- Source: Enter the Supersensorium
We find ourselves strolling the aisles of a vast sensorium.
psychology, Media: of our waking leisure hours, what exactly is the amount of time devoted to the consumption of experiences from the supersensorium? → Fiction is our primary source of experience, reality has been replaced by make-belief
life: Why do humans desire these petite narratives that we gobble up like treats? What’s the origin of this pull toward artifice, a thing so powerful we might even call it an instinct? Is it virtue or vice? → In my eyes, fiction is meant to enhance reality. The author quotes Tolstoy above saying that if the people are suffering, why should he tell a love story? And the answer is quite simple: Humans use narratives to understand the world, to find reasons for change, to escape briefly into the world they could have so they don’t lose their will to live.
To understand why we as upright apes are so drawn to facts that aren’t facts, to events that never happened, to fictions, we have to go back to our ancestors and ask: Why did dreaming start in the first place?
Sleep consists of approximately ninety-minute cycles
gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) neurons inhibit the voluntary muscle output pathways of the cortex. The result to the body is atonia. Paralysis. It’s the locking of an awake brain in a sensory deprivation tank of flesh and bone.
Deprived of bottom-up input from the senses, dreaming seems to be the natural state of the brain;
Sleep, psychology: What a lucky dream that last one is, the one that gets to be extended across the whole day, that gets to include the quotidian, the agony and ecstasy, the small pleasures and little horrors of a normal human’s waking hours, before each dream of a day ends with our heads hitting the pillow once more.
If you’re dream-deprived you will experience “REM rebound” over the next few days as your brain crams in as much REM as possible.
dreaming allows us to explore the experiential statespace in ways that deviate from waking life
Consider those experiences which contain sensations and scenarios that are rare, or maybe even fatal, in real life. Falling from a tall building. Being hunted. It’s an evolutionary imperative that your brain tests these experiences in order to represent them appropriately should they happen.
The inner fabulist shakes up the categories of the plastic brain. Their authoring avoids a phenomenon called overfitting.
All learning is basically a tradeoff between specificity and generality
Outsourcing our Dreams
society: And as long as everybody believes in the same fictions, everybody obeys and follows the same rules, the same norms, the same values.