• Garth
    Some insomnia (and I am writing only about this category of insomnia) seems to arise purely in a neurotic fashion.

    “Think of insomnia as a kind of sleep preoccupation syndrome,” says Espie, who warns that tracking devices may do the opposite of good. “People get caught up in monitoring: ‘Am I asleep? What time is it?’ This turning of something meant to happen automatically into an issue can result in a vicious cycle.Colin Espie, Professor of sleep medicine at Oxford University’s Nuffield Department of Clinical Neuroscience

    Let me elaborate. The sleeper transforms a relaxing state, that of lying in bed, into a stressful one. This, in turn, becomes a continued source of stress, which eventually requires a therapeutic intervention.

    The initial events need not be cause for concern in themselves: A noise at night, excess gas, worrying about something, etc. But the person, who is at that moment a normal sleeper, for whatever reason becomes concerned in that moment about their lack of sleep. By the very nature of sleep, this concern makes the problem worse. Thus, over time they fixate on these things, and on their sleep pattern, and this fixation leads to less sleep. In this sleep deprived state, the person's life deteriorates, as it leads to performance issues at work or less energy to see friends. The person therefore fails to lead the full and vibrant life which they otherwise could have.

    What are the key features of this model?

    (1) Trivial Event
    (2) Response which exacerbates the problem
    (3) Decline
    (4) Revision of expectations for future

    This sequence almost perfectly describes how certain political movements have brought about the decline of the American Empire. For example:

    (1) Economic recession
    (2) Cut taxes and government services
    (3) Economy becomes even worse
    (4) Young people today should be happy to work part time at Amazon


    (1) Students from Singapore are outscoring our students on math exams
    (2) No Child Left Behind act, etc.
    (3) Education gets worse
    (4) Young people are dumb as bricks and spend all day on tik-tok and 4chan


    (1) Our candidate lost the election
    (2) Must have been fraud. Let's storm the capitol to "save" Democracy
    (3) Democracy is now seriously under threat
    (4) We start practicing our Mandarin Chinese

    Now, this kind of thing is probably inevitable in any country. But as these bad responses accumulate it can lead to real and persistent social problems. The normal counterbalance to such effects is a steady politics of social progress which ideally should be somewhat stronger than the retrograde effects of this political neurosis.

    Unfortunately, it is apparent that this country has reached such a point of decline that an intervention of some type actually IS necessary now. But considering how the accumulated policy changes occurred, the nature of this intervention does not necessarily need to change the political system itself. A large piece of legislation that simply reverses the bad policies and implements a certain level of Economic relief is all that is necessary. We know, for instance, that what drives reactionary populism is the declining Economic conditions of poor and middle class whites. Like insomniacs, the members of these popular movements are trapped in the delusion that they are fighting against what is causing their suffering when in actuality they are fighting for those very forces.

    On Saturday, I met (online of course) with some Marxists and Communists to discuss some essays by Lenin. I was shocked by the reckless naivete that some of them expressed when talking about the possibilities of revolution here in America. To be sure, we must stop the emerging plots of reactionaries, but that does not yet necessitate that we radicalize ourselves. Our problems might not be as structural as they appear.
  • Outlander
    In the early stages of society, there was likely much more physically demanding and exhausting labor in a man's day than today, which is often just driving in a modern air-conditioned vehicle to an air-conditioned office and sitting, typing on a computer for 8 hours or so, then driving back home. That's why we have gyms. Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise. That or try some melatonin. Or giving your wife equal treatment every now and again, It'll work out.
  • Pfhorrest
    That or try some melatonin.Outlander

    Worked miracles for me. Wish I’d tried it 20 years earlier.
  • Hippyhead
    We know, for instance, that what drives reactionary populism is the declining Economic conditions of poor and middle class whites.Garth

    It's my probably too often stated opinion that the underlying source of all this social conflict is the knowledge explosion, especially it's accelerating nature. The pace of technological change floods the environment with uncertainty and potential threat.
  • Joshs
    Your post is keeping me up at night
  • Garth
    Causality as envisioned in this way is nonunique. I'm not saying you're wrong but that your point doesn't have anything to do with mine.

    Just because something is set in motion by one cause doesn't also imply that it cannot be prevented, mitigated, or exacerbated by another.
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