“Published last year, Jonathan Crary’s 24/7: Late Capitalism and the Ends of Sleep begins with the effect of digital culture on our sense of time. A world that is always “on”—the irony of “sleep” mode is that it avoids turning off a device—entices or requires humans to be the same. Gradually, we comply: we get less and less rest every night, we rise to check phones or tablets in the wee hours, we pretend work is leisure as we run the hamster wheel of social-media clicks. For Crary, a professor of art history, the life of digital timelessness manifests the most basic and inexorable drive of capitalism, which would shrink whatever is not producing or consuming. Sleep occupies that vanishing margin. Sleep does not want to be productive. “Sleep,” Crary writes, “poses the idea of a human need and interval of time that cannot be colonized and harnessed to a massive engine of profitability.” Crary’s book therefore looks back seriously to a premodern vision of the quotidian, based on repetitive cycles of rest and rising—those spirals that Scheherazade wove into art. But this is not reactionary. Crary wants to reset our clocks, not turn them back. His most valuable insight is that the sheer fact of sleep can be a deliberate choice—a political choice. It could be a mode of resistance.”
— Sleep as Resistance by Siobhan Phillips

“It’s not just that a countercultural embrace of sleep bears witness to values higher than “the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desire for other things.” A night of good sleep—a week, or month, or year of good sleep—also testifies to the basic Christian story of Creation. We are creatures, with bodies that are finite and contingent. For much of Western history, the poets celebrated sleep as a welcome memento mori, a reminder that one day we will die: hence Keats’s ode to the “sweet embalmer” sleep, and Donne’s observation, “Natural men have conceived a twofold use of sleep; that it is a refreshing of the body in this life; that it is a preparing of the soul for the next.” Is it any surprise that in a society where we try to deny our mortality in countless ways, we also deny our need to sleep? The unarguable demands that our bodies make for sleep are a good reminder that we are mere creatures, not the Creator. For it is God and God alone who “neither slumbers nor sleeps.” Of course, the Creator has slept, another startling reminder of the radical humility he embraced in becoming incarnate. He took on a body that, like ours, was finite and contingent and needed sleep. To push ourselves to go without sleep is, in some sense, to deny our embodiment, to deny our fragile incarnations—and perhaps to deny the magnanimous poverty and self-emptying that went into his Incarnation.”
— Lauren Winner, “Sleep Therapy” (alas, paywalled)

If this onslaught of coverage has an underlying ideology, it is this: First, that sleep is absolutely critical for high performance; and second, that you can improve your sleep — but only with intense effort.…
“In a world of rising demand, rest should no longer be demonized but celebrated for its intimate connection to sustainable high performance,” [sleep and mindfulness guru Tony Schwartz] wrote in The Times last November. Full of excitement, I showed my boyfriend a Schwartz article titled, “Relax! You’ll Be More Productive.” I told him we could now take a vacation because Schwartz had shown that “for each additional 10 hours of vacation employees took, their year-end performance ratings … improved by 8 percent.”

Sleep seems to be a topic that is keeping us up.

Sleep as Resistance” and “Sleep Therapy" (via ayjay)

And over at Mockingbird David Zahl comments on the obsessive fixation of sleep.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized by randamir. Bookmark the permalink.

About randamir

I pastor Grace Presbyterian Church in Kernersville, North Carolina which locals fondly refer to as K-vegas -- the town not the church. As D.T. Niles once said, "I am not important except to God."

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