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Friday, October 3, 2014

How We Dream

As I gain in age and experience, I find myself getting more polite in dreams. Do you? Why is that?
Above is a Normaphoto of a sunbeam entering our garden. What is a sunbeam, really? It is a visible wavelength of the electromagnetic spectrum. It is made of photons, irreducible packets (quanta) of electromagnetic energy that carry a kick. They kick leaves and cause them to make plant food. They kick solar cells and make them produce electricity. Photons with a big kick defy the static idea (Law) of Matter-Energy Conservation and don't last long. Photons with a little kick can travel real far, which is why we see distant stars. Photons are what we see when light subtends the eye and kicks electrons in our retinas.

We receive no information  about the universe smaller than a photon.

This is not a subject upon which I can deliver a professorial lecture with a closed mind. Nobody can talk about atoms with a closed mind. So I won't. I will doodle:
I doodle a sunbeam of visible light above. It has a wavelength of about 10 centimeters peak to peak. It arrives at the eye after about 7 minutes travel --big kick-- and kicks atoms in our retinas, which send electrical cascades up optic nerves to the brain and we see things.

But here's the enigma: we are what we are --omnivores who eat plants and animals that eat plants-- and see what we see because of photons, photons in the visible light part of the spectrum. What  about when we're asleep and our eyes are closed? Visible light can barely get through a piece of paper, much less closed eyelids. What are we seeing when we dream of light? When we dream of anything, it is as though we see it in light. Is dreamed light light, and if not, what? Observe doodle:

There are light wavelengths that pass through paper, eyelids --like x-rays-- but I shall go for something stronger, quanta that pass through bone, roofing, Tupperware --if you sleep in Tupperware for its preservative qualities like I do-- and even lead. Our grandchildren all went through a stage of calling Norma "Gamma Namma" --which not only evokes memories of 1950's giant city-destroying-monster movies but also suggests Gamma Rays. Gamma rays go through everything, especially our brains at night. Compare upper and lower doodles:
Gamma rays have a much tighter wavelength and travel any old distance pushing themselves to a mighty kick. They get in your head at night and your brain perceives them as light. Why? Because they bypass retinas, bones and kick off electrons in your visual cortex. These are some badass photons. The sleeping brain processes them as light.

Light.

They induce an electromagnetic charge which, like all charges, is surrounded by virtual photons. These are photons that exist for a short time after virtualization, unreality. Your brain responds by navigating the images they create, and that is your dream self --accommodating the disturbed verges of reality.  Is it real? I can only quote Mr. Spock from Star Trek [season3, episode6, "Spectre Of The Gun"]: "Physical reality is consistent with universal laws. Where the laws do not apply, there is no reality." This, of course, forces us into accountability even in the virtual photons of dreams*. Another enigma for another time, possibly when I am awake.
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                 *Click for further discussion on the OK corral on prior post.


27 comments:

  1. If I could disturb your sleeping state for a moment or two, may I ask some questions? But first I wish to be clear about two points.

    P1. Ordinary energy-level photons enter the eyeball when the shutters are open, but go no further than that, simply triggering responses on the retina.
    P2. When the shutters/eyelids are closed, and we sleep, standard photons are blocked, but high-energy photons, i.e. gamma rays, enter our skulls and induce a state of dreaming.

    Q1. So why do we not dream during waking hours when we are being bombarded by gamma rays?
    Q2. How do we interpret standard photonic input as light when the brain is totally enclosed in darkness?
    Q3. If the sense of light is due to gamma radiation, I return to 3.
    Q4. There is evidence to suggest that the mind makes decisions that are at variance with the data processed by the brain, so where does the mind come into this?
    Q5. Gamma radiation is a killer, particularly when of a high intensity. If we could stop dreaming would we live longer?
    Q6. Since gamma radiation is entering our brains 24/7/365/no.-of-life-years, how does it know when to present us with reality and when to offer night fantasies?
    Q7. How does gamma radiation know when we are asleep? Is it intelligent?
    Q8. What effect does it have on our brains or minds that gamma radiation may have passed through countless other living brains on the way here?
    Q9. Why am I asking all these questions when I'm probably facing ultimate reality, the G-radiation?

    Ah well, back to sleep. Sorry to have disturbed you!

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    1. All I can say right now is, a quantum wave function interacts with an obstacle according to its signature frequency and amplitude --creates events from the interference, which in turn creates more events. Universe can be viewed as a vast arena of quanta interfering with each other to create an assembly of all possibilities, even those which are mutually exclusive, which is why it has to be so big.

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  2. The bones in my skull must be getting thinner allowing more gamma rays into my brain....I sleep less but my dreams are more vivid. As for being more polite in my dreams...I haven't noticed that yet. The truth is, I"m not very polite awake either.

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    1. I have found a way of determining skull density changes by filling my hat with water and measuring how much is displaced when I put it on.

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    2. Is that a nice way of telling me to 'go soak my head'?

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    3. Oh dear Delores, never! But I find it refreshing on really hot days.

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  3. Dear Geo.,
    I love dreams. Kept a dream-diary always with me (till the day I thought I had forgotten it in a Congress Center, with explanations and names.... I hadn't - but till I found it at home it was a nightmare :-)
    Dreams - I believe in them: intuition, often a vague though precise hint of the subconscious - and yes: in severe cases I take its advice. Dreams = protons of God's electricity, who knows?

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    1. Dear Brigitta, I too believe dreams provide a current, abstract commentary on our waking lives. (p.s. I'm ok. Thanks!)

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  4. After reading this twice I got up and made a hat of aluminum foil. I feel better now.
    Your grasp of quantum physics is alarming. Clearly you have a particle accelerator in your basement. Does NSA know about you?

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    1. Mike, my grasp of a lot of things is alarming.

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    2. haha. I want an aluminum foil hat, too! Those photons are scary!

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    3. When UV light hits aluminum it produces ozone, which can irritate sinuses, so don't wear the hat all the time.

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  5. Those photons are violent things going around kicking everything in their paths. I could use a photon or two right now because my dishes need washing and I am feeling a bit lethargic.

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    1. Persuant to Tom's comment above, better to be kicked by photons than gamma rays.

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  6. Your mind is an awesome thing, Geo. i mostly forget my dreams when I wake up, but I do hope that I am polite in them. My mother would have been very disappointed with me if I weren't.

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    1. Most kind Arleen, It's like we behave in dreams more and more according to social conditioning as we mature. It's like, "Oooh I'm flying! Better obey federal aeronautical rules." etc.

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    2. I fly in many of my dreams, and those I remember. It is a marvelous feeling.

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  7. Last night I dreamt my husband was urinating on a hotel radiator... but now I know I can blame the gamma rays I feel less troubled about this. Thank you again Geo :-)

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    1. My pleasure, Lisa! Hotel radiators are usually part of a steam-boiler plumbing system, so it's pretty safe. However, from personal experience, it's wise to unplug electrical radiators before doing that --even in dreams. I slept in a San Francisco hotel last night and the radiator was electric!

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  8. I'm cautious in my dreams. I often regret that when I wake up. I wish I could realize sooner that I'm in a dream and enjoy it properly.

    Light.

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    1. Same here Squid, and it vexes me no end. I have added an asterisk and clickable footnote to the closing paragraph of this post in attempt to shed some Light on the subject.

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  9. Ok, here I was all indignant, thinking from looking for the first time at your illustrations. I thought your explanation of scale was a formula. Then upon writing out the formula, I thankfully went back for a second look, saw my error.
    As usual, your post about scientific things is beyond, um, lemme think....ah. The comment of mere mortals.
    For those still here, the formula for the visible wavelength of light is:
    v = λf.........(1)

    E = hf .........(2)

    Where:
    v = velocity of the light wave;
    E = Energy of the light wave;
    λ = wavelength of the light wave;
    f = frequency of the light wave;
    h = Planck’s constant = 6.62×10-34 J-sec

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    1. Thanks Mike! I was doodling sinusoidal waves and expressing their phasic humpities in nanometers. Your formula provides a much better description for everything --except maybe the little brown shoe at that kicks atoms at the wave terminus.

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  10. Physics made easy?
    Not for this moron. No light rays penetrate my scientifically dense brain.

    I’ll go back to Lakme. Now you’re talking.

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    1. Ah Friko, the harmonics of light and musical harmonies are only different wavelengths, but Lakme is the closest I come to really hearing light --and must agree with you.

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  11. Since it often seems like much of mankind is sleepwalking through life, your post may explain why common sense is becoming such a rarity. It's those darn gamma rays!

    Be very very leery of atoms, dude. They make everything up.

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    Replies
    1. Ha! Sounds like fun. Maybe that's why we make stuff up too!

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