an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said
October 30, 2006 8:05 AM   Subscribe

What does it mean when you have prophetic dreams that can be independently verified by others? How many of you have prophetic dreams, independently verified or otherwise? Is there something I should be doing?

During my early adolescence I began to get déja vu pretty regularly, 1-2 times every couple weeks. Often the experiences would be very intense and last up to 20-30 seconds. Eventually, déja vu gave way to what I call déja rêvé (previously discussed here). I no longer have the intense feeling that something has happened before, or that I've seen it before. Now I have the intense feeling that I've dreamt the exact same situation before. Usually I don't remember I had the dream until the experience happens. Then I get this intense rush when I realize I dreamt the situation before. During that rush, I have 100% confidence that I've dreamt the situation before. After the feeling fades, I have ~75% confidence.

I would shrug these experiences off as "mental glitches" or the unfortunate side effect of too many psychedelics in my youth, but a.) these sort of things started happening before I ever took drugs, and b.) they have been independently verified by others.

Here's a recent example of them being independently verified. About 3 months ago, I woke up in the morning and told my wife that I had a very peculiar and vivid dream. In the dream, I was lying in our bed working on the laptop in a room I didn't recognize. We were living in a real small apartment and we had a cat. The dream seemed weird at the time because we had a huge apartment, and had no intention of moving or getting cat. I forgot about the dream, as people normally do. But lo and behold, about 2 weeks after I had the dream, we adopted a stray kitten we found on the street. The day after we got the kitten, we found out that we were getting kicked out of our apartment for unrelated reasons. After a month of searching and moving, we found a little two room place that everybody just seemed to love. So we moved in, and a few weeks after that I had the weird déja vu/déja rêvé thing and remembered that I had dreamt of the place, the cat, and me on the bed working on the computer. I asked my wife if she remembered me telling her about the dream, and she said, "holy shit, I do!" So, that's one example of what I'm talking about. I've had them independently verified other times, but it was usually something stupid, like a party or random exchange at the grocery store.

If I don't drink and stay completely sober, I get these kinds of experiences as often as 2-3 times a week, or as few times as 1-2 a month.

The recent event described above had a profound effect on me. More than usual for some reason. I have a strange call to action, but don't know what I should be doing about it besides start paying more attention to my dreams.

How many of you have had experiences like this?

Is there anything I should be doing in response to these dreams, experiences, etc?

I have my own theories, but would like to ask Mefi, "What does it mean? What are the ramifications of this?"
posted by milarepa to Grab Bag (44 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
 
Selection bias. Do you remember the dreams which do not come true? Of course not. It is not that unusual to have dreams about vague future circumstances that then end up coming true. I would also bet that you are only reinforcing the details of the dream that ended up becoming reality. Pure coincidence.
posted by geoff. at 8:12 AM on October 30, 2006


This reminds me of early edition, the (somewhat bad) TV show. I suppose much of it depends on the substance of the dreams; if you find yourself able to avert tradgeties or something of the sort, you get to be sort of an everyman superhero. If your premonitions are more of the laptop/cat/apartment variety, I'd just pay more attention to them. There are a number of sites devoted to lucid dreaming and cultivating your ability to remember your dreams; I'd spend some time on that sort of reading.
posted by craven_morhead at 8:14 AM on October 30, 2006


If nothing else, you should be keeping a dream journal!
posted by Willie0248 at 8:15 AM on October 30, 2006


i agree with geoff. I experience similar "deja vu" feelings like you with most of my deja vu dreams dealing with places that I end up visiting in the months and years after my first 'dream'. However, there are too many dreams that I have that don't come true that I've come to accept the feeling and treat it as nothing more than a freak feeling. If my dreams were prophetic, I would be fighting half squid/half humans on Saturn, climbing mountains on Venus, saving damsels in distress from dragons or supervillains, and I'd be hunted nightly by a some giant mythical panther. But none of that has happened...


yet.
posted by Stynxno at 8:25 AM on October 30, 2006


I've had these experiences many times. After getting over the initial phase of being freaked out by them, I concluded that the experiences that follow my dreams are actually manifestations of my sunconsious somehow knowing where my life is headed, based on my present circumstances.

That's the only way I managed to rationalize it, anyway.

Like yours, the dreams were usually benign, and even if I felt a call to action, there was little I could do without appearing crazy.
posted by Lillitatiana at 8:31 AM on October 30, 2006


Almost definitely selection bias, perhaps combined with some kind of occasional brain glitch that makes you "remember" current events as dreams.

The alternative is that you are the first person in human history with genuine scientifically-verifiable psychic abilities. The obvious course of action would be to keep a log of all of your dreams each morning (perhaps on a computer, so it's searchable). The next time you have this sensation, you can confirm or disprove it yourself, and have evidence to show others.
posted by designbot at 8:32 AM on October 30, 2006


"Your mother wants you to tell me about your dreams. I only want to know one thing.... Do they come true?"

"Not all of them... I know which ones will."

Do keep a dream journal. But beside each dream, keep an index, 0 to 10, of how confident you are that it will come true. Big dreams, trivial dreams, all of them. Review after a couple years worth of data.
posted by adipocere at 8:40 AM on October 30, 2006


I am naturally skeptical of paranormal activity.

Thus, my first suggestion would be that you take steps to definitively ensure that this certainty of yours is not a symptom of some psychiatric condition.

(1) Say no to drugs, especially if you want to confirm that your presumed talent is independent of earlier usage.

(2) Keep a journal of your dreams. Focus espcially on the details therein, such as names, dates, room dimensions and colors.

Given that most dreams are forgotten in the course of waking up, it's possible (if your dreams are truly prophetic) that you are forgetting far more prophecy than you ever remember.

(3) Share this journal with a psychiatrist.

If possible, keep the bulk of your writings in his custody to better verify the independence of your dreams from the events which seem to correspond to them.

(4) If your presumed talent is verified, your next task would be to investigate its nature.

Do your dreams represent what *may* happen or what will happen?

Armed with knowledge of the the future, can you then change that future, or are you a modern-day Cassandra, doomed for foretell only what cannot be changed?
posted by The Confessor at 8:46 AM on October 30, 2006 [1 favorite]


I have never heard of déja vu or anything related as being the symptom of a psychiatric condition. If anything, it could point to epilepsy.
posted by Lillitatiana at 9:01 AM on October 30, 2006


What color and type was the cat in the dream? Exactly the same as the one you got? What color paint was on the walls in the dream apartment? What kind of bedding was on the bed? It's the details that count. There's nothing bizarre about dreaming about a cat and a new apartment and then a cat and a new apartment coming into your life. That's not prophetic.
posted by spicynuts at 9:05 AM on October 30, 2006


In addition to confirmation bias mentioned above, this could also at least partly be attributed to self-fulfilling prophecy. On a subconscious level, after your dream you could have been thinking, "Hey, I should get a cat," and this influenced you to adopt the stray kitten instead of leaving it, putting it up for adoption, or bringing it to an animal shelter. If you're still confident in your predictive powers, wait until you dream about a football game or some independent event and start placing bets. You'll quickly figure out if you have any psychic ability.
posted by Durin's Bane at 9:10 AM on October 30, 2006


My girlfriend's mother often has dreams where her (deceased) father appears and tells her when a family member/friend is going to die. Often that person will appear in the dream as well.

However, if she has a dream that someone dies and her father isn't also in the dream, the death does not happen in real life.

I can't help you with what you should be doing and I don't claim to know why this happens or if it means anything, but other people experience this as well.
posted by Newbornstranger at 9:15 AM on October 30, 2006


I get these and theyre clearly selection bias once you sit down and think about them. For instance as long as your cat dream was remembered anytime a cat intersected with your life you could have said 'Aha, I am Edgar Cayce!!' when really you just have a good memory and a cat (a very popular pet) entered your life. Rarely do these dreams involve uncommon things (getting an emu as a pet, for instance).

Because theyre so personal they may seem like a big deal, but to me hearing about some guy who had a cat dream and later got a cat is pretty silly stuff.
posted by damn dirty ape at 9:35 AM on October 30, 2006


I'd vote epilepsy also. That's exactly like mine. I would have these feelings like I was experiencing a dream I had the night before. Then one day I had the feeling and I woke up in an ambulance. I had a seizure as a result of mixed seizure disorder with temporal lobe focus.

You really need to get an EEG. You may have experienced some minor seizure activity already. Email me if you have more questions. This could be real serious. Something's messed up in your temporal lobe.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:46 AM on October 30, 2006


Also, you can't remember a dream later. Either you wake up during it or it never actually happened. The dream is your body's reaction to waking up in REM sleep. This screams epilepsy to me.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:48 AM on October 30, 2006


Is there any sort tingling sensation with the rush. Reading over your question again, I'm even more convinced.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:51 AM on October 30, 2006


I have 100% confidence that I've dreamt the situation before

I too am a confirmed skeptic, so I agree with the general sentiment here. But that doesn't negate your extremely strong FEELING that these dreams are prophetic.

Some people believe that -- evidence aside -- if something feels really really strong, it must be true (or at least there's a strong likelihood that it's true). In fact, many people are religious for this very reason ("Maybe there's no proof, but I feel God in my heart.")

I'm not convinced that most people can control how much they believe such uber-feelings are manifestations of reality. All I can say is that I don't think they are. Backing me up is tons of scientific evidence showing how easily our brains can be fooled.

So I don't trust my feelings to be good meters of what's going on in the real world, outside myself -- especially when my feelings contradict common sense, logic or the findings of science. Some would say that makes me a cold person, but that's not true. I'm very emotional. I think emotions are the most important things in life. It doesn't matter that they are not good maps to the material world. They are important because they feel important.

So it is possible to take dreams seriously -- as conveyors of deep feelings -- without endowing them with supernatural powers.
posted by grumblebee at 9:53 AM on October 30, 2006


Discussed before: 1, 2.

Relevent is Temporal Lobe Epilepsy; Ironmouth discusses pretty much this exact phenomenon as a symptom of his in a couple of these threads.
posted by abcde at 9:58 AM on October 30, 2006


Just for the record people, I am very, very skeptical about things.

It's just hard to ignore certain experiences that you have with regularity, especially when what you seem to see matches exactly to what you've dreamed before. That's why I was asking.

Anyway, thanks for the answer so far, even the condescending ones.
posted by milarepa at 10:00 AM on October 30, 2006


I have dreams like this & always have had. Sometimes they come true, sometimes they don't; the constant is the utter and absolute banality of it all. Only once has a prophetic dream been helpful and that involved being 16 years old, a controlled substance and opening the window just in time. ;-) Other than that, they're always along the lines of cat & apartment, or driving down an unfamiliar street.

I waver back and forth between calling it a brain glitch and calling it psychic. The one thing I no longer do though is ascribe any meaning to any of it. If I go into that kind of deja vu-y state I try to look around carefully in case something interesting is going to happen but since 99.9% of the time the most interesting thing is the deja vu-y feeling itself, well, blah.

I doubt it's epilepsy. I've been having these feelings & dreams since about age 12 and I'm perfectly healthy and have never had anything remotely resembling a seizure.
posted by mygothlaundry at 10:04 AM on October 30, 2006


(I just noticed that Ironmouth already posted here; oops.)
posted by abcde at 10:05 AM on October 30, 2006


I too have had the dreams and deja vu experiences. Had one grand mal seizure at age 15, none since. Later was diagnosed with myclonus -- sort of an "epilepsy lite".

After taking Depakote for years and years, these dreams and awareness part of this happens much less often, but it's still there from time to time. When it happens, it seems incredibly "real". Is it real? Semi-real? Is it just electrical impulses misfiring in my head? I don't think about that one way or another any more. It's just there.

FWIW, it happened once on my first day of a new job. I walked into the office and somehow "knew" I was where I was "supposed to be," in an existential sense. That sort of thing, while not reliable, makes me feel better about the phenomenon and has led me to learn to trust my instincts and intuition.
posted by Robert Angelo at 10:33 AM on October 30, 2006


thanks for the interesting info about the epilepsy.

I had several EEG's in late middle school and early high school and one MRI as late teenager. I'm 27 now. Perhaps I should get another one.

They found at the time that I had abnormal frontal lobe activity (excessive firing or "sparks" is how they described it) especially while sleeping but that is was not dangerous or related to epilepsy.

Like I said, I would totally rule this stuff out as weirdo passing feelings if it weren't for the fact I've told people about my dreams before they came true. The house/cat one is just one recent example.
posted by milarepa at 10:47 AM on October 30, 2006


Milarepa,

I'd bet that you have some issues with the frontal lobe, which is also known as the temporal lobe. It might not be associated with ictal activity. A good workup by a neurologist would be in order.

Is the frequency increasing? Is there anything associated with having the dream, like caffine or alcohol consumption the night before?

Doubt it is the psychedelics. The active amounts of the material are small.

Also ditto on the "real" feeling. That's huge and a big indicator. I've had three, two of which related to not taking my medicine. If its being treated, you should never have a problem.

Its quite possible that the effects of the temporal lobe activity aren't associated with epilepsy at all. It is a very poorly understood disease. Sounds like you are having some sort of events that might be ictal in nature.

Something you might be interested in, based on your screen name--temporal lobe epilepsy is correlated with increased religious sensitivity and activity.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:34 AM on October 30, 2006


... and the title of this post. God, this thread is fascinating.
posted by nathancaswell at 11:59 AM on October 30, 2006


Wow.

AskMe rationalism is fully on the attack, innit?

Excuse us for a sec, folks.

Hi, milarepa. I'm poweredbybeard. I am an atheist. I don't have epilepsy. I have no history with the psychiatric system nor any apparent need to begin one. I am by all indications remarkably healthy of body and mind, and I am a skeptic by nature. For what it's worth, I was quite a somnambulist as a kid - walking, talking, eyes open, whole deal.

I've also had dreams of a nature similar to - though not as precise as - the ones you describe. In my case I've had dreams about places - buildings, usually - which I've happened upon in waking life. Until those points, I had forgotten what I thought only existed as particularly vivid oneiric locales.

This has never been, "Oh, neat, that kinda looks like a dream I had." This has been stopping dead in my tracks as my heart rate jumps tenfold before I even realize it happened because I'm looking at a place I've never been to before, yet have, somehow, seen before and remember quite clearly. It's only happened three times in my life.

I've also had dreams which, in retrospect, very closely resembled places I hadn't yet been to. The effect isn't as eerie, since there are significant differences, but rather really fascinating.

Is it that there are only so many possible iterations of space and artifact in human society - especially one culture - that now and then the random firing of some people's neurons can't help but come up with an approximation? Maybe. But how likely is it, with all the places in the world, and all the paths one's life can take, that this would happen with any sort of frequency? And even if that is the case, I take that as an argument for the possibility of what you're describing, not against. We still don't really know how our minds work, and it's pretty reasonable to think that the subconscious is reading from a few texts the conscious isn't.

We don't know what brainwaves are. We are necessarily unaware of many of our own perceptual building blocks. There are insects that can see ultraviolet light; mammals that can hear ultrasonic or subsonic frequencies. There really is more to heaven and earth than is (currently) dreamed of in our (fashionable, and necessarily cautious) philosophies, and it's not wholly ridiculous to think that the world talks to itself now and then.

As for answering a call to action - I don't know what to say. I'm in the same boat in that I have no way of knowing which dreams happen in real places until I literally stumble upon them - leaving little time for preparation. Rather, I take them as little reassurances that I'm on some sort of (non-pre-ordained) path. I'd suggest that whenever you have one of these deja-reves, don't focus on the dream, but focus on your life, what you're doing, what you're secretly wanting to do but reluctant to do, etc., and maybe see where you might be getting some affirmation from yourself and the world.

Similarly, if you have dreams that are (p)reminisicent of places but not exactly, take it as a good opportunity to look around you, literally or otherwise, and see what it is you like about what's going on and what opportunities or warnings you might otherwise be missing.

Listen to your hunches, hear the skeptics, fuck the cycnics, and, yes, keep a dream journal.
posted by poweredbybeard at 12:24 PM on October 30, 2006


double, of sorts. To repeat what I said there, you definitely want to read the entry on dreams in the skeptic's dictionary, as well as the entry on the law of truly large numbers. A relevant passage: "If the odds are a million to one that any given dream is truly prophetic, then, given the number of people on earth and the average number of dreams people have during each sleep period (250 dream themes a night, according to Hines, p. 50), we should expect that every single day of our lives there will be more than 1.5 million dreams that seem clairvoyant."
posted by advil at 12:40 PM on October 30, 2006


Oops, I didn't see that you'd actually linked to that thread :-)
posted by advil at 12:41 PM on October 30, 2006


i gotta back poweredbybeard here. i have proof of normal brain function and have these dreams of the future that occationaly come true. the law of big numbers aside, there is so very much that is not understood about how the brain works, how time works for that matter, that to dismiss any possibility of the paranormal as a disease of the brain seems specious. we know that certain particles travel backwards in time, that others exist in multiple places at once....we are only just begining to understand who complex the possibilities are. and the universe speaks in many different ways.
posted by mikoroshi at 1:05 PM on October 30, 2006


If they are truly prophetic, then only deeper spiritual training will reveal it. I believe in these connections, but I also believe they're rational. If you're ever to make sense of them, you have to know yourself better.
posted by koeselitz at 1:13 PM on October 30, 2006


The sense I got, at least from the epilepsy contingent, was that throwing the idea out there was motivated by primarily by concern, not skepticism or cynicism.
posted by nathancaswell at 2:16 PM on October 30, 2006


During my early adolescence I began to get déja vu pretty regularly, 1-2 times every couple weeks. Often the experiences would be very intense and last up to 20-30 seconds.

I'm tempted to say that I've never heard this particular (and very common!) history from a patient and had it *not* turn out to be epilepsy. Of course there is referral bias in my own experience - I'm an epileptologist - but heck, I think this story probably at least deserves a neurologist visit. (Not a primary doc - most of them don't know so much about temporal lobe epilepsy.)

I can't give you medical advice, but I think you should probably see a doc to get some medical advice.
posted by ikkyu2 at 2:39 PM on October 30, 2006


FWIW, there is also a thread in culture and literature associating prophecy and epilepsy. Examples here and here, among others. Some cultures have called epilepsy a "sacred disease," and and some have associated it with shamanism. Not disparaging the prophetic/intuitive aspect, just pointing out the connections...
posted by Robert Angelo at 3:00 PM on October 30, 2006


Its fun to hear people describe about how convincing deja vu experiences are. Often, people exclaim "No, really this wasn't deja vu...I've lived *this exact moment* before!"

Yeah, that's called deja vu.

Poster describes vivid disturbing neurological manifestations AND has a history of being neurologically evaluated with EEGs and MRI. Is this paranormal activity? The mystical universe? Angels of the lord? No, its a medical concern...make an appointment with someone like ikkyu2.
posted by dendrite at 3:11 PM on October 30, 2006


I've been mad. When I was mad, I was fully convinced, to the bottom of my soul, that certain things were meant to be a certain way, and that certain other things were absolutely, indisputably true. In fact, all these things turned out to be 100% bollocks and brainfarts.

I'm not suggesting you're mad, and I'm not being condescending. What I am doing is pointing out that my own direct experience of an odd brain state has taught me that absolute certainty and sudden, shocking, crystalline clarity is not, in and of itself, a reliable indication that what is perceived or known or believed is in fact what is real.

If I were having the experiences you've described here, I'd also be curious as hell to find out what they were all about; and I would indeed be keeping a dream journal, as detailed as I could possibly make it. I'd be obsessively documenting dates, times, themes, feelings, anything that struck me as significant, and anything else I could possibly remember as soon as I woke up. I'd also be keeping a déja rêvé journal, with dates, times, and descriptions of situations; but I would not link the two journals. I'd be doing my level best to avoid drawing any conclusions at all until I had at least three years' worth of journal entries; then I'd give both journals to other people, preferably other people with no particular axe to grind, and ask them for a fair evaluation. Maybe even post the whole lot somewhere online, then come back here and ask this crowd to pick them over.

I'd also be talking to the JREF and negotiating some kind of test protocol - not with the expectation that I'd win their million, but with the expectation that the protocol design process would clarify my own thinking; and I'd adapt my journal-keeping procedures in light of those negotiations.

Best of luck! Minds are incredibly fun things to explore.
posted by flabdablet at 3:19 PM on October 30, 2006


Ironmouth said "I'd bet that you have some issues with the frontal lobe, which is also known as the temporal lobe"--not the case, that I can tell. Though a search does turn up less than 1000 references to a "frontotemporal lobe," which may just be a rare and adventurous rendering of the very common term "frontotemporal" into a noun.
posted by abcde at 6:57 PM on October 30, 2006


Frontal lobe isn't the temporal lobe. The term fronto-temporal is often used by EEGers, though, because there are a couple of places on the scalp where it's not possible to be certain whether abnormal voltage spikes detected there actually originated in the frontal or temporal lobe.

If a patient who gave me this history had "spikes" (not sparks!) on an EEG, I'd be treating them for epilepsy. Period.
posted by ikkyu2 at 8:21 PM on October 30, 2006


I had deja vu a lot as a teenager -- 1-2 times every few weeks sounds about right -- and I don't, as far as I know, have epilepsy (and I would rather assume my epileptologist boyfriend would have noticed if I did). It's faded as I've gotten older, though, and now I only notice it when I'm really tired, though it still does seem to last longer than just a few seconds.

Which doesn't mean that you shouldn't see a neurologist, just that it may not be as scary as all that.

And my mother was pretty convinced she had prophetic dreams, and much of me believes in what she said. Some of her stories still freak me out.

Though much of my scientific rational side wants to dismiss all this, the rest of me tends to think that if you're dreaming things that happen in your own life, in ways that make it seem like you're actually living your dreams, you're doing pretty well with your life. If the rest of your predictions are similarly achieved, and similarly calm (my mother used to dream of planes exploding), then it may just be a sign that your life is actually matching your unconscious aspirations.
posted by occhiblu at 10:47 PM on October 30, 2006


ikkyu2: I had several done and it was determined to not be dangerous.

And, yes, they described it to me as "sparks," probably because I was 13 at the time.
posted by milarepa at 3:31 AM on October 31, 2006


I'm as skeptical as they come, but I had this happen to me just once as a kid and know it wasn't me fitting reality to the dream or whatever. I really did dream the future, if only that once. (I posted about it in one of the earlier threads.) It was a useless stupid precognition, but it makes me think there must be something to those who claim to have such dreams frequently. And of course, it calls into question much of what I believe. So I tend to just not think about it too much.
posted by CunningLinguist at 8:29 AM on October 31, 2006


If it could be shown that prophetic dreams are generally associated with epilepsy, it wouldn't prove they cannot be really prophetic; other interesting human capabilities, such as eidetic imagery, certainly do have such a demonstrated connection.

I have had a number of dreams I consider to have been prophetic, but my only profit on it has been to learn to curse the mornings when I have had any realistic dream about something bad happening to someone I love.

The easiest story to tell, however, stars my mother. One morning when I was 15, three years after my sister ran away from home to San Francisco on her 18th birthday, and 8 months since she had bothered to tell us where she was or even if she was still alive, my mother, with her back to me stirring my oatmeal (I couldn't eat it if it had lumps) said "I had the most horrible dream last night; I dreamed someone cut off your sister's cat's tail and put it in her mail box." The next night, about 40 hours later, I answered the phone to someone sobbing uncontrollably whose voice I didn't recognize, who finally managed to choke out "oh Jimmy, somebody cut off my cat's tail and then they put it in my mailbox." Then she started off on some truly serious bawling which went on I don't remember how long.

Of course, I don't know when exactly the tail was put in the mail box relative to my mother's dream, so this isn't really necessarily more exotic than a videoclip without benefit of camera, wire, or screen, and my sister and I have never sat down to try to hash it out-- I have not wanted to. I did not have any of the dreams I regard as prophetic until my mother died.

If I were reading this, instead of writing it, I would think the most probable explanation is that I am lying, then that I am confused or that I have confabulated the memory. I often find it more comfortable to think the latter, myself.
posted by jamjam at 10:29 AM on October 31, 2006


And of course, it calls into question much of what I believe. So I tend to just not think about it too much.
I guess that's at least part of what milarepa's asking about--if you are really and truly having prophetic dreams, what does that mean? That there's a pre-ordained future, and that something is implanting visions of this future into your sleeping mind? Or is it that your dreams are actually influencing future events?
posted by MrMoonPie at 2:05 PM on October 31, 2006


If you are really and truly having prophetic dreams, what does that mean?

It means that on Monday, Tuesday already exists (if it didn't, you couldn't tap into it with your dream). Which answers the free will question. No matter what we "decide" now, the dream will come true, because the dream is a report of our fate.

Unless the dream is just one possible future. If dreams are just possible futures, then they aren't very powerful. I can make up possible futures without dreaming. (Either I will move to a new city next year or I won't.)

If the future does already exist and you're tapped into it, that necessarily makes you a very unique and special person. Most people aren't tapped into it. Essentially, you have a super-power.

For me, all this stuff makes Occum's Razor kick in. I can either accept that Tuesday exists on Monday and that I have super-powers -- or I can accept that it's coincidence triggering some really powerful feelings.

Re: coincidence. Imagine writing down all the dreams remembered by all the people on Earth last night. Just given random change, how many would likely "come true" or seem predictive. I'd guess a tiny subset of these dreams -- but that subset would still be a huge number.

Also given random luck, how many people on Earth are likely to have several (or even many) of these dreams during their life. If the answer was "no one", that would be really odd. That would be like saying that if we got everyone in the world to throw dice, how many would throw thirty sixes in a row. If the answer was "no one," that would be astounding!

But imagine that guy who -- randomly -- throws thirty sixes. He's going to FEEL like something magical happened. And so is everyone who was watching him. Our brains are built to treat patterns as special events, because often they are (a guy who kicks us three times will probably try to kick us a forth time).

Dreams are like everyone in the world throwing dice every night -- for the entire history of the human race. Some of us are going to wind up with really interesting dreams. We can view them as magical. Or we can chalk them up to randomness and selection bias. Which would Occam pick?
posted by grumblebee at 2:32 PM on October 31, 2006


get a public blog of your dreams with a list of 'predictions' with a 'confidence rating', and keep a record of which are fulfilled. (Of course, this will encourage you to look carefully for 'fulfillment', but still, it's something.)
Personally, I don't believe in prophecy, but this could help you rule out selection bias if you do.
posted by Furious Fitness at 10:51 AM on November 2, 2006


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