Thursday, April 11, 2013

hypochondria as a deep clue

I read that Kafka suffered from hypochondria. That gave rise to some pondering by me, and maybe some thinking.

Kafka was a profound being -- metaphysically sensitive, intellectually unusual. It's worth paying heed to his hypochondria.

Science and philosophy now say that all is reducible to the physical. Free will is an illusion, and consciousness a fume of brain matter or merely epiphenomenal (not actually there in any kind of instrumental or substantial sense).

But then why the hell are we at odds with our body, a thing brought out exceptionally well with hypochondria? You'd think we'd be all "A headache. Whatever. It's just the physical being physical." Instead of leaping into psychological panic mode: "A headache. Must be a lethal brain tumor coming on, which brings dire aspects of mortality into despairing focus."

Despairing focus. There shouldn't be such a thing, if all is physical. And I just don't buy the epiphenomenal thing. That strikes me as cheap, zany, lazy-logical thinking on the part of those big-time philosophers.

So in my world, that leaves an opening for some form of dualism. Hypochondria makes me think dualism. Something in us is implacably alienated from the body. As if two irreconcilable substances got bottled up in the same bottle. The body is a wild, dark, terrifyingly strange place. The mind is also bizarre but not so viscerally ferocious and gooshingly algorithmic.

Hypochondria is a metaphor or expression of the embodied-soul nightmare. This is a clue. Maybe to the possibility of art -- its making and its appreciation.

Anyway, I think there must be something very wrong with people who are not hypochondriacal.

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