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curiosity corner: trust, the horror genre, the importance of sleep, and the paradox of change

an internet corner in which I jot down random thoughts, recommend things I find interesting, and go on a bunch of weird tangents

https://aeon.co/ideas/the-smart-move-we-learn-more-by-trusting-than-by-not-trusting

Excellent article on the value of taking risks, even when they turn out to be “mistakes.” 

This quote on horror: 

“Great horror takes the things we find safety in and turn them menacing. 

That’s the funny thing: even when I’m at my worst, one of the few activities I really like doing is experiencing horror stories. When I’m not well, and I see a horror film or read a horror book dealing with the fears I’m experiencing in my own exaggerated, obsessive ways, it makes me feel less alone with these fears; someone else has them, too. 

But for another thing, the book ends, the movie ends, and just by ending, the story suggests that the depression will end. Great when the hero survives and triumphs, but honestly, even in stories where the monster wins, where everyone dies, the story ends and I am released from it. In the end, the truth is, when I’m well or not well, horror helps me explore the things I’m sometimes I’m afraid to look at in real life in piercing and true ways that somehow make me feel better.

That’s the trick of horror for me. I love reading it to feel less alone with my fears. To experience them actively and then be set free. I love writing it to explore them in ways that are probing and difficult for me and well, scary too, but controlled. Not controlled because those fears are less potent, but controlled because I decide how far to go with them, where they lead…” 

  • Scott Snyder 

https://aeon.co/essays/its-time-to-celebrate-the-humanity-of-the-communal-snooze

We look back on our ancestors and see clearly how their ignorance (not their fault – in many cases they simply did not have the knowledge at the time) of things like lead poisoning and mercury led to their premature deaths. 

I fully believe that in a few decades, our collective ignorance (and capitalism’s deliberate denial) of the vital importance of sleep, will catch up on us. The “value” of endless productivity and labour and villainization of rest, down time, free time, and “doing nothing” will inevitably backfire, if not in 2-3 years, then in middle and old age.

Sleep isn’t as important as headlines claim – it’s more. Sleep deprivation shaves literal years off of our lives. Science shows it literally slowly kills us.

Yet, sleep deprivation is the current social and cultural norm, even celebrated. From middle, high school onwards, all nighters and sleeping only 3-4 hours a night is bragged about as a virtue of hard work, when in reality, it is hurting us all deeply. More sleeping is correlated with laziness, when in reality it is our body’s biological need to take enough time to fix ourselves and recover. 

Lack of sleep is scientifically linked with:

  • Poor immune system function
  • Poor cognitive function
  • Later on in life, potentially fatal cardiovascular and immune problems 

This commentary isn’t 100% related to that article, but our denial of the importance sleep is going to kill us prematurely. 

Bring back the mid day nap. Start letting people work naturally with their circadian rhythms (letting late sleepers/late risers work later hours than early sleepers/early risers), start letting people rest. 

Paradox of Change (From psychology of gambling class)

“When a person feels accepted for who they are and what they do—no matter how unhealthy—it allows them the freedom to consider change rather than needing to defend against it.”

And that is why health initiatives such as safe injection sites and harm reduction is far better and healthier for those struggling with drug addiction than being suddenly cut off, incarcerated, or arrested. People grow in the presence of acceptance and understanding, not hostility and antagonism.