The posting of this blog entry is quite serendipitious given our collapsing economy and the deceptive and malicious operations of banking:
A month ago, I received a money envelope with an printed advertisement for a bank that was rather irritating. It read; FACT: THE AVERAGE PERSON HAS OVER 1,460 DREAMS A YEAR.TURN YOUR DREAMS INTO REALITIES WITH A FIXED RATE HOME EQUITY LINE OR LOAN.
THE REAL FACTS PER ABRAGS: It is mostlly true that the average person has over 1,460 “dreams” a year; that is, given that the average length of a sleep cycle is 90 min, wherein “dreaming” (i.e. the stage of “dreaming” termed REM sleep) is included, and in this case, the person is sleeping about 6 hours a night (take 1,460 dreams divide by 365 and the answer is 4).
What is my pet peeve then? It is an omnipotent misconception that REM sleep is ALWAYS associated with “dreaming” and is often referenced in the popular scientific media as such (i.e as I shake my fists). The truth is that while most “dreaming” often occurs during REM, “dreaming” is also present in deep sleep (stages 3 and 4 of NREM described in “How Not To Do Science (or Stats)” and at sleep onset (known as a hypnagogic hallucination). The difference, and perhaps a plausible explanation for this media-driven deception, is that “dreaming” occuring during REM is MORE often RECALLED.
Why am I writing “dreaming” and not dreaming? Not all episodes of REM result in vividly sensuous, emotionally salient, bizarrely created events throughout the course of the 90 min sleep cycle. Dreams of that described, most often occur during the presence of bursts of rapid eye movements during REM (hence why REM is an acronynm for “rapid eye movement”sleep). Also, though the likelihood of dream recall increases across the night, the average person remembers none, if any, of their dreams. The fact is, you will most likely not remember (or be inspired) to have a home equity line or loan upon dreaming about it the night before (unless the dreaming of the event was incredibly emotionally salient given that you are sadist and willingly enjoy being a bank customer).
What is the fallacy of the advertisement? TURN YOUR DREAMS INTO REALITY. To assist me in the explanation of the fallacious nature of this command, I paraphrase Alan Hobson’s list of properties all dreams must possess in his book From Angels to Neurones: Art and the New Science of Dreaming:
Dreaming is a…1. internally created, hallucinogenic event that is vivdly visual and kinesthetic, 2. perceived as real yet delusional 3. saliently odd, 4. emotional, and 5. ENTIRELY FORGOTTEN AND DIFFICULT TO REMEMBER UNLESS CAREFUL ATTENTION IS DEVOTED TO RECALL UPON AWAKENING.
Moreover, dreaming of having a home equity loan in not only hallucinatory, delusional and odd, (and hence, is more likely to be perceived as an irrational choice, except for bankers, of course, whose decisions are always hallucinatory, delusional, and odd), but very rarely to be recalled!
Take that banks!
Are there exceptions? Yes there are; such as Friedrich August Kekule von Stradonitz, who discovered the structure of the benzene ring upon awakening from a dream. However, it is important to note that the dream of this discovery should remain characterzed, like all dreams, as hallucinatory, delusional and odd because the six carbon orientation of the ring was not simply supplanted in his dream, but rather appeared as six snakes weaved together. Moreover, Friedrich August Kekule von Stradonitz simply recognized the symbolism of this hallucinatory, delusional, odd, and emotionally salient event and deciphered, well, you know the rest…….