Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Reflection: Tagging (A Metaphor for Monotropism)

I belong to a lesser known social bookmarking site -- and from the experience of bookmarking and tagging, I draw another metaphor for monotropism:
I tag websites with keywords and -- metaphorically -- I tag real-life stimuli as well. A particuar stimuli is tagged 'fear', and it is always fear; a particular person is tagged 'love' and they are always love.
The funny thing is, I actually have trouble responding emotionally to stimuli that haven't been 'tagged'. Here's something I've puzzled over at various times: I will sometimes order an item at a restaurant or juice bar that ends up turning my stomach. I think I do it because I don't recognize, or experience, body signals well. I can tell you what my favorite foods are, but if you ask me what my stomach or taste buds crave at a particuar moment in time, you'll be met with bafflement. Salty? Sweet? I don't know, and I'm not sure I know how to know.
Some people say that emotions are largely physiological responses to stimuli. Well, this is just a theory, but it does so seem to fit: Deficient in normal body signals, deficient in the very mechanics of attraction and repulsion, emotion for me consists largely of conditioned responses to a limited number of stimuli. (I just want my favorite. I just want whatever it is I've tagged as 'favorite'.)