Saturday, September 07, 2013

Trypophobia and the fear of swiss cheese

Most phobias are irrational fears that some people are born with or have developed over time. A classic is Claustrophobia - fear of enclosed spaces. I have a fear of heights which, I presume, a lot of people have because there are 5 names for it - Acrophobia, Altophobia, Batophobia, Hypsiphobia or Hyposophobia. Trypophobia is the fear of holes, even in benign items, such as Swiss cheese.

As an aside, if you think that you are fearless, that is, you have no phobias and are maybe feeling a little left out, the site phobialist.com lists 621 types of phobias. I'm sure that you could find one there to call your own.

Actually, Trypophobia is a fairly recent discovery. Geoff Cole of the university of Essex did some research on people who had, as he did, a fear of holes. Now these aren't bottomless pit holes; these are common holes, especially when they form a pattern, as in Swiss cheese, seed pods or sieves. Cole through his research was able to connect this fear to a primeval part of the brain, that linked holes with the patterned skin of poisonous animals. In other words Trypophobia is a hang over from our cavemen days, when we had to be super sensitive to everything in the environment that might endanger us.

Now, I may have a fear of holes, but not where they apply to dangerous animals. I fear, for example:

1. Holes in my pockets - literally and figuratively. I once had a coat with a hole in each pocket. All my spare change would fall into the hem of the coat. I jingled when I walked and I probably should have developed a fear of large magnets :)

2. Holes in the plumbing - literally these are a drain on the pocketbook. We are actually going to have to have the bathroom replaced because it leaks through holes in not one but three places :)

Holes with a purpose

3. Holes in the masonry, especially at this time of the year. That's where the mice get in. My parents who lived on a farm actually used to have snakes creep in!! Another fear - not a phobia - this is a rational one!!

4. Holes in the body - this is not actually a fear, but more of a revulsion. I particularly dislike seeing people with pierced tongues and lips.

5. Holes in the newspaper where someone has clipped out an article. Now I have to find out what that article was all about :)

6. Holes in woollen garments - moth holes are the bane of people who knit fine lace in cobweb yarns. Now, I never fear the holes in lace.

7. Holes in the inventory - who's been helping themselves?

8. Holes in my shoes. I have been known to wear my shoes out on the top side, where the toes are, rather than on the soles - Maybe I shouldn't have mentioned that :)

9. Loopholes in contracts - why can't more things be done on a handshake?

10. Holes in the bread - that's where the jam drips through.

OK, most of this post has been on the negative aspect of holes. However, I would like to leave you with a positive thought. For this I will have to paraphrase Leonard Cohen.

There's a crack (hole) in everything. That's how the light gets in.

The picture? From my post on sieves.

Have a wholly wonderful day!!

2 comments:

  1. Great list, I've got no holes to pick in it! (sorry!)
    Did make me smile, and I also agree about pierced lips, noses, etc, particularly the new thing of piercing cheeks or foreheads it just looks ridiculous to me!

    Cheers,
    Gordon

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  2. So when your pet initially hints at tingling or scratching, better take them to the vet immediately for legitimate examination. trypophobia skin disease

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