With Half Your Brain Tied Behind Your Back

Unihemispheric Sleep; Unihemispheric Waking

Half-Brain Sleep is Common in Many Animals Source
Half-Brain Sleep is Common in Many Animals

Whales and dolphins live underwater but must come to the surface periodically to breathe. They cannot allow both hemispheres of their brains to drop into deep sleep, else they may not wake to surface in time. Similarly, many birds undergo long migrations and other flights of long duration when they are unable to fall into deep sleep for long periods of time. Their brains are adapted to allow one hemisphere to stay awake while the other hemisphere gets much needed rest.

Can Humans Sleep With Half Their Brain Open?

The human brain, it turns out, is endowed with a less dramatic form of the unihemispheric sleep found in birds and some mammals. For humans, familiarity with a place breeds a deep night’s sleep.

__ Christof Koch

When humans are sleeping in a strange environment — which happens very regularly to people who travel as a matter of course — it seems the left hemisphere is more vigilant to the environment, allowing the right hemisphere to snooze more deeply. More

The sleep scientists who discovered this unilateral phenomenon used advanced brain scanners, which allowed subjects to sleep inside them all night long.

… they found that the sleeping brains showed asymmetrical patterns of sleep activity, with one hemisphere humming along while the other slept. And while the sprightly hemisphere wasn’t fully awake, it was much more active than the other—even responsive to external stimuli. Subjects in the study experiencing FNE, for example, were jolted awake by “deviant” sounds. A creaking door perhaps. Or a shrieking animal. For most of the subjects, the night watchman hemisphere of their brain was the left side, for inexplicable reasons. __ PopSci

More on sleep

Interesting, But So What?

Even during their awake time, animals — and humans — often move through the world “half asleep.” The image of dolphins above shows how the brain allots its sleep/wake time according to three general hemispheric states: L awake/R asleep, R awake/L asleep, and both L and R awake. As mentioned above, as a matter of survival for dolphins, both L and R cannot sleep simultaneously, except for very short time periods. This means that casual observers may not notice whether a dolphin is half awake, or fully awake.

You might think that humans do not have this problem, since humans can usually sleep with both hemispheres at specific, designated times, leaving both hemispheres fully awake to deal with the world at the proper time. Except, it doesn’t always work that way. Individual (left or right) human hemispheres can exhibit signs of sleep while a person is nominally awake, for short times. Most people — even those who have not been forced to stay alert for very long stretches, or for odd hours — will be able to recall brain misfires and somnambulations while awake which are very difficult to explain.

Is Anyone Ever Completely Awake?

The video clip above from the movie “Limitless” is entirely fictional, and yet . . . anyone who is curious and pays just a little attention to the world will have experienced epiphanies — startling moments of exceptional awareness that emerge unsolicited from the depths. How can we seem awake, and then suddenly find ourselves watching our worlds from one or more levels higher up?

These states never seem to last very long, but they suggest the existence of a higher and deeper ocean of experience, in which most of us have only managed to dip our toes.

Split Hemispheres https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/split-brain-patients-reveal-brains-flexibility/
Split Hemispheres

It is easy to imagine unihemispheric sleep in humans when the two hemispheres have been surgically disconnected from each other — as in “split brain patients.” Patients with uncontrollable epilepsy were sometimes “cured” of global seizures by severing the corpus callosum. Once disconnected, the two hemispheres will often go in different directions, attending to different things.
After the right and left brain are separated, each hemisphere will have its own separate perception, concepts, and impulses to act. Having two “brains” in one body can create some interesting dilemmas. When one split-brain patient dressed himself, he sometimes pulled his pants up with one hand (that side of his brain wanted to get dressed) and down with the other (this side didn’t). Also, once he grabbed his wife with his left hand and shook her violently, so his right hand came to her aid and grabbed the aggressive left hand. However, such conflicts are actually rare. If a conflict arises, one hemisphere usually overrides the other.[1] __ Wikipedia Split Brain

A fascinating topic to be sure, but something similar can take place even when all anatomical connections within the brain remain intact. Such interhemispheric asynchrony has been observed in hypnosis — and anything that happens under formal hypnosis may also tend to happen spontaneously in ordinary life.

The Corpus Callosum is Larger in Women than Men

The more strongly the two hemispheres are connected to each other, the less likely that they will act independently of each other. It has been found that the two brain hemispheres not as strongly connected in men as they are in women.

In the entire sample (n= 316), controlling for brain size and age, the average CCA [corpus callosum cross sectional area] was significantly (P< 0.03) larger in females. The difference favoring females was more pronounced in the young adults cohort (P< 0.0005). These results provide strong additional evidence that the CCA is larger in females after correcting for the confounding effect of brain size. ___ http://cercor.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2012/08/09/cercor.bhs253.full

More, persons who are easily hypnotised — and can readily block pain perception under hypnosis — have been found to have larger corpus callosi, at least in the anterior portion.

Only the highly hypnotizable subjects (HHs) who eliminated pain perception were included in the present study. These HHs, who demonstrated more effective attentional and inhibitory capabilities, had a significantly (P < 0.003) larger (31.8%) rostrum, a corpus callosum area involved in the allocation of attention and transfer of information between prefrontal cortices, than low hypnotizable subjects (LHs). These results provide support to the neuropsychophysiological model that HHs have more effective frontal attentional systems implementing control, monitoring performance and inhibiting unwanted stimuli from conscious awareness, than LHs. __ http://brain.oxfordjournals.org/content/127/8/1741

The anterior parts of the corpus callosum also seem to be enlarged in meditation practitioners, suggesting that meditation may alter the actual morphology of certain parts of the brain via the brain plasticity of selective use.

Hypnosis vs. Meditation

Although superficial similarities between hypnosis and meditation are readily apparent, we should be aware of the important differences between the two things. Hypnosis can be thought of as a highly focused “spotlight,” while meditation more closely resembles a broadbeam “floodlight.” A hypnotic trance blanks out peripheral phenomena, including ordinary sensations such as pain, discomfort, or embarassment. Meditation — particularly mindfulness meditation — opens the portals of awareness to allow an “eagle’s eye view” of one’s internal and external setting.

Using hypnosis, one can “disconnect” different circuits of brain activity from each other, functionally, on a subconscious level. Mindfulness meditation enlarges the borders of consciousness to allow normally suppressed stimuli to reach mental awareness. At that point, the conscious mind can often sort the relevant from the irrelevant, and alter subsequent consciousness.

Who Wants to Bother with All This Hocus Pocus?

Very few people indeed. Most would rather pop a pill, swallow a draught, lose themselves in a social setting, or otherwise avoid the question of whether they are entirely sleepwalking through their lives — or only doing so halfway. But shouldn’t we want to train our children differently, to be less slaves of our trance states and more aware of their own decision making and life choices?

Fortunately, for the Tech-Oriented Parent, There is Neurofeedback

Neurofeedback uses brainwave and other neurofunctional real-time metrics to allow a person to shape the workings of his own brain. Neurofeedback has proven exceptionally effective for treating ADHD and for brain rehabilitation after injury. The technique has also been useful for treating addictions, depression, autism, migraines, and a range of other dysfunctional states.

And although there has not been much written on the use of neurofeedback for enlarging conscious awareness, a number of neuroresearchers are doing work on that very project. Although this is not exactly what I am referring to, consider:

A recent development in the field is a conceptual approach called the Coordinated Allocation of Resource Model (CAR) of brain functioning which states that specific cognitive abilities are a function of specific electrophysiological variables which can overlap across different cognitive tasks.[47] The activation database guided EEG biofeedback approach initially involves evaluating the subject on a number of academically relevant cognitive tasks and compares the subject’s values on the QEEG measures to a normative database, in particular on the variables that are related to success at that task. __ Wikipedia Neurofeedback

Neurofeedback has also been used to improve the performances of musicians, dancers, actors, athletes, and other persons who make a living from highly focused skills.

Neurofeedback is readily distinguished from ordinary hypnosis and meditation by neurofeedback’s ability to monitor real-time brain activity in particular brain circuits and anatomical centres. “Conscious” influence on normally unconscious brain processes can then be observed and modified to suit the goals of clients and their parents.

The Objective is to Learn to Achieve States of Highly Functional Awareness

Dangerous Children learn to achieve heightened situational awareness (and mindfulness) as part of their training. This allows them to anticipate and deal with problems before they happen. The parents of many Dangerous Children in training may also opt for neurofeedback training, where it may be helpful.

The neurological signs of “sleeping while awake” can be too subtle for most available intruments used in everyday neurofeedback training. They also tend to be too fleeting and unpredictable to be easily addressed in most conventional programmes of neurofeedback.

But a careful human observer can usually catch another person who is falling into a trance, in most situations. That is where “life coaches,” parents, and mentors who have some training in Ericksonian hypnosis and similar trance-aware disciplines can make their mark on a Dangerous Child’s future ability to choose his own path on multiple time scales.

Parents of Dangerous Children Must Learn to Pay Attention

Raising a Dangerous Child is an exhausting prospect. Fortunately, Dangerous Children begin to take up the slack of their own training at a surprisingly early age. Even so, parents, coaches, mentors, and helpers need to keep their eyes open so as to be able to intervene at key developmental bifurcation points.

Why Electronic Gadgets and Dangerous Children Don’t Mix

For many parents there can seem to be a divide between them and their kids’ lives – where their kids want to spend more and more time alternating between phone, tablet, Xbox, Wii, DSi and for some kids the usage of technology either borders on addiction or has tipped over into addiction. __ http://www.digitalparenting.ie/technology-addiction.html

Failure to Connect Source
Failure to Connect

There’s a reason that the most tech-cautious parents are tech designers and engineers. Steve Jobs was a notoriously low-tech parent. Silicon Valley tech executives and engineers enroll their kids in no-tech Waldorf Schools. Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page went to no-tech Montessori Schools, as did Amazon creator Jeff Bezos and Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales.

Many parents intuitively understand that ubiquitous glowing screens are having a negative effect on kids. We see the aggressive temper tantrums when the devices are taken away and the wandering attention spans when children are not perpetually stimulated by their hyper-arousing devices. Worse, we see children who become bored, apathetic, uninteresting and uninterested when not plugged in.

__ Digital Meth, Digital Heroin

Arthur Robinson — creator of the Robinson Curriculum — has some simple and firm rules concerning electronic gadgets and devices:

There is no television in our home. We do have a VCR that was donated to the civil defense project. As a family we watch a video tape approximately once every six months. Television wastes time, promotes passive, vicarious brain development rather than active thought, and is a source of pernicious social contamination.

__ http://www.robinsoncurriculum.com/view/rc/s31p59.htm

No child is allowed to use a computer until after he or she has completed mathematics all the way through calculus. (At one point Saxon calls for a little use of the hand-held calculator. I permit this, but only on a very few occasions.)

… People who can think do so with their brains. Surely their thoughts often lead to problems that require experimental test, and often computers are essential equipment in those experiments. The thinking, however, is done with the brain. The arithmetic ability involved in that thinking must also be in the brain during the thought process.

__ http://www.robinsoncurriculum.com/view/rc/s31p60.htm

Needless to say, there were no videogames, no smartphones, no social media.

Researchers have linked social-media use with a host of typical teenage woes, including low self-esteem, anxiety, and depression. The pressure of responding to texts and instant messages causes sleeplessness in teens. It’s hard to ace an exam when you’ve been up all night staring at a screen, wondering why your friends aren’t writing you back. __ http://www.city-journal.org/html/back-school-still-offline-14715.html

The rapid brain development that takes place in the formative years is too important to be wasted on frivolous pursuits that block opportunities for necessary foundational learning, and turn the child into passive receptacles for the use of societal puppet-masters. (Like their parents have become.)

We now know that those iPads, smartphones and Xboxes are a form of digital drug. Recent brain imaging research is showing that they affect the brain’s frontal cortex — which controls executive functioning, including impulse control — in exactly the same way that cocaine does. Technology is so hyper-arousing that it raises dopamine levels — the feel-good neurotransmitter most involved in the addiction dynamic — as much as sex.

__ http://nypost.com/2016/08/27/its-digital-heroin-how-screens-turn-kids-into-psychotic-junkies/

These are good reasons for limiting — or prohibiting — the use of electronic gadgets and exposure to television and the internet for children whose brains are still in rapid development. This type of control is easier for home-schooled children who mainly socialise with other home-schooled children, but within the home it is possible for any parents who take the trouble to know and influence what is actually happening under their own roofs.

For Dangerous Children, the Stakes are Higher

Dangerous Children have very intense — but playful — upbringings. There are not many idle moments when the child is not either actively learning, or actively reflecting upon and applying things that he has learnt. Television, videogames, and social media often begin as ways of “killing time” and filling the idle minutes and hours. But soon they exert more and more control over one’s schedule and actually create more idle hours, afternoons and evenings, and entire weekends to be “killed.”

Many modern parents are okay with the use of electronic gadgets as “baby-sitters” and time-fillers for the developing minds of their young children. They will reap the result, and are unlikely to be happy with it.

Parents of Dangerous Children know better, because they want to make as close to optimal use of their child’s “growing brain time” as possible. That is why they choose to be parents of Dangerous Children in the first place.

Most children are not expected to play three musical instruments well, speak three foreign languages fluently, master a wide range of dangerous and potentially lethal skills and competencies, or master at least three means of achieving financial independence by age 18.

If you are contemplating Dangerous Child training for yourself or your child, it is best to understand the nature of the commitment before you begin. The brain — like the body — is shaped by its environments and its habits. Dangerous Children have to use this shaping to their long-term advantage.

The elitist “Masters of the Universe” in government, media, academia, big corporations, and other powerful cultural and societal institutions, simply want to stay in control. To them, your future and the future of your children have always been secondary to that goal, at best.


Young men playing video games instead of looking for and finding work:

… if a historically vibrant portion of the population doesn’t feel as much desire to work, this could harm the economy’s future and the ability of government to use policy to create jobs. “That’s a big chunk of labor that could be used for something, and we’re not using it,” said Greg Kaplan, an economist at the University of Chicago who was not involved with the new research.

Boys and young men have been subjected to an education and child-raising that prepares them for nothing so much as a life of useless obsolescence. Everyone is complicit in this travesty, including parents, teachers, government bureaucracies, news & popular media, and a generally decadent culture.