sleep is passive?

Noon2501

Senior Member
Arabic-Egypt
Hello,

Context:
The issue of sleep is so frequently overlooked in terms of improving not only creativity but also quality of life. It’s because it’s passive. How could you ever possibly improve something by simply not doing it? Well, that’s what sleep involves.

Book: Too Fast to Think
Author: Chris Lewis

Question:
Now, the author here is talking about the importance of sleep.

I need to understand what he means by sleep being "passive". Is this an indication to the fact that when we're sleeping we're actually doing nothing? And is this why he asks this question in red?

Thanks!
 
  • dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    I think you are correct.

    In books like this, the author is inventing his own ideas. That is why I'm not sure.
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    He describes sleep as "passive" as it is not something that you can do - it simply happens to you without your having to apply any effort.

    If you are running, you can say to yourself - I will run faster, slower, etc. If you are asleep, you cannot think "I will sleep better."

    Compare with "passive" when used as an adjective for a verb:

    She hit him -> she applied effort into hitting him
    He was hit by her -> passive - "He" applied no effort into being hit.

    To be passive - to offer no resistance; to be still and calm - an absence of action.
     

    manfy

    Senior Member
    German - Austria
    I need to understand what he means by sleep being "passive". Is this an indication to the fact that when we're sleeping we're actually doing nothing?
    Yes, that's the point of view of the author.
    But it's a question of perspective. During sleep you're not proactively "doing" anything; you're not digging a hole, you're not running a marathon, you're not "saving the world". But what does "doing something" mean? Are you doing something when you're sitting somewhere thinking up things? It's mental work, but you're not actually "doing" anything, it's your brain that's doing something! :rolleyes:

    I wouldn't worry about it too much. The statement is just a journalistic way of getting you interested enough to keep reading; it doesn't in itself have any deeper meaning that will change your life.

    [cross-posted]
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    It's so vague it's a bit hard to understand his intention.

    I think he's saying that the general way you fix problems is to work on them. You do something. Practice, train, troubleshoot, review, brainstorm, etc. Telling someone they can fix a problem by not working on it seems counterintuitive. But that's what sleep is - not actively working on anything. It's passive in that way. But the initial sentence says (or at least implies) that getting proper sleep will improve creativity. So it does help, but not in the same active way working directly on something does.
     

    Laurentiana

    Member
    English - Canada
    something = creativity + quality of life.

    How does one improve this something? At first glance, by doing more of its components - expressing more creativity and experiencing more quality of life.

    Let’s say you now sleep six hours a night and are thinking of increasing that amount to eight hours, in order to improve your something. Won’t you be doing the opposite - cutting your time for creative practice and quality life experience by two hours every day? Wouldn’t it be better to reduce your sleep to four hours a night so you could improve your something by doing more of it?

    The answer is no. If you increase your sleep to eight hours you’ll get a better quality of sleep and wake up full of energy. You’ll compose a whole album’s worth of songs before noon and paint a masterpiece by 3 p.m. You won’t need a nap. You’ll call up some friends, play beach volleyball until 6, go and try out a new vegan restaurant, return home and crack open that rare single malt you’ve been saving as you watch a favourite show on your 84-inch screen. Then you’ll make a few notes about the novel you’re writing before heading to bed.

    In other words, you’ll improve something by doing less of it.
     

    Noon2501

    Senior Member
    Arabic-Egypt
    Yes, that's the point of view of the author.
    But it's a question of perspective. During sleep you're not proactively "doing" anything; you're not digging a hole, you're not running a marathon, you're not "saving the world". But what does "doing something" mean? Are you doing something when you're sitting somewhere thinking up things? It's mental work, but you're not actually "doing" anything, it's your brain that's doing something! :rolleyes:

    I wouldn't worry about it too much. The statement is just a journalistic way of getting you interested enough to keep reading; it doesn't in itself have any deeper meaning that will change your life.

    [cross-posted]
    Thanks, I agree. But I am actually working on translating this text into Arabic, so I need to fully understand bits like these that seem vague.
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Thanks, I agree. But I am actually working on translating this text into Arabic, so I need to fully understand bits like these that seem vague.
    The point is that it is vague, badly written almost to the point of absurdity.

    The issue of sleep is so frequently overlooked in terms of improving not only creativity but also quality of life. It’s because it’s passive. How could you ever possibly improve something by simply not doing it? Well, that’s what sleep involves.


    He's effectively switched subject: How can you improve life by not being actively engaged in it?
     
    Last edited:

    Noon2501

    Senior Member
    Arabic-Egypt
    His question is "How can you improve something that you are not actively engaged in?" The crucial clause is "not actively engaged", i.e. passive in the matter.
    That was my initial clue to partly understand it, but I was a bit hesitant so I wanted to make sure I have the right idea of what he means by sleep being "passive". And yes, this author's writing is very confusing really.
     

    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    To me, the author’s intended meaning is perfectly clear: when we are asleep, we’re not actively engaging in anything, at least in the conventional sense of the word, so it’s hard to see how sleeping can improve things. It feels like someone telling us that we’ll lose five pounds if we sit down and do nothing for half an hour.

    Noon2501, if you need help translating this into Arabic, you might want to start a thread in the Arabic forum. :thumbsup:
     
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