Of all the components of a good night’s sleep, dreams seem to be least within our control. In dreams, a window opens into a world where logic is suspended and dead people speak. A century ago, Freud formulated his revolutionary theory that dreams were the disguised shadows of our unconscious desires and fears; by the late 1970s, neurologists had switched to thinking of them as just “mental noise” -- the random byproducts of the neural-repair work that goes on during sleep. Now researchers suspect that dreams are part of the mind’s emotional thermostat, regulating moods while the brain is “off-line.” And one leading authority says that these intensely powerful mental events can be not only harnessed but actually brought under conscious control, to help us sleep and feel better, “It’s your dream,” says Rosalind Cartwright, chair of psychology at Chicago’s Medical Center. “If you don’t like it, change it.”
Evidence from brain imaging supports this view. The brain is as active during REM (rapid eye movement) sleep -- when most vivid dreams occur -- as it is when fully awake, says Dr, Eric Nofzinger at the University of Pittsburgh. But not all parts of the brain are equally involved; the limbic system (the “emotional brain”) is especially active, while the prefrontal cortex (the center of intellect and reasoning) is relatively quiet. “We wake up from dreams happy or depressed, and those feelings can stay with us all day.” says Stanford sleep researcher Dr. William Dement.
The link between dreams and emotions shows up among the patients in Cartwright’s clinic. Most people seem to have more bad dreams early in the night, progressing toward happier ones before awakening, suggesting that they are working through negative feelings generated during the day. Because our conscious mind is occupied with daily life we don’t always think about the emotional significance of the day’s events -- until, it appears, we begin to dream.
And this process need not be left to the unconscious. Cartwright believes one can exercise conscious control over recurring bad dreams. As soon as you awaken, identify what is upsetting about the dream. Visualize how you would like it to end instead; the next time it occurs, try to wake up just enough to control its course. With much practice people can learn to, literally, do it in their sleep.
At the end of the day, there’s probably little reason to pay attention to our dreams at all unless they keep us from sleeping or “we wake up in a panic,” Cartwright says. Terrorism, economic uncertainties and general feelings of insecurity have increased people’s anxiety. Those suffering from persistent nightmares should seek help from a therapist. For the rest of us, the brain has its ways of working through bad feelings. Sleep -- or rather dream -- on it and you’ll feel better in the morning.
31. Researchers have come to believe that dreams ________.
[A] can be modified in their courses
[B] are susceptible to emotional changes
[C] reflect our innermost desires and fears
[D] are a random outcome of neural repairs
32. By referring to the limbic system, the author intends to show ________.
[A] its function in our dreams
[B] the mechanism of REM sleep
[C] the relation of dreams to emotions
[D] its difference from the prefrontal cortex
33. The negative feelings generated during the day tend to ________.
[A] aggravate in our unconscious mind
[B] develop into happy dreams
[C] persist till the time we fall asleep
[D] show up in dreams early at night
34. Cartwright seems to suggest that ________.
[A] waking up in time is essential to the ridding of bad dreams
[B] visualizing bad dreams helps bring them under control
[C] dreams should be left to their natural progression
[D] dreaming may not entirely belong to the unconscious
35. What advice might Cartwright give to those who sometimes have bad dreams?
[A] Lead your life as usual.
[B] Seek professional help.
[C] Exercise conscious control.
[D] Avoid anxiety in the daytime.
Americans no longer expect public figures, whether in speech or in writing, to command the English language with skill and gift. Nor do they aspire to such command themselves. In his latest book, Doing Our Own Thing: The Degradation of Language and Music and Why We Should, Like, Care, John McWhorter, a linguist and controversialist of mixed liberal and conservative views, sees the triumph of 1960s counter-culture as responsible for the decline of formal English.
Blaming the permissive 1960s is nothing new, but this is not yet another criticism against the decline in education. Mr. McWhorter’s academic speciality is language history and change, and he sees the gradual disappearance of “whom,” for example, to be natural and no more regrettable than the loss of the case-endings of Old English.
But the cult of the authentic and the personal, “doing our own thing,” has spelt the death of formal speech, writing, poetry and music. While even the modestly educated sought an elevated tone when they put pen to paper before the 1960s, even the most well regarded writing since then has sought to capture spoken English on the page. Equally, in poetry, the highly personal, performative genre is the only form that could claim real liveliness. In both oral and written English, talking is triumphing over speaking, spontaneity over craft.
Illustrated with an entertaining array of examples from both high and low culture, the trend that Mr. McWhorter documents is unmistakable. But it is less clear, to take the question of his subtitle, why we should, like, care. As a linguist, he acknowledges that all varieties of human language, including non-standard ones like Black English, can be powerfully expressive -- there exists no language or dialect in the world that cannot convey complex ideas. He is not arguing, as many do, that we can no longer think straight because we do not talk proper.
Russians have a deep love for their own language and carry large chunks of memorized poetry in their heads, while Italian politicians tend to elaborate speech that would seem old-fashioned to most English-speakers. Mr. McWhorter acknowledges that formal language is not strictly necessary, and proposes no radical education reforms -- he is really grieving over the loss of something beautiful more than useful. We now take our English “on paper plates instead of china.” A shame, perhaps, but probably an inevitable one.
36. According to McWhorter, the decline of formal English ________.
[A] is inevitable in radical education reforms
[B] is but all too natural in language development
[C] has caused the controversy over the counter-culture
[D] brought about changes in public attitudes in the 1960s
37. The word “talking” (Line 6, Paragraph 3) denotes ________.
38. To which of the following statements would McWhorter most likely agree?
[A] Logical thinking is not necessarily related to the way we talk.
[B] Black English can be more expressive than standard English.
[C] Non-standard varieties of human language are just as entertaining.
[D] Of all the varieties, standard English can best convey complex ideas.
39. The description of Russians’ love of memorizing poetry shows the author’s ________.
[A] interest in their language
[B] appreciation of their efforts
[C] admiration for their memory
[D] contempt for their old-fashionedness
40. According to the last paragraph, “paper plates” is to “china” as ________.