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Old 10-22-2010   #1
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Tsalal XIII
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The Uncanny Faithful Christian Seizure

Lateley I have been translating a fragment from TCATHR (just finished) and coincidently I found an interesting, closely related article.
As an introduction, and on page 87 of TCATHR (The Uncanny II) we read:
A sense of the uncanny can be activated in the average mortal under various conditions. Principal among these conditions are those which cause us to feel that we are not what we think we are, which was touched on at the close of the previous section.
In his groundbreaking essay “On the Psychology of the Uncanny” (1906), the German physician and psychologist Ernst Jentsch analyzes this feeling and its origins. Among the examples of uncanny experience Jentsch proffers in his essay is one where individuals cease to appear integrated in their identity and take on the aspect of mechanisms, things of parts that are made as they are made and are all clockwork processes rather than immutable beings unchanging at their heart.
And then Tom provides a fragment from the aforementioned essay. Let me paste a relevant fragment:
But if ... relative psychical harmony happens markedly to be disturbed in the spectator, and if the situation does not seem trivial or comic, the consequence of an unimportant incident, or if it is not quite familiar (like an alcohol intoxication, for example), then the dark knowledge dawns on the unschooled observer that mechanical processes are taking place in that which he was previously used to regarding as a unified psyche. It is not unjustly that epilepsy is therefore spoken of as the sacred disease [“sacred disease”], as an illness not deriving from the human world but from foreign and enigmatic spheres, for the epileptic attack of spasms reveals the human body to the viewer––the body that under normal conditions is so meaningful, expedient, and unitary, functioning according to the directions of his consciousness––as an immensely complicated and delicate mechanism. This is an important cause of the epileptic fit’s ability to produce such a demonic effect on those who see it.
Ok, now I can get to the article I just found - it's here:
When I sit down to use my computer, the first thing I usually do is double-click the icon that opens up an internet browser. I do this so often, that even when I need to use the computer for purposes other than internet-browsing, I mindlessly open up the internet browser anyway. This action is an example of a learned automatism -- an unconscious behaviour that is generated as a result of trained associations in previous experiences.

Learned automatisms can last a long time, and the contexts in which they are acquired and retained can vary substantially. A couple of bizarre reports suggest that Christian individuals who learned to make the sign-of-the-cross hand gesture (also known as Signum Crucis) after having epileptic seizures may exemplify a form of long-lasting, deeply-engrained learned automatism.

In one of the reports, 4 out 530 epileptic patients at a clinic in Brazil displayed sign-of-the-cross gestures as automatic movements during seizures. None of the patients were aware of their own movements. The researchers evaluated these patients with electroencephalography (EEG) to measure electrical brain activity while seizures were experienced.

Last edited by Tsalal XIII; 10-23-2010 at 04:42 AM..
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