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11.1 Previews: Sleep, the Creative & Competing Alliances

What is this experiment, The Experiment, that all this fuss is over? And what inspired this insane quest? To understand let us start at the beginning of the history of the Experiment. It all started long ago in a different universe.

A. Impetus: Experimenter wants to motivate Subject

Our Person: “I had just graduated from college, first UCSB - a BA in Psychology - and then a few years later - a lower division degree in Math and Physics from SBCC. I didn’t really want to continue in the word and number addicted world of academia - But had ‘nowhere to go’. While abandoning the college grind, I was highly ambitious culturally. I wanted to contribute to world culture in some significant way. To resolve this internal conflict I bifurcated into Experimenter and Subject. I bowed out as a force.”

Experimenter: “I was called in to maximize my Subject’s cultural potentials. The first part of my strategy was to isolate my Subject from academia so that he could come up with some totally original ideas. I believed, for whatever reason, that scientists and academics were trained unconsciously to accept certain paradigms. Once these were implanted it was impossible to see beyond their conscript with ‘fresh eyes’, as it were. Whether this theory has any merit is secondary to the fact that I applied it to our young scholar’s life. I told him to go Left when everyone else was going Right.
            The only thing I feared was that our Person would lose his creative and intellectual ambition without the rewards of school. B.F. Skinner in his book, Beyond Freedom and Dignity, wrote that he had used positive reinforcement to get his Person to write his book. In a similar way I decided to reward our Person - by recording the amount of time spent doing ‘positive’ behavior. I figured that if we focused on these creative endeavors it would encourage their repetition. In short I wanted our Person to get some kind of credit for his unique accomplishments even though nobody else cared.”

July 1976, the Observer begins recording ‘good’ Actions, then ‘bad’

Person: “At this point I bifurcated again, adding an Observer to my selves that already included Experimenter and Subject.”

Observer: “In July of 1976, to be precise, I began recording the amount of time that the Subject ‘spent’ on a variety of healthful activities.”

Experimenter: “These were Actions that I wanted to encourage - such as Exercise, Helping Out, and Painting. These were considered ‘good’ Actions. I felt that the Subject needed this little carrot to inspire him to continue exploring his creative potentials.”

Observer: “After about a year the Experimenter told me to record activities other than achievements, such as Sleep.”

B. The misguided quest to limit Sleep to increase Life

Experimenter: “I reasoned that by watching these types of ‘unproductive activities’, these ‘bad’ Actions, that, just possibly, I could get them under control. Specifically one of the things that I hoped to conquer was Sleep. I hoped that thru positive and negative reinforcements that we could limit the amount of Sleep that the Subject needed each night. I reasoned that if the Subject could get by on less Sleep that he could increase his output. The underlying assumption was that a decrease in Sleep would result in an increase in Productive Time.”

Person: “‘If there were only more hours in the day …’ is a common refrain from motivated people. ‘Then I would have more time to do everything that I would like to do,’ is the unspoken part of this logical statement. The conglomerate of selves that I refer to as my Person believed this premise unquestioningly.”

Mechanical vs. Organic thinking

Experimenter: “I was trying to maximize output. I could see logically mechanically speaking that my Person was ‘wasting’ over a quarter of his life sleeping. ‘If I could just limit my Person’s Sleep he would have more time for his accomplishments.’ I thought to myself many times. I was trying to maximize the amount of time that my Person had to create things. But I was thinking mechanically rather than holistically. If my Subject had been a machine then all of my assumptions would have been correct, but unfortunately he was a living organism and so my assumptions were wrong. It only took me over 20 years to figure this out. My underlying assumption was that Sleep and Productive Time were negatively correlated. Interestingly as it turned out Experimental results indicate the exact opposite, as we’ll see in a bit. Glad I ran the Experiment. I never would have guessed that an increase in Sleep actually increased productivity. I was so blind that for decades I only focused upon limiting Sleep, assuming that this would naturally increase production. Ironically, no matter what I did I could not train our Subject to get by on less Sleep.”

Interviewer: “Could you be more specific and perhaps give us a preview of some of your preliminary results.”

Experimenter fails to limit the Sleep of the Subject

Experimenter: “After the first 8 years of accumulating Data on Sleep I thought that I was succeeding because my Subject was getting progressively less Sleep. My Scientist analyzed the Data statistically. Using linear regression, he found a statistically significant downward slope to the line correlating Time and Sleep. In other words over Time the amount of Sleep decreased. Basking in statistical significance our Writer wrote a glowing report about our success in limiting the Sleep Time of our Subject. After another 8 years the results were balanced, while after 8 more years the results were reversed. Our Subject was actually getting more Sleep than ever. I was so discouraged at this supposed regression that I instructed the Observer to discontinue recording Sleep Time.”

Interviewer: “Sounds as if you were a bit invested in your results.”

The Experimenter: “So true. I went into this part of the Experiment thinking that I could manipulate the amount of Sleep that the Subject got, just thru will power alone. I came away humbled. One month there would be a gain, i.e. we would be successful in limiting Sleep. This would be balanced the next month by a loss. For a few years there would be a gain, followed a few years by a loss in control of Sleep. There was never a net gain. Certainly conscious will power was absolutely no assistance in getting less Sleep, for my Person, at least.”

Interviewer: “What conclusions, if any can you draw about Sleep from your Experiment?”

Sex and Kids have greater effect on Sleep than Conscious will power

Experimenter: “Well, we are getting a little ahead of ourselves. But if you must know: Our Subject’s Sleep Time was much more determined by his Kid and Sex Time than by our Person’s supposed ‘will power’.

Interviewer: “How about some specifics so that the scientists out there in our audience have some numbers to chew rather mere verbal assertion.”

Experimenter: “My pleasure. But let’s call in the Scientist who did the analysis.”

Scientist: “The Data was accumulated over the period from November 1977 to November 1999, 22 years. (We call this the Sleep Set, the #2 Data Set.) I turned the somewhat daily readings into monthly averages for ease of comparison. This yielded 265 ordered Data points. During this period Kid Time has a -51% Correlation with Sleep Time, while Kids have an -81% C with Sex Time. Sex and Sleep have a +45% C over this period. See the chart below.”

[All numbers in the Correlation Diagrams will be expressed in rounded 10s.

For instance an -81% correlation translates to -8, a -51% to -5, and a +45% to +4.

We always round down if the last digit is 5 in order to minimize correlations.

A -5% correlation translates to 0, as does a +5% correlation.]

Scientist: “The mechanism is natural and easy to see. Sex drops with the advent of Children. As Sex drops so does Sleep.”

Experimenter: “I mistakenly mistook this initial drop in Sleep after the Children were born for ‘will power’ or ‘positive and negative reinforcements’.”

Scientist: “As Children become less time intensive, Sex rises. Sleep Time, no longer suppressed by Kid Time and encouraged by Sex Time rises also. Thus the fall and rise of Sleep had more to do with Children and its relation to Sex and less to do with any external will power.”

Time Savings from Sleep reduction negligible

Experimenter: “As mentioned my 20 year attempt at consciously limiting Sleep Time was a failure. There was another discouragement to the Sleep Experiment. Besides discovering that it was next to impossible to limit our Person’s Sleep, our Scientist discovered that the actual amount of time that Sleep could be varied, if it could be varied at all, was minuscule.”

Scientist: “Over that aforementioned 22 year Time Span, Sleep had a Standard Deviation of .30 hours, which equals 18 minutes, Ň 1/4 hour. Practically speaking, over 90% of the population fits between 2 Standard Deviations of the Norm, Thus the most that Sleep could be varied would be all of a half an hour.”

Experimenter: “And remember that despite our efforts to consciously reduce Sleep, it had actually been rising. Thus this half an hour variation was ephemeral at best. The potential actual gains to Creative Time from any effort to limit Sleep Time were negligible - measured in minutes rather than hours. The potential gains were not sufficient to warrant any effort at Sleep limitation.

Sleep reduction not effective as a long term strategy

The conclusion on this simplistic level was that: While one can limit Sleep on a short term level, maybe even months, in an emergency type situation, i.e. to finish a paper, study for a test, make presents for Xmas, fight a war, or raise children, that a Sleep reduction over a longer period of time was an impractical waste of time, small uncertain gains for great effort.”

C. Sleep belongs to Health Alliance, which allows the Creative

Experimenter: “However all of this stuff, i.e. the inability to limit Sleep and the negligible amount of real time savings was made irrelevant by my Scientist’s most recent analysis of the Data. Remember that my main thrust as the Experimenter was to increase the productivity and inspiration of my Subject, my Person. I, the Experimenter, thought intuitively and logically that with less Sleep would come more time for Creative Production. As we shall see Experimental results indicate otherwise, as is often the case. We seem to exist in a counter intuitive reality.”

Interviewer: “Could you be more explicit?”

Experimenter: “My underlying assumptions were all wrong. I thought that Sleep competed with Creative Time, while the reverse is true. Sleep actually augments the Creative, at least as far as our Subject was concerned. I knew that if my Person slept less that he would be awake more, by definition. My logic extended this to the untested assumption that if my Subject was awake that he would naturally spend more time creating. It seems that I was operating under some major misconceptions. I was thinking mechanically rather than organically.”

Interviewer: “In order to understand more clearly could we examine the results in more depth?”

Experimenter: “Sure. Let’s call in the Scientist.”

Scientist: “In this exploration we will be using the Data from what we called the “Modern Sleep Set”, Data Set #6. It consists of the last 10 years that Sleep was recorded, from January 1989 -> November 1999, 130 monthly averages based upon daily readings. (Not to be misleading, these ‘daily readings’ were sometimes guesstimations done days after the event.)”

Experimenter: “Clear-cut patterns emerge which are exactly opposite of what was expected. Let us be specific.”

Scientist: “While Sleep does not have a strong positive correlation with the Creative Three, i.e. Writing 0%, Science 14%, and Art 3%, it is certainly not negative like we expected.

The Health Alliance, +27% Average correlation over 15 interactions

More importantly Sleep belongs to a complex of 6 Actions that mutually support each other. A Diagram of their positive relations is shown below. Remember that the integers represent rounded tens.”

Activity

Meditate

Home

Exercise

Music

Love

Sleep

Average

Meditate

 

4

2

4

2

4

3.1*

Home

4

 

4

3

1

5

3.3

Exercise

2

4

 

0

2

2

2.1

Music

4

3

0

 

2

4

2.5

Sex

2

1

2

2

 

2

1.7

Sleep

4

5

2

4

2

 

3.2

Average

3.1

3.3

2.1

2.5

1.7

3.2

2.7

(The Averages in any of these tables might not add up correctly according to the displayed numbers, because the displayed numbers are rounded tens, while the Averages are based upon the un-rounded numbers.

(Here is the same chart of the Health Alliance in flower form.)

Experimenter: “We call this the Healthful Alliance, only because the 6 Actions making up the group, i.e. Meditation, Exercise, Sleep, Sex, Music and Helping out all seem like healthy activities.”

Scientist: “The average interaction between the members of the Alliance is +27% over 15 interactions - incredibly high. Sleep is powerfully aligned towards the Actions in the Healthful Alliance. For instance she has a +35% correlation with Meditation, a +51%C with Home/Help, a +36% with Music, +23%C with Exercise and +15%C with Sex, for an average correlation of 32% over the 5 Actions.”

Interviewer: “None of these Actions are what you have named Creative. What relation does this Healthful Alliance have with the Creative Actions, i.e. Art, Writing, and Science?”

Average interaction between Health Alliance and the Creative, +5% over 18

Scientist: “Check out the table below. It contains the correlations between the Creative 3 and the Healthful Alliance. Again the numbers represent rounded tens, while the Averages are based upon un-rounded correlations.”

Creative vs. Health Alliance

Activity

Writing

Science

Art

Average

Meditate

1

2

0

0.6

Home

2

1

-1

0.5

Exercise

3

-1

0

0.9

Music

0

1

-1

0.0

Sex

-1

0

2

0.6

Sleep

0

1

0

0.6

Average

0.8

0.7

0.1

0.5

 

Scientist: “Notice that while Sleep is fairly neutral, +0.6 Ň 6%, towards all three of the Creative Actions that the Healthful Alliance supports Writing, +0.8 Ň 8%, and Science, +0.7 Ň 7%, mildly, while it is neutral towards Art, +0.1 Ň 1%.”

Sleep supports the Creative indirectly

Experimenter: “The point here is that Sleep is certainly not a problem for the Creative activities. If anything it tends to augment them or their allies. Some Actions augment other Actions indirectly by supporting Allies and fighting Enemies, while others undermine Actions by fighting Allies and supporting Enemies. Sleep is certainly on Writing’s side. While she can’t be there for the game, she supports the friends of Writing. While not as strong, the Healthful Alliance also supports Science. While the relation between Art and the Health Alliance is a mixed bag, it certainly isn’t negative.”

Sleep enhances Creative

Interviewer: “It seems then that one of the biggest insights of the Sleep Study is that increasing Sleep augments the Health Alliance which in turn augment the Creative Actions.”

Experimenter: “Or at least doesn’t get in the way. Perhaps a way of understanding the Data is that an increase in Sleep Time seems to increase vitality which increases productivity.”

Interviewer: “As opposed to original hypothesis that increasing Sleep shortens the time available for productivity.”

Experimenter: “I was a victim of mechanical thinking. We are not machines which run consistently as long there is fuel and all the parts are properly maintained. Instead we are living organisms, which must be rested from time to time to restore vitality.”

Interviewer: “Sleep doesn’t compete with Creative Time but instead enhances it.”

Experimenter: “That simplistic statement while containing elements of truth, actually distorts the reality. Sleep seems to belong to an Alliance of activities, which augment each other. This healthful group of activities is only mildly supportive of the Creative. It is enough to say that the Healthful Alliance is neutral or positive towards the Creative 3. It enhances creativity, or at least doesn’t get in the way. This is not true of the other major Alliance, which is decidedly negative towards all the Creative Actions.”

D. The Kid Alliance, +30% average interaction

Writing: “Which Alliance are you referring to?”

Experimenter: “The Kid Alliance.”

Activity

Kids

Books

Jewelry

Reading

Talk

Divine

Average

Kids

-

5

5

5

1

5

4.1

Books

5

-

3

3

2

3

3.3

Jewelry

5

3

-

3

1

4

3.1

Reading

5

3

3

-

1

3

2.9

Talk

1

2

1

1

-

1

1.5

Divine

5

3

4

3

1

-

3.3

Average

4.1

3.3

3.1

2.9

1.5

3.3

3.0

 

(A Flower Diagram of the Kid Alliance)

Scientist: “As seen above the 6 Actions which make up the Kid Alliance are just as powerfully correlated to each other as were the 6 actions which make up the Health Alliance. The average interaction between the members of the Kid Alliance was +3.0, which represents a positive 30% correlation. This is very high. It is an even higher average correlation than between the members of the Health Alliance, which was +2.7.”

-16% Average Negative correlation between Kid Alliance and Creative Actions

Scientist: “While the Creative Actions are slightly positive with regards the Health Alliance, they are very negative with regards the members of the Kid Alliance. Writing and Science are each battered at the average level -1.7 Ň -17% correlation, while Art is a little lower at an average of -1.2 Ň -12%. It is fairly easy to see from the chart below that the Kid Alliance is uniformly negative to the Creative Three.

Creative vs. Kid Alliance

Activity

Writing

Science

Art

Average

Kids

-2

-2

0

-1.5

Books

-2

-2

-2

-1.9

Jewelry

-1

-2

-1

-1.5

Reading

-1

-3

0

-1.5

Talk

-2

0

-2

-1.2

Divine

-2

-1

-1

-1.6

Average

-1.7

-1.7

-1.2

-1.6

Experimenter: “Let it be pointed out that there is an over 20% difference in the support given the Creative between the Kid Alliance and the Health Alliance. The Health Alliance mildly supports the Creative Actions while the Kid Alliance is decidedly negative. Sleep is part of the Health Alliance and so supports Creative Actions rather than opposing them. This is directly opposite of what I expected.”

E. Sleep influenced by external environmental forces

Sleep negative towards Kids, Work, and School

Scientist: “While Sleep is a strong member of the Health Alliance, which supported the Creative 3, it is heavily negatively correlated with Work/Waiting -39%, Kids -44%, (from Data Set #6) and School -52% (from Data Set #2).”

Experimenter: “This seems to indicate that Sleep reduction has more to do with external environmental pressures rather than an internal desire for more time. Work, Kids, and School are unbending influences, which demand time. Sleep is a good source of Time in these periods of external environmental stress. However as soon as the stress is alleviated the Sleep will be regained. In my Person’s case the external stress of Children lowered Sleep Time. As soon as the time demanded by Children lessened Sleep rose to fill the gap. In my Subject’s case, at least, his internal pressure to reduce Sleep Time for an increase in Creative Time had no effect at all, while the external pressures of Work, Kids, and School seemed to have had a much greater influence.”

Scientist: “Indeed while Work and Sleep competed, the Creative Three went about their business, unaware that there was a war being waged around them. The Average Correlation between the Creative and Waiting/Work is 0.0 Ň 0% as seen in the chart below.”

Experimenter: “It seems that, at least for the last decade, the relation between Sleep and Work has had no effect on Creative Time, (at least no linear effect, as we shall see a bit later in our discussion on the Zero Correlation Principle.)”

Creative vs. Other

Activity

Writing

Science

Art

Average

Waiting

0

-1

1

0.0

Consult

1

5

-1

1.7

View

1

-3

1

-0.2

Empty

1

0

-3

-0.5

Average

0.8

0.5

-0.5

0.2

(As with the rest of these charts it is based upon DS#6, 1989->1999, almost 11 years.)

Average interaction between Health and Kid Alliance very negative, -23% over 36

Experimenter: “While the Kid Time and Sleep Time are negatively correlated, this is just a part of a bigger picture. The Health Alliance, which Sleep belongs to, has a strong negative correlation with the Kid Alliance, which Kids belongs to, of course. See the Chart below.”

The Health Alliance vs. the Kid Alliance

Activity

Meditate

Home

Exercise

Music

Love

Sleep

Average

Kids

-3

-4

-5

-4

-1

-4

-3.5

Books

-1

-2

-3

-1

-1

-2

-1.5

Jewelry

-2

-3

-3

-2

-2

-2

-2.5

Reading

-3

-3

-4

-2

-1

-3

-2.9

Talk

0

0

-2

0

-1

0

-0.6

Divine

-3

-4

-4

-2

-2

-4

-3.0

Average

-2.1

-2.8

-3.5

-1.9

-1.3

-2.5

-2.3

Scientist: “The Average Correlation between the 6 Actions in each Alliance is -2.3 Ň -23%. Again this is very high, especially because it is an average over 36 interactions. There are no positive interactions among the 36, and only four interactions that are ‘0’. Interestingly enough the four are all related to Talking/Talk.”

Summary

Experimenter: “Let us summarize some of our results up to this point. While Work has been neutral with respect to the Creative, at least for the last decade, Kids have been decidedly negative. Indeed Kid Time belongs to a positive Alliance of Activities, which are uniformly negative to the Creative. In contrast Sleep belongs to another positive alliance, named the Health Alliance, which is mildly supportive of Writing and Science, while neutral towards Art. The two Alliances, while internally supportive are incredibly negative towards each other.”

F. The Battle for Creative Time

Experimenter: “While the Creative 3 are neutral towards Work -0%, mildly positive to the Health Alliance +5%, and negative to the Kid Alliance -16%, they are strongly/violently opposed to one another -35%. While many Actions have a tendency to support and augment each other, the Creative 3 has a major negative correlation with each other, as to be expected.”

Scientist: “Writing -42% Science, Writing -34% Art, Art -30% Science. See the chart and Flower Diagram below.”

Competition between the Creative Three

Activity

Writing

Science

Art

Average

Writing

 

-4

-3

-3.8

Science

-4

 

-3

-3.6

Art

-3

-3

 

-3.2

Average

-3.8

-3.6

-3.2

-3.5

Notice that the average interaction is -3.5 Ň -35% correlation between the three. This is very high correlation and statistically significant at a very high level.

(A Flower Diagram of the same information.)

Competing for Creative Time

Experimenter: “They are all competing with each other for Creative Time, which only seems to exist for a limited amount of time each day.”

Interviewer: “Why do you say that?”

Experimenter: “Again from experience, only. No matter how much I tried to maximize Creative Time, it seemed to have a distinct plateau. This is another example of mechanistic versus organic thinking. The mechanistic logic says that exhaustion does not play a part. Mechanistic Machines can run all day if they have a powerful enough design, while the Organic Humans get run down and exhausted at a certain point and need to rest or sleep. No matter how much time is randomly added to the day if the Person doesn’t have the energy then he can’t utilize the time effectively.”

Vitality more important than Time for Creativity

Experimenter: “This connects up with the previous research in an intuitive way. The Actions of the Health Alliance when increased augment time spent on Creative Activities rather than compete. In contrast the Actions of the Kid Alliance compete with both the Creative Actions and the Health Alliance.

Kid Time in conflict with Health and Creative Time

Sleep Time, for our Subject at least, seems to be more influenced by external factors, such as Work, Kids, and School, than by internal Will. Thus with the rise of Kids, Sleep fell. As Sleep fell, so did the Health Alliance, and also Creative Time. Thus in terms of Creative Time, the negative impact of the Kid Alliance of Actions overwhelmed any influence that Sleep may or may not have. The Kid Alliance absorbs any or all spare time that is available for both healthful and creative activities. In short the research shows that Kids have a negative impact upon Healthful and Creative Actions, as anyone who has had Kids knows.

The main surprise in this context is that there are a complex of actions positively associated with Kid Time. Because of the incredible impact of Kid Time on other aspects of our Subjects life, I assumed that no Action could withstand the onslaught. This was wrong. Further the Allies of the Kids were the enemies of both the Creative Activities and the Health Alliance. The Kid Actions uniformly opposed the other complex of activities.

Now that we have talked casually about some of the complex of correlations, which make up our Action study, let us look a little more closely at the Data and Data Sets, upon which our results were based.

 

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