Systematic Political Science


Oneirology and Rationality Tables: Sleep (Subconscious) Behavior Within Quantum Mechanics

by Dallas F. Bell, Jr. 

Mammals, birds, and many fish, amphibians, and reptiles require sleep for survival. Human sleep is divided into either Rapid Eye Movement (REM) or Non-Rapid Eye Movement (NREM). Each type has its own neurological feature. NREM is divided into three stages: N1, N2, and N3. N1 is a drowsy state where the transition of alpha waves (frequency is 8 to 13 Hz) is made to theta waves (4 to 7 Hz). N2 accounts for 45-55% of total adult sleep and is the stage where muscular activity and consciousness decreases (12 to 16 Hz). N3 is called delta sleep (0.5 to 4 Hz) where the parasomnias of nightmares, bedwetting, sleeptalking, and sleepwalking (somnambulism or noctambulism) occur. Shakespeare's Macbeth has a crucial sleepwalking scene. Other NREM parasomnias are bruxism (teeth grinding), restless leg syndrome, and periodic limb movement disorder.

REM sleep is where most memorable dreaming occurs (20 to 25% of total sleep time for healthy adults). Parasomnias in REM can be manifested by muscle movement to act out dreams and can be acute due to medication, such as depressants, or can be chronic due to degenerative disorders, such as Parkinson's disease or dementia.

Sleep timing is influenced by the circadian clock. The sleep cycle is normally N1, N2, N3, N2, REM. It has been demonstrated that cognitive performance in adults declines with six or fewer hours of sleep. Children need more than the adults' seven to eight hours of sleep. Newborn babies need the most with up to eighteen hours of sleep.

Sleep deprivation harms immune systems. Sleep deprivation early in life can result in behavioral problems, decreased brain size, and high amounts of neuronal cell necrosis. Working memory supports high cognitive functions (e.g. decision making and reasoning etc.) and is adversely affected by sleep loss (studies show as high as a 38% drop in ability).

Matthew P. Walker, now Director of the Sleep and Neuroimaging Laboratory at the University of California at Berkeley, et al found that people that were sleep deprived had significantly diminished activity in the prefrontal lobe where executive function occurs. Those people were also more sensitive to negative things. G. William Domhoff (b. 1936), research professor of psychology and sociology at the University of California at Santa Cruz, suggests that Walker's study, as with all new claims, be given time for replication. (William Domhoff's comment was excerpted from an email exchange with Dallas F. Bell Jr. during August, 2009.) J. Allan Hobson (b. 1933), professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, says Walker's data means that "sleep knits the ravelled sleave of care" (sic). (Allan Hobson's view, a Shakespeare quote from Macbeth [Act II, Scene II], was taken from an email exchange with Dallas F. Bell Jr. in August, 2009.)

Christopher M. Nolte, neurologist at the Mercy Sleep Centers, says that it is clear from sleep deprivation studies that the effects are similar across age groups. Both (young and old) will demonstrate emotional and behavioral changes and will see a reduction in performance (reaction times, vigilance etc.) Nolte adds, it is also clear from functional MRI imaging studies that the areas involved in executive functioning change during aging. Recent fMRI findings from chronically sleep restricted adolescents show the same changes as seen in adults (Behav Brain Funct. 2009; 5:9). So when Walker et al demonstrates that the prefrontal-amygdala pathways are affected by sleep deprivation in adults, it would not be surprising to see similar findings in the under 25 age group (though the localization using functional imaging may not be identical in children.) (Christopher Nolte's remarks were taken from an email exchange with Dallas F. Bell Jr. during August, 2009.)

Sedatives and depressants are often used to facilitate sleep. Stimulants (i.e. caffeine etc.) may be used to temporarily prevent sleep. When the effects of stimulants wear off a rapid reduction in mental alertness can be expected to occur.

The Bible describes sleep as slumber (Prov. 6:4, 9-11), desolation (Jere. 51:39, 57), unregeneracy (1 Thess. 5:6-7), death (John 11:11-14), spiritual indifference (Matt. 25:5) and prophetic vision (Dan. 8:18). Sleep is beneficial when by God (Ps. 3:5; 127:2), from trusting in God (Ps. 4:8), obeying parents (Prov. 6:20-22), in wisdom (Prov. 3:21-24), from working (Eccl. 5:12), after duty (Ps. 132:1-5), and when having a pleasant dream (Jere. 31:23-26). Problems with sleep come when worrying (Dan. 2:1), with insomnia (Esth. 6:1), and with overwork (Gen. 31:40). Sleep is not appropriate in harvest (Prov. 10:5), when excessive (Prov. 6:9-11; 24:33-34), and during some dangerous occasions (Prov. 6:1-5; Matt. 26:45-47).

Dreaming is the perception of images and sounds that the dreamer feels is a participant as suggested in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. Dreams are stimulated by the pons and usually occur during the REM period. Pons are the nerve fibers on the ventral surface of the brain at the anterior of the medulla oblongata.

Oneirology (Gr. oneiro means dream) is the scientific study of dreams. Hypotheses of the function of dreams range from Sigmund Freud's view, that dreams are a free will function of expression of desires in the subconscious that can be interpreted to uncover desires, to Allan Hobson's activation synthesis theory. The subconscious, as defined in this paper, is a state of not being conscious but able to return to consciousness by reacting to natural stimuli, such as loud sounds, pain etc. Unconsciousness is a state of not being conscious and not being able to return to consciousness from natural stimuli due to a breakdown of natural systems, such as low oxygen levels, low blood flow to the brain etc.

Hobson's theory suggests that signals interpreted as dreams are caused by the random firing of neurons in the cerebral cortex during REM sleep. Mark L. Solms (b. 1961) found that patients with damage to the parietal lobe stopped dreaming. Hobson and Solms' findings have been combined into continual-activation theory. This theory proposes dreaming is a result of both brain activation and synthesis.

William Domhoff found that visual imagery in dreams is intact after lesions to the primary visual cortex as it is for people that go blind after 5-7 years of age. Solms found that damage to the occipito-temporal region of the visual association cortex caused dreams to become non-visual. John Sutton's paper titled Dreaming discusses these studies in more detail. (John Sutton, a philosopher and cognitive scientist at Macquarie University in Australia, recommended his papers in an email exchange with Dallas F. Bell Jr. in August, 2009.)

In physics, quantum theory looks at mathematical models that combine space and time. Some space-time theories include other dimensions. The number of dimensions that are needed to describe the universe (all that exists) is debated. String theory predicts 10 or 26 dimensions, with M-theory (developed by Edward Witten) predicting 11 dimensions (10 spatial and 1 temporal). The existence of more than 4 dimensions seems to only make a difference at the subatomic level.

Max Tegmark explains that if T (temporal dimensions) differs from 1, the behavior of physical systems could not be predictably reliable from knowledge of the relevant partial differential equations. That universe would not be thought capable of allowing intelligent life manipulate technology. If T > 1, Tegmark says that protons and electrons would be unstable and decay into particles having greater mass than themselves. If N < 3 (N is spatial dimension) gravitation becomes problematic and the universe is too simple to contain observers (i.e. nerves cannot overlap without intersecting in N < 3).

The Bible does have many passages that indicate other dimensions. For example, Elisha showed a realm surrounded by protective forces (II Kings 6:17), Jesus walked through walls (John 20:19-20, 26), and Paul spoke of invisible things (Rom. 1:20).

A central problem with the interpretation of quantum mechanics is the duality of time in physical systems. Hugh Everett (1930-1982) suggested that the universe is indeterminate as a whole. This leads to a many-worlds interpretation which leads to a many-minds interpretation of quantum mechanics. Many-minds extends the many-worlds view by making a distinction between worlds at the level of the mind of the observer.

The human brain operates as a pattern of switching, as described by Matthew J. Donald, like a quantum mechanical switch. However, Edward Witten (b.1951), to date is the only physicist awarded the Fields Medal (1990), states that there are no (unique) quantum insights about dreams and that most brain functioning can be described by a classical model (including some randomness). (Edward Witten's, mathematical physics professor at the Institute for Advanced Study, statement was excerpted from an email exchange with Dallas F. Bell Jr. in September, 2009.)

Dream content was shown to be commonly experienced by Calvin S. Hall (1909-1985) when William Domhoff made Hall's reports available to the public. Dreams usually incorporate recent personal experiences, emotion (especially anxiety and other negative emotion), sexuality, recurring narratives (falling, slow running, late for an event, nakedness, being lost etc.) 12% of people dream only in black and white.

Dream interpretation is the process of assigning meaning to dreams. Historically, dreams were considered supernatural communication with the Divine, whose message could be explained by those gifted with the ability. In Egypt, priests acted as interpreters of dreams. The Bible records Joseph (c. 1716- 1714 B.C.) and Daniel (C. 594 B.C.) interpreting God's communication in dreams.

The Bible gives many examples of dreams: Abimelech (Gen. 20:3-7), Jacob (Gen. 28:10-16), Laban (Gen. 31:24), Joseph (Gen. 37:5-10; 40:5-22), Pharaoh (Gen. 41:1-13), a Midianite (Judg. 7:13-15), Solomon ( I Kings 3:5-15), Job (Job 7:14), Nebuchadnezzar (Dan. 2:1-13), Joseph (Matt. 1:19-24; 2:12-22), and Pilate's wife (Matt. 27:13-19). The purpose of dreams is restraint of will (Gen. 20:3-7), to reveal God's will (Gen. 28:11-22), to encourage (Judg. 7:13-15), to reveal the future (Gen. 37:5-10), and to instruct (Matt. 1:20). The interpretation of dreams are sought after (Dan. 2:1-3; Num. 12:6), are God's and revealed by God (Gen. 40:8), may be delusive (Is. 29:7-8), and can be false (Deut. 13:1-5).

An analysis of a biblical dream can be broken down into the thing or subject (noun), movement and time (verb and tense), systematic theological monads, physical natural laws and natural laws of freewill, and choice. These components can be expanded on by using the rationality tables and other modeling tools.

Dream interpretation was made a part of psychoanalysis at the end of the 19th century. The belief was that the content of a dream had latent meaning from the psyche of the person dreaming which could be analyzed. Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung believed that dreams were an interaction between the subconscious and the conscious. Whereas, Calvin Hall considered dreams a cognitive process. These methods are strikingly different from the biblical emphasis.

Not all dreams occur during sleep at night, n'est-ce pas? A daydream is a common phenomenon. It seems that daydreaming consolidates learning in the brain for the daydreamer. Research with fMRI shows the complex problem-solving part of the brain is activated during daydreaming episodes. While daydreaming has been thought to be non-productive, there are numerous examples (Einstein etc.) of artistic and creative breakthroughs occurring during daydreams. Guido d'Arezzo (c. 991-1033) may have invented musical notation in such a creative state.

Daydreams are not visions or trances which may be God generated. A vision is something seen in a daydream type state that evokes a supernatural appearance or revelation. Biblical characteristics of visions are understandability (Dan. 7:15-28), glorify the Divine (Ezek. 8:1-4; Dan.2:19-24), personal (Dan. 10:7-9), prophetic (Dan. 9:23-27), dated and localized (Ezek. 1:1-3), cause trembling (Dan. 10:7-17), interpreted (Dan. 9:21-24), necessary (Prov. 29:18), sure (Ezek. 12:21-28), Messianic proof (Joel 2:28-32; Acts 2:17-21), and can be false (Jere. 14:14). Visions are for guidance (Gen. 46:2-5; Luke 1:11-22; Acts 10:3-8), direction (Acts 16:9-10), encouragement (Acts 18:9-10), warning (Is. 21:2-6), judgment (I Sam. 3:15-18), and Divine action (Acts 26:19-20). Things revealed in biblical visions are Israel's future (Gen. 15:1-21), world empires (Dan. 7:1-28), Ram (Dan. 8:1-27), borders (Ezek. 47:1-23), God's glory (II Cor. 12:1-11), and God's throne (Rev. 4:1-11). A trance is a state of partially suspended animation. Biblical examples are Balaam (Num. 24:4-9, 16-25), Peter (Acts 10:10-17; 11:5-10), and Paul (Acts 22:17-21).

The Bible says that it shall come to pass in the last days that God says He will pour out His Spirit upon all people; and their sons and their daughters shall prophesy, and the young men shall see visions and the old men shall dream dreams (Joel 2:28-32; Acts 2:17; 10:45). Oliver Wendell Holmes' (1909-1894) book The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table, Chapter 12, states that nothing is so commonplace as to wish to be remarkable. (Real) Fame usually comes to those who are thinking about something else. Holmes' points out that there are always charlatans. The environment of truth among believers, in the last days, will be exploited by deceivers (Matt. 24:11; II Peter 2:1-2; Rev. 19:20) for power and money (Is. 8:20; I Kings 13:1-32; Jere. 23:17-40, 28:15-17; Matt. 7:15-20, 22-23; II Peter 2:3-22; Rom. 16:18; II Thess. 2:3; Col. 2:4). So believers beware!

In conclusion, the connection between oneirology and the rationality tables can be made as sleep and other subconscious states can be seen in a behavioral context within the modern quantum theories of physics.

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