I am frustrated that I sleep.

In my earliest memories is a repeated one of being curled in for the night, waiting for unconsciousness, wishing I didn't need to sleep. I could get so much done if I didn't sleep. Twice as much learnt, twice as much played....

These were my thoughts as a very small child, still fresh, and with an unimaginably long life in front of me. Back when a single year felt like forever itself. You can imagine how much less patience I have with sleep now. Another year gone? How'd that happen? Days like autumn leaves in the wind.

There's so much to do....

I mean why sleep anyway? On the surface it looks like an evolutionary disadvantage. Muscles don't have to sleep; the heart keeps going. So what's the point of an animal being that vulnerable for half the time?

A friend suggested that consciousness -- the point where intelligence creates a viewpoint (an I, an Eye, an Ego) -- requires dreaming as its stage. A sufficiently complex animal simply needs time to process all the rehearsals a self-aware entity performs. As long as that complexity is good for survival skills the species will continue. Meanwhile the rest of the body fibres sensibly evolve to use the downtime, which is pretty much everything but the heart, which seems to rest between beats.

Maybe. Maybe sleep just there to get us used to the idea of Death, that other thing that makes no sense at all.

This site is strictly personal. I give no guarantee to the accuracy of my facts or my fictions.
© 2000 Owen Briggs
last modified on 28 oct 00