Perchance to Dream

Dennis Drabelle in The Wsahington Post:

Book Author Jeff Warren is summarizing a psychological study in which “one group practiced tensing and relaxing a finger in their left hands, and another group just imagined doing the same thing.” When it was all over, the finger strength of the physical tensers had increased by an average of 30 percent, but that of the mental tensers had gone up nearly as much, to 22 percent.

But if you look beyond the book’s flower-child title, as well as its numerous drawings and diagrams, you find yourself being instructed by a serious journalist with both feet on the ground — except when he’s in bed and taking part in experiments. In The Head Trip, Warren pursues his conviction that “consciousness exists in more widely varied and abundant forms than simple waking, sleeping, and dreaming” by talking with experts and submitting to protocols.

Salvador Dali used to trawl his brain for bizarre images to go into his surrealist paintings by sitting in a chair after a meal with his hands extended beyond the chair-arms and a key held between the thumb and forefinger of his left hand. When he nodded off, the key would fall to the floor, make a clink, and wake him up so that he could go sketch the melting watch he’d just glimpsed on his inner canvas.

More here.