Watch this video. If this doesn’t trigger empathetic feelings, we have some work to do!
After I saw this video I could not stop thinking about virtual reality. If this video could spur so much emotion and feeling within myself, imagine the power virtual reality could have on a brain like mine. Not only would I just be watching, I would be experiencing their perspective.
Then this made me think about how does this happen on my own? How do I form these types of thoughts when I can’t even imagine what it’s like to be them? Then it hit me: Dreams.
Our own personal virtual reality machine.
In our dreams we tend to have a certain level of sense. We can feel, smell, hear, see, and even taste things. But how is this possible? I think that when we enter a stage of sleep called REM sleep, our mind borrows our bodies ability to sense things in order to prepare for its own version of virtual reality. In this personal virtual reality, we can feel, smell, hear, see, and even taste the things around us. In doing so we actually experience our dreams, not only just watch them as if watching a movie. However, the third person watcher is also a peculiar happening.
Going back to the brain’s personal virtual reality, in this realm we either have complete control or we have no control. But why is this so? It could be that in the moments where we gain control of our dreams, that’s actually when we override the virtual reality instance. In fact our brain doesn’t want us to control our dreams, because if we could control them, we could manipulate the experience which defeats the whole purpose of dreaming. So in the case that we don’t have control of our dreams, which is usually the case, our brain sets up the scene by piecing together random instances and putting you as the subject of experience. These random instances can include past memories, repeated thoughts, and even people you have never seen. But how is this possible? How can I see someone I’ve never seen before?
Just from looking at this picture, now your brain has limitless possibilities.
Just in the same way you can imagine a chimera, you can imagine a chimera of a human. But because we are so similar in physical attributes, the chimera assumes the image of real human. When in fact all it is, is a chimera of different human attributes that you have experienced before in your life. So that random person that you just had sex with in your dream, was actually like a chimera. So you just had a sex with a chimera. Nice. *Dab*
So what is the whole purpose of dreaming then? I think the reason why we dream is because it allows us to learn empathy without endangering our real conclusions. For example, you have a nightmare that you are in your class. All of the sudden people start laughing hysterically and pointing at you. You realize that you actually have no clothes on. Completely embarrassed you run out of the class intro a perpetual hallway of laughing students. Your mom is laughing, your grandma and grandpa are laughing, your high school football coach is laughing, everyone you know is there and they all get a good chuckle. All of the sudden you wake up in a cold sweat, you just pissed your bed and you have a intense feeling of embarrassment and anger.
It’s a serious problem.
If you gave this nightmare no thought, you’d think it was just another nightmare. But then lets take it into the real realm. Introducing High School, the most terrible and great place in the world. Where your life can get ruined over one bad decision or you could be floating through a flood of idiots invisible to the rest of the world. It quite truly is a place of learning life. So now that we have the real scene, let’s introduce the person who just had that dream: You.
Imagine you get to school, go to class, and you have a usual morning routine. But as you are walking along in the hallway, all of the sudden you hear a burst of laughter. You turn around as someone comes bursting out of the classroom where the laughter was coming from. The person who ran out of the class is severely obese and is crying. As they run past you and towards the exit of the school, you have a flashback of your dream. Of you crying through the hallways running from the laughter. Instantly, you feel pain and anger. But then a couple of brat kids come out of the hallway saying to you, “Yo, you see that whale running out crying? So funny!”. All you can do is give a meek smile and nod your head.
Now without that dream, imagine how that example would have turned out? When we are around apathetic behavior we become apathetic. But the same goes with empathetic behavior. However if we cast down apathetic behavior the situation could have turned out differently. You could very have well asked whats wrong and if you could help, if they don’t respond you could investigate what happened and then shun the brat kids who committed the bullying. Because you know what it’s like, even though it has never happened to you. And that was only because of your nightmare dream. If you would have never had that nightmare, you would never know what it was like.
I get by with a little help from my friends, I get high with a little help from my friends…
But someone might say, “Well but you said your dreams are only from memories, so if you never experienced it, how could you have a dream about it?”. Just in the same way your mind creates a chimera of a person, your mind creates a chimera of a dream. So it combines the embarrassment of being naked around people and throws it into a environment you are always around. In that case then, even if it wasn’t a school inside the dream, it could have been simply a public place, the feeling becomes the same: embarrassment.
But now is the problem of, okay well if that is the case, why do more people not act out against this and be more empathetic? Because it’s not taught. If we were taught how to harness our empathetic feelings, we could then be more in touch with each other. If one person speaks out against bullying, it fuels the fire in others to do the same. But unfortunately the same is with the opposite. Apathetic behavior is highly contagious and if no one speaks out, then everyone feels obligated to stay quiet and just meekly smile and nod their heads.
But this can all change through simple education and action. With just one person’s voice a thousand more can be made and that perpetuates peace. So our dreams are a personal virtual reality in order for us to better understand the concept of empathy, so that we may further live virtuous lives in order to be the happiest we can be.
“I’m dreaming of a sloth tickling my underbelly.”
Keep in mind though, I am not advocating for people not to joke, but to joke only if it’s okay by the other person. I know many obese people that joke about their weight because they really just don’t give a damn because they are so happy. The same is with me and being Asian, I make Asian jokes all the time because I am happy. But if someone wasn’t happy about Asian jokes or obese jokes, I wouldn’t say it around them because that is not the right thing to do.
I really hope this doesn’t get taken the wrong way but what it means is that its okay to say anything when it doesn’t bother the people around you. But when it does, if you don’t change, that’s when it becomes a problem.
Say for example, you say a racist joke about Asians, if I was there I would laugh and simply make a racist joke back to you. But if someone couldn’t handle it, it’s your job to apologize and not say racist jokes around them. Simple and easy. But someone might argue that, “Well we shouldn’t allow people to even make racist jokes”. Okay wait, every joke is racist in a way because it includes anything and anyone. You literally can’t make a joke without someone being the joked. So if by that logic then, you want no one to even be able to make a joke?
Steve Byrne is a genius. Watch the video and you’ll see why.
Yeah. No. You are not taking away my freedom of speech you authoritarian piece of…yeah moving on! A joke is to be taken by the person receiving it, if it does not resonate with them, then it’s the responsibility of the person who said the joke to apologize and make amends. Because that is what a virtuous person would do. So you see, if you make a Nazi joke around a bunch of Jews, you’re probably going to get your ass kicked, but if you say a Nazi joke around a bunch of Alt-Right people, you’ll probably be heralded as a great entertainer. The point is it’s not the joke that’s the problem, it’s the people receiving it that’s the problem.
And that is all about experience, how are you ever going to know that the joke you are saying is wrong unless someone speaks out against it? In that way you must apologize and never make a joke like that around them again. Unless you simply don’t care, which is a vice by Aristotle’s standards. So I don’t recommend just not caring about it, because we should always be careful of what we say. But then comes the issue of the receiver, if you make a joke about women around a feminist, they might not receive it too well. However, the feminist who is upset at the joke needs to realize that she has made the conscious choice to be upset about it, rather than informing the person that it’s not an appropriate thing to say around her. Instead of becoming so belligerent and angry, one must simply give one’s opinion and then move on in life. Or else you will be stuck never being happy and never achieving Eudaimonia.
Now keep in mind, saying a joke does not mean you really think that way, or else it would not be a joke, it would be a statement. So for the people who say, “Well if you say a racist joke, that means you are racist” I’m sorry, but I don’t believe that to be true. Because comedy has a level of cynicism in it that transcends the bounds of life and death. A joke is as if though you are laughing in the face of the devil as he pulls you down into hell. That is what a joke is. You don’t believe in it, but you laugh because it’s funny.
The most cynical comedians, fear no death.
But like I said before, it’s a virtue to understand others and to know when a joke is appropriate to say. Because without it, there would be many many conflicts and people would be fighting all the time. And that would not perpetuate happiness in my honest opinion. If we want to perpetuate happiness while still living happy, we need to live virtuous lives as according to Aristotle.
So perhaps our dreams can then take us higher into a level of empathy where we can finally understand one another and realize the true feelings we have when we interact. Earlier I said something about a third person watcher in a dream. I believe this happens when our mind wants us to view something like a YouTube video. When we watch the dream happening, we see ourselves in the dream but we feel everything that is happening to them. What this does is it gives the illusion of reality when we imagine empathy in our minds. For when we are living in reality and imagining the empathy, we cannot feel the other persons feelings. However if we tap into the deepest corners of our minds and release the empathetic feelings we achieved in our dreams. We can apply that to the real world thus perpetuating happiness and a good life.
So our imagination then could be seen as the relational platform from dream sense to our real lived senses. When we start to imagine things, our body is already in control of our senses. But when we dream of things, our mind is in control of our senses. And the only way to create a relationship between the two, is through imagining a pseudo-dream realm where we can conjure up our chimeras, but we cannot feel them as we do in a dream.
We can think of anything in our mind, but we can’t feel them.
Our mind is a crazy beautiful thing and we wonder why we have such an affinity to being nice to one another. Because it’s the only thing that perpetuates happiness. Apathetic habits and behavior only perpetuate loss and sadness. So it’s my belief that we should strive to be more empathetic through examining our dreams and using it to our advantage.
And one day virtual reality will allow us to get closer to our dream like senses which will then allow us to harness empathetic feelings. And then soon enough, we will be able to dream without dreaming, opening the world to the realm of virtual reality life simulation. Which perhaps is another issue on its own. So until next time…