Re: curing sleep

Robert J. Bradbury (
Fri, 29 Oct 1999 15:23:12 -0700 (PDT)

On Fri, 29 Oct 1999, Bryan Moss wrote:

> Does this mean my dog is a sociopath? I'm not sure how
> human sleep differs from animal sleep, but I'm quite sure
> animals sleep longer on average.

I suspect sleep tends to be a species specific. Dogs [were] carnivores, well adapted to their environment with few worries (other than the pack heirarchy). At times when you cannot be doing anything to better your position or genes (too dark for hunting or the pack leader is sleeping off a full stomach or no females in heat) then the best thing you can do is sleep. I suspect dog packs are a classic example of situations where most animals sleep while a few take watch. Your personal dog is probably even better off -- the "head" of its own pack (of 1?) & food is served at regular intervals and sex a fleeting opportunity. Why not sleep?

> My first response to the above would be that sociopaths have
> *very* little stimulation in their environments, whereas
> mystics are probably dropping acid on a regular basis. Lack
> of stimulation often leads to sleep.

I thought about this. But it is more likely that the sociopath in these environments is less able to exercise his internal desires (in contrast to the mystic who has probably trained them down to a hardly noticable perceptual level). The mystic has much greater relative control over the things s/he "wants" so there is a smaller gap between the external and internal realities.

> Being 'in tune' with reality could be considered greater
> stimulation (although sometimes it is seen as tranquility).

If you are 'satisfied', then the survival mechanism involved in reviewing memories for lessons, opportunities, developing schemes for escape, etc. is probably much less active.

> However, being out of tune with reality seems to lead to an
> even greater level of stimulation (in the form of worry,
> needless emotion, etc). As you say, too much comfort can
> lead to sleep, and obviously discomfort can lead to a lack
> of sleep, so the whole situation seems to be a fine balance.

Precisely. Stimulation per se is not the driver, it is the gap between the desired stimulation and the actual stimulation. Paraphrasing something I once heard -- "Do not change the beliefs [or the envioronment], instead transform the believer". It isn't a question of whether you have the things you want but whether you want the things you have.

> In those kind of situations it's better to be woken up than
> to fall asleep.

But then you never get to see how it turns out...