The Science of Sleep

In Michel Gondry’s The Science of Sleep, the highly neurotic Stéphane has the inner workings of his brain exposed to the audience. The flurry of ideas, emotions, and absurd scenarios that follow resemble what is referred to as thoughts. 

Thoughts and their setting, the consciousness, fall outside of what is empirically known of the brain. The consciousness is largely left to the mystic act of introspection. Individuals are left to inspect, on basis of what they regard as healthy, the workings of their own mind.

The consciousness can be viewed as a an unfathomably large beast, conquerable only on a personal basis. It is thought to take the shape of one’s genetic structure, and grows in accordance with both conscious and unconscious experiences. 

Each person is set to better know themselves. Into this task, some dive head first. Others prefer to be distracted by pictures of grumpy cats. 

The smartphone, the laptop, and hundreds of other mass-produced objects that subtract from the pain of not knowing serve as hindrances to journeys of self discovery.

But a failure to scrutinise one’s more significant thoughts, desires, and deeds can lead to a lack of genuine satisfaction. To pay attention, conversely, is to engage oneself in an important conversation. 

“Am I doing all that I can?” 

The answer usually is ‘no’. To which aspect of life this applies, matters little – any lack of effort may precipitate regret. 

To set aside time to reflect on personal opinions, attitudes, and wants can help eradicate the unnecessary and serve as a check on behaviour. And this would likely require time away from social media, which can have a negative impact, particularly when ambition and desires are concerned. 

Comedian Louis CK famously remarked to Conan O’Brien that “everything is amazing.. and nobody’s happy”. It is terrifying to have to face the consciousness in moments of solitude. The deepest self is the most unknown self. And in times of extreme quiet, its voice is the loudest. 

And it must be heard.

If it even exists, that is.

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