I think therefore I think. I think too much. Egad! I can’t stop thinking.
Both streams of consciousness (top down and bottom up) are about equally perceptive. Again, the brain likes to conserve energy. This is also part of why the bottom up novelty reactive flow of consciousness is often so quiet, but sometimes something happens. A person has a near death experience, or has undergone a lot of physical strain lately, and the top down stream of consciousness becomes fatigued. Ever experienced this? Having a moment where things just don’t seem to make sense? You can’t think straight, as they say.
Several times, alas. Thinking is a constructive activity. Top down thinking constructs your behavioural options out of basic sensation. When that fatigues, the bottom up or animal stream of consciousness becomes hyper vigilant, thus even though you feel brain drained, you are also easily startled.
One of the causes of insomnia, perhaps. Yes, in extreme cases certainly.
Well, there is a gap between how the two streams of consciousness see and process the world, and though you might imagine you know what your senses tell you, you really don’t. From one point of view you actually can’t because in order to think in the normal way you have to block out a portion of your sensory range. But if you don’t block this out, the world around you looks very different. Your default mode network has a picture of your daily experiences that is partially formed from the animal stream of consciousness. This is why dream characters often seem too intense, their behaviour and physical features over exaggerated. Anyone experience this in their dreams? Do the characters in your dreams behave normally?
On top of the sensory over reaction of the animal stream of consciousness, there is a flow of emotion that is shaped by it as well. This part of your emotional process is rather reductionist in a way. Do your dream characters ever assume normal social roles?
Like stereotypes? Yes. Do they seem to follow those?
Hmm, sometimes the teacher, other times the student. Like that? Yes. Does there seem to be normal social structure?
I’m not sure I understand what “normal” social structure is.
I think so, roles are filled in.
Let’s go with the role of teacher. Anyone want to describe what a teacher does in a normal day to day way?
In my dreams, “he” stands and tells students what to do, what to learn, what the test is on and the students listen, or else.
Ok. Ever notice though you feel the presence of the teacher in your dream, you can hardly ever see them in detail?
Yes. I was thinking those who fill the roles are often faceless.
The animal stream of consciousness doesn’t process abstractions like social role. It doesn’t know what a policeman is. It doesn’t know what a teacher is. It does know what dominance is. It does know what threat is.
Yes, very primary animal responses.
So let’s take this further, again sticking with teacher. The animal or bottom up stream of consciousness is aware of and does have emotional reactions to people’s most basic motives. It doesn’t perceive anything anyone meant to do. It doesn’t read between the lines. It does notice subtle little clues though. It does notice nostril flaring, or hand clenching, or breathing going shallow and cheeks flushing, and it models the people you know according to that. How often do teachers attack people in your dreams? How often do they engage in inappropriate contact? How often is their communication seen as just imposing noise in your dreams? Can you make sense of it very often?
Perhaps a muffled noise, yes.
Ever have a teacher say anything clearly in your dreams?
Not that I can immediately recall.
No, those who are clear are not the faceless ones.
Now I used human social roles as a basic model, but the virtually hidden animal stream of consciousness is constant and ongoing and accesses more information than your normal thinking does, taps into your organic tendencies more, and has more of a sense of things like environmental shifts like what the weather has been like lately. If it could be imposed in your normal perception, well, you would recognize your world. Your animal stream of consciousness knows and remembers well everything that has ever made your stomach rumble, or everything that has ever made you anticipate pain. Your normal consciousness tends to ignore these things, no?
It filters them out, perhaps.
Yes, like when we forget to eat when we’re engrossed in thought. Yes. That’s top down thinking overriding the bottom up, and it can more or less at will though people have trained themselves into reacting as if it can’t.
Your thoughts are welcome. Be well friends.