So, we got through the first two seasons of Twin Peaks, twenty-five years later. Which is good, because now we can watch Twin Peaks: The Return. Which is… interesting…
Which is to say, it probably deserves me getting through the whole thing before saying something half-baked about it. So let’s talk about something else. Kinda.
[Dreams. We’re gonna talk about dreams. Read on…]
That’s right. Dreams. Last week, I mentioned the odd, dream-like quality of the first season of Twin Peaks. And that’s back with a vengeance in The Return. Or certainly, it was in the episode we watched last night.
And that is to say, I think it was dream-like. It’s hard for me to say. I’m very, very, rarely aware of having any dreams. I remember a couple of dreams I had as a boy of about eight – one about being chased through a giant maze by a huge, unseen mouse, and another about a serial killer.]
Since then, hardly anything I can recall. I’m not sure why. Do I not sleep deeply enough? Is my mode of thought too grindingly prosaic? I don’t know.
Yeah, I was a DNA – Did Not Attend – for my recently-scheduled Sleep Deprived EEG. No, not because I didn’t want to stay awake all night prior to [my] appointment. Although I didn’t. And not because I object to having my hair clean and free of styling products, such as gel and hairspray. Although I do.
So I still don’t know why I don’t dream – it seems – or why my sleep is weird in other ways. But it seems I’m not alone. Apparently, we’re in the midst of A DREAM DEPRIVATION EPIDEMIC.
That piece in New York magazine’s The Cut is worth a look – despite kicking off an article about a recent academic paper with a story about the writer’s mother, like some cooking website bullshit.
Nope, never watched it. Probably never will.
Anyway. The article relates that the paper in question – Dreamless: The Silent Epidemic of REM Sleep Loss by University of Arizona psychologist Rubin Naiman – makes two primary arguments.
One, modern humans are deprived of dreams. Two, this is not only sad from a existential perspective, it’s also a public health crisis, one brought on by a combination of lifestyle factors, substance use, sleep disorders, and, “indirectly, a dismissive attitude about the value and meaning of dreams.”
By public health crisis, he means that researchers have found that when they deprive subjects of only REM sleep, most of the negative side effects are the same as those experience in total sleep deprivation. In the absence of dreams, we can suffer irritability, depression, weight gain, hallucinations, erosion of reason, memory and immune system functions, and… a loss of spirituality?!?!
One potential cause that I don’t think applies to me, is that I don’t have a dismissive attitude about the value and meaning of dreams. On the contrary. I’m a little jealous of people who are aware of their dreams. In a way, I feel like I’m being deprived of around a third of my life.
The writer’s mother in Dream Deprivation remarks (if says here): I consider my dreaming life just as important as my waking life. She’s not “wake-centric”, as the academic paper terms it – she views her sleeping state, particularly her dreams, as essential.
And then I got to the comments. (I know, Don’t Read BTL. But it wasn’t The Daily Mail. Or The Guardian.)
A survivor of a brain injury had left a comment saying that afterwards, she couldn’t sleep properly for months
and then when I did, I would dream entire lives. As in, I would be a young woman in a world similar to ours but not the same, and would live that life, day by day, minute by minute, for forty or fifty years, with husband and kids etc, full senses, like sounds, touch—and then wake up, back here.
Her dreams eventually returned to normal, but in the meantime, the specialists were dumbfounded by her experience. Dumbfounded, I tells ya. I’m kind of expecting the results of my rescheduled Sleep Deprived EEG to be similarly confounding.
But then, I wasn’t going to talk about Lynch this week.