In the mentoring Robert Steijn asked me if I do the exercises with the eyes closed, and if so, why? He considers eyes open as a more natural state even in improvisation with proprioceptive basis, and that there is “something strange” happening with the self-experience when the eyes are closed. He told me he prefers to keep them open, when he goes on a journey and meets his ghosts.
I saw him in performance, and he was closing his eyes many times for extended periods, and I am wondering now, was he trying to make it more dramatic for the audience or more real for himself.
The thing about the vision is that it’s not as neutral as it seems, because it simply overrides the other senses. The brain decides to trust it more, maybe because it seems more intersubjective than for example tactile and proprioseptive sensations.
But even then, vision executes more power over the other senses than just sustained domination. It can include them as part of the synesthetic image created, but mostly if they support the visual assumption. Generally “proprioceptive signals which overtly disagree with the visual ones are not used for adaptation, while those which largely agree with visual ones are used to enhance adaptive recalibration “(Pipereit,k. et.at 2006). The use of mirror in Ramashandran’s therapy of phantom limbs pain is very much based on this assumption of the visual overriding the proprioceptive.
One man lost his hand in a violent accident provoked by a machine. The man was operated and did not have phantom sensations afterwards, but when he received a very expensive and good looking prosthesis he started to have terrible nightmares, and could not sleep anymore. He decided to resign from prosthesis and everything went back to “normal”.
It seems that having the “arm back”, the trauma of losing it so abruptly was back too. I wander if by some proprioceptive exercises with the eyes closed he could actually develop a sufficient distrust in his visual system, which otherwise provokes the traumatic illusion of the prosthesis being a real hand, by using the still active phantom potential of the lost hand. Could it be that through some exercises the man at the same time could see the hand, but not allow his proprioceptive phantom sensation merge with it?