viernes, 18 de julio de 2008

Why did you come last night, you hardly like me

So, as an example, in the REM dream, is the fired-up amygdala causing the high emotional content, or is the mind -- freed from sensory constraints and thus prone to rushing into narrative extremes -- is the mind the real driver and we’re only seeing that emotional activity reflected in an agitated amygdala? That may sound like a heinously boring question, but experientially it actually makes for high adventure. Plus it gets into the whole deep mystery of existence thing.

(...) As far as our misconceptions about sleep, I would say the biggest one is this idea that we lose consciousness when the lights go out. This couldn’t be further from the truth. At night consciousness just turns inside out. Instead of moving through a world constructed from sensory input, we move through a world constructed from memory and imagination. We do lose certain self-reflective properties, and -- critically -- our short-term memories are compromised so we don’t remember many of our experiences. But when you wake people up in the night most of them report some kind of mental activity -- either the strange snap-shot narratives of sleep onset, the fully immersive dreams of REM, or the low-level “mentation” of deep sleep. Even in the emptiest bliss-saturated realms of slow wave sleep the experiencing self remains. Consciousness is 24-hours.

(...) Our minds are the only first-order event we know; everything else -- even other people’s reports of their mental experience -- is secondary. So it always at least starts from your own experience. Plus, if your subject is the mind -- and not just behavioral or brain activity -- then you have to rely on first-person reports. There’s no other way. The question is how to do it rigorously.

1 comentarios:

Alexander Glass dijo...

Tu post me ha recordado cuando estudiaba en la facultad lo de las fases MOR y no MOR del sueño (termino que en inglés evoca a un grupo de música y en español parece que hablas como Chiquito). Una bonita reflexión de Jeff Warren (autor que no conocía, asi que gracias por el link).