Okay so that’s not an actual quote but it might as well be if you read this recent article in the Atlantic. It’s crazy how much shit I catch for mocking the condescending conformity of mainstream science when all I’m really saying is: why do we give a shit what’s on Mars when we don’t even understand basic things about consciousness like sleeping or death? It’s you know, shit a sorcerer would say and you gotta admit, I have a point. Nobody pretends we have the answers to these questions, but we’re not putting a fuckton of effort or resources into studying them scientifically either…for some reason. Gotta build more killbots. Important stuff. Got it.
I’d again mention that according to Occult and shamanic philosophies, sleep is how the soul communicates with the spirit world, but no, that can’t be it. It’s gotta be something else that even we admit doesn’t make a ton of sense. Also, we don’t even pretend to understand why people dream, let alone lucid dream, which we absolutely know they do. We have our theories but fully admit that’s some WTF shit too. (from the Atlantic):
“Ask researchers this question, and listen as, like clockwork, a sense of awe and frustration creeps into their voices. In a way, it’s startling how universal sleep is: In the midst of the hurried scramble for survival, across eons of bloodshed and death and flight, uncountable millions of living things have laid themselves down for a nice, long bout of unconsciousness. This hardly seems conducive to living to fight another day. “It’s crazy, but there you are,” says Tarja Porkka-Heiskanen of the University of Helsinki, a leading sleep biologist. That such a risky habit is so common, and so persistent, suggests that whatever is happening is of the utmost importance. Whatever sleep gives to the sleeper is worth tempting death over and over again, for a lifetime.
The precise benefits of sleep are still mysterious, and for many biologists, the unknowns are transfixing. One rainy evening in Tsukuba, a group of institute scientists gathered at an izakaya bar manage to hold off only half an hour before sleep is once again the focus of their conversation. Even simple jellyfish have to rest longer after being forced to stay up, one researcher marvels, referring to a new paper where the little creatures were nudged repeatedly with jets of water to keep them from drifting off. And the work on pigeons—have you read the work on pigeons? another asks. There is something fascinating going on there, the researchers agree. On the table, dishes of vegetable and seafood tempura sit cooling, forgotten in the face of these enigmas.
In particular, this need to make up lost sleep, which has been seen not just in jellyfish and humans but all across the animal kingdom, is one of the handholds researchers are using to try to get a grip on the bigger problem of sleep. Why we feel the need for sleep is seen by many as key to understanding what it gives us.
Biologists call this need “sleep pressure”: Stay up too late, build up sleep pressure. Feeling drowsy in the evenings? Of course you are—by being awake all day, you’ve been generating sleep pressure! But like “dark matter,” this is a name for something whose nature we do not yet understand. The more time you spend thinking about sleep pressure, the more it seems like a riddle game out of Tolkien: What builds up over the course of wakefulness, and disperses during sleep? Is it a timer? A molecule that accrues every day and needs to be flushed away? What is this metaphorical tally of hours, locked in some chamber of the brain, waiting to be wiped clean every night?