Artnapping III: Capture by Tango

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Joined June 2010

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The Artnapping Project, Part III
24×18 (inches), acrylic on panel

(Parts “One”: and “Two”: )

High up in this image, you will see other versions of the leading lady, appearing and disappearing behind pillars. In this dream, something important, something the dreamer wants to share, is being hidden, by the dreamer, who also wants to keep it. We are complex people, made up of complex, sometimes conflicting desires.

I received this fascinating word from Anu Garg’s word service: Anosognosia: noun: Unawareness of one’s disease, disability, or a defect.

In an interview with Errol Morris (link: , V. S. Ramachandran (co-author of Phantoms of the Brain) expands on this fascinating state of unawareness:

I saw a lady, not long ago, in India, and she had complete paralysis on her left side, a very intelligent woman, but had both anosognosia and somatoparaphrenia — Denial that a body part, in this instance, an arm, belongs to her.  It’s part of the same spectrum of disorders.  …So I asked her, “Can you move your right arm?” and the usual list of questions, and she said “Yes, of course.”  I said, “Can you move your left arm?”  She said, “Yes.”  “Can you touch my nose?”  “Yes, I can touch your nose, sir.”  “Can you see it?” “Yes, it’s almost there.”  The usual thing, O.K.?  So far, nothing new.  Her left arm is lying limp in her lap; it’s not moving at all; it’s on her lap, on her left side, O.K.?   I left the room, waited for a few minutes, then I went back to the room and said, “Can you use your right arm?”  She said, “Yes.”  Then I grabbed her left arm and raised it towards her nose and I said, “Whose arm is this?”  She said, “That’s my mother’s arm.”  Again, typical, right?  And I said, “Well, if that’s your mother’s arm, where’s your mother?”  And she looks around, completely perplexed, and she said, “Well, she’s hiding under the table.”  So this sort of confabulatory thing is very common, but it’s just a very striking manifestation of it.  No normal person would dream of making up a story like that.  But here is the best part.  I said, “Please touch your nose with your left hand.”  She immediately takes her right hand, goes and reaches for the left hand, raising it, passively raising it, right?  Using it as a tool to touch my nose or touch her nose.  What does this imply?  She claims her left arm is not paralyzed, right?  Why does she spontaneously reach for it and grab her left arm with her right hand and take her left hand to her nose?  That means she knows it is paralyzed at some level.  Is that clear? 53
ERROL MORRIS: Yes.  Presumably, if she didn’t know it was paralyzed, she wouldn’t try to lift it with her right hand.
V.S. RAMACHANDRAN: And it gets even better, she’s just now told me that it’s not her left arm, it is her mother’s arm, so why is she pulling up her mother’s arm and pointing it at my nose?  What we call belief is not a monolithic thing; it has many layers.

That last sentence is key. Not only are belief systems complex, but they regularly contradict themselves. Why? We are so complex. If an individual cannot go without contradicting himself, how can an entire community?

Errol Morris goes on to explain:
“Ramachandran has used the notion of layered belief — the idea that some part of the brain can believe something and some other part of the brain can believe the opposite (or deny that belief) — to help explain anosognosia. In a 1996 paper 54, he speculated that the left and right hemispheres react differently when they are confronted with unexpected information. The left brain seeks to maintain continuity of belief, using denial, rationalization, confabulation and other tricks to keep one’s mental model of the world intact; the right brain, the “anomaly detector” or “devil’s advocate,” picks up on inconsistencies and challenges the left brain’s model in turn. When the right brain’s ability to detect anomalies and challenge the left is somehow damaged or lost (e.g., from a stroke), anosognosia results.
In Ramachandran’s account, then, we are treated to the spectacle of different parts of the brain — perhaps even different selves — arguing with one another.”

So, your brain, arguing with itself: anosognosia. Note the right brain (picking up on anomalies) vs the left brain (trying to streamline, which can cause denial), and that these conflicts are going on underneath the surface of your “I” all the time, causing you to do things that are against what you believe to be your “will” or “desire”. This is something a lot of dream theories pick up on: in your dreams, your brain will break those “sides” down into images: people from your history, people who are famous, people you always pass an wonder about but have never met…in general, people as caricature: their “main” aspect, the main thing you associate them with—your brain uses them to symbolize some aspect of your inner conflict, so that while you’re dreaming, you can see, on some level, the conflict, and resolve it, so that in your waking life, you can begin behaving as a unified force, at least on that one issue.

In the above image, the dreamer’s mind sends in a detective (a new character)…He will seek out the “trouble-maker,” and this is why the gun is not the appropriate weapon (is it ever?); he wants to “lure” her to “his” side. And he does! What once was a conflict is now just a dance…

Note also that the clock is driven by the constellation Pisces. Dissimulation and escape…

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