Somatic obsessive compulsive disorder: organs, attention and the self
Mr Joni P. PuranenZoom
Is there something in common between these bodily processes: heartbeat, breathing, swallowing of saliva or blinking? At least, there is the fact that mostly we do not pay attention to such bodily processes at all. Our bodies often go unnoticed to the extent that attending to e.g. breathing, can be a profoundly useful therapeutical practice. The use of multiple variations of “mindfulness” in health care settings has flourished in recent decades, yet philosophical research into the phenomena of attention remains a relatively uncommon undertaking.
For one’s own body to go almost entirely unnoticed, however, is not exactly and identically common for all of us. What happens if I “get stuck” on attending to my body? If my awareness of my body and its processes causes me to suffer and diminishes the quality of my life, I might be living with somatic subtype of OCD.
In my presentation I analyse the felt dimension of somatic OCD by comparing it to Jean-Luc Nancy’s and Francisco Varela’s reflections on their own organ transplants. I claim, that their descriptions of living with a withering (and later with a transplanted) organ can help us thematise rarely discussed and examined somatic OCD.