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The Deconstructive Owl of Minerva

The Deconstructive Owl of Minerva:


An Examination of Schizophrenia
through Philosophy, Psychoanalysis
and Postmodernism

By

Dr. Lillian Burke

The Deconstructive Owl of Minerva:


An Examination of Schizophrenia through Philosophy, Psychoanalysis and Postmodernism,
by Dr. Lillian Burke
This book first published 2013
Cambridge Scholars Publishing
12 Back Chapman Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE6 2XX, UK
British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data
A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library
Copyright 2013 by Dr. Lillian Burke
All rights for this book reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system,
or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or
otherwise, without the prior permission of the copyright owner.
ISBN (10): 1-4438-4845-X, ISBN (13): 978-1-4438-4845-9

For my sister, Carol


with love

TABLE OF CONTENTS

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS ............................................................................... x


LIST OF TABLES........................................................................................... xi
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ............................................................................... xii
INTRODUCTION ............................................................................................. 1
Chapter 1: Scientific and Psychoanalytic Background to Schizophrenia
Chapter 2: G.W.F. Hegel
Chapter 3: Jacques Lacan
Chapter 4: Postmodernism
Chapter 5: An Interdisciplinary Examination
Conclusion
CHAPTER ONE ............................................................................................ 10
SCIENTIFIC AND PSYCHOANALYTIC BACKGROUND TO SCHIZOPHRENIA
Introduction
Schizophrenia and Science
Schizophrenia and The Talking Cure
Conclusion
CHAPTER TWO ........................................................................................... 26
GEORG WILHELM FRIEDRICH HEGEL
Introduction
Fragmentation
Religion and the Fragmentation of Consciousness
The Self-Alienation of Law
The Freedom-Seeking Individual
Language
The Objectifying Nature of Language
The Dialectic of Becoming and Unhappy Consciousness
Sanity and Insanity
Stream of Consciousness
Objects of Consciousness
Object-Parts, Time-Parts and Creativity

viii

Table of Contents

Unity and Time


Deconstruction
Consciousness and its Other
Deconstructing the Master/Slave Dialectic
Dreaming as a Deconstruction of Insanity
The Creation of the Madman: Past and Present
Conclusion
CHAPTER THREE ........................................................................................ 92
JACQUES LACAN
Introduction
Fragmentation
The Separation of the Self
The Socialization of the Self
The Story of Trauma
The Significance of the Gaze
Language
Signifiers, Signifieds and the Self
The Destructive Power of the Other
The Return Journey of the Self
The Therapy of Literature
Stream of Consciousness
Fragile Structures
The Horrors of the Real
The Haunting of the Self
Echoes and Contexts
Deconstruction
Governments and Ghosts
History in Mourning
The Petrification of Reason
The Gaze of Time
Conclusion
CHAPTER FOUR ........................................................................................ 154
POSTMODERNISM
Introduction
Fragmentation
The Labour of Desire
The Register of Desire
Schizoanalysis and its Inquiries
Oedipus and his Discontents

The Deconstructive Owl of Minerva

ix

Language
History as Story-teller and Savant
Lyotard and the Unpresentable
Narratives, Archives and Mutations
The Aristocracy of Private Experience
Stream of Consciousness
Memory and the Schizophrenic Present
Prolepses and the Anxiety of the Narrator
Space, Frontiers and the Schizophrenic Consciousness
Owning Schizophrenia
Deconstruction
The Fever and Sovereignty of the Archive
Presence, Absence and Metaphysical Time
Reality and Culture
Conclusion
CHAPTER FIVE.......................................................................................... 221
AN INTERDISCIPLINARY EXAMINATION
Introduction
The Linguistic Roots of Schizophrenia
The Effects of Schizophrenia
Ways in which Schizophrenia can be Analysed
Schizophrenia as Manifest in Culture
The Approach to Schizophrenia
Conclusion
CONCLUSION ............................................................................................ 244
APPENDICES ............................................................................................. 248
BIBLIOGRAPHY ......................................................................................... 269
INDEX ....................................................................................................... 279

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

Fig. 2-1: Salvador Dali, The Persistence of Memory (1931). Oil on Canvas, 9 x
13. The Museum of Modern Art, New York.
Fig. 2-2: Helen Frankenthaler, Nature Abhors a Vacuum (1973). Acrylic on
canvas, 8 7 x 9 4. The Andr Emmerich Gallery, New York.
Fig. 3-1: Hieronymus Bosch, The Ship of Fools (1490 -1500). Oil on wood, 23 x
13. Muse Du Louvre, Paris.
Fig. 3-2: Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, Medusa, (1596 -1598). Oil on
canvas, 60 x 55. Uffitzi and Pitti Museum, Florence.
Fig. 3-3: Edvard Munch, The Scream (1893 - 1910). Oil, tempera and pastel on
cardboard, 91 x 73. The National Gallery, Oslo.
Fig. 3-4: Hans Holbien, The Ambassadors (1533). Oil on oak, 207 x 209. The
National Gallery, London.
Fig. 3-5: The optical model: Source: Jacques Lacan, The Seminar. Book 1. Freuds
papers on Technique, trans. With notes by John Forrester, New York: Norton;
Cambridge University Press, 1988
Fig. 3-6: Schema L. Source: Jacques Lacan, crits, Paris: Seuil, 1966
Fig. 3-7: The Borromean knot
Fig. 3-8: Jacques Lacan, crits: A Selection, Trans. Alan Sheridan, (London, 2006)
p. 234.
Fig. 4-1 4-3: Examples of lArt Brut circa early to mid-twentieth century.
Collected by Jean Dubuffet, Luasanne, Switzerland.
Fig. 4-4: Vincent van Gogh, A Pair of Boots (1887). Oil on canvas, 30 x 41.
Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore.
Fig. 4-5: Andy Warhol, Diamond Dust Shoes (1980). Synthetic polymer paint,
silkscreen ink and diamond dust on canvas, 90 x 70. The Andy Warhol
Museum, Pittsburgh.
Fig. 4-6: Le Modle Rouge (The Red Model) Ren Magritte, Le Modle Rouge
(1935). Oil on canvas/cartoon, 56 x 46. Muse National dArt Moderne,
Paris.
Fig. 4-7: Piet Mondrian, Composition with Yellow, Blue and Red (1921). Oil on
canvas, 72 x 69. Tate Gallery, London.
Fig. 4-8: Mind the Gap London Underground, London (current).
Fig. 4-9: French Connection, French Connection United Kingdom, (fcuk), (since
1997). London.
Fig. 5-1: Tracy Emin, My Bed (1999). Charles Saatchi Gallery, London.
Fig. 5-2: Ren Magritte, Reproduction Prohibited (1937). Oil on canvas, 79 x
65. Museum Boymans-van Beuningen, Rotterdam.
Fig. 5-3: Bridget Riley, Conversation (1992). Oil on linen, 86 x 119. Albert Hall
Art Gallery, Kendal.

LIST OF TABLES

Table 1-1: Left Hemisphere


Table 1-2: Right Hemisphere

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I owe a special gratitude to Dr. Paula Murphy for her encouragement and
support of my work. I would like to thank Dr. Eugene OBrien for his
consideration and interest in my area of research. I am indebted to Prof.
Hugh Silverman for his validation of my work, his kindness and his
enthusiasm. I also owe a special mention to Prof. Timothy J. Crow and to
Dr. Terry Lynch for their zeal and support. I would also like to take this
opportunity to thank my parents, John and Mary, my sister Carol and my
brother, Brazil. I am further indebted to the following for their continued
support, guidance and care: Dr. Kathleen ODwyer, John Phayer, Dr.
Mary Honan, Claire Gleeson, Ian Murphy, Sarah Milne and Edward
Lynskey. You have been wonderful friends.

INTRODUCTION

This book contributes to the wealth of knowledge available on the


phenomenon of the schizophrenic experience. Beginning with an
examination of the traditional use of the term schizophrenia, it opens by
exploring the scientific and psychoanalytic use of the word. Within this
framework it becomes evident that a wider interpretation than that of
biology and genetics is required to explain the schizoid way of being.
Starting with the current work of Timothy J. Crow and the effects of
language on the developing brain, this work further questions categories of
being and the self through the philosophy of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich
Hegel. By regarding the dialectic of spirit, the desire for recognition and
the linguistic propensity to create the other, the naturalisation of the
insane comes into question. Through a philosophical reading of
schizophrenia it becomes clearer that the linguistic experience is common
and that relations to the other are in varying degrees of intensity rather
than difference. Further to this the effects of language on the self are
investigated through the psychoanalysis of Jacques Lacan.
Through reading the notion of schizophrenia from the gothic to the
psychotic, the deconstruction of the binary of sanity and insanity offers a
contemporary understanding of the schizoid experience as well as
underlining the consequences of creating entities of being. In the course of
a Lacanian reading of schizophrenia many issues are raised; from the ego
and trauma to post-history and perception. These issues are taken up in
postmodern theory in order to understand changes in perception and
interpretation and the repercussions these changes have in the treatment of
the diagnosed schizophrenic and our comprehension of the schizoid
experience in light of philosophy, literary theory and psychoanalysis. The
intensity of this way of being-in-the-world is predominantly a struggle
with the phenomenon of language and its complexity raises more
questions concerning the anxiety for the archive, the neurosis of becoming
and the object/subject dialectic than questions about the origin of the disease or the measurement of the condition of schizophrenia. This book
concludes with an interdisciplinary reading of schizophrenia; the notion
itself, its complexity and its tremendous chorus whose voices rise up to
know the truth.

Introduction

In this book, I aim to highlight the significance of the other across the
disciplines of philosophy, psychoanalysis and postmodern literary theory.
The other in this work refers to the notion of the other in the linguistic
field.1 By combining these three disciplines I will support the significance
of the other and highlight its objectifying characteristics. In doing so I
will demonstrate the negative influence the objectifying other has on the
subject. Following from this, I will illustrate the causes and consequences
of delegating the diagnosed schizophrenic as the other of society. It is
my conviction that the characteristic schizophrenic symptoms of auditory
hallucinations and ontological fear of objectivity highlight the observable
fact that everyones identity is fragmented by language; yet, it is the
phenomenon of the schizophrenic experience, which defies the conventions
of rationality; that generates its otherness in society.
The notion of schizophrenia, as a psychiatric illness, will be deconstructed
to demonstrate that schizophrenia, as a way of being, is a heightened
awareness of the mastery of language and highlights the on-going trauma
of consciousness upon entering the symbolic order, whereby the notion
and reality of the other is created. It is upon the awareness of the mastery
of language that the binary opposites of sanity and insanity manifest
themselves to be deconstructed. Through an examination of postmodern
culture and its dialectic relationship with modernism, both the significance
and instability of objectivity and rationality, as naturalisation processes,
will be examined to further the interpretation of schizophrenia as a
reasonable and primarily linguistic condition, as well as formulating a
hypothesis for how treatment of the condition can best be approached. By
the assessment of the inherent dialectic in cultural movements the notion
of schizophrenia becomes aligned with redefinitions of the self, both from
individual and cultural perspectives. Thereby, the inevitability of the
schizophrenic experience in society, as a reaction to the traumatic use of
language, and as an indispensable expression in the object/subject dialectic
of literary theory, foregrounds the necessity of interdisciplinary
approaches to foster our understanding of the development of the term
schizophrenia, its classification as other in society and the linguistic
effect of dividing the self. The central theme of this book, throughout the
various chapters, is the consequences of language on the self.
Due to the confines of my focus, I will be selecting one main
philosopher and one main psychoanalyst to prove my theory that
1

Jacques Lacan refers to this other as Other in the context of the symbolic order.
However, as my thesis will discuss several kinds of other in different
philosophical contexts with definitions that resonate with each other, I will refer to
the other of language using inverted commas as opposed to a capital O.

The Deconstructive Owl of Minerva

schizophrenia is a linguistic condition. In my research, I have found


studies that have been conducted on the correlations between psychosis
and culture, on G.W.F. Hegel and Jacques Lacan as well as on schizophrenia
and literature. However, the application of Hegels phenomenology and
Lacans psychoanalysis to the concept of schizophrenia, both as a
psychiatric condition and as manifest in culture, has never been undertaken.
Therefore, it is my aim to demonstrate that, through this interdisciplinary
approach, a more thorough understanding of the causes and effects of
schizophrenia can be obtained as well as establishing the argument that
schizophrenia is a linguistic condition; the ultimate expression of the
fragmentary effect of language and the hidden desires of authentic
subjectivity. I aim to highlight that language, as a social construct, is a
major determining factor in schizophrenia and, at the same time, it is
through language that schizoid-effective tendencies can be harnessed.
Hegels philosophy, Lacanian psychoanalysis and postmodernism, as
examined in relation to schizophrenia, will be explored under the recurring
themes of 1) fragmentation, 2) language, 3) stream of consciousness, and
4) deconstruction. The first two have been found to be common themes in
my interdisciplinary research on schizophrenia, therefore, they warranted
investigation. The concept of stream of consciousness requires analysis in
order to highlight the anxieties felt by the schizophrenic and to explore
avenues for the understanding of hallucinations, from the powerful
impressions of objectivity to an acknowledgement of desire. This analysis
sets the stage for the deconstruction of my findings, at the end of each
chapter.
My reasoning for selecting Hegels phenomenology in this thesis lies in
his philosophy of the dialectic, particularly as manifested in his Lordship
and Bondage theory. Hegels themes of recognition, ownership,
redefinitions of the self towards Absolute Knowledge and the propensity
for deconstruction within the dialectic are recurring themes within the
book. Hegels influence has spread to Lacanian psychoanalysis and
cultural theory; notably Marxism and schizoanalysis. Most importantly,
Hegels phenomenology illustrates the rationale of auditory hallucinations
and streams of consciousness. Through the analysis of being-in-itself and
being-for-itself for consciousness, and the dialectic which ensues, the
desire for self-identity, within the symbolic order, is better understood.
The phenomenon of schizoid-effective tendencies together with the
dialectic of becoming highlights the rationale of schizophrenia. Hegels
philosophy of Absolute Spirit or Absolute Knowledge is also vital in the
understanding of schizoid effective tendencies as the subjects experience
and history are compounded over time and taken in their totality. The

Introduction

criticisms of an objective other towards a subject play their part in aiding


the subjects realisation of his/her Absolute Spirit. In recognising this, the
objective other becomes the slave whilst the subject once again becomes
the master.
My principle motive for reading Lacan in relation to schizophrenia
resides in his tripartite structure of the mind; the real self, the symbolic self
and the imaginary self. The desire of the real self to gain expression in the
symbolic order is akin to the anxieties of the schizophrenic in trying to
maintain his/her hold on his/her sense of subjectivity irrespective of the
mastery of objectivity. Lacans influence, through his examination of
language, on literary theory, offers tremendous assistance in substantiating
my contention that schizophrenia is a linguistic condition and that the
hyper-reflexivity that results from this way of being is a logical reaction to
the juxtaposition of multiple selves as narrated by language and the
phenomenon of the other. Lacans theses on language are the most
closely aligned to my interpretation of schizophrenia. According to Lacan,
the self is complete before the mirror phase i.e. before he/she realises that
he/she is a self-conscious being. The fragmentation of the self begins when
the self realises its separateness from others, particularly the primary caregiver. Upon realising that the self is a social being, he/she begins the
process of self-deconstruction. In attempting to make sense of his/her
world, self-consciously the self grapples with language. As a social
construct, language is a means of allowing the subject to function as part
of a community or to be-in-the-world, whilst accommodating the other
social constructs of the selfs existence e.g. society, history and experience
as are narrated by language. The repercussions of harnessing the desire of
the real self in the symbolic order will be further examined through the
work of Julia Kristeva and her thesis on abjection, in conjunction with
Lacan. There are several theories by Lacan that I will be focusing on in
this thesis. For example, the mirror phase and recognition in the formation
of the self-conscious mind, the name-of-the-father, the language of the
self, desire, the real self, the symbolic self and the imaginary self, the
pleasure principle and the death drive.
The central postmodern theorists I will be focusing on are Gilles
Deleuze and Flix Guattari and their concepts of schizoanalysis and
rhizomatic knowledge, together with their theses on capitalism and antiOedipus. The alleged fragmentation of the schizophrenic condition will be
investigated through the notion of desire, whereby the assumed unity of
the postmodern age, under the guise of a schizophrenic age, will be
brought into question. The dialectic of modernism and postmodernism will
further explain the features of postmodernism such as nostalgia, space,

The Deconstructive Owl of Minerva

post-history, the desire for the archive and the consequences of these for
understanding schizophrenia. Following this, Jacques Derridas theses on
time, metaphysics and archive fever will deconstruct postmodernism and
schizophrenia. The desire for recognition, in order to define an age,
warrants a distinction between modernism and postmodernism. However,
the theoretical approaches to these cultural phenomena unveil postmodernism
to be self-deconstructive to the point where schizophrenia can be seen as
modernist, in comparison to the interpretation of postmodernism as an age
of completion. The contrast between the theories of Fredric Jameson and
Jean-Franois Lyotard highlights the various interpretations of distinctions
made between modernism and postmodernism. Lyotards intellectualisation
of postmodernism has opened the cannon on the dialectic of both cultural
movements. The use of other theorists will work in support of the ideas of
these central theorists, for example, Karl Marx and Michel Foucault.
The concept of the other will be of paramount importance in the
analysis of Hegel, Lacan and the postmodern critics, as outlined under the
themes of fragmentation, language, stream of consciousness and
deconstruction. The concept of the other is necessary to explain the selfconscious mind as a social construct. It is also crucial in explaining the
tendencies of a schizophrenic mind, and its mirror in how society has
become fragmented due to its drives to satisfy the other.
The theme of recognition is of central importance in the philosophical,
psychoanalytic, postmodern and literary aspects of my work and for the
understanding of schizoid effective tendencies. This theme is a major part
of Hegelian philosophy and Lacanian psychoanalysis. In both instances the
self needs to recognise itself as a self in order to acquire Absolute
Knowledge and a healthy mind. If the self recognises itself as an object as
opposed to a subject, its self-conscious mind will fragment. Also, when
the self recognises itself as a social construct the real self does not gain
expression if this recognition is simply accepted, hence the disillusionment
which is characteristic of postmodernism. In terms of stream of
consciousness, greater comprehension of schizoid effective disorders is
possible when the language of the objective other is recognised as a
social construct, albeit a social construct unattached to a real self. The
internal dialogue of a schizoid mind is constructed by language. The
mastery of the other is a social construct that is internalised, therefore an
idea that can be overturned by the individual. The masters assumption of
power is misleading and the objectified subject needs to recognise this in
order to alleviate the effects of a schizoid disorder.
The dialectic of consciousness will form part of a recurrent analysis in
this book also. The creation of objects of consciousness and self-

Introduction

consciousnesss relation to them is of primary importance in understanding


the mastery of objectivity and its consequences for a developing mind. The
dialectic of consciousness will coincide with my analysis of language and
its relationship to theories of self. The temporality of interpretation will
also be investigated under the themes of stream of consciousness and
deconstruction in order to highlight the phenomenon of auditory hallucinations
and the possibilities of reducing their terror for the schizophrenic.
Metaphysical time will be further studied in conjunction with theories
of metalanguage. This leads to an examination of the use of language in
literature, autobiography, speech and writing. Further to this assessment,
the phenomena of self-distancing, self-isolation and existential anxiety
will be analysed together with their relation to the sinthome.

Chapter 1: Scientific and Psychoanalytic Background


to Schizophrenia
The psychiatric framework of schizophrenia is outlined in this chapter
in order to contextualise the notion of schizophrenia together with the
predominant use of the term. As will be explained, the study of
schizophrenia as a linguistic struggle has gained momentum in psychiatric
research which both substantiates interdisciplinary investigations and
supports my contention that schizophrenia is the result of complex
relations with language. The work of Prof. Tim Crow is central to this
chapter as his investigations of language use on the brain are at the cutting
edge of psychiatric research into schizophrenia.

Chapter 2: G.W.F. Hegel


This chapter will focus on Hegels major works: Phenomenology of
Spirit and Philosophy of Mind with the emphasis on the development of
the self-conscious mind. Particular emphasis will be paid to the influence
of society, history and experience on its development in the battle between
the master and the slave. The theories of Jacques Derrida will also be
related to Hegels philosophy.

Chapter 3: Jacques Lacan


This chapter will focus on two of Lacans major works, crits and The
Language of the Self: The Function of Language in Psychoanalysis, with
the emphasis on the development of the self-conscious mind. Particular
emphasis will again be paid to the influence of society, history and

The Deconstructive Owl of Minerva

experience on its development in the desire of the real self to express itself
by its actions and the interpretations of such through the structure of
language.

Chapter 4: Postmodernism
In conjunction with Hegel and Lacan the following theorists will be
brought to bear: Jameson, Deleuze, Guattari and Lyotard. Their theories
on fragmentation, stream of consciousness, deconstruction of the self and
language will be vital in highlighting the research already carried out on
these themes. Also, by applying their theories I will be able to highlight
my own theory on the significance of the philosophical approach to
schizophrenia developed through literary theory, postmodern theory,
philosophical theory, psychological theory and linguistic theory.

Chapter 5: An Interdisciplinary Examination


This chapter is based on a philosophical understanding of schizophrenia
and will focus on the theory of language as a social construct and the
development of the self-conscious mind through societys structures. The
central theme of recognition for the contemplation of schizophrenia will be
highlighted by reference to the previous chapters together with their
theories and their application. The narrative parameters of schizophrenia
will highlight the narrative parameters of postmodernism. It is through this
emphasis that a philosophical understanding will take place. This approach
to schizophrenia concentrates on the internal dialogue with the other. As
dialogue and reality are constructed around language so too are auditory
hallucinations and the objective other. It is through recognising language
as a social construct and the ontological fragmentation which results from
a break with the self that an understanding of the schizoid split can be
achieved. Linguistics and Hegelian philosophy will highlight the
psychological implications as outlined by Lacans work. The extended
psychological implications will be emphasised by reference to the
postmodern theorists.

Conclusion
Through the application of Hegelian philosophy and Lacanian
psychoanalysis to postmodern theory, along with the study of language,
the notions of recognition and the other will be highlighted. The work of
the postmodern theorists will demonstrate the projected fragmentation of

Introduction

the mind in a wider social context as well as highlighting the necessity of


language for the purposes of interpretation. Social structures impose
themselves on the conscious and self-conscious mind of the individual. As
a result of this, the real self enters into dialectics in order to gain
expression. This is further complicated when the self-conscious mind
engages in a battle with itself for expression. It is a tension of language
within language. Due to the fact that the self is created in and by language,
schizophrenia can be best understood through the recognition that
language is a social construct. Conversely, the analysis of schizophrenia
allows for further interpretations of language and the self. Furthermore,
through recognising the deferral of the metaphor, the instability of
objectivity, the abstract notion of rationality and the consequences of a
desiring self within language, the notion of psychosis will be found
unstable and limiting. Consequently, the concept of schizophrenia can be
seen to reveal more about the object/subject dialectic of culture than about
the creation of societys other; the schizophrenic. The latter acutely
experiences the division of the self through the projection of the
objectified self in the form of hallucinations. It is because of experienced
trauma for the self-conscious mind, already formed in the symbolic order,
that the individual in question remembers the initial trauma of entering the
symbolic order and developing a split in consciousness. This incident
becomes naturalised through the creation of the imaginary and the
symbolic self and by the law of rationality. However, it is through
remembrance, as provoked by a traumatic event, that the hyper-reflexivity,
anti-epiphany, terror, anxiety, hallucinations, nihilism, sensitivity to
observance and frustrations with language, that are collectively
schizophrenic symptoms, are experienced by the individual. This reaction
to the memory of the birth of self-consciousness is central to cultural
inquiry. The irony of a schizophrenic other is that the trauma of
becoming self-conscious is experienced by each individual, whether it is
remembered consciously or not. The desiring self fuels the dialectic of
becoming, nonetheless, throughout history, deconstructing the notion of
the other, its construct and its temporal consequences. The classified
schizophrenic equally shares this dialectic of becoming and as he/she
becomes part of the collective consciousness of culture and within the
humanities the notion of schizophrenia enriches our understanding of the
desiring self, both individually and collectively.
There are limitations to my book due to time constraints and space. As
a result, I have researched the symptoms of schizophrenia and their
relationship to language as opposed to examining the causes of the
condition. Also, due to obvious constraints, I am unable to discuss

The Deconstructive Owl of Minerva

literature and art as examples of my theories as much as I would have


liked. However, these are areas I wish to explore in future research. As I
am working in the humanities and not as a clinician I can propose
philosophical approaches to the treatment of schizophrenic symptoms, but
not a treatment regime.

CHAPTER ONE
SCIENTIFIC AND PSYCHOANALYTIC
BACKGROUND TO SCHIZOPHRENIA

Introduction
The notions of schizophrenia as a scientific entity, a psychiatric
classification and a philosophical state of being need to be comprehensively
re-examined in light of the phenomena of postmodernity, the changing
parameters of culture and philosophical/theoretical studies of the self. To
claim that the current age is schizophrenic, as is so often stated about
postmodernism, is nave. It also damages the social perception of
diagnosed schizophrenics, sometimes exacerbating stigma and social
isolation by creating awareness of the condition in terms of cultural
studies, without adequate information about the experience of the
schizophrenic. A re-examination of this notion calls into question
philosophical concepts, such as existentialism, ontology, metaphysics,
phenomenology, subjectivity and objectivity, in the endeavour to assist
studies in linguistics and psychoanalysis, which have proven fruitful in the
understanding of schizophrenia. This action, in itself, addresses the
immediate and present anxiety of the postmodern condition. In addressing
the postmodern self, it is no longer feasible to study, in isolation, the
various schools of thought that question the individuals relation to his/her
environment; rather, it is necessary to collaborate our findings to further
our understanding of reality, particularly as it is manifested through the
experience of the schizoid self. Through an interdisciplinary approach,
towards a greater understanding of the truth of schizophrenia, it becomes
clear that the use of isolated disciplinary entities, while it has a practical
value, often serves only to distinguish and qualify findings and sometimes
distracts from the goal of understanding the object of analysis. In the case
of schizophrenia, disciplinary boundaries have functioned as frames which
detract the eye from the painting itself.
In this book, the sensitivity of an individual to language will be
highlighted as a potentiality for a schizoid personality and in turn a greater

Scientific and Psychoanalytic Background to Schizophrenia

11

understanding of the self (schizoid and normal: the two are not
diametrically opposed) will be fostered. It will indicate the propensity to
dissolve units of selfhood, through a reduction of fear; to contemplate the
holistic self together with a more enriched understanding of the
complexities of human beings and their relationship to the outside world.
The fear of exploring the self is illustrated through a historical inclination
to objectify and categorize people into groups. This distances any
characteristic that falls outside the categories of the norm and brackets
them as abnormal rather than exploring similarities of selfhood as
opposed to deliberately distancing the abnormal. Ironically, the
characteristics of normal behaviour are never clearly stated in any of the
literature that pertains to schizophrenia. Working on assumptions and
objectifying sections of people is dangerous and foolhardy e.g. people in
positions of trust may take advantage of their position whilst more
vulnerable categories of people can feel overwhelmed by a diagnosis or
labelling to the point of suicide. The fear of the self and its potentially is
further manifest through the classifications of persons into entities of
wellness/illness or sanity/insanity.
The damage that has been done through the classification of
schizophrenia by various schools of thought is immense. In spite of the
continued disagreement as to what schizophrenia is, from a mental illness
to a claim for creative genius, the dilemmas surrounding its definition have
not been resolved. Nevertheless, the inhumane treatment of patients over
the centuries, from water treatments and spinning chairs through to the
current practice of psychosurgery (lobotomy), is a result of medical and
psychiatric practitioners and their historical disagreements and reclassifications,
rather than of an open-minded progression in the understanding of the
diagnosed schizophrenic. In this work, the terms schizophrenia and
schizophrenic will be used, as they are in the field of medicine and
psychiatry, for the purposes of clarity. Their use, in this context, does not
imply an acceptance of the terms and their medical and psychiatric
definitions, but serves as a means to examine the entity of schizophrenia
itself, as it is almost impossible to understand the notion of schizophrenia
outside of the current literature and terminology. Furthermore, if I am to
contribute towards a deeper understanding of schizophrenia it is necessary
to begin from the extant writing on the topic, so that inconsistencies and
problems can be highlighted and that which is substantive and useful can
be harnessed. Understandably, almost all of the literature available on
schizophrenia has a medical context, and studies of postmodernity that
align themselves with schizophrenia, have hypotheses based in medical
language. The confines of language, both as a form of communication and

12

Chapter One

as a medium for recognition, will be addressed throughout the book


including the terminology itself. Schizophrenia is more usually described
and defined through science, rather than philosophy, theory or cultural
studies. The function of this prologue is to describe some of these
scientific modes of understanding, with the aim of showing their attributes
and faults, and making a case for the study of schizophrenia through
philosophical and theoretical discourse as well as scientific.

Schizophrenia and Science


Timothy J. Crow has written extensively on the origins of psychosis
through studying the evolution of the brain. His work is central to this
section of the book as his focus is predominantly the correlation between
schizophrenia and language, which creates an obvious link between the
study of the condition in science and the humanities. In evolutionary
terms, the asymmetry of the human brain into the right and left
hemispheres and into a four-chambered organ is relatively recent,
beginning approximately five million years ago.1 According to Stephen
Jay Gould, the human brain has not changed in 100,000 years. He states,
Large, widespread and successful species tend to be especially stable.
Humans fall into this categoryHuman bodily form has not altered
appreciably in 100,000 years.2 The mutation which caused brain
development to alter to form different chambers resulted from the
development of language. Homo sapiens required language to cater for the
increasing complexities of his/her social environment. As the brain
evolved to meet this new demand, studies have shown that the increased
weight of the brain grew out of proportion with body weight. This point in
evolution marked the response of the brains evolution to cope with the
increasing complexities of language. Crow states:
At certain points in evolution, as for example between the baboon and the
great apes, there is an increase in brain weight that cannot be accounted for
in terms of a simple increase in body size. [Harry J.] Jerison refers to this
as added neural capacity with the implication that the brain has acquired
new and more complex functions.3

1
Timothy J. Crow, The Origins of Psychosis and The Descent of Man, British
Journal of Psychiatry 159, no. 14 (1991): 81.
2
Stephen Jay Gould, The Richness of Life: The Essential Stephen Jay Gould
(London: Vintage Books, 2007), 381.
3
Crow, The Origins of Psychosis and The Descent of Man, 78.

Scientific and Psychoanalytic Background to Schizophrenia

13

It is believed the added neural capacity was required to accommodate


Machiavellian Intelligence4 and the social brain.5 Machiavellian
Intelligence developed as a response to the social environment as opposed
to the physical environment as the former was not as easily predicted. As a
result, the human brain had to become more sophisticated in order to
compete and survive.6 The social brain was required to adapt to increasing
interactions within primitive society. The ability to recognise other Homo
sapiens, to communicate with and identify them together with registering
facial features and intentions, conspired to escalate changes in brain
development and evolution. The increasing capacity of the brain to register
and recognise speech along with performing its analysis has not been
without its difficulties. The distribution of various tasks to the separate
parts of the brain i.e. the location of speech and temporal analysis to the
left hemisphere and spatial analysis to the right hemisphere7 has not been
clear cut. The communication between the left and right hemispheres,
being of a lateral nature, has further added to the susceptibility of the brain
to miscommunicate information. The evolutionary principle on the duality
of the brain requires both hemispheres to work independently in the
processing of various data but at the same time they communicate
laterally, thus making them co-dependent. According to Crow, the
resulting increase in information processing capacity also has rendered the
brain susceptible to new dysfunctions. We may assume that one such class
of dysfunction is the risk of psychosis.8
It follows that the development of language as a means of
communication to cater for an increasingly complex social world in itself
gave rise to the advance of psychosis through a rapidly evolving brain.
Crow has investigated the premise that schizophrenia is the price Homo
sapiens pay for language.9 This is demonstrated by the fact that
schizophrenia continues to exist in society despite the fact that it creates an
4

Richard Byrne and Andrew Whiten, Machiavellian Intelligence. Social Expertise


and the Evolution of Intellect in Monkeys, Apes and Humans (Oxford: Oxford
Science Publications, 1988).
5
Leslie Brothers, The Social Brain: A Project for Integrating Primate Behavior
and Neurophysiology in a New Domain, Concepts in Neuroscience 15 (1990): 2751.
6
Crow, The Origins of Psychosis and The Descent of Man, 79.
7
Ibid., 80.
8
Ibid.
9
Timothy J. Crow, Schizophrenia as the Price that Homo sapiens Pays for
Language: A Resolution of the Central Paradox in the Origin of the Species,
Brain Research Reviews 31 (2000): 118-129.

14

Chapter One

apparent evolutionary weakness for social beings. The fact that it has not
been mutated out of existence, together with its prevalence across cultures
and the similarity of symptoms between them, suggests that it is not an
exclusively genetic or environmental disease. Crow states:
It cannot be that there is a fraction of the population that carries a gene that
is absent from the remainder because if such a fraction existed, there is no
reason why it should remain constant in populations that have been
separate for tens of thousands of years. Variation between populations,
either as a result of differential selection or genetic drift would be
expectedif the disease is genetic in origin, why are these genes not
10
selected out of the population?

No other disease acts so independently of its environment, in terms of its


onset and alleviation. Schizophrenia differs from regular genetic illnesses
such as diabetes or heart defects. Other psychological diseases, such as
autism or aspergers syndrome have not been definitively proven as
genetic in nature either. The environmental factors of a healthy diet and
immunisation from childhood infections are not enough to safeguard an
individual from developing a schizoid effective disorder. Studies have
shown that there is a possibility that the genetic component of schizophrenia
carries the potential for the disease but the development of schizophrenia
relies on many complex evolutionary and psychological factors. Studies
from Franz Kallman, Eliot Slater and Erik Stromgren have shown that
schizophrenia is inherited. However, the exact gene that carries
schizophrenia has yet to be identified in spite of the fact that schizophrenia
occurs in one percent of the human race.11 Acute stress and prolonged
exposure to a stressful environment have been noted in a large number of
stories told by diagnosed schizophrenics. Nevertheless, genetics, the
environment, psychiatry or biology cannot yet offer a satisfactory
explanation as to the exact cause of schizophrenia. Its cause has never
become fact. Crow believes that, schizophrenia, it seems, is a
characteristic of human populations. It is a disease (perhaps the disease) of
humanity.12
The trauma of language is a universal condition which is exclusive to
Homo sapiens. It separates Homo sapiens from other primates and the
10

Timothy J. Crow, Is Schizophrenia the Price that Homo sapiens Pays for
Language? Schizophrenia Research 28 (1997): 130-131.
11
Abram Hoffer, Healing Schizophrenia: Complementary Vitamin and Drug
Treatments (Ontario: CCNM Press Inc., 2004), 82.
12
T.J. Crow, Is Schizophrenia the Price Homo sapiens Pays for Language? 130.

Scientific and Psychoanalytic Background to Schizophrenia

15

evolution of the human brain maintains this distinction. Crow states that,
as communication, language has characteristics that distinguish it from
precursor primate systems.13 The key to the evolutionary distinction lies
in syntax. Crow points out the case of the vervet monkey, which has a
system of fixed signs that allows it to communicate the signs for other
primates, for example, eagle, leopard or snake.14 However, with Homo
sapiens, the variety of sentences and the meaning of signifiers is infinite,
which requires the human brain to forever strive to identify with the
speaker or the listener, depending on its position. The potential for
confusion and misinterpretation is equally infinite and it rapidly
accelerates the prospect of psychosis. Language is the foundation for
psychosis and equally language is the defining characteristic of human
beings. Freidrich Max Mueller argued in 1873:
There is between the whole animal kingdom on the one side, and man,
even in his lowest state, on the other, a barrier which no animal has ever
crossed, and that barrier is LanguageI should still hold that nothing
deserves the name of man except what is able to speaka speaking
elephant or an elephantine speaker could never be called an elephant.15

Ludwig Wittgenstein held the same premise in Philosophical Investigations


stating that, if a lion could speak we would not understand his
language.16
The independence of functions between the left and right hemispheres
of the brain does not always occur and this malfunction is one suggestion
for how psychosis develops. A failure of the lateralization of language
functions between the two hemispheres highlights the difficulties the
evolving brain has in coping with social and communicative pressures.
According to Crow, studies have shown through the autopsy of schizophrenic
patients that the volume of the superior temporal gyrus is significantly
reduced in the left hemisphere and this is inversely correlated with
auditory hallucinations.17 However, this reduction in the left hemisphere
has also been noted in the autopsy and brain scans of normal people.
13

Ibid., 131.
Ibid.
15
Freidrich Max Mueller, Lectures on Mr. Darwins Philosophy of Language, in
The Origin of Language, ed. Roy Harris, 147-233 (Bristol: Thoemmes Press,
1996).
16
Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations, trans. G.E.M. Anscombe
(Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2003), 190.
17
Crow, Origins of Psychosis and The Descent of Man, 77.
14

16

Chapter One

Richard P. Bentall states:


On closer inspection, however, the CT and structural MRI data are more
ambiguous. In all studies, substantial variations in ventricular size have
been observed in both [schizophrenic] patients and ordinary people.
Moreover, some studies have failed to find evidence of significant
ventricular enlargement, presumably because people who receive the
diagnosis of schizophrenia form a heterogeneous group.18

No test has yet been developed to measure the ordinary and acceptable
volume of the human brain, much less the distinction between one
hemisphere and the other, nor has there been a diagnostic test to establish
the presence of schizophrenia. The similarity between schizophrenics and
normal people at a biological level echoes the similarities between them
in terms of dealing with language which I will explore in later chapters. In
the case of diabetes, a physician tests a patients blood for his/her insulin
levels. There is no blood test for schizophrenia, no brain scan developed to
detect it, or gene to locate it. Nevertheless, an individual will invariably
become a diagnosed schizophrenic when he/she admits to hearing voices.
Auditory hallucinations, a phenomenon of language, are the single most
frequently attributed symptom in the diagnosis of schizophrenia. No other
disease operates, or is diagnosed, in so loose a fashion. However, the
study of auditory hallucinations can reveal a great deal about the brains
task in coping with language.
The linguistic exchange rate between the two hemispheres of the
human brain sheds interesting light on the phenomena of hallucinations
and the other for the self. The functions of the right hemisphere correlate
with sensory input from the speaker and subsequently the right hemisphere
decodes meaning to assist output from the left hemisphere. According to
Crow, language functions are mediated by the right hemisphere rather than
the left. He explains that, these functions include discourse planning/
comprehension, understanding humour, sarcasm, metaphors and indirect
requests, and the generation/comprehension of emotional prosody.19
Studies of behaviour have shown that schizophrenics fare poorly in these
areas, thus debilitating social interaction. The left hemisphere is associated
with speech and rationality yet it is the right hemisphere that is believed to
18
Richard P. Bentall, Madness Explained: Psychosis and Human Nature (London:
Penguin Books, 2004), 158.
19
Rachel L. C. Mitchell and Timothy J. Crow, Right Hemisphere Language
Functions and Schizophrenia: The Forgotten Hemisphere? in Brain 128 (2005):
963-978.

Scientific and Psychoanalytic Background to Schizophrenia

17

be the seat of insanity. Therefore, the evolution of the brain in splitting


into two sections in order to comprehend the other in the world causes
confusion of psychotic proportions. According to Anne Harrington:
The general belief in the right hemispheres evolutionary inferiority, in its
essentially animalistic qualities, almost certainly played a crucial role in
the rise of still another perception of it as a natural breeding-ground for
madnessIf madness is defined as loss of reasonand if to all extents and
purposes only the left half of our brain is reasonable, then it becomes
possible to envision the brute brain within the mans as lying on the right
side of the skull.20

Studies from Alexander Robertson (1875) and Valentin Mangan (1883)


showed that auditory hallucinations were reported to be heard, more often
than not, in the left ear whilst flattering compliments were heard in the
right ear. Harrington states, Mangan concluded that the left hemisphere
(serving the right ear) was in a later stage of degeneration than the right
hemisphere.21 From the nineteenth century onwards the following table
serves as a broad model for the polarities of the left and right hemispheres
of the human brain.22
Table 1-1
Left Hemisphere
Humanness
Frontal
lobe
Life of
Male
relations

Motor
activity
White
superiority

Volition

Intelligence

Consciousness

Reason

Sensory
activity
Nonwhite
inferiority

Instinct

Table 1-2
Right Hemisphere
Animality
Occipital
lobe
Organic life Female

20

Unconsciousness

Passion/
emotion
Madness

Anne Harrington, Medicine, Mind, and the Double Brain (New Jersey: Princeton
University Press, 1989), 95-96.
21
Ibid., 98.
22
Ibid., 100.

18

Chapter One

As it appears that for many years, in the practice of psychiatry, the brain
appeared to be an organ divided, against itself.23 The clear cut divisions
between the functions of the two separate hemispheres clearly indicate the
suppression of women and nonwhites in society for centuries. However,
studies carried out by Crow and associates on handedness24 showed that in
schizophrenic patients the appearance of ambidextrous ability was more
prevalent. This supported the theory that hemispheric indecision was likely
to result in psychosis. Crow states, Thus in terms of relative hand skill
and its academic correlates individuals at risk of psychosis are predisposed to problems in inter-hemispheric integration.25 More studies
have shown that the perceived functions of the left and right hemispheres
have been reduced or refined and in some cases have become reversed as
noted in schizophrenic patients. These findings create great problems for
the preconceived functions of the human brain. Nevertheless, the
following positive symptoms26 of schizophrenia will highlight that
reversals of hemispheric functions are primarily caused by the use and
interpretation of language.
The Nuclear Symptoms of Schizophrenia27
x Thought echo or commentary: The subject experiences his own
thought as repeated or echoed with very little interval between the
original and the echo.
x Voices commenting: A voice or voices heard by the subject speaking
about him and therefore referring to him in the third person.
x Thought insertion: The essence of the symptom is that the subject
experiences thoughts which are not his own intruding into his
mind. The symptom is not that he has been caused to have
unusual thoughts (e.g., if he thinks the Devil is making him have
evil thoughts) but that the thoughts themselves are not his. In the
most typical case the alien thoughts are said to have been inserted
into the mind from outside, by means or radar or telepathy or
some other means.
23

Ibid., 103.
This refers to the preference for using one hand over the other.
25
Crow, Schizophrenia as the Price that Homo sapiens Pays for Language: A
Resolution of the Central Paradox in the Origin of the Species, 123.
26
The noted negative symptoms of schizophrenia include low motivation, social
withdrawal, poverty of speech and thought and lack of concentration.
27
J.K. Wing, J.E. Cooper and N. Sartorius, eds. The Measurement and Classifications
of Psychiatric Symptoms: An Instruction Manual for the P.S.E. and Catego
Program. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1974.
24

Scientific and Psychoanalytic Background to Schizophrenia

x
x
x

19

Thought withdrawal: The subject says that his thoughts have been
removed from his head so that he has no thoughts.
Thought broadcast: The subject experiences his thoughts actually
being shared with others.
Primary delusions: Based upon sensory experiences [delusional
perceptions] in which a patient suddenly becomes convinced that
a particular set of events has a special meaning.

Clearly, these symptoms result from the construction of language as


thoughts and perceptions are structured and constituted in the field of
language,28 so that the birth of schizophrenia and its symptoms occur as a
result of navigating language: the former because of the brains evolution
to cope with social interaction and the second, a confusion about the
situation of language itself, in terms of inside and outside. According to
Crow:
what is striking about these symptoms is that they can hardly be conceived
except within the framework of language. Auditory hallucinations are selfevidently an anomaly of the perception of the spoken word. The primary
experiences of thought insertion, withdrawal, and broadcast can be
considered as disturbances in the subjective experience of thought and of
the transition from thought to speech production. Primary delusions
constitute the most discrete deviation in the attachment of meaning to
symbolic representations, that is to say that they are a disturbance of
semantics.29

According to Ferdinand de Saussures bipartite structure of the sign into


the signifier (the sound pattern or phonological engram) and a signified
(the associated concept or meanings)30 it would make sense for the
separate hemispheres of the human brain to accommodate each one
separately and communicate meaning through lateralization. Crow states:
if asymmetry is what is characteristic of the human brain it seems that there
must be a relationship between specialisation of function of the
hemispheres and the feature that de Saussure identifies as the key to
language. The most parsimonious hypothesis is that the components are (at

28

This point will be examined at length in the body of the thesis.


Timothy J. Crow Auditory Hallucinations as Primary Disorders of Syntax: An
Evolutionary Theory of the Origins of Language, in Cognitive Neuropsychiatry 9
(2004): 132-133.
30
Ibid., 134.
29

20

Chapter One
least in part) segregated to the two hemispheres.31

Therefore, to make sense of language the function of one hemisphere must


have a mirror image in the other hemisphere. For communication to be
successful, the relationship between the hearer and the speaker depends on
their similar understanding of the sign. Crow explains that communication
depends upon the hearer sharing at least some of the speakers signifiersignified associations, in other words that they speak the same
language.32 Complications arise when the speaker refers to him/herself in
the first person. Referring to him/herself in the first person forces the
hearer to convert the concept of the I that is spoken to you in order to
understand that the speaker is referring to him/herself and not the hearer.
In linguistics, personal pronouns like these are called shifters. The
importance of deixis33 indicates the flexibility of language to convey
meaning and its arbitrariness through the speakers reliance on the hearer
in order to be understood. The present moment in time, as defined and
indicated by the use of I, is more acutely felt by the schizophrenic
through his/her attempt to maintain a constant present of meaning.34 This
is largely an attempt to arrest the third person commentary, as auditory
hallucination, which is grounded in the present but carries the anxiety of a
past encounter and appears as a reversal of the indexicalisation of I and
you. Thus, the study of schizophrenia, as a phenomenon, facilitates our
understanding of the origin of language. Crow explains that the nuclear
symptoms [of schizophrenia] can be described as language at the end of
its tether; the phenomena and population characteristics of the nuclear
syndrome of schizophrenia thus yield clues to the origin of the species.35
Confusions regularly occur between the speaker and the hearer in every
aspect of life, from the use of technology where intent and emotional
feedback is absent through to the written word. Miscommunication can
sometimes result in offence or in the more serious scenario of paranoia.
Yet, when any of these occur an individual is not necessarily classified as
schizophrenic even though the above situations are caused as a result of
language. Silvano Arieti suggests a hypothesis that a prolonged exposure
to confusing dialogue and contradictory intent on the developing brain of a
child may possibly lead to schizophrenia. Arieti states, There is an
31

Ibid., 135.
Ibid.
33
Ibid., 136 i.e. the necessity to define the moment of time or how that meaning is
intended. This is achieved through pointing and gesture.
34
This will be further elaborated on in chapter four.
35
Crow, Is Schizophrenia the Price that Homo sapiens Pays for Language?, 127.
32

Scientific and Psychoanalytic Background to Schizophrenia

21

abnormal dialogue between the child and his parents and siblings. No
language of basic trust, no taken-for-granted acceptance, no easiness of
communication exist, but rather lack of clarity and meaning, excessive
contradictions, unexpressed or distorted emotions, suspiciousness or at
best very pronounced cautiousness.36 However, not all children who grow
up in psychologically damaging environments become diagnosed psychotics.
Many develop resilience and self-reliance through innate intelligence,
courage and a single positive role model although the inherent need to be
loved unconditionally cannot be over stated. At other times a child may
develop an imaginary world or an imaginary friend in order to escape from
the demands of a hostile environment. The association between the human
brain and its comprehension of language is not fixed. The human brain is
understood to have evolved to accommodate language but language is
relatively young in evolutionary terms. From the moment of birth a childs
brain tries to accommodate and adapt to language. Lacans theory on the
acquisition of language is foundational to his concept of the self. The work
of Eric H. Lenneberg supports the theory that language is a quality that is
specific to humans and Lenneberg also supports Lacans theory on the
early acquisition of language. Lenneberg proposed the critical period
hypothesis which asserts that between the ages of two and puberty a child
must acquire his/her first language. This critical window in a childs
development is based on the supposition that an individuals brain
maturation and plasticity lowers remarkably.37 Susan Curliss38 applied
Lennebergs theory to a feral child (her identity remains anonymous) after
she was found, as a young teenager, to have spent most of her life tied to a
chair in her parents basement. Through intensive therapy, she began to
identify with words but this could be largely attributed to her first year
being spent in a normal environment, surrounded by language. On the
other side of acquisition theory, an individual can learn other languages
than the one he/she grew up with. It has been noted by multilingual people
that the more languages they learn the faster they are at acquiring them. It
would follow that the more the human brain is exposed to language the
greater its capacity to adapt to the various components of language.

36

Silvano Arieti, The Interpretation of Schizophrenia (New York: Basic, 1974),


97.
37
Eric H. Lenneberg, The Biological Foundations of Language (New York: John
Wiley & Sons, 1967).
38
As dramatized in the film Mockingbird Dont Sing, prod. and dir. Harry Bromley
Davenport, 98 min., Vanguard Cinema, 2001.

22

Chapter One

Schizophrenia and The Talking Cure


In relation to the treatment of schizophrenia and the language issues
that become uncovered, psychoanalysis and psychotherapy achieve a
much higher success rate than the traditional biologically based model of
psychiatry. Therefore, the preference for psychoanalysis over psychiatry
has gained a great deal of momentum over the last century due to the
increasing evidence that cognitive behaviour, life skills and ones
relationship to the world can be learned and relearned, as opposed to
treating a schizophrenic as a psychotic. It is becoming more acceptable to
see the schizophrenic as a human being bound by a common difficulty in
using language, rather than over-emphasising the differences between
normal and schizophrenic consciousness. Arieti explains:
Physical therapies help considerably by making the patient less susceptible,
less vulnerable, or less sensitive to the type of anxiety that brings about
psychotic symptoms. But psychotherapy, although unable to alter the
biological predisposition to the disorder, affects the psychological
components that have actualised the genetic potentiality into clinical
syndrome. If we remove their impact, we may remove the disorder.39

There are stronger views than Arietis for the preference of the talking
cure over psychiatry. Terry Lynch argues that an individual becomes
diagnosed as schizophrenic when he/she seeks help from a psychiatrist for
emotional upset and turmoil. He does not lay blame at any one particular
body such as parents or society but suggests that the emotional turmoil is
caused by a number of complex factors. Thought disorder results from a
confusion and intensity of emotions which, broadly speaking, are a
manifestation of an identity crisis. According to Lynch, schizophrenic
symptoms result from feelings of terror, powerlessness and being totally
unsafe in the schizophrenics environment together with very low selfesteem and self-confidence.40 In his work as a general practitioner and
psychotherapist Lynch has increasingly found the benefits of listening in
order to understand the emotional crises of a diagnosed schizophrenic. In
his practice, he seeks to comprehend the thought-process at work in the
schizophrenic mind in order to better assist his patient. An example of one
of his case studies helps to illustrate the significance of language in
understanding schizophrenia and the value of talking therapies.
39

Arieti, The Interpretation of Schizophrenia, 700-701.


Terry Lynch, Beyond Prozac: Healing Mental Suffering (Cork: Mercier Press,
2005), 179-180.
40

Scientific and Psychoanalytic Background to Schizophrenia

23

The stoic appearance of a schizophrenic, extended metaphors and need


for repetition are more clearly understood in Lynchs case study of his
patient Alison. Lynch explains:
Alisons thought disorder mirrored her current state of deep emotional
insecurity and fear. She had dissociated herself from lifeHolding onto a
thought for hours on end gave her a sense of control and safety which was
missing in almost every other aspect of her lifeTo talk would risk losing
her train of thought. Alison felt that by losing her train of thought, she
might literally be lost.41

The antipsychotic medication she was prescribed interfered with her


thought process by rendering it numb and sluggish. Through the
establishment of a trusting relationship with Lynch she could share with
him her thought process and together they were able to resolve Alisons
anguish and fears. Lynch accepts that the thought process of schizophrenia
is inherently logical and given the unique factors that upset a persons
emotional well being, his/her retreat into a hallucinatory world and his/her
extreme anxiety is the obvious reaction for a reasonable mindset. Through
his work with Alison, Lynch prevented her from long term revolving
door hospitalisation. He notes:
Alison was thrilled that her thinking patterns made sense to me. I had
connected with her way of thinking. This had a profound effect on her, and
was a major turning point. Alison had found someone with whom she
could discuss and explore her thinking processesThe crisis now over, the
possibility of hospital admission no longer arose.42

Psychiatry, traditionally and to a large extent currently, remains the


predominant means of determining the outcome for the majority of
schizophrenics. The practices of psychoanalysis and psychotherapy, alone
in the treatment of schizophrenia, are largely dismissed in favour of drug
therapy in spite of the prevailing evidence that science cannot solve all the
dilemmas and only takes us so far in understanding the condition. The use
of language, the talking cure, has achieved far greater and long term
results for the highly complex linguistic condition that is schizophrenia.
Peter Breggin further advocates the talking cure and the social
integration of an individual experiencing upsetting states of emotional and

41
42

Ibid., 186.
Ibid., 187.

24

Chapter One

mental turmoil in his ground breaking work Toxic Psychiatry.43 Breggin


encapsulates the debate between medication and therapy through the
following rhetorical questions:
Can psychiatry compete in a more free market with psychotherapy and
psychosocial alternatives, as well as with all of the other ways people seek
to heal their minds and their hearts and grow? Would people rather talk
through their problems and go to self-help groups, or take drugs? Would
they rather think of themselves as struggling persons, or as defective
biochemical devices?44

There is a discrepancy in the recovery rate of schizophrenics between the


developed and the developing world. The developing world reports higher
recovery rates than the developed world in spite of the wealth and
resources in medicine and psychology of the latter. Communities in the
developing world offer greater social support and rely less on psychiatry.
They also spend more valuable time with a distressed loved one, giving a
diagnosed schizophrenic the space to discuss thought processes and
fears.45

Conclusion
Machiavellian intelligence and the social brain have developed to cater
for language. Together with the evolution of the human brain in
developing into separate hemispheres, the ability to adapt to unforeseen
phenomena and stimuli has known no bounds in the history of man.
Equally, the capacity and potential of human beings to overcome the
trauma of language and environmental factors cannot be wholly
categorised or understood in separate, individual disciplines. They have
their place in providing systems of analysis and specific vocabulary but
the understanding of the self and its relationship to reality is a progressive,
developing enterprise that insists that the self is holistic and emotional
rather than isolated or clinical. The irony of language creating terms for
diagnoses highlights our entrapment in the casing of the sign. The
accelerated confusion of the sign, as acutely demonstrated by the
schizophrenic, reveals the origins and developmental trauma of language
and not just the puzzlement of schizophrenic symptoms. The refusal of a
43

Peter Breggin, Toxic Psychiatry. Drugs and Electroconvulsive Therapy: The


Truth and the Better Alternatives (London: Harper Collins Publishers, 1993).
44
Ibid., 506.
45
Lynch, Beyond Prozac: Healing Mental Suffering, 214.

Scientific and Psychoanalytic Background to Schizophrenia

25

diagnosed schizophrenic to fit the medical explanations of genetics or


environmental factors implicitly erodes the concept of the condition. The
basis of nuclear schizophrenic symptoms and the basis of perception are
linguistic in nature; language is the defining characteristic of being human
as opposed to being animalistic: both those who have schizophrenia and
those who have normal mental health share a dependence on language.
The vexed relationship that all humans have with language is attested to by
the fact that language is the universal component of humanity yet the
universality of language, in Hegelian terms, hinders the progression of the
spirit. Arieti states, in reference again to schizophrenia, we must attempt
in Hegelian terms to lay bare the core and significance of the psychotic
event, to free it from the adventitious contingencies that, although not
irrelevant accessories, are only partially causally related and of merely
secondary importance.46 Schizophrenia is indeed the ultimate price Homo
sapiens pays for language. And our understanding of the anxieties,
behaviour and logistics of schizophrenia reveals more about the human
condition than the psychotic mind because, in varying degrees, each
individual is prone to and experiences the anxiety of being human whilst
grappling with his/her world through the sign. The stronghold between the
sane and the insane appears to be crumbling and the lessons of their
differences are being undercut; the fate and similarities of human beings
finds its embrace through the universal acknowledgement of the human
condition. In the rest of the book I will follow on from the argument
between science and psychoanalysis laid out here to assert that language is
at the core of schizophrenia and I will attempt to analyse it through
philosophy, psychoanalysis and cultural studies as a human condition and
not as a medical condition. As Breggin declares, we are, as human
beings, all made of the same psychospiritual stuff. The needs for security
and self-esteem are universal, as are the aspirations towards liberty and
love. Whats good for one of us is likely to be good for all of us.47

46

Ibid., 694.
Breggin, Toxic Psychiatry. Drugs and Electroconvulsive Therapy: The Truth
and the Better Alternatives, 506.
47

CHAPTER TWO
GEORG WILHELM FRIEDRICH HEGEL

Introduction
Phenomenology is a suitable critical perspective for this book because
it analyses how the outside world is interpreted from a first person
perspective, and it focuses on experience. Hegels phenomenology can be
defined as:
the attempt to describe our experience directly, as it is, separately from its
origins and development, independently of the casual explanations that
historians, sociologists or psychologists might giveHegels Phnomenologie
des Geistes (1807), (Phenomenology of Spirit) is an account of how spirit
gradually makes its appearance. The process begins by way of initial
oppositions between self and something else, and between different forms
of consciousness and finally ends once all separation is overcome, with
self-knowledge, i.e. absolute knowledge.1

Phenomenology has three main exponents: Georg Wilhelm Friedrich


Hegel (1770-1831), Edmund Husserl (1859-1938) and Martin Heidegger
(1889-1976). Husserl considered phenomenology as descriptive in nature.
It described the content of consciousness. Husserl considered the content
of consciousness to be that which is before our mind when having a
thought, therefore he claimed that consciousness was intentional. According
to Husserls philosophy it was through the reductions of preconceived
notions of perceiving the world that one could reach a primal level in order
to understand the phenomenology of experience. Husserl deducted from
this, his idealist view, that the world was for the mind. Heideggers
philosophy focuses on the phenomenon of our experience in the world and
insists that our being is temporal in the sense that we are constantly
projecting our existence into the future whilst continuing to be influenced
by the past. Our actual experience, or Dasein, is perpetually affected by
1

Thomas Mautner, The Penguin Dictionary of Philosophy (London: Penguin


Group, 2005), 464.

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

27

our sense of mortality. It is from this framework that Heideggers


philosophy addresses the question of Being.
Hegels philosophy illustrates the fragmented self. Through the
interpretation of the self in society Hegels phenomenology of experience
and Absolute Spirit explains both the negation and frustration of the self
by examining his/her relationship with the other. The dialectic of
objectivity and subjectivity, according to Hegel, accounts for the fragmentary
phenomenon of consciousness as well as the objectivity of universality. I
have chosen to concentrate on Hegels philosophy of phenomenology as it
focuses on a dialectic rather than individual experience, and schizophrenia
can itself be viewed as a dialectical experience. The universals of society,
including rationality itself, constitute objectivity, whilst the individual
seeks an ontological understanding and definition of self: an identity
unmarred by generality or alienation. An analysis of language shows the
establishment of universality. The entrapment of an individuals
subjectivity in the word highlights the desire of the self for expression
against the boundaries of objectivity, universality and interpretation. The
language of the self is the language of everyman, yet everyman does not
exist.
The schizophrenic experience is one of the prices to be paid for
language. A diagnosed schizophrenic reacts, in a heightened sense, to the
frustrations of universality. The need for his/her subjectivity to be
recognized and expressed can become overwhelming to the point of
extreme anxiety and a fear of the other. Consequently, the mastery of
language, together with the objective consciousness of society, defines an
individual, who is demonstrating ontological post-traumatic stress, as the
other of society, insane and schizophrenic. He/she becomes peripheral in
a society dominated, in turn, by universals. The construction of universals
is due to the fragmentation of consciousness, by language, as it seeks
unification through the abstract word, law, religion and history.
Nevertheless, it is the diagnosed schizophrenic who comes to personify the
fragmentation of society whilst universals and the objectifying gaze
assume mastery over a collective people throughout history.
An examination of language and time is required to re-imagine the
notion of insanity in its schizophrenic mode and to alleviate the
ontological, existential and metaphysical anxieties of these afflicted
individuals who are subsequently diagnosed as schizophrenics. Stream of
consciousness is addressed to understand the phenomenological
experience of being-in-the-world. It illustrates the multilayered concept of
trauma, from an overarching philosophical and linguistic viewpoint, in
order to study the effects and consequences of interpretation. Further to

28

Chapter Two

this, the deconstruction of the concept of schizophrenia, through a


Derridean analysis of its origin, represents the connection between the
notion of schizophrenia and diffrance. By examining the co-dependency
between the notions of sanity and insanity a more thorough contribution to
the examination and understanding of both is achieved. In doing so, the
mastery of universals and the other becomes undone. This work purports
that the schizophrenic experience is felt to some degree by every
individual in light of societys fragmented consciousness and the
emergence of desire. In this chapter, the power play between selfconsciousness and reason come centre stage and the Hegelian dialectic,
which characterises each individuals relationship with the other,
demonstrates its own schizophrenic character.

Fragmentation
Alienation as our present destiny is
achieved only by outrageous violence
perpetuated by human beings on human
beings.2

Being-in-itself refers to the current knowledge an individual has of his/her


present knowledge. Being-for-itself refers to the knowledge an individual
aspires towards. Consciousness phenomenological understanding of itself
through lived experience i.e. its being-in-itself, requires a standard of
measurement to know itself. In other words, consciousness requires a
measurement of truth or knowledge. This measurement is assumed to be
outside of consciousness, yet it is consciousness itself that sets the
standard of its own knowledge, i.e. its being-for-itself. However,
consciousness relates to itself objectively through the Notion i.e. a
distinct being-in-itself or intrinsic being.3 Objectivity together with the
Notion of freedom for consciousness results in an Unhappy Consciousness
because of the contradictory and negating nature within a single
consciousness. Hegel states:
This unhappy, inwardly disrupted consciousness, since its essentially
contradictory nature is for it a single consciousness, must for ever have
present in the one consciousness the other also; and thus it is driven out of
2

R.D. Laing, The Politics of Experience (New York: Tavistock Publishers, 1983),
13.
3
G.W.F. Hegel, Phenomenology of Spirit, trans. A.V. Miller (Oxford: Oxford
University Press, 1979), 120.

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

29

each in turn in the very moment when it imagines it has successfully


attained to a peaceful unity with the other.4

Hegel refers to the dialectic of consciousness thus: the path of doubt is


transformed into the way of despair.5 Objectivity and the significance of
the other are particularly important in the contemplation of the concept
of schizophrenia. What is of further significance is the reversibility of
consciousness. According to Maurice Merleau-Ponty:
For consciousness is its relation to the object and the proof of their
correspondence is part of the definition of consciousness. In other words,
one could equally well reverse the situation by calling concept the
essence or the in-itself under consideration (the knowledge which I strive
to evaluate), and by calling the object this knowledge in that I examine it
and in that it becomes in that way for an other. Thus the concept is proof
of the object.6

For the purposes of this section on Hegels philosophy of phenomenology,


I will illustrate the manifestation of fragmentation in the dialectical
movement of history, religion, legal theory and the social condition. This
general experience of fragmentation will then be related to the
schizophrenic experience of the phenomenon.

Being-in-itself and Being-for-itself


The expression of individual freedom is seen to be the ultimate desire
for self-consciousness in Hegels philosophy. In order to realise it
however, the individual must incorporate the consciously constructed
objects of society. Self-alienation ensues through an appraisal of
objectivity. The self-determination of Hegels dialectic requires negation
to drive the dialectic. He/she desires to alter his/her present being-in-itself.
Negation occurs when being-in-itself synthesises with its being-for-itself
(its antithesis) to form a new thesis i.e. being-in-itself. The negation of the
prior thesis is necessary to create a new thesis in order to move the
dialectic. To realise Absolute Spirit, being-in-itself must become one and
the same as being-for-itself, i.e. what consciousness desires to become.
4

Hegel, Phenomenology of Spirit, 126.


Kenley Royce Dove, Hegels Phenomenological Method, in G.W.F. Hegel:
Critical Assessments, ed. Robert Stern, (London: Routledge, 1994), 31.
6
Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Philosophy and Non-Philosophy since Hegel, in
Philosophy and Non-Philosophy since Hegel, ed. Hugh J. Silverman, (London:
Routledge, 1988), 34.
5

30

Chapter Two

Being-for-itself must be in accordance with being-in-itself. Determined


negation essentially highlights the fragmentation of the self as the self
recognises its being-in-itself upon an encounter with the other.
Hegels philosophy of world history demonstrates very convincingly
his dialectical method of realising Absolute Spirit. According to Hegel,
history moves with a determination to realise its absoluteness. As history
is the narration of collective consciousness over time, the study of history
demonstrates the individual negation of consciousness in the experience of
self-consciousness. Therefore, the first negation of consciousness occurs at
the development of self-consciousness and in this work the premise is that
self-consciousness develops when an individual enters the realm of
language. Historical events which define eras such as the French
Revolution and the Napoleonic wars are justified as negations in the
dialectic between the consciousness of French societys being-in-itself and
its being-for-itself during the late eighteenth century. Such negations are
both inevitable and necessary until Absolute Spirit is realised. Absolute
Spirit is Absolute Knowledge i.e. being in and for itself is actualised.
There is no further requirement for a new thesis, therefore the dialectic of
consciousness ceases. The consciousness of history assumes knowledge of
itself i.e. its being-in-itself. The actual content of historical consciousness
being-in-itself does not compare with its being-for-itself. When historical
consciousness realises this, its self-definition must be changed until its
being-in-itself is the same as its being-for-itself. Therefore, the negation of
historical consciousness being-in-itself is negated. The desire to change
the social structure coincides with negation. According to Hegel, the
individual national spirit is subject to transience. It perishes, loses its
world-historical significance, and ceases to be the bearer of the highest
concept the spirit has formed of itself. For the nation whose concept of the
spirit is highest is in tune with the times and rules over the others.7 The
national spirits transience means it is subject to change and in order for
change to come about negation is necessary.
Hegel justifies the determined negation of the dialectic as a process of
reason. According to Hegel, reason maintains the essence of the objects
for subjective self-consciousness. Reality is constructed by selfconsciousness: the object is not a particular autonomous entity; instead, it
is part of self-conscious reality. According to J. N. Findley, the Idealism
of Reason means that objects are all in a deep sense mine- mine to
understand, mine to experiment with, mine to remould and mine to find
7

G.W.F. Hegel, Lectures on the Philosophy of World History: Introduction, trans.


H.B. Nisbet (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982), 60.

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

31

myself in.8 This phenomenological understanding of reality incorporates


history at the point in time when understanding is taking place. Historical
consciousness has not yet realised its Absolute Spirit, but in spite of this,
reality can be understood according to Hegel at the point in history where
subjective self-consciousness is active in its understanding.
However, as self-consciousness understands reality phenomenologically,
it perpetuates its own self-alienation. Equally, historical consciousness
alienates itself. Self-conscious reality is not universal; therefore, the reality
of a community or a state cannot be universal. According to Fred R.
Dallmayr, in ethical life the individual exists in an eternal mode; his
empirical being and doing is something basically universal: for it is not his
individual aspect which acts but the universal absolute spirit in him.9 The
fragmentation of universal reason is highlighted by the movement of
historical consciousness. Its being-in-itself becomes negated for the
idealism of its being-for-itself. To a large extent, the idealism of historical
consciousness is formulated by nostalgia and romanticising the past. Its
being-in-itself will inevitably change in order to cater for an ideal.
Therefore, the dialectic of history will continue, together with its
experience of fragmentation. Historical consciousness and self-conscious
phenomenological understanding of reality will always be fragmented
until they realise Absolute Spirit.
The self-alienation of historical consciousness is further intensified by a
failure to gain ontological recognition. Historical consciousness has only
objects of consumption to construct its reality. It does not have another
self-conscious subjective history to recognise it. According to Hegel,
self-consciousness exists in and for itself when, and by the fact that, it so
exists for another; that is, it exists only in being acknowledged.10 Hegel
explains that the master does not recognise the slave. The master must
consume objects until he/she inevitably reaches an unhappy selfconsciousness. The self-evident self-alienation of historys dialectical
movement points towards an unhappy self-consciousness. It is again
characterised by fragmentation. Peter Singer notes that the history of the
world is none other than the progress of the consciousness of freedom.11

J.N. Findley, Hegel: A Re-examination (London: Humanities Press Inc., 1970),


103.
9
Fred R. Dallmayr, G.W.F. Hegel: Modernity and Politics (London: Sage
Publications, 1993), 52.
10
Hegel, Phenomenology of Spirit, 111.
11
Peter Singer, Hegel (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997), 125.

32

Chapter Two

Religion and the Fragmentation of Consciousness


Religion can be understood as an object, phenomenologically speaking.
Religion is also understood through self-consciousness. The reality of
religion is particular to subjective self-consciousness; however, the notion
of religion is universal. The spirit of religion is in and for itself.
Consequently, the spirit of religion is an object; universal in-itself and
forming part of the object/subject dialectic of self-consciousness. Therefore,
the essence of this spirit belongs to self-consciousness. According to
Hegel, religion has the truth as its universal subject-matter, but it possesses
it only as a given content which has not been apprehended in its
fundamental characteristics as a result of thinking and the use of
concepts.12 There is no single definitive religion and so there is no
universal notion of what religion is for consciousness. The reality of
religion is particular and reliant on the self-consciousness of the
community and individuals within the community.
A straightforward description of consciousness is a combination of
perceptions of self in the world together with a sense of ones subjectivity.
Self-consciousness refers to being conscious that one is a self. It is an
acute form of consciousness where ones sense of subjectivity is
heightened. The fragmentation that results from differentiating between
the conscious notion of religion, as a being-for-itself, and the selfconscious reality of religion, as a being-in-itself, leads to self-alienation.
The dialectical movement towards religions objective spirit encounters
negation. Religion is a consciously constructed notion yet it is externalised
to become universal. The same is true of language, which will be
discussed in later chapters. By being in-and-for-itself, religion highlights
fragmented consciousness to itself. Consciousness, religions creator,
assumes the role of the slave as it aspires to become universal with
religion. At the same time, the essence of the objective spirit of religion is
for self-consciousness. Self-consciousness consumes the object of religion;
assumes mastery over religion; therefore consciousness and selfconsciousness fail to recognise each other in the name of religion. This
leads to self-alienation. Hegel refers to religion in Fragment of a
System13 and writes of the Christian God as an alien spirit, felt as alien.14
According to Bernard Cullen [Hegel] gathered the many sets of conflicts
12

G.W.F. Hegel, Philosophy of Right, trans. T.M. Knox (Oxford: Oxford


University Press, 1980), 171.
13
Bernard Cullen, Hegels Social and Political Thought: An Introduction (London:
Gill and Macmillan, 1979), 48.
14
Ibid.

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

33

afflicting modern man under the general heading of the dissonance


between the finite and the infinite; and he wrote that the self-elevation of
manfrom finite life to infinite life, is religion.15
Religious consciousness, an example of historical consciousness, fails
to recognise another religious consciousness. The failure of this
recognition is dialectical but also stems from the nature of religion.
Historically, religious consciousness fails to recognise the other due to
the notion of religion being in and for itself. It does not seek recognition.
Also, it would be contrary to reason for it to seek recognition because
religious spirit is an ideal and an absolute. Philosophically and literally,
the history of world religions is the determined negation of one religion by
another. The failure of one objective religion to recognise another is
reasonable. The negation that is experienced in the dialectic, together with
the lack of recognition between world religions, creates fragmentation. As
long as there is a failure to recognise religious consciousness both
ontologically and as a universal, the notion of religion will result in
perpetual fragmentation. An example of this is the attempts made by
Christianity and Islam to negate each other in the contemporary world.
Hegel compares the Oriental religions of China and India with religions
of the Western world. According to Singer, Oriental religions are
stationary civilisations, societies which have reached a certain point of
their development and then somehow stuck fast. [Hegel] describes them as
outside the Worlds History, in other words not part of the overall
process of development that is the basis of his philosophy of history.16
Hegel believed that the Oriental societies had not evolved. Their
individuals were not free. He considered that the Persian state marked the
beginning of true history.17 The Persian Empire moved away from a
dependency on nature to a more just and civil rule. Even though it had an
Emperor, it placed a lot of emphasis on the worship of light.18 This
signified universality together with the promise of freedom. However,
after Persia was defeated by the Greeks at the battle of Salamis,19 the
question of individual freedom came to the fore again. Failure to recognise
individual freedom and another world religion culminated in an unhappy
religious consciousness. The Greeks allowed slavery; they also served the
state without question; they depended on an Oracle for guidance.20 This
15

Ibid.
Peter Singer, Hegel, 125-126.
17
Ibid., 127.
18
Ibid.
19
Ibid.
20
Ibid., 129.
16

34

Chapter Two

dependency on objectivity caused concern for the Greek philosophers of


the time, especially Socrates. As the dialectic moves towards the Roman
Empire, individual freedom is once again addressed in the guise of
governing laws set in place to protect its citizens.21 However, the idea of
individual freedom was not nourished by the domineering Roman rule.
According to Singer, the roman world, as Hegel paints it, is not a happy
placein the face of the demands of the State for outward conformity,
freedom can only be found by retreating into oneself, by taking refuge in a
philosophy such as Stoicism, Epicureanism or Scepticism.22
Nonetheless, the dialectic of religious consciousness carried forth the
idea of freedom. The logical conclusion after several negations was to
project individual freedom into an ideal of the Good. A history of
persecution and slavery intensified a desire for salvation. Christianity
allowed the idea of spirituality and transcendence over nature. According
to Singer, to understand why Hegel sees Christianity in this way, we must
appreciate that for Hegel human beings are not just very clever animals.
Humans live in the natural world, as animals do, but they are also spiritual
beings.23 As the dialectic of religious consciousness progresses towards
individual freedom it takes with it the lessons of history. At the same time
it also consistently projects the idea of freedom onto an object. Individual
freedom has always been a universal therefore it is never subjective.
Deities and gods are mediated to individual consciousness through
consciously constructed religious orders. Individual freedom is regulated
by the notions of law and justice. The rationality behind these notions
sustains them, yet it is also rationality which paradoxically compounds the
fragmentation of consciousness.

The Self-Alienation of Law


The legal system of any given nation is dependent on its consciously
constructed concepts of freedom, community and universal rights. They
are understood as objects. However, the actualisation of the legal system
depends on the dialectical movement of its self-consciousness. The
subjectivity of the legal system is recognised by the self-consciousness of
the nation. According to Hegel, the constitution of any given nation
depends in general on the character and development of its selfconsciousness. In its self-consciousness its subjective freedom is rooted
21

Ibid., 131.
Ibid.
23
Ibid., 132.
22

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

35

and so, therefore, is the actuality of its constitution.24 Once again, the
binary between objective and subjective freedom for the individual
requires mediation and resolution. A state ruled by a monarch personifies
subjective freedom as a universal for consciousness. The crown upholds
the laws of state and concepts of freedom which are conceived by the
nations consciousness, yet the nations consciousness forfeits its right to
self-govern by prioritising the individual (the monarch) over the
community. This is also true of a government in a democracy. By
promoting harmony in the community, the need for harmony in the
individual becomes jeopardised. Hegel states, the formal subjective
freedom of individuals consists in their having and expressing their own
private judgements, opinions, and recommendations on affairs of
statepublic opinion as it exists is thus a standing self-contradiction,
knowledge as appearance, the essential just as directly present as the
inessential.25 Disharmony manifests itself in the self-consciousness of the
state. The essence of the legal system is for its self-consciousness. The
freedom of the individual is at odds with objective governing laws as these
laws lack spirit. They are not in and for themselves. Laws can be broken
and amended. These negations drive the dialectic of the states
consciousness. In doing so, the self-consciousness of the state moves
towards an unhappy consciousness. Freedom within the universality of the
community is never realised because of its objective nature. Self-alienation
within the self-consciousness of the community causes it to fragment, just
as projecting individual freedom onto an object such as a religious deity
causes fragmentation. According to J.C.F. Schiller, reason may demand
unity, but nature demands multiplicity. Therefore, the rule of rational
morality is defective, if secured at the expense of what is natural: A
political constitution will still be very imperfect if it is able to achieve
unity only by suppressing variety.26

The Freedom-Seeking Individual


The slave seeks freedom in labour. He/she realises it in work done to
the objects of nature. According to Hegel, through his service he rids
himself of his attachment to natural existence in every single detail; and
gets rid of it by working on it.27 Equally, the self-alienated member of a
24

Hegel, Philosophy of Right, 179.


Ibid., 204.
26
Cullen, Hegels Social and Political Thought: An Introduction, 25.
27
Hegel, Phenomenology of Spirit, 117.
25

36

Chapter Two

community acquires property through labour. He/she, in doing so, gains


recognition from another member of the same community through their
accumulated objects. This results in the individual becoming more
conscious of freedom. He/she therefore desires more objects which gratify
needs beyond the basic ones. Hegels thought anticipates the consumerism
of late capitalism. According to Cullen, the rational modern state must
allow freedom to the particular person. But, particularity by itself is
measureless excess; it must be mediatedit must manage to resolve the
tension between expanding desires and expanding want and destitution.28
Intelligence also enables the individual to transcend basic needs by
focusing on the satisfaction of cognitive and academic desires. Both
property and the products of economic and intellectual labour require
interdependence and integration amongst the members of a community.
According to Cullen, the institutionalisation of the division of labour,
however, fosters a general awareness of the mutual interdependence of the
free individuals in civil society. And this realisation is the first stage of
social integration.29
Self-identity lends itself to the identity of a community when it is in
opposition with another conscious community. An example of this is Irish
Gaelic games where different Irish counties compete against each other in
the sports of hurling and football. A failure in recognition between two
communities gives rise to solidarity within both communities. The laws of
state become solidified as individuals identify with each other and work
together. Once again, the universality of a community or nation supersedes
its individuals. In time, the personalities of the individuals will drive the
dialectic of its nations consciousness. Desire for freedom is further aided
by education. Ironically, education is a right and a law that is laid down by
the state and it functions as much to integrate individuals into the
universality of the civil state as to foster individual freedom. According to
Cullen, Hegel is all too aware, however, that education or any other
such means of integration may not be capable of countering the negative
aspects of civil society, of curbing the wild animal running hither and
thither blindly and primitively.30 Individuals continue to seek freedom
from the bonds of community, some inevitably breaking its laws.
Desire for freedom and recognition from the community further
depends on personality. The individual cannot be free in isolation. Their
desire for recognition as a social being emphasises the essence of his/her
personality. This essence is for social consciousness. In order for the
28

Cullen, Hegels Social and Political Thought: An Introduction, 75.


Ibid., 82.
30
Ibid., 85.
29

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

37

individual to become socially self-conscious he/she must regard the


consciousness of the community to be for-itself. However, the individual
experiences fragmentation in becoming socialised. The individual is
locked in a double-bind between the desire for freedom and the desire to
be part of a society, which ultimately denies that freedom. Each individual
is locked in a vicious circle. The individual objectifies his/her personality
for the purposes of recognition. The individual recognises his/her
personhood by recognising other persons, so that personality is universal
and objective. If the individual seeks freedom in a social context they must
allow themselves to be recognised by their societys universal definition of
social freedom. According to Hegel, in personality, therefore, knowledge
is knowledge of oneself as an object, but an object raised by thinking to
the level of simple infinity and so an object purely self-identical.
Individuals and nations have no personality until they have achieved this
pure thought and knowledge of themselves.31 The notion of equality has
arisen from the objectivity of personality to the level of universal social
freedom. Equality is therefore universal and not individual. In order to be
equal the individual must assume an objective personality. According to
Hegel, Equality is the abstract identity of the Understanding; reflective
thought and all kinds of intellectual mediocrity stumble on it at once when
they are confronted by the relation of unity to a difference.32 However,
individual personality is moulded by antagonistic and symbiotic
relationships with the constructs of society e.g. religion, politics and social
conventions. In order for a personality to be recognised by these conscious
objects it must objectify itself. The self-consciousness of social thought
fails to gain recognition due to the parameters of objectivity. Social
consciousness does not have the content its self-consciousness desires in
order to be recognised i.e. societys being-in-itself desires to become its
being-for-itself. A further negation ensues resulting in a movement of the
social dialect to satisfy the desires of self-consciousness. Negation,
objectifying personality and social alienation due to a lack of recognition,
compound the fragmentation of the individual as a member of a social
state. These conditions are heartfelt by the schizophrenic. He/she has a
heightened awareness of self-isolation and the self as objectified by the
other.
The freedom of self-consciousness is jeopardised by the objects it
creates through rationality. The social structures of legal theory and
religion have proven throughout history to enslave individual
31
32

Hegel, Philosophy of Right, 37.


Ibid., 44.

38

Chapter Two

consciousness for the greater good of the community. Through labour, the
individual achieves some semblance of freedom. In organising and
shaping objects he/she comes to some understanding of existence.
However, the dependency on objects is ever-present and acts as a constant
reminder of slavery. Intelligence, personality and education promise a
greater release from the bondsman. Nevertheless, the objectivity and
universality of the community take precedence over individual
consciousness. The symbiotic relationship the individual has with his/her
community is substantiated by rationality. This in turn leads to individual
fragmentation in the juxtaposition between consciousness and selfconsciousness. The individual is self-alienated. Objectivity assumes
mastery over the subject.
This Hegelian reading of fragmentation helps to underline the
inevitability of universality and objectivity for the individual in society.
Fragmentation occurs in every area of the symbolic order,33 and affects
every individual as outlined here by a description of the movements of
historical consciousness, religious universality, the objectivity of legal
systems, the de-personalisation of equality and the role of intelligence.
However, the schizophrenic appears to be most affected by the
fragmentation of society. It is the schizophrenic who is declared schizoid
or split even though Hegel makes evident that fragmentation is an inherent
part of being human. It is a direct effect of the fragmentation in social
structures, such as law and religion, coupled with a split between
individual consciousness and self-consciousness. Schizophrenia, which
literally translates as split mind can be seen as a symptom of the
fragmentary effects of social and individual consciousness and their
subject/object dialectic. The schizophrenic has a heightened experience of
and sensitivity to fragmentation, but the experience itself is common, not
aberrant. The further causes and effects of the split between the
object/subject dialectic within both the individual and society will be
further investigated in this work and fragmentation as a concept and as an
inescapable effect of being will be examined through the discipline of
psychoanalysis in chapter three.

33

The symbolic order is a Lacanian term. It refers to the structures of society e.g.
language, civics and law. It is not a Hegelian term. The study of the symbolic order
is an important part of the thesis in the analysis of universals and the effects on the
individual of objectivity, and will be more fully explored in chapter three.

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

39

Language
The world is my world: this is manifest in
the fact that the limits of language (of that
language which alone I understand) mean
the limits of my world.34

Language is universal in the Hegelian sense. It highlights fragmentation


explicitly as the individual tries to express him/herself through a universal.
Fragmentation occurs when the universality of language takes precedence
over the expression of the individuals subjectivity. As a result of the
fragmentary effect of language it is the bte noir of schizophrenics:
language in-itself haunts the afflicted individual through auditory
hallucinations and it petrifies with images through the heightened
awareness of objectivity in society. Universals do not recognise individual
subjectivity. They only recognise themselves. This is also true of
language. The schizophrenic is particularly sensitive to the objectifying
gaze of universals, for example, God; the embodiment of collective
objectivity. Therefore, language compounds fear and anxiety in the
schizophrenic because of its universality. As a result of this, the
schizophrenic is traumatised by the intruding universal mastery of
language. Every speaking subject is objectified by language; however, the
schizophrenic manifests an overtly schizoid character due to an innate
refusal to relinquish his/her subjectivity. The normal individual, by
contrast, accepts the objectifying nature of the universality of language.
He/she does not become psychologically disturbed to the point of
becoming obsessed with their subjectivity, or, on a deeper level, with the
loss of their subjectivity. In his/her schizoid character the schizophrenic
seeks his/her own mastery through desire. Desire is here related to Jacques
Lacans use of the term. Here, it primarily refers to the desire of the real
self to gain expression in spite of the construct of language. The real self is
the only one of Lacans triad (imaginary, symbolic, real) that is not created
from a force outside the individual. Therefore, it cannot rely on language,
as an external construct, for a true and complete expression of the self.35
The desire of the individual to gain complete expression becomes the
ultimate goal of his/her understanding of freedom. Moreover, it is in this
desire for freedom that the individual will realise Absolute Spirit. Through
34

Ludwig Wittgenstein, Tractatus Logico Philosophicas, trans. D.F. Pears and


B.F. McGuinness (London: Routledge, 2007), 68.
35
In chapter three of this thesis Lacanian psychoanalysis will be more fully
explained as its relation to the construct of language.

40

Chapter Two

his thesis on the dialectic Hegel highlights the determination of individual


self-consciousness to realise his/her freedom. The negation which ensues
is necessary. More importantly, it is a vindication for the goal of desire,
which is Absolute Knowledge of oneself. In this section on language, it
will become clear that schizophrenia can be understood philosophically as
a desire for individual freedom outside of the objectifying mastery of
knowledge, rather than as a mental aberration and a flight from sanity.

The Objectifying Nature of Language


The ultimate goal of Hegels philosophy concerning Absolute Spirit is
its freedom. In order to realise its freedom consciousness must maintain
the rigour of the tripartite Hegelian dialectic i.e. thesis, antithesis and
synthesis. As the movement of the dialectic is dependent on a determined
negation, freedom for consciousness is equated with negativity. Hegels
justification for this contradiction lies in reason. Consciousness cannot
transcend the parameters of its creation or the constructs of its own
thoughts. Equally, consciousness cannot realise freedom in the world of
nature due to the fact that consciousness has thoughts, and other animals
do not. Richard L. Schacht states that, like Aristotle and Kant, Hegel
holds that man has an essential nature, and conceives of that essential
nature in terms of thought or reason. Thinkingis the characteristic
property by which man is distinguished from the beasts.36 Hegels view is
similar to Descartes I think therefore I am, which Lacan adjusts to I
desire therefore I am.37 However, reason alone is not enough for
consciousness to realise its freedom. It must also be self-consciously
aware. It is only then that consciousness can be self-determining.
According to Schacht, Hegel holds that action is truly free only if it
involves self-determination that is not only rational but also self-conscious.
If ones self-determination in accordance with ones rational nature does
not take place consciouslyit has the character of a blind and mindless
necessity.38 Hegel seems to be pre-empting the unconscious, a term
which was not coined until after his death. Without self-consciousness, we
would act on unconscious desires out of blind and mindless necessity,
unthinkingly. Hegel may be suggesting, in a different vocabulary, that
36

Richard L. Schacht Hegel on Freedom, in Hegel: A Collection of Critical


Essays, ed. Alastair MacIntyre, 298 (London: University of Notre Dame Press,
1972).
37
In The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psycho-Analysis Lacan actually states
that, desidero is the Freudian cogito. See 154.
38
Schacht, Hegel on Freedom, 299.

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

41

rationality also entails unconscious desires. For example, a person could


probably justify committing murder rationally, but that does not detract
from the fact that it may be a fulfilment of unconscious desire. The selfdetermination of self-consciousness rationally incorporates the objects of
consciousness for itself. Thus, the object/subject dialectic of consciousness,
with the mind divided within itself, is the only rational and positive means
of realising freedom. In obeying the objectivity of laws and principles,
consciousness acquires a certain kind of freedom. It would seem
impossible to achieve freedom outside of the laws. Schacht again states
that, To the extent that the individual determines his actions in
accordance with them, therefore, and only to this extent, he is rationally
self-determined and thus free. For law is the objectivity of spirit; it is will
in its true form. Only then will that obeys the law is free, for it obeys itself
and, being-in-itself, is free.39
Language is the manifestation of consciousness dialectic progress with
objects in the pursuit of freedom. Language therefore operates along the
same principles as reason. Their attempts at mediation and freedom
exemplify universality and objectivity as being as necessary as subjectivity
in the dialectic. According to Hegel, language, however, only emerges as
the middle term, mediating between independent and acknowledged selfconsciousness; and the existent self is immediately universal
acknowledgement, an acknowledgement on the part of many, and in this
manifoldness a simple acknowledgement.40 However, language advances
in the dialectic of self-consciousness knowledge of its objectivity. Selfconsciousness expresses itself through the I which is a universal I and it
is the only means of expressing the self. The word I is the only
universally understood reference to the individual self. Individual selfconsciousness is self-alienated from the other and from him/herself due
to an inability to directly relate to his/her individual self. Hegel explains
that, Language, however, contains it in its purity, it alone expresses the
I, the I itself. This real existence of the I is, qua real existence, an
objectivity which has in it the true nature of the I.41 According to Hegel,
the I of language contains the individual. However, in the use of this I
the individual reference to the self becomes lost or vanishes. In this
manner the universality of language is maintained. Hegel states:
The I is this particular I but equally the universal I; its manifesting
is also at once the externalization and vanishing of this particular I, and
39

Ibid., 302-303.
Hegel, Phenomenology of Spirit, 396.
41
Ibid., 308.
40

42

Chapter Two
as a result the I remains in its universality. The I that utters itself is
heard or perceived; it is an infection in which it has immediately passed
into unity with those for whom it is a real existence, and is a universal selfconsciousness.42

Further to this, the I that is spoken, heard and perceived is contained


within the here and now. Thus, the I can only be a momentary entity.
The dependency on the other becomes more apparent as the individual
relies on the other to preserve the I. Language also acts as a preserving
mechanism because the other and language are universal. If there is no
other to interpret our language, through which we articulate our identity,
then the language becomes meaningless. According to Hegel:
That it is perceived or heard means that its real existence dies away; this
its otherness has been taken back into itself; and its real existence is just
this: that as a self-conscious Now, as a real existence, it is not a real
existence, and through this vanishing it is a real existence. This vanishing
is thus itself at once its abiding; it is its own knowing of itself, and its
knowing itself as a self that has passed over into another self that has been
perceived and is universal.43

By relying on the other the self becomes objective to itself. Language


perpetuates the objectivity of self-consciousness in-itself and in doing so
self-consciousness is separated from itself. Self-alienation becomes
preserved for self-consciousness permanently as long as the I is preserved
as a universal in language. Hegel states that, language is self-consciousness
existing for others, self-consciousness which as such is immediately
present, and as this self-consciousness is universal. It is the self that
separates itself from itself, which as pure I = I becomes objective to
itself, which in this objectivity equally preserves itself as this self, just as it
coalesces directly with other selves and is their self-consciousness.44
Self-consciousness perception of itself as an object through language is
also permanent. Individual self-consciousness is also perceived by the
other as an object. According to Hegel, it perceives itself just as it is
perceived by others, and the perceiving is just existence which has become
a self.45
The preserving characteristic of language relays definitions of truth and
certainty to individual self-consciousness. Sense-certainty understands
42

Ibid., 308-309.
Ibid., 309.
44
Ibid., 395.
45
Ibid.
43

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

43

what is meant through experience and the use of language; what is meant
is preserved in the temporal i.e. a here. This can be established either
through words or gestures. Hegel writes that, experience teaches me what
the truth of sense-certainty in fact is: I point it out as a Here, which is a
Here of other Heres, or is in its own self a simple togetherness of many
Heres; i.e. it is a universal.46 However, Hegel makes a very interesting
point in relation to the universality of language. Every object is a thing
regardless of what the object is. The individuality of an object is never
expressed by language. Hegel explains that, if nothing more is said of
something than that it is an actual thing, an external object, its
description is only the most abstract of generalities and in fact expresses
its sameness with everything rather than its distinctiveness.47 What is said
through language expresses only universal things and not individual
subjectivity. Hegel uses the example of a single piece of paper48 to
clarify this. The expression or combination of words is universal and does
not describe any specific piece of paper. Therefore, meaning relies on selfcertainty to understand what is meant. Hegel notes that, if we describe it
more exactly as this bit of paper, then each and every bit of paper is this
bit of paper, and I have only uttered the universal all the time.49
Language cannot describe or express individual subjectivity just as it
cannot express the precise piece of paper. Language can only point to the
universal word or the universal I, therefore, that which is meant can be
reversed because of the universality of language. Sense-certainty may not
always synthesise what is meant from the other. Hegel describes
language as having the divine nature of directly reversing the meaning of
what is said, of making it into something else, and thus not letting what is
meant get into words at all.50 Language in-itself cannot describe individual
self-consciousness but it cannot attack or violate it either. It is the
synthesis of individual self-certainty of what is meant that gives words
meaning. This learned meaning through experience can be altered by an
awareness of the arbitrariness of learned meaning through understanding
that the universality of language never recognises individual selfconsciousness. The temporality of language can also change/reverse the
meaning of what is meant i.e. learned meaning through experience,
because interpretation is in a flux in the juxtaposition between the past and
the future. That language is a universal may explain the intensity of
46

Ibid., 66.
Ibid.
48
Ibid.
49
Ibid.
50
Ibid.
47

44

Chapter Two

experience felt by the schizophrenic while he/she experiences auditory


hallucinations. The universality of language helps to make the experience
of schizophrenia understandable as each individual wrestles with the
objectifying forces of language. As there is no metalanguage, each
individual shares the same linguistic experience and within this the
difficulties of interpreting meaning. Hallucinations occur when the
dialectic of consciousness intensifies the objectivity that is inherent in
becoming. This awareness of objectivity is triggered through acute selfconsciousness. The inability of the schizophrenic in question to penetrate
the universality of the language of auditory hallucinations makes the
experience both frustrating and daunting. However, the schizoid
experience is only a heightened version of a feature of language that
affects every person.

The Dialectic of Becoming and Unhappy Consciousness


Placing emphasis on the temporality of language relies on the
experience of self-certainty to understand what is presently meant i.e.
without paranoia or preconceived notions. However, the clarity which is
required to understand the other is initially jeopardised by the symbolic
order. The individual is dominated by language from the moment of
conception. In order to be a spiritual and social being the individual must
cater for this dominance. The individual, like the Hegelian slave, must
work on it in order to produce meanings in the overall pursuit of gaining
recognition.
It is through the use of language that desire is felt. As discussed in the
previous section on fragmentation, language acts as a barrier to the
individuals realisation of freedom, and it is in the experience of this
barrier that desire is generated.51 Desire allows the self to transcend the
basic needs of the animal kingdom: this is what makes desire the essential
component of human subjectivity rather than as Descartes had it, merely
thinking. The exasperation which is felt by the limitations of language, e.g.
misrecognition, misunderstanding and misinterpretation, gives a deductive
proof that the individual is in fact spiritual. The determination to transcend
the objectifying forces of language, which narrates lived reality, is
achieved only in death and the logic behind this determination for selfcompletion in death substantiates the view that we are spiritual beings.52
51

This is similar to Lacans notion of the pleasure principle. It will be more fully
discussed in chapter three.
52
The relationship between the spirit and death in relation to language will be

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

45

Henry S. Harris states that, language is the impersonal institution, the


form of social consciousness, or of spirit, which is prerequisite to, and
presupposed by, the dialectic of recognition in which free self-awareness
is generated.53 Consequently, freedom of spirit can only be realised
through the use of language and the negativity that inevitably arises.
The negative character of language is highlighted by Hegelian
dialectics. The dialectics of thought and rationality require language, and
the expression of thought cannot transcend historically specific language.
According to John McCumber, if philosophy is to relate to its times in the
way Hegel deems necessary, it cannot dispense with those languages; it
must accept and appropriate their particularity and finitude, just as it must
other forms of particularity and finitude.54 However, the expression of
thought through language poses a myriad of problems for consciousness as
well as highlighting the negating character of dialogue and dialectics. The
formation and articulation of thought depends on the other for
recognition. Therefore, the thoughts of the other must be articulated and
expressed in the same manner i.e. through language. A thought has to be
both recognised and opposed by the other in order to move the dialectic.
This means that individual identity is established through difference.
Consequently, if identity and concepts do not differ from each other,
consciousness becomes alienated from itself, because it will not be
recognised by an other. Self-consciousness has to become independent of
the other yet in expressing its thoughts it is dependent on the other.
This independence and dependence of the master/slave dialectic
perpetuates non-identity. Self-consciousness formulates thoughts through
language, which is universal. However, in order to understand its thoughts
for-itself, self-consciousness depends on the other and at the same time
seeks to eliminate the other through the negation of recognition. The
independence of thought for self-consciousness is explained by Leo
Rauch:
self-consciousness must overcome its own otherness. This is the overcoming
of the first of its double meanings, and therefore is itself a second double
meaning: first, it must aim at negating the other independent entity, in
order thereby to become certain of itself as essential; second, it thereby
further elaborated on in the next chapter through Lacanian psychoanalysis.
53
Henry S. Harris, Concept of Recognition, in Hegels Dialectic of Desire and
Recognition: Texts and Commentary, ed. John ONeill, 242 (New York: State
University of New York, 1996).
54
John McCumber, The Company of Words: Hegel, Language, and Systematic
Philosophy (Illinois: Northwestern University Press, 1993), 219.

46

Chapter Two
seeks to negate itself, since the other is itself.55

Thus, the freedom of self-consciousness is constantly being negated due to


the existence of the other. Thoughts themselves become objectified to
self-consciousness through the dialectical process. This objectifying
process is rational and establishes itself as truth. According to Hegel:
Self-consciousness, thus certified that its determinations are no less
objective, or determinations of the very being of things, than they are its
own thoughts, is Reason, which as such an identity is not only the absolute
substance, but the truth that knows it. For truth here has, as its peculiar
mode and immanent form, the self-centred pure notion, ego, the certitude
of self as infinite universality. Truth, aware of what it is, is mind (spirit).56

Hence, languages relationship to philosophy can be described as


speculative identity: it negates and opposes itself. McCumber states that:
the relation of language to philosophical thought is one of speculative
identity in which ones true meaning is always the identity of a meaning
simply identified with its language and a meaning still opposed to its
languageit leaves the intelligible expression of the System unattainable,
for thought opposed to its own expression cannot be understood.57

The speculative identity of thought causes non-identity for the individual


because of negation. Self-consciousness cannot be both independent and
dependent on the objects of consciousness. It cannot transcend the
construct of language to formulate or express thoughts. This would
involve an absence of the other from the outset. This is impossible due to
the necessity of recognition. As a result, as self-consciousness constantly
desires its own individual freedom, the only reasonable course it can take
is to negate its own identity. According to Michael Kosok:
the principle of Non-Identity says that it is impossible to have both the law
of contradiction and the law of the excluded middle, or it is impossible to
be both consistent and complete at the same time since the notion of
consistency demands that an element and its negation cannot both be
55

Leo Rauch and David Sherman, Hegels Phenomenology of Self-Consciousness:


Text and Commentary (New York: State of New York Press, 1999), 20.
56
G.W.F. Hegel, Philosophy of Mind, trans. A.V. Miller (Oxford: Oxford
University Press, 1978), 178.
57
McCumber, The Company of Words: Hegel, Language and Systematic
Philosophy, 217.

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

47

present, while the notion of completeness demands that an element and its
negation cannot both be absent.58

Therefore, the component of language in the pursuit of freedom inevitably


gives rise to the unhappy consciousness. The self who is alienated in
language comes to realise this when the dialectic of the Absolute is fraught
with doubt, negation and the universality of being. According to James
Loewenberg, unhappiness is a concomitant of the self-alienation that
ensues from the process of equating freedom of thought with absolute
doubt.59 The split between the object and the subject for selfconsciousness is again deeply felt by the schizophrenic. It is he/she who
appears to mostly feel the nothingness in the dialectic of becoming. The
schizophrenic feels the mastery of the objects of consciousness over the
subjectivity of self-consciousness to the point of anxiety. Schizophrenia is
deemed socially as abnormal, yet the anxiety felt by the schizophrenic is at
the very heart of the Hegelian dialectic. Loewenberg makes a strong
argument for the often arbitrary separation of schizoid and normal
consciousness:
Schizophreniabelongs to the vocabulary of abnormal psychology, but the
divided self is in Hegel an expression synonymous with selfconsciousness, the division being of different types, and an unhappy
consciousness need be no more morbid than a happy one. The reflexive
statement that, for example, one is ashamed or proud of ones self
embodies a fundamental duality; the self aware of shame or pride and the
self as object of the awareness, though inseparable, are clearly distinguishable.
All self-consciousness exemplifies an inevitable split of subject and object;
unless self-consciousness as such be consigned to the limbo of the
abnormal, does it not sound strange to speak of it as schizophrenia?...who
can draw an indelible line between the normal and the abnormal?60

Hegels dialectic of becoming also strengthens the overall argument that


schizophrenia is not abnormal but is in fact an aspect of normal
subjectivity that is heightened.
The dichotomy of experience within an individual as he/she assumes
they are realising freedom maintains a dependence on the other either
58

Michael Kosok, The Formalization of Hegels Dialectical Logic, in Alastair


MacIntyre Hegel: A Collection of Critical Essays, ed. Alastair MacIntyre, 243
(London: University of Notre Dame Press, 1976).
59
James Loewenberg, Hegels Phenomenology: Dialogues on the Life of Mind
(Illinois: Open Court Publishing Company, 1965), 97.
60
Ibid., 98, my italics.

48

Chapter Two

through memory or temporal reminders in the symbolic order. The objects


of consciousness e.g. religion, law, social order all stand to remind the
unhappy consciousness of the nothingness which is at the heart of
existence. In defending the association of schizophrenia with the Hegelian
dialectic i.e. relating the pathological to the philosophical, Loewenberg
states that, It is characteristic of the dialectical method to reveal the
pathology, so to speak, of every persuasion when driven to excess by the
illusion of perspective inherent in it. This we have sufficiently noted in
connection with the forms of consciousness as well as with those of selfconsciousness.61 In relation to schizophrenia, the unhappy consciousness
generates a form of ontological desperation. In the schizophrenics
isolation, his/her behaviour is deemed pathological. Again, Loewenberg
explains:
In the theme of the unhappy consciousness the pathology of an extremely
isolated perspective comes to a climax. Until happiness supervenes and
the search for it signifies the process of uniting in organic wholeness the
individuals differentiable aspects the self-consciousness in which
subject and object appear not only divided but completely estranged,
agrees perfectly with William Jamess description of the sick soul.62

Furthermore, the doubt and despair felt by the schizophrenic is as


important in the dialectic of freedom as determination is. The schizophrenic
has a truth claim which is rational. He/she considers the objects of
consciousness as part of the synthesis required to form a new being-initself. All truth claims are vital at any given moment in time if knowledge
is to be absolute. Loewenberg justifies the vitality of all truth claims
saying:
The truth is the whole this is the Hegelian thesis as announced in the
preface; and the text demonstrates it by showing that every partial truth is
infested with falsehood when assumed to be wholly true. Yet, this very
assumption is needed for the process of generating the progressive series of
truth-claims in which each loses and retains truth-value, loses it in an
absolute but retains it in a relative sense.63

The schizophrenic does not claim whole truths. The anxiety felt by selfestrangement is testament to the despair of not having a complete truth
claim to begin with, only one that is replaced by another, acquiring only
61

Ibid.
Ibid., 99.
63
Ibid.
62

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

49

relative value in the end. Moreover, because of the universality of the


objects of consciousness they cannot assume to know whole truths because
they are not free. The dialectic must continue with the determined negation
of doubt. It is in becoming aware of the dichotomy of consciousness that
freedom itself is possible. Again to quote Loewenberg, to be free to think
is to be free to doubt, and in being free to doubt anything and everything,
consciousness comes at long last to enjoy absolute independence.64
The bildungsroman of the schizophrenic tells of the despair generated
by doubt. The nothingness of becoming raises doubt in-itself due to the
determination to realise freedom. Absolute Spirit is sought after by every
consciousness involved with language. The schizophrenic is anxious about
the nothingness of existence but doubts that nothingness is universal. The
schizophrenic is made to think that no-one else experiences this sense of
nothingness. It is language which maintains the component of nothingness
in experience. Indeed, it is language which shapes the being-for-itself of
consciousness. To despair of negation is rational but to be determined in
the dialectic is spiritual. In a critique of the Phenomenology of Spirit,
Henry Sussman states that:
the Lordship and Bondage sectionis so conditioned by an inequality
and reversal of positions emerging from equilibrium that it needs no
resolutionyet this apparent indirection is more than answered by The
Unhappy Consciousness. If Lordship and Bondage establishes an infinite
imbalance in an intersubjective relationship projected vertically, the figure
of the priest or servant in The Unhappy Consciousness sets this
eccentricity aright by means of the self-denying but also self-elevating
gesture of sacrifice.65

The notion of spirit refers to the totality of consciousness for the individual.
Spirit is not fragmented by any social construct. It is also infinite.66
According to Hegel, its true return into itself, or its reconciliation with
itself will, however, display the Notion of Spirit that has become a living
spirit, and has achieved an actual existence, because it already possesses as
a single undivided consciousness a dual nature.67 The reversal of the
unhappy consciousness to a happy consciousness is dependent on the
64

Ibid., 100.
Henry Sussman, The Metaphor in Hegels Phenomenology of Mind, in
Hegels Dialectic of Desire and Recognition: Texts and Commentary, ed. John
ONeill, 322 (New York: State University of New York, 1996).
66
This point will be further explained in the next section of this chapter, Stream of
Consciousness.
67
Ibid., 126.
65

50

Chapter Two

notion of spirit. The other for the unhappy consciousness is an


objectified embodied component of self-consciousness that does not yet
realise it contains this objectifying nature. The reversal takes place with
the reconciliation between self-consciousness and its other. As with the
schizophrenic, the other assumes mastery as it observes selfconsciousness as an object, as language assumes mastery through its
dominance. In effect, the individual self-consciousness of the schizophrenic
perceives itself as an object. The nothingness in this dialectic perpetuates
self-alienation and petrification. Hegel states that, the unhappy
consciousness itself is the gazing of one self-consciousness into another,
and itself is both, and the unity of both is also its essential nature. But it is
not as yet explicitly aware that this is its essential nature, or that it is the
unity of both.68 The reconciliation of the unhappy consciousness with
itself allows for the notion of spirit, which is in-and-for-itself; undivided
and absolute.

Sanity and Insanity


In his thesis on anthropology Hegel classifies sanity and insanity.
He argues that the rational and sane individual objectifies him/herself in
the objective world by reneging his/her subjectivity in an attempt to gain
independence. Hegel states that: When I have raised myself to rational
thinking I am not only for myself, objective to myself, and therefore a
subjective identity of the subjective and objective, but I have also
separated this identity from myself, set it over against me as an actually
objective identity.69 The actuality of spirit manifests itself as it seeks
independence from the other. Thus, the feeling soul comprises of more
than its natural drives and instincts. Again Hegel explains:
In order to achieve this complete separation, the feeling soul must
overcome its immediacy, its naturalness and corporality, must convert this
into an ideal moment, appropriate it to itself, thereby transforming itself
into an objective unity of the subjective and objective and in doing this not
only freeing itself from its Other but at the same time discharging this
Other from its immediate identity with the feeling soul.70

Thus, the unity of the dichotomy between the subject and its object is
resolved by replacing individuality with objectivity. The insane
68

Hegel, Phenomenology of Spirit, 126.


Hegel, Philosophy of Mind, 125.
70
Ibid.
69

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

51

individual, by definition, is unable to relinquish his/her subjectivity in the


name of Reason. Instead, his/her subjectivity becomes the other for selfconsciousness. Nonetheless, in spite of the opposition, the insane cannot
gain independence from this other. According to Hegel:
the subjectivity of the soul not merely separates itself from its substance
with which in somnambulism it is still immediately identical, but comes
into direct opposition to it, into complete contradiction with the objective
consciousness, thereby becoming a purely formal, empty, abstract
subjectivity, and in this its one-sidedness arrogates to itself the significance
of a veritable unity of the subjective and the objective. Therefore the unity
and separation in insanity of the opposed sides just mentioned is still an
imperfect one. This unity and this separation only exist in their perfection
in the rational, actually objective consciousness.71

Consequently, it is the insane who attempt to hold onto their subjectivity


and conceive of it as a mastery over the objects of universal
consciousness. In the name of Reason, universality, such as language,
must assume mastery over individual subjectivity. Hegel states, to the
madman, his purely subjective world is quite as real as the objective
world.72 Nonetheless, Hegel notes the importance of intelligence and evil
in his study of the insane. When objective reality and the symbolic order
are relinquished the insane emerge as rational beings. The sensitivity felt
by the suppression of selfish acts and desires can manifest itself as
insanity. To feel suppressed by Reason is a contradiction in the sane,
not an opposition to it. Hegel explains that:
When the influence of self-possession and of general principles, moral and
theoretical, is relaxed, and ceases to keep the natural temper under lock and
key, the earthly elements are set free that evil which is always latent in
the heart, because the heart as immediate is natural and selfishthe right
physical treatment therefore keeps in view the truth that insanity is not an
abstract loss of reason (neither in the point of intelligence nor of will and
its responsibility), but only derangement, only a contradiction in a still
subsisting reason; - just as physical disease is not an abstract. i.e. mere and
total, loss of health (if it were that, it would be death), but a contradiction
in it.73

The insane, by definition, are at odds with rational and objective self71

Ibid.
Ibid., 128.
73
Ibid., 124.
72

52

Chapter Two

definition. They fail to enslave their subjectivity, yet the selfish heart of
desire, once freed, justifies the insane individual. The desire for personal
freedom is a condition shared by every individual. This desire transcends
the binary opposition of sanity and insanity. He/she can act intelligently
and reasonably and in turn is deemed sane. Hegel noted that in spite of the
insane individuals quarrel with the universality of language and
objectivity he/she is quite aware of the moral and ethical Good, albeit
with a heightened intensity. According to Hegel:
the malice of the maniac does not prevent him from having moral and
ethical feelings; on the contrary, just because of his distress, just because
he is mastered by the unmediated opposition present to him, these feelings
can have an increased intensity. Pinel expressly states that nowhere has he
seen more affectionate spouses and fathers than in lunatic asylums.74

In this sense, language highlights the strain placed on subjectivity to


express itself. The insane, accordingly, retreat from the world of the
universal. They attribute objective truths to their subjective ideas. This is
rational but deemed insane because their objective truths are not
universally understood by universal consciousness. Hegel reminds us that,
madness in the narrower meaning of the word implies that the mind is
fixed in a single, merely subjective idea and accords it objective
significance. This physical state mostly comes about when someone who
is dissatisfied with his actual world shuts himself up in his subjectivity.75
Universal consciousness can only understand itself i.e. language can only
understand and recognise language. The insane, by definition, become
fixated on notions of grandeur or assume identities formulated by language
e.g. a king or a queen. At the same time it is reasonable and universally
understood for the individual to assume the identity of I. Hegel explains
that:
the reason why such a fixed idea, irreconcilable with my concrete actual
world, can arise in me is that I am, in the first instance, a wholly abstract,
completely indeterminate I and therefore open to any arbitrary content. In
so far as I am such an I, I can fill myself with the most nonsensical ideas,
for example, I can believe that I am a dog (in fairy-tales men have indeed
been turned into dogs).76

74

Ibid., 136.
Ibid., 133.
76
Ibid., 128.
75

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

53

The sane, by definition, assume the identity of the passive I. He/she


assumes the role of the slave whilst language assumes the role of the
master. This is without question. For the schizophrenic, the unhappy
consciousness, aware of the struggle with language, expresses its unease
through mania, frenzy, auditory hallucinations or by speaking to
him/herself out aloud. The expression and search for the proof of his/her
subjectivity is paramount. Hegel tells the story of Newtons obsession with
his subjectivity:
This savant is supposed on one occasion to have taken hold of a ladys
finger in order to use it as a tobacco-stopper for his pipe. Such
distractedness can be the result of excessive study; it is not uncommon to
find it in scholars, especially those of past times. But distractedness is often
the outcome, too, of the desire to be universally esteemed, which results in
individuals being obsessed with their subjectivity, and in the process
forgetting the objective world.77

Hegel explains that, the maniac himself has a vivid feeling of the
contradiction between his merely subjective idea and the objective world,
and yet cannot rid himself of this idea but is fully intent on making it an
actuality or on destroying what is actual.78 On the other hand, according
to Hegel madness proper79 is a perpetually happy consciousness where
the individual is never aware of any contradiction. Hegel states that, we
alone are aware of this contradiction; the lunatic himself is not tormented
by the feeling of his inner disruption.80
According to Hegel, the cure for insanity lies principally in the field
of psychology. It is in this practice that the individual needs of the insane
are addressed. Through cognitive therapy the insane are treated like
rational beings and in doing so they are reminded that they are. Hegel
further explains that, the most effective treatment is always
psychological.81 This treatment implies recognising the subjectivities of
the insane rather than objectifying them. However, in an attempt to
understand the insane the psychologist must rely on the medium of
language. But, it is the objectifying nature of language and the symbolic
order which drove them to their state of insanity in the first place.
Consequently, the illness and the cure hinge on one single notion i.e. the
77

Ibid., 133.
Ibid., 135.
79
Ibid., 133.
80
Ibid., 135.
81
Ibid., 136.
78

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Chapter Two

individuals subjectivity. Recognising an individuals subjectivity both


philosophically and psychologically has profound significance. The
diagnosis of the schizophrenic accounts for a failure in being recognised as
a subject due primarily to the mastery of the universal objective
consciousness. This universal is most prominent in language, which only
recognises itself.
Language annihilates the individual in society. As an object of
consciousness it is forever in conflict with self-consciousness. It causes
self-alienation and suppresses desire to the point of despair. It gives rise to
rational behaviour. Reason in-itself assumes mastery over civilised people
who live comfortably in the world. However, ontologically, reason and
language as objectifying entities distinguish the sane from the insane.
The latter are the antithesis of universal consciousness. The schizophrenic
has a sick soul; an unhappy consciousness. Nevertheless, the
schizophrenic has a soul which illuminates itself by the emphasis placed
on his/her subjectivity in spite of the looming mastery of language. An
investigation will be made into the dialectic of individual selfconsciousness with its consciousness in coming to terms with experience
in the following sub-section, which examines stream of consciousness in
Hegels philosophy. The reality of experience and becoming will be
closely analysed from the point of view of the schizophrenic and the
problems of fragmentation and the limitations of language will be further
highlighted.

Stream of Consciousness
Human beings, by changing the inner
attitudes of their minds, can change the
outer aspects of their lives.82

In the process of uncovering the object/subject dialectic in


schizophrenia the notions of experience, unity of consciousness and time
are significant. It is how and what the schizophrenic experiences, and how
that experience is internally processed, that determines his/her symptoms.
It is also in analysing experience that the boundaries between sanity and
insanity become diminished. Hegels philosophy stresses the notion of
spirit. However, in order to realise its Absolute Spirit consciousness needs
to become unified with itself. The objects of consciousness e.g. language,
82

William James, William James: Writings 1878-1899: Psychology, Briefer


Course/ The Will to Believe/ Talks to Teachers and Students/ Essays, ed. Gerald E.
Myers (Louisville: The Library of America, 1992).

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

55

delay this unification. Nonetheless, unity of consciousness does occur


upon death. Hegel explains that reunification of existence, when it is
complete, as it is in death, is simply a reunification; it does not return into
consciousness; consciousness does not survive the reunification, is not in
and for itself, but merely passes over into its unreconciled opposite.83

Objects of Consciousness
In the process of studying the attempts made to achieve this synthesis
of consciousness with itself, the notions of reason, perception and self
come into question. The perception of time also raises interesting
questions in the analysis and understanding of schizophrenia. The concept
of consciousness encapsulates all of these notions, and investigating the
relevance of stream of consciousness to the study of schizophrenia will be
a crucial component of this thesis.
The concept of stream of consciousness was coined by William James
in his thesis The Principles of Psychology which was written in 1890. His
intention was that the term be used for psychoanalytical practice.
However, nowadays it is a term widely used in literary and philosophical
criticism. Stream of consciousness refers to the movement of consciousness
experience of itself through a myriad of moods and thoughts. The notion
of the stream of consciousness moves away from the analytical building
blocks of knowledge and cognitive skills which are synonymous with the
age of Enlightenment, when objective and scientific perception took
precedence over subjective information. As schizophrenia is an inherently
subjective experience (no-one else in the vicinity has the same auditory or
visual hallucinations), this way of exploring the mind is perhaps more
appropriate for my investigation than the scientific objectivity of
Enlightenment-inspired discourse. Robert Humphrey explains that:
James was formulating psychological theory and he had discovered that
memories, thoughts, and feelings exist outside the primary consciousness
and, further, that they appear to one, not as a chain, but as a stream, a flow.
Whoever, then, first applied the phrase to the novel did so correctly only if
he was thinking of a method of representing inner awareness.84

As a result of this stream of thought, consciousness becomes aware of both


83

Hegel, Phenomenology of Spirit, 308.


Robert Humphrey, Stream of Consciousness in the Modern Novel: A Study of
James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, Dorothy Richardson, William Faulkner and Others
(London: University of California Press, 1954), 5.

84

56

Chapter Two

its complexity and its being-in-itself. The inner awareness illuminates


individual subjectivity to itself. Further to this, the multiplicity of
consciousness experience of itself, at any moment in time, also highlights
how experience is processed. Consciousness depicts and attempts to make
sense of experience as it comes into awareness. Experience flows into
awareness from a myriad of different tributaries of mind. These include
mood, thought, reflection, emotion and memory. The meeting of the
waters, as it were, at a moment in time, distinguishes one experience from
another experience for consciousness.
In realising its being-in-itself, consciousness must make sense of what
it has experienced in order to move the Hegelian dialectic towards its
being-for-itself. Consequently, the determined negation of consciousness
is characterised by questions and uncertainties arising from any given
experience in the stream of consciousness. Humphrey states that:
the realm of life with which stream of consciousness literature is concerned
is mental and spiritual experience both the whatness and the howness of
it. The whatness includes the categories of mental experiences: sensations,
memories, imaginations, conceptions and institutions. The howness includes
the symbolizations, the feelings, and the processes of association.85

The very act of questioning experience highlights the objectifying nature


of consciousness. It stands apart from the stream of experience in order to
understand and negate its being-in-itself. In this way, consciousness
overlooks its own subjectivity. This failure of consciousness to recognise
its subjectivity is typically Hegelian. The objects of consciousness gain
mastery as they take precedence over subjectivity. According to Merlin
Donald, consciousness is like the proverbial conveyor belt that will not
stop for anythingwe are bound to an unstoppable stream of
consciousness. All our adventures of the mind are ultimately limited by
this fact.86 Husserl was concerned with the effect conscious experience of
itself had on objectivity. In order to better understand experience, as
highlighted by the stream of consciousness, consciousness needs to reflect
on itself so as to become aware of its intentionality. Alfred Schuetz
explains:
Husserl starts with the explanation of the characteristics of psychological
experience. While just living along, we live in our experiences, and,
85

Ibid., 7.
Merlin Donald, A Mind so Rare: The Evolution of Human Consciousness
(London: W.W. Norton & Company, 2002), 16.
86

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

57

concentrated as we are upon their objects, we do not have in view the acts
of subjective experience themselves. In order to reveal these acts of
experience as such we must modify the nave attitude in which we are
oriented towards objects and we must turn ourselves, in a specific act of
reflection, towards our own experiences.87

The intention of consciousness to concentrate on its own experiences


requires it to ignore the objects of the outer world and instead to focus on
what is given in the experience of the stream of consciousness. Husserl
referred to this as bracketing experience. Schuetz states that, we just
make up our mind to refrain from any judgement concerning spatiotemporal
existence, or in technical language, we set the existence of the world out
of action, we bracket our belief in it.88 Husserl referred to this method
of understanding as transcendental reduction. Husserl states, to his
conscious life for example, his sensuously perceiving and imagining life,
or his asserting, valuing, or willing life the Ego can at any time direct his
reflective regard; he can contemplate it and, in respect of its contents,
explicate and describe it.89 His reasoning is that through this reduction
consciousness can better understand its stream of thought together with its
subjectivity. According to Hegels idealism, the Geist or human spirit
comes to full self-consciousness at the resolution of the dialectic. Where
Husserl would deliberate on the transcendental reduction, Hegels idealism
claims that consciousness comes to know itself through the resolution of
opposites. By reflecting on ones present state of history an individual is
automatically transcending his/her present state. The generation of new
perspectives provides material for future reference. Hegel relies on the
logic of nature to begin addressing the question of the phenomenology of
consciousness, Husserl is concerned with overcoming the preconceptions
of given universals. Through the transcendental reduction, individual
consciousness will come to know its individuality instead of having
his/her identity annihilated by a universal. According to Scheutz, the
transcendental reduction is important for phenomenological descriptive
psychology not only because it reveals the stream of consciousness and its
features in their purity, but, above all, because some very important
structures of consciousness can be made visible only within this reduced
87

Alfred Schuetz, William James Concept of the Stream of Thought Phenomenologically


Interpreted, in Philosophical and Phenomenological Research 1, no. 4 (1941):
444-445.
88
Ibid., 445.
89
Edmund Husserl, Cartesian Meditations: An Introduction to Phenomenology,
trans. Dorion Cairns (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1973), 31.

58

Chapter Two

sphere.90
The fact remains, however, that objects of consciousness become part
of experience. From the point of view of the schizophrenic it is vital that
these objects do not acquire mastery over consciousness but rather that
they are understood and recognised as objects. They are a necessary
element in the stream of consciousness but must not become the ultimate
defining factor of experience. Again Schuetz explains: there is no isolated
object within our stream of thought, but only substantive parts, such as
sensations, perceptions, images, whose particularity is that they can be
held before the mind for an indefinite time, and transitive parts which are
thoughts of relations, static or dynamic, between the substantive parts.91
From the perspective of the schizophrenic, the substantive parts gain
mastery over his/her subjectivity in the form of auditory or visual
hallucinations. The transitive parts can also gain mastery over the
schizophrenics consciousness. The symptoms of such a situation include
psychological paralysis, false memories or word games.92 There is an echo
carried from one experience in time to another experience at a different
time. This is reminiscent of Hegels dialectic. Each new being-in-itself
contains elements of a prior negated being-in-itself for consciousness.
Echoes and content from a culmination of experiences can sometimes
gather such momentum in the schizophrenics consideration of his/her
experience that it resembles mastery. This psychologically paralyses the
schizophrenic thus preventing him/her from continuing his/her Hegelian
dialectic and forming his/her new being-in-itself.
However, the Hegelian dialectic does eventually move towards its
being-for-itself due to the concept of expectancy. The phenomenal mind
and the schizophrenic mind expect a future event. James described the
surroundings of thought as fringes or horizons. Schuetz explains that,
there are, moreover, always feelings of expectancies, of tendencies,
relating the present feeling with the future and the past.93 In short, each
90

Schuetz, William James Concept of the Stream of Thought Phenomenologically


Interpreted, 446.
91
Ibid., 448.
92
False memories refer to an actual memory of an event where the time and place
are accurate. However, in the schizophrenic mind the experience of this memory
becomes invaded with critical voices. They criticise, using a derogatory tone, the
actual events taking place. Word games are used by the schizophrenic when he/she
is trying to disguise his/her subjectivity by playing games with particular words
used in questions by another individual. These questions would be directed at the
schizophrenics individuality.
93
Ibid.

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

59

of our thoughts is, so to speak, surrounded by fringes of implicitly felt


relations, it carries with it a halo of psychic overtones, or as James likes
to call it, its horizon.94 The inner horizon95 of consciousness,
according to Husserl, refers to the initial phenomenal perception of an
object. The outer horizon96 of consciousness relates objects of thoughts
with their surroundings. The temporal horizon, which James and Husserl
endorse in their writings, refers to the perception of an object remaining
unchanged over time. Schuetz describes it as a temporal horizon, first and
foremost temporally extended in objective time: the actually perceived
object is the same as the one perceived yesterday or to be perceived
tomorrow.97 This is in spite of the fact that there may be differences in
the appearance of the object. These horizons of consciousness offer major
insights into the psychology of schizophrenia. If the inner horizon can
situate itself in the context of the outer horizon i.e. the objects of thought
with their surroundings, the schizophrenic mind could establish the context
of perception as being more of a priority than the initial perception of one
object. In this way, the intentionality of the schizophrenic can assume
mastery over one single object of experience at a moment in time. This
refers to both visual and auditory hallucinations. Their mastery in
themselves, as perceived by the schizophrenic, may be reduced by
recognising their temporal nature i.e. they are not fixed in time, rather time
is the consistent flow of experience. For example, when a schizophrenic is
made to feel self-conscious to the point of mental paralysis, by assuming
the temporality of experience, he/she might lessen the degree to which
he/she is controlled by the hallucinations. It is clear that phenomenological
consideration of consciousness significantly aids the understanding of
schizophrenia.

Object-Parts, Time-Parts and Creativity


To further develop the significance of intentionality and perception for
the purposes of understanding schizophrenic symptoms it is important to
point out what Schuetz means by the topic and object of thought.98 The
topic of thought is the thing that is considered or thought about. The object
of thought refers to what is thought about the thing. It is necessary to
distinguish between the two because the horizons of experience, as
94

Ibid.
Ibid., 449.
96
Ibid.
97
Ibid.
98
Ibid., 451.
95

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Chapter Two

highlighted by the stream of consciousness, can distort meaning and


perception. Schuetz explains that through its relation to the kernel every
element of the thought is bathed in that original halo of obscure relations,
which, like a horizon, then spread about the meaning. Hence, we need to
distinguish between the topic and the object of the thought: the topic is
what the thought is about, the object what is thought about it.99 In order
to make sense of a topic of thought it is necessary to isolate that topic, i.e.
the topic in-itself, from its surroundings. Yet, in order to understand the
topic of thought, it must be related back to its surroundings, because its
meaning is embedded in its context. Therefore, the object of thought
depends on perception and intentionality. However, as it is impossible to
contemplate a topic of thought in its isolation, due to the stream of
consciousness, why is it so often the case that topics of thought assume
such mastery over the schizophrenic? Schuetz offers an explanation to this
by stating that the mind perceives topics of thought as object-parts.
Nevertheless, the continuous stream of consciousness, as a unity, has only
time-parts,100 not object-parts, due to the temporal nature of time. It is
these time-parts which should remind the schizophrenic of his/her
subjectivity. Again Schuetz explains: let us not be mistaken by the fact
that in conceptual terms, the thought seems to have object-parts. It has
only time-parts, but, however complicated its object may be, the thought
of it is one undivided state of consciousness, one single pulse of
subjectivity.101 It is the sensitivity to this single pulse of subjectivity
which characterises the schizophrenic. He/she relates past thoughts and
moods in his/her stream of consciousness to the present thought and mood
and projects the anxiety, which is now generated, into the future. The
schizophrenic fails to recognise the surroundings of the outer horizon of
experience as their stream of thought continues to flow. The schizophrenic
now experiences false memories. The past experience flows into the
present as an altered topic of thought. The memory is infested with
auditory hallucinations. The schizophrenics subjectivity has turned in on
him/her. The time-parts of his/her experience of thought have given
precedence to his/her object-parts of experience. Recognising the
temporality of experience is as important as recognising the temporality of
language. Self-certainty and recognition of a temporal outer horizon of
experience are vital in coming to terms with the being-in-itself of the
schizophrenics stream of consciousness. The schizophrenics tendency to
arrest time in the stream of consciousness can be related to Salvador Dalis
99

Ibid.
Time-parts refer to the understanding of experience at a moment in time.
101
Ibid.
100

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

61

painting, The Persistence of Memory, (1931).102 The clocks in the painting


melt. The temporal specificity of experience is ignored.103
Hegels being-for-itself of consciousness is similar to James notion of
the fringe of experience. The anticipated future for the stream of
consciousness contains the content of the present. The future, by
definition, is not yet filled with content, but it is assumed to be unified
with and similar to the present experience. Similarly, in the Hegelian
dialectic, consciousness being-in-itself assumes the content of its beingfor-itself. When this assumption is negated the dialectic moves further.
The assumed future in the stream of consciousness resembles a void or
nothingness because of its vacancy. Husserl states:
Each actual mental process (we effect this evidence on the ground of clear
intuition of an actuality characterising mental processes) is necessarily an
enduring one; and with this duration it finds its place in an infinite
continuum of duration in a fulfilled continuum. Of necessity it has an all
round, infinitely fulfilled temporal horizon. At the same time this says: it
belongs to one endless stream of mental processesEvery mental
process, as temporal being, is a mental process of its pure Egoas actually
existing or as enduring in phenomenological time.104

The spacious present further resembles Hegels notion of negation when


consciousness being-in-itself resembles its being-for-itself. The perpetual
projection of the ego into the ideal and the universal inevitably gives rise
to the experience of negativity. Thus, the nothingness of experience seeks
unity and synthesis to move the Hegelian dialectic by creating a new
being-in-itself or, according to James, to enable the progression of the
stream of consciousness. The necessity of consciousness to synthesise
with itself can be denoted by Helen Frankenthalers painting, Nature
Abhors a Vacuum, (1973).105 In her painting all the different paints are
merging towards one another in order to cover the canvas. The blank areas
of the canvas resemble a vacuum. The movement and energy in the
painting depicts natures urgency to eliminate the vacuum. The vacuum
represents the space of disunity in consciousness.
102

See Appendix Two. Fig. 2-2


See Fred Bemak and Lawrence R. Epp, Transcending the Mind-Body
Dichotomy: Schizophrenia Reexamined, in Journal of Humanistic Counseling,
Education and Development 41, no. 1 (2002): 1.
104
Edmund Husserl, Ideas Pertaining to a Pure Phenomenology and to a
Phenomenological Philosophy, trans. Fred Kersten (Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic
Publishers, 1998), 194.
105
See Appendix Two. Fig. 2-1
103

62

Chapter Two

The schizophrenics inability to recognise the temporal specificity of


time results in a disproportionate fear of the negativity associated with the
Hegelian dialectic. This fear is perpetuated over time to the extent that
he/she distorts his/her stream of consciousness, thus jeopardising his/her
synthesis of consciousness in a rational manner. Alternatively, the
schizophrenic refuses to compromise his/her subjectivity to the process of
the dialectic or to the stream of his/her consciousness. The task involved in
synthesising consciousness manifests itself differently for each individual.
It is this which gives individuals their uniqueness. Some individuals are
creative in their attempt to synthesise consciousness whilst others appear
to be more rigid. A loosening or a fluidity of thought, as a process of
synthesis, has been described by Fred Bemak and Lawrence R. Epp as a
necessary component for creativity. High levels of the neurochemical
dopamine has been associated with the prevalence of schizophrenic
symptoms too, but has also been noted in individuals with high levels of
creativity, supporting rather than negating Bemak and Epps argument.
According to R.C. Collinger, elevated dopamine activity appears in
personalities that are intolerant of structure and monotony, whereas low
dopamine activity appears in those personalities manifesting orderliness
and inflexibility. To be clear, it seems that the levels of dopamine reveal
an unexpected parallel: Dopamine activity correlates with both schizophrenia
and creativity.106 The Hegelian synthesis of consciousness depends on the
content of consciousness being-in-itself and the synthesis also depends on
negation in the dialectic. However, what the new being-in-itself contains
for consciousness distinguishes one individual from another. Perception
and experience are rational but they are also highly individual. Therefore,
looseness of thought cannot be definitively hallmarked. Is an individual
insane because they are creative? Is creativity a precursor for insanity? Is it
impossible for an insane person to be creative? These questions highlight
the impossible task of defining insanity. Bemak and Epp explain:
The fact that a healthy mental state and an abnormal one share the same
neurochemical mechanism is not necessarily contradictory. The meaning of
this relationship may be that in creative personalities, whose thinking is
more fluid or looser than average, trauma may provoke the further
loosening of thought associated with schizophrenia. This position has been
repeatedly examined in the literature, and it may be a credible theory to
reexplore. In fact, what makes this theory so appealing is that at a deeper
level of conceptualization it challenges the rigid categorization of
106

Fred Bemak and Lawrence R. Epp, Transcending the Mind-Body Dichotomy:


Schizophrenia Reexamined, 1.

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

63

schizophrenia as purely a brain disease. Here lies the paradox: if the


dopamine mechanism for the most devastating disease is the same
mechanism for the creative thought necessary for successful adaptation,
the boundary between mental health and mental illness must not be as
discrete and clear as the medical model proposes.107

In later chapters of this book it will become evident how difficult it is to


define insanity. Individual perception, cultural context, third person
narratives and the postmodern condition will serve to demonstrate the
normal activities of so-called schizophrenic behaviour and, conversely,
the schizophrenic nature of normal behaviour.

Unity and Time


The synthesis of the fringes of experience is both rational and
individualistic. This also holds true for the schizophrenic as he/she
continues to come to terms with a vacant future and a negating present.
The unifying nature of the Hegelian dialectic highlights the one-sideness
of the rational enterprise. The anticipated future is for consciousness yet its
content is anticipated in the present. Nevertheless, the Hegelian dialectic
of consciousness continually alters its being-in-itself through the fluidity
of thesis, antithesis and synthesis. James Richard Mensch states that:
given this inclusivity, the intolerable one-sidedness that Heidegger
complains of is not present in the circle itself. It springs, rather from the
attempts to abstract from it opposing lines of temporal determination. It is
this which results in the modern dualism of mind and body as well as the
type of philosophical schizophrenia of Fichtes arbitrary choice between
realism and idealism.108

The dichotomy of Western thought, i.e. between realism and its other,
establishes a boundary. That gives rise to a failure to be recognised by the
other.
The problems associated with unifying consciousness, in a rational
attempt to understand experience, cause concern for many philosophers.
The synthesis of the object with the subject raises great demand for the
recognition of subjectivity in Hegels philosophy. The context and
temporality involved in this synthesis are also crucial in order to
107

Ibid. my italics.
James Richard Mensch, Knowing and Being: A Postmodern Reversal
(Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1996), 105.

108

64

Chapter Two

understand the present being-in-itself for consciousness. However, the


question remains: how does time impact on the rationally perceived
experience of the stream of consciousness? Time, according to Immanuel
Kant, is not a discursive, or what is called a general concept, but a pure
form of sensible intuition. Different times are but parts of one and the
same time.109 A temporally specific time is understood only as the time
which is the moment of experience. However, if rationality assumes a
temporally specific time to be the entire concept of time itself then infinity
becomes denoted in a single moment; the past, present and future are
considered simultaneously due to the compartmentalisation of time. The
consequences of this for the Hegelian dialectic are such that it would cause
the dialectic to stop. This would lead to the state of an unhappy
consciousness. This is fundamentally due to a failure to ever gain
recognition. On the other hand, if the notion of time as a whole is
conceptualised as infinite experience then consciousness is also infinite
and the infinity of time is its unifying character. This infinity of
consciousness is referred to by Hegel as Absolute Spirit. In relation to the
schizophrenic, it is vital to conceive of time as infinite and to be aware that
experience is constantly changing in order to withstand the paralysis of
consciousnesss experience of the stream of consciousness. It appears that
time is thought of as infinite for the schizophrenic because infinite time
means infinite change. Therefore, a stable subjectivity is impossible due to
the ever changing metaphor of subjectivity. Ronald P. Morrison explains
that time means change and change means a lack of unity in
consciousness because the change is always from one absolutely discrete
moment to another. It is for this reason that the problem of the unity of
consciousness boils down to accounting for a permanent subject.110
Again, the point is made that subjectivity must take precedence over
objects.
The problems posed by unity and time were analysed by Martin
Heidegger in his thesis Being and Time. For Heidegger, consciousness
awareness of time is so dominant that it generates the very perspective that
the Western world takes in its understanding of being. Morrison states,
Heidegger believes that from the beginning of Western philosophy time
has been the perspective governing the disclosure of being.111
Heideggers emphasis is on Dasein i.e. Being-there. The unveiling and
109

Immanuel Kant quoted in Ronald P. Morrison, Kant, Husserl, and Heidegger


on Time and the Unity of Consciousness, in Philosophy and Phenomenological
Research 39, no. 2 (1978): 183.
110
Ibid., 185.
111
Ibid., 192.

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

65

understanding of this is through the disclosure of objects-in-themselves


and most importantly how consciousness relates to these objects.
According to Morrison, Disclosedness is not a theoretical, detached
observation of objects, but comes about in a concerned involvement with
things in the world. Things appear as useful or threatening or beneficial in
relation to or for something else as a result of our practical activity.112
Therefore, for Heidegger, the unity of consciousness does not relate to the
objectifying nature of reason. The world of objects does not take
precedence over consciousness understanding of itself. Instead, for
Heidegger, the synthesis of existence must involve an awareness of the
lack of content of an anticipated future rather than seeking to unify
consciousness at a moment in time. Heidegger explains:
Ahead-of-itself-Being-already-in-a-world essentially includes ones falling
and ones Being alongside those things ready-to-hand within-the-world
with which one concerns oneself. The formally existential totality of
Daseins ontological structural whole must therefore be grasped in the
following structure: the Being of Dasein means ahead-of-itself-Beingalready-in-(the-world) as being-alongside (entities encountered within-theworld).113

Thus, the stream of consciousness involves an awareness of the inevitability


of change of consciousness being-in-itself as can be seen in consciousness
varying relations with objects over time. The stream of consciousness also
denotes that time is constant and infinite.
For Heidegger, the unity of consciousness or the synthesis of human
existence is achieved in the determination towards death. It is only then
that the self will know and realise its authenticity.114 Morrison explains
that of central importance is the manner in which death is faced.
Heidegger believes that the authentic unity of human existence is possible
in resoluteness towards death. It is only in this resoluteness that human
existence becomes a self for itself.115 Heideggers philosophy narrates the
necessities of determination, negation of the not-yet future and the need
to unify human existence. His themes are very similar to Hegels emphasis
on a determined negation in the dialectic; a need for recognition from
112

Ibid., 193.
Martin Heidegger, Being and Time, trans. John Macquarrie and Edward
Robinson (Oxford Basil Blackwell, 1973), 237.
114
This is also reminiscent of Jacques Lacans notion of the death drive which will
be explained in more detail in chapter three.
115
Ibid., 194.
113

66

Chapter Two

another self-conscious subject as opposed to objects taking precedence


over the unity of consciousness. Hegel also treats time as being in and for
itself. Time is independent. Consciousness awareness and perception of
time is an important factor in understanding the stream of consciousness at
a point in time. Nevertheless, time moves and changes consciousness
understanding of it. Time is the unmoved mover.116 According to Hegel:
motion is not itself thought of as something simple, or as a pure essence,
but as already divided; time and space are in themselves its independent
parts or essences, or, distance and velocity are modes of being or ways of
thinking, either of which can well be without the other; and motion is,
therefore, only their superficial relation, not their essence.117

Hegels dissertation on the Absolute Spirit is similar to Heideggers


philosophy on the authentic unity of consciousness upon death. Both
Hegel and Heidegger posit the possibility of a unified consciousness. Also,
given their shared understanding of time as an infinite and independent
notion, human existence transcends death to come to understand itself as
spirit. Hegel explains:
The knowledge of Nature as the untrue existence of Spirit, and this
immanently developed universality of the Self is in itself the reconciliation
of Spirit with itself. For the self-consciousness that does not think in terms
of the Notion, this in-itself receives the form of something that posses
immediate being and is imaginatively represented. Comprehension is,
therefore, for that self-consciousness not a grasping of this Notion which
knows superseded natural existence to be universal and therefore
reconciled with itself; but rather a grasping of the imaginative idea, that by
bringing to pass its own externalisation, in its historical incarnation and
death, the divine Being has been reconciled with its [natural] existence.118

Self-consciousness must take precedence over consciousness of self if


the determined spirit is to know itself. In this way individual subjectivity
will be recognised. The difference between self-consciousness and
116

According to Thomas Mautners reading of Aristotle, The end-directed nature


of the universe is emphasized even more by the presence of a first unmoved
mover, which Aristotle identifies with God, and which causes the outermost
sphere of the heavens to rotate. The unmoved mover, conceived as an unembodied
mind, serves as the goal and ideal of all heavenly motions. [Mautner, The Penguin
Dictionary of Philosophy, 45].
117
Hegel, Phenomenology of Spirit, 94.
118
Ibid., 475.

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

67

consciousness of self is clearly explained by G.W. Cunningham. Selfconsciousness is self seeking to know itself whereas consciousness of self
depends largely on the other. Cunningham states:
by consciousness of self we understand that experience of contrast between
the self and something other than the self, in which the disparateness
between the self and its Other is emphasisedconsciousness of self is the
feeling that arises as a result of the isolation of the self within its
environment; it is the contrast-effect between the self and the not-self.119

Self-consciousness, on the other hand, Cunningham defines as, an


inward-looking category that refers to the continuity of the processes with
which, as a whole, we identify the selfself-consciousness is, thus, the
stream of consciousness viewed as unitary, coherent, and continuous.120
If consciousness of self was more emphasised in the understanding
processes of human existence, the stream of consciousness would be
perceived in a fragmented form because the self would be perceived more
objectively. Thus, an over-emphasis on a consciousness of self would
involve a highly rational yet objectified perception of a self to itself. The
dangers of this can be seen in the characteristics of the schizophrenic. The
other assumes a very dominant and objectifying stance over the
individual self. Cunningham argues that consciousness of self hinders selfconsciousness because the other is always contrasted with the self which
is conscious. He explains, whenever we find consciousness of self, there
we also find self-consciousness; for the former, as we have indicated,
cannot exist without the latter. But it remains true; nevertheless, that
consciousness of self hinders self-consciousness. In so far as consciousness
of self exists self-consciousness is not at its best.121
Self-consciousness can exist with consciousness of self. However, the
latter cannot exist independently of either self-consciousness or the
other. In order to understand the unifying experience of the stream of
consciousness, self-consciousness is essential. Self-consciousness has
more autonomy than consciousness as it can exist in-itself without
consciousness or the other. As Absolute Spirit is in and for itself, selfconsciousness becomes in and for itself. Therefore, consciousness of self
cannot be relied on exclusively to understand experience and the Absolute
Spirit because of its over-emphasis on objectivity and the other. The
119

G. W. Cunningham, Self-Consciousness and Consciousness of Self, in Mind


20, no. 80 (1911): 530.
120
Ibid., 531.
121
Ibid., 533.

68

Chapter Two

Hegelian dialectic would cease and knowledge of the self would result in
an unhappy consciousness. Cunningham explains that:
the self exists only in so far as experience is a totality; unless the stream of
processes is unitary, the self exists in no intelligible sense. Hence selfconsciousness is essential to the contrast-effect; without self-consciousness,
as Kant has unmistakably pointed out, conscious experience could be
nothing more than a meaningless and lawless chaos, and could only
metaphorically stand in contrast with anything else.122

The other for self-consciousness is consciousness. The other for


consciousness of self is a fragmented element of experience. Cunningham
states:
the Other of self-consciousness is the entire content of consciousness
while the Other in consciousness of self is always regarded as that in
which the self finds an obstacle of some sort. The Other in selfconsciousness is, in a very important sense, identical with the self; but the
very essence of consciousness of self consists in the opposition between
the self and its foreign Other.123

An isolated object, at a point in time, can take precedence over the fluidity
of experience or the notion of infinity. This can lead to paranoia or
psychological paralysis for the schizophrenic. Therefore, if the
schizophrenic wishes to alleviate his/her symptoms he/she needs to
overcome the mastery of the other and acknowledge the fluidity of the
stream of consciousness. The consequence of failing to do this is a
perpetual conflict with the other, in which recognition and selfhood
would never be achieved.
The synthesis of self-consciousness with its other is the hallmark of
Hegels philosophy. The recognition which is needed requires another
self-conscious mind to highlight to self-consciousness that it is attempting
to synthesise with itself and not with an external object. According to
Cunningham, self-consciousness, though it unquestionably implies an
Other, looks upon that Other as its own very self, bone of its bone, and
flesh of its flesh; opposition between the two is a hindrance, not a help.124
Consequently, the schizophrenics self-consciousness needs to synthesise
with his/her consciousness, which has become objectified through
mistaking a specific temporality for infinity and mistaking a component of
122

Ibid., 532.
Ibid., 534.
124
Ibid., 536.
123

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

69

experience as the unity of his/her understanding of self. This break in the


stream of consciousness for the schizophrenic may be the result of trauma:
an overpowering experience at a moment in time. The content of this
particular experience is carried along the stream of consciousness and
potentially jeopardises present and future synthesis of experience. The
overwhelming content of this past traumatic experience is enough to
distort the schizophrenics perception of time. It stands to reason that the
symptoms of paranoia and anxiety are synonymous with the
schizophrenic. Cunningham notes that:
whether or not one is conscious of self depends upon accidental
circumstances of environment and training; whether or not one is selfconscious depends upon ones capacity for a unitary experience. That one
should be conscious of self is entirely incidental to ones career; that one
should be self-conscious is absolutely necessary to ones development as a
rational creature.125

In order to gain respite from the effects of his/her symptoms the


schizophrenic would have to become more self-conscious rather than
conscious of self. The stream of consciousness enables the self to realise
the infinity of time as an independent notion. It also enables the
schizophrenic to realise that the contents of experiences, be they traumatic
or pleasant, change due to temporality. The alternative to this is a
perpetual conflict between consciousness of self and an objectifying
other i.e. the Hegelian master failing to recognise its slave, which
culminates in an unhappy consciousness.
The notions of experience, synthesis of consciousness and time are
understood by the schizophrenic as trauma, fragmentation and distorted
temporality. The undoing of their mastery would require a change in
perception of the self from the schizophrenic. Rather than objectifying the
self because of the awareness of the other, the schizophrenic would need
to understand the change that is perpetually occurring in consciousness as
is evidenced by the stream of consciousness. It is only by objectifying the
other that the schizophrenic can allow his/her subjectivity to engage in
the Hegelian dialectic as opposed to anxiously maintaining his/her
subjectivity at a specific moment in time. This moment in time is
temporally situated but it becomes the infinite for the schizophrenic rather
than him/her perceiving time itself as independent and infinite. The
schizophrenic has a heightened sensitivity to objects of consciousness
because his/her subjectivity is objectified to the point where he/she cannot
125

Ibid., 535.

70

Chapter Two

seek recognition from another self-conscious mind. The being-in-itself for


the schizophrenics consciousness is arrested and the subjectivity that
he/she is desperately trying to maintain fails to be recognised. The
schizophrenic may be able to liberate his/her subjectivity by entering into
the experience of the stream of consciousness, thereby changing their self
perception and self reference over time. A further analysis of the notions
of experience and the Hegelian dialectic in the study of schizophrenia will
be examined in the next section; Hegel and deconstruction.

Deconstruction
I had been mad enough to study reason; I
was reasonable enough to study
madness.126

Jacques Derrida first coined the term deconstruction in 1967. He


claimed throughout his career that there was no precise definition for
deconstruction. It refers to the study of language and semiotics but it
cannot refer to a preconceived method of carrying out analysis.
Deconstruction cannot constitute a definition because each individual text
analysed will determine the deconstructive method that is used. Hugh J.
Silverman states, What is compelling about deconstruction is that it opens
up a way of reading texts philosophical, literary, etc. so as to identify
the framework of their scope and ultimately the extent of their theoretical
domain. As a poststructuralism, postphenomenology, postpsychoanalysis,
postmodernism, etc., deconstruction offers a reading of the frames,
boundaries, and limits of writing whether they be contemporary or
imbedded in the history of writing.127 In Hegelian terms, the deconstruction
of language highlights the premise that language is in and for itself. Words
do not refer to anything else, only to themselves. This point was originally
elaborated by de Saussure, in his ground-breaking work Course in General
Linguistics, which argued that words have no inherent meaning, only
differential meaning. De Saussure states that, the linguistic fact can
therefore be pictured in its totality i.e. language as a series of
contiguous subdivisions marked off on both the indefinite plane of
jumbled ideas and the equally vague plane of sounds.128 Derrida links this
126
Gary Gutting, Foucault: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford: Oxford University
Press, 2005), 68.
127
Hugh J. Silverman, Textualities: Between Hermeneutics and Deconstruction
(London: Routledge, 1994), 65.
128
Ferdinand de Saussure, Course in General Linguistics, trans. W. Baskin

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

71

structuralist view of language to anxiety. According to Derrida:


universal thought, in all its domains, by all its pathways and despite all
differences, should be receiving a formidable impulse from an anxiety
about languageit is certain that the question of the sign is itself more or
less, or in any event something other, than a sign of the times. To dream of
reducing it to a sign of the times is to dream of violence.129

The anxiety about language is not specifically deconstructive or even


postmodern - it has always been there. However, Derridas famous attack
on logocentrism is located within poststructuralism, which suggests that
Derrida is a neostructuralist. A logocentric perspective would claim that
ideas exist outside of writing and that words attempt to point at these
ideas. This gives greater significance to spoken words than is warranted.
On the contrary, what is meant is at the mercy of the word, which is how
an individual articulates what is meant. According to Mautner, In Jacques
Derridas philosophy, logocentrism is the pervasive but profoundly
mistaken assumption that speech is prior to writing. He complains that
writing is repressed in Western thought. The mistake is said to consist in
the assumption that there is something outside the text that gives it a
fixed meaning.130 However, when words are said to be in and for
themselves there are endless possibilities for interpreting texts.

Consciousness and its Other


The study of deconstruction in the analysis of schizophrenia is very
significant, particularly in relation to auditory hallucinations through the
possibility of deconstructing the critical hallucinatory words. Both spoken
and written language use words which do not have a fixed, external
meaning. In the mind of the schizophrenic he/she assumes that the
criticisms are valid, whereas, in fact auditory hallucinations articulate
preconceived criticism through words. The schizophrenic interprets the
words as evidence of the reality of the faults being criticised because of
the power of the spoken word. Deconstruction highlights the dangers of
such logocentrism by a close examination of the ideas of binary
oppositions, diffrance and trace. They will be studied here in conjunction
with Hegels philosophy of the master/slave dialectic.
(London: Fontana, 1974), 111.
129
Jacques Derrida, Writing and Diffrance, trans. Alan Bass (Chicago: Chicago
University Press, 1987), 3.
130
Mautner, Dictionary of Philosophy, 361.

72

Chapter Two

Deconstruction criticises the dependency Western thought has on


binary oppositions as a means of understanding reality. Such twofold
thought gives precedence to one term over its opposition. One term is
dominant whilst its opposite is submissive.
Examples of binary oppositions include:
x
x
x
x
x

Presence over absence


Wholeness over fragmentation
Meaning over meaninglessness
Mastery over slavery
Life over death

However, what is not always understood by Western thought is why one


term takes precedence over its opposite e.g. why does death not take
precedence over life? Would this go against the grain of rational thinking
and reduce Western civilisation to a state of chaos? The negativity that is
associated with the peripheral terms is essential in order to constitute the
central terms. Similarly, in Hegels philosophy, the existence of the slave
is necessary in order to constitute the role of the master. Negation, in
Hegels dialectic, is also essential in order to move the dialectic.
Consciousness being in-itself alters upon an encounter with its being foritself. Its prior being in-itself becomes negated in the quest to realise
Absolute Spirit. Similarly, the peripheral terms of Western thought are
necessary to substantiate and enhance the central terms because the
peripheral terms need to be negated. However, it is the conflict and
opposition between the terms which causes the negation. The question
remains as to why one term is central and the other peripheral. More
importantly, how are terms classified and defined in the selective process
of the binary oppositions? For example, how are sanity and insanity
defined? Why is sanity assumed in Western thought to be the central term?
Interestingly, from a Derridean perspective, the concept of sanity depends
upon the concept of insanity. According to Keith Green and Jill LeBihan,
Derrida tried to show how the privileged term depended for its meaning
upon the suppressed one. Language is ultimately arbitrary, being a purely
unstable differential system.131 Derrida seeks to reverse the hierarchy of
the central terms by deconstructing the binary and questioning their
authority. In the process of deconstructing, the Western tradition of
thought becomes exposed and consequently fragmented. Exposing the
131

Keith Green and Jill LeBihan, Critical Theory and Practice: A Coursebook
(London: Routledge, 1997), 215.

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

73

central concepts dependence on the peripheral terms jeopardises their


mastery.
Logocentrism, in the development of consciousness, has many
dangerous repercussions. Consciousness understands its being in-itself
through the other. Hegel explains that, self-consciousness exists in and
for itself when, and by the fact that, it so exists for another; that is, it exists
only in being acknowledged. The Notion of this its unity in its duplication
embraces many and varied meanings.132 Self-consciousness depends on
the other exclusively for recognition. Once recognition is actualised selfconsciousness transcends the other, thus assuming independence. In
doing so, self-consciousness transcends itself because it is the other that
knows consciousness being for-itself. Hegel refers to this knowing of
oneself by returning to oneself via the other as ambiguous. According to
Hegel:
[the knowing of oneself] must supersede this otherness of itself. This is the
supersession of the first ambiguity, and is therefore a second ambiguity.
First, it must proceed to supersede the other independent being in order
thereby to become certain of itself as the essential being; secondly, in so
doing it proceeds to supersede its own self, for this other is itself.133

However, self-consciousness assumes, because of the tradition of


logocentrism, that this other knows its being in-itself for consciousness.
It assumes that knowledge of its being in-itself is universally understood
due to the preconceived notion that recognition will be derived from the
other i.e. from any other. Consciousness dependence on the other is
testament to this. In spite of the fact that the dialectic of consciousness
moves forward when a negation occurs through an encounter with the
other, consciousness continues to assume that its being in-itself is
universally understood. This is a further symptom of a rational and
objectified mind. Consciousness also assumes that it is understood
objectively. The binary oppositions of Western thought uphold this
practise in the process of self-knowledge. Consciousness will to freedom
of spirit endeavours to make being in-itself transcend the other despite
the experience of negation. However, if the experience of recognition from
the other proved to be unrecognisable i.e. where none of the content of
consciousness being in-itself was recognised, an attempt would be made
to ignore the other or consciousness would fail to transcend the other.
The other would now assume mastery. Consciousness would not succeed
132
133

Hegel, Phenomenology of Spirit, 111.


Ibid.

74

Chapter Two

in ignoring the other due to the temporality of experience in the stream


of thought. Being unable to transcend the other automatically means that
consciousness assumes the role of the slave.
An example of this unrecognisable opposition from the other would
involve trauma i.e. an unprecedented act of dominance by another to such
an extent that consciousness no longer assumes its independence and
ability to transcend the other. According to Bruce Fink, trauma implies
fixation or blockage. Fixation always involves something which is not
symbolised.134 However, in the case of the schizophrenic, the trauma
which is generated by a binary opposition with the other, to the point of
fixation and dependency, resembles an expression of the Lacanian first
experience of the real self i.e. the real self of every individual before the
introduction of the symbolic order. Fink explains:
the first real, that of trauma and fixation, returns in a sense in the form of
a centre of gravity around which the symbolic order is condemned to
circle, without ever being able to hit it. It gives rise to impossibilities
within the chain itself (a given word cannot appear randomly, but only
after certain other words) and creates a sort of lump that the chain is forced
to skirt.135

The deconstruction of the trauma together with the deconstruction of the


schizophrenics dependency on the fixed other highlights the possibility
of rupturing the master/slave dialectic of schizophrenia. What is being
deconstructed is the power of the other over the schizophrenic. The
schizophrenics identity has already been deconstructed by the gaze of the
other. According to James M. Glass, the deconstructing of identity is
what happens in psychosis.136 Deconstruction explores the differences
ingrained in the self. These are the polar opposites that Hegel outlines in
his thesis on the unhappy consciousness i.e. an infinite failure of a self to
be recognised as a self. Commenting on Hegels Phenomenology of Spirit
Henry Sussman states:
Divided at birth, this text is both the consummation of a civilisation, a
diachronic account of a panoply of learned disciplines placed in tandem
and a metaphoric generator, producing the metacritical structures and terms
that describe its own existence as a text. This doubling of aims and
134

Bruce Fink, The Lacanian Subject: Between Language and Jouissance (London:
Princeton University Press, 1997), 26.
135
Ibid., 28.
136
James M. Glass, Shattered Selves: Multiple Personality in a Postmodern World
(New York: Cornell University Press, 1993), 12.

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

75

functions is almost schizophrenic. And indeed, a schizophrenic text, such


as Kierkegaards Either/Or, would be one way of pronouncing this
tendency while avoiding the sometimes arbitrary resolutions to which
Hegel occasionally reverts in order to assure narrative continuity.137

Because of Hegels style of writing it can be argued that his texts are
schizophrenic in nature. He argues that negating established concepts
creates their antithesis in order to proceed and negates the synthesis that
results from the first deductive argument. In this way, Hegels texts are
very self-conscious in both form and content. Hegel constantly seeks to
reaffirm the phenomenon of subjectivity through negation, questioning
and by the process of the dialectic that is inherent in his work. This
negation of the negative can also be understood in Derridas work
whereby, through constantly questioning the origins of linguistic structures
of thought, he negates the naturalisation process of knowledge and by
doing so Derridas work becomes self-conscious and dialectic, through a
determination to establish and reaffirm the phenomenology of subjectivity.
His notion of diffrance and Hegels thesis on the role of the slave will
further emphasise the potential of deconstructing the inner dialectic of the
schizophrenic.
According to Derrida, appearance is more important than essence in the
pursuit of self-certainty. Essence becomes a concept in-itself in order to
seek recognition from the other. The notion of the other has profound
significance for both Derrida and Hegel. The other constitutes the
component of negativity. According to Deborah Chaffin:
The most general determination of essence is that it came forth from being;
consequently, essence is the first negation of being for it posits within itself
negation or determination. By thus giving itself a determinate being which
is equal to its being-in-itself (or that which it has posited within itself),
essence becomes concept. At first, however, essence is not yet for itself:
the determinate being essence gives itself is not determinate being as it is
in and for itself, but determinate being as determined by essence, as posited
by essence.138

It is because of the other that individual essence becomes an objectified


concept to him/her. It is therefore the relationship that he/she has with the
other, or more precisely the appearance of relations, which determines
the fate of individual consciousness. As individual self-consciousness
137

Henry Sussman, The Metaphor in Hegels Phenomenology of Mind, 320-321.


Deborah Chaffin, Hegel, Derrida and the Sign, in Derrida and Deconstruction,
ed. Hugh J. Silverman, (London: Routledge, 1989), 87.
138

76

Chapter Two

seeks to understand itself via the other, the notion of contradiction,


which is highlighted by their opposition, reinforces the experience of
negativity. Essence becomes negated whilst appearance establishes the
binary oppositions. Deconstruction analyses the origin of such oppositions,
whereas Hegel, in his own vocabulary, analyses their outcomes. Chaffin
explains:
The category of contradiction emerges, finally, as the structure of
relatedness in which each relata is determined to be what it is by denying
its own self-identity as excluded from the other relatum, and yet each relata
identifies itself with the other. But if the relata are equivalent, then
relatedness itself is contradictory, and, as Hegel points out, the initial
unity which relates from contradiction is Null. Thus both relata destroy
themselves, and to the extent that something is self-contradictory, it is
indeterminate, and the merely formal category of contradiction issues in a
ceaseless vanishing of the opposites into themselves.139

Through the dialectic of spirit and the deconstruction of linguistic


structures, both Hegel and Derrida, respectively, reaffirm the existence of
the lived subject as opposed to the annihilation of the objectified self. It is
the notion of the nothingness of being that both Hegel and Derrida argue
against. In their affirmation of spirit and diffrance, respectively, Hegel
and Derrida constitute the subsistence and continuation of the self in spite
of the mastery and objectifying forces of language. Diffrance refers to the
differences between opposites. Derrida upholds the notion that differences
between opposites merely defer meaning rather than constitute anything
concrete. This resembles a form of protection from the truth of selfcertainty: the fact that there is no definitive self-certainty. Thus, deferral
operates by a rational logic. Yet diffrance and deferral succeed in
alienating the self from his/her self-knowledge. Derrida explains:
No doubt life protects itself by repetition, trace, diffrance (deferral). But
we must be wary of this formulation: there is no life present at first which
would then come to protect, postpone, or reverse itself in diffrance. The
latter constitutes the essence of life. Or rather: as diffrance is not an
essence, as it is not anything, it is not life, if Being is determined as ousia,
presence, essence/existence, substance or subject. Life must be thought of
as a trace before Being may be determined as presence. This is the only
condition on which we can say that life is death, that repetition and the
beyond of the pleasure principle are native and congenital to that which

139

Ibid., 88.

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

77

they transgress.140

Diffrance in-itself is not a notion nor is it a theory; in-itself it cannot


be expressed. Diffrance is understood only in the present and temporal
state of phenomenal experience. Vincent B. Leitch explains diffrance
thus, at a certain moment diffrance appears to us as an omnipresent
cosmic forcethis force functions negatively because it manifests itself
mainly through the silent disruption and division of everythingnothing
escapes it. Oddly enough, it even permits sameness, repetition, and
identity to emerge as such.141 Diffrance, for the schizophrenic, is felt as
a force that is dominant to the point of paralysis. The other for the
schizophrenic is also his/her own consciousness. It is a binary opposition
to its self-consciousness. The diffrance that emerges between the
schizophrenic and his/her other highlights a double negativity.
Consciousness being for-itself, as instigated by the other, illuminates the
schizophrenics negativity to the point where the schizophrenics
consciousness doubles back on itself. In attempting to gain self-knowledge
via the other, in the rational enterprise, the schizophrenic assumes the
criticisms and dominance of the other as he/she returns to individual
consciousness. In contrast, the binary oppositions of reason and its other
in a normal psyche are set in parallel terms. They are objective
enterprises as opposed to the extended subjectivity of the schizophrenic,
whose symptoms serve to highlight his/her entrapment and fear of the
symbolic order.

Deconstructing the Master/Slave Dialectic


The differences of reason and its other expose a trace of meaning in
the aftermath of deferral. The rational enterprise relies on universals to
express meaning. Universals are objective and objectifying. However, it is
logical and sensible to pursue recognition from, and to depend on, such
universals. The example of language, as a universal, highlights Derridas
notion of trace. According to Christopher Norris, for Nietzsche, as for
Derrida, the project of absolute knowledge was deluded at source by its
forgetfulness of how language creates and capriciously misleads the
processes of thought. Nietzsche saw nothing but blindness and multiplied
140

Jacques Derrida, Writing and Diffrance, trans. Alan Bass (Chicago: Chicago
University Press, 1987), 203.
141
Vincent B. Leitch, Deconstructive Criticism: An Advanced Introduction
(London: Hutchinson, 1983), 43.

78

Chapter Two

error in the various attempts to arrive at truth through logic or abstract


reason.142 A Copernican circle establishes itself when language is
interpreted either through the spoken or written forms. The possible
interpretations of language are never-ending. This causes frustration and
irritation. Leitch states, no primordial unrhetorical language exists. As the
distinctive feature of language, rhetoricity necessarily undermines truth
and opens up vertiginous possibilities of referential aberration. Thus the
linguistic sign is the site of an ambivalent and problematic relation
between referential and figural meaning.143
The isolation which is also felt due to the universality of language can
be sourced in the very attempts made to articulate meaning. When signs
and signifiers are used for the purposes of comparison and understanding
it automatically suggests an original difference. This perpetual linking
through the signifying chain, in order to satisfy the other, increases
isolation and frustration. Leitch states:
All similarities are produced out of differences. Thus difference is
constitutive of resemblances, repetitions, and similarities. To say, for
instance, that two birds resemble each other is to affirm subtly their initial
difference. What is there true for birds is true of words also. A bird is not a
b-i-r-d; that is, the body and feathers are not the four black ink marks on
white paper. The word and referent are incorrigibly different.144

In Derridas deconstruction of Hegels philosophy he claims that due to


the use of the written word to explain Hegels philosophy, the
interpretation of his dialectic, can be turned against itself. What is meant
by Hegel becomes displaced because of the universality of language. The
movement of the Hegelian dialectic relies upon self-contradiction through
negation. This is similar to the deferral of meaning in language. According
to Norris:
the restricted economy of Hegels system is displaced and invaded by a
general economy which Derrida equates with the effects of writing or
textuality. Concepts are unfixed from their lawful philosophic place,
subjected to a violent mutation of meaning and turned back against the
sovereignty of reason. Since no logic governs, henceforth, the meaning of
interpretation, because logic is an interpretation, Hegels own interpretation

142

Christopher Norris, Deconstruction: Theory and Practice, (London: Routledge,


2000), 77.
143
Leitch, Deconstructive Criticism: An Advanced Introduction, 47.
144
Ibid., 50.

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

79

can be reinterpreted against him.145

Derridas attack on logocentrism suggests that that which has been


constructed e.g. language, or Hegels philosophical writings, has an inbuilt
means of deconstructing itself. If the construct is to be understood it must
be dismantled. It is only then that the construct can become anything
meaningful for the individual. San Burke states that:
there is then a very definite sense in which deconstruction is in complicity
with the texts it deconstructs. As a general principle, preparatory labours of
construction must accompany any deconstructive act, for the reading must
propose a model of order even if only in the interests of finally unsettling
that order; and in this sense Derridas work acquires a rare analogue in its
industrial counterpart, for which a certain work of consolidation is
sometimes necessary if a building is to collapse according to preestablished patterns.146

When the logocentrism of the master/slave dialectic is deconstructed,


dismantled, made to bare the parts that constructed it, what unfolds is of
great significance in understanding the dialectic of schizophrenia.
It is the Hegelian slave, rather than the master, who maintains the
potential for a satisfied mind. This is in contrast to the rational mind which
seeks to satisfy the other. He/she focuses on individuality and
subjectivity. The Hegelian slave endeavours to shape the earth through
work thus gaining instant satisfaction. Hegel explains:
the shape does not become something other than himself through being
made external to him; for it is precisely this shape that is his pure beingfor-self, which in this externality is seen by him to be the truth. Through
this rediscovery of himself by himself, the bondsman realizes that it is
precisely in his work wherein he seemed to have only an alienated
existence that he acquires a mind of his own.147

The master cannot achieve such fulfilling satisfaction outside of the other
due to his/her victory; the master is superior to nature. Therefore, the
master will always have to rely on the other for recognition and on the
145

Norris, Deconstruction: Theory and Practice, 76.


San Burke, The Death and Return of the Author: Criticism and Subjectivity in
Barthes, Foucault and Derrida (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1998),
132.
147
Hegel, Phenomenology of Spirit, 118-119.
146

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rational enterprise of universals. Over time such reliance on objectivity


gives rise to a sense of futility. The masters dependence on the slave to
constitute his/her position as a master further highlights the masters
reliance on objects and the logic of reason. The slave is an object to his/her
master. They mutually fail to recognise each other because of the outcome
of their battle. Thus, a dependency on objects leads to an unhappy
consciousness for the master. This is particularly compounded when an
individual willingly enters into such an objectifying relationship. Hegel
explains that, the Unhappy Consciousness itself is the gazing of one selfconsciousness into another, and itself is both, and the unity of both is also
its essential nature. But it is not as yet explicitly aware that this is its
essential nature, or that it is the unity of both.148 The schizophrenic, on
the other hand, is very aware of the objectifying nature of the symbolic
order and the logic of reason. However, due to trauma and an instance or
instances of acute domination, the schizophrenic may no longer accept the
structures of rationality, relying instead on the investigation into his/her
own subjectivity. It is only then, similarly to the Hegelian slave, that the
schizophrenic will acquire a mind of his own i.e. a greater determination
to seek self-knowledge based on individual subjectivity rather than on
rational universality.
In the rational individuals dependency on the other he/she risks
exposure because of the universality of language. The individual has no
private language. According to J. Hillis Miller:
for Derrida, as he says, the letter never gets to its destination, even though,
like a post card, it is exposed where all can read it, including even the one
to whom it is apparently addressedevery other is completely
otherthis means, among other things, that the lines of direct
communication are down between me and the other.149

Such exposure creates anxiety. It enables many others to gain access to the
utterances of the individual. He/she loses control over what is meant
thereby he/she loses sovereignty and the question of ownership becomes
unstable. The schizophrenic is hallmarked by such anxiety and fear of the
other to the point of becoming withdrawn and paranoid. The echo of the
others, seeking to interpret his/her chosen words i.e. to make sense of their
signification, haunts the schizophrenic. Therefore, the rational system,
148

Ibid., 126.
J. Hillis Miller, Derridas Others, in Applying: To Derrida, eds. John
Brannigan, Ruth Robbins and Julian Wolfreys, 153 (London: St. Martins Press
Inc., 1996).
149

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

81

which causes exposure and anxiety, becomes the antithesis of the


schizophrenics pursuit of ontological freedom. Consequently, the
schizophrenic retreats into silence, into his/her own private universe. This
is in fact a sensible reaction to traumatic events. If the schizophrenic was
to continue to expose him/herself to the other in spite of anxiety it would
be nonsensical. However, due to the schizophrenics refusal to perpetuate
anxiety and potential trauma he/she is deemed by the other to be insane.
The schizophrenic is characterised as returning to pure being i.e.
unfragmented and self-knowing being. As it has already been noted in this
chapter, it is an exposure to language and the symbolic order that causes
fragmentation and disassociation of the self. Leitch explains:
This pre-expressive experience of pure or ideal self-present identity takes
place in silenceSelf-present being, pure being, precedes language.
Following the primordial silence of pure being, language expresses and
embodies, yet buries in secondary sedimentations, the self-presence of pure
being. Language appears, yet again, as belated, instrumental, and phonetic.
In the beginning is being determined in presence and prior to language.150

Derrida and Michel Foucault had disagreements over their interpretations


of Descartes First Meditations. Through these disagreements151 the
language of psychiatry and the binary oppositions of madness and reason
became exposed. Throughout history, reason attempted to silence
madness. The establishment of asylums and psychiatric institutions alone
are testament to this. By the law of reason a new language needed to be
formulated in order to describe the other. According to Bernard Flynn,
if the confinement of madness by reason gives rise to the language of
psychiatry, then it would appear that it would be sufficient to put out of
play the psychiatric discourse this monologue of reason in order to be
able to speak of madness itself.152 Insanity and reason are in a binary
opposition, and both are co-dependent in constituting a definition of each
other. Derrida accuses Foucault of upholding the silencing of insanity by
the very act of writing a historical account of insanity. By doing so,
150

Leitch, Deconstructive Criticism: An Advanced Approach, 40.


Foucault and Derrida argued their points in the following texts, respectively:
Michel Foucault, My Body, This Paper and This Fire, in Aesthetics, Method and
Epistemology: Essential Works of Foucault 1954-1984, vol. 2, ed. James D.
Faubion, trans. Robert Hurley et al, 393-418 (New York: The New Press, 1999)
and Jacques Derrida, Cogito and the History of Madness, in Writing and
Difference, trans. Alan Bass, 31-63 (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1987).
152
Bernard Flynn, Derrida and Foucault: Madness and Writing, in Derrida and
Deconstruction, ed. Hugh J. Silverman, (London: Routledge, 1989), 202.
151

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according to Derrida, Foucault objectifies insanity. He perpetuates the


binary oppositions of sanity and insanity. Flynn states, Derrida contends
that all those who speak this language, including Foucault, participate in
this objectification of madness. He thereby implicates Foucault in the very
crime that he denounces.153 Foucault seeks to give credence to
historicity itself on the grounds of the division between sanity and
insanity. According to Derrida, Foucault needs to investigate where the
division between the two occurred i.e. the origin. Derrida concludes that it
was within reason that the division occurred and not outside of it. Again,
Flynn states that:
the history of the division of madness and reason can only be written by a
reason which encompasses the division itself. The attempt to write the
history of the decision, division, difference runs the risk of construing the
division as an event or a structure subsequent to the unity of an original
presence, thereby confirming metaphysics in its fundamental operation.154

Husserl proposes to bracket experience for the purposes of understanding


it temporally. Foucault brackets insanity for the purposes of writing a
history of insanity in the age of reason. Sanity is bracketed due to the
context of reason. This creates the assumption that Foucault already knows
what insanity is, according to Derrida. Foucault also makes distinctions
between dreams and insanity. By bracketing them, again he assumes to
fully understand what they are. Flynn explains, since Foucault has
bracketed on principle this discourse on madness, he is forced to utilize a
popular and equivocal notion of madness. But everything transpires as if
Foucault knew what madness means.155 Derrida states in his essay
Im Going to have to Wander all Alone: Gilles Deleuze that the
collective way of thinking of a generation of thinkers is not enough to
proceed further in unveiling the truth about given notions. He states that,
each death is unique, of course, and therefore unusual. But, what can one
say about the unexpected when, from Barthes to Althusser, from Foucault
to Deleuze, it multiplies like a series all these uncommon ends in the same
generation?156 The notion of madness is constituted by a single
generation: successive generations define madness in their own terms,
153

Ibid., 203.
Ibid., 205.
155
Ibid.
156
Jacques Derrida, Im Going to have to Wander all Alone: Gilles Deleuze, in
Deconstruction: A Reader, ed. Martin McQuillan, 486 (Edinburgh: Edinburgh
University Press, 2000).
154

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

83

leaving many difficulties in the hope of redefining it.

Dreaming as a Deconstruction of Insanity


Derridas argument keeps very much in line with Descartes notion of
the non-existence of insanity and with the construction of the madman.
Descartes emphasises that sensory knowledge is as valid as metaphysical
understanding. Hegel also placed great emphasis on the senses. Hegel
states, everything is in sensation (feeling): if you will, everything that
emerges in conscious intelligence and in reason has its source and origin in
sensation; for source and origin just means the first immediate manner in
which a thing appears.157 The insane person, by definition, continues to
make sense of his/her environment through a logical thought process.
According to Flynn, Descartes exiles madness; for although there are in
fact madmen, nevertheless, thought, as the exercise of the sovereignty of
a subject who puts himself in the service of the perception of truth, cannot
be insane.158 Nevertheless, the question remains: how does one
categorise sane sensory data from insane sensory data? In the case of
dreaming, more often than not, the dream is believed. Depending on the
strength and obscurity of the dream the dreamer is totally submerged in its
reality. While it is occurring, the individual cannot distinguish between
his/her dreams and reality. Nonetheless, if a sane individual dreams, they
are not deemed insane even though a dream can be more consuming of the
individual and more obscure than a schizophrenics hallucination.
Sometimes the sane individual may seek out the hidden meanings of
his/her dream when he/she is awake. This quest has generated widespread
interest extending from psychoanalysis and pop-psychology as far as the
area of the paranormal. However, if the schizophrenic indulges too much
in his/her hallucinations they will move further away from rational
thought. Flynn explains that, the dreamer is madder than the madman.
The madman is never mad enough, he is not always wrong, whereas the
dreamer is always wrong to believe what he sees.159 According to Hegel
it depends on an individuals intelligence whether or not he/she can
distinguish between the dream world and the real world. He argues:
intellect and Reason, the modes of thought proper, are active only in the
waking state. It is in intellect that the abstract determination in which the
157

Hegel, Philosophy of Mind, 73.


Flynn, Derrida and Foucault: Madness and Writing, in Derrida and Deconstruction,
ed. Hugh J. Silverman, (London: Routledge, 1989), 207.
159
Ibid., 208.
158

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waking soul distinguishes itself from the natural world, from its
distinctionless substance and from the outer world, first attains its
intensive, concrete significance; for intellect is the infinite being-withinself which has developed itself into totality.160

It is while dreaming that the individuals sense of his/her totality


becomes disorganised and fragmented regardless of how sane that
individual is deemed to be by the other in the cognitive state. According
to Hegel, in dreams everything drifts apart, criss-crosses in the wildest
disorder, objects lose all necessary, objective, rational connection and are
associated only in an entirely superficial, contingent and subjective
manner.161 However, an individual is also capable of day-dreaming.
He/she can entertain certain fantasies and indulge in them to an extent.
Nevertheless, he/she can make the distinction between day-dream
fantasies and the real world, so that the day-dream does not become the
individuals totality. Hegel explains that, it is true that in day-dreaming a
man can give himself up to quite empty, subjective fancies; but if he has
not lost his reason, he knows at the same time that these fancies are only
fancies because they conflict with his present totality.162 Dreams come
from the unconscious which harbours irrational thoughts, feelings and
desires, and, the unconscious is always an invisible force behind our
actions. Therefore, it is not only the sleeping sane individual who
experiences irrationality but the waking individual too. Similarly, the
schizophrenic can distinguish between hallucinations and the real world,
by their intelligence, to prevent hallucinations from becoming his/her
totality. However, there are times when the hallucinations can become too
overpowering. The intensity of the hallucinations together with the trauma
felt by the schizophrenic can assume mastery over his/her perception of
the world. The return to the real world i.e. the physical world, for the
schizophrenic, can be further accomplished through his/her sensibility.
Hegel explains sensibility thus: sensibility (feeling) is the form of the dull
stirring, the inarticulate breathing, of the spirit through its unconscious and
unintelligent individuality, where every definite feature is still
immediatesensibility in general is the healthy fellowship of the
individual mind in the life of its bodily part.163

160

Hegel, Philosophy of Mind, 69.


Ibid., 70.
162
Ibid.
163
Ibid., 73-76.
161

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

85

The Creation of the Madman: Past and Present


In deconstructing schizophrenia it is of interest to see how the word
originated. Eugen Bleuler (1857-1939) was the first to coin the term. The
various symptoms of anxiety, depression, paranoia and dementia were
pooled together into one catalogue and given the label schizophrenia. Prior
to this, symptoms suggestive of the present day understanding of
schizophrenia were categorically referred to as dementia praecox.164
However, Thomas Szasz disagrees with Bleuler because of Bleulers lack
of comprehensive understanding concerning abnormal behaviour. Another
bone of contention is on the grounds that by creating a new term in
psychiatric language the psychiatric movement could gather momentum
and dominance over the definitions of sanity and insanity. Szasz states,
since Bleuler, too, neither discovered a new disease nor developed a new
treatment, his fame rests, in my opinion, on having invented a new
justification for regarding the psychiatrist as a physician, the schizophrenic
as a patient, and the prison where the former confines the latter as a
hospital.165 Szasz makes further reference to the psychiatry movements
Hegelian dependence on the schizophrenic in order to establish itself. He
explains that, the schizophrenics thinking is thus anatomized and
pathologized in order to create a science of psychopathology, and then of
psychoanalysis and psychodymanics, all of which in turn serve to
legitimize the madman as a medical (psychiatric) patient, and the maddoctor as a medical (psychiatric) healer.166
The treatment of abnormal behaviour has taken many different forms
over the centuries. The present construction of psychiatry as the
legitimiser of the psychiatric patient is a far cry from its origin. Foucault,
in his dissertation on madness and civilisation, tells of the Ship of Fools.167
During the fifteenth century, unmanageable and curious individuals were
placed on board a ship and set adrift into the sea without any skilled
captain or crew. Their fate was in Gods hands. Interestingly, these socalled fools were referred to as free-slaves. Again, this oxymoron is very
removed from the dominance of present-day psychiatry. In the fifteenth
century medical practitioners did not need to constitute their professions
through the binary opposition of madmen/sane doctors. Foucault explains:

164

Thomas Szasz, Schizophrenia: The Sacred Symbol of Psychiatry (New York:


Syracuse University Press, 1988), 11.
165
Ibid.
166
Ibid., 13.
167
See Appendix Three.

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Chapter Two
Oblivion falls upon the world navigated by the free slaves of the Ship of
Fools. Madness will no longer proceed from a point within the world to a
point beyond, on its strange voyage; it will never again be that fugitive and
absolute limit. Behold it moored now, made fast among things and men.
Retained and maintained. No longer a ship but a hospitalHere every
empty head, fixed and classified according to the true reason of men, utters
contradiction and irony, the double language of WisdomHere each form
of madness finds its proper place, its distinguishing mark, and its tutelary
divinity: frenzied and ranting madness, symbolized by a fool astride a chair,
struggles beneath Minervas gaze.168

The binary opposition between sanity and insanity remains parallel four
hundred years later. The lack of understanding concerning anxious
dispositions and sensitivity to the other, continues to manifest itself. The
suggested causes for dementia, by even todays standards, are ill-recorded
and unfounded. Bleuler and his colleagues suggested that poor genes i.e. a
low status in society, an unhealthy lifestyle and even masturbation caused
schizophrenic symptoms. There was clearly no scope for ontological
investigations such as the work of R.D. Laing, for example. Szasz states
that, prior to 1900 psychiatrists believed that paresis was due to bad
heredity, alcoholism, smoking, and masturbation. These beliefs are now of
only historical interest, like the belief in demonic possession or
exorcism.169 Presently these antiquated aspects of psychiatry have been
dismissed, yet the sane/insane binary has not. Szasz further condemns
Bleulers credibility and psychiatry because so much of the twenty-first
centurys approach to the treatment of schizophrenia has its grounding in
his practice. Szasz proclaims:
These beliefs of Bleulers are of no more consequence for the
histopathology of schizophrenia than are Flemings religious beliefs for the
therapeutic powers of penicillin. Why, then, do psychiatrists continue to
record Kraepelins and Bleulers beliefs regarding the nature of
schizophrenia? Why do they not emphasize instead Kraepelins and
Bleulers utter inability to support their beliefs with a shred of relevant
evidence?170

Further to the binary opposition of sanity and insanity, Bleuler found


himself in a paradox when it became widely documented that prolonged
168

Michel Foucault, Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of


Reason, trans. Richard Howard (New York: Vintage Books, 1988), 35-36.
169
Szasz, Schizophrenia: The Sacred Symbol of Psychiatry, 11.
170
Ibid., 12.

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

87

hospitalisation was counter-productive. However, instead of questioning


the system of psychiatry Bleuler weakly advocated its uses. According to
Bleuler:
the institution as such does not cure the disease. However, it may be
valuable from an educational viewpoint and it may alleviate acute, agitated
states due to psychic influences. At the same time, it carries with it the
danger that the patient may become too estranged from normal life, and
also that the relatives get accustomed to the idea of the institution.171

Szasz equates Bleulers dilemma to that of American jurists before the


Civil War. They disapproved of slavery but were bound by their
constitution to uphold it. The question of justice and equality for all
became more rhetorical than actual. Szasz explains, the upshot was that
while Bleuler preached freedom for schizophrenics, he practiced psychiatric
slavery and legitimized it by means of an elaborate pseudomedical theory
concerning the disease that transforms free citizens into psychiatric
slaves (that is, schizophrenic patients).172 Bleuler also proposed that
involuntary hospitalization served to relieve the patients family and
community from the responsibility of caring for him/her rather than being
proactive in treating the patient. This does not differ very much in
principle from Irelands current treatment of psychiatric patients.
Up to 2001, Irish psychiatric patients were treated according to mental
health laws which were set down in 1945. However, the mental health act
of 2001 sought to give greater sovereignty to psychiatric patients. They
were to have more ownership over their course of treatment. Continuous
review panels (mental health tribunals), which comprised of independent
psychiatrists, were to review involuntary patients within fourteen days of
admission. This was to prevent patients spending the best years of their
lives in psychiatric wards. It also sought to encourage rehabilitation and
self-determination for the patient. However, this mental health act only
came into affect near the close of 2006. Its implementation was largely
jeopardised by psychiatrists themselves, whose professions relied on the
administration of medication and mustering as wide a client base as
possible. The power of the psychiatrists stance was increased by the
support of wealthy pharmaceutical companies. Equally, the livelihoods
and power of these companies relied very much on psychiatric patients. As
an involuntary patient, under the new mental health act, treatments such as
medication, electro-convulsive therapy and psychosurgery (lobotomy) can
171
172

Ibid., 23.
Ibid.

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Chapter Two

still be administered by the psychiatrist without the patients consent. Your


Guide to the Mental Health Act 2001 states, as a general rule, your
consent is needed for treatment. If you are in hospital against your will,
there are some circumstances under the law when you may be given
certain treatment even though you have not given your consent.173
Consequently, self-determination and ownership are notions which are
clearly neglected. Todays Irish psychiatric patients seem to be almost as
enslaved by the medical system as the individuals were on the Ship of
Fools.
Alternative medical approaches to the treatment of schizophrenia, for
example dietary supplements as proposed by Abram Hoffer, are met with
ridicule by many clinical psychiatrists. This evidently stems from the fear
of the peripheral philosophical concept of schizophrenia acquiring
dominance over the central psychiatric concept. Hoffer has written
extensively on the orthomolecular treatment of schizophrenia. More is
being written on alternative treatments for psychiatric conditions in
publications that are available to the general public, than clinical
treatments, which are largely confined to psychiatric journals which are
often inaccessible. The psychiatric profession uses jargon-laden language
and this has the effect of keeping power at the centre. Hoffer states:
the treatment of schizophrenia is a case in point it represents a disease in
which megadoses of vitamin B-3 must be usedwhen treatment is
determined by a bottom-line mentality, the only profit that flows from
drugs is the long-term, unsuccessful treatment of the chronically ill, a
monetary profit of benefit to the industry, not the patient. We cannot forget
that the business of business is to make money, but the business of
medicine is to cure the sick.174

Frieda Fromm-Reichmann was made famous by her cognitive behavioural


therapy approach in the treatment of schizophrenia. Her over-riding
premise was that the schizophrenic patient was not born ill but was made
ill because of trauma. It is only through a relationship built on trust with
his/her therapist that the schizophrenic can deal with the past and begin to
heal. It is the unresolved nature of such traumatic experiences that binds
the schizophrenic to his/her trance-like and isolating existence. Fromm173

Mental Health Commission, Your Guide to the Mental Health Act, 2001, 47.
Abram Hoffer, Orthomolecular Treatment for Schizophrenia: Megavitamin
Supplements and Nutritional Strategies for Healing and Recovery (Los Angeles:
Keats Publishing, 1999), 12. Omega-3 fish oil is also very beneficial in the
treatment of schizophrenia. See 29.

174

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

89

Reichmann argues:
we think of the schizophrenic as a person who has had serious traumatic
experiences in early infancy at a time when his ego and its ability to
examine reality were not yet developedthe schizophrenic has, above all,
to be cured of the wounds and frustrations of his life before we can expect
him to recover.175

Both Hoffer and Fromm-Reichmann approach the treatment of


schizophrenia from the peripheries of psychiatry. They rely instead,
respectively, on food supplements and compassion: anti-psychiatry.
In recent times it has been noted that the Hegelian slave is rising up
from the ashes of Western dichotomous thought. Joanne Greenberg, author
of I Never Promised You a Rose Garden, spread Fromm-Reichmanns
reputation. Greenberg was a former patient of Fromm-Reichmanns. Her
book later became a film of the same title. Fromm-Reichmann cured
Greenberg, which enabled her to pursue her writing ambitions. If this had
not occurred, she may have spent a life-time becoming adjusted to
psychiatric treatment. Greenberg and many Hegelian slaves like her go on
to have very productive lives after their initial diagnosis. Nevertheless, this
can cause the psychiatric movement to become insecure. This can be
evidenced by the psychiatrist Solomon Snyders comments on Greenberg.
It is interesting to note that he comments on the patient and not on the
doctor, as he views the patient as the peripheral binary. Snyder states that,
anyone who has ever worked with schizophrenics for even a few weeks
knows that neither Vonnegut [Mark Vonnegut, author of The Eden
Express, a first-person account of madness] nor Deborah in Rose Garden
was schizophrenic.176 Snyder implies that, one cannot be insane if one
can be productive, alternatively, one cannot be productive if one is insane.
Psychiatry clearly defines the binary opposition of sanity and insanity, as it
is a more socially and symbolically authoritive voice.
The insecurity of psychiatry, as a central concept in Western thought,
can be further highlighted by examining its methods for making a
diagnosis. Schizophrenia, as a specific disease, cannot be detected by a
blood sample or by a brain scan. It can only be categorised, at best, by
symptoms. Consequently, the psychiatrist depends upon the patient to
reveal these symptoms to him/her. By this method schizophrenia is
diagnosed through a process of elimination. Edward Dolnick explains that,
175

Edward Dolnick, Madness on the Couch: Blaming the Victim in the Heyday of
Psychoanalysis (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1998), 83-90.
176
Ibid., 91.

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even to-day, schizophrenia can be diagnosed only on the basis of


symptoms hallucinations, delusions, severe apathy, and so on rather
than on the basis of a blood test or a brain scan or any other objective
measure that yields an indisputable label. The diagnosis is still made as it
was a century ago, essentially by checking off boxes on a form.177
The deconstruction of schizophrenia represents the Hegelian slave.
He/she is no longer condemned to a life of servitude to an objectifying
other in a desperate attempt to gain recognition. The Hegelian slave
fashions the world of nature around him/her where objects are for the
slave. He/she can now concentrate on his/her individual subjectivity. The
rational enterprise of the master accommodates many others in the
ontological return to him/herself. The masters self-consciousness
becomes frustrated to the point of developing an unhappy consciousness.
Meanwhile, the Hegelian slave returns to pure being. The pure being of the
schizophrenic is, more often than not, enabled by alternative medical
approaches, a trusted therapist to assist in trauma and a move away from
the psychiatric movement. The central concept of psychiatry was initially
constructed with the tools of its own demise with language itself and its
binary opposites, which can be ruptured, and hopefully, redoubled, to form
a new system.

Conclusion
Self-consciousness phenomenological understanding of reality remains
fragmented until Absolute Spirit is realised. Until such time, the reactions
to the fragmentation of consciousness, through the consciously constructed
objects of society and the desire of consciousness for the other to gain
recognition, vary for each individual. Individual self-consciousness desires
its freedom of expression and self-identity, yet it is perpetually jeopardised
by the objects of consciousness, which are created by rationality. Selfconsciousness is not universal; rather, it is highly subjective and because
of this it is in a perpetual dialectic with objectivity. However, it is when an
individual reacts to phenomenological reality, displaying signs of selfalienation, becomes withdrawn and admits to an internal dialectic, that
he/she becomes cast out of society because of the created entities of
psychiatry and its diagnoses. Through further philosophical investigations
the individual is understood to demonstrate a logical reaction to
rationality: individual subjectivity struggles against the superficial force
and mastery of universality. Through its reliance on the other self177

Ibid., 90.

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

91

consciousness becomes divided. This division is compounded by language.


The schizophrenic character of self-consciousness is better understood as
the plight of all social beings rather than the experience of a few. The
symptoms of schizophrenia vary by degree for each self-consciousness
desiring freedom.
The possibility of understanding ontological anguish and the objectified
self is demonstrated through the flexibility of interpretation and the
phenomenal experience in the stream of consciousness. To work on
language as a Hegelian slave and contemplate the temporality of
experience, means that the stream of consciousness will continue,
unharnessed, and with it the content of past traumatic experience, from the
introduction of language, individual experience, to the objects of
consciousness. The precedence given to the latter over subjectivity
requires deconstruction in order to contemplate the work of the dialectic
and its consequences for both the individual and society. It is the
objectifying gaze of universals that causes the symptoms of schizophrenia.
A single traumatic event is enough to inform self-consciousness that it is
divided by rationality and objects of consciousness. A schizophrenics proactive desire to transcend the other is paramount in the endeavour to
actualise freedom. This inherently human endeavour is invariably
considered insane when it manifests itself as symptoms that are classified
as schizophrenic yet its definition and justification is built on shallow
foundations. The linguistic self defies definition due to the paradox of
unlimited interpretation and the infinity of consciousness in selfdetermining and infinite time.
In the following chapter, a discipline that stands at the intersection of
philosophy and psychiatry, incorporating the methodologies of the former
and objects of study of the later, will be explored.

CHAPTER THREE
JACQUES LACAN

Introduction
Jacques Lacans psychoanalytical work focused on the function of
language in the study of human behaviour. The dichotomy of the self,
created by the use of language and the phenomenon of the other, was the
basis of his analysis of neurosis and psychosis. The development of selfconsciousness and the dialectic between the subject and the object were of
central importance to Lacans understanding of the self in the world.
Lacan was interested in these Hegelian ideas, although he used different
terminology to describe them. His analysis of the divided self, as a human
phenomenon, was influenced by Hegels philosophy, particularly the
dialectic, historical consciousness, the importance of recognition and an
examination of subjectivity. Influenced also by phenomenology, Lacan
would criticise the non-dialectical approaches of contemporary
psychoanalysis and philosophy. Lacans thesis emphasised the primacy of
language over metaphysics because he identified metaphysics with the
discourse of the master. William J. Richardson explains, metaphysics, by
reason of its abstraction, partakes of the same generality and disregard of
unique subjectivity as the discourse of the master; by reason of its
pretension to articulate truth, it aspires to an analogous power.1 Lacan
understood language to be a primary cause of both psychosis and its
treatment. In developing the tripartite structure of the mind as the
symbolic, the imaginary and the real, Lacan explained psychosis and its
related characteristics as a manifestation of the real self as it endeavours to
gain expression in the universality of language. Through Lacans new
vocabulary, the actions and reactions of individuals are reinterpreted and
better understood in light of the difficulties that language poses for
expression. Through his views on language Lacan also questions the
1

William J. Richardson, Lacan and Non-Philosophy, in Philosophy and NonPhilosophy since Merleau-Ponty, ed. Hugh J. Silverman, (London: Routledge,
1988), 132.

Jacques Lacan

93

master discourse of the analyst over the analysed. On the mastery of


medical discourse Richardson states, as the patient reveals his symptoms,
the doctor transposes them into signifiers that can be integrated into a
wider signifying system that characterizes his expertiseIt is by reason of
this body of knowledge that the doctor can diagnose the illness and treat it
appropriately, a genuine exercise of power.2 With Lacanian psychoanalysis
the notion of fragmentation and objectivity are seen to be a fundamental
part of the human condition, even more so than they are for Hegel. The
analysis of language in the understanding of schizophrenia re-evaluates the
consequences of a diagnosis and the subsequent treatment. Moreover,
schizophrenia, viewed with a focus on language, will be seen to challenge
common assumptions concerning the self, ownership of language,
concepts of reason, the ego and even the gothic as a cultural mode of
expression.
In this chapter, the deconstruction of the ego, through Lacanian
psychoanalysis, further highlights the phenomenon of the divided self. The
fragmented and divided self together with an analysis of stream of
consciousness, as a human occurrence, belies common perceptions about
mental illness, and the separation of schizophrenics, as a distinct entity in
society, becomes dismantled through an investigation of the bicameral
mind and the Derridean notion of hauntology. This argument is based on
an examination of capitalism and the historical consciousness of Europe.
Lacans notion of desire further deconstructs the theory of a unified and
normal self existing in the world, explains the continued existence of
schizophrenia as part of the human condition and crucially why
schizophrenia is so blatantly objectified in the dominion of abnormality.
Schizophrenia, as a notion and as a way of being, continues to haunt the
hypotheses of clinical practice in the fields of psychiatry and
psychoanalysis in spite of the multitude of theories proposed to cure the
condition. A thorough investigation of the effects of language on the
human subject is required to improve psychoanalysis and the treatment of
diagnosed schizophrenics. By these means a more informed understanding
of the phenomenon will be reached.

Fragmentation
The mirror cracked from side to side;
The curse is come upon me, cried
The Lady of Shalott.3
2
3

Richardson, Lacan and Non-Philosophy, 123-124.


Lord Alfred Tennyson, The Lady of Shalott, in The Norton Anthology of

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Chapter Three

Lacan was also greatly influenced by the psychoanalytical work of


Sigmund Freud. He saw himself as uncovering the insights that can be
found in Freuds work even though his own work is actually quite
divergent from Freuds in many respects. Lacan theorised on the function
of language as a means of understanding human behaviour, with a
particular emphasis on neurosis and psychosis. Lacan differs from Freud
primarily in his focus on language. The split between the self and what
he/she is supposed to identify with i.e. the object or the other generates
for Lacan self-consciousness: for example, the other in the mirror during
the mirror phase creates a sense of self for the subject. It is the dichotomy
of the self in the symbolic order and as created by the symbolic order that
interests Lacan. It follows that Lacan rejected the theory of hermeneutics
i.e. the science of interpretation, as it relies too heavily on the meaning of
the object as opposed to the subject. According to Ellie Ragland-Sullivan,
Hermeneutics enjoins phenomenological thinkers to find the essence of a
text by a minutely detailed description of it. Hermeneuticians are
misguided, according to Lacan, in believing that meaning inheres in an
object and is therefore accessible to perception through objective
methods.4 The Hegelian notions of the master/slave dialectic, historical
consciousness, the importance of recognition and the examination of
subjectivity are further addressed in Lacans psychoanalysis. RaglandSullivan states [Lacan] was greatly influenced by phenomenology, and
especially by its innovative interpretations of subject and object.5 By
using Hegels philosophy Lacan sought to justify his own theories of
psychoanalysis. Ragland-Sullivan explains that:
Lacan borrowed Hegels master/slave struggle for pure prestige as a
structural model of the dialectical dynamic being played out in
relationships around the issue of recognition. By transforming Hegels
power-based dialectic of the consciousness of the self into one of
unconscious Desire moi versus Other(A) reified via others Lacan aimed
to criticize the nondialectical degradation of contemporary psychoanalysis,
as well as the philosophers narrow view of consciousness.6

The schizophrenic explicitly reacts to the failure of being recognised as a


English Literature, ed. M. H. Abrams, 6th ed., vol. 2, 1062 (London: W.W. Norton
& Company, 1993).
4
Ellie Ragland-Sullivan, Jacques Lacan and the Philosophy of Psychoanalysis
(London: Croom Helm, 1986), 91.
5
Ibid.
6
Ibid., 76.

Jacques Lacan

95

subject by the other. The extreme sense of self-consciousness (an overt


reaction to an objectifying other), having only utterances of language to
express the real self and the frustrations of desire in the symbolic order,
that the schizophrenic feels, can be thoroughly explored through Lacanian
psychoanalysis.

The Separation of the Self


Lacans tripartite structure of the mind is at the core of my
investigations of subjectivity, schizophrenia and the effects of language on
the human subject. Lacans tripartite structure comprises of the real, the
imaginary and the symbolic. The real is that which can only be expressed
by desire. It cannot be expressed in language. The imaginary self is that
which the individual aspires towards after he/she becomes self-conscious
at the mirror stage. The imaginary self is constructed by the symbolic
order and is formulated by the individuals other in the mirror, and by
society, in the form of the big Other. Dylan Evans states that the basis of
the imaginary order continues to be the formation of the ego in the mirror
stage. Since the ego is formed by identifying with the counterpart or
specular image, identification is an important aspect of the imaginary
order.7 The symbolic order constitutes the realm of language that the
individual is born into, which is identified by and shapes his/her
consciousness. The symbolic order constructs the imaginary and obstructs
the expression of the real. According to Evans:
the symbolic is a set of differentiated, discrete elements called signifiers,
the real is, in itself, undifferentiated; the real is absolutely without fissure.
It is the symbolic which introduces a cut in the real in the process of
signification: it is the world of words that creates the world of things
things originally confused in the hic et nunc of the all in the process of
coming-into-being.8

In analysing the uses and effects of language Lacan made many references
to works of literature e.g. Edgar Allen Poe and his text The Purloined
Letter, Sophocles Antigone and the works of James Joyce. Lacans
particular emphasis on Joyce in relation to the sinthome will conclude this
chapter. Lacans interest in literature is significant here because it shows a
further fascination with the idea of language as the root of the divided self.
7

Dylan Evans, An Introductory Dictionary of Lacanian Psychoanalysis (London:


Routledge, 1996), 82.
8
Ibid., 159.

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Chapter Three

The Socialization of the Self


The fragmentation of consciousness begins during infancy. An infant
experiences self-consciousness through the gaze of the other. He/she
learns of the mastery of the other as he/she consciously enters the
symbolic order. In honouring an objective reality the infant learns how to
be in the world with others and he/she learns the object/subject dialectic of
being. However, this rational exercise instils a sense of ontological and
psychological lack. The individual learns to be a container and a Hegelian
slave and is filled up by words and laws from the symbolic order. From
the moment of conception he/she is submerged into and is enslaved by the
symbolic order. As the schizophrenic is reasonable, he/she voices the
anxiety of being that ensues. Lacanian psychoanalysis highlights this
through the analysis of trauma, the theory on the mirror stage, the
experiment of the inverted bouquet of flowers9 and the fragmentation
which results from all of these in rational perception. These components of
Lacanian psychoanalysis form the bedrock of this chapter.
Consciousness, as it is considered in psychoanalytical terms, breaks or
fragments when it is subjected to trauma. Everyone undergoes existential
trauma when they enter the world of words. Therefore, the schizophrenic
cannot be simply defined as one who has a schizoid or split consciousness.
Each individual finds, on entering the symbolic order that a whole part of
themselves that part that cannot find expression without words - has to
be submerged i.e. the real. Before language there is no discernable
difference between the real and the symbolic. The real and the symbolic
only come into being, have to be named, when language appears. Before
then, the realms of the real and the symbolic do not exist as separate terms
because there is no fissure between them. A traumatic event e.g. a violent
act or the sudden death of a loved one reinforces the fragmentation of
consciousness.10 The real is, according to Lacan, the untamed and
unstructured essential essence of individual being, attempts to gain further
expression in the symbolic order both during and after the immediate
experience of trauma. The notion of rationality becomes questionable after
such a trauma. In Lacanian terms, rationality is also questionable. He
distinguishes himself from the American branch of psychoanalysis, whom
he calls the ego-psychologists e.g. Melanie Klein, because they have a
vision of the perfect ego and they attempt to mould psychologically
9

See Appendix A. Fig. 3-5


This point will be extended further in this chapter in the section on Stream of
Consciousness where I will be focusing on Julia Kristevas theories of abjection as
well as the gothic genre.
10

Jacques Lacan

97

disturbed patients into this form. Lacan believes that everyones ego is
inherently abnormal i.e. the abnormal is normal. Lacan made many
distinctions between Klein and Freuds arguments on object relations and
identifications of the ego primarily because the ego-psychologists theories
lacked fluidity and rendered the ego as a central mechanism in every
decision-making process.11 Ragland-Sullivan states:
Lacans dynamic picture replaces Kleins static one with the fluidity or
flux of perceptual experience and stresses again the link between object
incorporation (or fusion) and mans specific prematuration. By postulating
a phrase of structuring prior to Kleins conception of internalised good and
bad, of whole-and part-objects, Lacan emphasized the crucial importance
of the ambiguity of inside/outside, boundary/non-boundary distinctions
which underlies the process of introjection and projection itself.12

The ambiguity, according to Lacan, is to be found in the interpretation of


language and the ways in which the real self wrestles with the symbolic
order in an attempt to express itself. The symbolic order never fully
represses the real. This can be seen in the tireless efforts of the real self to
actualise itself. According to Bruce Fink, If we think of the real as
everything that has yet to be symbolized, language no doubt never
completely transforms the real, never drains all of the real into the
symbolic order; a residuum is always left.13 The real can never be fully
symbolised and so there are always aspects of the self that remain outside
of language. The unsymbolised real is only a problem when it causes the
analysand distress. Fink describes it as, that residual experience that has
become a stumbling block to the patient. The goal of analysis is not to
exhaustively symbolize every last drop of the realbut rather to focus on
those scraps of the real which can be considered to have been traumatic.14
The existential trauma of ontological being is initiated, according to
Lacan, at the mirror stage of a childs development. This takes place from
the age of six months up to around eighteen months. Up to the mirror
stage, the infant is not aware psychologically or ontologically of their
membership to their family, community or to the wider socio-symbolic
order. This is evidenced by the fact that before the mirror stage an infant is
not aware that there is a difference between his/her body and that of
11
Further distinctions will be made between Kleins psychoanalysis and Lacans in
terms of the maternal and paternal metaphor in the next section on Language.
12
Ragland-Sullivan, Jacques Lacan and the Philosophy of Psychoanalysis, 35-36.
13
Fink, The Lacanian Subject: Between Language and Jouissance, 26.
14
Ibid.

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Chapter Three

his/her mother; no separation is perceived. Therefore, there is no sense of


self or other. The infant has not effectively engaged with the symbolic
order. The infant has not learned the objectivity of rationality. He/she also
has not learned to revere the gaze of the other. The infants imagined
self, i.e. the self he/she is perceived to be (through the other) and the self
that the infant is to become as narrated by their parents and wider
community (through the Other), assumes mastery at this stage. The
infants self-identity is governed and regulated by the image of him/herself
that he/she sees in the mirror. Lacan states, we have only to understand
the mirror stage as an identification, in the full sense that analysis gives to
the term: namely, the transformation that takes place in the subject when
he assumes an image.15
During the mirror stage the infant realises that he/she is not a biological
extension of their caregiver. He/she is in fact a separate and autonomous
entity. Despite the infants new-found sense of independence he/she is still
very much dependent on the caregiver for food, warmth and comfort and
so there is a contradiction between the autonomy that is seen and the
dependence that is experienced. Lacan explains:
This jubilant assumption of his specular image by the child at the infans
stage, still sunk in his motor incapacity and nursling dependence, would
seem to exhibit in an exemplary situation the symbolic matrix in which the
I is precipitated in a primordial form, before it is objectified in the dialectic
of identification with the other, and before language restores to it, in the
universal, its function as subject.16

The infant is further dependent on his/her projected image in the mirror in


order to validate their existence and autonomy. Further to this, the infant
has no way of knowing how the reflected image is feeling or thinking.
This confusion perpetuates a sense of anxiety. The image in the mirror
mimics the distress of the infant but does not share his/her sense of
isolation. The infants reflected image becomes the blueprint for the
structure of the other in the symbolic order; the other, who will never
understand the subjective isolation of an existential being. The failure to
have ones subjectivity recognised is the central problem of language and
rationality. Thus, the mirror stage marks the introduction to the symbolic
order. The infant becomes self-conscious, i.e. conscious of being a self.
However, due to the importance of the other, the infant has to enter into a
15

Lacan, crits: A Selection, 2.


Ibid. Further reference will be made to the psychoanalysis of language in the
next section of this chapter.

16

Jacques Lacan

99

dialectic with this other in order to return to a sense of self; a sense of the
idealised self in the mirror. It is an attempt to return to the security and
satisfaction the infant knew before the mirror stage. According to Lacan,
These reflections lead me to recognize in the spatial captation manifested
in the mirror-stage, even before the social dialectic, the effect in man of an
organic insufficiency in his natural reality in so far as any meaning can
be given to the word nature.17

The Story of Trauma


The natural reality of human knowledge does not have the breadth to
cater for hysteria, hallucinations or psychosis. A psychologically traumatic
event such as abuse or assault cannot be confined to the limiting
parameters of the rational dialectic between an individual consciousness
and its other. Fink explains the effects of traumatic events on the real in
the context of the symbolic. He states that, the realis what has not yet
been put into words or formulated. It can be thought ofas what Freud
calls trauma traumatic events (usually sexual or involving people who
have been libidinally invested by the subject) that have never been talked
through, put into words, or verbalized. This real according to Lacan, has to
be symbolized through analysis: it has to be spoken, put into signifiers
(signifierized).18 The ontological trauma of entering into the symbolic
order in exchange for the real is counteracted by giving mastery to the
other and rationally desiring recognition from the other in order to
know that the self-consciousness of the individual exists. Lacan believes
that the primary function of speech is to receive a response or recognition
from the other. Lacan states what constitutes me as subject is my
questionIn order to find him, I call him by a name that he must assume
or refuse in order to reply to me. I identify myself in language, but only by
losing myself in it like an object.19 However, the prolonged and
exaggerated trauma for the schizophrenic, both psychologically and
ontologically, causes him/her to distrust the other. Paranoia and
narcissistic behaviour are manifestations of this lack of trust. Auditory and
visual hallucinations are its echoes in consciousness. They are constant
reminders of assault or trauma on their ontological, psychological and
mental being. The marked differences between the normal individual and
17

Ibid., 4.
Bruce Fink, A Clinical Introduction to Lacanian Psychoanalysis: Theory and
Technique (London: Harvard University Press, 1999), 49.
19
Lacan, crits: A Selection, 94.
18

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Chapter Three

the schizophrenic lie in the perception of the other. By contrast, the


sane reaction to becoming an object in language is to become a member
of the wider, social collective consciousness, thereby gaining quasirecognition whilst accommodating objectivity. The differences in
behaviour between a normal individual and a diagnosed schizophrenic
lie in their relations with others and society i.e. socially conscious or
withdrawn, respectively. However, closer analyses of modern and
postmodern societies demonstrate that such demarcations of behaviour are
not so easily classified. Nevertheless, when an individual demonstrates an
overt and explicit reaction to ontological, psychological or mental traumas
he/she is too easily classified as insane, marking him/her out from the
sane community.
There is no clear bench mark between sanity and insanity. When an
individuals hallucinations fail to accommodate objective reasoning he/she
is automatically perceived to be the other in the context of rationality.
The instability of such a demarcation, due to the inadequacy of definitions
in the symbolic order, can create unjust prejudice. This leads to the danger
and damage caused by perpetuating a notion of insanity yet at the same
time failing to adequately define what it is. It is the binary opposition of
sanity and insanity, the either/or thought structure of civilisation which
separates the sane from the schizophrenic. Conversely, the hallucinations
of the schizophrenic serve to remind us that the structures of the symbolic
order and objective reasoning are unstable and very much dependent on
the structural definitions of the irrational and the insane to exist and to
become defined as such.
Fragmentation characterises the two groups and both the sane person
and the schizophrenic dream in fragmented form and about fragmented
images. Lacan states that This fragmented bodyusually manifests itself
in dreams when the movement of the analysis encounters a certain level of
aggressive disintegration in the individual. It then appears in the form of
disjointed limbs, or of those organs represented in exoscopy, growing
wings and taking up arms.20 The correlation between the fragmentation of
consciousness for both the normal individual and the schizophrenic is
evident. The normal individual and the schizophrenic cannot be placed in
binary opposition due to the similarities of their respective fragmented
consciousnesses. Lacan explains that intestinal persecutions21 serve as a
reminder of the feelings of narcissism and alienation that were felt at the
20

Ibid., 5.
Intestinal persecutions refer to what Lacan describes as haunting dreams of
bodily fragmentation to the point where the body is perceived as turning against
the subject, hence the feelings of fragmentation and alienation of the subject.

21

Jacques Lacan

101

mirror stage; the constant need to feel a sense of completion against the
dread of perpetual fragmentation. Lacan explains:
The mirror stage is a drama whose internal thrust is precipitated from
insufficiency to anticipation and which manufactures for the subject,
caught up in the lure of spatial identification, the succession of fantasies
that extends from a fragmented body-image to a form of its totality that I
shall call orthopaedic and, lastly, to the assumption of the armour of an
alienating identity, which will mark with its rigid structure the subjects
entire mental development.22

However, once those feelings of fragmentation and alienation are felt they
can never be fully overcome because of the stream of consciousness that
operates in the symbolic order and the lack of complete recognition from
the other. This sense of fragmentation is universal. It is only after some
time spent living in the symbolic order that individuals become classified
as either sane or insane, in accordance with differing reactions to the
same symbolic trauma. According to Lacan, these images of fragmentation
in dreams are the very same that the visionary Hieronymus Bosch has
fixed, for all time, in painting,23 in their ascent from the fifteenth century
to the imaginary zenith of modern man. But, this form is even tangibly
revealed at the organic level, in the lines of fragilization that define the
anatomy of fantasy, as exhibited in the schizoid and spasmodic symptoms
of hysteria.24

The Significance of the Gaze


As I have stated in the previous chapter, the benchmark between
dreaming and hallucinating becomes very unstable when the binary
opposition between them is deconstructed. The novelist Mary Shelley
dreamed of the fragmented body of Frankenstein. Her novel, based on this
character, became famous in the canon of romantic literature. Effectively,
Shelleys dream becomes an imaginary reality for every reader of
Frankenstein in a similar manner to how schizophrenic hallucinations are
perceived by the schizophrenic as part of the real world. Nevertheless, the
hallucinations of the schizophrenic do not become works of art to be
enjoyed by the masses. Instead they are assigned to the context of Bethlam
Hospital or to the portraits of Boschs painting The Ship of Fools, (149022

Lacan, crits: A Selection, 5.


See Appendix Three. Fig. 3-1
24
Lacan, crits: A Selection, 5.
23

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Chapter Three

1500). The obvious difference between the sane and the insane is that
in the fictional tale and the original dream, the fragmented body is
distinguishable from reality by the dreamer or reader, whereas sometimes
it is not distinguishable by the schizophrenic. Even so, there are points of
commonality between the schizoid and the normal subject which serve to
de-stabilize the binary opposition between them.
By becoming a member of a collective or a community with a shared
identity the individual is usually spared from extreme feelings of
fragmentation and isolation. It is rational to deny the trauma which results
from becoming a separate entity which arises due to the experience of
fragmentation and to take solace in communal belonging. Both the normal
individual and the schizophrenic attempt this denial. Also, it is rational to
suppress the desires of the real and the knowledge that your identity is
fragmented because of an over-dependency on the other for recognition.
Lacan emphasises the importance of introducing the infant to a sense of
finitude and ownership of his/her identity. Alphonse De Waelhens and
Wilfried Ver Eecke explain that:
the painful dimension in this challenge is that the symbolic displaces the
child from its imagined privileged position with its mother. This
displacement involves the experiencing of a narcissistic wound on the part
of the child. However, it also results in the child discovering an identity
and a direction for its own desire.25

If there is a conflict of interest between the parents or if there is confusion


in the level and nature of care the infant receives, his/her self-image is in
jeopardy. In a case where the level of care is inadequate the individual will
perpetually sense a lack in his/her self, consciously. De Waelhens and Ver
Eecke state:
the child not only needs to create a unified body image but it also has to
create a body image that performs the role of container to some
containedfor a human being, the body image as container needs to have
a place for needs, feelings, faeces, urine, food, and even pain. The babys
task of creating a body image as container requires the skilled help of a
maternal figure.26

The trauma to the real self on entering the symbolic order has the potential
25

Alphonse De Waelhens and Wilfried Ver Eecke, Phenomenology and Lacan on


Schizophrenia, after the Decade of the Brain (Pittsburg: Leuven University Press,
2001), 77.
26
Ibid., 75.

Jacques Lacan

103

to jeopardise the stability of every individual, and according to Lacan it


does every individual experiences lack and is in essence fragmented. The
reason schizophrenia has been and is treated with fear (similarly to many
mental health problems) is that the schizophrenic presents a challenge to
the common assumptions of the self being whole, rationality being the
driving force of humans (when in fact irrationality and the real constitute a
major hidden part of experience), and language being an inadequate tool
with which to express everything within the individual. It is the
schizophrenic who affirms the insanity of the rational and the fabrication
of the symbolic order. De Waelhens and Ver Eecke explain that psychosis
results from a response to the real in Lacanian terms, As the Real is
horrifying, the lack of its mastery by signifying it leads to very defensive
strategies.27 Due to the deferral inherent in the paternal metaphor,28 the
lack which is felt by the symbolic order is exacerbated by the division
between the symbolic self, as situated in the present, and the imaginary
self, which is often conceived of in a future dimension. De Waelhens and
Ver Eecke state:
In presenting psychosis as a reaction to a developmental failure at two
levels, an opening is created for a more complex definition of
schizophrenia. Indeed, a psychotic reaction is not a reaction to the failure
of the symbolic alone (failure of the paternal metaphor). It is a reaction to
the joint failure of the imaginary and the symbolic.29

The schizophrenic, by definition, is classified as being irrational due to the


fact that he/she is overtly striving to return to the experience of instant
gratification and security that can only be felt prior to the mirror stage,
before the infant experiences isolation and fragmentation. The haunting of
the ego, as experienced in hallucinations and nightmares, is an example of
how the desire to return to the real is expressed.30 The schizophrenic is
27

Ibid., 76-77.
The paternal metaphor refers to the metaphor of the name-of-the-father, i.e. the
notion of the father as opposed to the biological father. At the mirror stage a child
realises that he/she is no longer a part of his/her mother and concludes that her
absence is due to her attraction to the name-of-the-father. The child tries to become
the phallus for the mother in order to attract her back to the child. However, in
order to become what the name-of-the-father represents the child has to understand
the metaphor of the name-of-the-father, which is referred to as the paternal
metaphor.
29
Alphonse De Waelhens and Wilfried Ver Eecke, Phenomenology and Lacan on
Schizophrenia, after the Decade of the Brain, 76-77.
30
The haunting of the self will be further elaborated on in chapter four.
28

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Chapter Three

perpetually experiencing trauma by being situated in the symbolic order.


The deferral of the paternal metaphor is a constant reminder to the
schizophrenic that he/she is incomplete.31 The schizophrenic expresses
his/her desire to return to the pre-mirror stage through withdrawn
behaviour and declarations of inner turmoil which are in turn deemed to be
abnormal.
The deliberate irrationality of the schizophrenic is sometimes
celebrated as being more authentic than the normal rational individual
and particularly so in the wake of structuralism, from the 1960s onwards.
Louis A. Sass states, over the last ten or fifteen years, the influence of
poststructuralism has intensified interest in notions of a decentred
existence, which is often treated as a more authentic and vital mode of
being than is the integrated self of normalcy.32 To be deemed rational, an
individual must perceive objects and him/herself objectively. However, the
process involved in this exercise is far from simple. Maurice MerleauPonty also theorises on the difficulties posed by language. As the signifier
becomes interpreted through signification, perception is altered along the
signifying chain. Both Merleau-Pontys and Lacans theories run along
parallel lines in analysing the phenomena of distortion and recollection.
Merleau-Ponty notes in Phenomenology of Perception that sensation plays
a very important role in perception. The perception of the reflected image
in the mirror is affected by sensation. Merleau-Ponty states:
at the outset of the study of perception, we find in language the notion of
sensation, which seems immediate and obvious: I have a sensation of
redness, of blueness, of hot or cold. It will, however, be seen that nothing
could in fact be more confused, and that because they accepted it readily,
traditional analyses missed the phenomenon of perception.33

In order to cater for the notion of sensation and its effects on perception,
traditionalists who uphold the objective truth of rationality attempt to
classify the senses. Any deviation from their narrative framework is
regarded as a deficiency or as a confusion of the senses. According to
Merleau-Ponty, the traditional analysis of perception distinguishes within
it sense-givens and the meaning which they receive from an act of
understanding. Perceptual disturbances, from this point of view, could be
31

The paternal metaphor will be discussed further in the next section.


Louis A. Sass, Introspection, Schizophrenia, and the Fragmentation of Self, in
Representations, no. 19 (1987): 2.
33
Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Phenomenology of Perception, trans. Colin Smith
(London: Routledge, 2006), 2.
32

Jacques Lacan

105

only sensory deficiencies or gnosic disturbances.34 In prioritising


objective truth, empiricists, rationalists and psychiatrists explain hallucinations
as a disturbance in the central nervous system. In relation to empiricism
and intellectualism Merleau-Ponty states that:
the two doctrines presuppose the priority of objective thought, and having
at their disposal only one mode of being, namely objective being, try to
force the phenomenon of hallucination into it. In this way they misconceive
it, and overlook its own mode of certainty and its immanent significance
since, according to the patient himself, hallucination has no place in
objective being.35

When a schizophrenics hallucination is particularly severe it can take over


the schizophrenics reality in the sense that the hallucination is all that
he/she can focus on at that point in time. However, because the
schizophrenic uses the structure of language in his/her perception, before,
during and after a hallucination, the schizophrenic is reasonable due to
his/her ability to be in the world of objective reality. Merleau-Ponty
writes about Schizophrenics who experience tactile hallucinations of
pricking or of an electric current jump when they feel an injection of
ethyl chloride or a real electric shock: That time, they say to the doctor,
you were the cause of it, because you were going to operate.36 The
schizophrenic is aware of collective definitions of objects and ideas e.g.
perception and hallucination. However, he/she highlights the non-sense of
describing collective consciousness through the hallucination of another
reality. Each individual does not share the same experience collectively.
This is impossible. Therefore, trying to relate an exact experience to
anothers is equally impossible because of the deferred metaphor, there
being a myriad of meanings behind each metaphor and equally an array of
interpretations determined by individual experience. However, the sane
individual has empathy with a related or general experience provided that
the experience is expressed in rational and objective contexts. Equally, the
schizophrenic has a greater empathy for a narrated or subjective
experience due primarily to his/her experience of the symbolic order and
the related difficulties in communication which ensue.
Every individual rationally catalogues his/her memories and history
into an objective narrative which informs perception, actions and
decisions. It is this objective cataloguing device which structures the
34

Ibid., 150-151.
Ibid., 391.
36
Ibid., 389.
35

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Chapter Three

universal other e.g. the reflected image in the mirror. The objective
narrative is given precedence over subjective interpretation because the
other is given first preference in the symbolic order. Merleau-Ponty
states:
If the unity of the world is not based on that of consciousness, and if the
world is not the outcome of a constituting effort, how does it come about
that appearances accord with each other and group themselves together
into things, ideas and truths? And why do our random thoughts, the events
of our life and those of collective history, at least at certain times assume
common significance and direction, and allow themselves to be subsumed
under one idea? Why does my life succeed in drawing itself together in
order to project itself in words, intentions and acts? This is the problem of
rationality.37

The mastery of the reflected image, as a rational exercise, has a parallel


with schizophrenic hallucinations. When the hallucinations are acute they
are perceived by the schizophrenic to be coming from the other. They are
said to be coming from outside the schizophrenics mind when in fact they
are an internal dialogue, an echo of remembered ontological and
psychological trauma. According to G. Lynn Stephens and George
Graham, subjects who hear voices are engaged in inner speech but fail to
recognize the self-produced character of their inner speech. They silently
talk to themselves, in some sense, although they have the impression that
someone else is doing the talking.38 In this sense the schizophrenic is
acutely rational. By using speech the schizophrenic automatically engages
in objective reality. They are conscious of an other to whom the speech
is being directed and from whom it comes.
The schizophrenic is also acutely aware of the gaze of the other to the
point of petrification and paralysis. According to Lacan, the gaze of the
other is equated with desire; the desire of the individual for selfcompletion. An individual believes that the other who gazes is complete,
in contrast with the individuals fragmentation. Therefore, the gaze is an
inaccessible object of desire. However, the perception of the gaze and the
eye which perceives are part of the same persons imagination. The
individual is both self and other due to the power of imagined
perception. This split occurs in every individual with or without a
psychiatric diagnosis. According to Lacan, the eye and the gazeis for
37

Ibid., 475.
G. Lynn Stephens and George Graham, When Self-Consciousness Breaks: Alien
Voices and Inserted Thoughts (London: The M.I.T. Press, 2000), 36.
38

Jacques Lacan

107

us the split in which the drive is manifested at the level of the scopic
field.39 This split is further emphasised by Lacan in his demonstration of
the experiment of the inverted bouquet. The vase is the container and it
represents the ego. The bouquet of flowers is the contained and it
represents subjectivity. An empty vase is placed on a box that is hollow at
one side. A bouquet of flowers is placed underneath the vase. This display
is placed in front of a concave mirror. The human eye sees the bouquet of
flowers in the mirror and perceives it to be in the vase, which it also sees
in the mirror. The eye does not see that the vase is in fact empty and that
the bouquet of flowers is underneath the vase. The reflected image is in
fact an optical illusion as is the gaze of the other. Lacan makes the point
that all reality is an illusion, believed to be truth. Lacan explains thus:
the rays do not quite cross perfectly in my schema, but that is also true in
reality, and for all optical instruments one only ever gets an
approximationif the rays happen to meet the eye in the opposite sense,
then a virtual image is formed. This is what happens when you look at an
image in the mirror you see it where it isnt.40

The realisation of an ontological lack develops from an early age. The


other is necessary to fill the void at all costs and the other is
represented by the vase of flowers the imaginary hallucination of the
individual. The exercise of rationality gathers momentum. Its objectifying
nature assumes mastery. The fear of exposing the split in consciousness
gives rise to the binary opposition of reason and insanity. It is indeed the
schizophrenic who highlights the split of the self and the paralysing effects
of rationality and it is the schizophrenic who is perhaps most acutely
aware of an existential and ontological void. The attempt made to
counterbalance this lies with the other as it is the other who is to fill the
void through recognition; this other is symbolised by the flowers in the
vase. An optical illusion is created based on the gaze of the other just as
dependency on the other is created to fill the ontological lack. Lacan
states:
The specific domain of the primitive ego, Urich or Lustich, is constituted
by a splitting, by a differentiation from the external world what is
39

Jacques Lacan, The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis, trans. Alan


Sheridan (London: Vintage, 1977), 73.
40
Jacques Lacan, The Seminar of Jacques Lacan Book 1: Freuds Papers on
Technique 1953-1954, ed. Jacques-Alain Miller, trans. John Forrester (London:
W.W. Norton & Company, 1988), 78.

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included inside is differentiated from what is rejected by the processes of
exclusion, Aufstossung, and of projection. From then on, if there are any
notions which are placed at the forefront of every psychoanalytic
conception of the primitive stage of the egos formation, it is clearly those
of container and contained. This is how the relation of the vase to the
flowers that it contains can serve us as a metaphor.41

That which is contained by the schizophrenic, namely his/her sense of self,


individuality and autonomy, is differentiated from the part of the ego, the
container, which is projected into the external world. The schizophrenic
becomes over-sensitive to the gaze of the other which caused the split in
the ego in the first instance. In contrast, the sane individual accepts the
optical illusion of unification by the gaze of the other.
The gaze of the other instils into the individual the idea that he/she is
an object and that the other is a subject. This Hegelian dialect with the
other places the other in the role of Gorgon Medusa.42 According to
myth she petrified and turned to stone anyone whom she held in her gaze.
Alfred Stern explains, the gaze of the other self reveals to me not only
that I am an object to him, but also that the other self is a
subjectEverybodys gaze can become the petrifying gaze of Medusa,
changing the other for-itself into an in-itself and depriving it of its
freedom.43 The projection of individual identity onto the other generates
anxiety and a sense of lack; an experience of nothingness that the
schizophrenic feels while experiencing a hallucination. However, the more
objective an individual is, the more rational he/she is deemed to be.
According to Adam Phillips, sanity meant finding ways of not knowing
about all the things that might drive you insane were you to know them.
The modern individual has to be always as efficient as possible at
arranging his ignorance.44 It can be argued that schizophrenia is not
insanity or irrationality but actually an excess of sanity and rationality. The
reflected image in the mirror and the pursuit of recognition, from the
other, means that the individual (both the schizophrenic and the normal
subject) is a being-for-itself and a being-for-others. Stern states that
consciousness is nothing in and of itself but always has to be created. It is
for this reason that, human consciousness, is full of nothingness, of
41

Ibid., 79.
See Appendix Four. Fig. 3-2
43
Alfred Stern, Sartre: His Philosophy and Existential Psychoanalysis (London:
Vision Press Ltd., 1968), 116-118.
44
Adam Phillips, Going Sane (London: Penguin Books, 2006), 157-158.
42

Jacques Lacan

109

negation; it is an ever-questioning hollow projected toward the future,


toward its possibilitiesthe being-for-self is nothing but the pure
naughtization of the being-in-itself; it is like a hole in the womb of
being.45
The hole in the womb of being could be readily aligned with the
absence of the real self for the child. This is also associated with the
realisation that the mother, in whose womb mother and baby was one, is
an other. The hallmark of the penetrating gaze occurs at the mirror stage.
The infant turns from his/her reflected image in the mirror to seek
approval from his/her mother. According to Lacan, self-consciousness
arises when the individual is recognised by the other. The quality of the
mothers response lays the foundation for self-perception. For example, an
individual cannot know that he/she exists until someone else confirms it,
because the individual does not know if his/her reality corresponds to what
is outside of him/her. Fink explains the childs search for recognition at
the mirror stage as follows: she comes to see herself as if from the adults
vantage point, comes to see herself as if she were the paternal Other,
comes to be aware of herself as if from the outside, as if she were another
person.46 Thus the ego-ideal is formed. According to Darian Leader, the
ego-ideal is the symbolic point which gives you a place and supplies the
point from which you are looked at.47 It can be explained as a symbolic
interjection, unlike the ideal-ego, which is an imaginary projection an
ideal vision of oneself that is acquired during the mirror stage; where one
tries to present, but never quite manages to do so.
In order to alleviate the paralysis which is synonymous with the gaze of
the other it is important to understand that by gazing back at the other,
the individual, and in particular the schizophrenic, has the ability to
transcend the gaze of the other. According to Stern:
by his gaze this other person can transcend me and change me from a
being-for-itself into a being-in-itself, from a free project into a determined
thing, into a solidified object as I can change him by my gazeBy
looking at other people, I measure my power, and by looking at me, they
measure theirs. Thus being-for-others is, basically conflict, a struggle of

45
Alfred Stern, Sartre: His Philosophy and Existential Psychoanalysis (London:
Vision Press Ltd., 1968), 119.
46
Bruce Fink, Lacan to the Letter: Reading crits Closely (London: University of
Minnesota Press, 2004), 108.
47
Darian Leader, Introducing Lacan (London: Icon Books Ltd., 2005), 48.

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Chapter Three
two transcendences, each of which tries to out-transcend the other.48

The potential for reflecting back the gaze pivots on the afflicted
individuals ability to ontologically petrify the other rather than
remaining the petrified. Stern explains that, being seen by the other
makes us slaves; looking at the other person, we are masters.49 In the
domain of rationality, the schizophrenic, and his/her other, struggle in
the battle for subjectivity. In the culmination of historical culture that is
postmodernism, the gaze of the other has become the icon for this logical
conclusion. Postmodernism is characterised by fragmentation. An
individualistic and consumerist society has resulted. Edvard Munchs
painting, The Scream, (1893-1910)50 depicts the isolation of the individual
in the postmodern world. The blend and movement of the colours in the
background of the painting are in sharp contrast to the anxiety expressed
by the individual in the painting. The genre of punk music also highlights
this change in culture from the modernist attempt to create unity from
fragments, together with a reliance on history to create the illusion of
unification, to the postmodern acceptance of fragmentation. Punk music is
reminiscent of the jazz genre with its fragmented rhythm. The fashion of
the punk genre expresses individuality and rebellion. The observable fact
of the reality television show Big Brother further illustrates the increasing
individualisation of culture and its fragmentation. A group of strangers
must live together and come to terms with different personalities. The gaze
of the private viewer can condemn and criticize individual strangers, the
encouragement of which further divides communities as it encourages a
culture of criticism, a them and us mentality and individualism as a state
of danger. In Big Brother, it is safer to remain within the safety of the
collective rather than stand alone. The further the individual isolates
him/herself the greater the penetration of the gaze of the other. In wider
society, the gaze of the third eye in the form of security cameras has
become a necessity. The individual increasingly needs to battle for
transcendence over the other. This desire for transcendence coupled with
the need to be seen by the third eye, suggests that postmodern culture at
some level realises its ontological lack and fragmentation. It is effectively
voicing the prophecy of the schizophrenic.
Rationality causes fragmentation; the notion of objectivity instils a
sense of slavery, lack of authenticity and existential anxiety, and the
48

Alfred Stern, Sartre: His Philosophy and Existential Psychoanalysis (London:


Vision Press Ltd., 1968), 120.
49
Ibid., 121.
50
See Appendix Five. Fig. 3-3

Jacques Lacan

111

schizophrenic cries out these injustices. Ironically, to be analysed, he/she


has to be as rational as the analyst in order to be understood. The
Medusas gaze of the other, that is felt in infancy, establishes a fear of
isolation and autonomy. The enterprise of the collective is born out of this
fear. However, the trauma of ontological neglect and assault echoes in the
self-conscious mind of the individual to the point of a Hegelian battle for
transcendence over the other. This dialectic is perpetual because of the
existence of the symbolic order that was in place before the individual was
born. The battle for transcendence places the individual outside the
rational. The schizophrenic voices his/her concerns about being objectified
and reacts strongly to the gaze of the other. The attempt made by the
schizophrenic to maintain his/her sense of subjectivity in spite of the
presence of the other and in the face of its gaze is arguably the blueprint
of the current time: postmodernism voices such existential fragmentation
of the self. Reacting against the petrification of rationality is the final act
of culture. On postmodernism, Fredric Jameson states, abstract
expressionism in painting, existentialism in philosophy, the final forms of
representation in the novel, the films of the great auteurs, or the modernist
school of poetryall are now seen as the final, extraordinary flowering of
a high-modernist impulse which is spent and exhausted with them.51 The
next section on Lacan will examine the role of language in the
psychoanalysis of schizophrenia, and will provide a basis for the later
exploration of postmodernism in chapter four.

Language
The mystery of language was revealed to me.
I knew then what w-a-t-e-r meant the wonderful
cool something that was flowing over my hand.
That living word awakened my soul, gave it light, joy, set it free!52

Following from the fragmentation of the ego this section will examine
the implications of language use for the individual. Hugh J. Silverman
explains that there is no centered (concentric) individuality53 due to the
system of signs. Instead there is the ex-centricity of the self which arises
51

Fredric Jameson, Postmodernism or The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism


(London: Verso, 1996), 1.
52
Helen Keller, The Story of my Life, ed. Candace Ward (New York: Dover
Publications, 1996).
53
Hugh J. Silverman, Inscriptions: Between Phenomenology and Structuralism
(London: Routledge, 1987), 344.

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from need for harmony in the ever changing signification within the
system of signs. Silverman states, Ex-centricity in the sign system is the
manifestation not only of balance and harmony, but also of individuality.
The self is ex-centric in that it is unlike others - ab - normal. Only its
structure provides a norm of selfness.54 The interpretation of selfhood
raises many philosophical and epistemological questions concerning the
categorization of individuals in psychiatric contexts. The deferral nature of
the paternal metaphor has wide reaching implications on the real self. The
metaphor of insanity i.e. the origin of its meaning and relatedness, is called
into question, as every individual is traumatised by the event of his/her
birth. Lacan analyses the effect of language on the Oedipus complex. In
doing so he raises many questions about the existential quest of every
individual trapped in the symbolic order. By means of a close analysis the
schizophrenic is noted as having a repulsive reaction to the pitfalls of the
signifying chain. His/her desire for jouissance is more immediate than the
sane individual. However, this desire is shared by all. Therefore, it is
impossible to distinguish the symptom from the desire. This is
compounded by the very fact that language itself is required to make the
distinction.

Signifiers, Signifieds and the Self


Language is a universal and it is comprised of signifiers and signifieds.
A signifier is a word (spoken or written) and what it signifies is the
concept associated with it. According to Leader, a signifier is an acoustic
image (like a word). A signified is a concept.55 Signifiers only recognise
and refer to themselves. There is no way of expressing any reality outside
of language once the individual enters the symbolic order. Anything that is
desired outside of language is deemed irrational and destructive e.g. sexual
desire or the desire to become ontologically self-aware. The death drive,
which seeks to break through the pleasure principle of the symbolic and
imaginary self of the individual, generates both jouissance and disapproval
from the gaze of the other. In order to conform to the image of the
imaginary self within the framework of the symbolic order the individual
desires the other to a greater extent in order to be validated and
recognised. The attraction to the other primarily lies in the understanding
that he/she has the same frame of reference in the symbolic order i.e.
his/her consciousness is also structured like a language. In this way the
54
55

Silverman, Inscriptions: Between Phenomenology and Structuralism, 344.


Leader, Introducing Lacan, 38.

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113

individual desires to be recognised universally. Lacan states, in short,


nowhere does it appear more clearly that mans desire finds its meaning in
the desire of the other, not so much because the other holds the key to the
object desired, as because the first object of desire is to be recognised by
the other.56 Therefore, in order to be recognised as a universal the
individual relies heavily on the signifying chain in order to be interpreted
by the other. When there is a misinterpretation along the signifying chain
the fate of the individuals identity becomes unstable. This causes a
multitude of problems in communication because there is no guarantee
that two people will interpret a signifier in the same way. Also, the use of
the signifier I perpetuates the sense of alienation as the utterance of I
by a subject fuels the loss which is felt in language. The subject projects
the I for the benefit of recognition by the other. By doing so they are
illustrating their separation and alienation from the other yet at the same
time their individuality is being merged into a universal language.
According to Lacan:
When the subject seeks to express his own singularity by saying I, he is
only asserting what any man can assert. A modern linguist would say that
the obligatory reference of the shifter to the message rather than to the
code alone makes it less concrete and more easily alienable than other
words.57

The shifter is a linguistic term, which refers to the fact that I can have
different meanings depending on who says it. This instability has the
potential to result in a Hegelian unhappy self-consciousness, narcissism
and self-alienation.
Perhaps the most overt example of the effect of this need for the other
is the psychotic, particularly the schizophrenic. According to Freud, the
psychotic is characterised by a split in the ego.58 However, Lacan
maintains that the subject is split by the very act of using language.
When the individual speaks, he/she separates him/herself from the first
person singular in the sentence i.e. I. The separation can be seen in the
distinction between me, the person as seen from the outside and I the
person from the inside looking out. The signifier I is seen as being more
56

Lacan, crits: A Selection, 64.


Jacques Lacan, The Language of the Self: The Function of Language in
Psychoanalysis, trans. Anthony Wilden (London: The John Hopkins University
Press, 1981), 195.
58
Dylan Evans, An Introductory Dictionary of Lacanian Psychoanalysis (London:
Routledge, 2003), 192.
57

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subjective. Equating a schizoid existence with a psychotic one becomes


more complex and difficult to prove definitively when the signifiers used
to describe any individual show a split. The schizoid nature of subjectivity
is generated by the symbolic order. According to Evans, the subject can
never be anything other than divided, split, alienated from himself. The
split is irreducible, can never be healed; there is no possibility of
synthesis.59 In this regard language itself becomes the other for the
individual. For a schizophrenic, communication with another can become
very confused as many signifiers can be associated with a particular
signified. In trying to make sense of his/her being in-itself and being foritself the schizophrenic may transcend the recognition of the other in the
symbolic order i.e. the phenomenon of the divided linguistic self, through
a lucid contemplation of the language of the self. Thereby, the
schizophrenic reverses the object/subject dialectic of schizophrenia by an
acknowledgement of the ownership of ones interpretation as opposed to
organizing a narrative for the benefit of the other. According to Anika
Lemaire:
For the schizophrenic, all signifiers can be made to designate a single
concept or signified. In other words, the signified or concept is not bound
to any one signifier in a stable manner, and numerous permutations of
signifiers designating that signified are possibleThe schizophrenic lives,
then, in a world of multiple symbols, and here it is the dimension of the
imaginary, of concepts, that is altered.60

The signified is never bound to the signifier in a stable way as far back
as de Saussure their tie has been regarded as arbitrary. The relationship
between the two exists because of convention and consensus. This further
enables the deconstruction of the division between the schizoid experience
and normal subjectivity as the criteria for both are unstable. This is
evidenced by the changes in treatment and interpretations of schizophrenia
and standard experience throughout history. Yet, the separation of the two
has always been maintained. This point needs to be addressed. In order to
be recognised by another subject the individual must first be recognised by
the very language he/she is using to communicate his/her subjectivity.
Every individual reacts to the universality of language. Equally, every
individual expresses desire as a symptom of the frustration of the real self.
By categorising such symptoms into universal definitions and diagnoses
59

Ibid., 192.
Anika Lemaire, Jacques Lacan, trans. David Macey (London: Routledge, 1981),
236.

60

Jacques Lacan

115

the individual is being robbed of his/her very individuality. In order to


avoid such definitions some individuals will channel their frustration into
assuming the identity of their imaginary self whilst placing greater
emphasis on the other. Some individuals do not have an imaginary self
on which to focus and according to Lacan individuals who appear to
disregard the other more readily enter jouissance. Evans states, in 1963
Lacan goes on to state that the symptom, unlike acting out, does not call
for interpretation; in itself, it is not a call to the Other but a pure jouissance
addressed to no one.61 Such disregard for the other appears irrational
and psychotic. However, Lacan explains that these symptoms are a result
of a break in the signifying chain.

The Destructive Power of the Other


The entrance to the symbolic order, together with the development of selfconsciousness, is fraught with many difficulties. The task of interpreting
the paternal metaphor is never fully completed. The consequences of this
failure can be measured by degrees rather than difference. The more
pronounced the failure of the paternal metaphor, in terms of psychosis and
narcissism, the greater the illustration of the failure of language for the
individuals ontological awakenings, as opposed to a failure on the part of
the individual to interpret the paternal metaphor. The break in the
signifying chain occurs as a result of many interlocking factors after the
child becomes aware of the objectifying power of the symbolic order
following the mirror stage. These factors will be explained in turn in this
sub-section. 1) The mother fails to situate her child fully in the symbolic
order. She fails to create an imaginary child, regarding her embryo as a
mere biological mass of cells. 2) The child attempts to come to terms with
an inverted Oedipus complex. 3) The child/individual develops an
insatiable desire to satisfy the real self due to an ever-increasing sense of
his/her subjectivity. This is a direct result of rejecting the terrorising gaze
of the other. 4) The individual consciously feels his/her ontological and
existential lack of being in the backdrop of an objectifying symbolic order.
These four broad factors maintain the break in the schizophrenics
symbolic chain. However, it must be emphasised that the signifying chain
is universal in-itself. Its signifiers are universal. The method of chaining
them together is open to interpretation and to misrecognition. Therefore,
from the psychotic to the rational each individual operates in the world
with his/her individual signifying chain. This is evidenced through an
61

Evans, An Introductory Dictionary to Lacanian Psychoanalysis, 188-189.

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examination of the death drive.


According to De Waelhens and Ver Eecke the birth of an individual is
premature, so there is no definite, independent identity at birth. This gives rise
to the first existential trauma, the result of which is a desire for death. This
desire remains throughout ones physical life in the real self. De Waelhens and
Ver Eecke explain the confusion between birth and death as follows:
It allows birth, by the radical maladjustment which it inaugurates, by the
abrupt rupture which it engenders in the equilibrium between the organism
and its environment, to be the first existential trauma, with the result that,
nachtrglich, after-the-fact, death is longed for and desired as a birth.
This immaturity entails the fact that our original and inescapable lot is
dependence, in the sense of parasitism.62

Consequently, as the child depends entirely on his/her mother for a sense


of identity and as a balm for his/her first existential crisis, the role of the
mother is crucial. The mother represents the maternal metaphor in that she
represents the other in the symbolic order. It is because of her otherness
that the imaginary self of the child is immediately out of reach. The
maternal metaphor is grounded in the symbolic order whilst the paternal
metaphor represents the real self and jouissance. This is as a result of the
fact that the paternal metaphor has never been and will never be grounded
in a definite entity by the symbolic order, because according to Lacan it is
the name-of-the-father that represents the paternal father and not a
biological parent. Therein lays the importance of the biological mother and
also the distinction between Kleins psychoanalysis and Lacans. Whereas
Klein concentrates on the static and the biological, Lacan focuses on
symbolism and the fluid nature of boundaries and reference. The role of
the biological mother is important in Lacanian psychoanalysis in terms of
her role at the mirror stage for the infant and in her duty to formulate an
adequate imaginary self for her unborn child. Subsequently, the mothers
attitude and relation to her own body and that of her unborn child is
fundamental in order for her to envisage a healthy imaginary body for her
child. This is essential for both parties involved. The child has to aspire
towards his/her imaginary body and image in order to engage with the
other in the symbolic order. It also prevents an overt sense of ontological
fragmentation at the mirror stage. By referring to her baby in the
imaginary the mother prevents herself from sensing a loss at the birth. She
also situates her baby as an object of her desire. According to De
62

Alphonse De Waelhens and Wilfried Ver Eecke, Phenomenology and Lacan on


Schizophrenia, after the Decade of the Brain, 150.

Jacques Lacan

117

Waelhens and Ver Eecke:


the bond between mother and child is established at the very moment of
conception. From this moment on, if things occur, as they say, normally, the
future mother attributes to her child an imaginary body completely distinct
from that which the foetus really is (physiologically). This imaginary body
serves as a correlative, a support, an object of the mothers desire.63

The imaginary body of the child is important for the mother as it gives her a
distinguishable separation from her child prior to birth to lessen the trauma
of separation at birth and to help establish a psychological boundary
between herself and her child. This boundary is important for both mother
and child as it prevents psychological over-dependency. De Waelhens and
Ver Eecke explain, Among other things, it will constitute a protection for
the mother against the danger of experiencing childbirth as a loss, as the
loss of a part of her own body, or as a threat, pure and simple, against her
life. There is no doubt that the mother makes a considerable libidinal
investment in this imaginary body which she ascribes to her child.64
On the other hand, the mother who fails to assign an imaginary body to
her child regards her child as a biological entity. This mother does not feel
the need to attribute anything in the symbolic order either because she
does not feel a separation between herself and her signifying chain. De
Waelhens and Ver Eecke suggest that this mother lays down her own law.
She does not recognise any other law as imposing as this would suggest
that she is without a signifier with which to identify herself, whereas in
fact she needs no external signifier. Her dominant stance towards the
father of the child is further testament to her sense of self-completion. She
has no conception of an ontological or sexual lack. De Waelhens and Ver
Eecke explain:
The mother of the psychotic is not, as familiar language puts it, a woman
who lays down the law, or, in psychoanalytic terms, a phallic woman. She
is, we learn, a woman who is herself the lawsimply, she refuses to
recognize herself as deprived of that signifier, and, identifying herself with
the man, she unconsciously imagines herself endowed with it (hence, the
frequent preference which she displays to collect and accumulate for
herself symbols of it.) Thus, she arrogates to herself the right to enter into
rivalry with the man in order to impose on him her own law.65

63

Ibid., 153-154.
Ibid.
65
Ibid., 155.
64

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Chapter Three

As a result of this mothers narcissistic behaviour and insistence on


imposing her microcosmic reality on others, her child cannot derive any
level of satisfaction from his/her parasitic dependence on her. In relation to
the mothers of schizophrenics, Piera Aulagnier aptly describes them: they
neither accepted the rules of the game nor, which is worse, understood
them: one could say that the only game they understood is solitaire, a
game without partners and without stakes, except perhaps at the level of an
autistic omnipotence.66 The long-term effect of this on the child is a
breakdown in any dependency on the other together with a narcissistic
obsession with his/her own subjective reflection. Any interference from
the objectifying other will render a state of anxiety and petrification in
the individual. As this mother plays solitaire her son or daughter becomes
diagnosed as a schizophrenic.
It is this mothers failure to acknowledge her own historical
consciousness that jeopardises her childs placement in the symbolic order.
Her ahistoricity is anti-Hegelian in its denial of the co-dependency of the
master/slave and mother/child for recognition. Effectively, the mother of
the schizophrenic omits to accept her own ontological lack of being. She
demonstrates this in her refusal to integrate the father of the child as an
equal biological partner in the creation of the child. By refusing to
acknowledge his presence as a means of fulfilling her desire for
ontological completion through the symbol of the phallus, the mother is
foreclosing the relevance of the name-of-the-father. The phallus represents
a focus point for desire i.e. the desire of the other. This projected desire
constitutes the symbolic order as the meaning of the symbol is always
deferred. A denial of the name-of-the-father, therefore, causes a break in
the signifying chain and subsequently inverts the Oedipus complex. The
child can never aspire to what his/her mother desires i.e. the phallus, if the
mother never desires the phallus in the first place. The child is left feeling
an enormous sense of castration. De Waelhens and Ver Eecke explain:
It is evident that this must result in a massive castration of the future
subjectthe father precisely represents, in the Oedipal triangle, the term
which is the generator of the law and of distance everything which, in his
body (the body of the child) refers to the paternal contribution is denied
and annulledall that can serve as a reminder that he is the fruit of a
sexual union is deniedthe foreclosure of the name-of-the-father has here
its point of origin.67

66
67

Ibid.
Ibid., 156.

Jacques Lacan

119

According to Lacan, the name-of-the-father returns to the real self for a


psychotic individual. It cannot manifest itself in the symbolic self after a
time of repression because the name-of-the-father never existed for that
individual from the onset. When the name-of-the-father reappears in the
real self it takes the form of hallucinations. Lacan explains that:
at the tip of hallucinatory effects, these creatures which, if one wished to
apply with maximum rigour the criterion of the apparition of the
phenomenon in reality, would alone be worthy of the name of
hallucinations, recommend us to reconsider in their symbolic solidarity the
trio of Creator, Creature, and Created that emerges here.68

When the schizophrenic realises that there is nothing in his/her signifying


chain to represent symbolic paternity he/she experiences a void in his/her
subjectivity. This realisation can be triggered by many different
experiences. The most noticeable one is a traumatic or stressful event.
When the schizophrenic experiences high levels of stress he/she desires a
paternal figure to offer protection. Due to the abstract and non-tangible
nature of the name-of-the-father he resembles unity as opposed to the
fragmentation which is experienced by a traumatic event. This is due to
the fact that the name-of-the-father represents distance and completion
whilst the schizophrenic is experiencing fragmentation. As the name-ofthe-father fails to manifest due to being repressed in the real self, the
schizophrenic hallucinates and becomes delusional in an attempt to close
the void that is created by the traumatic and stressful event. Therefore,
hallucinations invert the Oedipal triangle for the schizophrenic. However,
in spite of this, the schizophrenic demonstrates a high degree of logical
operation in his/her attempt to make sense of the world. This logic is
followed through when the schizophrenic associates auditory
hallucinations with people on television or radio, spirits or other people. It
is evident how paranoia can result from the use of such logic. According to
Leader:
just as Freud had argued that a delusion is an attempt at self-cure, Lacan
saw it as a secondary effect, an attempt to provide a meaning to the
primary problematic of foreclosureif he really hears voices when theres
no one there, its only reasonable to link them to the television set, for
example. In another century, they may have been linked instead to spirits.69

68
69

Lacan, crits: A Selection, 225.


Leader, Introducing Lacan, 111.

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Chapter Three

The schizophrenic fails to reasonably identify with the other in the


symbolic order due to a breakdown in the signifying chain in relation to
the paternal metaphor. The substitution of the desire for the mother for the
name-of-the-father resembles the use of metaphors in language. Meaning
is always substituted and deferred. However, according to Lacan, the
schizophrenic cannot operate this substitution because the paternal
metaphor is not recognised. Therefore, the other does not represent a
personified embodiment of a metaphor. Instead the other is objectified
by the schizophrenic as he/she assumes that the other has the power to
petrify the schizophrenic and invade his/her real self through speech. It
follows that there is no possibility of a synthesis with the other in the
symbolic order. Lacan argues that:
simply by entering the others auditory field, the subject falls under the
sway of a suggestion from which he can escape only by reducing the other
to being no more than the spokesman of a discourse that is not his own or
of an intention that he is holding in reserve.70

This is reminiscent of the failure of the Hegelian master and slave to


recognise each other because of objectification. However, just as the
master and the slave are dependent on each other for self-definition i.e. the
master relies on the presence of a slave to constitute his/her role as master
and vice versa, it follows that the schizophrenic and the other are
mutually co-dependent. According to Lacans Schema L71 the schizophrenic
is dependent on the other to illustrate his/her existence, as are all
speaking subjects. Lacan states:
that the question of his existence bathes the subject, supports him, invades
him, tears him apart even, is shown in the tensions, the lapses, the
phantasies that the analyst encounters; and, it should be added, by means of
elements of the particular discourse in which this question is articulated in
the Other.72

The Return Journey of the Self


The explicit reaction to the other which characterises the schizophrenic is
further linked to his/her substitution of the other for his/her ego-ideal.
The ego-ideal governs the individuals place and identity in the symbolic
70

Lacan, crits: A Selection, 200.


See Appendix B. Fig. 3-6
72
Lacan, crits: A Selection, 214-215.
71

Jacques Lacan

121

order. Evans explains that, the ego-ideal is the signifier operating as ideal,
an internalised plan of the law, the guide governing the subjects position
in the symbolic order, and hence anticipates secondary (Oedipal)
identification or is a product of that identification.73 When the
schizophrenic makes this substitution in the ego, he/she continues to selfgovern, albeit in an indirect way. The ego-ideal becomes projected and
objectified rather than internal. The schizophrenic is not consciously aware
that the other is substituted with the ego-ideal. Consequently, the
governance of the ego-ideal assumes the identity, discourse and logic of
the other. According to Lacan, all the density of the real creatureis
interposed for the subject between narcissistic jouissance of his image and
the alienation of speech in which the ego-ideal has taken the place of the
Other.74 The identity of the ego-ideal for the schizophrenic can be traced
to an other who caused trauma for him/her. The logic and discourse of
this other is repeated continuously in the mind of the schizophrenic long
after the traumatic event. Again, the schizophrenic attempts to balance the
breakdown in the signification of the metaphor through repetition. Lacan
explains the consequences of anticipating signification through the
presence of a signifier as repetition in order to counteract the sense of a
void which is inherent in assuming a signification. He states, it is
precisely to the extent that for the subject this high voltage of the signifier
drops, that is to say, that the hallucinations are reduced to ritornelli, to
mere repetitionsthe voices take account of the Seelenauffassung, the
conception-of-souls (in the basic language).75 The conception of souls
brings up an interesting correlation between schizophrenia and the
repressed, paternal metaphor in the real self. According to Lacan and
Heidegger there is no exiting the establishment of language, implying that
no metalanguage can exist in attempting to describe the framework of
language. It is impossible to go outside the signifying chain. However,
poetry and music use repetition, in the form of metre, to express the real
self and the soul of the poet and the composer. Due to the frustration of
the signification of the metaphor, the repetition of words or syntax
indicates and emphasises a moment of expressing the real self and the
soul as opposed to deferring the experience onto yet another metaphor.
Therefore, schizophrenics as well as linguistic and musical artists share the
same technique, by attempting to express the real self i.e. that which is
situated outside metalanguage. Lacan refers to the poetic and musical use
of modulating repetition [and claims that the patient has] gained insights
73

Evans, An Introductory Dictionary of Lacanian Psychoanalysis, 52.


Lacan, crits: A Selection, 235.
75
Ibid., 205.
74

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Chapter Three

into the essence of the process of thought and feeling in man that might be
the envy of many psychologists.76 The pre-Oedipal state is examined and
sought after during the on-going struggle with the other for recognition.
By definition, it is trauma which causes the schizophrenic to revert to the
pre-Oedipal state. However, the desire of the real self applies to each
individual irrespective of the symbolic order.

The Therapy of Literature


The act of realising jouissance can find an expression in the sinthome.
According to Evans, the term sinthome is, as Lacan points out an archaic
way of writing what has more recently been spelt symptme.77 The
sinthome is an expression of symptoms of psychosis in written form.
When the definitions of these symptoms are deconstructed and analysed
from a non-clinical vantage point, jouissance emerges. Evans explains,
Lacan goes on to state that the symptom, unlike acting out, does not call
for interpretation; in itself, it is not a call to the Other but a pure jouissance
addressed to no one.78 Lacan also stated that the speaker receives their
own message via the other in an inverted form. This highlights the
problem of the metaphor, the misrecognition from the other and the
ceaseless return to the pre-Oedipal self i.e. to a state of authentic selfdefinition and unified subjectivity. Lacan explains that:
speech always subjectively includes its own replyfurthermore, when you
congratulate yourself on having met someone who speaks the same kind of
language as you do, you do not mean that you meet with him in the
discourse of everybody, but that you are united to him by a special kind of
speech.79

Through speech and sinthome an individual seeks to express his/her


subjectivity. He/she is essentially his/her own audience. This theatre of
being is unique to each individual yet it shares a common logic as it is a
universal exercise, irrespective of the classically defined symptoms of
insanity. Evans states:
The sinthome thus designates a signifying formulation beyond analysis, a
kernel of enjoyment immune to the efficacy of the symbolic. Far from
76

Ibid.
Evans, An Introductory Dictionary of Lacanian Psychoanalysis, 188.
78
ibid, p. 189.
79
Lacan, crits: A Selection, 93.
77

Jacques Lacan

123

calling for some analytic dissolution, the sinthome is what allows one to
live by providing a unique organisation of jouissance. The task of analysis
thus becomes, in one of Lacans last definitions of the end of analysis, to
identify with the sinthome.80

The sinthome of expression and the symptoms which are enacted reveal
the uniqueness of the individual. Lacans theory of the Borromean knot81
explains the composition of individual subjectivity. By adjoining the
sinthome to the tripartite structure of the real, the imaginary and the
symbolic, subjectivity situates itself outside the signifying chain i.e. it
situates itself outside meaning. Evans explains:
[The Borromean] knot is not offered as a model but as a rigorously nonmetaphorical description of a topology before which the imagination
fails. Since meaning (sens) is already figured within the knot, at the
intersection of the symbolic and the imaginary, it follows that the function
of the sinthome intervening to knot together real, symbolic and imaginary
is inevitably beyond meaning.82

Therefore, the sinthome is outside meaning, definition and diagnosis.


Lacan made many references to the works of James Joyce and he
describes Joyces work as an extended sinthome.83 Joyce was never
formally diagnosed with a psychotic illness but Lacan justifies his analysis
of Joyces writing by emphasising the concentration on subjectivity in the
style of stream of consciousness writing which made Joyce famous. Luke
Thurston explains that, faced in his childhood by the radical nonfunction/absence (carence) of the Name-of-the-Father, Joyce managed to
avoid psychosis by deploying his art as supplance, as a supplementary
cord in the subjective knot.84 The examination of subjectivity in Joyces
work demonstrates foreclosure together with a gulf between the real of his
characters and their other. The style and structure of Joyces work further
highlights the complexity of subjectivity as Joyce does not write to
accommodate the reader as other. The Hegelian misrecognition by the
other is evident. As a reader of Joyces work one must come to terms, yet
again, with the metaphor and the image. The illumination of the real self
through Joyces use of sinthome is akin to the schizophrenics overt
struggle to return to the pre-Oedipal stage together with his/her direct
80

Evans, An Introductory Dictionary of Lacanian Psychoanalysis, 189.


See Appendix C. Fig. 3-7
82
Evans, An Introductory Dictionary of Lacanian Psychoanalysis, 189.
83
Ibid.
84
Ibid.
81

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Chapter Three

engagement with jouissance. Schizoid rationale and stream of


consciousness writing attempt to ignore the objectifying gaze of the
other. The signification of the metaphor seeks to transcend the first
traumatic experience which was the moment of birth. However, it fails to
do so. Joyce attempts to describe his early epiphanies, but he must do so
using language. Thurston explains that, the Joycean text from the
epiphany to Finnegans Wake entailed a special relation to language; a
destructive refashioning of it as sinthome, the invasion of the symbolic
order by the subjects private jouissance. One of Lacans puns, synthhomme, implies this kind of artificial self-creation.85 Lacans interest in
Joyce stems from Joyces ability to avoid the imaginary self and its
depiction in order to explore the authentic and real subject. Thurston
states:
topological theory is not conceived of as merely another kind of
representational account, but as a form of writing, a praxis aiming to figure
that which escapes the imaginary. To that extent, rather than a theoretical
object or case, Joyce becomes an exemplary saint home who, by refusing
any imaginary solution, was able to invent a new way of using language to
organise enjoyment.86

As has been stated, the existential trauma of birth is a condition shared


by all. The care that is given in facilitating an individuals entry into the
symbolic and the imaginary is crucial. An individual must feel that they
are indeed an object of desire if he/she is to formally and safely come to
terms with the Oedipus complex. By creating an imaginary body for her
baby a mother is expressing desire for her baby, as an individual. This is
done in an implicit way so that the mother will not feel a further sense of
loss during the birth. The deferral of the metaphor is the expression of
desire in the symbolic order. The deferral of meaning in the signifying
chain must be accommodated by the individual if he/she is to fully engage
with the other. However, if the Oedipus complex is inverted due to a
mothers denial of the paternal metaphor, the signifying chain for her child
will be broken. This results in an explicit desire to return to the preOedipal state and to the real self for the individual. He/she has the
potential to be classified as schizophrenic depending on the early traumas
which stand as a reminder of the primary trauma of birth. The return to the
real self for the schizophrenic negates the importance of the other. The
frustration of desire in the symbolic order further questions the relevance
85
86

Ibid., 190.
Ibid.

Jacques Lacan

125

of the other. As language is universal, the concept of a metalanguage


cannot hold. Therefore, further methods are required by the individual to
express the real in the mesh of the symbolic order. Stream of
consciousness writing and the sinthome are the best narrative methods of
describing the schizophrenics retreat to subjectivity and following on in
this vein the next section will examine stream of consciousness as applied
to Lacanian psychoanalysis.

Stream of Consciousness
What men or gods are these? What maidens loth?
What mad pursuit? What struggle to escape?
What pipes and timbrels? What wild ecstasy?87

The application of Lacanian psychoanalysis to the phenomenon of stream


of consciousness highlights the instability of rationality, a fabricated
consciousness and a split ego for the individual, the death drive of the real
self in the mind of the reader, the inverted reflection of the other and a
justification for a return to a bicameral mind i.e. a mind that directly heard
the voices of gods, which was an everyday occurrence thousands of years
before the classical age. In analysing the stream of consciousness the
desire of the real is clearly demonstrated in the gothic genre of literature.
Lacanian psychoanalysis illustrates the profound effects objectivity and
structuralist definitions have on the perception and classification of the
gothic and its characteristics. The binary oppositions between self and
other become deconstructed in light of analysing such definitions. The
stream of consciousness highlights the association of the reasonable self
with the gothic as opposed to marking its opposition. The consequences of
this can be seen in an inverted definition of the self. Both Lacan and Julia
Kristeva explain the fate of the fabricated consciousness through their
theses on the symbolic order and the abject, respectively. In highlighting
the instability of the ego as an objectively defined entity, the
schizophrenic, as a marginalized binary, a destabilising force, comes to the
fore in the deconstruction of the power structures of rationality.

Fragile Structures
Lacan can be read as a structuralist or a post-structuralist. In following
87

John Keats, Ode on a Grecian Urn, The Norton Anthology of English


Literature, ed. M.H. Abrams, 6th ed., vol. 2, 793 (London: W.W. Norton &
Company, 1993).

126

Chapter Three

de Saussures model of language in his early work, Lacan focused on the


relations between individuals and social structures. According to de
Saussures theory of language it is differences that define objects and
subjects as opposed to similarities. Dylan Evans states:
Saussure analysed language (la langue) as a system in which there are no
positive terms, only differences. It is this concept of a system in which
each unit is constituted purely by virtue of its differences from the other
units which comes to constitute the core meaning of the term structure in
Lacans work.88

The differences between identities, unities, objects and subjects were


largely explored by Lacan in psychoanalytical practice. It is the separation
of the real self from the symbolic order and the subsequent lack which is
felt because of the symbolic order which interested Lacan. By focusing on
the desire of the real self to express itself, Lacans study of consciousness
branched into many areas of psychology and existentialism e.g. psychosis,
philosophy, linguistics and literature. After his initial Saussurian
influenced writing Lacan became a post-structuralist as he analysed the
problems of language for the subject and the occurrence of jouissance,
making overt the arbitrary unity of structure and the fragmentation which
they disguise, traits which are associated with postmodernism.

The Horrors of the Real


The relations between the object and the subject have been studied
attentively for centuries in many schools of thought. However, Lacans
theoretical Borromean knot of the fragile relations between the real self,
the imaginary self and the symbolic self can be salvaged through the
addition of the sinthome. Equally, the French philosopher Kristevas thesis
on abjection assists in accounting for the vulnerability of the linguistically
structured consciousness. Abjection is the revolt of the real self against the
rule and law of the symbolic order. Kristeva explains that, there looms,
within abjection, one of those violent, dark revolts of being, directed
against a threat that seems to emanate from an exorbitant outside or inside,
ejected beyond the scope of the possible, the tolerable, the thinkable.89As
well as stating that the unconscious is structured like a language Lacan
argues that consciousness is fabricated and created as opposed to being a
88

Evans, An Introductory Dictionary of Lacanian Psychoanalysis, 193.


Julia Kristeva, Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection, trans. Leon S. Roudiez
(New York: Columbia University Press, 1982), 1.
89

Jacques Lacan

127

natural creation. Evans states, Lacan argues that consciousness does not
evolve from the natural order; it is radically discontinuous, and its origin is
more akin to creation than to evolution.90 Due to the dominance of
consciousness and the ego in human action and reaction the enterprise of
rationality is maintained as the supreme structure of perception and
existence. However, Kristevas theory on abjection supports Lacan in
determining the fate of consciousness. Kristeva considers the struggle of
consciousness both before and after Lacans mirror stage, i.e. the first
moment an infant becomes self-conscious. Abjection refers to the collapse
in meaning between the object and the subject. The abject challenges its
master, in this context the ego, and in doing so highlights its masters
instability. Abjection, therefore, jeopardises rationality by questioning the
objectivity of definitions and structured forms of being in the symbolic
order.
In literature, abjection becomes most manifest in the gothic, where the
rational and the sublime come face to face with fragmentation and
distortion. Therefore, abjection destabilises the structured definitions of
object and subject. In this way abjection deconstructs the ego and is akin
to the Hegelian dialectic of the master/slave. Due to a lack of recognition
from his/her master, the slave seeks recognition from objects of labour.
While this occurs the master realises his/her co-dependency on the slave.
This jeopardises both of their definitions. However, Kristeva takes
abjection a step further. The abject challenges mastery and subsequently
rationality from beyond any power relations. The abject is not another
object to be defined, understood, opposed to or aligned with. Kristeva
states that:
the abject is not an ob-ject facing me, which I name or imaginewhat is
abject is not my correlative, which, providing me with someone or
something else to support, would allow me to be more or less detached and
autonomous. The abject has only one quality of the object that of being
opposed to I.91

In being opposed to the I the abject challenges the structures of the


symbolic order and the imaginary self, i.e. the self that the infant attempts
to aspire towards through the workings of the fabricated conscious and the
ego. By challenging this structure, the desire of the real self, from infancy,
and the consequences of the deferral that emerges from the paternal
metaphor, can be better understood. Kristeva explains:
90
91

Evans, An Introductory Dictionary of Lacanian Psychoanalysis, 28.


Kristeva, Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection, 1.

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Chapter Three
If the abject, however, through its opposition, settles me within the fragile
texture of a desire for meaning, which, as a matter of fact, makes me
ceaselessly and infinitely homologous to it, what is abject, on the contrary,
the jettisoned object, is radically excluded and draws me toward the place
where meaning collapses. A certain ego that merged with its master, a
superego, has flatly driven it away. It lies outside, beyond the set, and does
not seem to agree to the latters rules of the game. And yet, from its place
of banishment, the abject does not cease challenging its master.92

The image which is reflected in the mirror to the subject assumes mastery,
as the other, in Lacanian terms. Lacan explains:
The mirror stage is a drama whose internal thrust is precipitated from
insufficiency to anticipation and which manufactures for the subject,
caught up in the lure of spatial identification, the succession of phantasies
that extends from a fragmented body-image to a form of its totality that I
shall call orthopaedic and, lastly, to the assumption of the armour of an
alienating identity, which will mark with its rigid structure the subjects
entire mental development.93

The lack which is inherently felt thereafter between consciousness and


self-consciousness becomes in Kristevas terms the abject, i.e. that which
challenges the divide between the two. The stream of consciousness which
ensues is the attempt of the primordial being of consciousness to reiterate
and substantiate itself in the temporal being of the rational individual.
According to Megan Becker-Leckrone:
Kristeva identifies pivotal instances of abjection in the earliest
establishments of selfhood and in the deepest structures of cultures. The
abject harkens back to the shadowy beginnings of our prehistory, both
individual and collective. But it can also occur at any time, and does all
the more potently because it recalls those primal struggles. Pre-symbolic,
abjection yet persists and returns in flashes, at places of strain or moments
of crisis within the symbolic system.94

Lacans thesis on the subject and the difficulties posed by its relation to
and definition of the I presupposed the post-structuralist and postmodern
deconstruction of the subject. The inevitability of the exposure of the
decentred subject manifests itself in the postmodern condition through its
92

Ibid., 1-2.
Lacan, crits: A Selection, 5.
94
Megan Becker-Leckrone, Julia Kristeva and Literary Theory (London: Palgrave
Macmillan, 2005), 30.
93

Jacques Lacan

129

characteristic of the fragmented self. The origins of the decentred subject


can be traced by Kristeva to the trauma of birth and primary narcissism.
Kristeva states that, narcissism then appears as a regression to a position
set back from the other, a return to a self-contemplative, conservative, selfsufficient haven.95 It is the determined return to this haven that speaks of
the decentred self. Similarly, Lacans theory on the death drive seeks to
return to the haven of completion in death by breaking through the
pleasure principle and the constraints of the symbolic order. Lacan sources
the origins of the decentred self in the individuals entrance to the
symbolic order before birth, as it is the infants mother and the wider
social sphere which constructs the imaginary self. Lacan also associates
the decentred self with the mirror stage where the individual experiences
self-isolation together with the dominance of the other to such a degree
that narcissism proves to be the only means of experiencing ontological
and existential unity of self. In comparison to Lacan, Kristeva is seen more
as a post-structuralist because she focuses on the break in structures and
the implications this has for the subject. Lacan, on the other hand, appears
more of a structuralist in this context as he explains the phenomenon of the
decentred subject in terms of structures. Kristeva explains the decentred
self, in light of post-structuralism, thus:
To each ego its object, to each superego its abject. It is not the white
expanse or slack boredom of repression, not the translations and
transformations of desire that wrench bodies, nights, and discourse; rather
it is a brutish suffering that I puts up with, sublime and devastated, for I
deposits it to the fathers account [verse au pre pre-version]: I endure
it, for I imagine that such is the desire of the other. A massive and sudden
emergence of uncanniness, which, familiar as it might have been in an
opaque and forgotten life, now harries me as radically separate,
loathsome.96

The abject and the expression of the real are echoed in the stream of
consciousness in spite of the objectivity of rationality to repress
subjectivity. The schizophrenic narrates the tales of the stream of
consciousness, where abjection illustrates the fragility of rational
perception. The schizophrenic speaks of the horrors as encountered by
abjection, where the slave in the binary of consciousness challenges the
supremacy and mastery of rationality. The phenomenon of the
schizophrenics hallucinations challenges such mastery. On the causes of
95
96

Kristeva, Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection, 14.


Ibid., 2.

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Chapter Three

abjection, Kristeva explains it as that which disturbs identity, system,


order. What does not respect borders, positions, rules. The in-between, the
ambiguous, the composite.97 Thus, in disturbing the rules and structures
of the mastery of language and rationality the schizophrenic is classified as
the disturbed or in Kristevas terms, the deject. According to Kristeva the
deject places him/herself in time and place in order to situate him/herself
amoung others so that he/she can understand the fluidity of existence. By
locating him/herself in time and place the schizophrenic can then stray
from the collective in order to comprehend it. Kristeva explains:
a deviser of territories, languages, works, the deject never stops
demarcating his universe whose fluid confines for they are constituted of
a non-object, the abject constantly question his solidity and impel him to
start afresh. A tireless builder, the deject is in short a stray. He is on a
journey, during the night, the end of which keeps receding.98

The reason why the horizon of experience in the stream of consciousness


tends to recede lies in jouissance. According to both Lacan and Kristeva
the order and mastery of the other, having become the alter ego in the
subject through the mirror stage, becomes shattered in jouissance. Kristeva
states:
in jouissance where the object of desirebursts with the shattered mirror
where the ego gives up its image in order to contemplate itself in the Other,
there is nothing either objective or objectal to the abject. It is simply a
frontier, a repulsive gift that the Other, having become alter ego, drops so
that I does not disappear in it but finds, in that sublime alienation, a
fortified alienation.99

However, the other never relinquishes its hold on the subject, which is
due primarily to the symbolic order. Kristeva describes the, jouissance in
which the subject is swallowed up but in which the Other, in return, keeps
the subject from foundering by making it repugnant.100 Therefore, the
deject, in unveiling the time parts of experience in the stream of
consciousness concerning abjection and ontological dissent, always
encounters a border or a limit of human experience. Ontologically, the
schizophrenic understands such limitations of experience due to the
insistence of the presence of the other. The symbolic order maintains the
97

Ibid., 4.
Ibid., 8.
99
Ibid., 9.
100
Ibid.
98

Jacques Lacan

131

other in the formation of consciousness. However, abjection may


highlight the historicity of primordial existence, rationality and objectivity
though the symbolic order safeguards against oblivion. The schizophrenic
is also safeguarded against such oblivion by his/her very existence in the
symbolic order. The schizophrenic, like every other individual enslaved by
the symbolic order, is limited by the borders of abjection and jouissance.
Kristeva states that, on the edge of non-existence and hallucination, of a
reality that, if I acknowledge it, annihilates me. There, abject and abjection
are my safeguards. The primers of my culture.101

The Haunting of the Self


The presence of abjection is more evident in stream of consciousness
after the Enlightenment or the Age of Reason, when scientific thought is
given great precedence over the training of consciousness in its advocacy
of perceiving the world and the individual objectively. Consciousness was
remodelled after the Enlightenment to perceive the neoclassical and
modern age as the good and the beautiful in terms of morality and
aesthetics. In order to make a convincing plea for this remoulding the new
modern age perceived the classical age as irrational and gothic in nature.
According to Fred Botting, the Enlightenment, which produced the
maxims and models of modern culture, also invented the Gothicthe
word Gothic assumes its powerful, if negative, significance: it condenses
a variety of historical elements and meanings opposed to the categories
valued in the eighteenth century.102 However, the haunting which is
reminiscent of the gothic is objectively categorised by the scientific mind
to be the other of reason, i.e. its opposite. Therefore, the neoclassical age
situated the gothic in the margin; in the binary opposition with rationality.
According to David Punter, the notion of haunting exists in this curious
space between realisation and its opposite.103
The superimposition of objectivity harnesses the real self, through
convention and the law, and in doing so the real self haunts the ego as is
evidenced by the gothic genre in literature. The gothic strives for total
control of the self and its existence by transcending the universal laws of
the symbolic order. The gothic tale narrates a desire to transcend the
boundaries of reason and in embracing death it seeks immortality. Punter
101

Ibid., 2.
Fred Botting, In Gothic Darkly: Heterotopia, History, Culture, in A Companion
to the Gothic, ed. David Punter, 4 (Oxford: Blackwell Publishers Ltd., 2000).
103
David Punter, Gothic Pathologies: The Text, the Body and the Law (London:
Macmillan Press Ltd., 1998), 2.
102

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states, [the] gothic is thus a fiction of exile, of bodies separated from


minds, of minds without a physical place to inhabit, cast adrift on seas of
space and time which appear to bear no relation to the moral life.104 In
this way the gothic portrays the physical body as a distortion and birth
itself as the ultimate trauma. Punter explains:
If Gothic therefore has to do with the barbaric, then this is not a matter of
an external pressure; rather, it is a matter of looking at the pressures which
turn us into barbarians within, barbarians in relation precisely to the society
and the body in which we were born. Thus we find tales of self-mutilation,
self-torture, in the end self-destructionin which the body is the site for a
struggle which can end only in death or in the blankness which results most
effectively from trauma.105

The real self seeks to break through the pleasure principle of the Law in
the desire for death as the ultimate jouissance. Therefore, the real self of
individual is akin to the gothic in literature; each represents inner struggle
culminating in death.
The haunting of consciousness by the repressed and marginalized real
self is further evidence that the neoclassical consciousness is a fabricated
ideal. The haunting and desire of the real self destabilises the illusions of
power of the structured ego. This deconstruction of consciousness attests
the vulnerability of the ego. This can be evidenced by analysing the
individuals reflection at the mirror stage. The notion of the other in the
reflection assumes mastery over the individual. This other haunts the
individual in the guise of the ego-ideal. According to Evans, the ego-ideal
is the signifier operating as ideal, an internalised plan of the law, the guide
governing the subjects position in the symbolic order, and hence
anticipates secondary identification or is a product of that identification.106
By being bound to the symbolic order, the ego-ideal is in a continuous flux
of meaning and representation because meaning is always deferred and the
signified is constantly mis-recognised. A further split in consciousness is
noted when the ego, as is formulated at the mirror stage, is perceived as
the other. Lacan states that, the ego is an Idealich, another self, and the
stade du miroir is the source of all later identifications.107 The ideal-ego
attempts to ensure that the ego aspires towards a future and abstract
104

Ibid., 17.
Ibid.
106
Evans, An Introductory Dictionary of Lacanian Psychoanalysis, 52.
107
Lacan, The Language of the Self: The Function of Language in Psychoanalysis,
160.
105

Jacques Lacan

133

unified self. Evans explains that, the ideal egooriginates in the specular
image of the mirror stage; it is a promise of future synthesis towards which
the ego tends, the illusion of unity on which the ego is built.108 The split
which is already apparent in the ego is denied by the rational subject.
However, in spite of the power structures of objectivity, the stream of
consciousness echoes memories which are outside of the neat parameters
of scientific space and time contexts. These images in consciousness
threaten the stability of the ego and by doing so the distinction between the
self and its other, as the ego, becomes more pronounced. The mastery of
the other is re-established as the rational self attempts to withdraw to the
position of the subservient object. According to Daniel B. Smith, certain
thoughts can be said to exist in our mind but not in our consciousness. We
are unaware of them, we are limited by what [William] James called the
narrowness of consciousness. The brain engages in vast operations into
which we have a severely restricted view, as if we were looking for a
small, attic-size window.109

Echoes and Contexts


The phenomenon of stream of consciousness, as it narrates the past of
the individual whilst unsettling his/her perception of the present, finds its
extreme form in auditory hallucinations. Julian Jaynes in his thesis The
Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind argues
that the split in consciousness, which is synonymous with schizophrenia,
is in actual fact a return to the bicameral mind. Approximately three
thousand years B.C. men and woman heard voices. It was a part of the
norm of everyday life. They claimed that the voices were those of the
gods. However, after these narratives were recorded in scriptures and
consciousness itself became defined by a scientific classification, the
products of the mind that were not filtered by the ego became
marginalized and objectified. Jaynes states, according to our theory, we
could say that before the second millennium B.C., everyone was
schizophrenic.110 Similarly, with the stream of consciousness, the
schizophrenic receives thoughts which are unfiltered by the ego. A
schizophrenic is recorded as saying, Gradually I can no longer distinguish
108

Evans, An Introductory Dictionary of Lacanian Psychoanalysis, 52.


Daniel B. Smith, Muses, Madmen and Prophets: Rethinking the History,
Science and Meaning of Auditory Hallucination (London: The Penguin Press,
2007), 41.
110
Julian Jaynes, The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral
Mind (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1982), 405.
109

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how much of myself is in me, and how much of myself is in others. I am a


conglomeration, a monstrosity, modeled anew each day.111 What was
classified as being thought distortion and disorganisation in psychiatric
terms, can be regarded as a return to the bicameral mind, which is
perceived as delusional by rationality.
The ego cannot accommodate the stream of consciousness or the
bicameral mind because consciousness is fabricated. The other is also
threatened when auditory hallucinations take precedence over the mind of
the schizophrenic. Hallucinations deconstruct the ego. Jaynes states that,
hallucinations often seem to have access to more memories and
knowledge than the patient himself even as the gods of antiquity. It is
not uncommon to hear patients at certain stages of their illness complain
that the voices express their thoughts before they have a chance to think
them themselves.112 Hence, hallucinations take over some of the egos
function, and subvert its authority. When the loss of the ego is felt the
schizophrenic feels vulnerable as he/she surrenders to the bicameral mind.
Daniel Schruber describes this experience as soul-murder.113 It was only
after consciousness became narrated as an objective entity that the
distinction was made between the I and the not-I i.e. a space was
created within the self which became defined in terms of binary opposites.
It is the structure of this binary which renders an individual vulnerable and
not the actual experience of the bicameral mind itself. The schizophrenic
senses fear primarily because of these binaries. It is these binaries which
define the other self as a monster of the gothic. Jaynes explains:
a schizophrenic not only begins to lose his I but also his mind-space, the
pure paraphrand that we have of the world and its objects that is made to
seem like a space when we introspect. To the patient it feels like losing his
thoughts, or thought deprivation, a phrase which elicits immediate
recognition from the schizophrenic.114

According to Lacan, the I is already lost at the mirror stage when the
reflection of the individual is perceived as the unified I, as other, whilst
the individual senses self-consciousness, narcissism and incompletion.
Thus the I of the other becomes what the individual desires. Anthony
Wilden states, Lacan is more precise about the Other when he calls it the
locus of the signifier or of the Word, since he is obviously talking
111

Ibid., 418.
Ibid., 412.
113
Ibid., 418.
114
Ibid., 420.
112

Jacques Lacan

135

about the collective unconscious without which interhuman communication


through language could not take placehe defines the Other as the locus
where there is constituted the je which speaks as well as he who hears it
[speak].115
The grotesque manifestation of the real self, as represented by the
gothic image, is an inverted form of the self at the mirror stage. It is
because of the symbolic order that the self, as represented by the I, is
fragmented. The return to the self, in an attempt at unification, becomes
distorted due to the mastery of the other in the reflection in the mirror.
The real self strives to close the gap which is created by self-consciousness
at the mirror stage. It is because of the horror at being deemed a mortal
being, by the code of the symbolic order, through the manifestation of a
premature imaginary self that the real self strives for immortality through
the death drive. It is through the other that this real self is perceived as
horrific through it being reflected back in an inverted form at the mirror
stage. The reversal of the reflection echoes the desire of the real self
together with the effects of the repression of the self by the symbolic
order. Lacan explains:
In effect, it is by means of the gap opened up by this prematuration in the
imaginary, and in which the effects of the mirror stage proliferate, that the
human animal is capable of imagining himself as mortal, which does not
mean that he would be able to do so without his symbiosis with the
symbolic, but rather that without this gap that alienates him from his own
image, this symbiosis with the symbolic, in which he constitutes himself as
subject to death, could not have occurred.116

The horrific nature of the self as narrated by the symbolic order and the
horror of mortality as expressed by the real self is kept in check by the
enterprise of rationality and by the deferring nature of the paternal
metaphor through the Oedipus complex. Lacan states, in the subjective
economy, governed as we see it by the unconscious, it is a signification
that is evoked only by what we call a metaphor, in particular, the paternal
metaphor.117 Schreber catalogued the redemptive forces of the spirit over
and above the present and the body proper in his memoir of mental
breakdown, Memoirs of my Nervous Illness. The creatures of his mind
seek to be reborn outside of the metalanguage of the symbolic order.
115

Lacan, The Language of the Self: The Function of Language in Psychoanalysis,


266.
116
Lacan, crits: A Selection, 217-218.
117
Ibid., 219-220.

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Lacan explains:
No doubt the new spiritual humanity of the Schreberian creatures will be
entirely engendered through his lions, so that the corrupt, doomed
humanity of the present age may be reborn. This is indeed a sort of
redemption, since the delusion has been catalogued in this way, but it is a
redemption aimed only at the creature of the future, for the creature of the
present is struck by a decadence correlative with the capture of the divine
rays by the pleasure that rivets them to Schreber.118

The effects of the symbolic order on the real self are demonstrated by
Lacan in his diagram Schema I.119 In this he illustrates the effects of the
split in the ego between the ideal self and the narcissistic self. The hole or
gap which is created in consciousness is a fate shared by every individual.
However, it is an ontological and spiritual awareness of this, assisted by a
stream of consciousness that displays psychotic symptoms, which are
defined by language and objectified by rationality. According to Lacan:
One can place under the sign of the creature the turning-point at which the
line divides into its two branches, that of narcissistic pleasure and that of
ideal identification. But it is in the sense in which its image is the trap of
imaginary capture in which each is rooted. And there too the line moves
around the hole, more specifically the hole in which soul-murder installed
death.120

The haunting of the ego can be further demonstrated in the study of


literature. In the gothic genre, literature speaks of the horror rather than
repressing it. In this sense literature is seen as the privileged signifier.121
The text resembles a dead corpse and it is the duty of the reader to bring it
to life. However, the activity of reading induces further haunting for the
reader. As he/she concentrates on interpreting a text the continuous stream
of consciousness, which interrupts a readers concentration, serves as a
constant reminder that the symbolic order and the world of the text is not
all inclusive. There is a constant association of images and thoughts which
haunt the mind of the reader. Thus, disrupted concentration, whilst
reading, can be seen as boredom or frustration with a given text because of
the failure of the text to locate the reader in time and space. Punter
explains:
118

Ibid., 233.
See Appendix D. Fig. 3-8
120
Ibid., 234.
121
Aristotle, Metaphysics, Trans. Joe Sachs, (Sante Fe, 2002).
119

Jacques Lacan

137

in every story we hear, in every poem we read, we experience also a


haunting, the present absence of some other story which we would more
wish to hear, one that would fit the contours of our desire more precisely
and thus protect us from the sense of loss we feel when we realise that the
voice is not our own, that the voice is not even intelligible or translatable,
that the voice, of course, is not a human voice at all; it is the stony voice of
an inscription, and it is our privilege and our risk to breathe life into this
animated corpse which is text.122

This haunting of the text is akin to the return to the bicameral mind in the
schizophrenic. The text as corpse affects the reader as a death force
infecting the life force of the reader. The real self of the author, as a result,
strives for immortality through a projected stream of consciousness into
the consciousness of the reader. According to Kristeva, The corpse, seen
without God and outside of science, is the utmost of abjection. It is death
infecting life. Abject.123 In terms of the symbolic order, the text as corpse
haunts the reader by the nothingness of existence. Derrida claims that there
is nothing outside of the text, that all contexts are bound within the text. In
a conscious effort to read, the individual further escapes from the reminder
of the disintegration and fragmentation of the body. This haunts the reader
in his/her attempts to escape into the text and away from the obscurity of
his/her stream of consciousness, which defies contextuality. In this sense it
is the reader who is the ghost haunting the text. Punter states:
Gothic tests what it might be like to be a shell; perhaps, as Derrida says, a
shell which always faces on two fronts, but at any rate a shell which has
been filled to the brim with something that looks like ourselves but is
irremediably other, to the point that we are driven out, exiled from our own
home, removed from the body. Thus it is we ourselves who are cast as the
ghost, the spectre, the reverent who can in fact never return, but who can
only watch this mysterious body performing actions below.124

The inverted image of the other haunts the reader through a realisation of
a split which is inherent in him/her i.e. an awareness of the otherness of
his/her ego, through a perpetual stream of consciousness. The
schizophrenic, by definition, is already aware of this splitting of the ego
i.e. the splitting of the I, and is perpetually haunted by it because of the
122
David Punter, Shape and Shadow: On Poetry and the Uncanny, in A
Companion to the Gothic, ed. David Punter, 203 (Oxford: Blackwell Publishers
Ltd., 2000).
123
Kristeva, Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection, 4.
124
Punter, Gothic Pathologies: The Text, the Body and the Law, 16-17.

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symbolic order. A return to the bicameral mind is gothic through the


interpretation of reason and it also deconstructs the supremacy of
rationality as opposed to substantiating the definition of insanity by the
codes of objective reasoning.
Both the bicameral mind and the powers of abjection propel the ego
beyond the power relations of binary oppositions as laid down by
rationality. The stream of consciousness continuously threatens to expose
the co-dependency between the two sides of the binaries. Therefore, the
self, which is to be ultimately objectified, continues to affirm its
subjectivity through the real selfs unrelenting desire for expression and
immortality. The stream of consciousness, which echoes the desire of the
real self and the bicameral mind, deconstructs the binary opposition of
sanity and insanity. In doing so, the marginalized characteristics of the
gothic become perceived as the repressed self and serve as a reflection of
the consequences of objectifying the ego. As the ego of the schizophrenic
is already classified by rationality and psychiatry as being split, an
inversion of this rule ensues when the conscious mind of the individual
and particularly the reader becomes confused by the experience of the
stream of consciousness. Lacanian psychoanalysis as applied to the gothic
genre and the phenomenon of stream of consciousness makes evident the
advantages of the schizophrenic mind because it fails to be ultimately
mastered by the neoclassical codes of scientific law as set down in the age
of reason. The next section will explore Lacanian psychoanalysis and
deconstruction to further demonstrate the instability of rationality and its
consequences for the definition of schizophrenia.

Deconstruction
History, Stephen said, is a nightmare from
which I am trying to awake.125

Building on the chapter so far, and the points made concerning Lacans
psychoanalytical concepts, this subsection will propose the following
arguments: that Derridas thesis on the fall of communism by the haunting
of capitalism in Europe assists in explaining hauntology or the haunting of
the ontological self. By applying his thesis to the notion of schizophrenia it
will be argued that the haunting experience which is felt by auditory/visual
hallucinations is in actual fact an act of mourning by the self for his/her
fragmented ego. It will be argued that the explicit mourning by the
125

James Joyce, Ulysses, ed. Declan Kiberd (London: Penguin Books, 2000), 42.

Jacques Lacan

139

schizophrenic calls to attention the inevitability of post-history and the


phenomenon of the bicameral mind as he/she overtly expresses both the
phenomenon of his/her Absolute Subject and a desire to realise it in spite
of the symbolic order. Post-history deconstructs the symbolic order and
the notion of linear time. Through this process it will be argued that the
schizoid mind has always been manifest since the beginning of recorded
history. Subsequently, it will be argued that the schizophrenic is the
prophet of post-history. His/her schizophrenic symptoms follow a rational
logic in light of the extremities of the symbolic order which attempts to
harness the expression of the real self and the mourning of a split ego.

Governments and Ghosts


Derridas deconstruction of Marxist theory in the aftermath of the fall
of communism, as presented in Specters of Marx, discloses the experience
of the haunting of Europe by capitalism. The correlation between
communism and capitalism has sparked many debates about the notion of
post-history. The experience of dislocated time disturbs the collective
consciousness of the Western world. The attempts made for a sense of
universal normality appear futile in the breakdown of the veneer of
rationality. The postmodern condition which results gives precedence to
auditory hallucinations, which are synonymous with the schizophrenic
mind, as the concepts of linear time and the entities of history appear
fragmented. Therefore, hauntology can be read as a symbol of auditory
hallucinations. In the wake of post-history, the schizophrenic mind
deconstructs to illustrate the diffrance which is the real self. This
deconstruction also highlights the aggravation of the real self in the
symbolic order as the ego becomes increasingly haunted by itself. It is
through Lacans study of the gaze that this will become highlighted.
Derridas Spectres of Marx: The State of Debt, the Work of Mourning
and the New International was written for the conference held at the
University of California in April 1993. This conference, entitled Whither
Marxism? Global Crises in International Perspective,126 was organised by
the Center for Ideas and Society. Its aim was to explore the effects of the
collapse of communism on the global community and to discuss the fate of
Marxism. Derridas text, which followed, is written in a conversational
style. It is in dialogue with the second volume of conference papers which

126

Jacques Derrida, Specters of Marx: The State of the Debt, the Work of Mourning
and the New International, trans. Peggy Kamuf (London: Routledge, 2006), x.

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were submitted by other intellectuals at the conference.127 Derridas text


raises many questions concerning post-history, haunting, time, labour, the
gaze of the other and ontology. In deconstructing the appearance of
economic and political stability, Derrida implicitly draws attention to the
fragmentation that is inherently characteristic of capitalism, by illustrating
the objectivity synonymous with the consumption of commodities. In this
sense, the capitalist consumer is akin to Hegels master in the dialectic. It
is only through the consumption of objects that the master can derive any
satisfaction (as opposed to ontological recognition) from another. The
fragmentation of the self and the wider community ensues due to the
repression of subjectivity and the inevitability of ontological haunting.
Derridas text further serves to reiterate the prophecy of the schizophrenic.
Through his/her deconstruction of the fallacy of rationality which is akin
to Derridas deconstruction of capitalism, the postmodern condition of the
decentred self arises as the logical conclusion of history. The overtly
decentred self of the schizophrenic has been placed in the position of
insanity by the fragile faade of rationality. However, the phenomenon of
the schizoid self is emerging as a norm, to some degree, rather than an
exception, in light of postmodernism and the end of history.

History in Mourning
In addressing the notion of post-history, Derrida argues that, what
happens and deserves the name of event after historyobliges one to
wonder if the end of history is but the end of a certain concept of
history.128 To address the notion of a concept of history, in-itself,
automatically de-stabilises the truisms, narratives and lessons of history as
a stable voice of the past. Derrida explains that the act of mourning is an
attempt to situate the dead in yet another place. Mourning relies on time
and place, situation and approximation. The remains of the dead are
situated and localised by the presence of a corpse in a grave. The general
hypothesis of linear time concedes that this death is constant. Therefore,
the act of mourning justifies the notion of history through time as fixed
and permanent. Derrida deconstructs the practice of mourning to further
emphasize the instability of entities or things and the illusion of linear
time. Relating his thesis to William Shakespeares Hamlet, he examines
the role of Hamlets father. The play opens with the apparition of the king.
His spirit is in his body, yet the king is dead and was buried. As it is
127
128

Ibid., xi.
Ibid., 17.

Jacques Lacan

141

illogical, according to Derrida, that the king has two bodies then it must
follow that the king is a thing. He states, The body is with the King, but
the King is not with the body. The King, is a thing.129 Derrida explains
the three things of the thing and in doing so, it becomes evident how a
thing becomes a thing or an entity through the perception of objectivity.
The first of these three is mourning. Derrida explains mourning as that
which consists always in attempting to ontologize remains, to make them
present, in the first place by identifying the bodily remains and by
localizing the dead.130 Furthermore, the act of mourning is reasonable in
its quest for understanding and knowledge. By this process mourning
objectifies the dead. Derrida states, nothing could be worse, for the work
of mourning, than confusion or doubt: one has to know who is buried
where and it is necessary (to know to make certain) that, in what
remains of him, he remain there. Let him stay there and move no
more!131 The second requires that it can only be spoken of as a thing; not
to be confused with a spirit. The association of a corpse with a person
requires that he/she, who once was, must now be perceived as a thing,
localised and situated in a linear time frame. The timelessness,
phenomenon and indestructibility of spirit are a dangerous and haunting
association with a corpse, in any context. Therefore, the naming of the
dead as a thing is important in order to avoid the confusion of associations.
To make reference to this thing one must be careful of the context it is
described in. According to Derrida, one cannot speak of generations of
skulls or spiritsexcept on the condition of language and the voice, in
any case of that which marks the name or takes its place.132 Thirdly,
Derrida concludes that the phenomenon of the thing or spirit is work. He
maintains, the thing works, whether it transforms or transforms itself,
poses or decomposes itself: the spirit, the spirit of the spirit is work.133
There is an inversion of interpretation between the decomposition of a
corpse, the work of the thing, and spirit. Initially, it is not conceived that
the thing can work or demonstrate force. But, resembling the Hegelian
slave, the thing, as understood in the present, exhibits the spirit to work:
change form and sustain energy. The interpretation of spirit changes from
that of a spiritual entity or ghost to a scientific energy. According to its
definition in physics, energy is the ability to do work and energy cannot be
created or destroyed, but changes from one form to another. Therefore,
129

Ibid., 8.
Ibid., 9.
131
Ibid.
132
Ibid.
133
Ibid.
130

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Derrida deduces that spirit is work and his explanation of the three things
of the thing is necessary to avoid associating the dead with living spirits
or ghosts. Karl Marx and Derrida both believed in the power of the spectre
or the ghost. As the thing does the work it haunts the objects of
production. Similarly, Hegels slave haunts through the objects of his/her
labour whilst the master becomes the haunted, resulting in his/her unhappy
self-consciousness. The medium of hauntology is more often than not the
human mind. In the case of Hamlet, for example, his fathers ghost may be
interpreted as a projection of Hamlets unconscious.
Derrida returns to Hamlet again to explain the end of history through
the phenomenon of the spectre. The ghost of the King of Denmark asks to
be followed but does not state where or whither.134 Reasonably speaking,
what does it mean to follow a ghost and to be haunted by it at the same
time, where a haunting implies the notion of being followed? Derrida
suggests the notion of repetition. He states, here again what seems to be
out front, the future, comes back in advance: from the past, from the
back.135 A concept of repetition, in itself, implies a repetition of first
times. These first times are classified as events since each first time
constitutes its last time. This is because every time something is repeated it
is iteration, a word Derrida uses to describe repetitions. He intends it to
mean that something is repeated, but that the repetition is always singular
it will never be exactly the same as the first time. Derrida poses the
following question, is there there, between the thing itself and its
simulacrum, an opposition that holds up? Repetition and first time, but
also repetition and last time, since the singularity of any first time makes
of it also a last time.136 Therefore, each event, collectively and on a linear
time line, constitutes the notion of history, but as each first time relates to
a last time there is the inevitability of a haunting of the experience of the
end of history. Derrida calls this staging of the end of history a
hauntology.137
At the end of history the spirit continues to haunt through the repetition
of returning. Post-history is not understood as the aftermath of some
apocalypse where objects have been obliterated. This would be impossible
because objects or things have spirits which repeat their return. Derrida
states that, after the end of history, the spirit comes by coming back
[revenant], it figures both a dead man who comes back and a ghost whose

134

Ibid., 10.
Ibid.
136
Ibid.
137
Ibid.
135

Jacques Lacan

143

expected return repeats itself, again and again.138 Therefore, it is not the
apocalypse or the end of being that will mark the end of history; rather it
will be denoted by the end of the concept or the entity. The deconstruction
of the self, as an objectified entity, will become the focal point of posthistory as opposed to the objectification of things. Thus, the deconstruction
of objectified entities of the self will highlight the underlying schizoid
state of being which has always existed. The inevitability of the
deconstruction process marks post-history as a logical conclusion to the
ineffectual movements throughout history to standardise the phenomenon
of being. In this context, the deconstructed self is necessarily a schizoid
self. Attempts at normalizing this schizoid state of being will appear futile
in light of the increasing fallacy of standardization and sameness. Upon
deconstructing these structures they appear split or schizoid. However,
during the reversal of the binaries it comes to light that it is the structures
themselves which contain the mechanism of splitting. Therefore, a
deconstructed self is necessarily schizoid due to the inability of the
structures of sameness and normality to recognise their own fragmenting
characteristics. These replications or simulacrums of entities will become
increasingly haunted and obliterated. Nostalgia for the entities of history
will conjure a spectre of ontology as similarly as spirits in a sance. As
Lutz Niethammer argues, the post-history diagnosis sees the social
formation as marked to its core by an objective, power-structured process
of standardization, which no longer promises any qualitative movement
but is moving towards petrification.139

The Petrification of Reason


The petrification of the self is the mental and psychological paralysis
resulting from hallucinations which can render a sufferer immobile and
fearful. He/she can appear rigid and cautionary in movement and decisionmaking. The greater the frequency and insult of the auditory/visual
hallucinations towards the individual in question the more he/she will
revert to a frozen-like state in order to preserve his/her sense of being from
obliteration by the commands of persecutory hallucinations. Thus, the
petrified state this individual is an act of self-preservation. Such
characteristic self-preservation has been historically associated with the
schizophrenic. In attempting to maintain the entity of schizophrenia as a
138

Ibid.
Lutz Niethammer, Posthistoire: Has History Come to an End?, trans. Patrick
Camiller (London: Verso, 1992), 148.
139

144

Chapter Three

petrified existence, the post-historical normal man or woman, by


reverting to seemingly stable conceptual entities, is illustrating his/her very
own post-historical petrification and by doing so he/she implicitly exposes
the unstable veneer of concepts of the self. The exposure of the veneer of
entities of self or breakthrough of the ontological self is the very essence
of the historically-defined schizophrenic. Essentially, it is the concept of
the entity of schizophrenia and the historical truth-claims on it that petrify
the schizophrenic, through the gaze of the other. In other words, the
schizophrenic would not be petrified if he/she were not reasonable. The
concept of reason is, after all, created in the context of social conformity.
They would fail to cater for the gaze of the objectifying other.
Christopher Norris explains that, madness is defined precisely on the
terms laid down by an increasingly assertive and self-confident reason. It
is the repressed dark side of an enlightened tradition which nonetheless
needs to confirm its own normality by constantly rehearsing such rituals of
exclusion.140
According to Hegel, the history of philosophy is narrated from the
standpoint of Absolute Reason. The power of such truth-claims on
knowledge gradually increases in momentum due to the self-fulfilling
prophecy of reason. Therefore, Absolute Knowledge of philosophy
becomes bound to present knowledge of philosophy as Absolute Reason.
According to Norris:
For Hegel, the history of Philosophy is narrated from the viewpoint of
Absolute Reason, of a consciousness that can now look back and retrace
the progress of its own triumphal evolution. This progress is marked by an
increasing power of reflexive self-understanding, so that Reason finally
arrives at a point where its entire past history becomes ideally intelligible
in the light of present knowledge.141

Hegel also explains that the Absolute itself is the Subject. To become
Absolute the self must reflect on its true being. Reason has to allow for
such reflection rather than assuming that reason, itself, is Absolute.
Moreover, reason has to allow the subject to return, through reflection, to
simplicity, in order to become understood as Absolute. Hegel explains:
Reason is, therefore, misunderstood when reflection is excluded from the
True, and is not grasped as a positive moment of the Absolute. It is
reflection that makes the True a result, but it is equally reflection that
140
141

Christopher Norris, Derrida (London: Fontana Press, 1987), 215.


Ibid., 69-70.

Jacques Lacan

145

overcomes the antithesis between the process of its becoming and the
result, for this becoming is also simple, and therefore not different from the
form of the True which shows itself as simple in its result; the process of
becoming is rather just this return to simplicity.142

Therefore, reason causes the being in-itself to become for-itself. Hegel declares
that, Reason is purposive activity.143 Reason causes the self to become selfmoving144 as it attempts to become in and for itself. According to Hegel:
Though the embryo is indeed in itself a human being, it is not so for itself;
this it only is as cultivated Reason, which has made itself into what it is in
itself. And that is when it for the first time is actual[Following from this]
Nature as purposive activity, purpose is what is immediate and at rest, the
unmoved which is also self-moving, and as such is Subject. Its power to
move, taken abstractly, is being-for-self or pure negativity.145

For Hegel, God has come to replace the Absolute Subject. Therefore, God
perpetuates the negativity which is inherent in humanity through His haunting
of the individual subject. Hegel explains the use of the word God thus: this by
itself is a meaningless sound, a mere name; it is only the predicate that says
what God is, gives Him content and meaning. Only in the end of the
proposition does the empty beginning become actual knowledge.146 The
empty beginning, i.e. before the symbolic order, denotes a time that is predesire. Death is the empty beginning or the actualisation of Absolute Subject.
As Reason is the purposive activity of the history of philosophy, as idealised
knowledge, it follows that post-history becomes symptomatic of the petrified
self under the gaze of the Absolute other, which is Reason. The immediate
reflection of the self, that is required upon the end of history, displaces
knowledge of the present and in doing so historical and linear time becomes
displaced due to the construction of Reason.

The Gaze of Time


In referring to the linear collapse of time in post-history Derrida uses
the following quote from Hamlet, Time is out of joint: time is
disarticulated, dislocated, dislodged, time is run down, on the run and run
142

Hegel, Phenomenology of Spirit, 11-12.


Ibid., 12.
144
Ibid.
145
Ibid.
146
Ibid., 12-13.
143

146

Chapter Three

downderanged, both out of order and mad. Time is off its hinges, time
is off course, beside itself, disadjusted.147 Time is fragmented because of
the way it is perceived post-history: the perspective from which Derrida
reads Hamlet. According to Derrida, time is dislocated because it is
engineered to haunt through the dislocation of objects and concepts in
history by deconstructing the contexts they were once placed in. Derrida
explains, whether evil or not, a genius operates, it always resists and
defies after the fashion of a spectral thing. The animated work becomes
that thing, the Thing that, like an elusive spectre engineers [singnie] a
habitation without proper inhabiting, call it a haunting, of both memory
and translation.148 It is the spectre of time which haunts the ontological
self post-history because time is history. Derrida explains, Time: it is le
temps, but also lhistoire, and it is le monde, time, history, world.149 The
consequences of disjointed time and post-history have been classified by
many postmodern theorists including Jameson, Deleuze, Guattari and
Lyotard.150 Many are concerned with the market economy and the attempts
made by the being-in-itself to become the being-for-itself. Such efforts are
made that the ontology of being has become so petrified by its own haunting
that the individual perpetuates a veneer of reality out of disjointed time by
objectifying the haunting reality of being onto the objects of commodity. By
doing so, the producer or consumer becomes the haunting or ghost rather
than the haunted. Derridas examples of this are akin to Lacans mirror stage
where the infant, or in this case the consumer, attempts to gain control over
his/her ontological self by failing to recognise the power of the other in
his/her reflection. The justification for haunting the objects of production
and labour and by the same token engineering a recognition based on
objectivity is naturalisation. Derrida states:
How do you recognise a ghost? By the fact that it does not recognize itself
in a mirror. Now that is what happens with the commerce of the
commodities among themselves. These ghosts that are commodities
transform human producers into ghosts. And this whole theatrical
processsets off the effect of a mysterious mirror; if the latter does not
return the light reflection, if, then, it phantomalizes, this is first of all
because it naturalizes.151

147

Derrida, Specters of Marx, 20.


Ibid.
149
Ibid., 21.
150
These theorists will be discussed at greater length in the next chapter.
151
Ibid., 195.
148

Jacques Lacan

147

This process helps to establish the appearance of reason post-history and at


the same time it prevents the desire of the real self from gaining
expression or realising the prophecies of the schizophrenic. Derrida
observes:
The mysteriousness of the commodity-form as presumed reflection of the
social form is the incredible manner in which the mirror sends back the
image when one thinks it is reflecting for men the image of the social
characteristics of mens own labor: such an image objectivizes by
naturalizing. Thereby, this is its truth, it shows by hiding, it reflects these
objective characteristics as inscribed right on the product of labor, as the
socio-natural properties of these things.152

These endeavours to naturalize only serve to enhance a bourgeois society,


characterised by sameness and boredom. The positive outlook on posthistory, Patrick Brantlinger notes, consists precisely of the triumph of
those forces capitalism, democratisation, industrializationas causing
the end of (meaningful) struggle, the collapse of ethical and social
distinction, the demise of high culture and the arts, and the massified
petrification of the unique, the different, the nonforthcoming.153 The
collapse of communism and the rise of capitalism do not mark a sudden
break in the history of Western thinking. The proletariat has merely been
replaced by the haunting of commodities in a search for ontological
recognition. The postmodern, petrified self has reacted to his/her own
haunting. The collapse of communism and the fate of Marxism have lead
Jean Baudrillard to proclaim:
The ironic thing about the end, is that communism should have collapsed
exactly as Marx had foreseen for capitalism, with the same
suddennessThe fact that he got the victor wrong in no way detracts from
the exactness of Marxs analysis; it merely adds the objective irony which
was lackingIt is as though some evil genie had substituted the one for the
other communism for capitalism at the last momentAn admirable
division of labour: Capital has done communisms work and communism
has died in Capitals place.154

The rationality of the haunted ego, post-history, is ironic, because the


152

Ibid., 195-196.
Patrick Brantlinger, Apocalypse 2001; Or, What Happens after Posthistory?
in Cultural Critique, no. 39 (1998): 65.
154
Jean Baudrillard, The Illusion of the End, trans. Chris Turner (Stanford:
Stanford University Press, 1994), 51-52.
153

148

Chapter Three

ego becomes the haunted by becoming the ghost of consumerism. Derrida


explains that:
persons are personified by letting themselves be haunted by the very effect
of objective haunting, so to speak, that they produce by inhabiting the
thing. Persons (guardians or possessors of the thing) are haunted in return,
and constitutively, by the haunting they produce in the thing by lodging
there their speech and their will like inhabitants. The discourse of Capital
on the exchange process opens like a discourse on haunting and on the
laws of its reflection.155

It is the nature of the ghost to return to the beginning; to the primordial


ego, placed in front of the Lacanian mirror where it refuses to recognise its
own reflection accurately. The projection of its being onto the other,
marks the schizoid split of the ontological self. This is a reasonable
phenomenon because it is giving credence and priority to objectivity. As
the ego cannot recognise itself at the mirror stage it must continue its
search to be recognised for itself, which is invariably through the other
as the self has now become a social being through language. Therefore,
this schizoid split is not an insane act, even in the terms of rationality
itself. Derrida observes:
this Ego, this living individual would itself be inhabited and invaded by its
own spectre. It would be constituted by spectres of which it becomes the
host and which it assembles in the haunted community of a single body.
Ego=ghost. Therefore I am would mean I am hauntedWherever there
is Ego, es spukt, it spooks.156

The haunting of ontology, or hauntology as Derrida denotes it, is


synonymous with the gaze of the other or the third eye i.e. the invisible
and all-powerful embodiment of the others mastery, of postmodernism.
It is this gaze which governs the post-historical individual in the same way
that auditory hallucinations govern the schizophrenic or the gods governed
the bicameral mind. The haunting of the gaze, as with the haunting of a
ghost, petrifies the individual primarily because he/she cannot see the
entity which controls the gaze, yet at the same time he/she is aware of it
and its control over behaviour. According to Derrida:
to feel ourselves seen by a look which it will always be impossible to cross,
that is the visor effect on the basis of which we inherit from the law. Since
155
156

Derrida, Specters of Marx, 198.


Ibid., 166.

Jacques Lacan

149

we do not see the one who sees us, and who makes the law, who delivers
the injunctionwe cannot identify it in all certainty, we must fall back on
its voice.157

The ghost has the power to see without being seen. However, the Absolute
Subject is split because of the power invested in objectivity by rationality;
the split between the objective and subjective self; hence, the haunting of
the self by its own ego. Derrida declares, those who inspire fear frighten
themselves, they conjure the very spectre they represent. The conjuration
is in mourning for itself and turns its own force against itself.158
On the egos illusion of independence and autonomy at the mirror stage
Lacan explains that, it is this moment that decisively tips the whole of
human knowledge into mediatization through the desire of the otherand
turns the I into the apparatus for which every instinctual thrust constitutes
a danger, even though it should correspond to a natural maturation.159 The
subsequent frustration which is generated by the haunting of the ego and
the repressed real self causes a desire for ones own death, in order to
transcend the objectivity and logic of rationality and to escape from a
petrified and anxious existence. Lacan observes:
this ego, whose strength our theorists now define by its capacity to bear
frustration, is frustration in its essenceThe aggressivity experienced by
the subject at this point has nothing to do with the animal aggressivity of
frustrated desirethe aggressivity of the slave whose response to the
frustration of his labour is a desire for death.160

It is in death that the mourning of the ego will cease and the real self will
become fully actualised as Absolute Subject. In light of Derridas
discussion on the mourning of an outside other, it is my contention that
the self mourns for a part of itself i.e. its non-fragmented ego. It is only in
death that the self ceases to mourn for its ego. Thereby, it can be seen that
it is the schizophrenic who displays the most overt signs of mourning for
his/her ego. He/she speaks of and demonstrates the effects of the splitting
of his/her ego. The schizophrenics explicit demarcations of such a
phenomenon in light of the symbolic order, both classify the schizophrenic
as insane and compounds his/her desire for ontological authenticity and
liberation from symbolic structures, which are achieved only in death.
157

Ibid., 7.
Ibid., 145.
159
Lacan, crits: A Selection, 6.
160
Ibid., 46.
158

150

Chapter Three

Such desire, however, manifests itself in every individual, either implicitly


or explicitly, through the struggles of the real self to gain expression. In
the symbolic order the real self emerges through the split in the ego. Lacan
explains that, this split constitutes the characteristic dimension of analytic
discovery and experience; it enables us to apprehend the real, in its
dialectical effects, as originally unwelcome. It is precisely through this that
the real finds itself, in the subject, to a very great degree the accomplice of
the drive.161
The constant haunting of the ego, by itself, causes it to repeatedly
investigate the ontological split. The objectifying gaze of the other and
the desire of the real self serve as a constant reminder of a split ego. Lacan
states:
I propose that the interest the subject takes in his own split is bound up
with that which determines it namely, a privileged object, which has
emerged from some primal separation, from some self-mutilation induced
by the very approach of the real, whose name, in our algebra, is the objet
a.162

With relation to the entity of schizophrenia, as defined by objectivity, the


penetrating gaze of the other, as constituted by the rational split of
his/her ego, is alleviated by looking directly at the gaze until it disappears.
In a similar vein, auditory hallucinations, which become sinister in content
because of the very perception of objectification in the rational
schizophrenic, become alleviated through an analysis of the concept of
objectivity together with an expression of desire as the embodiment of
Absolute Subject. Lacan declares:
as the locus of the relation between me, the annihilating subject, and that
which surrounds me, the gaze seems to possess such a privilege that it goes
so far as to have me scotomized, I who look, the eye of him who sees me
as object. In so far as I am under the gazeI no longer see the eye that
looks at me and, if I see the eye, the gaze disappears.163

Lacan demonstrates this method of obliterating the gaze in relation to


Hans Holbiens painting, The Ambassadors, (1533).164 A painting
maintains a gaze on the viewer by professing ownership of its meaning
161

Lacan, The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psycho-analysis, 69.


Ibid., 83.
163
Ibid., 84.
164
See Appendix Six. Fig. 3-4
162

Jacques Lacan

151

and it is the responsibility of the viewer to understand its meaning. Upon


viewing the spectator is reminded of his/her fragmented ontological
meaning. The gaze in Holbiens painting is presented in an obscure
fashion. On first viewing the painting portrays two noble men standing at
either side of a table. Placed on the table are scientific instruments that
depict the Age of Reason. However, in the foreground there is the
suspended blade of a sword. This blade is without context. Neither the
handle nor the person who is holding the sword is shown in the painting.
This distorts the portrayal of reason in the background. The viewer of the
painting has to turn away from the painting in order to return to the gaze of
the painting. It is only in this return or haunting of the painting that the
viewer can catch its essential gaze which is contained in the reflected
image of a skull on the surface of the blade. In catching this image the
gaze of the painting disappears. Lacan explains, this picture is simply
what any picture is, a trap for the gaze. In any picture, it is precisely in
seeking the gaze in each of its points that you will see it disappear.165 The
haunting of the ego, by itself, constitutes the gaze of the other. Thereby,
a view of the gaze, in causing its disappearance, instigates a return to the
real self.
The ontological desire of the real, as manifest in the schizophrenic as
auditory hallucinations, cannot be classified as a psychosis because it is a
logical and rational manifestation of the real self, through desire, to
emerge amid the split ego, as constituted by rationality. According to Fink:
Hallucination is not a criterion of psychosis: its presence does not
constitute definitive proof that the patient is psychotic, nor does its absence
constitute definitive proof that the patient is not. In the words of JacquesAlain Miller, since hallucination [may be found] in both hysteria and
psychosis, [it] is not, in and of itself, proof of structure.166

The ego and work i.e. the spectre and spirit become interrelated due to
difficulties associated with interpretation. The haunted spectre or the
overworked ego finds resolution in death, when the self is situated outside
the symbolic order. The haunting of the symbolic self by the real self
supersedes the haunting of the ego by itself. It is the real self that comes to
know itself in death, whereas, upon death, a ghost/ego cannot haunt itself.
Derrida explains the difference between the spectre and the spirit as
165

Ibid., 89.
Fink, A Clinical Introduction to Lacanian Psychoanalysis: Theory and
Technique, 84.
166

152

Chapter Three

diffrance.167 It is the diffrance between the two parts of the split ego
which reveals the real self. Similarly, it is in the context of rational entities
that the diffrance between the object and subject in the dialectic of
schizophrenia that the marginalized individual can become seen as the
prophet of post-history, through his/her refusal to embrace linear time or
abide by the fragile and fleeting structures of cultural movements and
through an explicit expression of the bicameral mind.
The fragmentation of the facade of rationality has exposed the fragility
of its objective dialectic. The split of the ego, as a direct consequence of
the prioritisation of objectivity, has finally come to light in an age denoted
by dislocation and post-history; postmodernity. The splitting of the ego is
a historical phenomenon. However, it is only when the entities and
concepts of knowledge, as understood by the history of philosophy, are
brought into question by the petrified individual, that the characteristics of
schizophrenia can be understood through a different perspective. In the
overt attempt at normality the petrified individual of post-history becomes
consciously aware of the breakdown of the structures of knowledge.
Consequently, the bourgeois lifestyle of mass-produced goods, commodity
value and capitalism becomes the new Absolute. The alternative to these
demi-gods would be an ontological realisation of the haunting of the ego,
by itself. However, the hauntology of existence has always been present
because of the nature of the ghost to return. The assumed haunting of the
schizophrenics ego, by itself, can no longer be contained within the
historical concept of schizophrenia. The auditory hallucinations of the
post-historical individual petrify him/her because of the attempt made to
mourn for a historical time. On the other hand, the classification of
schizophrenia as psychosis is due to the concepts of history. In light of the
fall of communism the drastic challenge of the split ego is to pay homage
to the rise of capitalism in an effort to disguise its ontological haunting and
to normalise desire by becoming the ghost of commodities. However, as
the real self defies objectivity in a post-historical age the schizophrenic
mind deconstructs, in order to illustrate the diffrance of being, in the
object/subject dialectic of Absolute Subject.

Conclusion
The influence of Hegels philosophy on Lacans work cannot be overestimated. The determination of Absolute Spirit to overcome the
object/subject dialectic is parallel to Lacans notion of the real self as it
167

Derrida, Spectres of Marx, 170.

Jacques Lacan

153

desires full expression in death. It is only in death that the real self will
resolve the recurring trauma of an objective reality as perpetuated by the
universality of language. The deconstruction of the historically
conceptualised self of philosophy reveals the schizoid self. The universal
trauma of language negates any justification for the classification of
selves. The diffrance of the normal and abnormal self is schizoid,
human and universal. The correlation between schizophrenia and language
undermines the objectivity of rationality and the rationale of the
Enlightenment. Through demonstrating a break in the signifying chain, the
schizophrenic further illustrates the vulnerability of interpretation,
perceptions and notions of the ego. The vocabulary and hypotheses of
psychoanalytic schools of thought can readily become self-fulfilling
prophecies at the expense of diagnosed individuals. Ego-psychologists
base their treatments on concepts of the ego whilst Lacan believes the ego
is inherently abnormal. By accepting the premise that consciousness is
fabricated by language and language is the one definitive characteristic all
humans share, irrespective of diagnoses, Lacanian psychoanalysis greatly
assists in understanding the phenomenon of schizophrenia, as a human
condition that has defied natural selection, the age of reason and science.
The association of schizophrenia with the postmodern condition highlights
both the historical consciousness of Absolute Spirit to create a new beingfor-itself through negation and the fallacy of definitive definitions of the
phenomenological self.

CHAPTER FOUR
POSTMODERNISM

Introduction
The challenges presented by the postmodern collective consciousness
to express unification raise questions concerning metaphysical time, space
and language. The characterisation of postmodernism as fragmentary
belies the view that collective consciousness, in the postmodern
phenomenon, seeks unification through the ever present impression of
rationality and objectivity. Moreover, to align the characteristics of
postmodernism with the notion of schizophrenia, (under the themes of
hyper-reality, fragmentation of self and decentralisation of structures, from
postmodern philosophy to critical theory) is a demonstration of such
attempts at unification and it jeopardises the continuing research that is
required on the notion of schizophrenia and the phenomenon of its central
tenet, auditory hallucinations.
In contrast to the correlation between postmodernity and schizophrenia,
I will show that the historical justifications for the postmodern condition,
through an examination of memory, self-reflection and the autobiography,
illustrate the perpetual objectivity of unification and circularity between
modernity and postmodernity. An examination of narratives, grand
narratives and the dichotomy of self and other, through the use of
language, highlight the precedence given to objectivity. Furthermore, this
study reveals the inherent logic of the diagnosed schizophrenic in
maintaining a constant present whilst contemplating his/her subjectivity.
With regard to late capitalism, post-history, modernity, language,
compartmentalised time and deconstruction, postmodernity can be
understood as self-deconstructive, and among the theories discussed,
schizoanalysis and deconstruction come closest to explaining the desire for
archives, the divided self, the importance of remembering and the modern
self in the postmodern condition.

Postmodernism

155

Fragmentation
Give me that man
That is not passions slave, and I will wear
him
In my hearts core, ay, in my heart of heart,
As I do thee.1

The phenomenon of postmodernism has raised many questions about


history, economics, culture, politics, psychiatry, psychoanalysis, literature
and mental illness, to list but a few. The analysis of postmodernism is
crucial to understanding the notion of schizophrenia as it is conceptualised
in this work. On the one hand, postmodernism is hallmarked by the
characterisation of the fragmentation of the self, but on the other hand, its
parallels and similarities with modernism propose deeper questions in
relation to late capitalism, post-history and particularly psychoanalysis. A
reversal of the binary of sanity and insanity will demonstrate the
fragmentary structures of such rationality and normality in this chapter.
Moreover, a deeper study of these findings through a new
psychoanalytical language is required to gain a more comprehensive
knowledge of schizophrenia. In the process, postmodernism, through a
revision of late capitalism and post-history, will highlight the circularity of
principles inherent in modernism and postmodernism. The conclusions
drawn, largely through the theories of Gilles Deleuze and Flix Guattari,
will further demonstrate that these very principles are the fragmentary
factors as opposed to the notion of schizophrenia per se. They contradict
the notion that postmodernism is a phenomenon generated by its specific
temporal context rather, regarding it as inevitable. Through an incessant
refusal to accept the contradictions inherent in rationality, carrying the
seeds of its own downfall, postmodernism inevitably deconstructs itself,
revealing insights into schizophrenic consciousness.

The Labour of Desire


The French philosopher Deleuze and his contemporary, the
psychoanalyst Guattari, are the authors of Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and
Schizophrenia. This work is an important examination of desire and
selfhood in the backdrop of post-history and within the context of
capitalism. Their joint analysis of the weight of Oedipus as a model in
1

William Shakespeare, Hamlet, ed. Patrick Murray (Dublin: The Educational


Company of Ireland, 1986), 101.

156

Chapter Four

psychoanalysis and politics has wide ranging implications in the study of


schizophrenia. Their thesis helps to alter the traditional perspectives on
schizophrenia as a disease which requires a cure, to show, instead, that
schizophrenia can be the perspective from which the phenomenon of late
capitalism is analysed, in a method referred to as schizoanalysis.
Schizoanalysis is important in understanding the fragmented phenomenon
of the postmodern condition and to further establish the theory that the
schizophrenic identity, as characterised by fragmentation, was inevitable
and prophesised by the proverbial outsider of society for centuries.2
To understand schizophrenia, as a medical and psychiatric entity,
Deleuze and Guattari use the terms desiring machines and body
without organs to illustrate the effects of desire. According to them,
everything is in a constant state of production and the process of
production itself is the most significant factor in their theory. As opposed
to Freuds emphasis on the psyche, Deleuze and Guattari consider desire
to resemble a factory where each machine is connected to another. The
outputs of one machine become the inputs of another. They state,
Desiring-machines are binary machines, obeying a binary law or set of
rules governing associations: one machine always couples with another.
The productive synthesis, the production of production, is inherently
connective in nature: and and then3 These binary machines are
linear in nature rather than vertical. Desire causes the flow of production,
interrupts the flow and becomes the flow of production according to the
laws of the binary. It is apparent that the process itself is more significant
than the end product of production. The uninterrupted flow of desire
conceals the fragmented nature of objects because they are taken up in the
flow of production. Putting an end to the process prematurely, Deleuze and
Guattari explain, creates the artificial schizophrenic found in mental
institutions: a limp rag forced into autistic behavior, produced as an entirely

Derrida makes reference to the phenomenon of the inside outsider in his seminal
work Platos Pharmacy. He examines the Pharmakos (scapegoat) as it is offered
by a community in Ancient Greece in times of disaster as a gesture of purification.
The scapegoat was a social outcast for example, a criminal or a slave. The term
Pharmakos later became translated into Pharmakeus, meaning drug or poison.
Representing both the cure and the venom the Pharmakeus and the Pharmakos
(original community member turned scapegoat) both inherently contain binary
oppositions.
3
Gilles Deleuze and Flix Guattari, Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia,
trans. Robert Hurley, Mark Seem and Helen R. Lane (Minneapolis: University of
Minnesota Press, 2003), 5.

Postmodernism

157

separate and independent entity.4 As a result of the arrest of the process of


desire, in the context of rationality, time becomes understood as linear, hence
the categorization of past cultural and political movements as historical.
The consequences of quantifying production have wide ranging
implications on perception and phenomenological knowledge. According
to Deleuze and Guattari, Producing is always something grafted onto
the product; and for that reason desiring-production is production of
production, just as every machine is a machine connected to another
machine. We cannot accept the idealist category of expression as a
satisfactory or sufficient explanation of this phenomenon.5 In relation to
the notion of schizophrenia they illustrate, We cannot, we must not
attempt to describe the schizophrenic object without relating it to the
process of production. The Cahiers de lart brut6 is a striking confirmation
of this principle, since by taking such an approach [the Cahiers de lart
brut] deny that there is any such thing as a specific, identifiable
schizophrenic entity.7

The Register of Desire


The reasons for arresting production lie in the vertical and hierarchical
Western understanding of acquiring knowledge or what Deleuze and
Guattari refer to as aborescence. For them, desire is created horizontally
and outwardly in the social spectrum. They claim that knowledge is gained
in a rhizomatic fashion; instead of having one central root, desire has
many roots. Jim Powell explains:
Desire, for Deleuze and Guattari, instead of being based on lack and
Oedipal trauma, is created horizontally, by social interconnectionsSo,
opposed to the vertical, tree-like structure of knowledge, Deleuze claim a
rhizomatic, radically horizontal, crabgrass-like way of knowinginstead
of one central root, it has zillions of roots, none of which is central and
each off-shoot interconnects in random, unregulated networks in which any
node can interconnect with any other node.8

Ibid.
Ibid., 6.
6
Ibid. A series of monographs, issued periodically, containing reproductions of art
works created by inmates of the psychiatric asylums of Europe. LArt brut is edited
by Jean Dubuffet. See Appendix Seven. Fig. 4-1, 4-2, 4-3
7
Ibid.
8
Jim Powell, Postmodernism for Beginners (London: Writers and Readers Ltd.,
5

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In order to understand the process of desire or the desiring machines,


Western man/woman seeks to identify him/herself in the context of
production. In order to do so he/she differentiates from the process only to
be in turn defined by it. This response of differentiation is akin to Hegels
thesis of determined negation. According to Eugene W. Holland:
Difference and multiplicity are what is given ontologically; they then get
betrayed and distorted by operations (including, notably, the Hegelian
work of the negative) that result in identity. Restoring the category of
difference to its rightful place of primacy in turn transforms the concept of
repetition, for it is henceforth necessary to understand repetition to
involve not identity or equivalence among terms, but difference and
variation.9

Hence, the repetition of differentiation from the process of production and


the Western reliance on this very process for definition compounds the
structures of normality.
The desiring-machine is an external process that is internalised by the
subject. Desiring machines are initially understood through the products
produced by ones body and from there the body is comprehended as a set
of machines; for example, an eating-machine, an anal-machine, a talkingmachine, a breathing-machine.10 According to Deleuze and Guattari
production is everywhere and everything is production. Therefore, there is
no distinction between man and nature.11 Desiring-machines constitute the
body as an organism. Within the production of the body it loses its
organisation and becomes the body without organs, through which the
desiring-machine works. This has also resulted from an inability to
identify with the physical self due to the notion of the other as master in
the Lacanian sense. The body without organs aspires towards completion
i.e. to be a body with organs, hence its perpetual and repetitious desire to
be different from the desiring machine of production. This, in turn, gives
rise to anti-production. Deleuze and Guattari state, Desiring-machines
work only when they break down, and by continually breaking down.12
The repetition is constituted by the grounding of the individual in labour
and the market economy of capitalism. Deleuze and Guattari explain:
1998), 20-21.
9
Eugene W. Holland, Deleuze and Guattaris Anti-Oedipus: Introduction to
Schizoanalysis (London: Routledge, 1999), 27.
10
Gilles Deleuze and Flix Guattari, Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, 1.
11
Ibid., 4.
12
Ibid., 8.

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159

The body without organs is not the proof of an original nothingness, nor is
it what remains of a lost totality. Above all, it is not a projection; it has
nothing whatsoever to do with the body itself, or with an image of a body.
It is the body without an image. This imageless, organless body, the nonproductive, exists right there where it is produced.13

The sequence of interruptions on the desiring-machine by antiproduction results in a recorded compound of collected subjective
identities as the body without organs seeks to neutralise the process of
production. However, because desire is more powerful (due to its ultimate
desire for death) than the body without organs the individual continues to
collect and record his/her alleged subjective identities. Holland makes
clear: What is essential is that even while anti-production interrupts or
suspends existing productive connections on the body without organs, it at
the same time registers their diverse possibilities, and ends up multiplying
the relations among them to infinity.14 This Hegelian dialectic of negation
is constituted by the practice of Western knowledge to historicize
phenomena. Deleuze and Guattari state, The subject spreads itself out
along the entire circumference of the circle, the center of which has been
abandoned by the ego. At the centre is the desiring-machine, the celibate
machine of the Eternal Return. 15 Thus, the homo historia comes to
identify him/herself through a synthesis of Is from the past tense. Holland
states that:
Normal adults, by contrast, typically indulge in the illusion the
metaphysics of sovereign subjectivity whereby they choose their
pleasures and desires, rather than being chosen, that is to say constituted,
by them; Deleuze and Guattari draw directly on Nietzsche to dispel this
illusion and insist that the productions and anti-productions of desire, like
will-to-power, always come first, and the appearance of the subject
afterwards.16

The reliance on history to formulate an identity is maintained through


registering or coding, in memory, the illusion of finished products within
the desiring-machine.17 During times of negation or anti-production an
individual assumes that he/she is suspended from the desiring-machine in
13

Ibid.
Holland, Deleuze and Guattaris Anti-Oedipus: Introduction to Schizoanalysis, 31.
15
Gilles Deleuze and Flix Guattari, Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, 21.
16
Holland, Deleuze and Guattaris Anti-Oedipus: Introduction to Schizoanalysis, 34.
17
This point will be more fully elaborated on the section Deconstruction in this
chapter through a close reading of Derridas Archive Fever.
14

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order to understand his/her identity. The reversal of the process and


product is an illusion together with the individuals sense of mastery.
According to Holland:
This reversal of the relation between process and product, which is crucial
to such misrecognition (mconnaissance) on the part of the subject and
conducive to the illusion of sovereign subjectivity, is made possible by the
earlier process/product reversal of the disjunctive synthesis, whereby only
results of the suspension of the process of connective synthesis register on
the body without organs as differences among finished products. The
process of connective synthesis is not just continual: this and then that, and
then this, and so on; it is for that very reason equally evanescent. Desiringproduction thus registers permanently in the psyche (gets stored in
memory) only when it is attracted by, and its results get recorded on, the
body without organs.18

The schizophrenic, on the other hand, fails to code or record fixed


products of subjectivity in his/her history. He/she experiences states of
intensity and ontological awakenings that at times can be so extreme as to
transcend the entities of gender and linear time. This horizontal or rhizome
growth of metaphysical self-understanding constitutes the schizophrenics
self-identity. This self-identity, according to Deleuze and Guattari, is
infinite. The basis for the schizophrenics self-understanding is emotion.
He/she is repulsed by and attracted to the full body without organs. The
emotions of attraction and repulsion are not rationally seeking a neutral
equilibrium from which to deduct an identity. Instead, these emotions are
positive in the sense that they are unlimited, whereby the schizophrenic
passes through such stable states without negation and without becoming
social i.e. the attraction to the process of production for self-definition and
the simultaneous repulsion by it to constitute an individual identity. The
positive nature of such attraction and repulsion fills up the body without
organs. Nevertheless, it is in historical definition and understanding, in
aborescence, that the dialogue of these emotions is classified as
hallucinations and delirium. Deleuze and Guattari illustrate this point thus:
The basic phenomenon of hallucination (I see, I hear) and the basic
phenomenon of delirium (I think) presuppose an I feel at an even deeper
level, which gives hallucinations their object and thought delirium its
content. Delirium and hallucination are secondary in relation to the really
primary emotion, which in the beginning only experiences intensities,

18

Ibid.

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161

becomings, transitions.19

In relation to the origin and type of these emotions and intensities Deleuze
and Guattari claim that due to their positive nature the schizophrenic
defies linear time because of an absence of negation in his/her ontology.
They explain:
They come from two preceding forces, repulsion and attraction, and from
the opposition of these two forcesthey are all positive in relationship to
the zero intensity that designates the full body without organsnever an
expression of the final equilibrium of a system, but consist, rather, of an
unlimited number of stationary, metastable states through which a subject
passes. The Kantian theory according to which intensive quantities fill up,
to varying degrees, matter that has no empty spaces, is profoundly
schizoid.20

Contrary to an illusion of sovereign subjectivity, the schizophrenic


acquires the full body without organs through the infinitely powerful
nature of attraction and repulsion as opposed to determined negation. The
schizophrenic does not experience lack or negation which results from
social production. Deleuze and Guattari state that, Lack (manqu)21 is
created, planned, and organized in and through social production.22 The
schizophrenic is the process of production rather than the product of
desiring machines in reality. According to Deleuze and Guattari, If desire
produces, its product is real. If desire is productive, it can be productive
only in the real world and can produce only reality.23 Desire does not lack
anything, but the object of desire is another desiring-machine. Desire is
without a fixed subject, yet the only criterion for defining such a subject is
negation and repression. Deleuze and Guattari suggest, Desire does not
lack anything; it does not lack its object. It is, rather, the subject that is
missing in desire, or desire that lacks a fixed subject; there is no fixed
subject unless there is repression.24 Desire does not produce a lack;
rather, it is the fixed notion of subjectivity within the context of reality, the
end product of desire, which produces a lack through objectifying the
19

Gilles Deleuze and Flix Guattari, Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia,


18.
20
Ibid., 19.
21
The French word manqu may mean both lack and need in a psychological
sense, as well as want or privation or scarcity in an economic sense. Ibid., 28.
22
Ibid.
23
Ibid., 26.
24
Ibid.

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individual as someone who produces a product. Deleuze and Guattari


explain on the notion of lack that: what is missing is not things a subject
feels the lack of somewhere deep down inside himself, but rather the
objectivity of man, the objective being of man, for whom to desire is to
produce, to produce within the realm of the real.25 However, the
schizophrenic fails to recognise such labour. It is on this premise that
Deleuze and Guattari associate the schizophrenic process with that of the
revolutionary. He/she does not experience the abject fear of lacking
something26 rather schizophrenics are perceived as Revolutionaries,
artists, and seerscontent to be objective, merely objective: they know
that desire clasps life in its powerfully productive embrace, and reproduces
it in a way that is all the more intense because it has few needs.27 The
task of schizoanalysis is therefore, the recoding of empirically learned
objectivity of the self and reversing societys investment in history, the
nuclear family and capitalism for a revolutionary understanding of
subjectivity. The schizophrenic as a psychiatrically diagnosed person is
not being romanticised by Deleuze and Guattari, but rather the process of
schizophrenia, as uninterrupted by the end product of the desiringmachine, is being rewritten as a means of coming to terms with the
postmodern condition. Schizoanalysis questions the very limits of society,
capitalism and metaphysics. By doing so it questions reality. According to
Deleuze and Guattari:
In the schizo, the two aspects of process are cojoined: the metaphysical
process that puts us in contact with the demoniacal element in nature or
within the heart of the earth, and the historical process of social production
that restores the autonomy of desiring-machines in relation to the
deterritorialized social machine. Schizophrenia is desiring-production as
the limit of social production.28

The demoniacal element in nature is the quintessence of desire through


the lens of rationality. Fusing this element in tandem with the historical
process of social production constitutes the limit of social production by
the endeavour to harmonize both processes. To extent the point, materialist
psychiatry alone cannot qualify the problem of desire into an isolated
psychiatric entity without taking into account the phenomenon of desire.
Deleuze and Guattari argue:
25

Ibid., 27.
Ibid.
27
Ibid.
28
Ibid., 35.
26

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163

if materialist psychiatry may be defined as the psychiatry that introduces


the concept of production into consideration of the problem of desire, it
cannot avoid posing in eschatological terms the problem of the ultimate
relationship between the analytic machine, the revolutionary machine, and
desiring-machines.29

Schizoanalysis and its Inquiries


Schizoanalysis highlights the limitations of psychoanalysis and the
consequences of the Oedipal model. Freud relied on the mythology of
Oedipus Rex in order to formulate a hypothesis for a cure to neurosis and
psychosis; the nuclear family being of primary importance to the
establishment of an individuals identity. When such precedence is given
to the family unit over singularity, difference is forsaken and the
symptoms of a distressed psychiatric patient become repetitive,
culminating in neurosis. The cure is prioritised which automatically
suggests that an individual, coming to terms with desiring production, is
ill. The cure is modelled by the limits of social production (as is the
definition of the notion of schizophrenia) which is in turn governed by the
Oedipal model and Freuds theory of castration; an action which seeks to
reconcile the individual to the larger unit of the family and to regression.
Deleuze and Guattari declare:
We are forcibly confronted with Oedipus and castration, we are reduced to
them: either so as to measure us against that cross, or to establish that we
cannot measure up to it. But in any case the harm has been done, the
treatment has chosen the path of Oedipalization, all cluttered with refuse,
instead of the schizophrenization that must cure us of the cure.30

Because of the Oedipus model, the limits of individual identity are very
low. By being both a symbolic entity in the language of mythology and an
objectified member of a larger unit, an individual can only be cured and
henceforth become included back into society if he/she resolves the
Oedipus complex. The limits of the cure are the limits of the Oedipus
myth, yet it largely goes unquestioned in psychoanalytical practice.
Deleuze and Guattari suggest, There is no more an individual Oedipus
than there is an individual fantasy. Oedipus is a means of integration into
the group, in both the adaptive form of its own reproduction that makes it
pass from one generation to the next, and in its unadapted neurotic stases
29
30

Ibid.
Ibid., 68.

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that block desire at prearranged impasses.31 It is this continuous reliance


on the Oedipal model of integration that threatens and fragments any
notion of identity through the process of segregation within the group.
According to Deleuze and Guattari, There isa segregative use of the
conjunctive syntheses of the unconscious, it is this use that brings about
the feeling of indeed being one of us, of being part of a superior race
threatened by enemies from outside.32
The schizophrenic process, on the other hand, does not have an outside
as it does not practice any form of negation; instead it enacts positive
relationships with the full body without organs. Yet the Oedipus model
depends on the organisation and segregation of the group to account for
itself rather than the reverse - the group organising itself on the myth of
Oedipus. Deleuze and Guattari state, it is Oedipal applications that
depend on the determinations of the subjugated group as an aggregate of
departure and on their libidinal investment (from the age of thirteen Ive
worked hard, rising on the social ladder, getting promotions, being a part
of the exploiters).33 The dependency on the Oedipus myth to formulate a
cure for the outsider together with the dependency on the Oedipus model
to rationalise the segregation of society, beginning within the family unit,
brings forth the limit of social identity which is inherent in social
production. This limit is the death instinct of desire within the social
spectrum. Deleuze and Guattari declare, Hence the goal of
schizoanalysis: to analyze the specific nature of the libidinal investments
in the economic and political spheres, and thereby to show how, in the
subject who desires, desire can be made to desire its own repression
whence the role of the death instinct in the circuit connecting desire to the
social sphere.34 Lacan, on the other hand, understood the limitations of
the Oedipus triangle of daddy-mommy-me.35 Instead of treating Oedipus
in the abstract and the imaginary i.e. the resolution of the myth as that to
be aspired, Lacan understood Oedipus as being in the symbolic order
because it represented the castrating nature of language. The
phallocentrism of the signifier, due to the desire for the name-of-thefather, continuously reinstates the notion of lack. Deleuze and Guattari
explain how Lacans approach shows that, this structure acts only insofar
as it reproduces the element of castration, which itself is not imaginary but

31

Ibid., 103.
Ibid.
33
Ibid.
34
Ibid., 105.
35
Ibid., 78.
32

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165

symbolic.36 Schizophrenia is so defined partly because it does not seek to


aspire towards resolving the Oedipus complex. This is also on account of
his/her acknowledgement of time as stationary as opposed to linear which
will be explored in the following paragraphs.
The schizophrenic process is necessary in order to contemplate the
phenomenon of post-history and the limits of capitalism. The temporal
recoding of remembered subjectivities has climaxed and the synthesis of
subjective sovereignty has become fragmented in the postmodern
condition. According to Deleuze and Guattari:
The schizo knows how to leave: he has made departure into something as
simple as being born or dying. But at the same time his journey is strangely
stationary, in place. He does not speak of another world, he is not from
another world: even when he is displacing himself in space, his is a journey
of intensity, around the desiring-machine that is erected here and remains
here.37

In light of the phenomenon of post-history, the schizophrenic does not


have a re-recoded sequence of subjectivities upon which to identify
him/herself. Deleuze and Guattari explain the destiny of the schizophrenic:
They have their spectres. They must reinvent each gesture. But such a man
produces himself as a free man, irresponsible, solitary and joyous, finally
able to say and do something simple in his own name, without asking
permission; a desire lacking nothing, a flux that overcomes barriers and
codes, a name that no longer designates any ego whatever. He has simply
ceased being afraid of becoming mad. He experiences and lives himself as
the sublime sickness that will no longer affect him. Here, what is, what
would a psychiatrist be worth?38

Schizoanalysis does not encompass disintegration. Alternatively, it


highlights the fragmentary forces which negatively define the schizophrenic
process as being outside the social limit. Categorizations within such
limits fragment the schizophrenic process (and every individual process, to
some degree, after the process of desire has been arrested) because it
interrupts the process in order to define the end product of the
schizophrenics desiring-machine, thereby placing it within psychiatric
limits. Deleuze and Guattari suggest:

36

Ibid., 310.
Ibid., 131.
38
Ibid.
37

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Chapter Four
Everything changes depending on whether we call psychosis the process
itself, or on the contrary, an interruption of the process (and what type of
interruption?). Schizophrenia as a process is desiring-production, but it is
this production as it functions at the end, as the limit of social production
determined by the conditions of capitalism. It is our very own malady,
modern mans sickness. The end of history has no other meaning.39

Thus, the end of history is fragmented. The postmodern condition becomes


defined as fragmented as opposed to the ability of schizoanalysis to
illustrate the fragmentary nature of capitalism and the desiring-machines
of production. Likewise, the so-called madman is not insane but is simply
outside of the fragmentary process. Madness is defined when the
schizophrenic process is arrested by the fragmentary nature of reality i.e.
the product of desiring-machines. Such an individual enters the desiringmachine and Oedipus model of Western thinking, not to be cured by this
procedure but to explain it. The result of this for the individual in question
is to become neurotic as opposed to psychotic. Deleuze and Guattari
explain, Neurosis can no more be explained Oedipally than can
psychosis. It is rather the contrary; neurosis explains Oedipus.40
The condition of schizophrenia, as a psychiatrically defined illness, is
understood hereafter as a breakthrough as opposed to a breakdown. Seen
through the perspective of schizoanalysis there is no definitive sanity,
equally there is no definitive insanity. According to Deleuze and Guattari:
Our sanity is not true sanity. Their madness is not true madness. The
madness of our patients is an artifact of the destruction wreaked on them
by us and by them on themselves. Let no one suppose that we meet true
madness any more than that we are truly sane. The madness that we
encounter in patients is a gross travesty, a mockery, a grotesque
caricature of what the natural healing of that estranged integration we call
sanity might be. True sanity entails in one way or another the dissolution of
the normal ego.41

However, the illusion of subjective sovereignty does not become exposed.


Attempts are made to re-represent the illusion of the subject after the
inevitable, as schizoanalysis would have it, phenomenon of post-history
and late capitalism. The decentred and divided self is understood in
rational terms to be yet another coding of subjectivity, albeit in a different
guise: the individualistic approach to reconciliation with Oedipus and
39

Ibid., 130.
Ibid.
41
Ibid., 131-132.
40

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167

social production. Such approaches can be seen in the accumulation of


private property as a means of objectively establishing a subjective
identity in the context of social production. The terms of subjective
sovereignty have become economic. Hence, the schizophrenic is perceived
as being fragmented or decentred in this context because he/she does not
seek his/her identity through the objectifying forces of capital. Deleuze
and Guattari state that Marx sums up this issue very well, claiming, that
the subjective abstract essence is discovered by capitalism only to be put
in chains all over again, to be subjugated and alienated in the element,
itself subjective, of private property.42

Oedipus and his Discontents


In addressing the Oedipalization of the family in psychoanalysis the
insanity of capitalism becomes more apparent. Since the nineteenth
century, the family has been seen as both the cause and the cure of
mental illness. To address this, psychiatrists and psychoanalysts have
continued to create substitution families in order to cure the patient, such
as the asylum and the extended community, with the doctor and the
symbolic order acting in place of the parent-child relationship with the
patient. The familial unit becomes the cure alongside growing theories
that it is within the family that mental illness is caused. When the asylums
of the past were not seen to be working as effectively as hoped, and the
modern emphasis on the community as all encompassing and unifying was
felt, the Oedipus model became extended into the community, under the
guise of rehabilitation. Deleuze and Guattari state, After the family has
been internalised in Oedipus, Oedipus is externalised in the symbolic
order, in the institutional order, in the community order, the sectorial
order, etc. This progression contains a constant of all modern attempts at
reform.43 Under the terms of capitalism the machine has replaced the
parent. Lacans psychoanalytical practice is often arrested at the relevance
of the Oedipus complex in the symbolic order instead of extending it to
what he meant by the difficulties of language and the origins of such in the
notion of castration. For example, the way in which the Oedipus complex
comes to terms with the universality of language is not teased out
explicitly in his work. By failing to fully employ his psychoanalytical
theories on language, Lacans work can easily be manipulated as yet
another advocate for the Oedipus model. Deleuze and Guattari state, It is
42
43

Ibid., 303.
Ibid., 359.

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not by chance that Lacans symbolic order has been diverted, utilized for
grounding a structural Oedipus applicable to psychosis, and for extending
the familial co-ordinates beyond their real and even imaginary domain.44
Even the anti-psychiatry movement is guilty of such familialization by
extending the Oedipus model into the wider community in the hope of reestablishing a definition of the self outside of the domain of psychiatry.
Simply, they claim that a schizophrenic is a member of a schizophrenic
family. According to Deleuze and Guattari, antipsychiatry failed to
prevent such familialization even though it was most suited to doing so:
Completely ordinary families are baptized as schizophrenogenic, as well
as completely ordinary familial mechanisms, and an ordinary familial
logic, i.e., neuroticizing at worst. In so-called schizophrenic familial
monographs everyone easily recognizes his own daddy, his own
mommy.45 On the failure of this movement and as an implicit defence of
schizoanalysis Deleuze and Guattari reiterate, Even more than the
hostility of traditional authorities, perhaps this is the source of the actual
failure of the antipsychiatric undertakings, of their co-option for the
benefit of adaptational forms of familial psychotherapy and of community
psychiatry, and of Laings own retreat to the Orient.46
The Oedipal coding of the family is coded and recoded in society and
production for the illusion of sovereignty. This, together with the perpetual
repetition to reinstate the coding mechanism of subjectivity, has given rise
to the machine of production and the mastery of capitalism. Aesthetics and
art do not escape such coding either. Deleuze and Guattari conclude that:
The codes and their signifiersrelate these aesthetic formations to
greater social aggregates, finding in them a field of application, and
everywhere enslave art to a great castrating machine of sovereignty.47
Repetition is the desiring-machine of production as it is continual under
the terms of capitalism and the machine mass-produces. Value and
sovereignty are at the mercy of the end product. Value is only understood
in monetary terms. Deleuze and Guattari explain:
Repressing desire, not only for others but in oneself, being the cop for
others and for oneself that is what arouses, and it is not ideology, it is
economy. Capitalism garners and possesses the force of the aim and the
interest (power), but it feels a disinterested love for the absurd and
nonpossessed force of the machineit is not for himself or his children
44

Ibid.
Ibid., 360.
46
Ibid.
47
Ibid., 370.
45

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169

that the capitalist works, but for the immortality of the system. A violence
without purpose, a joy, a pure joy in feeling oneself a wheel in the
machine, traversed by flows, broken by schizzes.48

The capitalist worker seeks to derive recognition from the machine and
subjective identity in private property, thereby objectifying him/herself in
the same manner he/she did at the mirror stage. When the machine
becomes the mirror the capitalist worker becomes the machine. The
schizophrenic escapes the absurdity of such recognition. Deleuze and
Guattari define this as follows:
For the schizo is the one who escapes all Oedipal, familial, and
personological references Now the question is, first, if that is what
makes him ill, or on the contrary that is the schizophrenic process, which is
not an illness, not a breakdown but a breakthrough, however distressing
and adventurous: breaking through the wall or the limit separating us from
desiring-production, causing the flows of desire to circulate.49

As the robotic capitalist worker endlessly produces the end product as a


libidinal investment of the symbolic order, the schizophrenic prepares the
analysis of late capitalism, the insanity of which can be seen in its inverted
desire to produce for the sake of production. The haunting of the aspects of
capitalism to produce and instigate its own downfall, in light of
postmodernism, inevitably causes the sovereign subjectivity of the
capitalist worker to fragment. Deleuze and Guattari explain that it is the
capitalist machine which is ultimately mad: The capitalist machine does
not run the risk of becoming mad, it is mad from one end to the other and
from the beginning, and this is the source of its rationality.50 A rationality
which fragments belies the modernist attempts to unify, order and define.
Where the postmodern phenomenon highlights the disunity of modernism
as a political, economic and cultural movement, in-itself it largely seeks to
re-unify the fragments of post-history using the same vertical knowledge
and linear time that went before it. According to Mensch, the desire for
commonality is explicit in modernity. It is an attempt at what we may call
foundationalismThe concept of a system is that of things standing
togetherthis, by virtue of their having some common foundation. This
foundation is referred to as their origin or principle.51 However, the
48

Ibid., 346.
Ibid., 361-362.
50
Ibid., 373.
51
Mensch, Knowing and Being: A Postmodern Reversal, 67.
49

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true explanation of the postmodern condition, as an end result of recoding


and capitalist production, lies in its being understood through schizoanalysis.
The modernist principle of the Oedipus model has castigated psychoanalytical
practice, arrested the recoding of history to become, in turn, a postmodern
phenomenon and has highlighted the insanity of the capitalists governing
principles. Deleuze and Guattari illustrate this thus:
From the standpoint of schizoanalysis, the analysis of Oedipus therefore
consists in tracing back from the sons confused feelings to the delirious
ideas or the lines of investment of the parents, of their internalised
representatives and their substitutesin order to attain the social and
political units of libidinal investment. With the result that all familialist
psychoanalysis with the psychoanalyst at the fore warrants a
schizoanalysis. Only one way to spend time on the couch: schizoanalyze
the psychoanalyst.52

Indeed, the analysis of the postmodern phenomenon further highlights


the increasingly evident circularity between modernism and postmodernism.
The difficulties inherent in distinguishing one from the other is
symptomatic of the fallacy of historicity and the ordering of the past,
together with a nostalgic present and a culture of fragmentation. When the
notion of fragmentation is used to define an age it relies on its binary
opposite of unity to normalize the definition. The inevitability of
postmodernism had its roots in modernism and postmodernism relies on
modernist principles in order to be understood as its other; divergent yet
complimentary. The unifying principles of modernism have historically
reached completion yet the postmodern phenomenon is narrated by these
very principles. According to Foucault, history is the depths from which
all beings emerge into their precarious, glittering existence. Since it is the
mode of being of all that is given us in experience, History has become the
unavoidable element in our thought: in this respect, it is probably not so
different from Classical Order.53 Industrialisation is a valuable area of
study in the understanding of both modernism and postmodernism.
However, as modernism gave way to mass production in the guise of unity
and conformity, postmodernism seeks expression in kitsch and pastiche;
ironic representations and repetitions of reality which are at the same time
largely dependent on the art that preceded it. The illusion of escape in a
52

Gilles Deleuze and Flix Guattari, Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia,


365.
53
Michel Foucault, The Order of Things: An Archaeology of the Human Sciences
(London: Routledge, 2007), 237-238.

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171

postmodern culture is industrialised more than in previous eras. Desire is


monopolised, co-modified then privatised. Sex and street drugs are readily
available. They have become industries in themselves, the increasing
demands for which lie in the ever present phenomenon of executive stress;
another end product of mass industrialisation and late capitalism. The
threat of exposure belies the notion of freedom. Ernest Mandel reiterates
this point on late capitalism, All that is left is the dream of escape
through sex and drugs, which in their turn are promptly industrializedIn
reality, however, late capitalism is not a completely organized society at
all. It is merely a hybrid and bastardised combination of organization and
anarchy.54 Thus, the illusion of escape in a late capitalist and postmodern
culture highlights a mirage of existence reminiscent of Lacans imaginary
self. The rationalisation of the illusion defines it as schizophrenic,
however, the schizoanalysis of the industrialised individual, attempting
escape, would find that he/she is merely another desiring-machine,
consumed by his/her own consumption of ontological production as
narrated by late capitalism and so defined by a temporary arrest in the
desiring process.
The illusion of the capitalist workers desire is an imaginary desiring
machine. According to Jameson:
The critique of the metaphysical shadows and traces that persist within
modernity paradoxically turns around into a replication of that very
postmodern triumph over the metaphysical remnants of the modern, where
to call for the shedding of any illusion about psychic identity or the centred
subject, for the ethical ideal of good molecular schizophrenic living, and
for the ruthless abandonment of the mirage of presence may turn out to be
a description of the way we live now, rather than its rebuke or
subversion.55

The fragmented notion of desire, in the postmodern condition, has resulted


from the modernist association with both lack and allusion. The
increasingly nihilistic individual assumes that he/she lacks a centrality and
as a postmodern being he/she makes the point explicit. However, nihilism
is not a postmodern phenomenon itself; it is merely the expression of it
that defines the era of postmodernity. Lyotard states, Modernity, in
whatever age it appears, cannot exist without a shattering of belief and
54

Ernest Mandel, Late Capitalism, trans. Joris De Bres (London: Verso Press,
1993), 502.
55
Fredric Jameson, Postmodernism, or, The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism,
339.

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without discovery of the lack of reality of reality, together with the


invention of other realities.56 Thus, the allusion to omnipotence can be
seen as rational as the individual in question seeks to normalize his/her
existence, through a projection onto the imaginary as opposed to the
castrating reminder of the symbolic. Lyotard equates attempts at allusion
with Kants theory of the sublime and the aesthetic. The sublime
experience occurs when the imaginary fails to find its representations in
the symbolic or when the imagination fails to find an object to illustrate its
concept, and it becomes sentimentalised as the beautiful. On the sublime
Kant explains that it consists of, the ideas of which no presentation is
possible [which] impart no knowledge about reality (experience); they
also prevent the free union of the faculties which give rise to the sentiment
of the beautiful; and they prevent the formation and the stabilization of
taste.57 Ironically, the need to express the individual concepts of the
imagination, particularly for an omnipotent and nihilistic individual,
further demonstrates the contradiction inherent in the logic of rationalism
and illustrates the inevitability of the fragmentation which has explicitly
come to define the end of history. The notion of deterritorialization,58 as
coined by Deleuze and Guattari, referring to the rhizomatic acquirement of
knowledge through a multiplicity of identities in constant flux, comes to
alleviate the nostalgia of the present in the postmodern man/woman.
Lyotard reiterates this in relation to the postmodern man/woman,
Postmodernism thus understood is not modernism at its end but in the
nascent state, and this state is constantThe emphasis can be placed on
the powerlessness of the faculty of presentation, on the nostalgia for
presence felt by the human subject.59 Hence, there is a need to
schizoanalyze the circularity of modernism and postmodernism in order to
understand the phenomenon of late capitalism and postmodernism. In
doing so, I will show how the psychiatric entity of the schizophrenic
deconstructs.
The schizoanalysis of late capitalism and post-history has uncovered
the inconsistencies of Western thinking with regard to culture, psychoanalysis
and schizophrenia; as the other of society. The requirement of an
alternative narrative is unavoidable in coming to terms with postmodernism.
56
Jean-Franois Lyotard, The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge,
trans. Geoff Bennington and Brian Massumi (Manchester: Manchester University
Press, 1997), 77.
57
Ibid., 78.
58
Deterritorialization will be more fully developed in the section Stream of
Consciousness in this chapter.
59
Ibid., 79.

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173

An antithesis of rationality would dangerously become a circular


argument, at best and at worst a romantic perspective on the pain/pleasure
dichotomy of schizophrenia. Schizoanalysis underscores the logic of
schizophrenia and in doing so it illustrates the fluidity both inherent and
implicit in a greater knowledge of subjects and objects. Desire becomes
better understood as does the objectifying enterprise of capitalist
production, through the work of Deleuze and Guattari. The contradiction
between desire and production becomes illustrated through a better
understanding of the rationality of diagnostics; an arrest of desiring
production for the comprehension or consumption of the end product of
production. The accumulation of end products, e.g. private property,
creates the illusion of freedom and a misinterpretation of desire. The body
without organs alludes to a mirage of being. The imaginations of
postmodern individuals perpetually seek representations which result in
fragmented expressions. These expressions come from a demand, by late
capitalism, to make known the end product, which ironically highlights the
fragmentation inherent in production. The industrialisation of commodities,
including the capitalist worker, finally historicizes the notion of the self; a
self that can no longer unify itself, the inevitability of which is founded in
modernism. The full body without organs does not desire or suffer from a
lack of reality. The schizophrenic process does not recognise or seek to
justify the Oedipus complex anymore than it seeks to become neurotic.
Conversely, the full body without organs holistically comprehends its
ontology through a rhizomatic growth of knowledge. This narrative of
comprehension is immediately required to explain postmodernism, to
displace the otherness of the schizophrenic and to warrant the grand
narrative of history as archival and nostalgic. Through schizoanalysis, the
perpetual circularity of modernism and postmodernism will cease to be so
vicious and the phenomenon of the decentred self will cease to be
celebrated as a rationalisation of postmodernism.

Language
What we cannot speak about we must pass
over in silence.60

The difficulties posed by language for the liberation and understanding of


subjectivity to both the subject and the other become increasingly
evident in the backdrop of the postmodern phenomenon. From the
60

Wittgenstein, Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, 89.

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philosophical: empirical, epistemological and phenomenological, to the


literary criticism of Marxism, post-structuralism, modernism and
postmodernism, the notion of the subject/object dialectic is universally
understood to be either a benchmark for illustrating a particular school of
thought or a yardstick to reject anothers theory. Nonetheless, the question
remains unanswered as regards the nature and linguistic definition of the
subject and in turn how the subject comes to a full knowledge of his/her
subjectivity, as it is narrated in the symbolic order. Each of the theorists
that will be discussed, Jameson, Lyotard and Foucault, explicitly display a
historical consciousness. They explain repression, economics, the arts and
consciousness in terms of history. The individual is a part of the larger
units of society and history. The fragmentation of these grand narratives
has become largely understood as post-history, following the logic that
history, as a collective consciousness, is required to unify and justify
social contexts and empirical understandings of consciousness. However,
as history is always understood in the past tense and as an archive, it
cannot explain the current notion of postmodernity. Nostalgia, pastiche
and micro-narratives, which have come to characterise postmodernity, are
understood historically. They are the binary opposites of unification. The
method or attitude of schizoanalysis is required to explain the perpetual
objectivity of unification and its linguistic endeavours of celebrating the
subject in the guise of defining the individual. The importance of
schizoanalysis will become apparent here even through the historical
explanations of the following theorists. An examination of literature and
the autobiography will further illustrate the universality of language and
the mastery of the other.

History as Story-teller and Savant


Jameson is an important Marxist theorist, who has tirelessly highlighted
the manifestations of the postmodern phenomenon through art and culture
as a means of explaining the distinction between modernism and
postmodernism. The left wing Marxist perspective is constantly echoed in
his writing through his focus on consumerism and the market economy.
Jameson also understands the relevance of history in the contemplation of
postmodern phenomena. On the ideology of postmodernism he states that:
the very enabling premise of the debate turns on an initial, strategic
presupposition about our social system: to grant some historic originality to
a postmodernist culture is also implicitly to affirm some radical structural

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175

difference between what is sometimes called consumer society and earlier


moments of the capitalism from which it emerged.61

According to Jameson, history is the master narrative from which


collective consciousness, nostalgia and capitalism can be made sensible.
Jameson explains, the end of master narrativesalong with the
recovery of alternate histories of the past [happens] at a moment when
historical alternatives are in the process of disappearing, and if you want to
have a history, there is henceforth only one to participate in.62 It follows
from Jamesons theory that a distinction can be made between modernism
and postmodernism provided that they are understood within the same
narrative of history. Thus, the distinction between the two is found in the
relation of their differences. The binary opposites of cohesion and
fragmentation, superficially distinguish modernism from postmodernism,
respectively. However, the historical dialectic between the two is illogical
if the subjectivity of postmodernism is completely fragmented. In this
hypothesis it would follow that there would be no recognition on either
side of the dialectic. This leads Jameson to conclude that the characterisation
of postmodernity as fragmentary is:
much too weak and primitive a term, and probably too totalizing as well,
particularly since it is now no longer a matter of the breakup of some
preexisting older organic totality, but rather the emergence of the multiple
in new and unexpected ways, unrelated strings of events, types of
discourse, modes of classification, and compartments of reality.63

The schizophrenia of postmodernism is in contrast to the neurosis of


modernism. Jameson uses the same narrative as Deleuze and Guattari to
understand the postmodern condition but his perspective is different.
Deleuze and Guattari have to understand difference and its relations in
order to deconstruct it through schizoanalysis. However, Jamesons
perspective is that of the repressive force of economics which maintains
the repression of desire, whilst Deleuze and Guattari perceive the dialectic
of difference i.e. the body with organs and the body without organs, to be
maintained by desire. For Jameson, the incompatibility of differences in
the dialectic of modernism and postmodernism is necessary for them to
both relate to and maintain the master narrative of history. There cannot be

61

Jameson, Postmodernism or, The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism, 55.


Ibid., 367.
63
Ibid., 372.
62

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postdialectic.64 The influence of Hegels dialectic negation is evident.


However, Jamesons historicism has superseded any true acknowledgement
of phenomenology. Simon Malpas states, according to the Marxist
account of society that Jameson produces, the cultural superstructures of
postmodernism are determined by a transformation of the economic basis
of society in late-capitalist postmodernity. In still other words, as the
economic organisation of Western society has developed, the culture that
surrounds it has changed.65 Borrowing the term late capitalism from
Mandel, Jameson understands capitalism as historical; however, the
perception of objects for consumption has changed in the postmodern
condition from commodities of use value to exchange value. The
consumption of images and identities has replaced the objective value of
tangible goods. Mass communication and international infrastructure have
also generated depthlessness, according to Jameson. Contextuality has
given way to rhizomatic knowledge of subjectivity and the self. Jameson
believes this loss of reality has both negative and positive attributes. On
the one hand, late capitalism is schizophrenic and anxiety ridden, lacking
the signified and the narratable as projected by modernist thinking. On the
other hand, late capitalism is euphoric through its free-play of meaning.
Again the distinctions are made through the dialectic of difference.
Jameson uses the example of Vincent van Goghs A Pair of Boots,
(1887)66 to illustrate both the reliance of the modernist movement on
contexts and its dependence on these very contexts in order to disguise the
identity of the artist by making his subjectivity something of an enigma.
The viewer of this piece of work firstly understands the context of the
shoes. They represent agricultural life and belong to a peasant. This is
evident from the shape, colour and worn appearance of the boots. The
context that they are presented in, the use of light and shade, symmetry,
perspective and mood, all serve to invite the viewer to hermeneutically
understand something of his/her subjectivity and that of the artist. The
painting can also be viewed from the point of view of economics and
history. Interpretation is varied yet limited due to contexts. Jamesons
study of Andy Warhols Diamond Dust Shoes, (1980)67 displays the
freedom of interpretation together with the difficulties of explaining,
objectively, the meaning of the piece. Images of shoes are suspended in air
without any context in which to situate them. They are free of form, yet
according to Jameson, this postmodern piece lacks depth and meaning.
64

Ibid.
Simon Malpas, The Postmodern (London: Routledge, 2007), 116-117.
66
See Appendix Eight. Fig. 4-4
67
See Appendix Nine. Fig. 4-5
65

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177

The surrealist painter Ren Magrittes painting Le Modle Rouge, (1935)68


can be understood in terms of surrealism. Without this context, of course, it
is postmodern. Jamesons reliance on historical contextuality is evident in
his reference to schizophrenia. He has a modern perspective on the
schizophrenic. He/she is temporarily freed from anxiety when presented
with a context of modern linear time. Jameson states that, the ideal
schizophrenic, indeed, is easy enough to please provided only an external
present is thrust before the eyes, which gaze with equal fascination on an old
shoe or the tenaciously growing organic mystery of the human toenail.69
Jameson calls for a Marxist approach to counteract the depthlessness of
the postmodern condition through a process referred to as cognitive
mapping: a conscious effort to contextualise the individual in time and
place in order that he/she may regain a sense of belonging to the larger
grand narratives of culture, society and politics to which Jameson believes
he/she belongs. He states that:
an aesthetic of cognitive mapping a pedagogical political culture which
seeks to endow the individual subject with some new heightened sense of
its place in the global system will necessarily have to respect this now
enormously complex representational dialectic and invent radically new
forms in order to do it justice.70

The respect shown to postmodernism is only understood economically as


Jameson describes the truth of postmodernism as the world space of
multinational capital.71 Nevertheless, the contradiction inherent in
respecting the postmodern self whilst attempting to redefine it in a
collective will not eradicate the decentralisation of subjectivity much less
even attempt to contemplate the signifier of self. According to Jameson,
cognitive mapping will allow us to:
begin to grasp our positioning as individual and collective subjects and
regain a capacity to act and struggle which is at present neutralized by our
spatial as well as our social confusion. The political form of postmodernism,
if there ever is any, will have as its vocation the invention and projection of
a global cognitive mapping, on a social as well as a spatial scale.72

Indeed, our capacity to struggle with the linguistics of subjectivity has not
68

See Appendix Ten. Fig. 4-6


Jameson, Postmodernism or, the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism, 10.
70
Ibid., 54.
71
Ibid.
72
Ibid.
69

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yielded, but the phenomenon of intertextuality, rhetoric and petite histoire


must be adhered to rather than fixed. A master narrative/Grande histoire
approach to the problem of postmodernity moves further away from the
complexities of language and reveals the anxieties inherent in late
capitalism: space time, nostalgia for archives and a loss of the modern self.
Malpas contemplates the effectiveness of the grand narratives thus, a
Marxist-style critique, in the form of cognitive mapping, remains possible,
[Jameson] claims, but the projection of a future in which the challenges of
late capitalism have been resolved or even a concrete account of how
collectively we might strive for it seem impossible.73

Lyotard and the Unpresentable


Lyotards hypothesis of the breakdown of the grand narratives, as
definitive of postmodernism, is plausible. However, the organisation and
the need to organise micro-narratives of the self, leads to yet another grand
narrative, when contemplated historically. According to Lyotard, the
generation and production of knowledge has changed from the modern era
to become a new commodity of capitalism. Lyotard believes that
postmodernism marks the end of science. The metanarrative of science as
a totalising unit has fragmented into local narratives and independent
studies. The perpetuation of this, according to Lyotard, is economically
driven. The ownership of such knowledge lies in the hands of a small elite
who decide if projects are economically viable and worthy of financial
assistance. Acquiring knowledge in order to experience the sublime is not
an imperative of late capitalism. Lyotard is justified in this, however, in
condemning capitalism he acquires the symptoms he is diagnosing by
expounding an antithesis of modernism.74 His historical consciousness
justifies the advent of local narratives by comparing them to the totalising
strength of previous and modern metanarratives of science. Lyotard
understands political myth and philosophy as the two main legitimising
narratives of science since the Enlightenment. According to Stanley J.
Grenz:
Both legitimising narratives of the advance of science provide a
framework for organizing other, local narratives. Modern interpreters
orient the stories of new scientific discoveries or the biographies of the
heroes of the tradition around these metanarratives. The local narratives
receive their meaning from the way they echo and confirm the grand
73
74

Malpas, The Postmodern, 121.


This point will be further elaborated on later in this section.

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179

narratives of scientific progress. The progress of science unites these


smaller, divergent stories into a single unified history.75

More importantly, when Lyotards theory of the fragmentation of the


scientific metanarrative is taken to task it becomes increasingly evident
that scientific research in all its fields works towards a unification of
knowledge. The continuing work of Professor Steven Hawking is one
testament to this through his continuing research on theoretical physics,
cosmology, applied mathematics and quantum field theory to prove the
emission of radiation (Hawking radiation) from black holes in space. On
Lyotards notion of micro-narrative scientific research Steven Connor
explains that it is, the construction of unifying theories to account for the
operation of all the forces known in nature a grand narrative if ever there
was one.76
Lyotards explicit distaste for economic profitability and Marxist
theory altered not only his theory and the angry tone of his early writings
but also left him extremely unpopular in the Parisian left bank
intelligentsia after his publication of Libidinal Economy in 1974. His antiMarxist stance was largely influenced by the prior publication of Deleuze
and Guattaris Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia. In a chapter
entitled The Desire named Marx, Lyotard begins, We must come to
take Marx as if he were a writer, an author full of effects, take his text as a
madness and not as a theory, we must succeed in pushing aside his
theoretical barrier and stroking his beard without contempt and without
devotion.77 Lyotards theory is anti-foundational and anti-authoritarian.
Stuart Sim explains, Lyotard links foundationalism to authority, and his
argument appears to be that if he can call a discourses foundations into
question he has demolished its authority in turn. Thus, when Marxisms
metanarrative is seen to be illicitly self-legitimating, the theory can lay no
more claim to universal authority.78 The influence of Deleuze and
Guattari is evident when Lyotards arguments are akin to chaos theory and
relativism. However, the rhizomatic nature of knowledge that Deleuze and
Guattari argue for seems to be two degrees of separation from Lyotard. In
building the momentum to defend his postmodern theory by generating an
75
Stanley J. Grenz, A Primer on Postmodernism (Cambridge: Wm. B. Eerdmans
Publishing Co., 1996), 47.
76
Steven Connor, Postmodernist Culture: An Introduction to Theories of the
Contemporary (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997), 30-31.
77
Lyotard, Libidinal Economy, trans. Iain Hamilton Grant (London: The Athlone
Press, 1993), 95.
78
Stuart Sim, Jean-Franois Lyotard (London: Prentice Hall, 1996), 44.

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antithesis, whilst attacking the modern thesis of metanarratives for the


purposes of a new synthesis through deconstruction, Lyotard never seems
to quite reach the plateau of Deleuze and Guattari. Lyotard appears to
remain at the first stage of deconstruction. Indeed, Lyotards theories have
intellectualised the notion of postmodernism by opening the debate on
metanarratives. Nonetheless, he generates more questions than he answers.
His essay An Answer to the Question, What is Postmodernism? was
published in 1982, three years after the publication of The Postmodern
Condition: A Report on Knowledge. Lyotard believes that the modern is
part of the postmodern; in fact that postmodernity came before
modernism. He explains, A work can become modern only if it is first
postmodern. Postmodernism thus understood is not modernism at its end
but in the nascent state, and this state is constant.79 His use of aesthetics
clearly illustrates this.
Modern aesthetics seeks to experience the sublime and its inability to
adequately express or present it because the limits of reason mark it as
being both nostalgic and celebratory of the imagination. The dichotomy of
pleasure and pain is felt here; modern aesthetics understands rationality as
pleasurable because it exceeds any attempts at presentation and the pain
that is felt occurs when it is realised that the imagination does not
correspond to the concept of what is being presented. Postmodernism
seeks out the rules of engagement or collective nostalgia for the
unpresentable. Lyotard explains:
The postmodern would be that which, in the modern, puts forward the
unpresentable in presentation itself; that which denies itself the solace of
good forms, the consensus of a taste which would make it possible to share
collectively the nostalgia for the unattainable; that which searches for new
presentations, not in order to enjoy them but in order to impart a stronger
sense of the unpresentable.80

The postmodern writer or artist does not work from a set of pre-existing
rules or contexts but the inverse. Lyotard states, Those rules and
categories are what the work of art itself is looking for.81 These rules are
to be understood in the future anterior; what will have been done.82
According to Lyotard, a Hegelian transcendental unity of the illusions
which cannot be presented is our only hope of knowing form. The need for
79

Lyotard, The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge, 79.


Ibid., 81.
81
Ibid.
82
Ibid.
80

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181

unity gave rise to modernism, however, such an aspiration inevitably led


to terror out of the nostalgia for reconciliation. Nonetheless, Lyotard
concludes his thesis on postmodernism with yet another aspiration. He
proclaims Let us wage a war on totality; let us be witnesses to the
unpresentable; let us activate the differences and save the honour of the
name.83 In the introduction to this text, Jameson accuses Lyotard of
impos[ing] such desperate solutions, such remarkable last-minute salvage
operations.84 Jameson also notes that Lyotard relies on historical narrative
to discuss science. Jameson states that:
this parenthesis once again complicates the arguments of The Postmodern
Condition insofar as it becomes itself a symptom of the state it seeks to
diagnose its own return to narrative arguments being fully as revealing an
example of the legitimation crisis of the older cognitive and epistemological
world-view as any of the other developments enumerated in the text.85

Lyotards reliance on history and modernism disables him from definitively


describing the phenomenon of postmodernity. The emergence of micronarratives through terror and nostalgia shed interesting light on the
language of the self. Nonetheless, Jameson concedes, Lyotard is in reality
quite unwilling to posit a postmodernist stage radically different from the
period of high modernism and involving a fundamental historical and
cultural break with this last.86

Narratives, Archives and Mutations


The debate between postmodernism and late capitalism centres on
whether the phenomenon of postmodernity is inevitable or a separation
from modernity due to the fragmentation of capital into private property.
Either way, Lyotard and Jameson display a historical consciousness where
the dialectic between the object/subject is constituted by the same desire
for recognition from the other. In reading both in matters of language,
precedence is always given to the universal. Grand narratives determine
the interpretation of culture, including texts and micro-narratives, which
invariably succumb to the universality of objectivity. Structuralism, on the
other hand, steers away from history and understands language as a
system. De Saussure, the father of structuralism, claimed that language
83

Ibid., 82.
Ibid., ix.
85
Ibid., xi.
86
Ibid., xvi.
84

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was an independent and social phenomenon. His approach went against


the grain of the Enlightenment approach to the study of language which
dealt with the historical developments of linguistics. According to Stanley
J. Grenz:
rather than focusing on the historical development of individual linguistic
expressions, Saussure calls for an antihistorical approach that views
language as a complete and internally coherent system (a langue). He thus
proposes a structuralist theory of language to replace the historicist
approach of his predecessorsSaussure thus calls into question the whole
Enlightenment approach to the study of language, which dealt with the
subject in bits and pieces and from the outside87

Despite the teachings of de Saussure and his subsequent appropriation by


post-structuralism, Jameson and Lyotard nevertheless concentrate on
cultural phenomena rather than the subject in postmodernism. Their
influence has been extensive, which in itself calls into question the focus
there has been on narratives, universality and its binary opposite,
fragmentation. If the subject continues to be studied and perceived in this
way he/she will remain a body without organs; a cog in the wheel of
industry. The individual will continue to be catalogued and objectively
categorised.
Foucault takes a structuralist approach to the history of mental illness
and how it was perceived and dealt with in order to illustrate the power
relations at work in the production and ownership of knowledge. Foucault
is historically aware but his understanding of culture is not paraphrased by
the archive of history to validate his reasoning. Foucault states that,
language partakes in the world-wide dissemination of similitudes and
signatures. It must, therefore, be studied itself as a thing of nature.88
According to Foucault, during the sixteenth century, hermeneutics and
semiology were widely used in the search for meaning; this was
understood as resemblance. He explains that, to search for the law
governing signs is to discover the things that are alikeand what the
language they speak has to tell us is quite simply what the syntax is that
binds them together.89 The network of signs, the mediator of resemblance
and the space that is created between the sign and the signifier are things
of nature. However, the monotony that ensued from a perpetual pattern of
resemblance brought forth neo-Platonism. Knowledge and the sign were
87

Grenz, A Primer on Postmodernism, 115.


Foucault, The Order of Things: An Archaeology of the Human Sciences, 39.
89
Ibid., 33.
88

Postmodernism

183

now understood as microcosmic and the truth of the signified rested in the
macrocosm of the finite word. However, after global exploration,
postcolonialism and the spreading of the word of God through Latin, the
pursuit of knowledge came to be understood through interpretation.
Foucault states, Knowledge therefore consisted in relating one form of
language to another form of language; in restoring the great, unbroken
plain of words and things; in making everything speakThe function
proper to knowledge is not seeing or demonstrating; it is interpreting.90
This new set of problems with language continues into the present. The
interpretation of the signifier leads to a perpetual discourse. Interpretation
demands that meaning will be understood as a future event. Foucault
points out, it can express its truth only in some future discourse and is
wholly intent on what it will have said; but even this future discourse itself
does not have the power to halt the progression, and what it says is
enclosed within it like a promise, a bequest to yet another discourse.91
This future discourse is akin to Lyotards nostalgia of postmodernism
where the future anterior symbolises the quest for the totality of the
decentred self. In light of Foucaults reading of the historical acquisition of
knowledge, Lyotards micro-narratives resemble an initial failure in
interpretation, resulting in yet another grand narrative; namely
postmodernism itself. Yet again, a resonance with Deleuze and Guattaris
rhizomatic growth of knowledge can be seen in Foucaults conclusion on
the fate of language, language was to grow with no point of departure, no
end and no promise. It is the traversal of this futile yet fundamental space
that the text of literature traces from day to day.92
Foucaults observations on mutations in epistemology draw two
analogies which are current dominant genes of knowledge. In looking at
natural history, the categorization and classification of words, languages
and records gave rise to a new way of using language, not, Foucault
explains, in a style of commentary, but in a mode that was to be
considered as positive, as objective, as that of natural history.93 Thus, the
implementation of filing systems and archives were to represent the new
awareness of the past and of time as it was written down and recorded.
This positive and objectifying ordering of things and events caused a
shift in the perception of time and human relations as Foucault declares
that it is a history restored to the irruptive violence of time.94 It follows
90

Ibid., 44-45.
Ibid., 45.
92
Ibid., 49.
93
Ibid., 143.
94
Ibid., 144.
91

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that things and language are separate because they are only understood
through representation in the context of objectivity. The space that is
created between them is resolved through the gaze. Foucault explains,
[Natural history] must therefore reduce this distance between them so as
to bring language as close as possible to the observing gaze, and the things
observed as close as possible to words. Natural history is nothing more
than the nomination of the visible.95 The objectifying gaze is most
ardently and explicitly experienced by the schizophrenic. A painting by
the Dutch artist Piet Mondrian, Composition with Red, Yellow, and Blue,
(1921)96 illustrates the desire for a pure reality.97 The universals of
colour, geometry and equilibrium are celebrated as truths, considering the
precision of measurement required to express the universal.
The other dominant gene of knowledge Foucault addresses is the
human sciences. The existence of this study is due to the objectivity of the
individual and the archaeological legacy of the natural sciences. Foucault
argues that the human sciences are not sciences but are assumed to be so
because they are understood on the same basis and models as the other
sciences. The individual as examined in the human sciences under the
disciplines of biology, economics and the study of language cannot merely
be an object of scientific inquiry. The consequences for this are vast when
one considers how much of the human sciences come into the study of
psychology, psychiatry and sociology. Foucault states:
it is therefore not mans irreducibility, what is designated as his invincible
transcendence, nor even his excessively great complexity, that prevents
him from becoming an object of science. Western culture has constituted,
under the name of man, a being who, by one and the same interplay of
reasons, must be a positive domain of knowledge and cannot be an object
of science.98

Nowhere more so than in the field of psychiatry has the schizophrenic


been an object of science. The history of science continues to affect the
individual through the classifications of sanity/insanity, normal/abnormal
and rational/irrational basing such systems of divisions on archives.

95

Ibid.
See Appendix Eleven. Fig. 4-7
97
Rita Gilbert, Living with Art (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1998), 93.
98
Foucault, The Order of Things: An Archaeology of the Human Science, 400.
96

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185

The Aristocracy of Private Experience


The manifestations of such sciences are seen in the expressions and uses of
language through post-structuralism, in the study of postmodernism and in the
autobiography. Poststructuralism identifies the unstable character of
signification: a signifier may have many signifieds. The shift from
structuralism to poststructuralism is denoted by the change in emphasis from
la langue99 to parole. According to structuralist thought, subjects are produced
by a system of language and anything an individual utters or writes belongs to
this system. Poststructuralists introduced the notion that the subject is in the
process of this system as opposed to being already determined. They regard
language as being bound with other subjective processes. This language-in-use
is referred to as discourse.100 Clearly, Foucault is strongly opposed to the
view that he is a structuralist. Poststructuralists are quite similar to empiricists
in that they contend that the subject is the source of knowledge, using objects
through language to express truth. However, as the subject is always in the
linguistic process, his/her discourse cannot escape narrative (histoire).
Examples of this can be found in literature, where both author and reader share
the same narrative in order to communicate. In doing so they are implicitly
avoiding the subjective realm. The first few sentences of Virginia Woolfs
novel Mrs. Dalloway illustrate this.
Mrs. Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself.
For Lucy had her work cut out for her. The doors would be taken off
their hinges; Rumpelmayers men were coming. And then, thought Clarissa
Dalloway, what a morning fresh as if issued to children on a beach.101

Mrs. Dalloway, Lucy and Rumpelmayer are presented to us without either


an introduction or a context. At the level of narrative we, the readers, are
to share in Woolfs knowledge of who they are. We are to become as
familiar/unfamiliar as the author is with the characters. The impersonal
phrase Rumpelmayers men is to be understood in the narrative rather
than the discursive. Its objectivity belies a subject in process. Woolfs
introduction of Mrs. Dalloways Christian name, Clarissa, in the fourth
sentence implies that she understands the weight of the narrative and
99

According to de Saussures linguistic theory la langue refers to the system of


language that is relied on to either speak or write, known as parole.
100
Peter Brooker, Raman Selden and Peter Widdowson, A Readers Guide to
Contemporary Literary Theory (London: Prentice Hall, 1997), 152.
101
Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway, in The Selected Works of Virginia Woolf, ed.
The Wordsworth Library Collection, 129 (London: Clays Ltd., 2007).

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attempts to bring the reader to a more subjective level with the character.
The simile as if issued to children on a beach has an impersonal and
objective truth about it, making it universal, the histoire of which the reader
is to automatically understand and identify. Objective truths such as these
are more often found in poetry as poets often rely on them rather than on
description which is be more widely found in prose. Emily Dickinson
capitalises key words in her poetry that are very much context-dependent for
their meaning. In doing so, she draws attention to them and more
importantly, their objective meaning gives further weight to the universality
of truth in her poems. Her poem The Soul selects her own Society
illustrates her awareness of signification and the importance of universality.
The Soul selects her own Society
Then shuts the Door
To her divine Majority
Present no more 102

The words Soul, Society, Door and Majority are capitalised as


they could have many different meanings were they in another context.
The rhyming couplets of Society/Majority and Door/more, help to
establish meaning. Society is the Majority or the universal as opposed to
the particular. Door symbolises excess and a continuous sense of more
opportunities or encounters, to the point where the individual subject is
lost in the vortex of universality and objective perception of ever
increasing stimuli. In order to express the need to shut the Door on
objectivity, Dickinson has to rely on it in order to express and make
universally understood her need to contemplate her own subjectivity. Peter
Widdowson and Peter Brooker state, Poststructuralists would agree that
narrative can never escape the discursive level.103
Language cannot be controlled, much less mastered. It can never be
fully used to concretely express human essence, mood or emotion, hence
the need for poetry and fictional prose. However, it is in literature that the
real of language, that which linguists fail to fully analyse, can be captured.
The remainder which is left after linguistic analysis is the very essence that
is touched on in literature. It is this unharnessed remainder which has the
power to awaken emotions in the reader. The dialectic of recognition is
with the real self of the reader and the real of language; in Lacanian terms
102

Emily Dickinson, The Soul Selects her own Society, in Emily Dickinson
(London: Orion Publishing Group, 1997), 17.
103
Peter Brooker, Raman Selden and Peter Widdowson, A Readers Guide to
Contemporary Literary Theory, 153.

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187

it is referred to as inter-dit104 which translates as between the words.


Jean-Jacques Lecercle explains that, we are no longer in the domain of
the linguist but rather in that of the language-loverthe language-lover
does not analyse but makes language. This is no longer a question of
theory, as with linguistics; it is now a matter of practice.105 Another
example of language as a social organism, to be understood universally, is
when an author coins a phrase, made from the rules of the existing
discourse, and it later enters the level of rhetoric. From then on its context
can change but the original meaning it had remains.
George Orwells 1984 first introduced the concept of Big Brother
when it was published in 1948. As a prediction of the power structures for
the future, Orwell can now be seen as something of a prophet. Indeed, the
Big Brother of the twenty-first century takes the guise of grand
narratives, namely; politics, economics and language. The universality of
its meaning is still in use fifty years after it was first coined in the reality
television show, Big Brother; its logo being the gaze of the third eye.
However, the reality of the show is questionable. As the contestants are
aware that they are being televised their behaviour is not as authentic as it
would first appear. Nonetheless, they present inauthentic and objectified
personalities to the unknown viewers in order to win votes. The failure of
self-conscious recognition highlights a schizophrenic environment that in
turn generates entertainment for the viewing population. Consequently, a
number of contestants were later to experience depression and suicidal
tendencies. The survival of phrases such as Big Brother is due to the
collective and the universal. The rhizome of language is without structure
or contradictions caused by the real of language. Its growth undermines
the power structures of linguistics and emphasises the desire of the subject.
On Deleuze and Guattari, Lecercle notes:
the regrounding of language in the desiring body or the body politic is
certainly an advantage, as is the account of the sheer instability and
violence of an object in which the minor constantly subverts the major
Learning from Deleuze and Guattari, we should forget about the
constraints and the constructions, and, for a while at least, explore the
rhizome of language.106

104

Lacan, crits: A Selection, 331.


Jean-Jacques Lecercle, Postmodernism and Language, in Postmodernism and
Society, eds. Roy Boyne and Ali Rattansi, 82 (London: The Macmillan Press Ltd.,
1990).
106
Ibid., 85-86.
105

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Phrases and universally understood notions, as in the case of Big


Brother, have rhizomatically progressed throughout various contexts. The
apparent freedom in this is undermined by such phrases being objectively
determined. This paradox has come to light in the postmodern condition as
fragmentation. What is further required is a rhizomatic growth in the
knowledge of the signified, in light of the continuous reliance on the
signifier to determine meaning. The example of the schizophrenic
illustrates this point.
The concept of the schizophrenic is not fully understood. Nonetheless,
its signifier relies on the contexts of grand narratives, psychiatry and
psychology, to lend meaning to the word. Consequently, a diagnosed
schizophrenic automatically becomes synonymous with phrases such as
mentally ill, disabled, incapable, emotionally vacant, disturbed, irrational,
abnormal and violent. The universality of such labelling perpetuates an
objective identity to both the schizophrenic and the other. The notion of
the postmodern decentred self does not warrant a report on subjectivity
because the decentred self has become another universal coinage. On a
linguistic level, the autobiography of a schizophrenic is a falsehood of
subjectivity. In giving ones story over to another the author is dispelling
any sanctity of self through exposure. According to Adriana Cavarero:
both the exhibitionist self of action and the narratable self are completely
given over to others. In this total giving-over there is therefore no identity
that reserves for itself protected spaces or private rooms of impenetrable
refuge for self-contemplation. This is why autobiography is a mistake of
desire, the vicious circle of a mistaken course.107

The presence of the other in an autobiography both distances the author


from him/herself and controls the structure of the narration. The author
makes him/herself the other and narrates to the other as reader. The
same principle is at work when the schizophrenic is noted to often refer to
him/herself in the third person or to paraphrase words deliberately in order
to spell out their indifference to what is inherently being meant. Cavarero
notes:
there is, in autobiography, the strange pretense of a self that makes himself
an other in order to be able to tell his own story; or, rather of a self which,
using his memory as a separated mirror in which he inseparately consists,
appears to himself as an other he externalises his intimate self-reflection
107
Adriana Cavarero, Relating Narratives: Storytelling and Selfhood, trans. Paul
A. Kottman (London: Routledge, 2000), 84.

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189

the real existence of the other, even just as an addressee, as always taken
into account, whether he or she is a listener of an oral narration, or an ideal
reader to which the text appeals.108

The explicit awareness of the other lies in the act of telling ones story
which is always in the here and now. John McGaherns autobiography
Memoir begins with his present situation in County Leitrim, Ireland, in
order to help situate the other, and once this is established he brings the
other straight back in time to when he was an infant. Opening with a
description of his beloved laneways and their present state, McGahern
uses these images to draw the other into his vision and memory. He
writes, my relationship with these lanes and these fields extended back to
the very beginning of my life. When I was three years old I used to walk a
lane like these lanes to Lisacarn School with my mother.109 The role of
memory in the narratable self is extensive. The desire to tell ones story
amid the constraints of language and the presence of the other is
motivated by memory. Cavarero explains that:
the narratable self is at once the transcendental subject and the elusive
object of all the autobiographical exercises of memoryit is enough to say
that each one of us lives him or herself as his/her own story, without being
able to distinguish the I who narrates it from the self who is narrated. We
are thus left with a kind of circular memory, which simply appears, in
perfect and total familiarity.110

To remember oneself one becomes familiar with oneself as an other. The


psychiatrist Silvano Arieti has argued that the schizophrenic symptoms of
nervousness and hallucinations are memories of repressed traumas that are
played out, without context, to the schizophrenic, as voices. An inability to
contextualise these voices reinforces a sense of objectivity and dangerously
becomes understood as universality. Arieti explains that:
the mood is a reaction to revivals of traumatic memories of infancy and
early childhood that had previously been repressed, memories involving a
horrendous sense of threat to the feeling of self worth, and to the
reemergence of archaic forms of thinking by which these traumatic
memories come to be elaborated and magnified.111

108

Ibid.
John McGahern, Memoir (London: Faber and Faber, 2005), 3.
110
Cavarero, Relating Narratives: Storytelling and Selfhood, 34.
111
Arieti, The Interpretation of Schizophrenia, 120-121.
109

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Due to the universality of language, the schizophrenic has difficulty


bridging the space created by memory and repression. The content of
memory automatically becomes assumed as the utterances of the other.
The circular memory of the schizophrenics narratable self becomes
broken as he/she tries to establish the content of memory into the here and
now for the self as other. These memories need to be understood as
thoughts rather than voices of the other and that it is the self as narrator
which creates the presence of the other due to the systems of language.
Sass explains, one can understand why auditory hallucinations often have
more the quality of something thought than of something heard. And one
can comprehend how patients could hear the voices of absent people
without finding the phenomenon strange.112 The famous work of Daniel
Paul Schreber, Memoirs of my Nervous Illness, illustrates his attempts at
being both object and subject without cancelling his identity or being the
remainder of his narratable self. His experience took him through many
perceptions of reality and self-reflection.113 The narratable self of the
other must be understood if the author is to relate his/her story, for it is
upon this premise that universal truths are derived through language. The
here and now of the other is presented with the post anterior114 of the
stories events. Therefore, the post-history of the story relies upon the
perpetual present of the other. This conscious realisation of a present
perfect and past continuous narration has culminated in postmodernism
where nostalgia and a modern interpretation of the decentred self have
come together. The phenomenon of memory does much to explain the
paradox of postmodernism. Cavarero states that, personal memory,
intentionally or otherwise, can in fact therefore go on forgetting, reelaborating, selecting and censuring the episodes of the story that it
recounts. Memory nevertheless rarely invents, as do the inventors of
stories. Personal memory is not a professional author.115
The historical consciousness of both Jameson and Lyotard are
arguments that are two sides of the same coin. While Jameson concedes
that late capitalism is a logical interpretation of postmodernism through
112

Sass, The Paradoxes of Delusion: Wittgenstein, Schreber, and the Schizophrenic


Mind (London: Harvard University Press, 1994), 43. This will be further elaborated
on in the next section of this chapter: Stream of Consciousness.
113
Daniel Paul Schreber, Memoirs of my Nervous Illness, trans. Ida Macalpine and
Richard A. Hunter, (New York: Harvard University Press, 2000). This work will
be further examined in the next section of the chapter.
114
This will further explained in the next section where the concept of memory
will be analysed in relation to time and linguistics.
115
Cavarero, Relating Narratives: Storytelling and Selfhood, 36.

Postmodernism

191

the lens of Marxist theory, Lyotard argues against such grand narratives.
The breakdown of grand narratives into micro-narratives is understood as
an inevitable break in culture, where economics has become saturated to
the point of self-fragmentation. Individual pockets of study, particularly in
science, have illustrated his point. However, when history is relied upon to
validate such theories, they become narrated through the archive of
historical reasoning. The debate between Jameson and Lyotard becomes
an either/or dialectic. Foucaults thesis on history in the study of
knowledge opens the debate on language, which further probes and questions
the phenomenon of postmodernism. Structuralism and poststructuralism tend
to move away from the grand narratives of history, politics and economics.
The post-anterior and post-history of postmodernism are better understood
through an analysis of language. In this study it becomes more apparent
that the universality of language warrants grand narratives, and micronarratives are seen to inevitably lead towards objectivity and histoire.
Taking this into consideration, the other of language is brought into
being by the remainder of language. The real self of language continually
splits the individual into a self and other, as illustrated by the example of
autobiography. The schizoanalysis of such binaries is required to dispel the
space that is always created between the two. The rhizomatic knowledge of
self is promising when the angst generated in the schizophrenic to
contextualise memory becomes apparent. But instead, history is largely
relied upon to justify the phenomenon of memory as expressed through an
unstable signification. History is again called upon to contextualise
memory. The conscious dependence on archives highlights the notion of
post-history. Without such archives the experience of schizophrenia brings
the fluidity of memory into the present continuous. However, as memories
are thoughts, they are understood by the schizophrenic as voices because
language demands universality in order to be understood. The
deconstruction of memories with the present is the act of remembering. To
deconstruct the language used to define the sane and the insane is also to
remember. The commonality between the two is their joint struggle with
language and memory: perhaps Descartes famous idiom should be
adapted to read - I remember therefore I am.

Stream of Consciousness
Who controls the past controls the future: who
controls the present controls the past.116
116

George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four (New York: Plume Publishing, 2003),

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Chapter Four

To remember suggests recollecting a scene or emotion from the past in


the present. It would follow that memory facilitates a connection between
the past and the present. However, when a memory is recollected, so to
speak, outside the boundaries of linear time, it poses many problems for
the perception of the present. Streams of consciousness continually flood
the present tense of perception. The past can appear to be more real and
powerful than any illusion of the fleeting present, to the point where the
past determines and dominates the present. The anxieties and mental
paralysis of the schizophrenic display an intensity of desire for a constant
present through a perpetual re-enactment of past experiences, which
collectively share the outer horizon of the present. In other words, the
fringe of the schizophrenics experience is the known present as opposed
to a vacant future. The inclination for a constant present is rather
postmodern on first analysis; the schizophrenic self is fragmented in terms
of memory and decentred in relation to time. At the same time, the
schizophrenic maintains his/her identity in the face of universal rationality;
the difference between normative and schizophrenic consciousness being,
broadly, that in normative consciousness fragmentation happens safely
within universal reason, whereas schizophrenic consciousness rejects
universal rationality through desire. However, on a closer examination, the
insistence on a constant present is deeply ontological and poses a vital
challenge in realising self-identity against the forces of objectivity and its
fragmentation of subjectivity. Streams of consciousness and the objects of
past experience facilitate this intention. Considering that which is
remembered and how it is recalled allows for further examination of the
person that is created through the universal notion of linear time. The
objectivity which results from linear time can be clearly demonstrated
through an assessment of narrative as it highlights the distance which
results from self-reflection.

Memory and the Schizophrenic Present


The division of time into past, present and future can be thought of as a
result of the Hegelian negation of becoming Spirit. Nonetheless, time is in
and for itself. It is the force of determination for Spirit. This dissection of
time is not in nature and is therefore objectifying. Hegel explains:
[Past, present, and future] do not occur in naturefor they are only
necessary in subjective representations, in memory, and in fear, or

35-36.

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193

hopeThere is no science of time corresponding to geometry, the science


of spaceTime first becomes capable of such figurations when the
understanding paralyses it and reduces its negativity to a unit.117

This plummet of Spirit causes temporality. According to Edith


Wyschogrod, For Hegel, Spirit is doomed to appear as temporal so long
as it falls short of grasping its notion, thereby annulling what Heidegger
would come to see as the ecstasies of time.118 The notion of the temporal
has inspired a field of thought119 which suggests that time is unreal. The
past no longer exists, the future has yet to come into being and the present
is either nostalgic or hopeful, giving away its claim to the past and future.
If the present ceases to exist due to the absence of past and future, which
no longer or have yet to exist, then time is unreal. On the other hand, if all
are to be constituted as different presents, then the present must be
eternity. Distance is required to objectify the notions of past, present and
future in order to avoid objectifying the self temporally, amidst the
phenomenon of eternity. This distance is instilled through the universality
of language: memory is recalled and represented through language. The
linguistic representation of an archive, in the present tense, cannot offer a
firsthand account of what is being remembered because of the distance
between the latter and now. Wyschogrod explains:
If remembering is a species of representation as the everyday view implies,
the epistemic difficulty that pertains to representationis reinstated:
language about the past is second-order without any first-order level to
which definitive appeal can be made. Even if, hypothetically, some original
scene could be replicated, the gap that opens between first and later
occasions creates an unsurpassable difference. It would be meaningless to
speak of origins here because access to the past is constituted after the fact;
firstness is conferred post hoc in the very act of remembering.120

Distance is required in order to objectify the past because of the fear


that is generated by the present through questions and uncertainties posed
by what is remembered. Therefore, that which is remembered becomes
thought and the objects of experience must be amalgamated with
subjectivity if the individual is to have a sense of ownership over his/her
117

Edith Wyschogrod, An Ethics of Remembering: History, Heterology, and the


Nameless Others (London: University of Chicago Press, 2007), 129.
118
Ibid., 130.
119
From the philosophy of John McTaggart to Indian Philosophy the unreal nature
of time is examined.
120
Ibid., 174-175.

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thoughts. Wyschogrod states:


Memory can be merely mechanical, but if it is to be more than this, if it is
to become thought, in accordance with a familiar Hegelian scheme,
objectivity and subjectivity must be united, in this case by the representing
intellect. What persists, however, when intelligence becomes thought is
memorys re-cognitive character, the re-possession of what is really ones
own.121

The double bind of objectivity in time is due to the compartmentalisation


of time into past, present and future and the distance that is created by the
stream of consciousness and memory. The stream of consciousness is
infinite, yet the representation of memory, through language, maintains the
compartmentalisation of time. Objectivity is maintained because of an
insistence on a present in order to make memory comprehensible by
changing it into thought, yet the dependency on archives superimposes the
subjectivity of the present.
In the case of the schizophrenic, the constant present, which is sought,
is an attempt to counteract the objectivity of memory. However, due to the
distance created by the compartmentalisation of time, the saturated past
and the vacant future can overpower the schizophrenics sense of the
present. When the archives of the past, for example, interaction with
people, dialogue and commentary, come into thought rather than
maintaining an objective distance, the subjectivity of the schizophrenic
becomes overwhelmed in his/her attempt to create a dialectic between the
objects of experience and his/her present sense of subjectivity. Due to an
instilled notion of the compartmentalisation of time, the schizophrenic
continues to wrestle with the objectivity which is derived from
compartmentalised time. By being aware of the struggle between the past
and the stream of consciousness, the schizophrenics memories, as they are
presented, become classified as hallucinations by professionals and
schizophrenics alike, due to the enforced notions of past, present and
future over and above streams of consciousness. The difficulty of
hallucinations, as objects of memory, is perpetuated by the latter becoming
thoughts. A constant present would logically eliminate the objectivity of
archives and the insistence of a future, which in itself maintains the past.
Hallucinations are primarily based on memory because of socially
conditioned desire for archives. This is manifested through a tendency to
debate using past examples; rhetoric relies on foregone conclusions for its
logic; understanding the present, from archaeology to philosophy and
121

Ibid., 198.

Postmodernism

195

relying on evidence from archives. In this sense also the schizophrenic is


socially rational.

Prolepses and the Anxiety of the Narrator


The recording of a past is for a future reference. This idea can also be
found in Lacanian psychoanalysis in which memory is located in the
imaginary. The recollection of the self is generated by the imaginary self
i.e. the self the subject wishes to become. Charles Shepherdson states:
A first approach to memory might be sought in the imaginary: setting out
from the image or sensory impression, one might be lead to conceive of
memory as the faculty that recollects an image or perception after it has
passed away. Following this line of thought, both perception and
memorywould belong to the imaginary, the former taking in an image or
impression in the immediacy of the present, the later recalling it after the
fact, the difference between the two residing in a temporal factor.122

Thus, the constant return of the signifying chain continues the repetition of
memory and the reliance on archives as it breaks the stream of
consciousness into time fragments through its objectivity and universality.
The self-consciousness which ensues from the mirror stage maintains the
memory of the other and the determination of perception in the present,
hence, the return of the signifying chain. This idea is best demonstrated in
narrative theory.
The narratable self, as story-teller, is constituted by a linguistic
consciousness. Enriching thought, this temporal self is both retrospective
and anticipatory. The present is read as a future memory whilst the past
assumes the truth of events and perception. The actuality and self-identity
of the present is, again, fleeting. Mark Currie explains:
Narrative is understood as retrospection more readily than it is understood as
anticipation, but it cannot really be one without also being the other. If, in
order to look back at what has happened, we tell a story, we must also know
that the present is a story yet to be told. The present is the object of future
memory, and we live it as such, in anticipation of the story we will tell later,
envisaging the present as past. The present might be lived in anticipation of
some future present from which it is narrated, but this may also entail the
anticipation of events between the present present and the future present from

122

Charles Shepherdson, Lacan and the Limits of Language (New York: Fordham
University Press, 2008), 122-123.

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which it is narrated which will also be part of that story.123

In the postmodern age, time has been accelerated in order to speed up the
process of consigning the present to memory. This historical present
causes recontextualisation. An example of this can be seen in the fashion
industry where vintage style dress is adapted to contemporary wear.
Currie notes, The notion of postmodern style as accelerated
recontextualisation, or the recycling of the increasingly recent past, is one
model on which the present is understood as the bearer of historical
traces.124 The distance or gap between the past and the present is
becoming increasingly diminished, creating a difficulty in distinguishing
between the original and that which has been replicated. The famous
London slogan Mind the Gap125 represents this idea. It is initially meant
as a warning concerning the gap between a subway train and the platform,
but it can also be read as a metaphor for postmodernism. The speed and
efficiency for which the London underground rail system is famous
highlights the speed of the postmodern age and accelerated time in
consciousness. The urgency to arrive at a future perpetuates the temporal
because the future is never to be attained, much less the imaginary self: the
gap may be that between the desirable and the attainable.
As a result of archive fever, there is no model of time from which to
deduce the meaning of memory. The written narrative offers such a model
of time from which to study the events of the past tense and their bearing
on the present and the future. Currie explains that, In written text, the
future lies there to the right, awaiting its actualisation by the reading, so
that written text can be said to offer a block view of time which is never
offered to us in lived experience.126 Although the mind can travel through
its own model of time, the body is situated in the temporal present. Many
attempts have been made to journey on the cusp of the stream of
consciousness in order to overcome the temporal fixity of the body in the
arts and science, from the Back to the Future film trilogy to space travel
itself. Such attempts to overcome the compartmentalisation of time are
nevertheless grounded by the weight of the archive. The binary that is
created between the archive (temporally fixed, inscribed) and space
(potentially timeless, uninscribed) finds its expression in the postmodern
condition through nostalgia and cyber-space. The binary is created because
123

Mark Currie, About Time: Narrative, Fiction and the Philosophy of Time
(Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2007), 5-6.
124
Ibid., 10.
125
See Appendix Twelve. Fig. 4-8
126
Ibid., 18.

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197

space suggests a move outside of compartmentalised time and the


interpretation of the sign. The desire for a constant present, perpetuated by
the schizophrenic, is the deconstruction of this binary, together with the
binaries of sanity/insanity and rationality/irrationality.
Currie discusses prolepsis, the anticipation of retrospection, in the
narrative. This acts as a foil for the contemplation of postmodern time. He
notes three types of prolepsis: 1) narratological prolepsis is the anticipation
of, or flash-forward to, future events within the universe of narrated
events, 2) analepsis/structural prolepsis or flashback is the relation
between narrated time and the time of narration which is inherent in the
preterite tense of classical narration, 3) rhetorical prolepsis is the
anticipation of an objection and the preclusion of that objection by
incorporating a counter-argument into the discourse.127 Phenomenological
time confuses the order of cosmological time, as phenomenological time
studies an everlasting present, where former presents are entrenched in
each other. Consequently, the past and future tend to lose their hold over
present reality. Currie states:
The phenomenology of reading threatens to destroy the foundations of
prolepsis altogether, drawing the notions of past and future into the present
in such a way that the anteriority of the past and the posteriority of the
future are questioned. The result is a mish-mash of pasts that take place in
the future and futures which take place in the past, as the terminology of
cosmological time strains to assert itself within the perpetual present of
phenomenological time.128

Another problem of prolepsis which Currie has identified is the


recollection of a specific event that did not have the same significance in
the past as it does in the present. The danger that results from being a
narratable self (outside of fiction, but in the guise of a fictional mode of
time) is a split in the identity of the self from the first person narrative to
the third person narrative. The present of the narratable self becomes read
as a future memory through the present being narrated in the past tense.
Currie gives the following example:
How then might the present be structured as a future narration of the past
outside of fiction? One answer to this question is simply that the present can
be conceived and even lived in a mode of narration in the past. I might, for

127
128

Ibid., 31.
Ibid., 33.

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example, leave the house while saying to myself Mark left the house.129

This self-recording is schizophrenic to the point of self-distancing, yet it


has become customary in the postmodern age to interweave the narratable
self with the fictional self through video recording and cinema. An
example of this is found in Bret Easton Elliss Lunar Park in which the
author becomes a character in his own story. Currie states, the selfrecording and self-archiving involved in this kind of schizophrenic selfnarration may have become predominantly visual as photography and
video recording have displaced verbal narration, and film and television
have come to occupy the place of fiction in the hermeneutic circle between
narrative and life.130 These technological advances in schizophrenic selfnarration render the split in the narratable self reasonable, yet the gaze of
the lens has reminded the self and society of objectivity and a failure in
recognition. The effects of this are deemed schizophrenic, yet it is the
phenomenon of narration together with its contradiction of compartmentalised
time which causes the double bind of objectivity in the subject and not an
inexplicable phenomenon of schizophrenia as a postmodern malaise. The
juxtaposition in modern literature between a phenomenological stream of
consciousness and cosmological time forewarned of such a malaise.
Against the backdrop of the compartmentalisation of time the
formidability of modernity insisted on the double bind of objectivity until
it became saturated, hence the postmodern phenomena. Seen in this light,
the fragmentation of the subjectivity of society was inevitable. To describe
it as schizophrenic is to miss the point of phenomenology.
From the advances in technology to the ever present future, it is
becoming clearer that life is imitating art as a means of wrestling with the
acceptance and fear of fragmentation. The use of the fictional model of
time helps to explain Derridas statement Deconstruction is America.131
The future, as understood in this sense, determines and produces the event
which takes place in the present. This temporal loop, where the future is
seen to hold the origin of events, is referred to, by Currie, as an example of
supplementarity.132 The speed with which the future comes into the
present has left little or in some cases no time for a secondary
representation, for example the editing of a film. Many acts of terrorism,
for example, are based on the premise that they will be represented as
actual and immediate on programmes such as Sky News. An anticipated
129

Ibid., 40.
Ibid., 41.
131
Derrida, Without Alibi, 42.
132
Currie, About Time: Narrative, Fiction and the Philosophy of Time, 42.
130

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future event is to be recorded in the present, with representation, as


discourse, to be an afterthought. Currie illustrates this point:
The beheading of a hostage in Iraq, for example is an event produced by
the possibility that it will be represented, so that the representation cannot
be viewed as secondary. The logic of supplementarity makes the
anticipation of retrospection into a first cause, which precedes the event it
purports to follow.133

Currie argues that supplementarity and prolepsis share the same structure.
In the statement Deconstruction is America Derrida warns against the
ready assumption of is in order to explain his definition. The anticipated
retrospection of the time Derrida uttered the sentence informs the grammar
to be used at that time of narration. The latter understanding of Derridas
statement confirms his description. An example of Derridas statement can
be seen in the work of Quentin Tarantino where the future narration
explains the actions of the past and the present. The self-fulfilling
prophecies of the present and future are played out. The characters almost
appear as stock types and are presented in clearly defined terms of
identity. The characters of Kill Bill volumes 1 and 2 illustrate this point. In
Reservoir Dogs, the characters are known by colours. This objectification
of the characters allows Tarantino to test the boundaries of fictional time
in his work without confusing his audience with more subjective and selfconscious characters. This can also be noted in metafiction: where Patricia
Waugh describes it as, writing which consistently displays its
conventionality, which explicitly and overtly lays bare its condition of
artifice, and which thereby explores the problematic relationship between
life and fiction.134
Another factor which constitutes the postmodern prophecy of present as
memory, together with the malaise of nostalgia, is repetition. The future
produces and constitutes the present and vice versa. The argument for
repetition among theorists determines a break between modernism and
postmodernism through constituting the definition of modernism as
unifying and postmodernism as nostalgic and repetitive. However, the
compartmentalisation of time in the stream of consciousness refutes the
claim. On the concept of prophecies, Currie states:
It is possible to view Derridas treatment of Husserls notion of protention,
133

Ibid.
Patricia Waugh, Metafiction: The Theory and Practice of Self-Conscious
Fiction (London: Routledge, 1984), 45.

134

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or the concept of diffrance, as a claim that all language exists in a
condition of waiting to find out if its prophecies are fulfilled or not. A
performative prolepsis involves an imagined future which produces the
present, and a present which, thus produced, produces the future. As such it
is the most common relation of the present to the future, the one which
pertains in repetition, automatic perception, and self-narration, in which the
future turns out as expected.135

The third prolepsis moves away from fictional time through rhetoric
and because of this the future is uncertain. It addresses the potential
resistance between the fictional discourse and the reader, which up until
now was overcome through an agreement between the reader and the
discourse in the act of story-telling. However, this may not always be the
case and it is well illustrated in postmodern advertising. It has taken the
form of anti-advertising where it projects its own self-distance. The French
Connection advertisement in the United Kingdom names the company
together with the fact that it is advertising.136 It acts, as Currie explains,
like a sign which says sign or a novel called A Novel.137 However, in
pre-empting an objection; by offering a double motive as a form of
explanation, company and advertising contextualise with the added
potential offence it offers through the play of language to reveal an
expletive. It fails to offer an objection to its method as a rhetorical
prolepsis. All prolepses challenge the compartmentalisation of time. Currie
states that, the narrative may attempt to anticipate and pre-empt an
objection but this does not pre-empt the objection to the strategy itself.138
Interestingly, as the play on resistance may work, its challenge has been
posed deliberately through an awareness of an almost timeless resistance
to the compartmentalisation of time.
The self-distance of narration can be further illustrated by the reflective
consciousness in the act of reading. Currie distinguishes between the nave
reader and the aesthetic reader. Whilst the former can tend to identify with
a character, the latter will enjoy the narrative, through self-distance, as an
aesthetic experience. The nave reader is observed as reading through
his/her association and empathy with a character, whereas the aesthetic
reader is conscious of the reading process. Either case presents the split in
consciousness through the process of reading, whereby self-distance
becomes self-reflection. On this point of reflection, Currie states:
135

Currie, About Time: Narrative, Fiction and the Philosophy of Time, 44.
See Appendix Thirteen. Fig. 4-9
137
Ibid., 46.
138
Ibid., 47-48.
136

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201

This helps to highlight the importance of temporal distance in reflection


and self-narration. No difficulty is presented to the idea of reflection when
the subject and object of reflection are separated in time, but when they
coincide, a logical regress is produced which makes it impossible to reflect
on anything except reflection itself.139

In much the same vein, memory can become simply the act of remembering
and cease to have a bearing on the self-identity of the present through the
act of a confessional narrative. As a past self coincides with a present self
it causes a disintegration of time resulting in an epiphany of streams of
consciousness, where the self is infinite and the present is constant. Currie
develops the point:
as the self of the past catches up with the self of the present, and as
narrated time threatens to coincide with the time of the narrative, a crisis
beckons[when this occurs] there is nothing left to remember but memory
itself, and nothing left to write about but the act of writing.140

Space, Frontiers and the Schizophrenic Consciousness


The compression of time in the postmodern age has given rise to the
demand for a spatial reality.141 Hyper-space, cyber-space and outer-space,
to name a few, have gained increased focus in the postmodern era.
Through the expansion of technology, time zones have fused in the
corporate world as business is conducted irrespective of night or day;
alternative realities are generated, for example, three dimensional video
games; space travel has given a new meaning to earthly time through a
wider focus on the universe together with the experience of non-gravity.
Yet despite this inevitability of time-space compression, through the
advances of technology, the disintegration of temporality into
instantaneous time-space compression is nevertheless characterised as
schizophrenic. For example, Lacan theorises that schizophrenia is caused
by a collapse in the signifying chain. According to Lacan, the function of
irrealization is not everything in the symbol. For, in order that its irruption
into the real should be beyond question, it has only to present itself, as it
usually does, in the form of a broken chain.142 It is my contention that
139

Ibid., 59.
Ibid., 64.
141
Jameson also notes the move from time to space between modernism and
postmodernism.
142
Lacan, crits: A Selection, 202.
140

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Curries notion of collision is not exclusive to the schizophrenic but is an


inevitable result of postmodernity and is forecasted by the double bind of
objectivity in the compartmentalisation of time, which is not the result of a
schizophrenic phenomenon but has been a rational mode of existence for
centuries. The inherent fragmentation of time into compartments of past,
present and future has expressed itself in the postmodern age. It is the
schizophrenic, by definition, who is confessing the failure of reason to
unify the self in a stream of consciousness because of an over-dependence
on the archive: the archive constitutes the past and gives a promise of a
future explanation for its interpretation. The present, for the archive, is
infused with the past and supplementarity. It may be argued then, that the
schizophrenic is only the symptom of a widespread ailment in postmodern
culture.
In a deconstructive observation concerning the characterisation of the
postmodern age and the schizophrenic, David Carr notes:
Sometimes I do have the sense of observing myself act or experience as if I
were observing another person, and as if I did not understand what that
person was doing and thus needed to be toldIn the activity of selfexplication or self-clarification, the self as audience to whom I address
myself is perhaps really a stand-in for the genuine other: the peers, friends,
and authorities of my social milieu to whom I so often give an account of
myself by recounting what I am doing and what I am about.143

This fragmentation of self appears to be rational because the


compartmentalisation of time has split David Carr here into objective others
from whom he seeks recognition in order to self-reflect. The anguish felt by
a diagnosed schizophrenic is the arrest of the stream of consciousness by the
social self in order to narrate his/her story as a means of self-reflection.
Auditory hallucinations can be given mastery over the story-teller because
of the prolepsis in the act of narration. The disharmonies inherent in
prolepses are characterised as schizophrenic but are a general state of being,
more intensely felt by individuals who shed light on the myth of linear time
and by doing so bear the identity of a schizophrenic. If postmodernism was
truly schizophrenic, in this sense, it would not be denoted by the prefix
post; insinuating that modernism represented its past and postmodernism
itself was the saturated and fragmented future of that past. It would be better
described as late modernism; post modernism is an example of another
compartmentalisation of time within modernism itself. However, whilst
143

David Carr, Time, Narrative and History (Bloomington: Indiana University


Press, 1991), 63.

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203

the binaries of time and space seem to be collapsing under the consistent
weight of stream of consciousness, the association between schizophrenia
and postmodernism needs to be thoroughly deconstructed in order for the
narratable self of postmodernism to confess a true and never-ending story.
The story-telling of the schizophrenic is very important in revealing the
origins of social power. His/her internal linguistic and ontological struggle
is demonstrative of the effects of social power and control. Masses of
people are controlled by social, ethical, religious, moral and political
commands. These commands are more often than not implicit and subtle
but they continue, nevertheless, to be sources of disquiet and unease, at
various stages. The schizophrenic is distanced from society because he/she
overtly expresses such unease about the commands of the other. This is a
further example of self-distancing as this is required to make sensible that
which is unfamiliar to a rational mind in linear time. It is a further reaction
of the schizophrenic to the instability of society. Self-distancing fuels the
objective power of society. James M. Glass notes:
The language of the schizophrenic describes a different theory of ethics
than what is generally found in political theory and philosophy. What
appears in a delusionary world contains a story; the language represents
ideas and tendencies; the imagery possesses a resonance, a structure and
significance. It may also contain some clues as to the origins of ethical
identification and basic attitudes about power and authority.144

Extending this point, Glass suggests that the schizophrenics in the internal
dialectic of recognition represents a fundamental element of society rather
than being a distortion of it; or, a postmodern phenomenon. According to
Glass:
The internal images of the schizophrenic constitute a mirror reflecting to
the social world tendencies that explain basic facts in human naturethe
schizophrenics utterance disturbs precisely because it is so human, so
filled with desire, rage, anger, and dreadThe delusions suggest absolute
and unyielding conceptions of experienceTo be schizoid is to withdraw
into closed systems of discourse that protect whatever remains of the self
from disintegration.145

144

James M. Glass, Schizophrenia and Language: The Internal Structure of


Political Reality, Ethics 92, no. 2 (1982): 274.
145
Ibid., 295.

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Owning Schizophrenia
Susan Sontag refers to the metaphorizing of schizophrenia as
rhetorical ownership146 by theorists and policy makers on mental illness.
The binaries between the latter and the mentally ill highlight the disparity
of ownership. The mentally ill are forced to grant ownership of their
illnesses to theoreticians. Sontag states, Much in the way of individual
experience and social policy depends on the struggle for rhetorical
ownership of the illness: how it is possessed, assimilated in argument and
in clich.147 In this case the schizophrenic is a clich of postmodernity.
Metaphorizing has been a criticism of deconstruction where language
games diminish meaning through an over-emphasis on linguistics. Every
narrative is open to deconstruction and analysis. David Harvey argues that,
in challenging all consensual standards of truth and justice, of ethics and
meaning, and in pursuing the dissolution of all narratives and metatheories into a diffuse universe of language games, deconstructionism
ended upby reducing knowledge and meaning to a rubble of
signifiers.148 In light of this criticism, it should be noted that
postmodernism is itself deconstructive in nature. The difficulty in defining
postmodernism is akin to the difficulty in defining deconstruction. It is
defined as an experience of compressed compartmentalised time;
therefore, it has no definitive axis on which to be measured. Current trends
in characterising postmodernity, for example, schizophrenia, post-history
and time-space compression are themselves deconstructive in nature
through their inherent contemplation of rationality, memory and stream of
consciousness. On the deconstructive component of postmodernism,
Beverley Southgate states:
Definition, nevertheless, remains particularly difficult, not least because
there is a sense in which postmodernism seems to deconstruct itself. By
which I mean that, in postmodernisms own terms, there can be no one
given place from which we can finally describe or define it, and to
compound our difficulty there can be no necessary external referent for
any linguistic description or definition that we may try to impose. As with
such other notoriously problematic concepts as God, it indicates a
constantly developing and constantly remodified attempt to describe and
theorise our own situationit denotes an evolving body of thought that
146

Susan Sontag, Illness as Metaphor (New York: Farrer, Strauss and Giroux,
1978), 93-94.
147
Ibid., 93.
148
David Harvey, The Condition of Postmodernity: An Inquiry into the Origins of
Cultural Change (Oxford: Basil Blackwell Ltd., 1991), 350.

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205

can embrace what might seem to be inconsistencies and contradictions.149

The deconstruction of schizophrenia, as a diagnostic label and as a


rationalization of postmodernism, dispels many myths and raises many
questions concerning the discernment of time. As postmodernism is
deconstructive, it appears that a criticism of deconstruction seeks to
maintain the binary of modernism and postmodernism through an
insistence of the struggle between unity and fragmentation; truth and
nostalgia. Deconstruction would highlight their co-dependency. The
danger of this characterises postmodernism as schizophrenic and the
schizophrenic as fragmented. The acceptance of a schizophrenic age
compounds the notion of a diagnosed schizophrenic being at best,
decentred and at worst, romanticised. The justification for this is a feeble
explanation to account for the collapse of compartmentalised time and the
advancing compression of time and space, through a personification of
postmodernism as the schizophrenic. The familiarity of stream of
consciousness in the postmodern self awakens a constant present,
however, the archive desire borne out of the fear of losing the past,
together with the notion of post-history, advocates the desire for past and
future and progresses the prolepsis of time. Prolepsis highlights a return to
the narrative and the art form as a means of avoiding the reality of
postmodernism. Nevertheless, within narrative time and consciousness,
self-distancing becomes illuminated through the ontological practice of
self-reflection. The objectivity of the self is generated by language and
memory. The universality of language becomes coupled with the
difficulties inherent in memory. Individual consciousness becomes
fragmented into social selves, as audience. The rationality of this lies in
the imaginary self and the co-dependency between past and future. This
co-dependency causes the revulsion of a sensitive mind. The sensitivity of
the classified schizophrenic struggles with the rationality of
compartmentalised time, that he/she is only too aware of, and struggles
with the acceptance of stream of consciousness to the point of auditory
hallucinations owing to the social power of compartmentalized time. The
schizophrenic would not experience such a struggle if he/she was not
sensitive to the objectivity of rationality which he/she has intrinsically
understood since his/her introduction to the symbolic order. Such
sensitivity desires the eternal knowledge of stream of consciousness
through the preservation of a constant present. The social powers of
149

Beverley Southgate, Postmodernism in History: Fear or Freedom?, (London:


Routledge, 2003), 6-7.

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diagnostics silently confess their own fragmentation in light of the


postmodern age. The schizophrenic yearns to confess the truth of the
constant present external to the confines of linear time. Subsequently, the
novelist or the film director create characters from the imagination in the
schizophrenic confessional for the reader to escape their reality, the works
of Quentin Tarantino, Emily Dickinson and Virginia Woolf being cases in
point.

Deconstruction
The reasonable man adapts himself to the world:
the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt
the world to himself. Therefore all progress
depends on the unreasonable man.150

The understanding of postmodernity as an antithesis to unification and


modernity presents a new system for comprehending ontology, metaphysics
and the self. However, difficulties arise in this new system of thought.
Instead of extending the history of philosophical discourse, the
contemplation of being has been regrouped, redefined and receives a
further diagnosis in the context of postmodernity. This break with the
dialectic of history, as post-history has issued concerns regarding identity,
anxiety and interpretation. The linguistic turn of postmodernity is in
danger of turning the theories of its age into word play. The criticisms of
Derrida are a testament to this.151 The momentum of postmodernity
towards self-fragmentation presents the duality of theoretical perception
and its self-deconstructive nature. The duality of perception stems from
the contemplation of postmodernity from both a modernist and analytical
perception and from a postmodern and rhetorical perception. An
examination of Derridas essay Archive Fever, the death drive, metaphysical
time and schizoanalysis will present the modernity of deconstruction.

The Fever and Sovereignty of the Archive


In Derridas 1994 lecture The Concept of the Archive: A Freudian
Impression given in London at a conference entitled Memory: The
Question of Archives, he explains that archive fever is the death drive.
150

George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman (Whitefish: Kessinger Publishing,


2005), 238.
151
Criticism of deconstruction has notably come from Michel Foucault and John
Searle.

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207

Derrida is referring to the death drive in the Freudian sense here.152 In


Greek society from which the term derives, the archive itself was
documented and governed by powerful politicians; historically the archons
or superior magistrates. It is they who interpreted the archive. Derrida
states, The citizens who thus held and signified political power were
considered to possess the right to make or represent the lawThey have
the power to interpret the archives.153 Following from this, as the archive
is dependent on interpretation for signification, it takes place at the
breakdown of memory. The signification of the archive and its alleged
stability in society lends it principality and virtue which makes the archive
desirable. However, as the death drive lacks principality it threatens the
stability and principality of signification. Derrida explains:
Above all, and this is the most serious, beyond or within this simple limit
called finiteness or finitude, there is no archive fever without the threat of
this death drive, this aggression and destruction drive. This threat is infinite, it sweeps away the logic of finitude and the simple factual limits, the
transcendental aesthetics, one might say, the spatio-temporal conditions of
conservation.154

The principality of the archive lends itself to becoming an important


guiding idea and from this, its concept, a promise for the future together
with a recording of the past. According to Derrida, this concept carries the
weight of repression and suppression. Derrida reasons:
The unknowable weight that imprints itself thus does not weigh only as a
negative charge. It involves the history of the concept, it inflects archive
desire for fever, their opening on the future, their dependency with respect
to what will come, in short, all that ties knowledge and memory to the
promise.155

152

According to Arthur S. Reber and Emily S. Reber, Freud refers to the death
drive or the death instinct in relation to Thanatos, the Greek god of death. They
state, In Freuds usage [of the notion, death drive] Thanatos refers to the
theoretical generalized instinct for death as expressed in such behaviours as denial,
rejection and the turning-away from pleasure, from Arthur S. Reber and Emily S.
Reber, The Penguin Dictionary of Psychology (London: Penguin Books, 2001),
745.
153
Jacques Derrida, Archive Fever: A Freudian Impression, trans. Eric Prenowitz
(London: The University of Chicago Press, 1998), 2.
154
Ibid., 19.
155
Ibid., 30.

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Chapter Four

It follows that a reliance on the notion of the archive presupposes the


memory of a heritage and a tradition and in turn calls into question the
future. Derrida states:
To have a concept at ones disposal, to have assurances with regard to it, is
to presuppose a closed heritage and the guarantee sealed, in some sense by
that heritage. And the word and the notion of the archive seem at first,
admittedly, to point toward the past, to refer to the signs of consigned
memory, to recall faithfulness to tradition.156

The promise of tomorrow, which is indicative of the tradition of the


archive, is its own justification in the sense that the future holds the answers
to the archive of the past. Consequently, the sovereignty of the archive, and
the laws of society which follow, diminishes the importance of the present.
The promise of the archive together with the future haunts the present
through the spectre of the trace. Derrida states that the archive is:
not, we repeat, a question of the pastThe archive: if we want to know
what that will have meant, we will only know in times to comeA
spectral messianicity is at work in the concept of the archive and ties it,
like religion, like history, like science itself, to a very singular experience
of the promise.157

Derrida extends this to the practice of psychoanalysis, claiming that


repression is archivization. By repressing, one upholds the law of
sovereignty through a general consensus to condense and repress the
meaning of ones existence into archives and by highlighting the
phenomenon of repression in psychoanalysis it in turn supports the
archive. Derrida explains that:
the contradiction between the act of memory or of archivization on the one
hand and repression on the other remains irreducible. As if one could not,
precisely, recall and archive the very thing one represses, archive it while
repressing it (because repression is an archivization), that is to sayto
repress the archive while archiving the repressionaccording to the
current, conscious, patent modes of archivization; otherwise, that is to say,
according to the paths which have called to psychoanalytical deciphering,
in truth to psychoanalysis itself.158

156

Ibid., 33.
Ibid., 36.
158
Ibid., 64.
157

Postmodernism

209

The repetition of repression results from an over-reliance on the past and


the archive. The irreducibility of repetition with regard to the future brings
into question the concept of the spectre of the archive. The haunting of the
archive is its truth: that which is already established, manifested in
postmodern culture and psychoanalysis; nostalgia and hallucination,
respectively. According to Derrida:
we should not forget that if the psychoanalytical explanation of delusion,
of hauntedness, of hallucination, if the psychoanalytical theory of spectres,
in sum, leaves a part, a share of nonverisimilitude unexplained or rather
verisimilar, carrying truth, this is because, and Freud recognizes it himself
a bit further on, there is a truth of delusion, a truth of insanity or of
hauntednessThe truth is spectral, and this is its part of truth which is
irreducible by explanation.159

The concealment of truth and its misinterpretation is due to the promise of


the future. This repetition establishes the need for archives. The archive
desire forms the finitude of postmodernism in order to create a
contemporary identity through the condensation of the concept of
postmodernism. However, the death drive of the real i.e. the truth of the
self, constantly poses a threat to this promise of identity. It is here that
archive desire is distinguished from archive fever i.e. the infinite drive to
express the real as opposed to unifying the identity of the postmodern
individual through the seduction of a desirable archive. The schizophrenic
and fragmented characterisation of this action belies its own enterprise.
The dichotomy which is reached between the modern notion of
unification, on the one hand, and the postmodern perspective of
fragmentation on the other, establishes a logocentrism on the archive,
which, through the death drive, causes the truth of postmodernism to
deconstruct. According to Ren Girard, Deconstruction tries to show that,
if handled correctly, any system of thought will ultimately selfdestructDeconstruction is a weapon turned against the idea of truth.160

Presence, Absence and Metaphysical Time


Derrida and Hegel understood the present through dissent.
Deconstruction and dialectic negation explain diffrance and synthesis,
respectively. In his criticism of theory, Clment Rosset stated:
159

Ibid., 87.
Ren Girard, Theory and its Terrors, in The Limits of Theory, ed. Thomas M.
Kavanagh, 234 (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1989).
160

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Chapter Four
With Hegel we had to be patient, we had to wait for a real grasp of the
concept as we progressed through a laborious and interminable series of
mediations. But finally these mediations did succeed and converged on the
emergence of a meaning, hic et nunc, and on a reconciliation with the
presentIn this respect, each mediation constitutes both a difference in
the Hegelian sense and a diffrance in the Derridean sense of something
that is forever deferred. It is a question, one might say, of an unhappy
Hegelianism: unhappy because it leads nowhere, but an Hegelianism all the
same.161

However, in spite of the obvious difficulties with language, Derrida does


not present yet another characterisation of postmodernity. Instead, he
questions its foundations through a study of postmodern logocentrisms and
the notion of presence, particularly in the deconstruction of time.
According to Christopher Norris:
it is wrong a definitive misreading of Derridas work to regard
deconstruction as having broken altogether with the discourse of
enlightened critiqueas representing just another, deplorable symptom
of the current postmodernist malaise, the failure to keep faith with what he
calls the unfinished project of modernity. On the contrary, Derrida is
sustaining that project by continuing to question its foundational concepts
and values, and by doing so moreover in a spirit quite accordant with
its own critical imperatives.162

The return to the study of the present and presence in the context of
postmodernism presents Derrida and Hegel as modern in their attempts to
understand the unification of Being in the present; in contrast to the
archive dependency of postmodernism. Again Norris states, on Hegel as a
philosopher, that he is one who speculate[s] only with the purpose of
reducing all past or future events to an order of self-present meaning.163
The importance of the binary between presence and absence is
illustrated through Derridas insistence that the concept of time is
metaphysical. To try to go beyond the metaphysical contemplation of time,
i.e. to go outside the historical understanding of time, is a metaphysical
act. Derrida addresses the philosophical traditions of discourse on the
question of time in Of Grammatology through a deconstruction of
161

Ibid., 114.
Christopher Norris, Uncritical Theory: Postmodernism, Intellectuals and the
Gulf War (London: Lawrence & Wishart, 1992), 35.
163
Norris, Deconstruction and the Interests of Theory (London: Leicester
University Press, 1992), 187.
162

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211

presence and absence. The values that are placed on such discourses must
be advanced rather than discarded in order to fully explore their meaning
and the resulting consciousness of metaphysical time. He argues that
presence is the unifying and most dominant of these values. David Wood
explains:
Derridas name for the most dominant of these values is presence,
understood as a fusing together of evidential, spatial, and above all
temporal motifsInstead of offering a (new) philosophy of time, he
explores the dependence of the philosophical tradition itself on our
interpretations of time. These interpretations are claimed to exhibit a
superficial plurality but an underlying unity: the commitment to the value
of presence.164

In extending the project of modernity, Derrida does not offer a new


suggestion for an alternative time. Instead, through deconstruction, he
opens up the possibility of an alternative concept of time whilst remaining
true to the traditions of unity. Wood states, Derrida does indeed liberate
us once and for all from the quest for an original time, from one that
would contain within itself some fundamental power and evidential
primacy. But far from ruling out another concept of time, he actually
opens the way for one.165 Heideggers influence on Derrida is evident
when Being is understood as the determination of time. If we think of this
Being as presence, it goes some way towards understanding desire and the
history of philosophy. It is on the concept of presence that Being is
understood and philosophical investigations are defended. Indeed, it is
presence and its prioritisation that privileges Being over the history of
philosophy. Derrida views history as logocentric, and, as it is constituted
through the written word, it is infused with absence. Derridas analysis of
history, in most of his writings, exposes its written sign as over-infused
with authenticity. According to Derrida, history must first of all be
analysed through its precise textuality and contextuality. Derrida explains
that:
we must first distinguish between history in general and the general
concept of historyAs soon as the question of the historicity of history is
asked and how can it be avoided if one is manipulating a plural or
heterogeneous concept of history? one is impelled to respond with a
definition of essence, of quiddity, to reconstitute a system of essential
164

David Wood, The Deconstruction of Time (Illinois: Northwestern University


Press, 2001), 3.
165
Ibid., 6.

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predicates, and one is also lead to refurbish the semantic grounds of the
philosophical tradition.166

To extend this line of argument is, for Derrida, the means with which to
deconstruct presence within the context of tradition. Further to this, the
deconstruction of presence by the modern writer justifies the
schizophrenics desire to maintain a constant present through the
contemplation of presence. The attainment of a constant present would
deconstruct the logocentrism of linear time from which the haunting of
memory would cease as would the historical reliance on that which is
absent. The first result of this is to reduce ontological anxiety. Wood
states:
In writing about the privilege of presence in philosophy, [Derrida] uses
terms like security, reduction of anxiety, and so forth. The value of
presence is the value of a desire for such security, expressed in a variety of
waysMore often even than philosophy invokes the value of a presence,
Derrida interprets philosophy as the desire for such a first point or arch.
167

The concept of absence, on the other hand, is constituted by the sign. The
deferral of meaning and the knowledge of the signified highlight the
dependency of the signifier to a meaning which is outside of itself. This
deferral of meaning, for Derrida, creates the trace. From the promise of the
future, as narrated by the archive, the trace, which is indicative of
meaning, represents the past in the present. The haunting of presence, by
absence, opens the likelihood of difference. Wood explains:
Metaphysics is a theoretical writing organized around a privileged point a
presencePresence, even in its literal temporal sense, is never simple, but
structured by a relation to what is not present, what is other or absentIf
all meaning has the structure of the sign, then all candidates for the
privilege of presence are constitutionally in debt to something outside of,
other than themselves. Derridas elements, which exhibit in their own
name this deferred, derived nature, are traces. The trace structure and its
pervasiveness, is the lever by which the privilege of presence is
deconstructed.168

The binary relationship between presence and absence, through the


166

Derrida, Positions, trans. Alan Bass (London: Continuum, 2004), 50-51.


Wood, The Deconstruction of Time, 268-269.
168
Ibid., 303.
167

Postmodernism

213

medium of the sign, is similar to the binary of speech and writing. Derrida
places speech over writing due to the Western logocentric tradition of, for
example, worshipping the word of God. The word of God was spoken and
not written. In his earlier works, Derrida also relates the Western
dependence on the spoken word to the ancient Greek tradition of orality.
Speech is a present act, unveiling the truth of the speaker at that moment
in time. A persons utterance seems to have more truth for the listener than
the written word which is removed from the writer. Writing is thus
haunted by an absence of meaning. The time of writing and what is written
mean that the truth of the author is not fully unveiled, and the reader, after
a time, on receiving the written word, may not interpret it as the author
originally intended, at the time of writing. The privilege Derrida observes
in placing speech over writing is explained in the privilege he sees in
placing nature over culture. The spoken word, according to Derrida,
signifies mental experiences which themselves reflect or mirror things
by natural resemblance.169 In order to symbolise the spoken word it
becomes written into a conventional system in order to make utterances
comprehensible. Therein lies the foundation of logocentrism. Derrida
asserts:
Between being and mind, things and feelings, there would be a relationship
of translation or natural signification; between mind and logos, a
relationship of conventional symbolizationWritten language would
establish the conventions, interlinking other conventions with themThe
feelings of the mind, expressing things naturally, constitute a sort of
universal language which can then efface itself.170

Reality and Culture


By examining the life of Jean Jacques Rousseau, the father of French
Romanticism, Derrida could justify the deconstruction of nature and
culture. The singing voice, according to Rousseau, was natural and
present. The melody of emotion and its expression of mind states were
superior to harmony, because harmony consisted of a guided body of
singers who supported a melodic line and created musical chords.
Rousseau claimed that as society became more complex it gave privilege
to written harmony. However, there is an absence which belies itself in
melody. Whilst deconstructing Rousseaus argument for the privilege of
169

Derrida, Of Grammatology, trans. Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, (London: The


John Hopkins University Press, 1980), 11.
170
Ibid.

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nature over culture, diffrance reveals the damage of the supplementation


of writing with speech. The supplement of writing to facilitate the meaning
of the spoken word is created because of the deferral of the signified.
However, the problem with this deferral is that the supplement of writing
has come to replace the spoken word and, implicitly, nature, for the
privilege of culture and its insistence on harmony in all its guises.
To create a new meaning for the portrayal of fragmentation,
postmodernists, both in the private and academic spheres, create a new
representation of the schizophrenic, as the personification of fragmentation.
They justify an alternative signified for the schizophrenic as both nostalgic
and present as the concurrence between nostalgia and the present is
contradictory and fragmented. Nostalgia undermines the present by
infusing it with past recollections. By perceiving the schizophrenic in this
way he/she embodies the metaphysical fragmentation of postmodernism.
Dialectic is created between the non-metaphysical and the metaphysical,
between the postmodernists and the schizophrenic, respectively. Clearly,
the Hegelian dialectic of postmodern culture requires its antithesis and this
is the schizophrenic. The treatment of the schizophrenic, by postmodern
culture, is not any different from his/her treatment during the modern age.
The self-deconstructive nature of the present perfect, the diffrance is
presence. Also, the present perfect, through the trace, is selfdeconstructive. On the present dangers of the supplement, Derrida states:
Writing is dangerous from the moment that representation there claims to
be presence and the sign of the thing itselfBut the supplement
supplements. It adds only to replace. It intervenes or insinuates itself inthe-place-of; if it fills, it is as if one fills a void. If it represents and makes
an image, it is by the anterior default of a presenceSomewhere,
something can be filled up of itself, can accomplish itself, only by allowing
itself to be filled through sign and proxy. The sign is always the
supplement of the thing itself.171

Thus, the privilege of culture over nature maintains supplementarity by


postmodernists reference to the image of the schizophrenic as a
representation of postmodern culture. The trend of postmodern culture to
acquire an established definition, results, yet again, in objectifying the
schizophrenic. The Hegelian dialectic between interpretations of
schizophrenia, the image of postmodernism and the objectified and
misunderstood schizophrenic, highlights the self-deconstructive character
of postmodern culture. Following from this, Derrida argues that
171

Ibid., 144-145.

Postmodernism

215

supplementation is the bedrock of signification and because of this, in the


linguistic field of the law it is the origin of metaphysics. Wood explains,
Derrida describes supplementation as an original structure of
significationI take it he means that it is from this structure that the
metaphysical picture is derived, by a certain distorting transformation.172
Therefore, according to Derrida, our only knowledge of time for the
foreseeable future is metaphysical, due to the reversal of the primacy of
speech over writing and the continuous supplementarity that deconstructs
culture. Supplementarity and metaphysics also highlight how diffrance
and presence are dialectically related. A manifestation of this is
postmodernitys inability to synthesise its own identity through a reliance
on the archive for truth. This determined negation in the postmodern
dialectic is indicative of the necessity to contemplate presence over the
promises of the past if the project of modernity is to be understood.
Otherwise, the truth of the real self, in the Lacanian sense, or the Beingalready-thereness173 of truth will perpetually become overlooked through
an over reliance on the written word and its conversion. On the
juxtaposition between the singing voice and the written word, Slavoj iek
maintains:
The voice functions here as a supplement in the Derridean sense: one
endeavours to restrain it, to regulate it, to subordinate it to the articulated
Word, yet one cannot dispense with it altogether, since a proper dosage is
vital for the exercise of power (suffice it to recall the role of patriotic
military songs in the building up of a totalitarian community).174

Another aspect of the constitution of the law is that it lacks the dialectic
from which to pledge meaning. The law that promises a future meaning to
archive desire is irrational. Accordingly, the unconscious is not the
antithesis of consciousness but the means through which consciousness is
created. It is the foundation of repression. Terry Eagleton states, The law
must be irrational, since if there were reasons for obeying it, it would lose
its absolute authority. The unconscious is not the opposite of
consciousness, but the founding act of repression by which consciousness
is established in the first place.175 The premise of the autonomous reality
172

Wood, The Deconstruction of Time, 131.


Heidegger, Being and Time, 194.
174
Slavoj iek, Interrogating the Real, eds. Rex Butler and Scott Stephens
(London: Continuum, 2006), 274.
175
Terry Eagleton, Figures of Dissent: Critical Essays on Fish, Spivak, iek and
Others (London: Verso, 2003), 204.
173

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of consciousness in the history of philosophy is neither taken into account


nor understood as a notion. Clment Rosset explains:
Reality as such is generally not taken into account. It is called into service
only on those occasions when it is a question or refuting fallacious
reasoning, of denouncing the frequent misfires of intellectual speculation
and even then, little thought is given to actually defining its status. It is in
the name of reality that we triumphantly settle our accounts with error,
illusion, imagination, dream, fantasy, and desire. But its role stops there.176

The supplementarity of many schools of thought on Being have


overlooked the theory of reality. The real of reality is either too obvious to
warrant a study or too reminiscent of its deferred meaning. The other of
reality in the symbolic order is fantasy. Rosset argues:
Reality is precisely that of which we can never perceive a double except in
fantasy or illusion. It consists only of itself and constitutes, as Ernst Mach
would put it, a unilateral being whose mirror image cannot exist. This
absence of any mirror image establishes reality as an object that is only
half observable and half knowablea singularity without replica.177

This question of contemporary reality, without an other, is the real


self of postmodern culture, in the Lacanian sense, i.e. unbridled desire as is
manifested by the emergence of the fragmentation of reason as a
predominant theme in postmodern cultures definition and self-identity.
However, due to the phenomenon of the other in the symbolic order,
experience is presented as part objects whilst truth is concealed. The
reality of postmodernity, being a synthesis of part objects of
consciousness, memory and language, is understood as fragmented. The
allusion that it is schizophrenic is yet another attempt to unify and
understand postmodern identity. According to Deleuze and Guattari, the
schizophrenic demonstrates that he/she has no sense of lack through
his/her desire to connect with part objects. These part objects are produced
by the unconscious because of the laws governing society. Holland states,
for Deleuze and Guattari, there is no real lack, except as engineered
retroactively by social systems of representation: authentic, schizophrenic
desire makes immediate connections with part-objects in reality. The
breast, after all, is a real (part-) object; the mirror image is, on the
176

Clment Rosset, Reality and the Untheorizable, in The Limits of Theory ed.
Thomas M. Kavanagh, 76 (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1989).
177
Ibid., 83.

Postmodernism

217

contrary, not real at all.178


Another point on the contradiction inherent in unifying a selfdeconstructive postmodern identity is highlighted through the claim that
the unconscious does not exist prior to its linguistic and mechanical
creation. According to Gregg Lambert:
A fundamental thesis that one can find throughout the writings of Deleuze
and Guattari is that the unconscious does not exist, or, more accurately, the
unconscious does not exist prior to the moment of its production
according to Deleuze and Guattari, [psychoanalysis is] a machine that
produces the unconscious by a regular rhythm inserted into the interstice of
speech and silence: symptoms, transference, interpretation, the incessant
rumblings of unconscious desire.179

The notion of the unconscious, as produced by psychoanalysis,


nevertheless upholds the conception of the real self. By working actively
with language, psychoanalysis must translate concepts into signifiers in
order to comprehend the modes of desire in the symbolic order. On the
other hand, schizoanalysis highlights the common perception of
schizophrenia as an irrational mode of Being through a reversal of the
understanding of desire and demonstrates the governing law to be
tyrannical. Thereby, any mode of existence that undermines its authority is
deemed either irrational or insane. The brutality of this arises from the
anxiety of the law about being exposed as maintaining an over-reliance on
the interpretation of archives. Holland declares:
For schizoanalysis, the unconscious is not structured like a language at
least not if language is here meant in the Saussurian sense of a total
system: at most, the unconscious is structured like the word-salad of
schizophrenia, with no center, and no Law. The Symbolic realm of social
representations may indeed be governed by such semiotic functions: but
then for Deleuze and Guattari it is not the name-of-the-father that governs
there, but the name-of-the-despot.180

178

Holland, The Anti-Oedipus: Postmodernism in Theory; Or, the Post-Lacanian


Historical Contextualization of Psychoanalysis, in Boundary 2, vol. 14, no.
(Autumn, 1985 Winter, 1986): 293-294.
179
Gregg Lambert, De/Territorializing Psycho-analysis, in Derrida, Deleuze,
Psychoanalysis, ed. Gabrielle Schwab, 194-195 (New York: Columbia University
Press, 2008).
180
Holland, The Anti-Oedipus: Postmodernism in Theory; Or, the Post-Lacanian
Historical Contextualization of Psychoanalysis, in Boundary 2, vol. 14, no.

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Chapter Four

Through its established claims of post-history and fragmentation,


postmodernity refuses to be writ large or to re-code itself as an over-riding
synthesis of culture. Instead it plays modern master-codes of economics,
culture and interpretation off of each other. In this sense, schizoanalysis is
similar to deconstruction in that it unearths the foundations of societys
codes of Being together with the co-dependency of binary opposites.
Deconstruction was a precursor to the postmodern method of schizoanalysis.
Holland explains, Deconstruction is indeed an important precursor to
schizoanalysis, inasmuch as Derrida has rendered most forms of
interpretation inoperative by demonstrating the inherent instability of the
master-codes on which interpretation has been based.181 However,
deconstruction remains a modern method of analysis because its
investigation of coding takes place within the confines of modernity.
Schizoanalysis, on the other hand, strives to know and deal with the
contradictions of the postmodern collective identity of totalising
fragmentation, dangerously associating it with schizophrenia, as a
fragmented way of Being. Romancing the identity of schizophrenia is a
by-product of the damage of misinterpreting the condition and its
phenomenon in ontological studies. Deconstruction seeks to understand
the codes that postmodernism and schizoanalysis de-code. On the
modernism of Derridas method Holland asserts that:
even though [Derrida] manages to de-code logocentrism, Derrida does so,
as he says, strictly from within its own parameters. As a discourse of
philosophy, deconstruction remains, like modernism, a basically selfreferential discourse; so even while heralding the end of western
metaphysics, Derrida remains only on the threshold of postmodernism.182

The deconstruction of deconstruction shows it to be a modern method


of thought and analysis. By refusing to go outside its own parameters,
deconstruction assists in establishing the present as of primary importance
in the understanding of Being. By examining the relevance of presence in
light of the archive and metaphysics, deconstruction implicitly advocates
the logic and reasonability of the classified schizophrenics desire to
contemplate his/her ontological Being, through his/her endeavour to exist
in a constant present. In this manner, deconstruction also highlights the
instability of postmodernism by exposing the co-dependency of societal
codes and the irrationality of the law, the very foundation on which
(Autumn, 1985 Winter, 1986): 295.
181
Ibid., 303.
182
Ibid.

Postmodernism

219

postmodernity seeks to build an identity. Cyberspace, which is suggestive


of postmodernity, may be interpreted as an attempt made by the
postmodern collective consciousness to flee the nets of metaphysical time
and unstable coding. However, in order to make any outside of
metaphysics comprehensible and interpretable, postmodernity relies on the
duality of interpretation and the non-notion of a universal reality. Through
deconstruction and schizoanalysis, it is clear that meaning is a vacant
promise of the archive desire whilst the fragmentation between the desire
of the real self and unity of identity is the reality of a cultures presence.
While the deconstruction of postmodernism takes place at the grass roots
of its characteristic de-coding, schizoanalysis takes up this de-coding and
reveals the myth of its stability and schizophrenic identity. The
schizophrenic personifies the desire of modernitys dialectic for Absolute
Knowledge of itself over and above the fragmentary circumstance of
capitalism, the promise of meaning and archive desire. In becoming the
other of modernism, postmodernism needs a re-examination of archive
fever, metaphysical time and further contemplation of the constant present
in order to acquire a new synthesis of Being as opposed to a re-coding of
master narratives. The schizophrenic is living proof of the unfinished
dialectic of Absolute Spirit through his/her desire, in the milieu of the law,
to be liberated from others, the pursuit of the sign and diagnoses.

Conclusion
This chapter sought to examine the philosophical significance of
postmodernity in understanding schizophrenia. It is evident that the
dependency on history and objectivity to contextualise and frame
definitions of postmodernity has lead to a misinterpretation of
schizophrenia as a way of being that is fragmented.
In terms of postmodernity, the modernist characteristics of
postmodernity illustrate the reliance of postmodernity on rationality and
universality. Being self-destructive, postmodernity reveals its reliance for
definitions on the very components it appears to surpass, namely history,
metaphysical time, the archive and modernity. However, schizoanalysis
uncovers the inconsistencies of such thinking, particularly in light of
phenomenology and Lacanian psychoanalysis. From late capitalism to the
Oedipus complex, historical understandings of the self have proven to be
objective and abstract. Schizoanalysis further illustrates the fluidity
between objectivity and subjectivity, thus highlighting the logic inherent in
the diagnosed schizophrenic.
The illusion of freedom and desire, through the end products of

220

Chapter Four

capitalist production, forms a sharp contrast to the insistence of the


schizophrenic on maintaining a constant present whilst contemplating
his/her subjectivity. In light of the postmodern condition, an individual
afflicted with a heightened sensitivity to language, subsequently diagnosed
as schizophrenic, strives to understand the phenomenon of experience as it
presents itself in his/her present through the dialectic of
objectivity/subjectivity. The historical diagnostic criteria for this
schizophrenic way of being have changed over the centuries as has the
medical name for this illness. Nonetheless, narratives of self and
historical justifications for classifications of the abnormal continue to
belie their own myth in the confessional of the postmodern age.

CHAPTER FIVE
AN INTERDISCIPLINARY EXAMINATION

If one could go deep into the depth of the


dark earth one would discover the bright
gold, or if one could get fathoms down one
would discover the pearl at the bottom of
the sea.1

Introduction
In this chapter, drawing on the research outlined so far, the notion of
schizophrenia will be interpreted under the headings of 1) causes, 2)
effects, 3) ways in which it can be analysed, 4) its manifestations in
culture and 5) my proposed approach towards understanding this
intriguing, mysterious, fragile, yet familiar condition. It is evident, thus
far, that the notion of schizophrenia reaches across many disciplines
because of the difficulties of defining the condition, partly due to the
deferred metaphor as outlined in chapter three. By examining this intense
way of being through various interpretations, it will be shown that
multiple disciplines converge under the weight of objectivity, leading to
the observable fact that the schizophrenic condition is a reasonable mode
of becoming self-defined as well as the fact that it demonstrates
participation in the collective desire for recognition. The study of the
other and schizophrenia deepens cultural analysis by improving our
understanding of the linguistic effects each individual experiences with
language and the external world.

The Linguistic Roots of Schizophrenia


The causes of schizophrenia, as a notion and as a psychiatric diagnosis,
are varied and complex, and setting out definitive causes is not within the
1
R. D., Laing, The Divided Self: An Existential Study in Sanity and Madness
(London: Penguin Books, 1990), 205.

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Chapter Five

scope of this book, as it does not contain research in clinical practice on


human subjects. However, through the cross-disciplinary approach used,
some key commonalities have arisen. Self-consciousness desire for
recognition and the objectifying forces of language tend to come to the
fore time and again. In this analysis, the limitations of single schools of
thought are seen to be a direct result of language, damaging to a deeper
contemplation of desire and the self and which in fact creates the
schizophrenic as the quintessential other of both language and in turn
society. An institutionalised, diagnosed schizophrenic, coming to terms
with language, is the ultimate example of the failure of language to
express selfhood and the damage its universality places on individual
subjectivity. The schools of thought that have become naturalised
(psychiatry, psychoanalysis, postmodernism) in collective consciousness
reinforce the common notion of schizophrenia through the self-fulfilling
prophecies of their individual interpretations. Nonetheless, as this book
has demonstrated, an interdisciplinary approach in the understanding of
schizophrenia highlights the limitations of particular schools of thought
and further illustrates the difficulties inherent in interpretation, the
unhappy consciousness of such schools and the Hegelian slave to language
which is most overtly manifested in the schizophrenic. The schizophrenic
dispels the myths of naturalised notions and truths embedded in meaning,
for example, the schizophrenic as personification of postmodernism. In
taking the enterprise of rationality to its limit, it is little wonder that the
schizophrenic is designated the position of other by society. The dialectic
between the schizophrenic and society will continue due to his/her
symptoms and their deconstruction of reality, which is akin to Hegels
dialectic of opposites.
The phenomenon of schizophrenia in light of evolutionary and genetic
studies, as outlined in chapter one, further destabilizes these particular
schools truth claims because schizophrenia continues to be prevalent in
society and moreover society continues to make schizophrenia prevalent
as the other for societys dialectic of Absolute Knowledge of itself. In
terms of cultural, linguistic and literary studies, the notion of
schizophrenia maintains its mystique, puzzlement and ambiguity as it
continues to defy a concrete definition. As each description of
schizophrenia belies its predecessor, the notion of schizophrenia, as
other, nonetheless continues the dialectic of consciousness across
disciplinary boundaries and ensures, through its deferral of meaning and
description, that every school of thought, contemplating the nature and
cause of schizophrenia, will continue its own dialectic towards Absolute
Knowledge.

An Interdisciplinary Examination

223

Beginning with Hegels philosophy, the linguistic roots of


schizophrenia lie in the appraisal of objectivity, as has been discussed,
through the mastery given to legal systems, religion and the promotion of
harmony in any given community. However, the fragmentation of these
concepts is inevitable given the dialectical movement of selfconsciousness and the discrepancy between the individual and his/her
society; between individual subjectivity and the objectivity of collective
consciousness. The collective consciousness of a community lacks spirit as
it is not in and for itself. Further to this, the universality of language
continuously fragments the objectivity of consciousness. The
naturalisation of objectivity in society becomes terrible and traumatic for
the schizophrenic through the objectifying gaze and language of
hallucinations. However, as the schizophrenic is a linguistic self, he/she
relies on the other of language to communicate and understand the
objects in his/her world and his/her subjectivity. Language separates selfconsciousness from itself and it is the objectivity of self to oneself that
becomes the embodiment of hallucinations for the schizophrenic.
According to Hegel, the objectivity of self is maintained by the self
existing for others through the I of self-consciousness becoming the I
of another self-consciousness. This I that exists for others is for the
purposes of recognition. In order to move the dialectic of consciousness,
the thoughts of a schizophrenic have to be both recognized and opposed by
the other. This communication of thought is articulated by every
linguistic self, but some individuals, who sometimes become diagnosed
schizophrenics, have a heightened awareness of the division of self that
ensues from language. The objectified self of self-consciousness becomes
utterly opposed to the subjective self so that the individual in question
becomes traumatised and mentally paralysed through a failure to eliminate
the other through the negation of recognition. Virginia Woolf describes
the power of the I thus:
[a] shadow seemed to lie across the page. It was a straight dark bar, a
shadow shaped something like the letter I. One began dodging this way
and that to catch a glimpse of the landscape behind itBack one was
always hailed to the letter I. One began to be tired of I. Not but what
this I was a most respectable I; honest and logical; as hard as a nut, and
polished for centuries by good teaching and good feelingBut here I
turned a page or two, looking for something or other the worst of it is that
in the shadow of the letter I all is shapeless as mist.2

Virginia Woolf, A Room of Ones Own, in The Selected Works of Virginia

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Chapter Five

This quote captures our obsession with the phenomenon of the I and our
relationship with it together with the myriad of philosophical,
psychoanalytical and theoretical difficulties in defining the I.
The theory of trauma and its aftermath plays an important role in
understanding the causes of schizophrenia. According to Lacanian
psychoanalysis, a child becomes self-conscious at the mirror stage, during
which he/she enters the symbolic order. The trauma that results from the
awareness of the objectifying power of the symbolic order is aided by one
or more of the following: a poorly created imaginary self, an inverted
Oedipus complex, a desire to satisfy the real self, or a sense of his/her
ontological and existential lack of being as the backdrop of the symbolic
order. The break in the signifying chain which ensues is compounded
when an individual is exposed to a traumatic event such as abuse. It can
reawaken the trauma felt during an individuals introduction to the
symbolic order. The ego-ideal and the ideal ego act as substitutions for the
other in individual consciousness. Nevertheless, the gothic image of the
self, as an inverted reflection of the real self, is an experience shared by
every linguistic individual because each individual strives to close the void
which is created by self-consciousness at his/her launch into the symbolic
order. As Arieti has stated, schizophrenic hallucinations are memories of
repressed traumas which are experienced in the stream of consciousness of
the schizophrenic. These memories are without context yet their temporal
nature assumes an infinite presence as they gather momentum. The
fragmentation of self, as a result of the trauma of language, which has
come to define the postmodern age, has found inevitable expression. Due
to the universality of language such traumatic memories constitute the
bildungsroman of the schizophrenic whilst he/she comprises both the
narrator and the reader due to the other in consciousness. The
compartmentalisation of time, together with a desire for archives, makes
the task of maintaining a constant present all the more difficult for an
individual seeking to recognise his/her subjectivity. The more ardently
such an individual strives to deconstruct the mastery of objectivity and
rationality, the more he/she runs the risk of being classified as a
schizophrenic. According to Janice Williamson, Each trauma resonates
with the perverse banality of everyday destruction, one doesnt feel the
burning flesh and cannot compare the pain. And yet there are parallels in
the way normal behaviour can organize itself so carefully to
accommodate anguish and inhumanity.3
Woolf, ed. The Wordsworth Library Collection, 625 (London: Clays Ltd., 2007).
3
Janice Williamson, Crybaby! (Alberta: NeWest Press Ltd., 1998), 73.

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The distance created by objectivity, the compartmentalisation of time,


the separation of self-consciousness, the traumatising effects of the other,
the desire for recognition, the doubt of objective reality, the anxiety
generated concerning the nothingness of existence and the difficulties
inherent in maintaining a constant present, are all linguistically related
causes of the notion of schizophrenia. The sensitivity an individual
experiences, compounded by hyper-reflexivity, inherently undermine the
grand narratives of rationality, and the schools of thought associated with
it, which seek to categorise individuals who explicitly wrestle with
language. As every grand narrative creates its other the schizophrenic
becomes a universal other and in doing so highlights the need for
interdisciplinary approaches for the study of schizophrenia: its clinical
concept and perception in culture The diffrance embedded in the dialectic
of master and slave, sanity and insanity, is the real self coming to terms
with the symbolic order.

The Effects of Schizophrenia


The preserving nature of language and the sense-certainty of experience
illustrate schizophrenia as a debilitating mental illness and the diagnosed
schizophrenic as a product of nature and society. However, the multiple
experiences of an individual, in his/her stream of consciousness, continue
to undermine absolute definitions of self. As the objectifying gaze of the
other remains embedded in language and consciousness, binary
oppositions of definitions of the self are perpetuated. Paradoxically, it is
the otherness of language that insists on redefinitions through the dialectic
of the subject/object to realise Absolute Knowledge against abjection and
death. The symptoms and effects of a schizophrenic state of mind are
understandable in light of the causes of this ontological anxiety. Paranoia,
hallucinations, narcissism, lack of trust, isolation, anxiety, fear and the
haunting of the self are understood here to be rational and logical reactions
to a divided and traumatised self.
To be perceived and recognised as an object by a masterful person or
traumatising event, to the point of having ones consciousness penetrated
by such violence, would suggest that one inevitably assumes the identity
of an object, depending on the severity and longevity of the trauma. Yet, in
the case of schizophrenia, the diagnosed individual defies such objectivity
and normalization through a continuous effort to come to terms with
language, either through auditory hallucinations or word salads. It can
happen, however, that an individual becomes so exasperated with his/her
psychotic struggle that a psychiatric diagnosis of schizophrenia becomes

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his/her new identity. Sometimes to have a name for a confusing and


painful way of being makes the experience somewhat manageable and
even reassuring. On being diagnosed with schizophrenia an individual may
sometimes become a schizophrenic per se and fit into that objective
mould; being a schizophrenic can be a self-fulfilling prophecy. Sass
explains that:
it is not uncommon for patients whose illness is very real nevertheless to
feign or exaggerate symptoms, perhaps as a way of avoiding intimate
contact with others, or of preventing discharge from the safe environment
of a hospital ward (the flight into disease, as Eugen Bleuler calls it).4

On the other hand, such an individual wrestles with the dialectic of his/her
other of consciousness by objectifying the diagnosis which can
culminate towards the logical conclusion of nothingness. The effects of
this are self-alienation and petrification.
Another paradox of language is the subjectivity that is implied by
interpretation. The dialectic of consciousness will not cease because of the
echoes of the other as it seeks to interpret the chosen words of the self.
These echoes or hallucinations both haunt the schizophrenic and serve to
unmask the mastery of language and the instability of objectivity. The
assumed mastery of the other causes the schizophrenic to become
anxious through a fear of exposure and it can cause him/her to retreat into
his/her own private universe. Thus, the schizophrenic is understood as an
individual seeking to return to pure being i.e. to realise an unfragmented
consciousness and become self-knowing; to deconstruct or unbuild the
parameters of recognition, to go back to a state pre-other i.e. prelanguage. It can be demonstrated that the binary between sanity and
insanity lies in the perception of the other. This also raises the issue of
where anxiety ends and acceptance begins in relation to ones connection
with the other. Each individual born to the symbolic order must face the
task of dealing with the other. The identity and subjectivity of this
other has many faces, as has been demonstrated in this book, from the
inner voice to the bicameral mind. Somewhere in the diffrance between
them lie violence, trauma, the third eye of objectivity and the reflection of
subjectivity. In the case of an individual who has experienced a traumatic
event, which serves as a reminder of his/her initial linguistic trauma,
his/her ego-ideal assumes the identity of the individual who perpetrated
the traumatic and/or criminal event, in such cases as sexual, mental,
4
Sass, Madness and Modernism: Insanity in the Light of Modern Art, Literature
and Thought (London: Harvard University Press), 111.

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psychological or physical abuse. The tone and pitch of voice, logic of


argument, disgust with and treatment of the traumatised individual can
become the characteristics of his/her other. The severity of recognition
from this other is counteracted, at times, by repetition, in order to break
the signification of the others metaphor as it negatively interprets the
subjectivity of the traumatised individual. These metaphors of damnation,
shame and loathing are the Voices of schizophrenia. Consequently, a
traumatised individual comes to distrust society and displays signs of
paranoia and narcissistic behaviour. Ironically, once such an individual is
diagnosed with schizophrenia he/she has reason to doubt the
trustworthiness of society. It is easy to see why the repetitious nature of
paranoia could begin to build in this context. Given the stigma that is
attached to mental illness, the schizophrenic becomes further isolated and
this, in turn, fuels the conviction of the Voices and their haunting,
tormenting power.
The schizophrenic does not record fixed memories or artefacts of
subjectivity that would serve to lessen the mastery of the past over the
present, by the compartmentalisation of time. He/she gains selfunderstanding, according to Deleuze and Guattari, through a rhizomatic
growth of knowledge, which at times, can become both intense and
revealing. Through schizoanalysis, the fragmentary nature of capitalism
becomes exposed and this in-itself undermines self-identity and the truthclaims of industry i.e. the concept of rationality in the context of social
conformity and the mastery of the other. This reversal of the notion of
schizophrenia makes the yearnings of the schizophrenic for a constant
present appear sensible. The reversal of this notion occurs through a more
comprehensive understanding of the exaggerated difficulties with
language that the schizophrenic has come to be defined by; albeit
difficulties that every self-conscious linguistic subject experiences. It is in
this present that the mastery of the past becomes deconstructed, thereby
reducing the continually experienced trauma of self for the schizophrenic.
The body without organs evokes both attraction and repulsion for the
schizophrenic. As these emotions are unlimited, they are positive, which in
turn fills the body without organs. On the one hand, the schizophrenic is
paralysed by his/her other, whilst on the other hand he/she is not arrested
by the conditions of objectivity through self-understanding that is based on
emotion.
The self-distancing which results from self-reflection, through narration
and the social self can exacerbate the mastery of hallucinations through a
temporary ceasing of the stream of consciousness and the subject/object
dialectic of recognition. Through the language of narration the self

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becomes distant to him/herself, in order for the other to interpret the


schizophrenics subjectivity through a recollection of individual actions.
However, the self-distancing of narration perpetuates the self as object
through the prolepsis of narration and the deferral of meaning in language.
Yet, ironically, the appeal to the other through self-distancing, to
recognise the subjectivity of the self, is an appeal of the self to recognise
his/her subjectivity through the other. Thus, through language, selfconsciousness becomes divided and through self-distancing the self seeks
to transcend the other. Nevertheless, self-distancing ensures the objective
power of the other through the very endeavour to transcend the other
and the trauma generated by the other.
The effects of schizophrenia, as understood through the subject/object
dialectic and the proposal of trauma, appear rational. When this rationality
is deconstructed, the paradoxical nature of language, as both fragmentary
and potentially synthetic, is revealed. The schizophrenics struggle with
the objects of consciousness in society and the ostensible authority of
language further deconstructs the mastery of the other. It is in language
that the notion of schizophrenia is borne out through the admission of
hallucinations, lack of trust in others, paranoia, isolating behaviour and
anxiety. At the same time, it is through language that these effects are
understood through the examination of the other, its creation, purpose
and dialectic relationship with the self. Self-distancing, narration and selfreflection are generated through language and it is through language that
they become players in the quest for self-identity over and above the
otherness of objectivity and rationality.

Ways in which Schizophrenia can be Analysed


The analysis of schizophrenia first entails understanding precisely what
is meant by schizophrenia and what it stands for. It is my contention that
the schizophrenic way of being in the world is similar to any other way of
being in the world, albeit with varying degrees of intensity, anxiety and
stress. Categorising an individual as schizophrenic may set in motion the
self-fulfilling prophecy of mental illness and excusing exaggerated
symptoms based on the mystery of schizophrenia as both a social enigma
and as a condition. It is firstly by relating the symptoms of schizophrenia
to the tenets and frustrations of the human condition that a better
understanding of schizophrenia can be reached, an approach which may
also help to alleviate the symptoms. This study has shown that the selfisolation and self-distancing that ensue from objectivity are human factors
and reactions to the universality of language and are better understood by

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degrees rather than differences. Falling prey time and again to objectivity,
as in the case of objectifying an individual through the diagnosis of
schizophrenia, compounds the anxieties and traumatic experiences of such
an individual. Through the philosophical, psychoanalytical and cultural
interdisciplinary analyses of schizophrenia a broader and more
comprehensive approach can be found in dealing with this phenomenon.
The concepts of time, stream of consciousness, the social self, objects of
consciousness, personality, deconstruction, language and reality become
better understood in the process of accepting the trials of being human and
understanding the condition through its similarity to every linguistic
beings struggle with language.
Through the written and verbal testaments of diagnosed schizophrenics
it becomes clear that their struggle with language is altogether too human.
Determined negations of recognition through the other are juxtaposed
with his/her desire to be recognised as a social self. Every individual,
whether a diagnosed schizophrenic or otherwise, has a unique personality
that is played out in his/her unique double bind of negation and desire. As
a result of this each journey towards the self is complex and exclusive;
therefore, no one cure will suit all schizophrenics. The nothingness in the
dialectic of becoming is yet another human characteristic, but, objectifying
individuals who declare this, through objectifying their experience of
negating existence, is part of the rational law of society. This double bind
of objectivity, in itself, raises questions concerning the historical treatment
of the schizophrenic. His/her subjectivity invariably comes to the fore.
Nonetheless, it has been seen as the right and natural decision to objectify
him/her even more into becoming the other of society, through the
perception of the mastery of objectivity. The other paradox in this, of
course, is that the other assumes mastery in consciousness. This is
further demonstrated by the concept of the stream of consciousness.
As the stream of consciousness moves away from the traditional
analytical building blocks of knowledge, it reveals the dialectic of
consciousness through the tendency of consciousness to bracket
experience and its awareness of transitive and substantive parts, together
with the desire and expectancy of self-consciousness towards selfknowledge. The isolation of objects of experience plays a large part in the
alleviation of schizophrenic anxiety, by objectifying these objects and at
the same time becoming aware of the subjectivity that consciousness is
recalling through the stream of consciousness as the archive saturates the
temporal experience of phenomenological knowledge. This would lead to
a distinction between the topic and object of thought and understanding
why the topic of thought invokes such negative and fearful emotions for

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the schizophrenic. Elyn R. Saks states:


Philosophy and psychosis have more in common than many people
(philosophers especially) might care to admit. The similarity is not what
you might think that philosophy and psychosis dont have rules, and
youre tossed around the universe willy-nilly. On the contrary, each is
governed by very strict rules, and in both cases, that inquiry takes place
almost solely inside ones head.5

The topic of thought that Saks is referring to governs the rules of


consciousness and the logic required to formulate topics of thought, in the
midst of psychosis, makes the task of understanding psychosis possible.
The alteration of topics of thought, due to the compartmentalisation of
time, predominantly happens through trauma and its subsequent effects of
repetition. The false memories and hallucinations which result can become
better understood through the stream of consciousness and the temporality
of language. By interpreting the language of schizophrenic symptoms,
together with recognising the objects of consciousness through objectivity,
the schizophrenic can be assisted in deconstructing the mastery of the
other of his/her consciousness.
The insight schizophrenic experience lends to the arts and cultural
studies cannot be overestimated. The correlation between creativity and
schizophrenic intensity, in a constant present, together with the struggle
and frustrations with language, are familiar encounters for any artist or
writer. This correlation in-itself further disproves the notion that
schizophrenia is an isolated way of existing and highlights the
disadvantage of not exploring the utterances and experiences of
individuals with a heightened ability/sensitivity for hyper-reflexivity. Saks
explains that, while the line between creativity and madness can be razorthin (a fact that has been unfortunately romanticized), examining and
experiencing the world in a different way can lead to sharp and fruitful
insights.6 The quest to express the real self through the symbolic order
and the means and methods of achieving this is, again, part of the human
condition. From imbalances of dopamine to plain eccentricity, the
categorisation of individuals reveals more about the person or bodies
doing the categorising and their dialectical desire to create an other
through objectivity, than it does about the personality and subjectivity of
the individual being labelled. The injustices of such labelling are endless.
5

Elyn R. Saks, The Centre Cannot Hold: A Memoir of my Schizophrenia (London:


Virago Press, 2007), 38.
6
Ibid., 38.

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However, this consciousness of self, and seeking an other from whom


the self can be distinguished, is characteristic of being human.
The creation of the madman/madwoman, through the linguistic
template of otherness, perpetuates the language of universality whilst the
language of selfhood remains neglected. The senses and sensibility, before
they are communicated through language, give testimony to selfhood.
Relations with the world of nature and reality are heightened through
hyper-reflexivity and multiple intelligences. Ones relationship with
objects in the world, as opposed to the objectifying other of experience,
defies the mastery of language and the penetrating gaze of hallucinations.
Lori Schiller, a recovering schizophrenic patient relates:
When I hear the Voices, I shake myself back to reality by using all my
senses. If Im riding the train to Manhattan, for example, I concentrate on
the taste of the Diet Coke and the smell of the perfume I am wearing. I
look out the window at the changing view, and listen carefully to the sound
of the conductor collecting tickets. I feel my own ticket flipping back and
forth between my fingers.7

Through sensibility and intelligence a schizophrenic can make distinctions


between the reality of commonality, as experienced in the world by every
individual, and his/her lived traumatic experience of the Voices.
Abjection, the revolt of the real self against the laws of the symbolic order,
further enables the language of selfhood by facilitating the deconstruction
of the object/subject dialectic. The language of selfhood denotes the
mourning of the self for its non-fragmented ego. Understood in this way,
the terror that is induced by schizophrenic symptoms is comprehensible.
Mourning for the ego is a characteristic of the human condition thus far
only acknowledged as being experienced by a few diagnosed
schizophrenics. Nevertheless, it is in actual fact experienced by every
individual, the degree and the severity of which depends on an individuals
linguistic tendency to objectify his/her self.
Schizophrenia is a manifestation of a fear of language. This phobia is
universal. As the veneer of normality disintegrates the schizophrenic
becomes the other of society, through the principles of language.
Therefore, the analysis of language in treating and understanding
schizophrenia is crucial. As language is a universal, only recognising
itself, the dangers of objectifying the utterances and experiences of
diagnosed schizophrenics are apparent. However, the analysis of culture,
7

Lori Schiller and Amanda Bennett, The Quiet Room: A Journey out of the
Torment of Madness (New York: Warner Books, 1996), 269.

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albeit objectively, is of central importance in coming to terms with the


schizophrenic condition, the problems of language and the desire for
Absolute Knowledge and self-identity.

Schizophrenia as Manifest in Culture


Historical consciousness, political and cultural revolution, religion,
nostalgia, archive desire, space, fragmentation, capitalism and the third
eye of postmodernity are both objects of consciousness understanding the
phenomenon of its experienced sense of fragmentation, and redefinitions
in consciousness understanding of the dialectic of Absolute Spirit. The
correlations and distinctions being made between modernism and
postmodernism result from the contemporary focus on interpretation and
redefinitions of the self. The fragmentation of self which is continually
experienced through objects of consciousness and language manifests
itself in negations of phenomenological experience together with the
desire for the future event of experiencing consciousness being-for-itself.
The demand for such being-for-itself propels the dialectic of self into a
confusion of compartmentalised time and compression, the logical result
of which is a determination for space; the final frontier of experience. The
abjection that results, will force, expectantly, a unification of self through
a being in and for itself. Resolving the dialectic with the other thereby
accommodates current experiences of fragmentation in the postmodern
condition, whilst narrating the alleged inevitability of unification, as
testified by nostalgia for the archive. The correlation between modernism
and postmodernism is maintained by history, negation and the rational
insistence on creating the other.
The changes that have taken place in politics, law, culture and society,
for any nation, highlight the negation of a nations dialectic. This process
of rationality is understood as reality, at points in history, when subjective
self-consciousness is active in its understanding. Therefore, through
phenomenological understanding, perceptions of history change and the
notion of reality is fluid rather than fixed. However, due to the
naturalisation of this self-consciousness phenomenological understanding
of itself generates self-isolation. This is further compounded by
romanticising the past through nostalgia by which postmodernism has
become characterised. Williamson states:
Nostalgia is a sadness without an objectThe past it seeks has never
existed except as narrativeNostalgia wears a distinctly utopian face, a
face that turns towards a future past. This point of desire which the
nostalgic seeks is in fact the absence that is the very generating mechanism

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233

of desire.8

The desire to gain ontological recognition and unity for the postmodern
self finds expressions in the punk genre, reality television, the creation of
cyberspace, the revival of jazz, the postmodern novel where form and
content merge9 and the deconstruction of linear time, where the urgency
and anxiety for unity is particularly noted. The beginnings of this desire
for recognition are also evident in modernist works. The stream of
consciousness writings of the modernist era, for example, those of James
Joyce and T.S. Eliot, expressed jouissance in the sinthome. A Portrait of
the Artist as a Young Man and The Waste Land, respectively, highlight the
psychosis of self, as perceived in the context of rationality, and illustrate
the stream of consciousness writing that is characteristic of modernism.
Literature is a product of the symbolic order. The correct interpretation
of literature is not exclusive to any individual or school of thought. It can
reflect the symbolic order of the reader to him/herself. The recognition
which is inherent here is based on the theory that the reader is a product of
the symbolic order. As the imaginary self becomes infused with
nationalism, culture, family expectations, social norms and the universal
concept of the Good, it perpetuates the self-distancing of the self and
continues to fragment an individuals sense of self-identity.
In A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Stephen Dedaluss ambition
is to go into exile in order to halt the terrifying experience of selffragmentation. In exile he will flee the nets of his national identity and
achieve self unity. He wishes, To discover the mode of life or of art
whereby your spirit could express itself in unfettered freedom.10 The selffulfilling prophesies of clerical wrath and economic poverty tend to justify
Dedaluss desire to break through the Irish pleasure principle, at the turn
of the last century. As he prepares to leave Ireland he states, Welcome, O
life! I go to encounter for the millionth time the reality of experience and
to forge in the smithy of my soul the uncreated conscience of my race.11
In order for Dedalus to be reborn as a recognised individual he must enact
8

Williamson, Crybaby!, 167.


The works of the Irish novelist Flann OBrien demonstrate this characteristic of
the postmodern novel, where the plot of the story sometimes takes place in the
footnotes, particularly in The Third Policeman. It should be noted that Flann
OBrien wrote during James Joyces lifetime, towards the generally accepted end
of modernism.
10
Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (London: Penguin Books, 1992),
267.
11
Ibid., 275-276.
9

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the death of his present identity. He seeks out, as he states, my race,


therefore expressing a desire for mastery over the other in his new world.
The anguish that instils the desire to take flight from a fragmenting
identity can be seen where critics of any kind are objectified. After a party
at Harolds cross where Dedalus is mocked by his peers his immediate
response to a particular Vincent Heron is to perceive him as an object with
an almost Medusa-like gaze. Joyce states, Stephen shook his head and
smiled in his rivals flushed and mobile face, beaked like a birds. He had
often thought it strange that Vincent Heron had a birds face as well as a
birds name.12 Through the character of Dedalus, Joyce expresses the
human desire for personal and spiritual freedom. Joyce also reveals the
impossibilities of such absolute freedom due to the confines of language,
universality and objectivity. The anti-epiphany for Dedalus makes him
heroic and human. John Coyle explains:
It is Stephens desire for transcendence that makes him heroic in both a
classical and a romantic sense, yet the continuity of life and narrative
impedes any real transcendence, which would be possible only through
death. Any reader of A Portrait whose reading is impelled by a
transcendent ideal, by a desire to escape the nets of language, religion,
and nationality and in doing so ascend into an esthetic ether, will
experience the resistance the book offers to such flightiness.13

The spiritual and psychological paralysis of characters in Dubliners


articulates the truth-taking stare of the schizophrenic together with the
anti-epiphany, as is symbolised through the sinthome and the eye motif.
According to Sass, the truth-taking stare refers to early symptoms of
schizophrenia where a schizophrenic stares at the world around him/her.
Sass explains:
Usually the person becomes quiet and withdrawn, though an abrupt and
seemingly senseless breach of decorum or discipline may also occur. This
mood is sometimes followed by the development of delusions, especially
the symptom called delusional percept where a relatively normal
perception is experienced as having a special kind of meaning, a meaning
not obviously contained in the percept itself and with a special relevance
for the perceiver.14

12

Ibid., 80.
John Coyle, James Joyce, Ulysses, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997), 127.
14
Sass, Madness and Modernism: Insanity in the Light of Modern Art, Literature,
13

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235

In the short story Araby the protagonist is not given a name but the story
is told in the first person narrative, a story about a young adolescent boy,
living in Dublin just after the turn of the century. The boy has an obsession
with Mangans sister. The use of the first person narration illustrates the
invasion and penetration of individual consciousness. Joyce traces the
method and pattern of mental paralysis as the reader journeys into the
boys microcosm. The boys imagination is in sharp contrast with the
decrees of the symbolic order. As he carries his chalice through the market
places of Dublin he explains, I imagined that I bore my chalice safely
through a throng of foes.15 However, when presented with the
opportunity to buy a gift for Mangans sister the boys paralysing selfconsciousness cripples him. The boy believes that the saleswoman at the
bazaar feels contempt for him. He explains it thus: observing me the
young lady came over and asked me did I wish to buy anything. The tone
of her voice was not encouragingI lingered before her stall, though I
knew my stay was useless, to make my interest in her wares seem the
more real.16 Upon having his private universe and vulnerability exposed
by the saleswomans stare, the boy declares, gazing up into the darkness I
saw as a creature driven and derided by vanity; and my eyes burned with
anguish and anger.17 Throughout the story, the boys fear of exposure
justifies his self-alienation. Every day the boy spies on Mangans sister
through half-closed blinds. He compulsively day-dreams about her yet he
finds it almost unbearable to speak to her. The boy states that, her image
accompanied me even in places the most hostile to romanceAt last she
spoke to me. When she addressed the first words to me I was so confused
that I did not know what to answer.18 The boy in Araby observes
Mangans sister throughout the story. However, at the end the boy
becomes the observed.
The truth-taking stare is attended by the Stimmung, referring to the
mood or state of mind of the individual in question. According to Sass,
Stimmung is a key symptom of schizophrenia[it] seems to play a
pivotal role as the foundation or source for other better known symptoms,
such as delusions or ideas of reference (the latter involves the belief or
sense that one is somehow the center of attention, the object of all gazes
and messages).19 Joyces short story A Little Cloud narrates the
and Thought, 44.
15
Joyce, Dubliners (London: Penguin Books, 1992), 23.
16
Ibid., 27.
17
Ibid., 28.
18
Ibid., 22-23.
19
Sass, Madness and Modernism: Insanity in Light of Modern Art, Literature, and

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experience of the Stimmung through the third person of the trials of Little
Chandlers self-paralysis, isolation and obsession. Joyce both condones
and patronises Little Chandlers rigid habits and high morality.
Throughout, the reader is invited to gaze into the workings of his selfconsciousness where Little Chandlers Stimmung appears logical and
reasonable. In the world of his imagination Little Chandler is an aspiring
and well respected poet. Nevertheless, he becomes self-conscious when
entering a crowded room. On his way to meet his friend Ignatius Gallaher
in Corlesss hotel, Joyce states, As [Little Chandler] came near Corlesss
his former agitation began to overmaster him and he haltered before the
door in indecisionThe bar seemed to him to be full of people and he felt
that the people were observing him curiously.20 Little Chandler feels
weak and lacking when he hears Gallahers stories about London life.
However, upon their encounter Chandler seems to dislike his friend.
Chandler ponders, What was it that stood in his way? His unfortunate
timidity! He wished to vindicate himself in some way, to assert his
manhoodGallaher was only patronising him by his friendliness just as
he was patronising Ireland by his visit.21 Gallaher acts as a catalyst for
Chandlers sense of paralysis and descent into narcissism. Chandler also
becomes paranoid through the gaze of the eye of the other. Whilst
attempting to escape into Lord Byrons poetry, the eyes of Chandlers
wife, in a photograph, transfix him back into his present and paralysing
reality. Joyce explains, Little Chandler sustained for one moment the
gaze of her eyes and his heart closed together as he met the hatred in
them.22 The boy in Araby and Little Chandler physically feel their
ontological anguish at the end of the stories. Their eyes swell with remorse
and rage. The objectifying symbolic order, having scrutinized their selfconsciousness, exposes their subjectivity. The illustrated separation
between the subject and the object generates their anxiety. While this
modernist anti-epiphany is reasonable, the binary opposites of objective
normality and a classified schizophrenic Stimmung become unstable and
this pivots on an awareness of the division between the subject and the
objects of his/her consciousness, as constituted by rationality. Sass states:
We see, then, that, like the modernist anti-epiphany, the schizophrenic
Stimmung involves not a lowering but a heightening of conscious
awareness and, in many instances, not release from a sense of responsibility
Thought, 45.
20
Joyce, Dubliners, 69.
21
Ibid., 76.
22
Ibid., 80.

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237

and control but the heightening of a kind of anxious compulsiveness. This,


however, raises another, nonphenomenological question: namely, whether
this general form of consciousness, this heightened and hyperintentional

mode of perception, can really be captured by the notion of


psychological defect or deficiency.23
Eliot compresses the panorama of images one collects in order to bear
witness to a universal reality. Through grouping fragments of perception
an individual attempts to unify his/her reality and place in the world. Guy
Debord states:
The images detached from every aspect of life merge into a common
stream in which the unity of that life can no longer be recovered.
Fragmented views of reality regroup themselves into a new unity as a
separate pseudo-world that can only be looked at. The specialization of
images of the world evolves into a world of autonomised images where
even the deceivers are deceived. The spectacle is a concrete inversion of
life, an autonomous movement of the nonliving.24

Eliot expresses the limitations and fragmentation inherent in the use of


language in The Waste Land and in The Love Song of J. Alfred
Prufrock. The lady in the section A Game of Chess declares to her
lover:
My nerves are bad tonight. Yes, bad. Stay with me.
Speak to me. Why do you never speak. Speak.
What are you thinking of? What thinking? What?
I never know what you are thinking. Think.
I think we are in rats alley
Where the dead men lost their bones.25

Eliot tries to control the themes of futility and spiritual dryness by creating
characters and situations through which he plays out these themes instead
of addressing them directly. He tries to generate a sense of security by
placing himself in an objective position. Prufrock tries to create that
distance for himself by being the observer of human relations.
23

Sass, Madness and Modernism: Insanity in Light of Modern Art, Literature, and
Thought, 70.
24
Guy Debord, Society of the Spectacle, trans. Ken Knabb (London: Rebel Press,
2006), 7.
25
T.S. Eliot, The Waste Land, in The Norton Anthology of English Literature,
ed. M.H. Abrams, 6th ed., vol. 2, 2150-2151 (London: W.W. Norton & Company,
1993).

238

Chapter Five

Consequently, as with the boy in Araby, Prufrock becomes suddenly


disorientated and rigidly self-conscious when he speaks. Prufrock states:
It is impossible to say just what I mean!
But as if a magic lantern threw the nerves in patterns on a screen:
Would it have been worth while
If one, settling a pillow or throwing off a shawl,
And turning toward the window, should say:
That is not it at all,
That is not what I meant, at all.26

Prufrock is in the perpetual pursuit of a woman with whom he can


converse. He seeks recognition from the definitive other of the early
twentieth century. His personal experience of being objectified by the
symbolic order generates his desire to become the objectifier and to be
recognised as such. Prufrock states, And I have known the eyes already,
known them all The eyes that fix you in a formulated phrase.27
However, Prufrocks inability to act and to take comfort in the habitual
and the banal is justified by his melancholy attitude towards finite living.
Consequently, Prufrock obsesses about his appearance and how others
perceive him. Implicitly he is aware that he is the observed and not the
observer. Similar to Joyces characters in Dubliners, Prufrock becomes
paralysed by the rational and civilised code of living, as dictated by the
symbolic order and the spectacle. Prufrock declares:
And I have known the eyes already, known them all
The eyes that fix you in a formulated phrase,
And when I am formulated, sprawling on a pin,
When I am pinned and wriggling on the wall,
Then how should I begin
To spit out all the butt-ends of my days and ways?
And how should I presume?28

The modern condition of Prufrocks self-consciousness personifies


Debords concept of the spectacle. In seeking unification of self, he
becomes separate and isolated. Debord explains:
The Spectacle presents itself simultaneously as society itself, as a part of
society, and as a means of unification. As a part of society, it is the focal
26

T.S. Eliot, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, in The Norton Anthology of
English Literature, 2142.
27
Ibid., 2141.
28
Ibid.

An Interdisciplinary Examination

239

point of all vision and all consciousness. But due to the very fact that this
sector is separate, it is in reality the domain of delusion and false
consciousness: the unification it achieves is nothing but an official
language of universal separation.29

The logical conclusion for the continuous fragmentation of self-identity


finds its expression in postmodernity through the unremitting society of
the spectacle. Reality television programmes such as Big Brother illustrate
individualisation in culture through the judgement and scrutiny of the
viewers gaze, which is both objective and distant, but nonetheless
controlling. The experience of the third eye causes the contestants, in this
social experiment, to become paranoid and separate from the rest of the
group. The phenomenon of this exposure of self, resulting from the
spectacle of society, leads to self-confessionals and hyper-reflexivity.
The modernist themes of anti-epiphany and Stimmung are experienced
in the postmodern era through different guises and forms. The work of the
artist Tracy Emin demonstrates the confessional of the self. In her piece
My Bed, (1998),30 Emin displays to an unknown audience (in Charles
Saatchis Gallery, London) her vulnerability, incompleteness and anxiety.
The piece consists of an untidy bed surrounded by such objects as
condoms, underwear, dried blood, stained sheets and cigarettes ends. This
piece of art was Emins bedroom as it actually was, during a difficult time
in her life when she was severely depressed. Through her art Emin reflects
the universal themes of her time; imperfection, uncertainty and
fragmentation of self-identity. However, the repetition of fragmentary
themes normalises the process and by doing so it aims for a sense of unity.
Emin repeated a version of Joseph Beuys 1974 experiment, entitled I
Love America, where he lived for a week, in a gallery, with a coyote in
order to reconcile himself with nature. In 1996 Emin locked herself in a
room for two weeks, where she could be viewed, in the nude, painting
images. Her paintings and images were autobiographical and reflected the
styles of painters who influenced her work, for example, Edvard Munch.
Nevertheless, after Emins project was finished, photographs that were
taken of her in the room and the room itself were put on public display in a
gesture to lend credibility to the project and to universalise its meaning
through story-telling, irrespective of the self-fragmentation it displayed.
The anticipation of retrospection, as emulated by the momentum of
nostalgia, is reflected in the Surrealist work of Ren Magritte in a piece

29
30

Debord, The Society of the Spectacle, 7.


See Appendix Fourteen. Fig. 5-1

240

Chapter Five

entitled Reproduction Prohibited, (1937).31 It questions appearance and


knowledge of the self. It also questions our understanding of reality as a
universal and stable unit of experience. The painting illustrates a man
looking into a mirror who is confronted by a reflection of himself from
behind. Wendy Beckett states, Reproduction Prohibited gives us a
psychic jolt. Most of us, at times, find it difficult to believe completely in
our own realityAs a concept it is terrifyingly simple, and one cannot
come to terms with it in any logical manner.32 The painting illustrates the
terror that ensues when reproduction or repetition is arrested.
On the other hand, visual art demonstrates, through the spectacle of
postmodernity and visual illusion, a desire for unity. Bridget Rileys
Conversation, (1992)33 examines the effects of colours and the harmony
between them. Beckett explains, The conversation here is between
colours. The whole painting sings in different voices, each modulated by
its neighbour, and her attempt is to bring these strips and diagonals into a
unity of subtle relationships.34 In its search for unity, the postmodern
collective and individual consciousness, are becoming agents of the
ideology that was already understood to have taken place through a
reliance on history and archives. However, in the process of becoming,
neither society nor the postmodern individual is of an ideology of the past
or present. Through the inevitability of fragmentation and negation the
dialectic of consciousness continues. Debord explains that, Society has
become what ideology already wasIn a society where no one can any
longer be recognised by others, each individual becomes incapable of
recognizing his own reality. Ideology is at home; separation has built its
own world.35 This world can indeed be described in cyberspace and outer
space travel where vast expansions in technology give a sense of infinity
to ones reality and possibility. Nevertheless, the harnessing of such spaces
through everyday use and exploration, respectively, informs the conjecture
of collection and unification.
The difficulty of distinguishing modernism from postmodernism raises
questions concerning representation and the naturalisation of concepts of
the self. The dialectic of fragmentation and ideology postulates the
inevitability of postmodernism, nostalgia, hyper-reflexivity and the
spectacle, together with the continuation of modernist themes, such as anti31

See Appendix Fifteen. Fig. 5-2


Wendy Beckett, Sister Wendys 1000 Masterpieces (London: Dorling
Kindersley, 1999), 287.
33
See Appendix Sixteen. Fig. 5-3
34
Beckett, Sister Wendys 1000 Masterpieces, 393.
35
Debord, Society of the Spectacle, 118.
32

An Interdisciplinary Examination

241

epiphany, Stimmung, the truth-taking stare, stream of consciousness and


the gaze. The theoretical and objectified notions of self, in the postmodern
condition, attest to a desire for unity where the perception of modernity is
perceived as the embodiment of fragmentation, as a binary opposite. The
anxiety of the postmodern anti-epiphany pushes the boundaries of
meaning, time and space. Consequently, the schizoid experience is better
understood as modernist in nature. On the correlation between schizophrenia
and modernism, Sass states:
To judge by what patients themselves say, they seem dominated much
more by a fundamental awareness of distance, difference, and fragmentation,
by forms of internal multiplicity and disharmony, than by experiences of
boundaryless unity or utter self-sufficiency. And these, the most
characteristic features of the schizoid lived world, bear a remarkable
resemblance to the modern or modernist sensibility; of all personality
types, the schizoid most clearly epitomizes the distinctive elements of the
modern condition.36

The association of schizophrenia with fragmentation further highlights the


negation, and the reversal of subjectivity towards objectivity; of the
dialectic of culture through the phenomenon of the other in language,
self-identity and Absolute Knowledge. Through the notion of the
schizophrenic, as other, the naturalised unity of a societys identity
becomes unstable, as is illustrated through the fluidity of modernist and
postmodernist characteristics in the cultural products of literature and art.

The Approach to Schizophrenia


This book has demonstrated that a full understanding of schizophrenia
involves an interdisciplinary approach. As language is a concurrent theme
across the disciplines examined in this research, it is sensible to examine
the language of definitions and the language used by an individual who is
experiencing difficulties with the notion of reality and self-identity. The
holistic treatment of an individual requires the examination of his/her
relationship with language and the observable fact of the other in lived
and linguistic experience. Predominantly, the field of psychoanalysis, with
its emphasis on dialogue and imagery, repression and trauma, subjectivity
and consciousness, has a pivotal role to play in safeguarding the ownership
of individual experience whilst maintaining the inherent need to have
36
Sass, Madness and Modernism: Insanity in the Light of Modern Art, Literature,
and Thought, 89-90.

242

Chapter Five

ones reality validated as opposed to becoming the other of society.


Therefore, it is my contention that schizophrenia should be treated as a
linguistic hypersensitivity with an overt conscious awareness of the
phenomenon of the other. Furthermore, such hypersensitivity to the
other is generated by a traumatic event or series of events, where an
individuals sense of self and autonomy has been jeopardised. Trauma
triggers the memory of the painful birth of self-consciousness when an
individual enters the symbolic order. Understood in this way, the binary
opposites of sanity and insanity become deconstructed as the truth emerges
that every individual becomes self-conscious once he/she enters the
symbolic order. As there is no metalanguage to describe this phenomenon,
each individual contains the memory of the primary linguistic trauma in
their stream of consciousness. Therefore, the focus on a schizophrenics
experience of his/her constant presence has the potential to uncover the
subject/object dialectic as experienced by him/her; reveal the
schizophrenic terror of being recognised as an object by the other and
ameliorate the otherness of the schizophrenic through diagnostics by
highlighting the universal anxieties, nihilism and trauma of the human
condition.
Through an examination of culture, in relation to the schizophrenic
experience, a greater understanding of the naturalisation process that
representations and ideologies are subject to, together with the dialectic of
cultural movements in the study of objectification and the authority of the
other, facilitates the contemplation of self-identity. Literary theory has
enhanced the study of culture and its effects on and creation by the
linguistic process. By delving beneath the dialectical process of literary
theory and the humanities a clearer understanding of the objectifying
process can be obtained, as literary theory and, in particular, deconstruction,
invites criticism and critique. The end results will always open questions
concerning interpretation; however, the process of the criticism uncovers
the dynamics of the object/subject dialectic which is the most important
outcome for approaching the study of schizophrenia as a human condition.
The approach to schizophrenia requires linguistic understanding and
knowledge of the processes of object/subject dialectics in society and the
linguistically constructed individual. The effects of trauma on an
individual disclose a great deal about our relationship with language and
culture. As self-consciousness becomes divided against itself the negation
of becoming is projected into the collective experience. Every individual is
traumatised by language. The binary opposition of normal individuals
and schizophrenics appears to lie with memory: an individual who recollects
the trauma of consciousness, through other traumatic experiences, may be

An Interdisciplinary Examination

243

classified as schizophrenic and those who do not have such experiences


are more likely to be considered psychologically normal.

Conclusion
Through an interdisciplinary approach to the notion of schizophrenia as
conducted in this research, theories of its classification and definition, as
either a mental condition or as a manifestation of culture, are seen to
overlap. The sense of schizophrenia as other in society extends across the
spectrum of disciplines from biology to philosophy and through to culture.
The defining process of this way of being, with its characteristic
sensitivities, anxieties and hyper-reflexivity discloses more about the
enterprise of objectivity and the phenomenon of language than it does
about the fate and identity of a diagnosed schizophrenic. The utterances
and experiences of a schizophrenic reveal the dynamics and dialectics of
cultural movements together with the self-distancing of language, in both
speech and writing. The classification of schizophrenia is primarily
symptomatic of the effects of the other of language as opposed to any
justification based on the scrutiny of objectified symptoms in the
schizophrenic experience. It is for this reason that the analysis of
schizophrenia in relation to culture, across disciplines, is of great
importance. By exploring our propensity to create the other we come to a
clearer understanding of our desire for recognition through the
object/subject dialectic.

CONCLUSION

The analysis of culture and psychosis conducted in this book is based on


the premise that both create and propel definitions and redefinitions of one
another. The object/subject dialectic of becoming lends mastery to
objectivity and the other due to the phenomenon of language, and the
analysis of the effects of language on the self proves this hypothesis as
precedence is given to the other for the purposes of recognition and as
the method for self-unification. The segregation of the self, through the
development of self-consciousness, and the projection of the self into the
symbolic order, is traumatic. However, the experience is naturalised by
rationality and the collective consciousness of society. Nevertheless, the
other of society, namely the schizophrenic, echoes the discrepancy
between the ultimate drive to experience absolute and authentic
subjectivity on the one hand, together with its creation of the other in
order to do so, and the mastery that is given to the other along with the
totalising notion of objectivity; the mastery of the definitive projection and
illustration of truth. On the other hand, the notion of subjectivity relates to
the experience of being for the self in the world. As it is the self who
creates objects of experience, his/her subjectivity becomes distant and
foreign under the weight of objectivity and the universality of language.
The otherness of the schizophrenic deconstructs the notion of rationality
and the mastery of objectivity and in doing so, the analysis of
schizophrenia explains transitions and inherent contradictions in culture.
This analysis of schizophrenia highlights the correlations between various
schools of thought in the humanities; namely, philosophy, psychoanalysis,
literary theory and cultural studies. Implicitly, this book stresses the
importance of creating avenues of thought through these disciplines and in
the course of the research they are seen to ultimately converge in their
various endeavours to grapple with the object/subject dialectic.
The Hegelian dialectic of Absolute Spirit testifies to the negation of
Being and the unhappy consciousness that derives from the mastery of the
other. It is the determined nature of negation, however, that causes
fragmentation, the divided self, the deconstructive character of objectivity
and the resolve of the Hegelian slave; the mourning of the real self and
ultimately the rationality and power of the schizophrenic experience.

The Deconstructive Owl of Minerva

245

Hegels philosophy of consciousness and his thesis on the anxiety of


becoming has influenced many theorists, particularly Marx and Lacan,
who echo Hegels theories of self. From the proletariat to the real self,
Hegels slave reiterates the concepts of ownership and desire that find
expression in the schizophrenic. Consequently, the dialectic of Marxist
theory and capitalism has created an age of materialism and private
ownership, where the accumulation of objects becomes the new method of
recognition and where the objectified self assumes a new mantle of
subjectivity, albeit through self-distancing as private property, which in
turn, owns the self. To achieve the means of sustaining private property is
the desire of capitalism. Hence, the notions of capitalism and post-history
require a misreading of schizophrenia, in order to generate a stable
postmodern identity.
This historical desire for a complete self-identity propels the dialectic
of modernism and postmodernism. As a result of nostalgia, postmodernism
reads modernism as a model of completion through a reading of its time
frame, sociology, morality and industrialisation. Such an interpretation
reads postmodernity as an age of fragmentation, yet through the need for
self-definition, the notion of fragmentation becomes objectified as a
universal way of being. The juxtaposition between the two interpretations
of fragmentation, as the opposite to completion and as a unified
characteristic, generates a further dialectic, within the postmodern time
frame, making the distinction between modernism and postmodernism all
the more blurred.
The desire for a unity of self-identity is reinforced here through the
analysis of abjection and the real self which is followed by the
deconstruction of deconstruction, which testify to the modernist reading of
the deconstructive attitude, the frontier of metaphysical time and the
impossibilities of a metalanguage. Consequently, the dialectic of Absolute
Spirit continues, as is expressed through economic instability, art, literature
and the humanities. Through the cultural dialectic the interpretation of the
schizophrenic changes from the soothsayer to the psychiatric patient along
the deferred metaphor of the other. For this reason, close attention has
been paid to both the command of the schizophrenic metaphor and to the
instability of the metaphor. The contradiction of language and the negation
of the self, in light of phenomenology, highlight the dialectic of culture,
and in doing so, address the importance of schizophrenic analysis.
Schizoanalysis, the philosophy of dialectics and phenomenology as well as
the psychoanalysis of schizophrenia, in conjunction, deconstruct the
arguments of objectivity, penetrate the artistic expressions of culture and
most importantly alter the perception of the schizophrenic, from mental

246

Conclusion

illness to cultural inevitability. The schizophrenic is not the personification


of postmodernity but represents the indelible need to question our
investment in language and the naturalising process of rationality.
A grounding practice of these procedures is the examination of the
stream of consciousness. The phenomenology of streams of consciousness
emphasizes the instability of traditional analytical building blocks of
knowledge as well as explaining the anxiety of the schizophrenic for a
constant present. To repeat an experience is to understand it and ones place
in the procedure, both as an observer and as a participant in the rational
compartmentalisation of time. By knowing that one is the source of the
object/subject dialectic of experience through hyper-reflexivity, given the
context of history and notions of the future, one comes to a sensitive and
heightened awareness of self and trauma. It is in this contemplation of antiepiphany, of being both the observed and the observer, being metaphysical
and deconstructive, that the schizophrenic displays modernist characteristics
and is heralded as the other of the other i.e. the other, yet again, of
society and currently of postmodern society.
Auditory hallucinations become manifest as a result of the temporal
arrest of the individual dialectic of Absolute Spirit, not by the phenomenon
of experience in the stream of consciousness, but by the juxtaposition of the
present tense through the dialectic of the past and the future. This temporal
arrest of self-consciousness is the remembrance of linguistic trauma, yet it
takes the form of temporal objects of horror, from, for example, the
reasoning and tone of a masterful social contact to the grotesque cultural
images of the entrapped desire of the real self. These hallucinations become
the present experience for the schizophrenic; however, it is through his/her
anxious repetition of the present that the schizophrenic can come to terms
with the phenomenon of the experience through the deliberate notation of
the object and the subject in the dialectic.
The analysis of literature demonstrates the creation and determination
of characters to come to grips with the phenomenon of experience,
negation, the compartmentalisation of time and self-distancing through
language. This Hegelian analysis is most ardently expressed in the
literature of modernism, where the conflict between the silent self and its
determination belie the myth of a unified age and dismantle the obscurity
of schizophrenia to show that it is a part of the human condition,
irrespective of prominent modes of categorisation. The real self will
always seek expression in the symbolic order, as testified by Lacan, but
the disagreements between Derrida and Foucault, among others in the field
of literary theory, over representation and analysis, are necessary for the
real self to acquire a rhizomatic knowledge of self in the wider culture of

The Deconstructive Owl of Minerva

247

collective consciousness, that was created by desire in the first instance. In


the course of determined negation, the symbolic and imaginary selves will
die and be reborn and their dialectic will continue the inheritance of
hauntology until selfhood speaks to its audience of phantoms and the
essence of becoming can be writ large. The negation of the self under the
supremacy of universality and its authority is aptly captured by Joyce,
during the incident where Dedalus is struck by Father Dolan:
His whole body was shaking with fright, his arm was shaking and his
crumpled burning livid hand shook like a loose leaf in the air. A cry sprang
to his lips, a prayer to be let off. But though the tears scalded his eyes and
his limbs quivered with pain and fright he held back the hot tears and the
cry that scalded his throat.1

The language of selfhood is, through an objective lens, schizophrenic.


Moreover, the language of selfhood is deconstructive of objectivity and
temporal notions of subjectivity. And finally, the language of selfhood is
the language of the desire for one self, one voice, one mind, one story: one
narratable presence.
Emily Dickinson epitomizes the desire:
The Outer from the Inner
Derives its Magnitude
Tis Duke, or Dwarf, according
As is the Central Mood
The fine unvarying Axis
That regulates the Wheel
Though Spooks spin more conspicuous
And fling a dust the while.
The Inner paints the Outer
The Brush without the Hand
Its Picture publishes precise
As is the inner Brand
On fine Arterial Canvas
A Cheek perchance a Brow
The Stars whole Secret in the Lake

Eyes were not meant to know.2


1

Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, 51.


Emily Dickinson, The Outer from the Inner, in Emily Dickinson (London:
Orion Publishing Group, 1997), 32.

APPENDIX ONE

Fig. 2-1: Salvador Dali, The Persistence of Memory (1931). Oil on Canvas, 9 x
13. The Museum of Modern Art, New York.

APPENDIX TWO

Fig. 2-2: Helen Frankenthaler, Nature Abhors a Vacuum (1973). Acrylic on


canvas, 8 7 x 9 4. The Andr Emmerich Gallery, New York.

APPENDIX THREE

Fig. 3-1: Hieronymus Bosch, The Ship of Fools (1490 -1500). Oil on wood, 23 x
13. Muse Du Louvre, Paris.

APPENDIX FOUR

Fig. 3-2: Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, Medusa, (1596 -1598). Oil on


canvas, 60 x 55. Uffitzi and Pitti Museum, Florence.

APPENDIX FIVE

Fig. 3-3: Edvard Munch, The Scream (1893 - 1910). Oil, tempera and pastel on
cardboard, 91 x 73. The National Gallery, Oslo.

APPENDIX SIX

Fig. 3-4: Hans Holbien, The Ambassadors (1533). Oil on oak, 207 x 209. The
National Gallery, London.

APPENDIX SEVEN

The Deconstructive Owl of Minerva

255

Fig. 4-1 4-3: Examples of lArt Brut circa early to mid-twentieth century.
Collected by Jean Dubuffet, Luasanne, Switzerland.

APPENDIX EIGHT

Fig. 4-4: Vincent van Gogh, A Pair of Boots (1887). Oil on canvas, 30 x 41.
Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore.

APPENDIX NINE

Fig. 4-5: Andy Warhol, Diamond Dust Shoes (1980). Synthetic polymer paint,
silkscreen ink and diamond dust on canvas, 90 x 70. The Andy Warhol Museum,
Pittsburgh.

APPENDIX TEN

Fig. 4-6: Le Modle Rouge (The Red Model) Ren Magritte, Le Modle Rouge
(1935). Oil on canvas/cartoon, 56 x 46. Muse National dArt Moderne, Paris.

APPENDIX ELEVEN

Fig. 4-7: Piet Mondrian, Composition with Yellow, Blue and Red (1921). Oil on
canvas, 72 x 69. Tate Gallery, London.

APPENDIX TWELVE

Fig. 4-8: Mind the Gap London Underground, London (current).

APPENDIX THIRTEEN

Fig. 4-9: French Connection, French Connection United Kingdom, (fcuk), (since
1997). London.

APPENDIX FOURTEEN

Fig. 5-1: Tracy Emin, My Bed (1999). Charles Saatchi Gallery, London.

APPENDIX FIFTEEN

Fig. 5-2: Ren Magritte, Reproduction Prohibited (1937). Oil on canvas, 79 x


65. Museum Boymans-van Beuningen, Rotterdam.

APPENDIX SIXTEEN

Fig. 5-3: Bridget Riley, Conversation (1992). Oil on linen, 86 x 119. Albert Hall
Art Gallery, Kendal.

APPENDIX A
THE INVERTED BOUQUET EXPERIMENT:
THE OPTICAL MODEL

Fig. 3-5: The optical model:


Source: Jacques Lacan, The Seminar. Book 1. Freuds papers on Technique, trans.
With notes by John Forrester, New York: Norton; Cambridge University Press,
1988
Dylan Evans, An Introductory Dictionary of Lacanian Psychoanalysis, (London,
1996) p. 131.

APPENDIX B
SCHEMA L

Fig. 3-6: Schema L. Source: Jacques Lacan, crits, Paris: Seuil, 1966
Dylan Evans, An Introductory Dictionary of Lacanian Psychoanalysis, (London,
1996) p. 169.

APPENDIX C
THE BORROMEAN KNOT

Fig. 3-7: The Borromean knot


Dylan Evans, An Introductory Dictionary of Lacanian Psychoanalysis, (London,
1996) p. 19.

APPENDIX D
SCHEMA I

Fig. 3-8: Jacques Lacan, crits: A Selection, Trans. Alan Sheridan, (London, 2006)
p. 234.

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and Bibi Andersson. Roger Corman Early Films Collection, 1977.
Mockingbird Dont Sing, prod. and dir. by Harry Bromley Davenport.
Perf. Melissa Errico, Joe Regalbuto, Sean Young and Tarra Steele.
Vanguard Cinema, 2001.

INDEX

absence, 38, 52, 70, 73, 81, 89, 98,


104, 122, 132, 133, 134, 135,
146
Absolute Knowledge, 13, 14, 29,
34, 94, 137, 139, 141, 145, 150
abuse, 68, 140, 142
aesthetics, 86, 115, 130
alienation, 27, 37, 100, 101, 113,
121, 130
self-alienation, 26, 28, 29, 30,
31, 33, 36, 38, 40, 42, 63, 69,
75, 76, 80, 86, 142, 147
anxiety, 12, 15, 16, 17, 22, 23, 25,
26, 34, 38, 39, 46, 50, 51, 52, 57,
59, 66, 67, 73, 74, 78, 113, 130,
133, 136, 141, 142, 143, 144,
146, 147, 149, 150, 152, 153
Arieti, Silvano, 22, 23, 25, 120, 140,
176
being-for-itself, 13, 28, 29, 30, 33,
39, 43, 45, 46, 73, 74, 95, 99,
145
being-in-itself, 13, 28, 29, 30, 33,
35, 39, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 51,
54, 73, 74, 95
Cavarero, Adriana, 119, 120, 121,
176
child, 20, 21, 97, 98, 102, 109, 115,
116, 117, 118, 124, 167, 224
childhood, 22, 67, 69, 70, 73, 77,
78, 79, 82, 108, 140
consciousness, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16,
23, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33,
34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42,
43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51,
53, 54, 55, 56, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66,
68, 69, 71, 72, 73, 75, 76, 77, 78,
81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 87, 88, 89,
90, 91, 92, 94, 99, 100, 101, 112,
114, 116, 121, 122, 123, 124,

125, 126, 127, 128, 129, 132,


135, 137, 139, 140, 141, 142,
143, 144, 145, 146, 147, 148,
149, 150, 151, 152, 153
constant present, 22, 100, 122, 123,
124, 129, 133, 136, 138, 141,
142, 144, 153
Crow, Tim, 11, 12, 15, 18, 19, 20,
21, 22, 180
cure, 23, 24, 42, 60, 61, 64, 79, 101,
105, 106, 108, 143
Currie, Mark, 124, 125, 126, 127,
176
deconstruction, 12, 13, 14, 15, 27,
51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 61, 63, 64,
76, 83, 85, 87, 90, 91, 92, 93, 99,
100, 115, 121, 124, 128, 129,
130, 132, 133, 134, 136, 139,
143, 145, 146, 151, 152
Deleuze, Gilles, 14, 15, 58, 95, 101,
102, 103, 104, 105, 106, 107,
108, 109, 110, 113, 115, 117,
119, 135, 136, 142, 176, 177,
179
Derrida, Jacques, 14, 15, 51, 52, 54,
55, 56, 57, 58, 90, 91, 92, 93, 94,
95, 96, 97, 98, 101, 103, 125,
126, 130, 131, 132, 133, 134,
136, 153, 176, 178, 179
desire, 12, 13, 14, 15, 26, 27, 28, 29,
31, 32, 34, 37, 41, 42, 63, 64, 65,
70, 72, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80,
82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 87, 88, 89, 90,
91, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 100, 101,
102, 103, 104, 105, 106, 107,
108, 109, 110, 113, 116, 117,
119, 120, 122, 123, 124, 128,
129, 130, 131, 133, 135, 136,
138, 139, 140, 141, 143, 144,
145, 146, 148, 149, 150, 151,

280
152, 153, 154
dialectic, 12, 13, 14, 16, 26, 27, 28,
29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37,
38, 39, 40, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47,
48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 56, 63,
64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 74, 76, 84, 91,
98, 99, 103, 112, 113, 114, 116,
119, 121, 123, 128, 130, 132,
134, 135, 137, 138,139, 140,
141, 142, 143, 144, 145, 150,
151, 152, 153
economics, 101, 112, 113, 117, 119,
121, 136
ego-ideal, 73, 80, 87, 140, 142
Eliot, T.S., 19, 146, 148
existential, 15, 27, 48, 66, 67, 72,
74, 75, 77, 82, 85, 140
eye, 17, 72, 74, 96, 97, 119, 142,
145, 146, 147, 149
fear, 12, 17, 23, 26, 34, 47, 55, 57,
61, 70, 72, 74, 88, 96, 104, 122,
123, 125, 129, 141, 142, 145,
147
Fink, Bruce, 53, 67, 68, 73, 98, 177
Foucault, Michel, 14, 51, 56, 57, 58,
59, 60, 109, 112, 116, 117, 118,
121, 130, 153, 176, 177
fragmentation, 13, 14, 15, 16, 26,
28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 37, 42,
51, 52, 57, 63, 64, 66, 69, 70, 72,
74, 75, 78, 79, 83, 84, 90, 91, 98,
100, 101, 109, 110, 111, 112,
114, 116, 119, 121, 122, 125,
127, 128, 129, 130, 131, 134,
135, 136, 137, 140, 145, 146,
148, 149, 150, 152
gaze, 26, 34, 53, 59, 63, 66, 67, 72,
73, 74, 75, 77, 82, 91, 93, 94, 96,
97, 113, 117, 119, 125, 140, 141,
144, 146, 147, 149, 150
gothic, 12, 64, 66, 83, 84, 86, 87,
88, 89, 90, 140
Guattari, Flix, 14, 15, 95, 101, 102,
103, 104, 105, 106, 107, 108,
109, 110, 113, 115, 117, 119,
135, 136, 142, 176, 177

Index
hallucinations, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16,
19, 20, 21, 34, 36, 41, 43, 45, 46,
52, 58, 59, 61, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72,
79, 80, 85, 87, 88, 91, 93, 96, 97,
98, 100, 104, 120, 123, 128, 129,
140, 141, 142, 143, 144, 153
haunting, 69, 70, 86, 87, 89, 90, 91,
92, 93, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 109,
131, 133, 141, 142
Hegel, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich, 3,
12, 13, 14, 15, 26, 28, 29, 30, 31,
32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40,
41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 48, 49, 50,
51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 58, 64, 65,
91, 92, 94, 99, 102, 113, 122,
132, 139, 140, 152, 176, 177,
178, 179
Heidegger, Martin, 26, 47, 48, 49,
80, 122, 132, 134, 177, 180
Holland, Eugene W., 102, 103, 135,
136, 177, 180
horror, 88, 89, 153
Husserl, Edmund, 26, 44, 45, 46, 48,
58, 126, 177, 180
identity, 12, 13, 22, 23, 26, 32, 35,
37, 38, 40, 41, 44, 53, 54, 55, 57,
63, 67, 69, 70, 73, 75, 76, 77, 80,
85, 101, 102, 103, 104, 105, 106,
107, 108, 110, 113, 119, 121,
122, 124, 125, 126, 127, 128,
130, 131, 134, 135, 136, 137,
141, 142, 143, 145, 146, 149,
150, 151, 152
interpretation, 12, 13, 14, 16, 21, 26,
27, 36, 56, 63, 65, 67, 71, 75, 76,
77, 81, 90, 92, 98, 99, 113, 116,
121, 124, 127, 130, 136, 137,
139, 142, 145, 146, 151, 152
Jameson, Fredric, 14, 15, 74, 95,
110, 112, 113, 114, 115, 116,
121, 127, 177
Jaynes, Julian, 87, 88, 177
jouissance, 75, 76, 77, 80, 81, 82,
83, 86, 87, 146
Joyce, James, 43, 66, 81, 82, 91,
146, 147, 148, 153, 176, 177

The Deconstructive Owl of Minerva


Kristeva, Julia, 14, 66, 83, 84, 85,
86, 90, 176, 178
Lacan, Jacques, 3, 4, 9, 12, 13, 14,
15, 16, 22, 34, 37, 49, 64, 65, 66,
67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75,
76, 77, 79, 80, 81, 83, 84, 85, 86,
87, 88, 89, 91, 95, 96, 97, 99,
106, 108, 110, 119, 124, 127,
152, 153, 172, 173, 175, 176,
177, 178, 179
Laing, R.D., 28, 60, 108, 139, 178
language, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18,
19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 29,
30, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40,
41, 42, 43, 44, 46, 51, 52, 54, 55,
56, 57, 59, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66,
67, 68, 70, 71, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78,
79, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 88, 89,
92, 96, 99, 100, 101, 105, 106,
108, 112, 114, 116, 117, 118,
119, 120, 121, 122, 123, 126,
128, 129, 132, 134, 135, 136,
138, 139, 140, 141, 142, 143,
144, 145, 146, 148, 149, 150,
151, 152, 153
literary theory, 12, 13, 15, 151, 152,
153
literature, 13, 14, 16, 17, 44, 47, 66,
69, 83, 84, 86, 87, 89, 101, 112,
117, 118, 119, 125, 146, 150,
152, 153
Lyotard, Jean-Franois, 5, 14, 15,
95, 110, 112, 114, 115, 116, 117,
121, 176, 178, 179
memory, 16, 38, 43, 45, 46, 95, 100,
103, 120, 121, 122, 123, 124,
125, 126, 127, 129, 130, 131,
133, 135, 150, 151
mental health, 25, 47, 60, 70
Merleau-Ponty, Maurice, 28, 64, 71,
72, 178, 179
metaphor, 16, 48, 66, 70, 71, 73, 75,
77, 79, 80, 81, 82, 84, 89, 124,
139, 142, 152
mind, 13, 14, 15, 16, 21, 23, 25, 26,
33, 35, 37, 41, 43, 44, 45, 46, 48,

281

49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 56, 57, 59, 64,


65, 72, 74, 80, 83, 86, 87, 88, 89,
90, 91, 92, 96, 98, 124, 128, 129,
134, 141, 142, 147, 154
modernism, 12, 14, 101, 109, 110,
111, 112, 113, 114, 115, 116,
126, 127, 128, 129, 136, 137,
145, 146, 150, 152, 153
mourning, 91, 92, 96, 97, 145, 152
narrative, 15, 54, 71, 76, 82, 110,
112, 113, 114, 115, 116, 117,
118, 122, 124, 125, 126, 127,
129, 141, 145, 146, 147
negation, 26, 28, 29, 30, 33, 34, 37,
38, 39, 44, 46, 47, 49, 52, 53, 54,
56, 73, 99, 102, 103, 104, 106,
113, 122, 132, 134, 140, 143,
145, 150, 151, 152, 153
normality, 91, 93, 94, 98, 101, 102,
145, 148
Norris, Christopher, 55, 56, 94, 132,
178
objectivity, 12, 13, 14, 16, 17, 26,
28, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 40, 41,
43, 44, 50, 56, 63, 64, 67, 68, 74,
83, 84, 85, 86, 87, 91, 92, 95, 96,
97, 98, 99, 100, 104, 112, 116,
117, 118, 120, 121, 122, 123,
124, 125, 127, 129, 138, 139,
140, 141, 142, 143, 144, 146,
150, 151, 152, 153
other, 12, 13, 14, 16, 20, 26, 27,
28, 30, 35, 36, 37, 38, 40, 50, 51,
53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 62, 63, 65,
66, 67, 68, 69, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75,
76, 77, 78, 79, 80, 81, 82, 83, 85,
86, 87, 88, 90, 91, 95, 96, 97,
103, 109, 110, 112, 120, 121,
124, 135, 137, 139, 140, 141,
142, 143, 144, 145, 146, 148,
150, 151, 152, 153
phenomenology, 13, 17, 26, 28, 44,
54, 64, 65, 113, 125, 138, 153
postmodernism, 13, 14, 15, 17, 51,
74, 83, 92, 96, 100, 101, 109,
110, 112, 113, 114, 115, 116,

282
117, 118, 121, 124, 126, 127,
128, 129, 131, 132, 134, 136,
137, 139, 145, 150, 152
psychoanalysis, 12, 13, 14, 16, 17,
23, 25, 33, 34, 37, 58, 59, 64, 65,
66, 67, 74, 77, 82, 83, 90, 99,
101, 105, 107, 109, 110, 123,
131, 136, 138, 139, 140, 150,
152, 153
Punter, David, 86, 87, 89, 90, 178,
179
rationality, 12, 16, 20, 26, 31, 33,
35, 37, 48, 56, 63, 66, 67, 68, 70,
71, 72, 73, 74, 83, 84, 85, 86, 88,
89, 90, 91, 92, 96, 98, 99, 100,
101, 102, 105, 109, 110, 115,
122, 124, 129, 138, 139, 141,
142, 143, 145, 146, 148, 152,
153
recognition, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17,
29, 30, 32, 37, 38, 46, 48, 49, 50,
51, 53, 54, 55, 56, 62, 63, 64, 65,
68, 69, 72, 73, 75, 76, 78, 80, 84,
88, 92, 95, 108, 112, 116, 119,
125, 128, 139, 140, 141, 142,
143, 146, 148, 151, 152
repression, 79, 85, 88, 92, 104, 106,
112, 113, 120, 130, 131, 135,
150
rhizomatic knowledge, 14, 113, 121,
153
Sass, Louis A., 71, 120, 141, 142,
146, 147, 148, 150, 179, 180
schizoanalysis, 13, 14, 100, 101,
105, 106, 107, 108, 109, 110,
112, 113, 121, 130, 136, 137,
138, 142
schizophrenia, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16,
17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25,
26, 27, 28, 34, 36, 38, 43, 45, 47,
48, 51, 52, 53, 56, 59, 60, 61, 63,
64, 65, 70, 73, 74, 76, 80, 87, 90,
91, 93, 97, 98, 99, 100, 101, 102,
105, 107, 110, 113, 121, 125,
127, 128, 129, 134, 136, 138,
139, 140, 141, 142, 143, 144,

Index
145, 146, 147, 150, 151, 152,
153
schizophrenic, 12, 13, 14, 16, 17,
19, 20, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28,
33, 34, 36, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43,
44, 45, 47, 48, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54,
55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63,
65, 66, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74,
75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80, 82, 83, 85,
86, 88, 90, 91, 92, 93, 95, 96, 97,
98, 99, 100, 101, 102, 104, 106,
107, 108, 109, 110, 111, 113,
117, 119, 120, 121, 122, 123,
124, 125, 127, 128, 129, 131,
133, 134, 135, 136, 138, 139,
140, 141, 142, 143, 144, 145,
146, 148, 150, 151, 152, 153
Schreber, Daniel Paul, 89, 120, 121,
179
self-determination, 28, 35, 60
Silverman, Hugh J., 11, 28, 51, 54,
57, 58, 64, 75, 179
stream of consciousness, 13, 14, 42,
43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51,
63, 82, 83, 85, 87, 88, 89, 90,
123, 128, 129, 140, 144, 146,
151
subjectivity, 13, 17, 26, 30, 31, 34,
35, 36, 37, 38, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44,
45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 51, 54, 55, 56,
57, 62, 63, 64, 65, 67, 72, 74, 76,
77, 79, 81, 82, 85, 90, 92, 100,
103, 104, 107, 108, 109, 112,
113, 114, 118, 119, 122, 123,
125, 138, 139, 140, 141,
142,143, 144, 147, 150, 152, 153
symbolic order, 12, 13, 16, 33, 36,
38, 40, 42, 53, 55, 56, 57, 65, 66,
67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 74, 75, 76, 77,
78, 79, 80, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 87,
88, 89, 90, 91, 94, 97, 98, 106,
108, 109, 112, 129, 135, 136,
140, 141, 142, 144, 145, 146,
147, 148, 150, 152, 153
Szasz, Thomas, 59, 60, 179
terror, 14, 16, 23, 115, 116, 145,

The Deconstructive Owl of Minerva


149, 151
the mirror stage, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69,
70, 73, 77, 85, 86, 87, 88, 89, 96,
108, 124, 140
the name-of-the-father, 14, 70, 77,
78, 79, 106, 136
time, 13, 14, 16, 18, 22, 24, 26, 29,
30, 31, 32, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41,
43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51,
56, 59, 60, 61, 63, 68, 69, 71, 74,
76, 79, 85, 86, 87, 89, 91, 92, 93,
94, 95, 96, 98, 100, 102, 103,
104, 106, 109, 113, 114, 117,
120, 121, 122, 123, 124, 125,
126, 127, 128, 129, 130, 132,

283

133, 134, 137, 138, 139, 141,


142, 143, 144, 145, 146, 149,
150, 152, 153
trauma, 12, 16, 19, 25, 27, 47, 50,
51, 53, 56, 57, 59, 61, 62, 66, 67,
68, 69, 70, 72, 74, 77, 78, 80, 82,
85, 87, 99, 102, 140, 141, 142,
143, 144, 150, 151, 153
unconscious, 35, 59, 65, 84, 88, 89,
93, 106, 135, 136
voices, 12, 20, 21, 45, 66, 72, 74,
79, 80, 83, 88, 120, 121, 149
Woolf, Virginia, 43, 118, 129, 140,
177, 179
Wyschogrod, Edith, 122, 123, 179