Sunday, February 8, 2009

Whole: A Documentary about Voluntary Amputation

So....following up Ana's post about women who genuinely fall in love with inanimate objects/monuments, I thought you might like to know about this equally strange human phenomena. A 2003 documentary called "Whole."

WHOLE takes you into the world of people obsessed with becoming an amputee. Some are "wannabes" while others succeed in ridding themselves of a limb. They are healthy people like Kees, a Dutchman who pretends to be an amputee up to five times a day; Dan, an American who loves to hike and bike in the French Alps; and George, a man so desperate he shot off his leg with a shotgun. This documentary reveals the impact the obsession has on loved ones, and also examines how medical professionals are dealing with the growing worldwide network of amputee wannabes. WHOLE also looks into the ethical, cultural and historical issues that surround this unusual psychiatric disorder.

Here is a link to a clip from the film. If you have the mind (and stomach) for it, I highly recommend watching this whole film, as it will open your mind and (hopefully) tap your empathies.


Tyler said...

I read a book recently (The Body Has a Mind of it's Own - very good) that has a brief section on this - it is formally known as "body integrity identity disorder". The book actually refers to this documentary, and admits that there is no real known cause. The focus of the book, however, suggests it may be related to a "mis-wiring within the brain's parietal circuits and primary body maps". So essentially people's brains tell them that their body ends at a very precise point along one of their limbs.

Excaliborn7 said...

It is just so strange and foreign to imagine thinking like this. The breadth of human thought, will, and behavior never ceases to present new terror and wonder.