Wednesday 3 May 2000


Pic of the day: Spring is here! Spring is here!

Post-sleep suggestions

After I wrote yesterday's entry, I fired up The Sims and soon felt better. It's hard not to feel a bit good when the school bus stops and four kids tumble out like peas from a pod, jostling to get through the door. Or when you listen to them babble around the table, and later hear their carefree laughter as they run like small whirlwinds through the house. Of course, it helps that these are simulated kids, so you can eventually save them to your hard disk and go to bed. Don't you wish you could do that to your real kids now and then? Gives a whole new meaning to "save the children" ...

These Sim kids never fight or insult each other, though they could have done that. Some of them were not born nice, not at all. I've given them lots of positive attention from the start, never giving them the time to develop negative relationships to one another. I'm not sure this would have worked in real life, though ... Sim kids are immune to jealousy, while real kids are not. To say the least!

Anyway, the Sims seem to learn from experience. The kids are now very friendly to one another and to guests, and some of them even take the dishes off the table after the meal. It's generally the same who do it every time, just like in real life...


Anyway, I felt better when I went to bed (a bit late, I admit). I woke up to the clock radio blaring that creepy tune, "killing me softly". I hope that's just some idiom, a phrase that means something different, just like "hot dog". But what a disgusting idiom! I much prefer the Norwegian version, "pizza & cola & soft ice" (I think that was it, I'm sorry to say that I did not get it recorded). Anyway, it was time to listen to the latest news about the strike, then get up and prepare for job.

Was stressed at work again. There was stuff arriving late that absolutely should out to the clients. Blah. I doubt many of the clients would have stressed to help us, if the roles were reversed. And I repeatedly found myself thinking of what I would do if one of the bosses unfairly criticized me. Not that there was any hint of that, but I still found myself imagining it several times throughout the afternoon. I don't trust this one to implicitly acknowledge my superior judgement. Some people believe that just because they have more pay and a fancy title, they can think just as well as I. What an arrogance.


The stress tension kept me wide awake at work, even though I had slept a bit less than ideal. I did notice it in another way, though. I tend to become horny if I don't get enough sleep. I am not sure about the mechanism of this, though I suspect that REM (dream) sleep defuses these requests by the limbic system, by feeding it dreams or otherwise faking it. This would fit in with the fact that REM sleep is the dominant sleep form in the last part of the night, whereas deep sleep dominates in the first part. (This is not tied to the clock ... people who work in the night, have the same division in their day sleep.)

A fascinating thing is this subjective feeling that it is I who want to stare at women when I am like this. Objectively I know that it is just a minor subsystem that is activated out of season. (Not that there is ever such a season, for me.) But subjectively it feels like it is I, the core of my psyche, who wants it. That's a bit scary, because you can just imagine how this might work in the confused brain of a non philosopher.

Now it can be argued that the limbic system, which regulates the more animalistic impulses in us, is physically placed pretty much in the middle of our brain. But I don't think physical placement has any bearing on it ... as long as there is no physical damage, the various parts of the brain works in a seamlessly integrated network. No, the experience seems more related to post-hypnotic suggestions.

It's a well known fact that while people are in a hypnotic trance, you can order them to do certain things long after the session is over, even days into the future. As the time approaches, they will feel the need creep up on them to do this thing. Now there are limits: You cannot make people commit murder, or replace their religion or sexual alignment, unless they are already on the verge of doing this. But you can make them read Moby Dick on a bench in the park at 9PM, even if they must bring an umbrella to do so...

The funny thing is that the people, no longer in a trance, find ways to make their decisions seem rational. They initiate chains of events that naturally lead up to doing the absolutely irrational. They act as if, and think as if, it is they who want to do it. Spot the similarity.

The name "hypnosis" comes in fact from an old Greek word meaning sleep. Could it be that my sleep-deprivation horniness is indeed an internal post-hypnotic suggestion? That certain substructures in the brain (or perhaps it's all in the software) creates simple, non-verbal suggestions in preparition for the upcoming REM dream cycle; then, when the REM is cancelled and waking life takes its place, the suggestion remains in force, subtly disguising itself within the waking mind?

Of course, if it is just me, the hypothesis is shaky at best. I do however notice that lots of people display another kind of primal behavior if woken early: Namely aggression. This trait can with reasonably certainty be traced as far back as the Old Testament, in which a wise man says: "He who blesses his friend in a loud voice early in the morning, him shall it be counted as a curse." (Proverbs 27,14.)

And on that cheerful note, I wish you all a blessed night!

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