in General

I’m Not Dead, Just Very, Very Broken

First, sorry to any of you who misunderstood my last post as a blogging denouement. Before you send spiders to the wake, let me clarify. I meant that the first three years are done, but that the fourth is about to commense. Sorry for any misconception. I’ll be around for years to come, I promise. If you did think my blog dead, consider this a glorious rebirth. Or at least notice I’m making awkward attempts at getting tiny bits typed up.

Some obsticles have arisen for my November wanderings, but I’m looking at some workarounds that should make it still possible. I’m terribly excited to be able to travel some, so I won’t abort the trip without doing all I can. A destination is to be decided, but a chance to leave the province and hopefully the country for a couple weeks will be very welcome.

I’m tempted to have the trip take me to a city hosting Dialogue in the Dark, an exciting exhibition that my friend Susana is working on in Monterey, Mexico.

The concept is simple: Visitors are lead by blind guides in small groups through specially constructed darkened rooms, in which scents, sounds, wind, temperatures and textures conveys the characteristics of daily environments, for example a park, a city or a bar. In the dark, the daily routine becomes a new experience. A reversion of roles is created: sighted people are torn out of their familiar environments; blind people provide them with security and a sense of orientation transmitting a world without pictures. The impact is remarkable: “Dialog in the Dark” have been presented in the last years in 17 countries throughout Europe, Asia and America.

The experience sounds like it would be deeply moving and offer a lot of insight into just how vital each sense we have is to our lifestyles. Susana stressed that growing empathy is a key part of the project, and I certainly applaud any effort to increase our empathy.

I like sleep quite a lot. There’s nothing quite like lying in a comfortable bed. The future may see more of us giving up sleep in favour of extended wakefulness. “From A to Zzzzz” suggests that 36 hour days without major drawbacks are just a pill away, with more drastic extensions of our days in the pipeline.

The eight-hours mantra has no more scientific basis than the tooth fairy, says Neil Stanley, head of sleep research at the Human Psychopharmacology Research Unit at the University of Surrey in Britain. He believes that everyone has their own individual “sleep need” which can be anywhere between three and 11 hours. “If you’re a three-hour-a-night person, you need three; if you’re 11, you need 11.” To find out, he says, simply sleep until you wake naturally, without the aid of an alarm clock. Feel rested? That’s your sleep need.

Perhaps sleep is a very variable need, but it seems to me there’s a lot more going on that we might imagine.. As someone who works nights and then shifts into daytime activity at the expense of sleep sometimes, I can understand the appeal of more waking hours. I don’t yet know, however, if I would be willing to give up the pleasure and elusory benefit of a good sleep on a regular basis, though.

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