Jim Ottaviani

How Does the Mind Turn Off?

Excerpt from Feynman by Jim Ottaviani and Leland Myrick

I was stuck...I remembered a problem my father gave me a long time ago. 

"Suppose some a Martians came to earth and they don't have this crazy phenomenon sleep. And asked you how does it feel? What happens when you go to sleep? Do your thoughts suddenly stop, or do they jusst mooovee mooorrre and morrrreee sllllowwwwwlllyyyy? How does the mind turn off? Does the stream of consciousness end when you go to sleep? "

I worked on my paper for the next four weeks. I had two time each day -- every afternoon and every night -- to make experimental observations.

It was very good! I noticed some interesting things:

I do a lot of thinking by talking to myself, internally. 

I also imagine things visually. 

And when I get tired...they both happen at once. 


I kept observing myslef even after I turned in the paper -- which I did well on! I got to the point where I could enter into my own dreams.