When dreaming, a part of the brain suppresses the motor cortex so that the dream inside does not translate into movement of the body. Like everything, this mechanism can become dysfunctional as when people sleep-walk or in dream paralysis where, even thought emerging from sleep, a person cannot move or voluntarily escape their paralytic state.
Are humans currently awake, sleep-walking, or are they aware but unable to move?
To be awake, the average human would have to move in a world represented by a more realistic hologram in their heads. For instance, they would realize that humans emerged from the ecosystem as tool-using renegades, evolved into systematicity and are growing exponentially with resulting damage to the mother system, like a cancer. They would also have to know something about their own brains and how they evolved and why they do some of the things they do.
To be sleep-walking one must maintain a neurological hologram that is at some greater distance from reality. I sometime refer to this mental hologram as the analog world or the model of the world built from education and experience. This person functions adequately in their dreamworld, quite capable of fixing a cup of coffee and turning the key in the car’s ignition, but they fill large gaps in the cognitive field with easily accessible and comfortable constructions that obscure unpalatable reality. They’re half asleep in life and find it very comforting. Living within a dopamine and serotonin releasing hologram while still able to function in reality is a pleasure maximizing option for many.
Then there are those that are emerging to wakefulness but can’t move. Subconsciously we know something is very wrong and there are glimpses of it in consciousness, but we don’t understand the full implications and we don’t know what to do or where to go. Some will continue do deny and will remain in their somnambulist world, the world of technology and growth and Ipads and medical miracles. They are beginning to see the reality but they’re still stuck in the dream. For Homo sapiens, the temporary dream of technological civilization cannot be sustained any more than a person can sustain and live a life within the dream of a single night.
For the native human, still fully within the ecosystem, the somnambulent existence is the default and best choice. There are Gods and spirits and forces all around that explain and give meaning to life while the logical brain knows simple things like “the fish swim near shore on a high moon.” The ecosystem constrained human wouldn’t need to know any more, nor go to school to learn to read and write nor learn arithmetic.
The awake human, the technological, reductionist type, can heave-ho all of the Gods and spirits and find logical, testable reasons as to why things happen. With this approach you find-out about things such as RNA, glucose, fossil fuels, exponential growth and so on. Persons in this catergory may even try to maintain the somnambulent part of the hologram just to take a little edge off of reality. Their beliefs, if they have any, will be more techno-cornucopian in nature.
Some of us are awake, but are paralyzed in our knowledge. We can’t pull anyone out of their sleep-walking long enough to make any changes. For financial reasons or just shock we can’t move. Some of us know what we should be doing, but we don’t. We’ve bought into the bounty of the cancer and believe it will be functioning for us tomorrow. The eternal fossil fuel umbilicus will last forever. We don’t sell the family heirlooms, ditch the mortgage and head to New Zealand. Why? What kind of motivation do we need? Are we tethered to the sleep-walkers, the ones that will perhaps never wake-up? Are we confident in the proclamations and projects of Elon Musk? Why is it difficult to escape the dream matrix before its too late? Is it because it is all-encompassing? Because we cannot imagine another way to live? Perhaps there’s nothing to do and nowhere to go except to huddle inside our deteriorating technological cells, cherishing our dreams, pipe at our lips, until it’s over.
Lajos Gulacsy – “The Opium Smokers Dream”