In my previous blog ("People don't know the features of their own pristine inner experience") I challenged you to commit to paper a few words about your take on the inner experience of women with bulimia nervosa. (If you didn't jot down your notes already, I recommend that you do so now before you read on.)
Most people (and most of bulimia science) think that bulimic women are preoccupied with weight and shape and the socio-cultural thin ideal. Our research (with Sharon Jones-Forrester and Stephanie Doucette) shows that that is indeed to some degree the case. However, more striking than that is our observation that the inner experience of all 24 (of the 24 bulimic women whose experience we have explored) is characterized by fragmented multiplicity. Here's an example (from Chapter 2 of my book Investigating Pristine Inner Experience: Moments of Truth):
Jessica was watching the TV show Scrubs, a scene in which a skinny blond female doctor walked into a room and all of the male doctors froze and stared at her. As she watched, Jessica was innerly speaking words in two distinctly separate parts of her head. In the front of her head, she was innerly saying, in her own normal speaking voice, the words "blond," "skinny," "guys," and "stare." These words were clearly apprehended as if spoken aloud except there was no external sound. At the same time, in the back part of her head, she was also saying, in another inner voice, "Why is it that movies and TV shows always have," "girls for," "to," and "at." These words were also apprehended as being said in her own inner voice, but this voice was quieter. At the moment of the beep, these two voice streams were not temporally coordinated or synchronized; that is, both the front/louder and the back/softer voices were simultaneously speaking jumbles of words like pieces of a puzzle. If one were to combine the puzzle pieces from both streams and arrange them in order, one would get, "Why is it that movies and TV shows always have blond skinny girls for guys to stare at?" but at the moment of the beep Jessica did not experience that coherent sentence - that meaning was fragmented across the two simultaneous voice jumbles.
Simultaneously, Jessica was recalling perhaps eight or ten separate scenes from movies or TV shows in which skinny blond girls were featured, a jumble of incompletely articulated thoughts that somehow existed in a pile or heap outside and behind her head. There were no words, visual images, or other symbols in these recallings.