September 20, 2017

"The holes in lotus seed heads have been claimed to cause anxiety in some people."

Are you one of those people?


Photo by Peripitus, "Fruit of sacred lotus (Nelumbo nucifera) at Botanic Garden, Adelaide, South Australia."

I'm reading the Wikipedia article on Trypophobia, "a proposed phobia (intense, irrational fear, or anxiety) of irregular patterns or clusters of small holes or bumps... believed to have been coined by a participant in an online forum in 2005."
Trypophobia... is rarely used in scientific literature... However, on blogs and in internet forums, thousands of people claim to have trypophobia. Psychiatrist Carol Mathews said... most people writing online are likely disgusted by these types of images without meeting criteria for a real phobia.
I just noticed trypophobia because of a CNN article last week, "TV show triggers little-known phobia" (which begins with the note: "There are no triggering images embedded in this story. There is a slideshow at the bottom with a warning slate as the first image. However, to explain to those without trypophobia what the disorder is like, we have had to use a few descriptive phrases of common triggers. Please be cautious while reading"):
It was supposed to be a fun lunch outing in the Big Apple with her mother and grandmother. But when Jennifer Andresen saw an advertisement for this season's "American Horror Story" on the side of a New York taxi, she had to pull her car over, and fast.

"I was having a full-blown panic attack," said Andresen, who lives in Norwalk, Connecticut. "My pulse was racing. I was so nauseous. I thought I would throw up. My mother and grandmother were like, 'What is wrong with you?' I didn't want to ruin my family's day, but I couldn't help myself."
Oh, I guess I'm a jerk if I publish this post with the lotus right there staring at you with a thousand 22 eyes.

The panic-inducing poster seems to have been one of these:



Very nice posters, really. And here's Buzzfeed's trypophobia test, "Only People Without Trypophobia Will Be Able To Finish This Quiz."

52 comments:

Quaestor said...

Whenever the word trigger is used in a non-firearms related context its time to put on your bullshit survival gear. Same goes for anything anteceded by phobia.

Michael K said...

I think shower heads with lots of holes do panic some of those people.

Quaestor said...

Gad, I wish I still had my Blackberry.

Hammond X. Gritzkofe said...

The tongue in the rt hand pic looks much like peppered salmon.

Bob Ellison said...

Are those eyeballs, or boobies? The former might cause me anxiety.

Off-topic: I just bought a loupe (Carson LumiLoupe 10X Power Stand Magnifier (LL-10), about $10 bucks on Amazon, and apparently quite standard for examination of photos). It hasn't arrived yet, but the photo Althouse posted here made me think I'd want to use it on a lotus seed head to inspect those liddle thingies.

Hammond X. Gritzkofe said...

Does peppered salmon have a clitoris?

Christopher said...

Anxiety? No.

However, there is a faint disgust that I feel when seeing stuff like this. I don't know why but it always just looked diseased or infested to me; as if something had burrowed in and was about to burst out.

Anyway you forgot to throw in an image of the Common Suriname Toad. The eggs are implanted into the back of the mother, with the offspring eventually bursting forth as fully developed toads.

Chuck Mayhew said...

Images like that do cause me anxiety, but not enough to cause a full blown anxiety attack. There is something about the closely spaced holes, particularly if they are not completely regular in distance, depth, and shape. The phobia is real, for certain.

Ann Althouse said...

The lotus reminds me of tonsils when they get those white spots.

Ann Althouse said...

Do not do a Google image search for "tonsils with white spots." I did not anticipate how much that would gross me out!

Ann Althouse said...

I'm gagging just remembering the photos!

buwaya said...

"Gad, I wish I still had my Blackberry."

I still miss my blackberry, gone since 2012, dismissed for being insecure.

MikeD said...

So, it's not really a "phobia"? It's merely a proposed phobia looking for somebody to claim it's a real medical condition. Well, it worked for "gender dysphoria" why not this?

buwaya said...

Re photo,

It would make more sense to worship the Sacred Lotus, of the mysterious eyes poking through little holes, than the various feelings people like to turn into religions.

Jonathan Graehl said...

those images are all a little disgusting in that they bring to mind unhealthy parasitized flesh. so what?

Ryan said...

This is a 4chan thing....

Unknown said...

You misspelled "Munchausen Syndrome."

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

What it reminds me of is that Stephen King story where a guy comes back from a trip to Venus and discovers his hands are full of eyes. Ewwwww.

Why are stories about Venus always so nasty, anyway? There's a couple about how it never (or almost never) stops raining. There's a really hideous one about how the jungle's always growing, except when enormous slugs with digestive acid and mysterious extra-gravitational powers mow it down. There's Larry Niven's about how an astronaut has to go out on his (human-brained) spaceship's wings a couple dozen miles up with buckets of ice to make the thrusters work. Even the best one I can think of ("A Voyage to Sfanomae" -- not sure if I spelled that right -- by Clark Ashton Smith) ends with the voyagers dead, having been transformed into flowers. The only friendly Venus I know is Perelandra, and I'll happily take that over all the others.

The Toothless Revolutionary said...

Sure it's a bit odd, but then the world is full of strange things. Like Republicans, for instance.

rehajm said...

Think I'm one of those people. Since I was a kid. Anxiety isn't the word, though. Nausea. Revulsion. Disgust. Those work.

Be said...

I'm wondering how many Sapiosexuals suffer from Trypophobia.

Fritz said...

They do have a striking similarity to the holes made by warble fly or botfly larvae.

mockturtle said...

I'm not one but my younger daughter most definitely is. That photo would really freak her out

buwaya said...

"Why are stories about Venus always so nasty, anyway? "

More weird and nasty Venusian stuff (and Martian too!)
Look for the golden age writer C.L.Moore - "Northwest Smith" stories.
You will find them on Amazon, Kindle edition, look for C.L. Moore "Northwest Smith"

Oddly, E.R. Burroughs Venus was not quite as full of evil monsters as his Mars, but it had a decent number. Of course, also very cheap on Amazon. Look for "Pirates of Venus" and the three-four others in the series. Quite late work for Burroughs, and also fairly political.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Thanks, buwaya. Will do!

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Fritz,

Now you have me thinking about maggots. Thanks -- not!

Though the image that first came to mind was a paper-wasp nest, and that isn't exactly better.

betty said...

My wife is one of those. For more than 20 years I had teased her about her irrational fear and anxiety of the seed pod of Australia's banksia trees (search out some pics - they are beautifully sculptural). She finally found an article on trypophobia, realized in a flash she was not alone, and convinced me there was something to her fear.

cf said...

1. the Lotus: What does it mean if that multi-eyed lotus looks cute to me, a bit wacky but charming? I want to get up close, touch it, i wonder if it rattles.

2. Life on Venus: Back in my vegan days, planting trees in an old burn area for the forest service, my crew would meet up at the local breakfast place for platters of bacon and eggs, etc. I worked out my perfect breakfast there: a side of potatoes, a side of tomatoes and a side of sprouts. It was excellent. but one morning, the cook came out looking for who was making this order. He was named "Bananas", cool hippy dude that knew me, and when he found out it was me he just stared, in a kind of surprised admiration and a touch of wonder.

He claimed that what I was ordering every morning is what Venusians eat. I could tell he was impressed and that he now figured I knew more than I looked like I did. And then he had to hurry back in to tend to his orders.

cool. that is my direct experience of these Lotus and of life on Venus.





John Nowak said...

I find the pictures vaguely distasteful, and I'd rather not look at them. I think the earlier "parasitized flesh" comment nails it. However, I wouldn't call it a "phobia." I suppose scientists would prefer the term "anxiety" over "icky;" by that definition I'd admit to it.

>Why are stories about Venus always so nasty, anyway?

Planeta Bur (1962) wasn't particularly nasty, although the robot doesn't make it. I'm rather fond of Russian space films.

Michael The Magnificent said...

I still miss my blackberry, gone since 2012, dismissed for being insecure.

Didn't stop Hillary from using a consumer-grade (non-hardened, non-secure) Blackberry to conduct official State business on. And when she lost or broke one, she had her underlings buy her a used one on E-Bay, because she was too intellectually challenged to figure out how to use a new Blackberry.

Can you imagine that? Buying a used cell phone from some unknown person over the internet, who has installed God-knows what kind of key-logger on it, and then sending and receiving classified information over it? For those of us who have held a security clearance, the mind boggles!

Leslie Graves said...

I don't have a phobia for any of those images, but some of them do creep me out for no good reason at all.

Freeman Hunt said...

Nausea, yes. But surely that's not the line. The line must be somewhere between nausea and pull over the car to freak out.

Narayanan Subramanian said...

See also tripe.

William said...

I've made some embarrassing typos, but they never really developed into typophobia. You just have to proofread and accept the fact that you're not perfect.

jaed said...

I have this! Bigly!

But for me, it's not exactly fear, and not exactly anxiety (although some of the images do get my heart racing/breating faster/bit of cold sweat reaction). It's more that I have an unholy fascination with them, a compulsion to stare at them even though I don't like them at all. It's a strange feeling, because it's a compulsion to do something I find actively unpleasant.

Also, the ones with holes are not as bad as the ones with holes with SOMETHING IN THE HOLES. The lotus pods bother me a lot more with seeds than without. I feel an urge to pop them out.

The ones where holes are in the skin (or might be in skin) bother me much, much more than inorganic images like cellulose sponges full of holes. The image of fingers here was what really got to me, and caused me to look around the web to find out whether other people were as bothered by this as I was. I kept feeling phantom holes in my fingertips. Euuuwww.

Yancey Ward said...

The images cause me no discomfort at all- I found almost all of them quite interesting to look at and study.

If I had to guess at what unnerves people and why, I would guess it is some deep-seated primal fear of infections, parasitism, or just simply rotting food.

Yancey Ward said...

If you want to freak me out, just show me someone bleeding.

sinz52 said...

I actually have that condition!

When I see a cluster of bubbles in soap foam, it just disgusts me.

I often wonder if it subconsciously reminds me of all the times I had chicken pox or hives, which involved clusters of bumps or pustules.

Because look at a picture of someone with smallpox:

https://www.cdc.gov/smallpox/images/sp-hand.jpg

Doesn't it give you the chills?


MadisonMan said...

a guy comes back from a trip to Venus and discovers his hands are full of eyes.

Great story. He ends up pulling the trigger of a shotgun because after he burns off his hands, the eyes reform in a circle on his chest.

Don't mess with Venus.

tim maguire said...

It is a weird looking plant. I'm a bit put off by it, but if I hadn't been primed to be disturbed, I probably wouldn't have been.

There's a different word for that.

Kate said...

"Also, the ones with holes are not as bad as the ones with holes with SOMETHING IN THE HOLES."

Yes, I have this. And yes, this sentence has completely TRIGGERED ME.

BYE.

Roughcoat said...

I find the photo disturbing. It gave me a strange jolt even before I read the accompanying text. I've discovered something new about myself. Weird.

John Nowak said...

>It's more that I have an unholy fascination with them, a compulsion to stare at them even though I don't like them at all.

A little like watching a horror movie?

It might be interesting to classify horror films by the phobias they evoke. That might explain why so many fail.

Lots of people are afraid of cats, and some films tried to work with that, but I don't think any have been successful.

MayBee said...

Yes! I have a problem with the lotus seed.

I realized I had this issue when I saw a video of peeper toads and their eggs. I really almost can't even type the words "peeper toad" without freaking out.

Helenhightops said...

Yes, I have this revulsion. I really could not be a dermatologist.

Re Venus: Cordwainer Smith's "When the People Fell".

Hazy Dave said...

Blast from the Past

PSM said...

It looks like its watching you

David-2 said...

I'm happy to know there's a word for it. My wife used to be freaked out when I'd buy a bouquet where the florist put in fern leaves with spores for decoration.

She also can't stand these common gardening gloves.

Bob R said...

I was going to make a joke about "stupid-quiz-phobia" but I really liked those images. I would have clicked through a dozen more. I have a mild phobia for heights. Not enough to cause me problems, but enough to let me know that my rational mind isn't always in complete control.

Rusty said...

X. Gritzkofe said...
"The tongue in the rt hand pic looks much like peppered salmon."

I think it's suppose to be a strawberry.

Bad Lieutenant said...

I don't think you have to have a problem to be disturbed by this artwork. This artwork is designed to be disturbing.

Hạt giống tí hon said...

You can practice planting lotus seeds