On Sleep,

Being Some Random Observations on the Treatment of Sleep in the Present Age, With Particular Reference to the Esteemed Opinions of Immanuel Kant, Friedrich Nietzsche, Martin Heidegger, and Several Other Eminent Fellas.


Sleep is the new uncool.

Among intellectual circles, pseudo and authentic, ‘those who sleep like a log’ are a euphemism for imbecile. Sleep has been knocked off its pagan and Christian connexions with death, renewal, and harmless idleness, and its jambalaya of glorious histories smashed to amorphous pulp.

Clever people have always derided sleep as a humungous waste of precious time, which would rather be spent in honourable ventures like, let’s say, thinking, more thinking, and a lil’ bit more thinking. Because, Heidegger himself has said we must think more and think deeply in order to live life meaningfully, which, at one point in his life, meant yelling, “Heil Führer!” and tyrannising university syllabi.

According to Kant, sleep kills you–it is like a quota of poison, the more you gulp down, the earlier you die; the lesser you sip, the longer your life span available for study, work, and boring routine. Nietzsche’s suspect wise-man says, “No small art it is to sleep; it is necessary for that purpose to keep awake all day,” which is dismissed as utter piffle by Zarathustra, who, in turn, exhorts the people to “awake”, even “awaken the corpses” peacefully dead in their graves.

With due respect to the eminences referred to here, the Author is of the humble opinion that cleverness is an epidemic, or in the words of Jack Worthing, though not as well expressed, “an absolute public nuisance.” There is no better comeback for the long-sustained assault on sleep than Poe’s memorable words, slightly adapted to suit our purpose, “What is only pure insomniac balderdash is mistaken for what is profound.” This accounts for much of modern scholarship, which is foggy at best and punch-drunk barmy at its worst.

The pretentious glory of sleep-deprived philosophy and intellectualism is but a manifestation of a deep-seated Freudian envy of happy-go-lucky sleepers, who, in Hamlet’s poignant phrasing, ever so slightly adapted, “may sleep, and sleep and still be fiends at thinking.”


NOTE FROM CYLAN: All quotes, except Nietzsche’s and Wilde’s, due to the extensive amount of tampering done to them, are in effect, my own. The opinions expressed in this entry are, like everything else in this blog, highly contentious, subjective, and crushingly debatable.

Stage

Someone was talking, incessantly for two hours now
Some admirable feat (or lie), some general rubbish, no doubt shocking.
Despite our yawns, he kept right on (oh I know how)
Spinning his greasy yarns right around our faces mocking

Oh Thor of Thursday, if I were you, I’d be plague on all boring stage-lovers
The ultimate Crusade against them boorish speakers
They’ll weep and crawl like sorry insects; I’ll lock them in underground bowers
But alas! Sweet future, so distant and clear, while ugly Present looks down and leers

“The Second Point I must discuss with you, ”
says he
O dear Lord, has he no conscience, no mercy?
How many more drasted points does he have up his sleeve?
(Are we vermin to be thus experimented on, by the knave?)

Interesting speech is but a boon, uncommon and partial
You must not overfeed on time and luck, but on the reaction of your audience
Shock, surprise, volleys and recognition, the stage is nothing but martial
Thus perceive the trajectory of your arrows with a cool head of sense.

The man reaches for water to quench his tedious thirst
We clap our hardest and with a glare so cold to blast him off the stage
The unfazed speaker struts down, basking in all the glory of his 3 hour romp.

Next is my call, uncalled for, to address the crowd
Preposterous, blasphemous. travesty of powers
Being called out of turn when I was least prepared;
Made dull and slow, by the ravages of the past hours

My legs were cold jelly, head a three-pound stone
The floor had wobbled and vanished, I dangled mid-air
I felt as silly as a penguin (if that penguin was I)
Discombobulated in its ridiculous evening wear

Faces stare past me at the lines etched across my past and future
Pitiless, faceless, all-knowing, unseeing, they find me out
Like the overfed, smug animals in a zoo; and you feel like dust
when they with their cool fine gaze chill you like doubt

i am but a poor speaker, i know not what i say
Spare me your censure, your eyes are daggers to my guilt
If this sounds like bombast, you are not wrong,
i’d sooner confess my mysterious past than bore you with a speech
Pray leave me alone, for i have nothing more to say in the saying game
(And besides, I am a poor speaker and I always sound lame)