Hypochondriac Culture (2)

Hypochondria is an insidious disease because it is a silent and often invisible part of the suffering of so many people. It is centred on fear and misinterpretation. Hypochondriacs are constantly worried about a variety of symptoms that they read into their bodies. A minor pain is scripted into a major illness and leads to thoughts of death. Yet, to describe this process as a disease is perhaps a grave error. The psychology of fear is not easy to pin down. Since so much of medicine is concerned with cause and effect, the idea that someone could imagine an illness seems to be outside of the pragmatic medical context of searching for cures. Imagination is the key here as is a process called projection. It is easy to imagine any number of problems in the complex biology of the human body. It is easy (but the consequences can be dire) to project an external problem into an internal space. At one point in some "jottings" that were found among Sigmund Freud's papers, he made the comment that "space is a projection of the psyche". What if the hyponchondriac body is an aesthetic projection? I will respond to this question in greater detail tomorrow.

Part Three