From the Nightstand: Head Trip by Jeff Warren

Head Trip: Adventures on the Wheel of Consciousness by Jeff Warren is a fascinating and highly entertaining examination of how we experience consciousness. Although Warren’s quest for information and understanding about different brain states is absolutely serious — he travels the world to interview various researchers and meditators — he drops in plenty of humour along the way, as well as charming illustrations, figures, and tables of his own construction. Most of the humour is directed at himself for not “being good at” lucid dreaming, hypnosis, biofeedback, and meditation. The chapters I found most interesting were those on sleep, dreaming, and the hypnogogic state, that brief period between waking and sleeping that many artists, writers, and inventors cultivate for its creative insights. Also, EEGs of REM sleep and consciousness are strikingly similar, and some researchers suggest that “we are always dreaming”; it’s just that when we’re awake our thoughts are bounded and grounded by sensory input that is lacking when we’re asleep. I found this idea particularly provocative. All in all, a very good read.

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