Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Third stage: Good bye parietal lobes

The next stage of STAD continues with the progressive dismantling of the parietal lobes. This area of the brain controls visual, hearing and the connection between body and sensation, now is the time when the subject has a tendency to get lost or has trouble feeding themselves without assistance (Callone).
            In the NPR radio show, Radio Lab, there was a segment by the name of “The Bus Stop,” which discusses a treatment of STAD that utilizes the idea of redirection. Patients at this stage of the progression have a tendency to wander around, caught in moments of time that are no longer, or were never, relevant to their caretakers. One might find a subject in the midst of reliving a moment from their childhood, trying to find a way to get home or go to a place where they feel safe. Since STAD patients retain their long term memory best, the subjects may gravitate to signs and symbols that they are familiar with, so an institution in Germany devised a plan to input a “fake” bus station.
The bus stop will never see the likes of an actual bus, but the patients that go there are under the
impression that they will be transported to wherever moment it is that they are living in. Due to this momentary feeling of satisfaction it is easier for them to calm down, and eventually they will move on to their next immediate reality (Lu Lu Miller). The bus stop is a representation of the real, and allows for the patients to have a “real” moment of interaction within their shifting reality:
Representation stems from the principle of the equivalence of the sign and of the real (even if this equivalence is utopian, it is a fundamental axiom). Simulation on the contrary, stems from the utopia of the principle of equivalence, from the radical negation of the sign as value, from the sign as the reversion and death sentence of every reference. Whereas representation attempts to absorb simulation by interpreting it as a false representation, simulation envelops the whole edifice of representation itself as a simulacrum (Baudrillard 6).
            In the case of the bus stop, the STAD patients are under no impression that what they are seeing isn’t the genuine article. They have no cognitive ability left at this stage to be able to discern a replica from the real thing. This is further reinforced in the fact that at no point in time will they realize that the bus hasn’t come, and that the signified has not functioned in the way they are accustomed. Before they can recognize that they were never picked up the patient will have already moved onto the next moment, and the second phase of the simulacra has been introduced: Second order: The boundary between reality and representation blurs. The difference between representation and reality is not clear. In some sense, the representation has become as real as the thing it represents (Baudrillard).

         A problem that the institution faced initially was the moral dilemma of the staff, feeling that they were lying to the residents. When they played along with the bus stop recreation they had conflicting feelings of guilt, because they were essentially “lying to the patients.” If we see this problem from the theoretical standpoint of the STAD patient, one could argue that in essence there is no more perceived outside truth. With the subject having no linear time line they are living without bounds or confines. The truth of the matter for the subject lies in the moment to moment. With no point of reference to conceive of a “truth” the only people that the staff are lying to is themselves. 

1 comment:

  1. You really have come so far with your theory! What a pleasure to see you work it all out in writing like this!