right hand pointing


  Tony Lamont

Cotard's Delusion


In Cotard's Delusion, say some experts, the inner voice gets switched off. The little stream of subvocal speech that keeps talking to you as you do things. The one that says, I don't know why I am doing this, It's the inner consciousness that maintains the illusion that there's someone at home. If a stroke or a tumor inhibits whichever part of the brain controls this, then only the transient thought saying, this is what I am doing, exists. There is no background commentary. The coupling between thought and feeling about the thought is lost. In a sense, cogito ergo sum is lost. Instead, it becomes I do not think, therefore I am not. The clinical syndrome manifests as a person who believes he is actually dead. That inner voice seems to control the sense of feeling and reality as a person.

Now to change tack slightly, the whole point of writing--a novel, a poem, a letter--is to take charge of the voice in someone else's head for a short period of time.

This is what I'm doing now. My words are taking possession of the language circuits of your brain and I am transiently your inner voice.  In a way, that means I have become you, or you me, for a few minutes. The action of reading my words blurs the boundaries of reality. Writing is primitive virtual reality.





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