The Edge of Madness

I sleep a fair amount, and I’ve sometimes had difficulty falling asleep.  Usually when I can’t sleep I just count slowly, though I never make it past 200.  Recently, though, I’ve discovered a hilarious indicator of when I’m on the verge of sleep.  I think about things when I’m sleeping, and my train of thought just meanders while I’m lying there (laying there?).  But sometimes I’ll catch myself thinking something that makes absolutely zero sense.  Like, I’ll be thinking about how to solve some problem that I have, only to suddenly remember that I am not actually a French politician (or something) and that the “problem” is complete nonsense.

Whenever this happens, I know that I’ve entered into that state of suspended logic that exists on either side of unconsciousness.  The only example I can clearly remember (since most dreams dissipated beyond memory shortly after awakening) happened in high school, and it was as I was waking up rather than going to sleep.  I was lying there in bed and I knew I had to go to school, but then I very coherently and consciously thought, “Fortunately I’m a statue, so I don’t have to go to school.”  In that moment, I honestly thought I was a statue lying there in my bed, and hell, statues don’t have to go to school!  Then, suddenly, I remembered that I was not in fact a statue, and that thinking I was one was absolutely ridiculous.

What I love about this state is what it says about the brain.  When we go to sleep, we all have dreams (with more or less frequency).  You wouldn’t think it would be beyond the power of the human brain to simulate for us complex, logically justified situations for us to live out in our sleep.  Instead though, the brain just seems to disengage its sense of logical discernment.  That makes dream creation a hell of a lot easier, because pretty much whatever gets generated, we’re right on board.  Which is great really, because that’s what let’s me fight space pirates from the back of my unicorn.

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One response to “The Edge of Madness

  1. That place, between wakefulness and sleep, you describe so aptly. For years and years, I have relied on what comes from there when needing to solve a creative problem. It has rarely let me down. I go to bed posing a problem and often have some curious and interesting entry into the solution when I wake. Crazy as it may seem in that space, it can sure be fertile ground and worth digging in!

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