#2. Only Seeing One Thing at a Time
At any given moment, you're not really seeing everything that's in front of your eyes. For instance, when you watch TV, you're not really aware of the rest of the room, you're only paying attention to what's going on on screen. When you drive, you see the road, not the bird shit on the windshield, even though it's right in your line of vision. Everything else gets filtered out.
Dorsal simultanagnosia is a condition that's sort of like that, except patients can literally only see one thing at a time. If that one thing happens to be the wart developing on your eyelid flap, we're sorry, that's all they can see. They can't help it. Their brains can't process anything more than that. If you point them toward your lips, they'll see your lips, but your eyes will disappear.
"Oh my God, what do I have to do to get you to notice my balls?"
This is due to a failure in another bit of the mental software behind eyesight that we take for granted -- our ability, on the fly, to decode and prioritize what we're seeing, to piece all of it together to make a meaningful narrative in our heads. The people who suffer from dorsal simultanagnosia don't suffer from tunnel vision -- their eyes work fine. There is nothing wrong with their thinking -- their minds are intact. But show them your desk at work and they'll just see a stapler. That stapler could be in the middle of the desert for all they know. The rest of the room could be packed full of people or completely empty. All they see is the stapler.
And now, all they can think of is how much they want to staple you.
This means that if you took them to a new room, they'd have to slowly piece together what's going on, one clue at a time. "A clock on the wall. Well, every room has one of those. A magazine lying on a table. Are we at the library? There are chairs. A pamphlet from a pharmaceutical company ... ah, it's the waiting room at a doctor's office."
Just like everything else on this list, the condition can come from brain trauma, brain lesions or a stroke, but this time the damage hits the spot where your parietal lobe and occipital lobe meet. Diagnosing the condition involves a technique that looks like it comes from a 30-year-old Highlights magazine. Patients are asked to look at the picture below and explain what they see:
"All I see is blind, boiling rage."
If the viewer says "curtains" or "a plate" instead of "those children have a mother who is stoned out of her mind," they probably have this disorder.
#1. Time Becomes Meaningless
Quick! What time of day is it? How much longer until Christmas? How old are you? When is the last time you pooped? If you could answer those questions, even in vague measurements, good job. You don't have time agnosia, and you should be pretty grateful. Because losing the ability to measure time is more than just living in a zenlike state.
People with this disorder are unable to sequence events at all, even big chunks of time like the seasons, much less describe the order of the day. In other words, it's not that people with time agnosia don't remember eating eggs and bacon for breakfast, it's that they don't know if they ate eggs and bacon an hour ago or 10 years ago. Can you imagine all of your memories existing in a jumbled timeless hodgepodge?
You'd never stop vomiting.
One patient with the condition lost the concept of a day. As in a 24-hour cycle that happens 365 days a year. So this woman would wake up, eat, knit booties or whatever it is 40-year-old women do with their day, but had no idea that the day would eventually end and that she'd go to bed and start over the next day. She was living her whole life in the moment -- which would be awesome if she was a Buddhist or a college student on summer vacation, but not awesome if she was an adult with adult responsibilities, which she was.
Fortunately, time agnosia usually heals gradually over time, depending on how severe the original injury was. But, you know, good luck trying to explain that to the patient.
"No time to talk, Doc. I have a business meeting to attend yesterday."
So, if you're able to wake up, get dressed and go to work without your brain totally thwarting the process in some inexplicable way, be thankful. A whole bunch of brain processes that science barely understands had to go just right to make that happen.
For more reasons you should hit your body as hard as you can, check out Your Body Hates You: 6 Gruesome Disorders Anyone Can Get and 6 Ways Your Body Loves to Screw You (Explained by Science).
If you're pressed for time and just looking for a quick fix, then check out 5 Reasons the YOLO (You Only Live Once) Meme Is Wrong.
And stop by LinkSTORM to learn the quickest way to get back at your stupid self.
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