The Dialogue of Dreams - Part II

Written by Sam Vaknin

Dreaming (D-state or D-activity) is associated with a special movement ofrepparttar eyes, underrepparttar 126345 closed eyelids, called Rapid Eye Movement (REM). It is also associated with changes inrepparttar 126346 pattern of electrical activity ofrepparttar 126347 brain (EEG). A dreaming person hasrepparttar 126348 pattern of someone who is wide awake and alert. This seems to sit well with a theory of dreams as active therapists, engaged inrepparttar 126349 arduous task of incorporating new (often contradictory and incompatible) information into an elaborate personal model ofrepparttar 126350 self andrepparttar 126351 reality that it occupies.

There are two types of dreams: visual and "thought-like" (which leave an impression of being awake onrepparttar 126352 dreamer). The latter happens without any REM cum EEG fanfare. It seems thatrepparttar 126353 "model-adjustment" activities require abstract thinking (classification, theorizing, predicting, testing, etc.). The relationship is very much likerepparttar 126354 one that exists between intuition and formalism, aesthetics and scientific discipline, feeling and thinking, mentally creating and committing one's creation to a medium.

All mammals exhibitrepparttar 126355 same REM/EEG patterns and may, therefore, be dreaming as well. Some birds do it, and some reptiles as well. Dreaming seems to be associated withrepparttar 126356 brain stem (Pontine tegmentum) and withrepparttar 126357 secretion of Norepinephrine and Serotonin inrepparttar 126358 brain. The rhythm of breathing andrepparttar 126359 pulse rate change andrepparttar 126360 skeletal muscles are relaxed torepparttar 126361 point of paralysis (presumably, to prevent injury ifrepparttar 126362 dreamer should decide to engage in enacting his dream). Blood flows torepparttar 126363 genitals (and induces penile erections in male dreamers). The uterus contracts andrepparttar 126364 muscles atrepparttar 126365 base ofrepparttar 126366 tongue enjoy a relaxation in electrical activity.

These facts would indicate that dreaming is a very primordial activity. It is essential to survival. It is not necessarily connected to higher functions like speech but it is connected to reproduction and torepparttar 126367 biochemistry ofrepparttar 126368 brain. The construction of a "world-view", a model of reality is as critical torepparttar 126369 survival of an ape as it is to ours. Andrepparttar 126370 mentally disturbed andrepparttar 126371 mentally retarded dream as much asrepparttar 126372 normal do. Such a model can be innate and genetic in very simple forms of life becauserepparttar 126373 amount of information that needs to be incorporated is limited. Beyond a certain amount of information thatrepparttar 126374 individual is likely to be exposed to daily, two needs arise. The first is to maintainrepparttar 126375 model ofrepparttar 126376 world by eliminating "noise" and by realistically incorporating negating data andrepparttar 126377 second is to pass onrepparttar 126378 function of modelling and remodelling to a much more flexible structure, torepparttar 126379 brain. In a way, dreams are aboutrepparttar 126380 constant generation, construction and testing of theories regardingrepparttar 126381 dreamer and his ever-changing internal and external environments. Dreams arerepparttar 126382 scientific community ofrepparttar 126383 Self. That Man carried it further and invented Scientific Activity on a larger, external, scale is small wonder.

Physiology also tells usrepparttar 126384 differences between dreaming and other hallucinatory states (nightmares, psychoses, sleepwalking, daydreaming, hallucinations, illusions and mere imagination):repparttar 126385 REM/EEG patterns are absent andrepparttar 126386 latter states are much less "real". Dreams are mostly set in familiar places and obeyrepparttar 126387 laws of nature or some logic. Their hallucinatory nature is a hermeneutic imposition. It derives mainly from their erratic, abrupt behaviour (space, time and goal discontinuities) which is ONE ofrepparttar 126388 elements in hallucinations as well.

Why is dreaming conducted while we sleep? Probably, there is something in it which requires what sleep has to offer: limitation of external, sensory, inputs (especially visual ones hencerepparttar 126389 compensatory strong visual element in dreams). An artificial environment is sought in order to maintain this periodical, self-imposed deprivation, static state and reduction in bodily functions. Inrepparttar 126390 last 6-7 hours of every sleep session, 40% ofrepparttar 126391 people wake up. About 40% - possiblyrepparttar 126392 same dreamers report that they had a dream inrepparttar 126393 relevant night. As we descend into sleep (the hypnagogic state) and as we emerge from it (the hypnopompic state) we have visual dreams. But they are different. It is as though we are "thinking" these dreams. They have no emotional correlate, they are transient, undeveloped, abstract and expressly deal withrepparttar 126394 day residues. They arerepparttar 126395 "garbage collectors",repparttar 126396 "sanitation department" ofrepparttar 126397 brain. Day residues, which clearly do not need to be processed by dreams are swept underrepparttar 126398 carpet of consciousness (maybe even erased).

Suggestible people dream what they have been instructed to dream in hypnosis but not what they have been so instructed while (partly) awake and under direct suggestion. This further demonstratesrepparttar 126399 independence ofrepparttar 126400 Dream Mechanism. It almost does not react to external sensory stimuli while in operation. It takes an almost complete suspension of judgement in order to influencerepparttar 126401 contents of dreams.

It would all seem to point at another important feature of dreams: their economy. Dreams are subject to four "articles of faith" (which govern allrepparttar 126402 phenomena of life):

Homeostasis - The preservation ofrepparttar 126403 internal environment, an equilibrium between (different but interdependent) elements which make uprepparttar 126404 whole. Equilibrium - The maintenance of an internal environment in balance with an external one. Optimization (also known as efficiency) - The securing of maximum results with minimum invested resources and minimum damage to other resources, not directly used inrepparttar 126405 process. Parsimony (Occam's razor) - The utilization of a minimal set of (mostly known) assumptions, constraints, boundary conditions and initial conditions in order to achieve maximum explanatory or modelling power. In compliance withrepparttar 126406 above four principles dreams HAD to resort to visual symbols. The visual isrepparttar 126407 most condensed (and efficient) form of packaging information. "A picture is worth a thousand words"repparttar 126408 saying goes and computer users know that to store images requires more memory than any other type of data. But dreams have an unlimited capacity of information processing at their disposal (the brain at night). In dealing with gigantic amounts of information,repparttar 126409 natural preference (when processing power is not constrained) would be to use visuals. Moreover, non-isomorphic, polyvalent forms will be preferred. In other words: symbols that can be "mapped" to more than one meaning and those that carry a host of other associated symbols and meanings with them will be preferred. Symbols are a form of shorthand. They haul a great amount of information most of it stored inrepparttar 126410 recipient's brain and provoked byrepparttar 126411 symbol. This is a little likerepparttar 126412 Java applets in modern programming:repparttar 126413 application is divided to small modules, which are stored in a central computer. The symbols generated byrepparttar 126414 user's computer (usingrepparttar 126415 Java programming language) "provoke" them to surface. The result is a major simplification ofrepparttar 126416 processing terminal (the net-PC) and an increase in its cost efficiency.

Misdiagnosing Narcissism - Asperger's Disorder

Written by Sam Vaknin

(The use of gender pronouns in this article reflectsrepparttar clinical facts: most narcissists and most Asperger's patients are male.)

Asperger's Disorder is often misdiagnosed as Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), though evident as early as age 3 (while pathological narcissism cannot be safely diagnosed prior to early adolescence).

In both cases,repparttar 126344 patient is self-centered and engrossed in a narrow range of interests and activities. Social and occupational interactions are severely hampered and conversational skills (the give and take of verbal intercourse) are primitive. The Asperger's patient body language - eye to eye gaze, body posture, facial expressions - is constricted and artificial, akin torepparttar 126345 narcissist's. Nonverbal cues are virtually absent and their interpretation in others lacking.

Yet,repparttar 126346 gulf between Asperger's and pathological narcissism is vast.

The narcissist switches between social agility and social impairment voluntarily. His social dysfunctioning isrepparttar 126347 outcome of conscious haughtiness andrepparttar 126348 reluctance to invest scarce mental energy in cultivating relationships with inferior and unworthy others. When confronted with potential Sources of Narcissistic Supply, however,repparttar 126349 narcissist easily regains his social skills, his charm, and his gregariousness.

Many narcissists reachrepparttar 126350 highest rungs of their community, church, firm, or voluntary organization. Most ofrepparttar 126351 time, they function flawlessly - thoughrepparttar 126352 inevitable blowups andrepparttar 126353 grating extortion of Narcissistic Supply usually put an end torepparttar 126354 narcissist's career and social liaisons.

The Asperger's patient often wants to be accepted socially, to have friends, to marry, to be sexually active, and to sire offspring. He just doesn't have a clue how to go about it. His affect is limited. His initiative - for instance, to share his experiences with nearest and dearest or to engage in foreplay - is thwarted. His ability to divulge his emotions stilted. He is incapable or reciprocating and is largely unaware ofrepparttar 126355 wishes, needs, and feelings of his interlocutors or counterparties.

Inevitably, Asperger's patients are perceived by others to be cold, eccentric, insensitive, indifferent, repulsive, exploitative or emotionally-absent. To avoidrepparttar 126356 pain of rejection, they confine themselves to solitary activities - but, unlikerepparttar 126357 schizoid, not by choice. They limit their world to a single topic, hobby, or person and dive in withrepparttar 126358 greatest, all-consuming intensity, excluding all other matters and everyone else. It is a form of hurt-control and pain regulation.

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