consciousness, near-death experience, Philosophy

Is Life a Dream?

Today’s post on my Psychology Today blog, “Mysteries of Consciousness,” explores a question that has bothered skeptical philosophers for centuries, if not millenia: How do we know that life is not just a dream? I argue that this is not just an idle question and that the answer to it stands to have important empirical consequences, consequences that I believe we can already see, if we know where to look…

Image credit: KELLEPICS/Pixabay

5 thoughts on “Is Life a Dream?”

  1. Even though science is starting to turn it’s attention away from hard materialism, and atheists like Sam and Annaka Harris are now saying that the materialistic view is ridiculous, I really wish more people would look beyond reductionist materialism, and stop calling people who do ( I’m one of them ) “wishful thinkers and science deniers with cognitive bias, and possibly schizotypy, wasting their lives with self-empowerment theories and fantasies”. There are too many former materialists to call post materialism wishful thinking. And I love science.
    I am currently engaging with materialists on an article on psychologyToday. But I will stop if it gets too ridiculous. My name there is Kesther as well.
    https://www.psychologytoday.com/nz/blog/psychology-yesterday/201306/why-people-believe-weird-things

    I’m already being accused of looking beyond materialistic explanations for NDE/OBEs ( I’ve had OBEs many times ), “due to being desperate to maintain delusional beliefs, and afraid of nihilism”, AKA an afterlife. But Mgar’s comments ( the one who I was originally talking to ) is even worse.
    Don’t just take my word for it, find out for yourself:

    Jokes on him, because I don’t want to have children anyway. I’d rather travel the world.
    I’m not trying to convince them, or anyone, of anything. I’m just trying to shake them up a bit, get them to look beyond materialism for a minute, stop saying woo, and look at the bigger picture. Whether they want to deny and dismiss as wishful thinking, fantasy prone disorder, a comforting crutch for hardships and suffering, delusions, illness, and schizotypy, is up to them.
    They also don’t seem to understand ( or maybe they don’t want to ) that we’re not questioning science and reason, we’re questioning materialism. Materialism is often mistaken for science and reason. But it’s not science.

  2. The article itself is not new and uses the same tired arguments from materialists like Bruce Hood, John Schumaker ( pardon possible misspelling ), and Michael Shermer. “We only think there’s an immaterial world, because we can’t face reality as is. We feel a lot better when we believe in an afterlife, and that life has purpose beyond survival and reproduction. We believe, because it gives us a sense or illusion of control, and lets us sleep at night.”

    I think it’s very funny when some materialists say “start thinking for yourself”! That’s exactly what we’re doing.
    But the minute you even remotely accept the possibility of there being something more, due to personal experiences and evidence, “you’re automatically a delusional person who desperately longs for a comforting fairy tale afterlife. You’re uncomfortable with accepting materialism.
    You accept spiritual experiences as something more, instead of writing them off as illnesses, delusions, and schizo. You deserve to be ridiculed for that, and you should feel bad about yourself for believing in dissociation, feel-good fluttery, and self-empowering ego/confidence boosting theories and fantasies like NDE/OBEs”( if one person can have spiritual experiences, everybody else can. So that throws self-empowering, ego/confidence boosting, and arrogance out the window ).
    I’m not doing ‘whatever it takes to maintain delusional fantasies and deny nihilism.’ I’m questioning the widely held belief.
    Yes, materialism is a belief. Just like the belief in an afterlife. And the belief in OBEs that materialists keep ridiculing, insulting, and beating up OBErs about.
    So I should think for myself, as long as I don’t question materialism? I should just agree and accept that materialism is a hard fact and that the mind is completely brain-based without any protest, despite the fact materialism itself is not science, and that there’s mounting evidence against it? That’s great advice. Thanks! That sounds like a very rational thing to do, and the correct adult attitude to have. There’s no childish thinking or blind-faith involved in that at all. No burrying heads in the sand is involved either.

    So much for “thinking for yourself, rational critical thinking, questioning everything, skepticism, following the evidence wherever it leads, and using science and reason.”
    We ARE following the evidence wherever it leads. It’s just that some don’t like where it leads: That materialism might not be true. That there might be more to life than simply working for a living, watching football and movies, playing video games, clubbing, etc.
    Whether they want to accept the evidence, or dismiss the evidence as fear-driven, wanting, cognitive illusions, attentional bias, or cognitive bias, is there problem not ours. It’s not ‘wasting your life’ to ask the big questions, or to look into the paranormal and afterlife. I’m living and currently traveling the world. So how is this ‘wasting my life’?

    I get it. Nobody likes questioning their beliefs.
    Mind-beyond brain proponents and materialists. Nobody is immune to bias, no matter how many times we say we’re unbiased.
    With the response I’ve just received, you’d think that I had just eaten someone’s child, or robbed a bank. But no. I did something way worse and inexcusable:
    I said that I was “tired of dismissing my experiences as a result of delusions, a sick brain, and schizotypy, when in reality I’m okay. I’ve beaten myself up for 3 whole years for remotely accepting them. That’s long enough and I want to stop. I’m a lot happier now that I’ve accepted them. And that I was miserable when I denied them for 3 years.”
    To them, that was proof that I want to deny nihilism and reality.
    And so what if the authors of the books and paranormal/NDE researchers in the list Mgar mentioned are mostly male? Even if most of them were female, I don’t see how that would make a difference. Mgar still wouldn’t believe any of it. Based on the attitude of her, and the other comments, she would still dismiss them all as delusional people on the spectrum of schizotypy, desperately longing for something more than the physical. She would still call them wishful thinking pseudoscientists. No matter what gender they all are.

    While I do appreciate healthy skepticism about paranormal research, books, and spiritual experiences, I wish they would apply the same amount of skepticism to the materialistic worldview they find so obviously right.
    Especially since there are more ATHEISTS saying that hard materialism is silly. So it’s not just coming from “superstitious New age mystic Chopra woo believing tinfoil hat wearers, and naive religious and poorly educated spiritual confidence boosting science deniers”.
    There’s another reply that just popped up on PsychologyToday. I’m still getting the whole “uncomfortable with accepting materialism” assumption. Time for round two.
    Sorry this is so long. Once I start typing, more words will keep popping up.

  3. I’ve already responded and that was going to be my last respone on that article for good, because I already know the results and reactions I may or may not recieve. I’ve engaged with similar conversations from materialists and the like too many times to not know what may or may not come next.
    “You still refuse to let go of your comforting fantasies! Take an interest in science, stop wasting your life thinking about an afterlife, and stop thinking OBEs as anything more than brain activity and delusions!” And they’ll probably assume that my leaving the converation is proof that I don’t like what they’re saying, and that I can’t stand the ‘fact’ of there is no afterlife or a greater reality after this one.

    Don’t approve my previous comment. My name was a typo. I’m still Kesther.

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