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The Lucilius Parables, Volume I


February 25th, 2021

Dreams occupy an odd space.  On the whole we don’t think or talk about them too much.  And yet it’s something everyone does.  And unlike much of the other mundane things that we share, dreams can have the emotional resonance and visual spectacle of any hit show that everyone talks about.  Hit shows, of course, usually make a bit more sense.  Usually.


It’s a perennial lamentation that we need to sleep.  As though it’s wasted time that could otherwise be put to better use.  But this is much like a marketing executive coming across a tig welder and saying “I have no need for this.”  Just because it’s use is not immediately obvious does not mean that something is not useful.


What is sleep, or rather the conscious and semi-conscious parts of it are simply improperly utilized?


Now, with the world of lucid dreaming where a person gains conscious awareness in their dreams, the potential fun and utility is huge, but it requires a fair bit of practice and training to get the hang of.  That being said, there is a far more useful and accessible angle on all of this talk of sleep and dreams.


It’s best encapsulated in the recommendation to “sleep on it.”  Often the morning brings fresh insight.  But this can be consciously directed nearly every night.


If by simply thinking about a problem in life that needs to be solved while drifting off to sleep and consciously asking to work on the issue while sleeping, and to dream about it, and to remember in the morning, the ability to make leaps of progress is frankly incredible.


After hearing a casual description recently, I decided to try and implement this regarding a set of problems that involve an unrelated project.  Suddenly issues that have been sticking points for months had seemingly obvious solutions.  And this has happened enough times and with enough conscious regularity that it doesn’t seem unwise to link correlation and causation here.


Edison often used used a similar trick.  Whenever he was stuck on an issue, he would hold a heavy ball bearing in one hand and let himself doze off for a nap while he thought about the issue.  Once he fell asleep, his hand would relax, drop the ball bearing and the clatter would wake him up, and with it, he’d have the solution to his issue.


We can do something like this every night, if only we try to consciously use our brain as a tool that can chew on a problem on a kind of creative autopilot.

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Podcast Ep. 1047: Auto-Solve

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