Anosognosia

From Wikipedia.

This is a completely new one to me. A new word, for me, that I’ve just encountered for the first time that I can recall, in reading the latest installment of writer James Howard Kunstler’s Clusterfuck Nation blog. To be exact, I actually found this following the article in the reader comments section.

It might not be exactly correct to use the word in the way it was used. Taking a quick look, this being a new one to me, I find the word generally defined as a condition in which the subject suffers from sort of handicap or dysfunction while being unaware, or denying, that they suffer from the problem in question. Following a trail from the Wiki page leads to an assortment of different topics related to an assorted array of various kinds of self deception or bias.

This is a new term, and if asked to actually say it, I have a hunch that I would royally trash the pronunciation. It’s a concept worth pondering, though. Looking around at the world, I think this strange and unfamiliar new vocabulary word might have some profound relevance.

The thought occurs to me that it might just simply be an inherent part of the condition of being human, to have this problem to some degree, the big question being to what extent we might suffer from this. It appears to have a meaning that is very specific and might be applied too broadly, too loosely. If I understand it correctly, it seems to be applicable to cases where there is some very serious medical condition or handicap, such as someone suffering from Alzheimer’s or some form of demetia and not having the mental capacity and function to be aware that their mental capacity and function is impared. On the other hand, it might be reasonable to apply the word in a more broad way.

It’s a dilemma we all have to deal with as humans, that we might not have enough awareness and understanding at times, in some areas, to be conscious of the lack of awareness and understanding.

Sometimes, we can just not know how much we don’t know.

The proper and exactly correct use of this word is probably meant to apply in ways that describe something like, for example, somebody who might be colorblind who might possibly have no concept of their condition, simply because, not having a functional ability to perceive color, they don’t have any way to grasp what they’re missing. They can only tell by having interactions with other people and working through some things. They can get a sense of what is going on there if somebody with working sense of color goes through some things with them. If the person points to an object and says “this is green”, then points to another and says “this is red”, and the colorblind person looks and sees things that, in their perception of “color”, seem to be the same color, then they can start to grasp that they are, in fact, somehow missing something.

As I said, I think that a little bit of this might be just an avoidable part of human consciousness and how it works (and how it cannot work).

That said, I think the world is suffering from an awful array of problems that are aggravated terribly by this, or even caused by it.

I think this is a good place to recall something said by musician Robert Fripp in his online diary:

Generally, it doesn’t matter too much if we are stupid, providing we know we are stupid. This is normal-abnormal. We are all pretty dopey most of the time, but a person of maturity cultivates a certain distance from their dopey-manifestations that, in time, confers a measure of personal freedom. One example of which is, that I don’t have to ask dopey questions because I know dopey questions generate negative repercussions that (inter alia) cause waste & are destructive. If we don’t know the depth of our stupidity, we have no distance from our mechanical & automatic behaviours. That is, if we don’t know we are stupid, we are dangerous.

-Robert Fripp

DGM online diary Oct. 6, 2009

 

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