Today, Tomorrow, and Yesterday

I wrote this page a long time ago to provide what information I knew about precognitive dreams, as well as support to those who feel out of place, and perhaps a certain amount of therapy for myself. Since then, I've received quite a bit of email from all over North America from almost all walks of life. Don't feel alone! There are alot of people out there that experience precognitive dreams. I've left in the next paragraph because I still feel it makes a point that needs to be made.

For those that don't have dreams of the future and are reading this, I feel the need to explain a few things. This is not a glorious and wondrous ability that lets me see all of my errors and correct them before they occur. I cannot control what I see in my dreams, the events that occur, or the results. Only when I'm awake can I do that, and first I must recognize the events that are about to happen before taking action. As dreams can be days or even decades away from occurring, this is not easy. I can recognize which of my dreams are precognitive if I remember them, there is a distinctly different feel to them.

There seems to be key sensations that make a precognitive dream distinct from others. I'm aware of the thoughts I'm thinking at the time, sometimes with the background required for understanding those thoughts missing. Usually there is the simultaneous awareness of being both an observer, that I can't do anything, and myself at that time, performing those actions. Then there is the avid curiosity of what is going to happen next as an observer, very much like reading a good book.

With regards to content itself, I've had dreams of the past of before I was born as well as the future. I've also had one precognitive experience while awake while in high school in grade nine, the vision occuring a couple of months before summer vacation, the event happening the first day after my last final exam. The nature of the content has ranged from playing basketball and reading a book, to my first date, to my own car accident. There doesn't seem to be any particular consistency. However, it has been noted that thinking about precognitive dreams alot tends to make them more likely to occur, and also anxiety seems to play a role.

Despite anxiety and a feeling of aloneness when I was young, now I honestly am glad to have them. Mostly because it led me on a path of self discovery. I am more self aware and more confident in myself. Putting this page up in 1995, two years ago (from this writing) has pretty much erased the sensation of aloneness. I am far more comfortable with myself and the world around me.

I would like to thank a reader of this page for pointing out some logical flaws in the paragraph that used to occupy this spot. Some of the flaws were due to poor writing on my part and the rest due to missing context. The paragraph was on determinism and how my experiences would suggest a particular conclusion.

I didn't have the tools for quite some time to really arrive at a conclusion regarding whether having precognitive dreams implied a deterministic universe. It seemed to suggest so. The list of ideas that came to mind to explain it were as follows:

  • Assuming an outside (of the universe) designer/creator, precognitive dreams would suggest a purpose to having them, while a deterministic universe would suggest no particular purpose to the universe itself which was a source of confusion.
  • Another possibility is somehow events generate "information" in some manner that travels backwards in time that I was picking up. However if this was the case then these should be detectable by normal means as well.
  • I precluded possibilities that would include my mind somehow calculating the universe itself before the universe got there, but that didn't preclude the possibility in some sense of a certain amount of self-similarity that might exist such as might be found in a fractal.

    None of these felt very compelling as a satisfying answer. It wasn't until I had managed to change the events depicted in dreams that it no longer made sense to entertain the possibility of a deterministic universe. Point 1 becomes even more absurd under such a possibility (deterministic universe with precognitive dreams that were intended to make me change my actions to fit a deterministic universe is contradictory). Number 2 might actually be more reasonable under a different interpretation that under the variations of potential universes going forward from a particular point the chance of the dreamed event is signficant enough to rise above the noise of the other possibilities to be noticeable. However this would presumeably require some very good senses to detect which I doubt as magnificant as the human body is would be capable of. Finally 3 is pretty much right out since it directly conflicts with non-determinism, and it is unlikely that my brain is capable of possessing enough information about the universe to make a statistical calculation (let alone the ability to make the calculation even if it did).

    The realm of possible explanations that are available for a deterministic or non-deterministic universe is surely larger than the list above. Perhaps a better question is whether it is possible to determine if the universe is deterministic. I'm inclined to think the answer is no based on the unlikely possibility of ever being able to measure the behaviour of even a subset of the universe to determine even if a subset is deterministic. The reason for this being the process of measuring would require interaction which would invalidate measurements. It would also require being isolated from the rest of the universe to be closed. Finally even if we could make it a closed system we would not be able to measure it and we wouldn't know the behaviour of the subset of the universe without opening it up.

    If we can't systematically determine whether the universe is deterministic and precognitive dreams aren't conclusive either (having changed events) at this point no conclusion can be drawn. It would seem then that "choosing" non-determinism as correct makes the most sense since if the universe is non-deterministic I have chosen the more practical or pleasurable of possibilities, while if the universe is indeed deterministic, then the choice is an illusion and my examination of determinism in a deterministic universe simply amusing.


    If you have comments, suggestions or questions, mail me at:
    bscriver@speakeasy.org

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