Sep 27, 2011
Several years ago I read J. Allan Hobson’s The Dream Drugstore: Chemically Altered States of Consciousness and though I found the book somewhat frustrating, as I wrote in this review, I did learn a thing or two from it.
First of all, I learned a little about the neurochemical states that mark the transition from waking consciousness to sleeping and then dreaming consciousness. (The book is mainly an exercise in mapping the neurochemical footprint of alcohol and various drugs to various aspects of these states.)
Second of all, I learned that relatively little scientific research has focused on exactly what goes on in our heads while we are awake. One attempt at this that Hobson describes involved hooking subjects up to an electric pulse generator and, whenever the subject felt a pulse, he or she would write down what was going on in his or her head at the time.
Perusing the data thus collected, Hobson (or someone very much like him) concluded that most of waking consciousness consists of two activities: Review and Rehearsal. On the one hand, we are reviewing past events. On the other, we are rehearsing what we will say or do in future circumstances (I’m assuming that certain categories of fantasy would fit into this latter category).
So, what are you doing right now? Reviewing? or Rehearsing?