combination of the sub-conscious and the conscious. By this I mean, that while my consciousness was below the state we call wakeful, that is, in the sub-conscious state (which still implies the presence of consciousness), there were mental processes which were active and which generated memories which engraved such deep impressions that they intruded to the conscious state.
  • unenlightened
    2.8k
    Is there a problem with saying I was asleep and dreaming? Is that not already a clearer statement than the possibilities you propose?

    Generally, I would prefer to say I am conscious of something, or not, so I can be conscious of writing a post, but not conscious of my breathing, both being equally real and present. And at the same time I can daydream of other answers (unreal) I might give, that I might remember later or not.

    But generally, we say of someone asleep that they are unconscious, and mean that they are not conscious of the world in which they are asleep.
  • BrianW
    481


    I think this is one of those unique cases because, by asleep, we usually mean being beyond the range of normal consciousness. And yet, by creating memories, it seems to imply a kind of participation by our normal consciousness. Well, this is not that strange considering the interaction between our conscious and sub/super-conscious states of awareness are often interacting with each other, for example, in ideation.

    However, consider this phenomenon of generating memories and its implications and try to relate it to people who are supposed to be completely unconscious, perhaps due to trauma, anaesthesia, etc. Some of them are still known to generate memories from mental processes and they have been designated as unconscious.

    I'm using this thread as a kind of mental exercise on the probable explanations of the nature of our consciousnesses. Currently, my thoughts are, we are never completely unconscious (without consciousness) until death. That, it is possible for our consciousness to range in activity from being very engaged and interactive with others to being very quiet and subtle as to elicit no recognition from others, even though it were still present.
    Also, I think it is possible to shift awareness through all the levels of consciousness from normal to sub/super states just as deliberately and smoothly as they seem to happen instinctively.

    I would like to hear more of your thoughts concerning this.
  • DingoJones
    228


    Can you give a definition for the states you mention, 1-4?
  • Terrapin Station
    5.2k
    "Subconscious" is usually a less formal term for "unconscious," not a distinct thing.

    In my view we're conscious of dreams if we're dreaming.
  • DingoJones
    228
    Ya, I am having trouble not seeing overlap with those terms so I need clarification as to how exactly they are meant.
  • Herg
    91
    In my view we're conscious of dreams if we're dreaming.Terrapin Station
    I would agree with this. The difference between dream sleep and full consciousness is not that consciousness itself is different, but that what we are conscious of is different, because the brain is feeding consciousness with stuff mainly from stored memories instead of mainly from current sensory input.
  • DingoJones
    228


    What about when you are awake and in a sensory deprivation tank? Would you say that is the same as dreaming (as far as where your brain is being fed from, memory or “current sensory input)?
  • DiegoT
    122
    I think we are always dreaming, always unconscious, because we can only perceive inner representations. In our wake state a little more of our sensorial input is allowed to shape our experiences, so that we can interact with the world. In our sleeping state that input is kept to a minimum, and our conscious field works coordinating more complex experiences; while when we are awake the conscious is less active and mostly engaged with immediate responses that our body-mind has to produce to perform our different daily functions.
  • Herg
    91
    What about when you are awake and in a sensory deprivation tank? Would you say that is the same as dreaming (as far as where your brain is being fed from, memory or “current sensory input)?DingoJones
    I assume you're talking about hallucinations. According to Wikipedia, "the hallucinations are caused by the brain misidentifying the source of what it is currently experiencing, a phenomenon called faulty source monitoring." (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sensory_deprivation)

    So the hallucinations are a case of consciousness receiving stuff accompanied by a "tag" from the brain wrongly identifying the source. The stuff plus the tag is the input to consciousness, so I think once again this is a case where there is no difference in consciousness itself, but rather in what one is conscious of.

    In describing it like this I am using quasi-dualist language, as if the brain and consciousness were two separate things, but that's just a limitation of language; my view is that consciousness is an attribute of the brain itself, so I suppose what we're really talking about here is one function of the brain (the gathering of information from sensory input and/or memory and tagging it with its source) talking to another function of the brain (the creation of conscious experience from this tagged information).

    If anyone reading this is an expert on the brain, they are more than welcome to correct me if I'm getting this wrong.
  • Valentinus
    146
    It seems to me that consciousness plays different roles in different dreams. Many dreams are like experiencing a play where the desire to be immersed in the narrative is in conflict with varying levels of understanding that the scene is "artificial." I often "wake" up when I can no longer suspend disbelief, as the expression goes.
    Dreams where I become aroused often "wake" me up enough to ruin the initial seduction. That kind of experience makes me wonder if most of our memories of dreams pivot upon something going wrong.
    I am curious about how often dreams are devoted to sequences of decisions. Making decisions is certainly a big element of being conscious in actual life. My working life consists of 75% of my energy being directed to solving problems. How much that percentage shrinks or grows directly affects how much of my dreaming becomes another place where it happens. Sometimes, the distance between the illusions and remembered facts grows too small and leads to insomnia because it just becomes thinking about real problems. On the other hand, that boundary is where I often have figured a way out that I had failed to do in full waking life.
    And that brings me to something else that seems to happen so often in dreams, one finds oneself with a daunting set of circumstances and the decision you take makes it worse. And there is a "consciousness" that the game is rigged.
    So, I am certain that these experiences point to something true but I am unable to turn the observations into a story or a dream, if you will.
  • DingoJones
    228


    I didnt mean hallucinations, I meant that you arent getting sensory data in the tank, and was interested in how you think that might contrast or factor in with your view here
  • Herg
    91
    I didnt mean hallucinations, I meant that you arent getting sensory data in the tank, and was interested in how you think that might contrast or factor in with your view hereDingoJones

    I would think it must be similar to dreaming, in that not much if any information is coming in through the senses, and so the brain can only use its own stored information.
  • BrianW
    481
    Can you give a definition for the states you mention, 1-4?DingoJones

    1. Conscious - Voluntary awareness/response. The state we would designate as wakeful or alert.

    2. Unconscious - Devoid of any awareness/response.

    3. Sub-conscious - Involuntary awareness/response which is inherent in our functioning e.g. the awareness/response of some physical processes like digestion, cellular respiration, etc. Also, residual awareness/response beside voluntary activities.

    4. Super-conscious - Heightened awareness/response and may be partly involuntary and partly voluntary. This is often used to designate intuition or some aspects of the creative processes.


    * The difference between the sub-conscious and the super-conscious is only for those who would like to differentiate between the degree of intelligence expressed. Even when both seem to be involuntary, the sub-conscious is more mechanical in its working compared to the acuity of the super-conscious. Also, the super-conscious seems to manifest beyond the level of normal consciousness. That is, it manifests higher intelligence or better application of the intelligence possessed.
  • Wallows
    6.2k
    REM sleep is closest to one of waking state during sleep phases. I answered "a combination of conscious and subconscious".
  • Terrapin Station
    5.2k
    I wouldn't say that any awareness is voluntary. That suggests that prior to being aware, you make a decision to be(come) aware.
  • DingoJones
    228


    Ok, so in what way are you 1 when you are asleep? Your take is that 1 and 2 are operating while in a dream state, but it seems to me 1 precludes itself from 2.
    Also, where are you going with this? I am interested in what you think peoples answers will be relevent to.
  • BrianW
    481


    My answer was 1 and 3.

    I think it's a combination of the sub-conscious and the conscious. By this I mean, that while my consciousness was below the state we call wakeful, that is, in the sub-conscious state (which still implies the presence of consciousness), there were mental processes which were active and which generated memories which engraved such deep impressions that they intruded to the conscious state.BrianW

    Also, where are you going with this? I am interested in what you think peoples answers will be relevent to.DingoJones

    This is just a little mental exercise. For example, take my answers for instance, sub-conscious usually means instinctive or residual consciousness, so how can a dream which exhibits signs of intellect or thought process be sub-conscious? Perhaps, a better answer would be a combination of the super-conscious (intuition) and the conscious. Unfortunately, for me, the degree of intelligence exhibited in dreams is not usually higher than that in our conscious state. So, I'm rather skeptical about that combination. Even though I have an answer, there's a probability of it being wrong just as it could be right.

    However, whatever answers people give, they reveal something about the consciousness that is somewhat a product of analytical investigation. I think that is a little helpful.
  • DingoJones
    228


    I think all conscious states are 3, in the sense that that the state (3) is operating and/or informing the other states 1, 2 and 4.
    1 still precludes 2, though I see my mistake there, you didnt say 1and 2. If we exclude 3 for my reason above would you say only 1 is operating then?
  • BrianW
    481


    Yes, I would think so. But still a big if.

    I like the idea of (3) being everpresent. I'll try and see what it would mean for the other states of consciousness.
  • Pattern-chaser
    629
    I think it's a combination of the sub-conscious and the conscious. By this I mean, that while my consciousness was below the state we call wakeful, that is, in the sub-conscious state (which still implies the presence of consciousness), there were mental processes which were active and which generated memories which engraved such deep impressions that they intruded to the conscious state.BrianW

    To me, you're describing something wholly non-conscious here, whose results eventually emerged into conscious awareness. :chin: [Just like 'Kublai Khan' emerged into Coleridge's conscious mind, once his undermind had created it.]
  • BrianW
    481
    To me, you're describing something wholly non-conscious here, whose results eventually emerged into conscious awareness.Pattern-chaser

    I don't know what non-conscious means but if its results can emerge into conscious awareness, then I suppose it implies a sort of consciousness possibly passive in comparison to the normal conscious awareness. Anyway, that is what I'm trying to explain in my own deficient words.

    The whole realm of knowledge of what consciousness is and how or why it is, becomes very abstract to the extent that sometimes it eludes our expression of it in analytical terms.
    We probably experience dreams, and when we remember them we know it's because they're impressed in our memories, but it's still difficult to express the how and why of it. Even the various explanations usually aren't as divergent as we expect. So, most of us could be right because we seem to converge towards a particular principle where consciousness manifests states that are more and less pronounced than others but which interact to various degrees. The problem, as I see it, is realising the underlying principle which enacts these mechanisms which we seem to experience subjectively even when there's a sort of objective agreement in our understanding.

    I think the whole consciousness issue is based on the question,
    Can we have objective principles for subjective phenomena?
  • Pattern-chaser
    629
    I don't know what non-conscious meansBrianW

    It refers to the so-called subconscious, unconscious or non-conscious mind, that Guy Claxton calls the "undermind", which is my preferred term. Your conscious mind is a small part of your mind; your undermind is all that's left. It's what makes your heart beat and your lungs breathe; it automates those habitual actions you do often; it writes poetry, and is otherwise creative; etc.

    if its results can emerge into conscious awareness, then I suppose it implies a sort of consciousnessBrianW

    No! It implies a sort of non-consciousness!!! The point is that your conscious mind is a minor part of your whole mind, and your undermind is all the rest of it. If you are aware of something, it may well be conscious. If you're not, then it is not part of your conscious mind, the part of your mind of whose doings you are aware, or conscious. This is not an unfounded assertion. It is true by DEFINITION. Conscious and aware are exact synonyms, in this case.
  • Johan Thorn
    1
    Hi, this is my first post in this forum. So I don't know about the quality, but here goes.

    I was at first leaning towards superconscious, to some extent due to the fuzzy definition in this context I couldn't really settle for that option as I can't exclude the possibility of super-consciousness being a class of counsciousness and therefore not equivalentely distinct. However, this may possibly be done -- but first some preliminaries.

    Looking at the different brainwaves the brain uses when in "woke"-mode, as distinct from the brainwaves in control when in "sleep"-state (and viewing the movement of the brain to from alpha to beta and so on, going 'deeper' and 'deeper', that is, slower and slower, as a matter of degree) it becomes apparent that at some undefined frequency consciousness is no more capable of transferring information to memories (possible to remember when woke). Therefore, in some states of dreaming the consciousness being attached to a subject can be conscious to different degrees (lucid dreaming contra 'regular' dreaming etc.) in where then in lucid dreaming this 'super conscious' state appears, when One seems to be in total control of all, some or most of its surroundings.

    Of course, this is just my intuitive response. I will now read the thread in its entireness and if I find no objections I will continue further down this path.

    So I found no objections. If anyone has some reading to point towards regarding superconscious I gladly look at it closer.

    Otherwise, I would maybe define the superconscious as being the creator of these worlds, inhabitated by at least one subject, the subject perceiving them. Usually, it seems as often when dreams are remembered -- from a personal standpoint and for the moment removing objectivity -- it is very difficult for the consciousness to stay in that state and usually instead wakes up when the consciousness understands that this is the case. It is almost as it is a realm that is forbidden, or at least under heavy restrictions, for the (woke) conscious mind.

    It therefore seems, if the above is the case, that consciousness is a class of super-consciousness and not the other way around. Anyhow, there is my motivation for my answer. I will look further towards the superconscious in my reading.
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