Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Sleeping and Pain Management: Part II - Why Hope is Sometimes a Good Thing

I think one of the luckiest things about being a human being is that I don't have to operate 100% of the time. For a good portion of these long, long days of boredom and pain, I simply either (a lose consciousness (the best thing in the world for a self-proclaimed consciousness nemesis) or (b experience the trippiest mental situations possible, without ever having to humiliate myself in front of a drug dealer. I don't know about you, but the emotions during the span of my dreams have always been incredibly powerful - like vestiges of ancient, mysterious and most of all, human-friendly worlds that do not, and could not exist. I remember being warned on a lucid dreaming forum once not to get addicted to sleep. I plan on potentially doing so if the pain gets bad enough, especially since sleep addiction isn't exactly life-threatening (though I could be wrong), actually, but the whole thing serves to reveal to you just how awesome sleep is.

On a side note, lucid dreaming is truly unbelievable. Though I only have memories of performing this spectacular (hyperbole) feat when I was a lot younger than I am now, they are still as poignant as ever, and I expect I shall use lucid dreaming as the benchmark for all future trippy experiences (I think I might try this again if I can be bothered, though previous attempts have left me empty-handed before). Imagine being able to control everything, but not simply imagining things. Instead, you LIVE those things. You can be who you like, do what you want to do, and otherwise have experiences that could last a lifetime. A simple exploitable glitch in the human computer allows you, for a very limited period of time, to rule the entire universe*. This is amazing, and deserves a lot more press than it gets.

Back to sleep: sleep is also something of a godsend simply because otherwise we would explode in rage from the stress-build-up of everyday life being everyday life. Most of us have or are planning to have children. This is seriously messed up and evil (though these people are not). Hypothetically if the Sandman decided to take a break, I'd fear we'd all turn into horrible murderers too. When I don't get sleep, I get cranky, angry and paranoid. Or well, more so than I'd usually be throughout the day. I expect that since most of us wake up in an alright sort of mood AT LEAST, sleep probably does have some mental-clearing effect on things, though I could be wrong. If I really went on a Sleep Strike, I think I'd soon be going on a Hunger Strike too, just from the extreme stress-build-up of being conscious day-in day-out. I would not be able to get myself to stand, knowing that more and more pain is in store. And that's the thing, sleep gives hope.

And is hope a bad thing? Well, it depends on whether it's sustainable or not. If you keep getting your hopes up, and Fortuna crushes you into a pea-sized human with a pea-sized sense of self-worth, then it's simply not worth it having hope. And remember too folks, hope is another leading cause of birth (THE foremost cause of death), especially hope for the future (optimism is intricately tied to hope in many ways), so keep that smile for another while, and replace your hope with sustainable, albeit somewhat painful, pessimism.

BUT, BUT, in the case of sleep, the hope and temporary mood-cleanse it provides really helps us endure the day. We don't end up dying in painful ways (HOPEfully), and we don't end up causing our loved ones' grief at our passing*** So hope isn't always a bad thing, even if it really is, most of the time, a delusional thing.

This post isn't exactly up to scratch. I'm sorry, but this is what happens when I force myself to write about a particular topic without meandering everywhere and making odd comparisons. Not sure I care whether I'll get better or not.

Until next time, this is me, signing out.

*Well, not always. In mine things were usually like that though sometimes the dream showed resistance. A lot of people have lucid dreams where they can control themself**, but not anything around them
**I haven't mentioned this before, but this is a gender neutral pronoun in the dialect of English I speak. It isn't a spelling mistake, so don't try to correct me or I will throw a hissy fit. 
**If everyone killed themselves however, no one would be there to be sad. So I might be a little bit wrong here, though I assume not everyone would kill themselves from lack of sleep.


  1. It's not for no reason that sleep-deprivation is a form of torture. E.M. Cioran, a lifelong insomniac, also wrote beautifully on the topic. I recall doing night shifts in security work on abandoned sites. In that darkness and solitude you really appreciate the fact that the "normal" world of the everyday is nothing but a contrived fiction. And Estnihil, you sound very much like Randolp Carter, Lovecraft's sleep and dream habituee:-)

  2. I've had a few patches of lucid dreaming as an adult... good times. Pretty much the best times available, actually; but lucid good dreams are extremely fragile.

    I guess the most USEFUL lucid dreaming I've done has been on the occasions when I've been trapped in a really, really, horribly repetitive/cycling/apparently inescapable bad dream and suddenly figured out that some of the details were so unrealistic that perhaps it was a dream and I might escape by willing myself awake... which, most of the time, actually works. You wake up feeling crappy and exhausted but at least you're not watching your legs being slashed by broken glass with the veins and meat dangling out anymore...