Startling snippets to amaze and delight
In Dragons of Eden, Carl Sagan proposes that most of the archetypes of dreams & nightmares are evolutionary leftovers. Our ancestors used to live in trees. Hence we dream of flying through the air & we startle awake at night out of fear of falling to our deaths.
We see this "return to our roots" fantasy perpetuated in films such Tarzan & Avatar.
Supposedly %25 of humans have nightmares of snakes & reptiles. This is due to the fact these creatures used to be our ancestors' mortal enemies. And only the mammals programmed to fear snakes would eventually survive. Practically every other film has terrifying snakes including Indiana Jones & Harry Potter.
Sagan proposes that sleep may also be an evolutionary response to reptiles. That the surviving humans would sleep during the day while the reptiles walked the earth. While the humans with no trait for sleep failed to survive because they would be on the ground and eaten up by predators. Our ancestors were better off sleeping in their trees.
Even cooler still, Sagan proposes that sleep serves the purpose to trick our reptilian brain into submission, as we dream the R complex becomes sated of its primal desires. Not knowing that what it's experiencing isn't real. This is why we get cranky and impulsive when we haven't slept. Our neocortex (which is primarily responsible for reason) forfeits control to the R-complex which only cares to satisfy our basest desires.
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