Parasociality

Parasociality

08-10-2021

15:15

Sleep & Death are the two main ways humans experience sensation of consciousness. What if they're analogous in more ways? What if living too long is screwing you over in the next life? Is there death-deprivation, like sleep-deprivation?

Normal, healthy people don't fear sleep, because they expect consciousness to resume on the other side, and they understand that sleep is good for them. The easiest way to screw up tomorrow is to stay up until 3am today.

But sleep IS kind of scary when you think about it. Lots of kids are afraid of sleep (or its accompaniments--the dark, etc.). And our revealed preferences indicate that we often try to avoid it or postpone it even as adults. I think many adults are low-key afraid of sleep.

And there are ways in which sleep changes you. In a real sense, you're a different person every time you wake up. Your experience of consciousness is broken, and while there are commonalities, there are also differences.

This is why we advise people to "sleep on it" before doing something rash. We're essentially saying, "Get a second opinion from a different person: Future You."

Sleep deprivation is endemic in our society (aided by electric lights and hyper-stimulating screens). And it's messing with us in weird and unexpected ways.

What if death is just like sleep? What if consciousness resumes on the other side? Of course, we have names for this concept: Reincarnation, afterlife. Regardless of where you or I personally stand on these, let's just entertain the possibility a minute.

First, we might wonder: I can remember yesterday before sleep. So if death is like sleep, why don't I remember past lives? Memory fades in sleep. I don't remember a lot of yesterday. If death is the Big Sleep, the fading may be more severe, maybe total.

If staying up to late yesterday screws me today, does living too long yesterlife screw me tolife? You don't want to go to bed at noon. You don't want to die in youth. But you also don't want to go to bed at 3am. Maybe you don't want to live too long either.

Staying up too late isn't fun even today, usually. Living too long isn't too fun either, often. You know who stays up all night and lives forever? Vampires.

We know we're a sleep deprived society. Are we becoming a death deprived society? Are people getting weird and dysfunctional because they "stayed up too long" the life before with medical tech, just like they stayed up too late the night before with screens and lights?

To go to bed on time, it's helpful to have a ritual ("at 9pm I will turn off electronics and use candlelight"). Do we need death rituals to help us get a good Big Sleep?

@NgoloTesla @SolBrah @KNeferhetep - you guys got me thinking about weird stuff like this, what say you?

One more thought: My argument might be construed as supporting euthanasia, but I don't think that flows from the analogy. Taking a pill to die would be like taking a sleeping tablet. It's not really healthy, or a substitute for falling asleep naturally by reducing stimulation.

Prepare for the grave like you prepare for bed. There's such a thing as too early, just like there's such a thing as too late. Pharmacological and physical aides (being knocked out) are to be regarded with great caution.

On more point: If this idea is true, YOLO is both untrue and pernicious. Living each day like your last (or only) would be a disaster in practice. Same with life. You can't play an iterated game like a non-iterated game.

You know who was on to this idea a long time before I was? That's right: Jesus. "And all were weeping and mourning for her, but he said, 'Do not weep, for she is not dead but sleeping.'"


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