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That's why God gave you two
November 3, 2006 4:35 PM   Subscribe

[NSFW] People are always trying to find completeness in something outside of themselves. For some, it’s money that makes them feel whole. Others find it in relationships, in wooing and winning an “other half.” And for some unfortunate people, that feeling of wholeness is a much more elusive goal. That’s because they don’t feel complete until they succeed in convincing someone to amputate one of their own perfectly healthy limbs.
posted by jason's_planet (28 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
There's a terrific documentary about this subject.
posted by macadamiaranch at 4:50 PM on November 3, 2006


(ha. that'll teach me to read first!)
posted by macadamiaranch at 4:51 PM on November 3, 2006


Right, completeness - it's exactly like wanting to earn a living or get married, only less ah... constructive.
posted by scheptech at 4:53 PM on November 3, 2006


If you are an amputee reading this you are probably shaking your head or maybe even upset by the existence of the apotemnophile.

You are not alone. Many amputees cannot understand the mind of the apotemnophile. Why would anyone want to be an amputee ?


Maybe both parties could work something out?
posted by jikel_morten at 5:03 PM on November 3, 2006


It's a good, if one-sided, film.

There was a similar but more balanced documentary on Channel 4, earlier than Whole, I think, when the Robert Smith/apotemnophilia/body integrity disorder scandal first kicked off in Scotland in 2000 (there were calls for legislation against 'frivolous' elective amputations), which featured a couple of what you might call 'regretful wannabes' as well as the enthusiasts - after their limb of choice was removed, they remained unhappy, and regretted their amputation. It also dwelt more on the fetishistic component.

Interesting phenomenon, anyway - certainly got the medical ethicists in a tizzy at the time.
posted by jack_mo at 5:03 PM on November 3, 2006


In one libertarian sense it's not a big deal at all. Do what you like with yourself; you're not harming anyone.

However, most folks don't have the skills and resources to safely self-amputate, which means someone else has to be involved. And the intersection between cosmetic major amputation and existing medical ethics standards is a tricky one.
posted by cortex at 5:03 PM on November 3, 2006


I just can't see this.
But then I have cycloponomia.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 5:09 PM on November 3, 2006 [1 favorite]


On not previewing: It's just a lifestyle choice; what's the big deal?

I think the argument is that it's not a lifestyle choice any more than, say, anorexia as a result of body dysmorphic disorder is - if you look at the body integrity disorder page I linked above, it looks more like a psychological condition, so arguably counselling &c. is a more appropriate cure than chopping off a limb. In the current climate when it comes to medical ethics, anyway - I don't really have an opinion either way, though having seen both Whole and the other doc. I mentioned (which I can't seem to find a link to), it does seem that some people end up a lot happier after surgery.
posted by jack_mo at 5:13 PM on November 3, 2006


There are a bunch of people who think of anorexia as a lifestyle choice. There was a media flap about their forums online being harmful to anorexia sufferers a while back. Wikipedia seems to have a decent overview.

Personally, I think this sort of thing is the inevitable consequence of identity politics and "pride" movements. It reminds me of the protests where the "deaf community" doesn't want their kids to have cochlear implants.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 5:24 PM on November 3, 2006


There are a bunch of people who think of anorexia as a lifestyle choice.

I know, but the pro-ana folk do tend to be anorexics! Most people, medical professionals included, tend to see these 'lifestyle choices' as something that can and should be cured. It's an interesting area, and hard to know where to draw the line - some anorexics can maintain a stable but unhealthy lifestyle, others are starving themselves to death; presumably some people who wish for an amputation will lead happy, succesful lives post-surgery, while others will want to keep chopping. I can see why most doctors interprest the Hippocratic oath as meaning they shouldn't help people cause themselves harm, even if it will make them happy.
posted by jack_mo at 5:35 PM on November 3, 2006


Just don't let them near any traveling carnival that boasts an armless, legless cult leader who lives in a fishtank.
posted by pernoctalian at 6:43 PM on November 3, 2006 [2 favorites]


Personally, I think this sort of thing is the inevitable consequence of identity politics and "pride" movements. It reminds me of the protests where the "deaf community" doesn't want their kids to have cochlear implants.

Your analogy makes sense to me but I prefer to interpret this as another expression of the ineffable lunacy at the heart of homo sapiens. It was there when we wore furs and lived in caves. It will be there when we've left our corporeal bodies behind and uploaded ourselves to gigantic computer networks.
posted by jason's_planet at 7:23 PM on November 3, 2006


Just don't let them near any traveling carnival that boasts an armless, legless cult leader who lives in a fishtank.

I knew this rang familiar. thanks for jogging the memory.
posted by carsonb at 8:00 PM on November 3, 2006


I'm not seeing the part about people not feeling whole until they've convinced other people to be amuptees. I'm seeing a lot about people who don't feel whole until they're amputees. Seems like an important difference.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 8:30 PM on November 3, 2006


pernoctalian writes "Just don't let them near any traveling carnival that boasts an armless, legless cult leader who lives in a fishtank."

Is his name Bob?

I'm a bad person.
posted by clevershark at 8:33 PM on November 3, 2006


Right, completeness - it's exactly like wanting to earn a living or get married, only less ah... constructive.

Can't it be both? (probably NSFW)
posted by teem at 8:44 PM on November 3, 2006


Yowza.
posted by stinkycheese at 9:20 PM on November 3, 2006


Does anyone remember a post about a trick you could play on yourself by rigging yourself up with a fake arm and stabbing it in front of a mirror? Your mind kinda does summersaults trying to figure out what the hell is going on, just because the visual cue sets something off. I first heard about these folks (through the aforementioned documentary) right after I tried that experiment, and I assumed the two were somehow related. Most people are wired to expect there limbs to be there. Some aren't.
posted by es_de_bah at 10:03 PM on November 3, 2006


Thank you BMEzine wiki.
not really related
posted by boo_radley at 10:23 PM on November 3, 2006


Does anyone remember a post about a trick you could play on yourself by rigging yourself up with a fake arm and stabbing it in front of a mirror?

I don't remember the post, but I do remember the neuroscientist who specializes in this sort of experiment.

He's VS Ramachandran
posted by PeterMcDermott at 1:07 AM on November 4, 2006


Well as long as we are posting BMEzine links of no particular relevance....
posted by public at 3:18 AM on November 4, 2006


Hmmm. The article Teem linked to was posted on April 1, just like this one.
posted by scratch at 6:24 AM on November 4, 2006


Pretty much a double post.
posted by Zurishaddai at 7:16 AM on November 4, 2006


scratch: It's definitely a hoax. Seemed fitting nonetheless.
posted by teem at 7:35 AM on November 4, 2006


Pretty much a double post.
posted by Zurishaddai at 7:16 AM PST on November 4


It's not "pretty much a double post," it is a double post. The only non-wiki link in this post is over three years old and has already appeared on these hallowed blue pages.
posted by I Am Not a Lobster at 8:04 AM on November 4, 2006


scratch: It's definitely a hoax. Seemed fitting nonetheless.

Fitting, indeed. Hey, if the arm fits...
posted by scratch at 8:30 AM on November 4, 2006


Pretty much a double post.
posted by Zurishaddai at 10:16 AM EST on November 4

[+]



Ahhh. My first double! A milestone!
posted by jason's_planet at 10:28 AM on November 4, 2006


"Love at first bite" proves that even the most emotionally stable people can legally get married.
posted by Sukiari at 4:02 PM on November 4, 2006


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