Saturday, November 03, 2007

Dreams & Intelligence

Last night i had a dream. Actually it would have been this morning between 5:30 (when Phil got up to take Kodiak out) and whenever Phil and i finally woke up. It was really long and centered around my vain hunt to find the perfect new purse. The purse part wasn't really surprising, i've been thinking about buying a new one, and the way i took forever to make a decision in the dream is only a slightly exaggerated version of what would have happened in real life. But the thing that surprised me this morning as i woke up was all the extra details: the conversation of the two guys who were sitting in the purse section at KB toys and discussing how someone they knew had stolen a car and were now selling it; and the details of the Bible commentary video that came with one of the purses. Both of these were so original. Neither is entirely surprising - i had seen a car for sale yesterday, and if you were going to try to sell me a purse throwing in a Bible commentary would possibly be a good move, but the dialogue and the images in both situations were truly original. It really surprised me to think about the creative potential of my unconscious mind - that it could write script for an original composition and compose new images. One of the birds in the Bible commentary video was something that, as far as i know, I've never seen before. It had an unusual beak and that was part of what the commentator was talking about. And that was only one element of the video. My mind drew on elements present in it but created something truly new - the video, the conversation, the design of the purses.

I don't think you could claim that my dream was formed without intelligence. The pieces didn't just fall together at random - they were assembled. The conversation and monologue made sense. It just amazed me that my mind had such abilities, even when running on autopilot.

Last weekend i gave a short presentation on creation and the problems of evolutionary theory to some teenagers at a retreat, and one of the points on my notes was that the physical brain doesn't create or house the mind. Supposedly, even if evolution could explain where the brain came from, it can't explain the mind because the mind isn't something physical and therefore couldn't have been formed by anything in the physical world. I don't know enough about neuroscience to be able to verify that for myself, but either way, i don't think the mind could have been formed without intelligence. The fact that it is intelligent, that it can take disconnected elements and put them together to create something both new and meaningful, tells me that undirected, natural processes and random chance could not have put it together. Think about it, random forces couldn't have created my dream. Its obvious my mind knew what it was doing - it understood how to form language and it knew what were normal patterns of behavior for the characters. It knew that it would take me forever to find a purse. If something as common and comparatively simple as a dream obviously required intelligence, wouldn't the formation of something as complicated and capable as a mind require intelligence as well?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A short answer to your last question: Not necessarily. I still don't understand why people have such normal dreams about everytday things. My dreams are SO weird and convoluted it's as if they are completely random sometimes. Just the same I don't understand how an adult can not believe in Santa Clause, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy based on their own observed evidence but still believe what the Bible says as fact. That just seems so rediculous to me. I stopped believing in that just a few years after I stopped believing in Santa Clause. I thought, "This stuff doesn't make any sense, the only reason people believe this is because their parents told them to just like Santa Clause". And it's true, if you were born in India, right now you would be worshipping the "wrong god". Can you not see past human narcisism and realize that religious tales are in NO WAY SHAPE OR FORM different from fairy tales? What makes them different? Because the book that they are in claims that god said they're real? Give me a break. Would you believe that in any other instance? What if I wrote a book right now that said God says that he isn't real and to stop being so vain and self-important. How would that be any different from the Bible?