Chapter 10: Processes of Perception and Analysis

Section 12: Human Thinking


A common feature of higher organisms is the existence of distinct behavioral states of sleep and wakefulness. There are various theories that sleep is somehow fundamental to the process of thinking. But my guess is that its most important function is quite mundane: just as muscles build up lactic acid waste products, so also I suspect synapses in the brain build up waste products, and these can only safely be cleared out when the brain is not in normal use.

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From Stephen Wolfram: A New Kind of Science [citation]