Dream Life: An Experimental Memoir by J. Allan Hobson

By J. Allan Hobson

J. Allan Hobson's clinical experimentation begun inchildhod, with a soot-filled research into the potential of a chimney toadmit Santa Claus. (He chanced on that despite the damper open the chimneywas a ways too narrow.) Hobson's existence as an experimentalist has continuedthrough a pioneering occupation dedicated to aligning psychology and biology and toinvestigating the connection of dreaming and recognition. In Dream Life,Hobson conducts an experimental research into his existence and paintings. Hobsoncharts his constructing recognition via a vividly imagined perception (inOctober of 1932), beginning, and babyhood, delivering a idea approximately "protoconsciousness"in fetuses and babies. He recounts his younger zeal for medical discovery,his early sexual experimentation, and his schooling. He describes taking up theentrenched Freudians at Harvard clinical institution within the Fifties, as a maverickpsychiatrist who desired to exchange psychoanalysis with organic technological know-how. Hedescribes his extra reviews, his marriages and amorous affairs, his travels, andwhat he realized concerning the mind from his whiplash-induced amnesia after a 1963automobile twist of fate and from his "brain dying" after a stroke in2001. via all of it, Hobson makes use of his lifestyles because the final case examine for histheory that REM sleep offers a attempt development that permits the mind to enhance "offline."Dreams -- so much excessive in REM sleep, while thebrain is lively -- ;need no Freudian-style deciphering, he says. Dreaming isa excellent psychological kingdom, to be loved and studied for what it tells us aboutconsciousness.

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Besides indicating that REM sleep has more importance to life than the support of dreaming, this fact is compatible with the idea that 34 Chapter 3 Brain State 35 REM is linked, perhaps causally, to the development of sensorimotor integration and primary consciousness. Maggie delivered fifteen kittens in three litters and raised them in a box in our cedar closet. We recorded the sleep and other behaviors of the mother and her kittens with an infrared time-lapse video set-up that was then cheaply and commercially available as an anti-theft device for stores and banks.

All that development depended on my brain function. But it didn’t feel that way. How it really felt I can never know, but I can be reasonably certain that it never felt like a brain function. My brain is insensitive to itself—so much so that even as an adult I cannot directly perceive that my awareness is dependent on my brain. Instead, I experience my awareness, my consciousness, and my self as disembodied subjectivity. This deep dissociation of mind from body is at the heart of the dualism that has held philosophy back since the time of Plato.

Brain activation in utero and in my early infant sleep led to the integration of sensorimotor data with an agent: my proto-self, who initiated movement (or at least supposed that it did so). My proto-self moved in a fictive way, in a fictive world, all the while feeling the cardinal emotions: fear, pleasure, and anger. The off-line brain activation that became my REM sleep was a very early sign of my self-organization. In my theory, self-organization has two closely related meanings. My brain organized itself, and in so doing it elaborated me—the self that became the agent of my behavior and my thoughts and my feelings.

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