Picasso, Sleeping Woman

From Jessa Gamble’s essay “Life Without Sleep”:

Around the turn of this millennium, the biological imperative to sleep for a third of every 24-hour period began to seem quaint and unnecessary. Just as the birth control pill had uncoupled sex from reproduction, designer stimulants seemed poised to remove us yet further from the archaic requirements of the animal kingdom….

The question is whether the strangeness of the idea will keep us from accepting it. If society rejects sleep curtailment, it won’t be a biological issue; rather, the resistance will be cultural. The war against sleep is inextricably linked with debates over human enhancement, because an eight-hour consolidated sleep is the ultimate cognitive enhancer. Sleepiness and a lack of mental focus are indistinguishable, and many of the pharmaceutically based cognitive enhancers on the market work to combat both. If only it were possible for the restorative functions that happen during sleep to occur simply during waking hours instead.

From Evgeny Morozov, To Save Everything, Click Here:

I believe that not everything that could be fixed should be fixed — even if the latest technologies make the fixes easier, cheaper, and harder to resist. Sometimes, imperfect is good enough; sometimes, it’s much better than perfect. What worries me most is that, nowadays, the very availability of cheap and diverse digital fixes tells us what needs fixing. It’s quite simple: the more fixes we have, the more problems we see. And yet, in our political, personal, and public lives — much like in our computer systems — not all bugs are bugs; some bugs are features….

Only by unlearning solutionism — that is, by transcending the limits it imposes on our imaginations and by rebelling against its value system — will we understand why attaining technological perfection, without attending to the intricacies of the human condition and accounting for the complex world of practices and traditions, might not be worth the price. Design theorist Michael Dobbins has it right: solutionism presumes rather than investigates the problems that it is trying to solve, reaching “for the answer before the questions have been fully asked.”