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alexandra mnuskin's picture

corollary discharge, I-function and the self

Like most of the others in the class I too was fascinated with the idea of corollary discharge. I frequently suffer carsickness…especially when I read. On the train and plane however I’m usually fine. I wonder why that is since the mixed messages from ones sensory inputs and corollary discharge are still present in any moving vehicle.
On a related note, I am still very confused about the I-functions role in all this. Is it like the example with Christopher Reeves…that his I-function has no play in his knee jerks? Are things corollary discharges something that we are not actually aware of…something that goes on inside without our thinking about and experiencing it? We discussed in class how the nervous system is really just a bunch of semi-autonomous parts coordinated by the interactions among them. That there is no conductor…no main central part that is really in charge. I can’t deny that I found this idea more and more disturbing the more I thought about it. I confess I’ve always believed, perhaps subconsciously, that there was some unifying force, soul, I function, in short--the self that which qualifies you as a thinking and reasoning human being. Is that not what the I-function is? How many of these semi-autonomous parts have to malfunction for you to be considered damaged or even dead? It seems that there is no longer that distinct line between life or death, sanity and insanity.

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