Sunday, March 20, 2011

It's just a good feeling

Dreams seem so vivid sometimes. In a way that's not related to how much sense they make. Often, I've had dreams that I've known are absurd, strange dreams where I move from place to place, people come in and out, rules change and things that don't logically make sense happen regularly. Yet in these dreams, I'm so absorbed and I have an overwhelming sense that it is real.

When I wake up, I lose that sense of reality, even though this is supposed to be the 'real' world. It's hard not to feel that this sense of reality is completely unrelated to our actual experiences and senses, and I guess it makes you question whether any of it is actually real. In other words, we have a 'feeling of reality' which is almost completely independent of whether it logically makes sense.

To a lesser extent, I think other feelings like satisfaction or happiness are feelings that don't relate. Take two people with exactly the same material possessions. Some may find great satisfaction, others will be completely miserable.

Many great philosophies or Disney movies, or even some of your more serious Hollywood movies and your self help coaches will point you towards working on your inner self to achieve true happiness.

However, if all of these are just internal things, self contained... are they real? Or just feelings?

Friday, March 18, 2011

Dream interpretation

I believe that when we see people in our dreams, we aren't dreaming of the people, but what they represent as a personality trait or aspect. I think it is just like how there are so many colours out there, some have been named but a lot are really unique. In the end, you just name them after something that you have encountered that has that colour, or if you want you could use the RGB format (some companies will specify that you only use certain colours for consistency).
In that way, we come to regard people in our lives as representing a certain trait that exists out there. Our relationship with that person in the dream often shows how we feel about that particular trait.

For instance, I had a dream where I was with my grandfather talking. Then we were in a boxing ring, fighting, wearing boxing gloves. We sparred for a little while and I think I got the better of him. The dream ended with us sitting side by side on two chairs talking. We made peace with each other and then hugged.

I think the dream is not about my grandfather as an individual but what he represents in my mind. He has strong traits, some that can be admired, like stubbornness, resoluteness, and authority. He has a particular combination of traits that are strongly represented in my mind and also it combines with my feelings about getting old.

I've tried to keep accounts of dreams I have had over the past little while and the way I dream, people just appear in dreams very often, from all parts of my past. It's amazing how the brain draws on certain people to represent certain personality traits, some that are just too particular to be described.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

That Salt n Pepa Look

The other day, I don't know why but this ad made me laugh.

It just goes to show the stupidity of advertising, the theme that with just one product, your life will be so much better. Not only that, it can be so fickle. We can advertise anything as the miracle to make you happy, even if in the past we advertise black hair as great, now we can advertise black and grey hair.

There's so much of advertising that is hilarious. Like the sheer amount of fun that women seem to have in tampon ads. It makes me wish I could get one. Then I realised that you have to put them in a brown paper bag when you sell them in a pharmacy. But why, I used to think. Why are they so ashamed of this most fun purchase?

The thing that advertising really sells better than most, thanks to the sheer repetition and the overarching theme of it all, is the message of dissatisfaction. Constantly, we are told of a 'problem' that we have, and a way to make it all better. Even when we know that this is going on, it's hard to ignore, because advertising is everywhere.

Recently, I saw a demonstration of eye-tracking, where researchers measure how the eye moves in an environment. The setting was an airport lounge. A lot of the eye movement was looking at people, usually in a stereotypical pattern of quick around the face, focus on the eyes, and then very quickly up and down (more attention paid to women by both sexes). Interestingly, people then seemed to be attracted to signs in the environment, and of course most of these signs are either advertising, or stupid (please don't bring bombs, firearms etc on the plane).

I was struck by the idea that we could eventually develop this technology for something useful, like using the eye tracking the other way around - move the eye to avoid advertising altogether.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

I just came to say hello

Among the English world, we all have different ways of greetings.

When you are in Sydney, it is 'Hi, how are you?'
When you are in the country, it's more of one word 'Howzitgoin?'
When you are in England, it is 'Alright?' I think this is probably because something's usually wrong with the English
When you are young, it is 'What are you going to be when you grow up?'
When you are old, it is 'How are you?' Then the reply is 'Busy.' Then either of you will look at each other and nod solemnly, 'But it's good to be busy.'

Conversation starters, eh?