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Old 01-17-2014, 12:36 AM
 
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I had a dream in my teenage years that my uncle would die young during a bar fight by gunshot. He lived too recklessly. Not too much longer, his life ended exactly that way at 28 years old. When I found out, my thoughts turned to this dream.
More strange things would happen:
Like me, he was an artist, and I received all of his artwork after he passed. One of the drawings, ironically, was a guy lying in a pool of blood with a guy standing over him holding a gun(comic book style drawing). It was kind of creepy.
A long time later I found a drawing in a box that he had done that I didn't know about and it was dated exactly 20 years to the day I found it.
I also, much later, found a receipt in a magazine of his that is dated April 16 the same day he passed.
Occasionally, I still dream about him. It's an oddly familiar dream- I know he supposed to be dead, but he's still alive and he doesn't know that he's about to be killed.
Otherwise, 99% of my dreams have been creative gibberish.
I acknowledge these things for what they are- trivial coincidences. Betting that my uncle would die young was, unfortunately, a good bet. You can't mix alcohol and fighting with other drunks every weekend.
I'm fairly certain the dead don't communicate and I don't think there's any meaning behind dreams. I think it's the brain way of trying to make sense of, and assimilating stringed-together random incoherent thoughts you have while you are asleep.
Even if personal experiences like dreams and illusions were something real, it doesn't make god real.
I wish the experiences were real. Sometimes.
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Old 01-17-2014, 01:43 AM
 
7,802 posts, read 5,324,275 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thinking-man View Post
i was wondering if you guys have any better explanation or different thoughts on the above.
Nope, the one you gave was the correct one and no more needs to be said on the matter.

Humans are pattern seeking animals and we see patterns where none exist. A person will tell you "I thought of X and 10 seconds later X phoned me!!!" as if this is some kind of miracle.

But the truth is we think of people all the time, and do not notice it. But when an event like the one above happens we DO notice it and assign relevance to it that is not actually there.

So the response you gave him was the correct one in this regard.
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Old 01-17-2014, 03:23 AM
 
Location: 'greater' Buffalo, NY
3,067 posts, read 2,133,533 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TimeMachine View Post
On the other hand, I had a dream years ago that I went to visit my Grandmother in her bedroom, and she was brushing her hair. She turned to me and said she "had to go away now" and then walked away into a fog. The next day my parents told me she had passed away the previous night. I was very freaked out. In my dream she was wearing a metallic and black dress, and that is the dress she was buried in. I was then further freaked out.
My father had a dream like this right before his grandmother died. I want to say he had one before one of his parents died, too, but I could be wrong. Know for sure he had one immediately (night or two) before my great-grandmother died, anyway.

I remember reading somewhere on city-data about how cats can sense the imminent death of an elderly person (I'm less-than-half remembering, but I recall that an anecdote from a nursing home was cited as evidence...whether more generalized evidence was marshaled, I do not recall). Anyway, if that's valid, then I feel like this could be the human subconscious equivalent, heh. Obviously these sorts of dreams are not often reported...and perhaps there are "false positives" that would be uncovered if one researched people's reported experiences having dreams like this. Anyway, I'm at a loss for a specific naturalistic explanation, but for now as I nurse my first IPA of the night I'm content to chalk it up to some vague "instinct" and hit the post button.
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Old 01-17-2014, 03:37 AM
 
Location: Montreal, Quebec
15,087 posts, read 12,103,546 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thinking-man View Post
i was having a discussion with my dad last night......he's an atheist as well (i think?), but there are still some superstitions that are too deeply rooted for him to get away from....(it seems).

So, the discussion went the way of 'personal experience'.....and how there have been instances for him where he's had a dream of someone's death without knowing anything about them or being close to them in any way.....or all of a sudden having anxiety out of nowhere only to learn later that a best friend's mom has suddenly died.

he said that there are things we still don't understand and so i shouldn't be too quick to write them off, in my 'evidence-only' based way of life.

i really didn't know how to answer the above 'examples'....i was only able to mention the phenomenon of 'coincidences' and the fact that there have been thousands of dreams/feeling that didn't pan out but him not taking any notice of those....

i was wondering if you guys have any better explanation or different thoughts on the above.
The human brain is designed to extract meaning from sensory input. There is a great deal of input at all times. The brain actively remembers patterns that create meaning and by selectively ignoring extraneous information that is not relevant to avoid overload.
That being said these irrelevant bits are still stored in the brain. Suppose, for instance, you run in to an old friend and don't consciously notice that something seems "off". However, the brain registers it. Next thing you know you have a dream that they died because the brain is firing wildly while we sleep and is busy processing information.
Next thing you know, you hear the person has died. Weird coincidence? Psychic abilities? You did notice that the person's colour was a little unhealthy or the whites of the eyes were slightly yellowed or they seemed puffy. You just didn't notice that you noticed. Your brain did, and stored the information to process later.
I hope that makes a modicum of sense. I can't explain it any better.
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Old 01-17-2014, 03:46 AM
 
Location: 'greater' Buffalo, NY
3,067 posts, read 2,133,533 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by weltschmerz View Post
The human brain is designed to extract meaning from sensory input. There is a great deal of input at all times. The brain actively remembers patterns that create meaning and by selectively ignoring extraneous information that is not relevant to avoid overload.
That being said these irrelevant bits are still stored in the brain. Suppose, for instance, you run in to an old friend and don't consciously notice that something seems "off". However, the brain registers it. Next thing you know you have a dream that they died because the brain is firing wildly while we sleep and is busy processing information.
Next thing you know, you hear the person has died. Weird coincidence? Psychic abilities? You did notice that the person's colour was a little unhealthy or the whites of the eyes were slightly yellowed or they seemed puffy. You just didn't notice that you noticed. Your brain did, and stored the information to process later.
I hope that makes a modicum of sense. I can't explain it any better.
Yeah, better said than my minimal speculation above. I need to revisit "Incognito" by David Eagleman sometime...at the time I picked it up I felt like I didn't want to know any more. He described some specific percentage of brain activity as that which we're consciously aware of...well, if I googled "Jesus H Christ" in the other thread, I guess I can google that...5% appears to be the quick answer.
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Old 01-17-2014, 03:55 AM
 
12,976 posts, read 14,266,524 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thinking-man View Post
i was having a discussion with my dad last night......he's an atheist as well (i think?), but there are still some superstitions that are too deeply rooted for him to get away from....(it seems).

So, the discussion went the way of 'personal experience'.....and how there have been instances for him where he's had a dream of someone's death without knowing anything about them or being close to them in any way.....or all of a sudden having anxiety out of nowhere only to learn later that a best friend's mom has suddenly died.

he said that there are things we still don't understand and so i shouldn't be too quick to write them off, in my 'evidence-only' based way of life.

i really didn't know how to answer the above 'examples'....i was only able to mention the phenomenon of 'coincidences' and the fact that there have been thousands of dreams/feeling that didn't pan out but him not taking any notice of those....

i was wondering if you guys have any better explanation or different thoughts on the above.
Is this something that needs explaining in your life? Is this difference between you and your father a problem that needs to be resolved?

Seems like diddly crap mind-noodling.
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Old 01-17-2014, 04:04 AM
 
Location: 'greater' Buffalo, NY
3,067 posts, read 2,133,533 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kevxu View Post
Is this something that needs explaining in your life? Is this difference between you and your father a problem that needs to be resolved?
Probably, insofar as he'd prefer to feel like no wedge exists between himself and his father. Sorry to presume to speak for you, OP--correct me if I'm wrong. Also, it sounds like his lacking a sufficient answer to/for his dad's experiences may have caused him a modicum of doubt about his own convictions. That's probably the bigger issue, if I had to guess
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Old 01-17-2014, 04:15 AM
 
40,040 posts, read 11,216,107 times
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Originally Posted by mordant View Post
Yes. I had exactly one "paranormal" experience in my lifetime that I can't explain, cannot draw firm conclusions from, and all speculative explanations assume way too much. An attempt to reproduce the experience failed. I have filed this under "I don't know" and moved on. This is the appropriate response to such things. I don't have an obligation to believe in woo based on an interesting experience that has some aspects that are consistent with some people's ideas of the supernatural, just because I can't explain it offhand in naturalistic terms. The mind plays too many tricks too readily.
I have seen one thing that I still can't explain. I have heard voices, but now these look like a mental phenomenon. I not long since saw a UFO and was interested to note how the 'I don't want to hear this' mental shutters slammed down if I mentioned it to anyone. Shortly afterwards I learned that I'd seen the Iridium satellite. But, If I hadn't been open minded and curious, I'd have been left with an event I couldn't explain, would have pushed it out of mind (If I was like those others) until suddenly I couldn't deny it any more and maybe became a UFO believer. This is why skeptical thinking is not denialist (as startrek scriptwriters seem to think) but really open minded, curious, but not going headlong for the 'It looks like precognition! It's all true!' error.
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Old 01-17-2014, 09:52 AM
 
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I think the subconscious picks up on a lot of stuff - things that could be considered empirical data if we acknowledged them directly, but which we only process indirectly.

As a child, I had a premonition of my grandfather's death - I strongly believed he would not be coming back from his last vacation. He passed away while he was staying at the vacation home with my grandmother. I had merely picked up on the fact that he was steadily losing weight and was frequently tired - he died of heart failure and had emphysema. I didn't even know he was actually sick, but I believe I was more open to the information that was available, while his wife and children were in denial and were totally shocked by his death. A young child expects to lose their grandparents, so they are more open to that kind of information.

As an adult, I was also the first person to suspect something was seriously wrong with my grandmother. Having just watched two elderly relatives die of metastatic cancer on the other side of my family, I believe my brain subconsciously picked up on the same early signs that my other relatives had exhibited in my grandmother's behavior (her symptoms were VERY mild, but definitely present). I spent a year telling people that my grandmother needed a full medical vetting - turns out she had stage 4 cancer.

This kind of thing is why I will go to a psychic every once in a while. I don't believe they're receiving messages from beyond, but a good psychic will be able to size a person up and ask them questions that get them thinking. I think there's value in a complete stranger asking you questions about your personal life, and I do believe there are people who have exceptional abilities to read facial expression and body language. I've had a few sessions with psychics that were better than any session with a trained therapist, and with most of them, I could figure out exactly what they were picking up on.

When faced with a problem, I will sometimes use tarot cards - not because I believe they tell the future, but because they can cause you to look at an issue from a new slant that was not previously considered. I believe in having a methodology and approaching things logically, but sometimes your methodology closes you to perspectives you need to consider. Plus, I have severe ADD - my brain often works better with a more random approach.

People ask all the time how I can find horoscopes, tarot cards and psychics to be so much fun when I'm a pretty unyielding atheist, but I like how they provoke me to consider things from different angles and sometimes pull me out of ruts that my thought processes might have fallen into.
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Old 01-17-2014, 02:45 PM
 
Location: South Carolina
3,581 posts, read 2,474,098 times
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I used to be a fundamentalist Christian and I was of the worst kind, no need to explain I'm sure. At one point I thought I was having visions and in another "life" I even shared them here at C-D for all to see. Don't bother trying to search my posts, you won't see them. I was completely convinced that I had 3 separate visions and I even interpreted them too. Boy was I deluded. In my fundie mind, I truly thought I had been chosen to have these dreams and visions and any interpretation of them that came to me had to be divinely inspired right? Right.

Fast forward to where I am now: As an agnostic atheist, everything that I experienced can be explained and quite reasonably in fact. Forced religion and the constant threats of hell were the norm and I had never ever been exposed to anyone who didn't believe....that's just the way it was. I liken it to almost growing up in a cult-like environment. My mind had never been allowed to ponder other options other than "goddunnit", I mean there was no other option because I had never heard of people who didn't believe. Until I turned 12. Atheists were evil, anything against Christianity was evil and we had to try to convert as many people as possible because if not then they were going to hell. Brainwashing is a mighty powerful thing folks.

What I just said is enough to make a person go "hmmmmm" no wonder she thought she was seeing things!! I do have a mental illness that went undiagnosed for 44 years, and there are all sorts of problems associated with that that would cause me to think that I was correct in my thinking. Truth is that my upbringing combined with the illness caused me to be delusional at times. Do we really know how much mental illness is really out there? I consider myself pretty damn normal compared to some people I know. My own father is undiagnosed schizophrenic and the reason I know that is that I described him to a therapist one time and she diagnosed him immediately.

So what I'm saying is that it can all be explained. It's all just circumstance, coincidence and good/bad timing, that's all. I mean, I have to admit that I have experienced some pretty amazing coincidences in my life that make you wonder but it's still just coincidence, freaky or not. I don't know if I'm really making any sense but I'm trying to say that what you've been saying to others works......you cannot crack something that's already cracked, the human race is cracked and there is no normal.

When someone wants to break free, they will. I did. Some never will. That's just the way it is. I'm really pleased with how things are now, I'm completely free from religion, I'm on medication and when I have a dream or vivid imagery pops in my head it's probably because I ate something bad or I just watched an action movie.
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