I'm not really all that mysterious

semantics of time

I must admit that I like the fact that the sun is still up when I come home from work. It gives me the illusion that my time off from work is much longer than it actually is. Waking up in the morning sucks big time, though. Nothing makes you want to pull the covers back over your head than waking up to your alarm clock, looking outside the window, and finding it pitch black.

When I was an undergrad, I had this ridiculous notion that if I slept for four hours at a time, and pretended that it was morning whenever I awoke, then I would feel more productive. The idea was that since typical sleep usually encompasses two sleep cycles, if I could just get one in at a time, it would be almost as good. So after class, I’d go to sleep right away before working on my problem sets, or writing my paper, or reading the assigned text. This worked for maybe two days before I would stop waking up in the evening and simply just sleep all the way through until the next morning.

Eventually, I just gave up and came to accept the fact that I really do need at least seven hours of continuous sleep to feel rested. (Add the fact that I usually did way better on tests if I just took it easy the day before instead of trying to cram, and eventually, I decided that adequate sleep was the key to my success.)

Ian Rosales Casocot writes that there is no past, but I got to thinking that, really, the past is all we’ve got. Much like the time delay involved due to speed of light, so that the light we see from the sun is actually 8 minutes old, and the light that we see from the star Sirius is 8 years old, the thoughts that we consciously hold in our head are about events that are already in the past. The raw sensual input gets rapidly converted and processed by the brain, and the actual input, for the most part, gets discarded. The present only intrudes when something happens that cuts directly to the reptilian, emotion-laden part of our brains, bypassing the evolutionary advanced cerebral cortex, like when danger approaches. And the future is almost always just a fantasy resulting from linearly extrapolating the past (which is the reason why we’re so bad at predicting the future.)

Today, I didn’t intend to go to sleep early, but ended passing out around 8:30 p.m. And now, of course, I’m awake, and I can’t go back to sleep. Classic.

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