Yule2019#5: sleep

Today has been long and busy. I am very tired. So here’s a few thoughts on sleep.

Have you ever noticed how most animals (apart from humans) when they have eaten enough, drunk enough, exercised a little and taken a shit, spend most of their time asleep?

This is because animals know the value of sleep. And they know that its value is different for each of them. Cats, for example, when asleep, spin the essence of the Universe through their dreams. The dreams of cats quite literally weave our reality. Which is why you should never awaken a sleeping cat. Such an action could precipitate the dissolution of the known Universe. Imagine if you happened to wake a cat who just happened, at that moment, to be dreaming your own existence in the web of the Universe. Then, the knot that is you never gets tied and you cease to exist in your present form. You revert to just being part of the vast energetic ocean that is the Universe. Part of the Without Form.  The Great Potential. Untie too many of those knots and the whole shimmering tapestry that we call Reality falls apart. So, never wake a sleeping cat. Very dangerous.

Catastrophe: That which occurs when you wake a sleeping cat.

Dogs are different. Dogs’ dreams have no higher function. Dogs sleep in order to gather the energy necessary for them to be fully and totally dog from the moment they wake. Their waking energy is the fuel that powers the universe that is woven from the dreams of cats. In this way, cats and dogs are mutually dependent on each other. Intrinsically linked. A situation about which neither party is happy.

There are some animals, such as sharks, that never fully sleep. In their swimming half sleep, they are working to undo the weaving of cats. The purpose of sharks is the dissolution of the Universe as we know it. Which is, of course, a necessity, as that which grows must eventually wither in order to create space for the newness that is Life. The Greenland Shark regularly lives to be 500 years old. It is the longest lived vertebrate on the planet. It lives in an incredibly hostile environment. It is often rendered blind by a parasite that attaches itself to the shark’s eye. The force of dissolution in our Universe is strong.

Only humans seem uncertain of their role in the play of the Universe. Specifically that branch of humanity inhabiting the so-called “developed” world of the 21st century. This now includes the vast majority of the world’s human population. Because, even if the material circumstances of a person have not “developed” greatly since previous centuries, the likelihood is that the long, sticky tendrils of 21st century media will have touched his or her world – television will illuminate shanty town shacks, advertising hoardings will line dusty, unmade roads, coca cola bottles will stand, siren-like, on rough shelves in simple huts. The alluring sound of development’s song can be heard in rain-forest, desert, tundra, ice floe and plain. It has such a catchy melody. So hard to resist. Impossible to get out of your head. Such a sweet song. Responsible for such suffering.

Why does it cause so much suffering? It doesn’t mean to. The song of development imagines that everyone who hears it will be improved by the experience. So convinced is the song of its own beauty that it finds it impossible to conceive that some poor sailors navigating life’s great sea will meet their grisly ends following its seductive sound onto the wrecking rocks of modernity. This is the problem with the developed world – it has no self-consciousness. It has lost any awareness that the world has been, could be and will be run according to alternative paradigms. It is totally self obsessed and unable imagine a world not cast in its image. The inhabitants of the Modern Age spend their lives gazing at their own reflections on screens. They spend their days admiring their own faces. Over and over and over, they photograph themselves. Then post the images on social media. Over and over. Again and again. In front of everything. In front of that tree, lake, mountain, sky, sea. In front of it all. Their own face. Until that is all they see. All that they are capable of seeing. The world reduced to the boundary of their own reflection. They are unable to imagine that there is more. So much more.

Modern Man does not sleep. Not really. Not properly. He snatches sleep from the perpetual light of his cities. Snatches it guiltily, as if sleep were a crime. He sees sleep only as a rest from activity. He accepts it begrudgingly. Sleep is an inconvenience to him. A waste of precious Time. It gets in the way of getting on. It prevents him from getting the most out of the day. Stops him achieving his full potential – or so he thinks. The British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, ran the country for eleven years and only ever needed two hours sleep a night. The Iron Lady had no time for any longer – she had important things to do. 

The average person needs seven to nine hours sleep each night in order to stay in good health. After missing a night’s sleep, your mood, memory and ability to concentrate will begin to suffer. After missing thirty six hours sleep your ability to fight off infection will diminish and your long term health will be at risk. Markers in the blood for cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure will significantly increase. You will begin to feel dizzy. After two days without sleep, you will become disorientated and the body will begin to periodically shut down, taking “microsleeps” – in effect little black-outs. Your body will attempt to force sleep upon you. If you persist in forgoing sleep, after seventy two hours, you will begin to experience hallucinations and suffer major cognitive breakdown. Eventually, after around eleven days, you will die.

We know that sleep is not optional but Modern Man does not understand the reasons why he sleeps and therefore he does not value sleep as he should. A healthy person spends at least eight hours out of each twenty four asleep. A third of their life, asleep. If you live to be eighty four, you will have spent twenty eight years asleep. That is about the time it takes to grow an adult human being. There are reasons for this.

Man sleeps in order to dream. But his dreaming is not the same as the dreaming of Cats. Man does not dream Reality, as Cats do. The dreams of Cats are limited by the restrictions of the Material World. Cats can only dream in terms of what already Is. Weaving together the threads of what already exists. Cats enjoy playing with loose threads. There are an almost infinite variety of ways in which the countless threads of the Universe can be woven together to create the carpets upon which we walk and call Reality. It is a challenging and complicated task to undertake. A difficult and satisfying one to complete. The Ancient Egyptians were quite right to worship Cats as Gods. Nevertheless, the dreams of Cats are restricted to what already is. Man’s dreams have no such restrictions. Cats dream Realities. Man dreams Possibilities. Cats dream of This World. In his dreams, Man has access to The Other Worlds. All The Other Worlds. Of which there are Many. Very Many. 


  1. Did you write this??? This is absolutely Brilliant!

    May I re-post it?

    On sleep: one might arrive to one’s “experienced” years and then one might, regrettably, realize how important sleep was and is. Then one is in a pickle because it’s (almost and probably) too late. At least this is what I have found.


    • Of course you can re-post it. Yes, I wrote it. I began it some time ago and it has sat as a draft awaiting completion. As it is a bit different from my usual stuff, I didn’t quite know what to do with it. But I was under pressure to post something and had no time so I just thought “what the hell,” and posted what I had. I am glad that you liked it. Expect more random draft pieces to be posted during this Yule period.
      As for sleep, yes, for me with Parkinson’s , it is a reluctant bed-fellow.


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