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The Phenomenology of Psychoses

A. Tatossian (1979)

The history of phenomenological psychiatry

Introduction

The main thrust of phenomenological psychiatry is the teaching of a new

way of approaching experience. This will be developed in later parts of this

treatise. Here we are concerned with the history of the movement, which

itself brings out this theme quite adequately. It is not possible to go into the

entire complexity of the history, but we can trace two important strands,

both of which emanated from that historic day, the 25th November 1922,

which we can say marked the debut of phenomenological psychiatry. The

occasion was the 63rd meeting of the Swiss Society for Psychiatry, which

was held in Zurich, and where Minkowski presented his study of a case of
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‘schizophrenic melancholy’ and of the disturbance of time which

underpinned it, and where Binswanger discussed his views on

phenomenology itself.

The two types of phenomenological psychiatry:

that of Minkowski, Straus and von Gebsattel;

and that of Binswanger and his evolution.

From that day onwards, there appeared two distinct strands to

phenomenological psychiatry, which are evident despite all sorts of

variations as time went on. One is illustrated by the early work of

Minkowski along with that of Straus and von Gebsattel, all of which make

only a peripheral appeal to any philosopher in respect to the theses put

forward, and do not rely in any systematic way on phenomenology in its

technical aspects. Binswanger, on the other hand, devotes a large part of his

earliest publications to a discussion of the notion of essences and to

Husserl’s views on intentionality, which he follows faithfully in his

psychiatric examples at this time. He remained committed to them even

during the 1930s, when Heidegger’s Being and time had become his

principal reference point, and when he was developing his own brand of

analysis which he referred to as Daseinsanalysis, and kept faith with them


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even later when he returned to the fold of Husserl’s transcendental

philosophy and re-interpreted his own Daseinsanalysis in a purer Husserlian

light.

It should be stressed that Binswanger’s Heideggerian phase, and the return

to Husserl, had nothing arbitrary about them, but were dictated by his

continual attempts to accommodate theory and psychiatric experience. If

Husserl’s analysis of consciousness showed itself inadequate in getting to

grips with the psychiatric facts, then he resorted to a Heideggerian

interpretation of what it was to be a human being, even though he then lost

out in terms of Husserl’s emphasis on how the human world was constituted.

It was his recognition of this very fact that brought Binswanger back to strict

phenomenology in his later writings, not so much in respect of

consciousness and how it actively constituted the world, but more in the way

of a phenomenology of subjectivity, with an interest in the passive syntheses

which underlay the active syntheses. In short, Binswanger was trying to

adapt Husserl’s later notions about a ‘transcendental egology’. Whatever

one thinks about Binswanger’s rather peripatetic journey in all this, every

page of his works is testament to his faithfulness to one or other of these

philosophers. The other members of the phenomenological ‘quadrumvirate’


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of the 1920s were much less inclined to set their work in the context of some

specific philosopher. Minkowski, Straus and von Gebsattel preferred to

keep closer to their clinical experience, and, unlike Binswanger, resisted the

temptation to bring this continually back to a systematic philosophical thesis.

The above contrast is not absolute, as Binswanger was at pains to emphasize

that his own deliberations on space and lived time were

anthropological or even psychological [and not properly philosophical]. But

our own purpose in pointing out the opposition between Binswanger and the

others is to draw attention to an ambiguity at the very heart of psychiatric

phenomenology, between philosophical and clinical analysis, even though

there are theoretical digressions in the works of the other three

psychopathologists mentioned. For example, one can find transcendental

themes in the writings of Minkowski, who latterly gave considerable weight

to the notion of a split at the core of schizophrenia, between, on the one

hand, a transcendental set of directives, and, on the other hand, a giving over

of oneself to the expressivity of others, a theme which mirrored the

intentionality and being-in-the-world poles of Heidegger.


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More recently, phenomenological psychiatry has followed the path of

Binswanger rather than the other route. For example, the group of

psychopathologists who constitute what is known as the second Heidelberg

school – von Bayer, Kisker, Häfner, Tellenbach and Blankenburg – have

been particularly attracted to Heidegger’s existential analysis.

Two types of psychiatric phenomenology –

descriptive and genetic

In the course of the evolution of psychiatric phenomenology one can detect a

second general characteristic [in addition to the Binswanger v Minkowski,

Straus, von Gebsattel approaches]. This is a displacement of descriptive

phenomenology by genetic phenomenology [i.e. concerning the genesis of

phenomenology, nothing to do with genes]. The phenomenologists of the

1920s agreed with Minkowski, Straus and von Gebsattel that their interest

was purely descriptive, and distanced themselves from aetiological

approaches, whether psychological in general, or Freudian psychoanalytical

ones in particular, and including organic hypotheses as well. They adhered


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to the principle of Jaspers, that, in the case of psychosis, there was an

interruption in the psychological plausibility of what was at stake, in short a

genetic incomprehensibility. But Binswanger’s Daseinsanalysis was not

compatible with this, focusing as it did on how a subject’s historical

situation intermeshed with their status as being schizophrenic, and focusing

on how their psychosis might well be comprehensible after all, not

psychologically, admittedly, but phenomenologically in some way. This

concern has given rise to a whole series of biographical accounts of how

psychosis can come about, accounts which we shall consider in our treatise.

Tellenbach and Blankenburg have been at the forefront of this trend ushered

in by Binswanger. One can say, therefore, that the original preoccupation

[by Minkowski, for example] with lived time, in general, in psychosis,

transformed itself into an actual search for the historical antecedents of a

psychosis.

The above schematic outline of our topic is by no means a clear-cut one.

There are peripheral inputs; there are also contributions purporting to inject

a proper ontological, as opposed to a phenomenological rationale, to the


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subject matter : that of Boss, for example, or those inclined towards a

Hegelian perspective; there is the approach of Wyrsch, who was more

oriented to clinical matters; then there is that of von Baeyer, who selected

the paranoid encounter with the world as his focus of investigation. Other

versions of our theme include the anthropological theses of Zutt and

Kulenkampff. All of these challenge the very definition of psychiatric

phenomenology.

Nature and definition of psychiatric phenomenology

This last issue is not to be confused with the problems involved in defining

philosophical phenomenology, problems which Spiegelberg resolved by

isolating different versions according to how strictly they incorporated the

notions of essence, intentionality, and the ‘reduction’.

Diversity of psychiatric experience

The endeavours of psychiatric phenomenology have a familial resemblance,

in that they have as their basis a concern with the immediate character of a

psychiatric patient’s experience as it appears to the patient, coupled with an

investigator’s skill in showing such, but without a rigorous theoretical

framework as to how this should be done. The concept of experience


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(Erfahrung) is therefore a central issue in this phenomenology, which,

moreover, takes care to mount a critique of it as well as be informed by what

the patient says about it.

In short, if psychiatry is deemed to be a ‘methodological chameleon’, as

Tellenbach (1975) referred to it as, and if psychiatry uses all sorts of

methods, then each approach to the subject matter necessarily reveals a facet

of experience which that method has determined. A scientific approach, for

example, treats the patient as a psychophysical organism, an organism which

doubles up as organic and psychic, and then views this organism as

submitting to causal laws. Because this way of looking at a patient retains

only those aspects of him or her which can be objectively verified, the

experience which it is concerned with only revolves around what is

technically able to be manipulated about the human being. Any other sort of

experience – be it what is psychologically comprehensible, or hermeneutic,

or phenomenological, or what is known as atmospheric – barely counts in

this search for what is verifiable, but is no less empirical as form of

experience for all that. The phenomenological experience stands out vis-à-

vis the others mentioned by its status as that experience which allows the

very essence of something which has earlier been achieved to illuminate


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unique cases of whatever the essence has jurisdiction over, a characteristic

which simply does not occur in traditional empirical experience.

Phenomenological experience : empirical and

transcendental –eidetic

Phenomenology in general is bound up with the ambition to show that in

each experience there is more than ordinary empiricism recognizes, and that

what such ordinary empiricism deems to be experience is in fact a

‘curtailment’ of experience, the truth of the matter being rather as Goethe

saw, when he wrote that ‘experience is only part of what there is to be

experienced’. What there is in addition to the objective fact in experience is

the essence of what is encountered – its way of being, its ‘how it shows

itself’ – which adds to the bare and shrunken ‘what’ which science takes for

experience. This essence is the very thing which makes possible what is

given to us, and which transcendentally constitutes it. But what is properly

phenomenological is not the notion of the essence itself, but rather what is

visible, i.e. accessible to an intuitive grasp of what there is.

Phenomenology [as applied to psychiatry] does not pretend to be able to

explain anything, but it does claim to be able to provide an enlightenment


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into psychiatric experience, i.e. to make explicit what a psychiatrist actually

already knows but does not necessarily know that he or she knows. As

Blankenburg (1965) put it:

It is not so much bringing to light new states of affairs,

but rather providing new insights into established ways

of looking at experience …….. it is a way of looking at

things which does not produce anything actually new

……. but rather like the mathematician who grasps

some formula for accommodating a whole series of

mechanical facts then subsumes these into his system

…… A formula of this sort is not the cause of these

facts, but rather a principle, and so are the essential

structures of phenomenology not causes of

psychopathological facts but are simply demonstrations

of what is ‘apriori’ and how such facts can appear.

Phenomenological experience is therefore twofold, at the same time

empirical – in its usual sense – and also apriori – as what is transcendentally

constituting the givenness of what is given, by providing the essences which


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unify what are otherwise treated in diverse manner by [non-

phenomenological] philosophy and science alike. This project is serious

[but by no means easy]. For one thing, psychiatry deals with concrete and

individual human experience, and to say that there is some apriori constraint

on a melancholic that he or she will experience an immobilisation of life, or

a stagnation of lived time, does not accord with psychiatric practice, to wit,

the fact that obsessionals and schizophrenics also complain of these.

Introducing a transcendental component to understanding psychiatry can

only work if this is taken as part of the means whereby empirical experience

occurs, not as some isolated and additional way of knowing things.

Phenomenological experience is what is there at the root of everything, and

any other sort of method at getting at what psychiatric patients go through is

an abstraction from this. According to Binswanger, for example, clinical

experience, in its usual sense, is already a sort of reduction of any such

phenomenological experience, not only departing from the patients’ natural

experience, but foisting an organic or psychic façade on things, to such an

extent that one creates an alternate reality for the sake of turning him or her

into a clinical case.


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Strict phenomenology regards what is reported as experience as the end-

product not the start of a whole series of factors. This is evident in

Binswanger’s studies of his various case histories – Suzanne Urban, for

instance, whose ‘experience’ he brings out as a progressive overcoming of

her actual phenomenological experience. It also explains why Binswanger

gives such weight to metaphor, or why [another phenomenologically-

oriented psychopathologist] Zutt puts his patients’ experience into everyday

German rather than struggles with their artificial translation into Greco-Latin

phraseology. We are trying to get to grips here with the distinction between

symptoms and what we regard as phenomenology. But this task is

completely obscured unless we recognize that a ‘symptom’ in physical

medicine is entirely different from a ‘symptom’ in psychiatry.


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Schizophrenic autism according to Binswanger

Psychological and Daseinsanalytic approach

Although comments on the nature of schizophrenic autism are not absent in

the five case studies [which are the centrepiece of Binswanger’s work], at

this period [1940s, early 1950s] Binswanger was mainly at pains to promote

an ‘existential’ account of schizophrenia, treating the condition as a form of

‘inauthentic’ existence. Within this framework autism was understood as a

way of not-being-oneself (Ellen West), or as a form of disappearance of the

capacity for loving or being part of another’s existence (Jűrg Zűnd), or as an

alteration in existential temporality. There was then a transitional period,


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when he came under the influence of the works of Szilasi (e.g. Szilasi 1959),

during which he shifted his allegiance from the existential notions of

Heidegger to the experiential preoccupations of Husserl. At this stage he

started to conceive of autism as being one of three ways in which the

customary natural attitude of a person had been lost : Verschrobenheit

[distortion, perverseness], Verstiegenheit [presumptuousness, extravagance]

and Manierlertheit [manneristic behaviour]. His use of these terms, which

clearly depart from customary language, reflected his thought at that time

that psychopathological use of language was itself a departure from

everyday language, and in the direction of the human being’s original

spiritual home in this respect.

His general aim at this time was to understand how psychopathological

symptoms were transformations of the usual mode of encountering the

world. Autism, for Binswanger, was not a specific schizophrenic

psychopathological entity, but a more pervasive consequence of not

encountering the world in the usual way. And it was something, moreover,

that had no obvious psychological explanation nor had its basis in any

rational account of experience. For example, he criticised the formulation of

Reboul-Lachaux, who had maintained that mannerisms were simply


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involuntary movements, on the grounds that the opposition of involuntary

and voluntary was not the critical issue at stake. He similarly reproached

Minkowski, whose formulation of autism involved the notion of morbid

rationalization, by saying that something more basic was afoot. Gruhle, too,

whose general view of schizophrenia was to the effect that the patient was

[rationally] wanting to be other than himself or herself, came in for the same

criticism, in this case because the human being, according to Binswanger,

was not the sort of entity that could want to be other than itself. [In all these

alternative formulations of autism] Binswanger contested the very

anthropological basis of what was being credited to a human being –

whether in terms of conscious or unconscious motives, or voluntary or

involuntary initiation. According to Binswanger, autism, and its ways of

appearing, were simply manifestations of a human being’s propensity to

project certain ways of living a life, independently of the question of

whether we can know if there was an intention or not to desire such

particular forms of life.

Extravagance and its anthropological disproportion


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[N.B. Tatossian translated Binswanger’s term Verstiegenheit as

présomption – presumptuousness – whereas I and Shepherd, 1987, took it to

mean extravagance. Both translations together enhance its meaning.]

Extravagance connotes the sense that one is in a situation that one has

climbed to a position from which one can neither advance further, nor

descend, and where one can only remain suspended or fall down, not unlike

an amateur climber in the Alps who misjudged the journey he had embarked

upon. The extravagant nature of the patient’s situation is shown in their go-

it-alone presumption, having lost all communications with an earlier

existential status, and are now shaping up to be some sort of person way

beyond what they are cut out to be, not unlike a character in an Ibsen play.

The patient is somehow aiming to be an ideal sort of person, shedding any

link with his or her mundane self. Binswanger returns again and again to

this theme in his case histories of schizophrenia – whether in the form of

bodily thinness, as in the case of Ellen West; or in the form of [a

pretentious] social distinctiveness, as in Jűrg Zűnd’s case; or in the way of a

total absence of familial security as in Suzanne Urban. Once their ideal

presumption has been alighted upon, their only outcomes are to come a
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cropper, fall back on suicide, become autistic, or develop a schizophrenic

delusional state. In short, the extravagance or presumptuousness that we are

considering here is a sort of anthropological disproportion which insinuates

itself between the undoubted breadth of experience that anyone can make

use of and the loftiness of the problematic situation that they find themselves

in, but which favours a ‘vertical’ direction in any such dilemma. This

loftiness or verticality of the person’s new situation is somehow their only

route. It is not to be accounted for in terms of imagination, or love, or

enthusiasm, or art, nor is it achieved in a stepwise manner. It is rather a leap

into strangeness, leaving behind, and being incomprehensible by, the usual

sorts of psychological explanation for a change in lifestyle – e.g. versatility,

heightened imagination. It is rather proof that whatever has happened was

scarcely based on any sort of experience at all.

Perverseness and the primacy of usefulness

pushed to the extreme of ridiculousness

[NB Tatossian translated Binswanger’s term Verschrobenheit as distortion –

imbalance, disequilibrium – whereas Shepherd and I rendered it as

perverseness. Again the further dimension is a bonus.]


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Perverseness or imbalance is exemplified in the schizoid father of one of

Binswanger’s five cases who gave her a coffin for a Christmas present; in

the act of an institutionalised schizophrenic who applied a piece of meat to

his head in an attempt to cool himself down; and in a case of Minkowski’s

who devised a rigid programme of self-improvement for himself in order to

achieve spiritual perfection. It is also illustrated by a teacher who forbade

his pupils to read a poem where the sky was supposed to have embraced the

earth, on the grounds that such an event was impossible.

A preliminary analysis of expressions which fall into this category of

perversion or imbalance – whether found in normal language or in the

vocabulary of psychopathology – clearly shows that they are derived from

words used to refer to homo faber, and in particular those who work with

solid materials – wood, steel or stone – but not silk or leather. In

perverseness (or disequilibrium) the primacy of usability [Zuhandenheit in

Heidegger’s philosophical terminology] and its transposition into the mode

of Vorhandenheit in the human being, is affected. The way in which the

world is originally discovered through its practicality and usability is

precisely what is distorted in the Binswangerian mode of perverseness or

disequilibrium.
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The mode of perverseness, as well as ignoring the bounds of sense with

respect to usability, further oversteps the limits of the natural attitude to

anything. It treats the ‘nature of a thing’, with respect to how anyone might

use it, with complete disdain, and violates the boundaries of what we regard

as ‘good taste’: in both aspects there is a shift towards a subjective

transcendence, and away from an objective transcendence. It is bad taste,

for example, to give your sick daughter a coffin as a present, even if the act

was not ill-intentioned. It is pushing the limits of the theme of Christmas

presents, or presents in general, into the realm of the ludicrous. In his wish

to start communicating with his daughter the father ends up shutting the door

on this more firmly than ever before: his notion of a Christmas present is

actually an object which is useful, but quite inappropriate to the situation.

Likewise, the schizophrenic who tries to cool down his head with a piece of

meat ignores an entire set of connotations which meat evokes, and singles

out the simple notion of himself as a body which is too hot and which needs

cooling off, setting aside what is commonly taken for the uses of meat.

Taking matters to their extremes is also illustrated in the case of the teacher

who reduced the conduct of life to the technique of living. In all these cases,
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the common denominator is a narrowing down of some complex matter to a

unique theme, which then takes on absolute proportions and brooks no

limits. Perverseness, in this way, has the effect of enlarging the scope of

what any thematic issue can accommodate in terms of an experiential fact,

but at the expense of losing the profundity of experience itself. The upshot

of this is a similar disproportion in the human being’s way of living as

occurs in the mode Binswanger named exaggeration or presumptuousness,

although its direction is inverse vis-à-vis the latter, as it is rather an objective

blockage in the smooth flow of our life [unlike the subjective insouciance

towards such objective obstacles which characterises exaggeration].

Manneristic behaviour and its basis in natural being

[N.B. Binswanger’s Manieriertheit, Tatossian’s translation of this as

maniérisme, and our translation as manneristic behaviour, are in accord].

Binswanger’s work on manneristic behaviour is undoubtedly the richest of

his studies on autism, even if some of it strays into complex aesthetic issues.

Overall, it contains his most revelatory insights into the nature of

schizophrenia. In French, the word maniérisme has connotations derived

from main [hand], which include guinder [to make starchy or stilted] or se
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guinder [to become stilted], and guinder itself meant originally to hoist a

sail. Manneristic behaviour is an act of self-elevation, but its nautical

association, in the above, suffuses it with a sense of technicality and

instrumentality. Manneristic behaviour is therefore an action which results

in elevating something, but thanks to someone else, and is therefore an

unnatural development, with the implication that the process is somehow

orchestrated. All these considerations lend the term manneristic behaviour a

sense of intentionality, but one which displaces the centre of this away from

an integrated voluntariness to some peripheral region. Any conscious

intention has the flavour of emanating from a technical source. This is why

Binswanger refuses to see the entity in simple terms of voluntary or

involuntary behaviour, as Reboul-Lachoux would have it, or to invoke any

conventional psychological dysfunction as its root cause.

There is a similarity between certain sorts of artistic work and manneristic

behaviour, particularly those of the classical period. This similarity revolves

around the tendency in both to exaggerate certain naturalistic ways of life, to

crystallise some general trait of public life. But the manneristic behaviour

itself, as compared with artistic trends in this respect, is more to do with a

particular direction that ensues [unlike certain artistic styles which capture
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diverse aspects of the human being]. Manneristic behaviour is solely that

mode of the human being which is inauthentic [here Tatossian emphasises

Binswanger’s reliance on Heideggers’ Being and Time]. The mode of living

which manneristic behaviour epitomizes is that mode which is in the realm

of thinking alone, and which veils, masks, and erects a carapace over,

anything which smacks of a natural way of living. Jűrg Zűnd, for example,

who is a paradigmatic case of the manneristic behaviour under scrutiny here,

was adept at donning three masks – that of his working-class upbringing

which he abhorred, that of his quarrelling parents, and that of his affluent

and upper middle-class grandfather. To put it more correctly, manneristic

behaviour is not a range of potential human existences seen through a mask,

but one existence only, lived in a mask, with its dire effects on self-concept,

its natural illusions, and its jealously protected visions. Jűrg Zűnd could see

no alternative in his forced need to conserve such a way of life but to seek

voluntary retreat in a psychiatric asylum.

If manneristic behaviour is a way of living which necessarily involves

donning masks in this way, rather than the subject compromised in this way

becoming accommodated to whatever they lack, this is because the subject is

completely constrained in this respect. It is not a position of putting on a


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good impression for others, but, in this way, rather dealing with their own

internal situation, wracked as they are by angst, doubt and despair. The

disproportion which is manifest in their situation vis-à-vis the normal human

being is somehow situated in a region of the human being which is neither

overly subjective, nor overly wrapped up in the demands of merely living,

and perhaps differs from the accommodation that the normal person must

make to these two sides of his or her person. The schizophrenic’s rejection

of the compromise that a normal person makes in such circumstances is

central to the nature of this condition. Perhaps the difference between the

autistic schizophrenic and the sane is not that the former succeeds better in

distancing himself or herself from the everyday, public domain of the natural

life than does the sane [in the latter’s spiritual or mental ventures], but that

the schizophrenic simply fails to adapt to the last. With respect to the other

two modes of disproportion – extravagance and perverseness – manneristic

behaviour is the closest to the core dissociation of schizophrenia, because its

spatial manifestations, more so than in the other two, follow more closely

the presumed dissolution in the nature of a human being that constitutes

schizophrenia.

The three forms of a lack of engagement with life:


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common traits and inherence in the human being

The three forms of failed integration into life do not exclude one another. In

the case of Ilse, for example, all three co-existed: her infliction of a severe

burn to her arm to show her father ‘what love can do to you’ was an example

of extravagance/presumptuousness, because it attests to her having gone

beyond the bounds of the usual psychological means of expressing this; it

was further perverse, because it ruined the supposed purpose of the act to

initiate communication with her father; and it was manneristic, because the

act had the hallmark of martyrdom, which she would have known from

history and literature. The three modes are therefore similar in kind, and it is

difficult sometimes to separate them in conventional language. Their

common characteristics are an immobilisation of the flow of life; a dubious,

if not dilapidated, achievement of ones ends; and a blockage of authentic

movement of life and its correlated degeneration into inauthenticity. With

respect to how these compare with the inauthentic varieties and modes of

living which the sane also manifest and pursue, the morbid nature of the

three sorts of failure discussed hitherto is bound up with a disruption of the

natural way of experiencing the world, the self and things themselves.

Perverseness, for example, reduces any situation to a general thematic, to an

idea, to a concept, or to a definition, which then becomes an absolutely


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binding theme, which, in turn, no longer imposes any natural boundaries on

what behaviour or notion it can determine, hence substituting a subjective

transcendence for an objective one. Manneristic behaviour, for example

ends up as an artificial version of what is intended, indeed, in Jűrg Zűnd’s

case, whose aim was not to get himself noticed, he achieved the complete

opposite – getting himself constantly noticed. In extravagance, for example,

the artificiality and lack of boundaries are evident in the flight of fancy that

is manifest.

The nature of the affective trouble in melancholia

Introduction

The experience of melancholia, ours as well as that of the patient, is, above

all, that of suffering, which accounts for its unique status as a psychosis, and

characterises the flavour of the disturbed affectivity which underlies this.

But this core issue is shrouded in obscurity, despite the richness of terms in a

variety of languages which have been used to describe it. Before embarking

on a phenomenology of melancholia, therefore, we need to address this very

issue.
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Normal and melancholic suffering

The difference between suffering undergone by a sane person, or someone in

a reactively deprived state, and melancholic suffering, is not to be found in

anything in a person’s environment nor in some specific event which

precedes such a state, and indeed there have been psychopathologists (e.g.

Schulte 1961) who have regarded the melancholic as the most autistic of

patients. Their suffering, strange to an outsider, is equally strange to the

patients themselves, who, when cured, find it incomprehensible. Tellenbach

(1974), for example, has written:

In non-psychotic sadness the self identifies itself

with the feelings it undergoes: he is his sadness,

and is equally the object of his sadness. Even in

states lacking any object, such as Weltschmerz, the

self is identical with his sadness. In melancholy,

by contrast, the self is so to speak alongside its

sadness.

Tellenbach goes so far as to say that in one sense the melancholic doesn’t

actually suffer, any more than the manic actually feels joy, both situations

being quite unlike the sane person’s suffering or joy. The melancholic
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suffering is simply not comparable to naturally occurring suffering, not just

because it has no object, but because it is an abnormal, perverted and

deformed sort of suffering.

What sort of life the melancholic does exactly live through at such times is

also problematical, regardless of whether current clinical psychiatry regards

sadness as the defining and determining symptom. To be sure, melancholics

talk about themselves as sad and appear such to others, but what the

melancholic means by sad here is rather a reaction to the actual morbid

situation going on [and is by no means itself primary]. In fact, the notion

that a melancholic can have reactive feelings in this way is doubtful, and it is

better to view any such sadness as the melancholic’s way of expressing to

themselves and others what is actually inexpressible and inexplicable, a sort

of feeling of emptiness, of petrification, of not living at all.

Vital sadness

Scheler, who was much more influential than Husserl in the early stage of

psychiatric phenomenology, distinguished between several sorts of feelings:

sensory ones, localized in the body, such as pain, which were rather
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perceptions of ones own body; vital feelings, which directly suffused the

body as belonging to me in the generality of its states, feelings such as well-

being or in bad health, along with psychic functions [and other experiences]

such as angst, disgust, appetite, aversion and sympathy; and feelings of

mental and spiritual worth, which were attached to being-human as a person,

feelings which had no need of a body for their realization, feelings such as

sadness, discouragement and beauty. German clinical psychopathology has

long regarded a ‘vital sadness’ as specific to melancholy, and this goes back

to Kurt Schneider’s application of these notions of Scheler’s just mentioned.

The melancholic [according to such a formulation] lives through his sadness

as localized in the head or chest or epigastrium, or experiences it in a variety

of other bodily ways – as a weight on the chest, as a tightening in the throat.

In supposing a ‘vitalization’ of sadness in this way, Schneider considered

that there might be an inhibition of feelings of the mental and spiritual

levels, an inhibition brought about by the intensity of the vital feelings.

[Against Schneider’s formulation] is the fact that a vital sadness is not a

constant feature of melancholy, and that it can be found in schizophrenia and

reactive depression. Glatzel took the view that the apparent privileged

position of a ‘vital sadness’ in melancholy was nothing to do with ‘sadness’

but to do with ‘vital’ functions [or dysfunctions of another sort]. He realized


29

that there was a ‘vitalization’ of other aspects of the melancholic’s

experience, as there was in the ‘vital anxiety’ described by Lopez-Ibor.

Melancholy as a problem of temperament or mood [l’humeur]

and not of feelings – masked depressions

Scheler’s levels of emotional life correspond [in one way] to a distinction,

familiar to German-speakers, but not easily translated into French, between

Stimmung [humeur, mood or temperament] and Gefűhl [sentiment, feeling].

For Glatzel this distinction is indispensable for understanding melancholy,

which, according to him, lies in the sphere of humeur, and is one of the

dysthymies [Verstimmungen, mood or temperamental anomaly], whereas

sadness is a feeling, and, at most, contingent on this.

Whereas feelings have a temporal sense, with a beginning, a development,

and an end, humeur implies a relative stability. Furthermore, feelings have a

direction, an affective movement, and are in response to something or

someone; humeur, on the other hand, has an element of passivity, is a state,

at a remove from a subject’s will. Such a psychic state is pervasive and

cannot be unique from moment to moment – unlike feelings which can be

multiple and simultaneous – and is tied up with a general experience of the


30

body as my own agent, an experience which can be refreshing or exhausting,

light or heavy. Humeur is further bound up with the vital sphere of the

human, and pervades it completely. This is what gives it its depth, whereas

feelings, however intense, are not profound in this sense. Nevertheless, this

depth to humeur is not something attached to the individual as a person, as it

is rather an ‘anhistorical’ process, which sets in with little in the way of

direct links to that person’s actions and reactions which make up their

biographical self. This can be contrasted with a feeling such as revenge,

which is wide open to psychological exploration in terms of something that

happened in the past.

Glatzel relies on these sorts of distinctions between humeur and sentiment to

elaborate the essential nature of melancholy. He argues that the

melancholic, whether sad or not [see p. ], is anyway party to a whole set

of problems to do with mood and temperament. The very localization of this

dysthymia to the body [and not the mind] supports this thesis, in his view.

In fact, the very existence of formes frustes, or masked varieties of

depression, or ‘depression without depression’, as it has been called, further


31

attests to the correctness of Glatzel’s views. In fact Glatzel goes further, and

says that melancholy not only does not require the presence of sadness – a

feeling – for it to be valid in some way, but even does not require the

presence of a particular mood either. [The nature of melancholy lies

elsewhere] in the same way as the existence of epileptic equivalents

scotched the notion that a grand mal seizure was the essential characteristic

of epilepsy.

Mood (temperament), syntony, and emotional

contact according to Minkowski

The very word ‘humeur’ is vague in French, and a poor translation of the

German Stimmung. [Minkowski’s attempt to tackle the linguistic and

psychopathological issues involved led him to propose that in both

schizophrenia and melancholy there was a disturbance in affective contact or

syntony – he regarded these as synonymous – and that in schizophrenia the

disturbance was in some way qualitatively different from that in

melancholia, a difference, however, which he did not elaborate further].

The melancholic’s incapability of feeling sad


32

and the melancholic’s total incapability

The nucleus of the way in which the melancholic lives his or her life is not

[according to our above considerations] based on sadness, whether vitalized

or not, but emanates from a mood disorder, or is some sort of disturbance of

affective contact. This altered state is tied up also with a change in the

temporality of the human being, attested to by what the melancholic lacks

most of all – mobility, the very core of what it is to be alive. Whereas

sadness, like all feelings, has a point of birth, a growth, a set duration, and

then disappears, a melancholic ‘sadness’ has no movement. It sits there with

a permanence that won’t budge. Furthermore, in melancholia, the self,

although knowing [in a certain way] that there is the possibility of being

liberated from the ‘sadness’, actually stands back as a spectator of the

dysthymic state that is unravelling. The suffering undergone is not,

however, merely in the incapacity to enter into a relationship with this

dysthymia, but the incapacity at issue is tied up with an incapacity for

actually feeling sadness. Schulte, for example, views this very incapability

of feeling sadness as the kernel of melancholia itself:

Someone who can still be sad is not truly


33

melancholic, and one can gauge the termination

of the latter’s illness, or its impending resolution,

by the first stirrings of an ability to feel sad.

A melancholic subject, for example, on hearing of his son’s suicide, said that

he experienced no distress, all the while being in a state of atrocious

unhappiness, whereas, after a month of treatment, he cried and felt sad, a

point in time which coincided with his being cured.

Clinical psychiatry has certainly recognized that there can be an ‘affective

anaesthesia’, a feeling of the absence of feelings, but this has been regarded

as somewhat marginal to, or as a particular sort of, melancholia. In fact it is

rather a central feature of melancholia, even though a similar state occurs in

schizophrenia, organic conditions, and even neurosis. In melancholia this

anaesthesia reaches its most developed form, and, unlike these other

conditions, is experienced by the melancholic in the most tortured way.


34

This incapacity is moreover something which overwhelms the person much

more so than sadness or any other feeling. It is pervasive and taints all sorts

of actions – eating, drinking, sleeping, working, making love. This is why

an explanation of affective anaesthesia, as promoted by Kurt Schneider – an

inhibition of joy and sadness through an intensity of vital feelings – is too

simplistic. The melancholic incapacity at stake here certainly lies in an

inhibition of some sort, but it is not a selective inhibition of this or that

function, but rather something which affects the very nature of what it is to

be human. Straus (1960) noted that joy and sadness are wrapped up with

time, and thought that it was the blocked future of a depressive which

underlay their failure to experience these emotions.

The melancholia’s body as a carrier of life

[corps-porteur]

The notion of the body as a [preconscious] carrier of what it is to be alive, as

opposed to the body as an appearance [to others and ourselves], is contained

in Scheler’s formulation of levels of experience – the living body being the

vital level at which the body is experienced, and bodily appearance being an
35

objectified [mental] version of this. In Zutt’s (1963) concept of melancholia,

the bodily experience at the level of its vital mode loses whatever it is that

makes this experience what it is, and the body is then rendered strange to the

subject. In melancholia, therefore, there is an alteration in the normal shift

between the body as an acknowledged supplier of life and the body as a

burden, towards the body being constantly experienced as a burden. In

melancholia the affective experience of this emerges as a sense of weight

which the body conveys, and this is more central to the condition than any

sadness. This sense of weight can be considered in a literal and

metaphorical sense, as it pervades the entire experience of the melancholic’s

world and self, both of which are treated with undue gravity.

Zutt sees the body as living vehicle and the body as appearance as

complementary, and further links the two, respectively, as the sites of

involuntary behaviour and voluntary action. In the former mode, it is the

shared constituents of living that are supported – nourishment, quenching of

thirst, sexuality, likes and dislikes. On the basis of the general tone to all
36

this, a human being chooses individual instances – this or that food or drink

or sexual partner.

This pre-individuated generality of the body as vehicle of life – which is

quite distinct from any post-individuated generality of, for example, drink as

drink [essence] – is wrapped up with the mood [l’humeur, Stimmung] which

we are originally in as a preconscious mode – Heidegger. This [accentuated]

preconscious generality is what stamps melancholia with its commonality

across individuals, unlike schizophrenia which is quite different from

individual to individual. As Binswanger (1960) says:

everyone has his or her schizophrenia

[according to who they are] but mania or

melancholia are the same the world over.

Zutt’s [and other’s] insistence that the body is simultaneously a carrier of

life and a worldly appearance [respectively, Leib and Kőrper], [and that the

former aspect of the body is not attenuated in melancholia] leads us to the

conclusion that any notion one attributes to the melancholic, such as lack of

trust [l’atrophie de la confiance], might well have to be seen in a double


37

light as well. The development of a paranoid attitude in melancholia could

be based either on some disorder in pre-individuated human functioning or

as the post-individuated variety [comparable in the discussion of bodily

modes to Leib and Kőrper]. Here it would appear that the melancholic’s

pre-individual disorder is the root cause of their [not uncommon] paranoid

ideas and delusions, whereas the post-individuated mode – the world of

appearances – is not the issue. Despite this formulation, one has also to note

that the melancholic’s difficulty in communicating with others is above all a

problem with respect to the other as an individual. As Celleri et al. (1972)

noted:

the depressive has not so much lost the

possibility of being at one, in general, with

another person, but has rather lost the knack of

being at one with this particular other person.

This makes any psychotherapeutic relationship quite difficult. Unlike the

schizophrenic, where a common sense of what’s what between the

schizophrenic and the sane is completely lost, in the case of melancholia this

very common sense is preserved, if not accentuated according to Tellenbach


38

certainly with respect to the predisposing personality to the condition. The

same conservation of common sense can be seen in mania, something which

accounts for the manic’s witticisms being quite on target (Blankenburg

1969).

The weight of the past and the melancholic’s sense of guilt

The immobilisation of lived time and the blocking of the future are in

complete contrast to the automatic liquidation of the past which a normal

person enjoys, this latter being achieved through an orientation to the future

rather than through a laborious annulment of the past item by item.

According to von Gebsattel (1954):

For the depressive, time is no longer the milieu whereby

he or she can unfurl their potentialities, but rather the

inverse. It has become the milieu which restricts them and

forces them into a decline. The future is menacing and

disquieting and what is to become of them quite

problematical, along with which there is a pervasive sense

of foreboding and impending catastrophe. The depressive

gives up on the future as a realm which he or she can do

anything about in the sense of changing it, and they then


39

search for salvation in a vain attempt to change the past.

In the melancholic’s experience the past cannot be dissipated, but lies

heavily and over-determining. But it is simplistic to see the problem as one

in which the past replaces the future and present.

The melancholic’s past is, to be sure, not the same as that of a normal

person’s. But it is rather that the melancholic has a specific problem in

recollecting the original situational context of a remembered event, whereas

the monotonous and stereotyped revival of such memories continues to

plague him or her, shorn of any archaeological inscription as having

occurred in the distant past. Perhaps a better way of looking at things [better

than how von Gebsattel saw matters] is to say that the melancholic, and the

manic for that matter, tend to live in an inauthentic present, in which [like

scientific time] there are merely successive moments, neither articulated nor

possessed of their own momentum. If this is so, then it would be true to say

that the melancholic’s temporality is outside the parameter of true lived

duration, and is not a temporality at all, but pure chronology.


40

The melancholic’s sense of the weight of the past and their sense of guilt are

undoubtedly linked. What was a trivial peccadillo looms large because it

was never got over and remained a latent sore liable to retrieval.

But this is not the whole story. The melancholic feels guilty because he or

she feels generally in debt to something. Some melancholics refer to

themselves as guilty of something or other, but all feel in debt somehow for

not being able to get anything going, for not being able to become whatever

they want to become. This fact makes the hoary problem of whether the

melancholic’s guilt is primary, or secondary to something else, worth

reformulating. In Jaspers’ opinion, all melancholic delusions of guilt were

understandable in terms of the subject’s affective state, and were therefore

secondary to this One of his successors, Weitbrecht (1966), admitted,

however, that, alongside this secondary sense of guilt, there was a primary

and psychologically inexplicable form. Tellenbach (1974), on the other

hand, maintained that the melancholic’s sense of guilt was always primary

and incomprehensible, the real reason for its primacy in this respect being

that it is an anomalous and monstrous sort of guilt, which emanates from a

completely endogenous region of the human being, and which escapes all
41

laws of psychology. The correct view of the sense of guilt in melancholia is

inseparable from a view of melancholia itself which places the sufferer of

such a condition in this respect in an ontological region completely outside

the normal, and, with it, the normal parameters of time. Being guilty, for a

melancholic, simply does not follow the normal rules of what guilt makes

the normal do or feel, because it is something that precedes any such

matters, and it is for this reason that the past is surveyed for evidence for this

new and morbid state of affairs.

The same anomalous source to their guilt, in an ‘endogenous’ zone, accounts

for their apparent overly moral conscience. It is, in fact, a caricature of a

normal moral conscience, a morbid moral conscience, no less, and one

deprived of any possibility that it could be redeemed by repentance in the

future, as would any normal conscience. The melancholic is actually

‘hypersensitive to values’, values which are supra-individual and universal,

such as those to do with the body, the relationship to other people, including

God, but quite blind to others.

The melancholic’s complaint according to Maldiney


42

We now come to the admirable account of Maldiney’s, employing all the

resources of Husserlian phenomenology but also incorporating Heidegger’s

existential analysis. What the melancholic has lost, according to Maldiney,

is not primarily any object, because the critical fault is situated in a pre-

objective level – that which Straus identified as the realm of feeling, and

which others have considered as the region of empathic communication. As

this level is anterior to the world of objective things, one cannot say that the

site of the core fracture is that of objectivization, but rather that the problem

with the melancholic is existence itself, and [in the context in which

Maldiney discusses this] this means Heidegger’s notion of a realm where

entities are only utensils – good for something – and are situated in an

‘environing world’, or, alternatively, in Husserl’s view, take their place in

what he refers to as the Lebenswelt [the world of concern to a living entity].

Maldiney pins his colours quite explicitly to the mast here, with respect to

what the melancholic psychosis essentially is, by invoking some disturbance

in Husserl’s notion of a Lebenswelt.

The melancholic’s complaint is expressed by a ‘subject’ , the selfdom of

which has no longer any objective correlate at all, and is further ‘a self

which has lost something’. [All this is quite paradoxical]. The melancholic
43

is he or she who complains that something has happened to their self, who

then appeals to that self to provide some clue to what has happened, but

receives nothing in reply. The melancholic’s complaint is not just a

particular way of expressing some unease, but illustrates the ultimate way

that any existing, living entity can express itself. Overall, the peculiarity of

what the depressive is bemoaning is quite striking, and has something to do

with a basic mistake of taking the context of something to be its form, or,

better, the exercising of an act which has no thematic content or in which the

theme is a red herring, all of which leads to a morass of interchangeability of

inappropriate issues.

The relevant act or state is nevertheless a function, that which converts the

Dasein [of Heidegger, the core of the human being] into representations [and

whatever concerns this Dasein]. Maldiney regards this process as at work in

all forms of psychosis. What Maldiney regards as the particular fault in all

this which gives rise to a melancholia is that the space between one sort of

self and another is treated as a game. The melancholic’s complaint of this or

that boils down to a ludic activity, which nevertheless has the effect of

suppressing objectivization.
44

There is a linguistic peculiarity in how the melancholic expresses the

complaint too. The characteristic way of putting the complaint is as follows:

If I hadn’t done such and such, or if I had done such and such, then I

wouldn’t be in this situation now. This does not correspond to any of the

recognized linguistic sorts of utterances – factual, performative, prescriptive.

These are predicated on some substantial state of affairs in the world,

whereas the melancholic’s is not – it is predicated on precisely nothing that

does correspond to anything in the world. In effect, it is a proposition which

expresses something from, but does nothing to clarify the situation of, the

melancholic who speaks it. It has a function of expressing a grievance, a cry

of suffering, what Wittgenstein referred to as part of what it is like to be in

pain. For all this, the melancholic’s complaint is impersonal; it is the act of

an anonymous self who gives the impression [as in cases Maldiney

mentions] of things happening – arriving, departing – devoid of any

individuated belonging to the events as they unfold.

One of his cases – Cécile Műnch – feels guilty of what she knows not what,

feels a victim of an anonymous power, and is aware of some destiny

accorded to her, but cannot properly understand what is going on, because
45

she deems herself to have no self anyway which could act as a vehicle for

this destiny, and, instead, only senses an emptiness.

Maldiney shows that the melancholic is trapped between two limiting

situations – a past event which he or she rails against, and the present which

does not open properly to the future; the result is a never-ending repetition,

because time stands still, or does not actually arrive. The temporality of the

melancholic is not like the normal sort which moves ahead smoothly with

the present determining the future, but one in which the past, in advance,

casts it despairing stamp on the present.

The melancholic is, in short, someone who is alienated from themselves, for

the reasons that they cannot breach the [morbid] limits they are constrained

by [a past that is never over and a future that never comes], because they are

preoccupied with the selves within them that have been rendered alien by all

this, and because they cannot communicate with others not so affected.

The notion of ‘Endon’ : endogenicity as endocosmogenicity

In his book on melancholia, Tellenbach (1974) is not trying to bring the

established findings of anthropological phenomenology to bear on the

condition, but to establish its pathogenesis independently of any


46

psychological or biological thesis. In fact, Tellenbach is only following

clinical psychopathology in this respect, as it too recognises the lack of

clear-cut somatic aetiology and admits the psychological

incomprehensibility of melancholia, which is why the condition is classed as

an endogenous psychosis. For Tellenbach, neither psychodynamic

mechanisms – in particular psychoanalytic ones – nor any nycthemeral

disturbance of 24 hour rhythm, can do justice to the condition. According to

Tellenbach, the only way to approach melancholia is by means of a

phenomenology which allows for a global modification of the core state of a

human being.

Clinical psychopathology, however, has given the term ‘endogenous’ a

negative value, in contrast with the positive one attached to somatogenic. In

order to restore an authentic positive value to the realm he is pinpointing,

Tellenbach’s task is to investigate the characteristics of the manifestations of

the ‘Endon’, which he regards as a third aetiological field, alongside – or,

better, anterior to – the somatic and psychic fields. In the normal person, as

in the sick, these manifestations have in common a global nature, which

applies to any phenomenon, that is to say that each trait of the ‘Endon’ refers

to the ‘Endon’ as a whole, giving rise to a synoptic approach. In fact they


47

are not only responsible for the psychic personality as a whole, as

Minkowski surmised, but underlie human corporeality as well The field of

influence of the ‘Endon’ is transsubjective and metapsychological, and

trans-objective and metasomatological, all at the same time.

Among the manifestations of the ‘Endon’ are the phenomenal rhythms of

life: sleep and waking; the female reproductive cycle; the particular

phenomena belonging to movement, the slowing or acceleration of which

occurs in normal life as well as in endogenous psychoses; and the

phenomena of maturation, including pathological varieties which account,

for example, for the onset of hebephrenia around puberty and for the

involutional psychoses in old age. Another feature of the ‘Endon’ is the

reversibility of any pathological forms, certainly in principle, although this is

less evident in schizophrenia than in cyclothymia.

In terms of its links with original modes of being human, the phenomena of

the ‘Endon’ stand outside any individual’s will, and, in fact, suffuse any

human event with their own flavour. In short, the ‘Endon’ is best conceived

of as the Greek notion of Nature – physis – which encompasses the self and

the world and is no more impersonal than is biology and no more personal
48

than existence itself. The ‘Endon’ is situated before either of them, and

founds them, but is also in place after them, because they structure it. As an

intermediary between mechanism and meaning it is closer to the core of the

human being than to mechanism, but closer to life than meaning, and is a

mediate term between necessity and freedom.

In the second edition of his book (Tellenbach 1974), he realigns the ‘Endon’

with the existential categories enunciated by Heidegger, but he eliminates

from his, Tellenbach’s, notion the following Heideggerian categories – care;

being-towards-death; and anything to do with world-formation, such as

historicity, spirituality, language, moral conscience, ipseity, choice or

decision. He retains in his notion the sense of the human being as a thrown

object, but this is taken to be an ontic entity derived from Heidegger’s

ontological formulation. Further, Tellenbach also retains the sense of the

‘Endon’s’ being a receptive entity, sensitive to the feelings of whatever

situation it is in. The ‘Endon’, in the light of all this, is at root an

‘endocosmogenicity’, in both the Greek sense of physis and in Goethe’s

sense. The ‘Endon’ shows itself to be, in effect, a correlation, not of some

causative source, but of a resonance with the world, as wakefulness is with

daytime, as sleep is with nighttime, as hunger is with the nourishing world,


49

and as sexual desire is with the world in its erotic mode. These meaningful

contents to which the ‘Endon’ opens the gate are roughly similar to what

Kunz refers to as the ‘contents of vital significance’, which he, Kunz,

opposes to the intentional contents which require the intervention of

language.

This world which the ‘Endon’ opens out on to is both a human world and the

world of nature, but, in the latter case, it is not populated by things but by

tools – in Heidegger’s sense. Because tools are not yet things, the

Zuhandenheit (the term Heidegger uses to describe a pre-thingly

environment of ready-to-hand tools] is not yet Vorhandenheit [Heidegger’s

term for a genuine world of things deemed by humans already there whether

needed or not]. And because this Zuhandenheit to Vorhandenheit transition

has not yet occurred, the ‘endogenicity’ at issue in Tellenbach’s work cannot

be confused with somatogenesis or psychogenesis, as the somatic and

psychic apparatuses do not appear until after the transformtion from tools to

things. For this reason, the ‘Endon’ is neither psychologically

comprehensible nor somatically explicable, even if somatic and psychic

mechanisms sometimes crop up in objective manifestations of the ‘Endon’,

such as erotica.
50

Pathogenesis of melancholy according to Tellenbach

It is in precisely this region – the region of the ‘Endon’ – which knows

nothing about the distinction between self and other, or between me and the

world – where the fundamental happenings which give rise to melancholia

occur. In this region it is indeed Nature that is involved, but not the ‘Nature’

that science investigates; furthermore, it is a region where human life and

world first interact.

Towards a phenomenological anthropology of delusion

Anthropological phenomenology, Daseinsanalysis, and psychology

Although Jaspers maintained that he was pursuing a non-prejudicial account

of psychopathological facts, it is not difficult to uncover in his work the very

suppositions which are the infantile faults made by all psychologists, that the

human being is composed of subject and object, psyche and soma, and self

and world.

It is the refusal to acknowledge such distinctions which gave birth to the

psychiatric phenomenology of the 1920s, a movement which was explicitly


51

counter to Jaspers and his dogmatic insistence of an incomprehensibility to

the psychoses. This birth is marked by an anthropological approach, evident

in the very titles of the works of the early contributors: Psychology of the

human world (Straus 1960, a collection of papers from 1928 onwards)

Prolegomena to a medical anthropology (von Gebsattel 1954, with papers

from 1928 onwards); and On the path towards an anthropological

psychiatry (Zutt 1963, with papers from 1929 onwards), evoking some

untitled remarks of Minkowski in his treatises (Minkowski 1927, 1933).

Storch, too, can be included here, on account of his contemporary and

similarly entitled work, Problems of human existence in schizophrenia

(Storch 1965, a collection of early papers). The position of Binswanger, as

we saw (p. ), was more nuanced: the first volume of his collected

works is entitled Phenomenological anthropology (1947 ), but even at

that time [articles dating back to the 1920s] he was working towards his

Daseinsanalyse, in which he was already distancing himself from

anthropological psychiatry, and was, moreover, looking for a positive way of

formulating matters, as compared with this anthropological approach, which

was to a large extent merely a negative reaction to the mistaken basis of

psychology.
52

Minkowski’s (1933) principle of a two-way

interpretation of psychopathology

Minkowski (1933) pointed out that one could interpret delusion in two ways:

1) by focusing on ideo-affective aspects within a psychological framework;

and 2) by investigating the very spatio-temporal structure to the experience,

an exercise which gave an anthropological dimension to any research.

Within the first framework, we achieve an understanding of the patient, and

set up an ideational rapport and a sympathetic bond. By taking the second

path, however, we come face to face with the very elements of the

syndrome, and, in effect, come up against a barrier which shows us that our

own way of reasoning cannot get a handle on the delusions of the patient,

and precisely because these are mere secondary expression of a mental life

which is quite different from our own. And, furthermore, this difference

resides in some transformation on the part of the patient of the way the

patient’s self is situated in relationship to space and time. In short the

delusions we see in melancholia chiefly concern a morbid process in the

realm of temporality, whilst a similar morbid derangement affecting


53

spatiality gives rise to delusion itself, what de Clérambault (1942) referred to

as mental automatism.

Minkowski’s principe du double aspect shows clearly that the

incomprehensibility of delusion disappears when one moves from the

psychological domain of ideo-affective concerns to the structural or

anthropological level of temporal and spatial considerations. But although

Minkowski establishes in this way that the patient with a mental illness is

qualitatively different from a normal person, the level implicated by

Minkowski where such a qualitative difference originates – involving spatio-

temporal structures – is not sufficiently general to accommodate the sort of

qualitative differences at issue, and one has to say that Minkowski’s

achievement in pointing out in a negative fashion what is altered or lost is

not the ultimate aim of a phenomenological anthropology.

Comprehensive anthropology of

Zutt and Kulenkampff


54

Under the title of comprehensive anthropology, a term specially chosen by

Zutt and his student Kulenkampff to distinguish what they were doing, as

opposed to what Binswanger was doing in his Daseinsanalyse, these two

psychopathologists published a number of works which illustrate the fertility

of an anthropological approach, but also demonstrate the difficulty in

maintaining a clear distinction between this and a psychological approach.

Little known in France, but eminently accessible on account of its forceful

clinical insights put in the context of traditional nosology, comprehensive

anthropology, as these authors have dubbed their work, largely relies on

notions of the body developed by Sartre and Merleau-Ponty. The chief

account is in Zutt’s ( 1958) article on endogenous and organic psychoses,

with a focus on the paranoid syndrome, and this is a topic which

Kulenkampff also studied.

The paranoid syndrome and an aesthetic-physiognomonic disorder

of the body in its mode as an appearing thing


55

For Zutt, to understand a phenomenon in an anthropological way is to see its

basis in the entire region of what it is to be a human being. The paranoid

syndrome, for example, is to be seen as arising from the aesthetic-

physiognomonic region of the human being, and not from its affective

domain. Zutt considers that an aesthetic alteration can take two forms: 1) ‘a

destructive modification in our capacity to create appearances [of ourselves],

and to remain constant in them, along with our capacity to dissimulate and

disguise what we are’ – this, according to him, being at the root of

schizophrenic autism; and 2) the paranoid syndrome viewed in a similar

way, but in respect of the physiognomies [of people and objects]

encountered, rather than how we ourselves are viewed. Concerning this

second sort of disorder, he writes that the same person can completely ignore

any potential meaning offered to us in an encounter with someone else, as,

for example, when passing through the street, or can register some functional

role of the other person – recognizing them as a postman, policeman or

garage mechanic – without treating them as having a direct reference to

oneself. The normal person thus avoids the impossible task of deciphering

every nuance of what the world potentially offers up. This person,

moreover, retains a trust in what goes on around, in the sense that there are

no malign intentions among those familiar to him. Not so the paranoid. He


56

or she cannot consign those around him to either strangers or those familiar

to him, and cannot rely on the familiar being non-malign.

The realm in which these perturbations take place is that of the body-as-

thing. The patient lets himself or herself be subjugated by the gaze of

another person, another person, moreover, who, despite being individualised,

is ‘the other as universal’. This subjugation takes place in both the visual

and the auditory modalities. The latter fact underlies the frequent

occurrence of auditory-verbal hallucination in schizophrenia, which result

from the fact that not only is the paranoid person at the mercy of whoever

looks at him or her, but also of whatever is being said about them.

The body-as-thing realm where this is going on is a spatially laid out realm,

unlike the living body or body as agent, which is a circumscribed entity

within the boundaries of its cutaneous sensation. Kulenkampff, invoking

Sartre’s notion of a self that has a sense of always being observed, and one,

moreover, whose own observations are always being themselves observed

by another, claims that the deluded person is he or she in which such goings-

on [otherwise normal, and constitutive of a self, in the case of Sartre’s view


57

of what constitutes a normal human] [somehow achieve an extreme form

and] break through the barriers of the person, penetrating their thoughts,

taking possession of him, and knowing everything about him, even to the

extent of being a conduit for the other’s thoughts themselves.

What protects any human being from succumbing to the processes, just

discussed, is what Kulenkampff refers to, following some comments by

Straus, as the capacity to take a stand [Stand, stance] against these

vicissitudes, a capacity which involves resisting them with the living body,

and holding them at a distance, a prerequisite of human freedom. What the

normal human being does under these circumstances is to hold its distance,

to close up to the raw influence of the myriad of physiognomic potentialities

in their environment, and transform them into concepts. What Straus

referred to as a wild space – a space of pre-reflexive communication with

the world – is rendered an aesthetic space, which, in turn, is converted into

geographic or anatomical space.

In respect to its demerits, this sort of approach – comprehensive

anthropology [as we have presented it] – is constantly in danger of merely

translating clinico-diagnostic concepts into another terminology, obscuring,


58

in this way, its actual nature as yet another psychological analysis. As

Blankenburg pointed out, the notions it brings up are rather chapter titles for

a phenomenological analysis of something which is promised but never

delivered.

‘Autonomisation’ of the possibilities of being human

Jaspers and his successors made delusional perception into a pathognomonic

sign of true delusion, whereas a classic study by Matussek showed that

similar perceptions were not confined to the delusional and that, anyway,

perception itself was not an all or nothing fact, but rather a compromise

between a variety of takes on whatever was being perceived.

Blankenburg (1965b) proposed the notion of a differential phenomenology,

a view which tried to take into account in what way the sane person and the

schizophrenic differed in reaching such compromises or eidetic finality in

their perception. He thought he could illustrate his point by comparing what

a schizophrenic ‘saw’ in a painting with what an artist such as Rilke ‘saw’ in

a work of art.
59

The two experiences are superficially similar. The patient, confronted by a

reproduction of a picture, almost certainly one of Gaugin’s, was fascinated

by its blueness, and exclaimed it to be an augury of the soul, which

henceforth would dominate his life. Rilke, on the other hand, in his sonnet

entitled, Archaic torso of Apollo, evokes his experience of contemplating a

statue in the Louvre, which also seemed to say to him, You must change

your life. In both cases, the observer is subjected to a passive experience;

and in both there is an element of influence by a worldly, artistic object;

and, in both, the usual self of the observer is replaced in the experience by an

appeal to another sort of self, to another agenda, and to another

transcendental organization.

In the case of the schizophrenic, however, the self-transformation is

irreversible and totally passive, something quite unique to a delusional state,

in which, moreover, the objective transcendence is swept away by the new

subjective transcendence now in force. In the case of the poet, the

transformation is not given as an event merely submitted to, but rather as a

task to be entered into, and integrated into his life, assimilated with

everything else he has experienced, and then communicated, with due

respect to the rules of intersubjectivity, as a poem. What the schizophrenic


60

lacks is precisely the dialectic unity and dynamic between receptivity and

spontaneity which is conserved in the poet. What keeps the schizophrenic

and the poet apart is not the actual delusional perception, which both share,

but the lack of autonomisation in the latter, which is prevented from

happening by the dialectical union which is conserved.

Dialectical equilibrium between truth and non-truth,

authenticity and inauthenticity

It is Heidegger, above all, who underlined the dialectical relationship

between truth and non-truth, and, in Being and Time, between authenticity

and inauthenticity.

It was Storch who then first tried to formulate delusion as a form of

inauthentic existence, and, indeed, he was the first to apply the corpus of

Being and Time [only published in 1927] to psychiatry. Several other

psychiatrists, including Binswanger, attempted the same feat subsequently.

What Storch drew from Being and Time was the notion that delusion was a

mode of illusional life, as opposed to a genuine life, and that the reason the
61

deluded succumbed to this lay in biographical incidents in their past,

particularly the subject’s relationship to their mother.

This way of conceptualising delusion, which underlay his enthusiasm for

psychotherapy for the condition, of which he was a pioneer, is common to

Binswanger, Zutt and Kulenkampff, as well as Boss and Laing. But none of

these writers properly tackles the issue of delusion, or madness in general, as

a dialectic disequilibrium between authenticity and inauthenticity, but rather

focuses on the deluded or schizophrenic as exemplifying pure negativity, in

respect of an authentic life, or, at best, as some deviation in this line.

In fact, to regard delusion as an inauthentic way of being human does not do

justice to what Heidegger said of the normal human being. Heidegger

regarded an authentic way of comporting oneself as a very exceptional

achievement on the part of a human being anyway, and something that even

then was achieved ephemerally. An inauthentic existence was in fact the

norm for a normal human being, in the form of an everyday, humdrum

grind. So, an inauthentic existence is equally in view in everyday life, as it

is in delusion, and [if delusion is to be formulated in such terms] there must

be two sorts of inauthenticity in play here, one of the everyday type, and one
62

pertaining to madness, which Kisker (1970) designated, respectively as

primary and secondary, and which Blankenburg (1971) termed

asymptomatic and symptomatic. What is at stake here is to determine why

the deluded is no longer capable of an everyday life, i.e. the very difference

between the sane person’s non-truthful way of living or its inauthenticity

with respect to a truthful or authentic way of living, and that of the deluded

person: why, in short, the dialectical equilibrium between these two

disappears in the case of the deluded, but not in the case of the sane.

Being and time as a school of experience

Despite difficulties in applying Being and Time to psychopathology –

regardless of which, Binswanger, Storch, Kuhn, Häfner, Straus, von

Gebsattel, Zutt, Kulenkampff, von Baeyer, and Tellenbach, all made it their

bible – whilst acknowledging these, Blankenburg estimates that this book is

the source of a way forward for psychopathology which transforms the

subject, and leaves way behind any sort of psychological analysis, including

psychoanalysis, and any sort of comprehensive anthropology, as we have

seen.
63

For Blankenburg the critical novelty contained in Being and Time [for the

purposes of illuminating psychopathology] is the deliberate ambiguity in the

word ‘Being’, which is both a verb, and noun with a sense of movement.

This gives the whole subject a sense that what is at stake in the development

of a delusion is a fluidity in the very notion of what a human being can be,

and that one of these versions could be a delusional state.

In the first place, there is the notion of intentionality [which is situated, in

Heidegger’s work, quite differently from how it is in Husserl’s, in a pre-

conscious realm]. In the second place, there is the issue of the multiplicity

of ways of being that a human being has in a nascent state, one of which,

which every normal person carries within, is the potential to be deluded.

This pre-delusional propensity, which we all carry, already contains the

germ towards autonomisation, discussed below (p. ), and is the reason why

the delusional way of life is understandable [up to a point]. What the

philosopher [meaning Heidegger] elaborates ontologically, in terms of the

way its core nature can present as this or that way of living, is encountered

in the deluded person as an actual ontical reality. And, whereas, in the sane,

these polarised ontological structures [intending something from a mental


64

point of view and passively receiving the raw world at face value] maintain

themselves in a dialectical unity, admittedly with some oscillation and

hiccoughs, this unity in the deluded is rent asunder, with the result that an

alternative rigidity sets in, freezing what are in fact ontological possibilities

into ontic certainty, and condemning transcendental potential into empirical

facts.

[The core notion of Binswanger] is to the effect that although the world that

the deluded person invents and resides in is an intentional world, what

makes it delusional is some hiatus in the smooth workings of the pre-

intentional world. This hiatus is precisely, according to Binswanger’s

interpretation of Being and Time, a modification of the core human being’s

relationship to its being in this very world. It is for this reason, contrary to

what Jaspers thought, that there is no valid comparison at a scientific level

between the deluded world and the sane world [for the reason that the

common denominator has been removed in the perturbations of the core

human being]. The world that anyone encounters is not a ‘what’ but a ‘how’

[how some primordial potential determines what comes into being]. The

deluded world is obviously a different sort of world from that of the sane,

but both are products of the same original potential. For this reason,
65

contrary to what Descartes thought, there is no absolute world to which all

human beings belong, precisely because, according to Heidegger, there is

scope for a variety of ‘hows’, i.e. how the primordial potential makes

whatever come about. What distinguishes the sane human’s world from that

of the deluded is not, or is not essentially, any concordance with any

supposed external reality On the contrary, the sane human’s world is not

more true vis-à-vis the deluded in this respect, because truth and reality in

this case are confounded in both scenarios.

The critical task of Binswanger’s Daseinsanalysis of delusion is to show that

the deluded also live in a world, and then to describe what sort of world it is.

Any such description of any worth, however, is not fundamentally geared to

merely describing this world in respect to its what, but to address the issue of

how any such world comes about, to ponder on how an autonomisation of

the extant possibilities determined by the essence of what it is to be human

result in a delusional mode of living.

The problem of limits in delusion:

the case of Franz Weber


66

In the case of delusional spatialization, one encounters the problem of limits,

particularly evident in the case of Franz Weber reported by Kuhn (1952).

This patient, previously a draughtsman, passed his entire time in the asylum,

where he lived for fifteen years, sketching out a plan for a town where

human culture would find a safe haven while war was being waged all round

it. Common to several versions of this town was the notion of limits: there

were material limits in the form of walls and guards, and spiritual limits in

the form of ritual processions which periodically took place around the

town. In the centre of the town he envisaged a number of diverse

constructions, hastily sketched, and sometimes merely indicated by lists of

words, such as silk works, art schools, chemist, nation, continent, world.

The patient explained that by doing all this he was circumscribing

knowledge, which, although not actually of use at the moment, would come

into its own when the war had destroyed everything outside the town.

The whole impression conveyed by this delusional town, according to Kuhn,

is of someone wanting to preserve the world. But whereas, in our world,

beings of various sorts present themselves in a living relationship, in the

form of handy items – objects that are good for this or that, tools, and stand

in this way for the beings as well – in the world of Franz Weber everything
67

is more or less a thing, completely isolated in itself, and lacking any mutual

links. The patient, however, feels obliged to bring them all together, to

prepare an inventory of them, for the sole purpose of not seeing this

phantom of a world dissipate, and he therefore piles up in the interior of his

town all those beings with which he has actually no living relationship. The

overall sense of this delusional state is therefore the ‘transformation of the

tool into the thing’, [in Heidegger’s terminology] the switch from handy tool

to permanent thing [Umschlag von zuhandenen Zeug in vorhandenen

Seiendes].

At the end of his analysis Kuhn puts forward a comparison between the

overall attitude to things of his patient and so-called scientific activity. And

indeed both come under [what Heidegger referred to as] Vorhandenheit – a

mode of being where things simply subsist as if real – as opposed to

Zuhandenheit – the mode of usefulness. The former orientation is precisely

that of a manipulation of the world and the body, making out the latter to be

a corpse, the objectivity of which is what is meant as soma. Deluded

subjects such as Franz Weber, and scientists too, do indeed limit what they

are concerned about out of all the universe to what is a simple, subsistent

thing.
68

The case of Achtzig

The region of the human being in which the delusional consciousness

resides, along with the sense of its infallibility, is well illuminated by

Blankenburg’s (1958) study of the case of Friedrich Achtzig, a man of 76,

with a paranoid delusional system. He had had a short-lived mystical-

megalomanic episode at the age of 28, followed by 35 years of somewhat

precarious family life, and had now been a psychiatric in-patient for 10

years. He thought himself to have a divine mission, and was concerned with

the entire universe, of which he deemed himself virtually the emperor, and

was engaged in preparation for the forthcoming struggle between Good and

Evil. At night, part of himself would be travelling all over the place, and

during the day he would be inspecting his invisible houses in the town, or

busying himself with ‘hyperimmortals’, beings from on high, and what he

referred to as the 5th Reich. Achtzig did not live in a world of goods or

useful entities, but rather in a magico-mythical world, which was suffused

with the sacred. It revealed to him directly the possibilities of being, and he

was guided by it in everything he said and did. The transcendental and


69

ontological were for him as close and familiar as the empirical and ontic are

to us. In fact, he experienced these latter two with a sense of distance,

exactly as we would experience the former two, and, for example, was quite

proud of himself for knowing how to use a tram. Whatever comes naturally

to us was for him something he could only deal with from the outside,

whereas when it came to the totality of beings in the world he felt quite at

home. Numbers, which for us are second nature, he took to possess a

mysterious and overly significant force, as evident in the nine realms which

he was forever distinguishing. The equilibrium between subjective and

objective transcendence was profoundly modified in his case. Thus Achtzig,

when recounting some historical anecdote, which he liked to do, paid no

heed to the detail, which he was not interested in, but steeped himself in

whatever essential matter and universal import he could draw out of it.

Achtzig’s notion of space as an ontic entity accorded remarkably with how

Heidegger formulated it ontologically. Furthermore, it was not really any

fixed delusions or set of delusions that he presented, but rather delusional

activity or ‘deluding’ [délirer, wähnen] that was going on. What was

constant was the eidetic source of all this, allowing him to summon up

possible worlds.
70

Autonomisation and metamorphosis of the transcendental

organization : the case of O.S.

Another case of Blankenburg’s (1965a) illustrates how his work as a whole

is a definite step forward [in phenomenology] as, unlike other

psychopathologists we have considered, Blankenburg manages to explicate

the transition from natural to delusional experience without recourse to any

psychologisation whatsoever. The transition is not from one sort of psychic

functioning to another, but between two types of transcendental

organisation. What Blankenburg calls empirico-apriori experience is the

critical shift here, with categorical perception, not sensible perception, being

involved, i.e. a vision of essences. What he means by this is that a

transcendental organization is responsible for the relationship to ones self

and to the world, and for that between self and world. In a normal person,

the last of these is an open mutuality, where self and world, taking up

themes and what is thematized, and questions and answers on all this, are in

a dialectical balance. Not so in the deluded, where certain world themes

themselves have a tendency to monopolise the attitude of the self, and then
71

further determine what that self can not but focus on – hence ‘empirico-

apriori’, meaning the empirical takes on the role of apriori.

O.S. illustrates this. He was a 35 year-old railwayman, shy and reserved,

and ill at ease with the ‘distinguished’ people in the local ecological society

of which he was a member. A few years ago he had married a girl ten years

younger. A short while before his admission he had found a watch, but, too

busy, he had not handed it in straight away. But he had then started

worrying about the matter, especially after seeing a reference to the watch in

the lost and found column of his newspaper. Believing himself spied on by

the police, he became distrustful of his friends, asked them if they knew

anything of what was going on, discovered allusions to the watch in various

places, and wanted to give the watch to a friend as a gift, but he refused. He

heard voices talking about the watch, accusing him of having a bomb as

well. He buried the watch after having broken it, by which time he had

begun to fear a plot against him involving the police and his wife. While

hospitalised, which he thought had been set up by the police, he went

through a period of complete clarity about everything that had happened, but

he then relapsed, and he had two further delusional phases before he

stabilised.
72

What the case shows is a series of steps in how the theme of autonomisation

develops, in this instance with the focus on the watch.

The first step here was when O.S, still in possession of the watch, looked

through the newspapers for any announcement of the loss. At this point he

was already not acting like someone genuinely and naturally concerned with

the legality of the situation, as, otherwise, he would have kept it – i.e. acted

as a criminal – or handed it in – i.e. acted as a good citizen – both within the

normal system. Instead he chose to re-present the situation in his own way,

creating his own judicial world in the process.

The next step was the transition from sphere of action to sphere of

experience. The critical event for O.S. here was when he read in a

newspaper that it is morally wrong to keep an object that one has found for

more than three days. What is happening here is that the event is no longer a

spur to action of some sort, but is thematized into a way of grasping world

events in general. [Scheler, by the way, refers to this as the objective

become subjective, which is how in childhood, at any rate, knowledge and

ways of knowing grow]. The watch business becomes a cognitive scheme


73

interpreting everything else that is going on, a sort of cancerous growth in

the cognitive apparatus which brooks no opposition to the theme which it

foists on the human being. Despite all this, the subject, at this stage, feels

himself or herself an innocent observer of incredible goings-on.

The next step is the decisive one. The innocence the subject feels is now

pushed to its limits by what he is in the course of experiencing – friends

shunning him – and he begins to draw back, and stop talking about the

matter. The preoccupations which he had – with the watch – which were

hypotheses are now theses, and this is because there is a transformation of

the transcendental organisation which now renders all experience in the

service of the autonomised theme. It – the experience – may take the form

of hallucination or illusions, or a delusional atmosphere, or a delusional

insight, but what renders it delusional is [paradoxically] that the new rogue

scheme does not commandeer all aspects of the perceived world. It is this

very residue of normality which allows the deluded person to continually

question and be amazed about the events unfolding before him.

Overall, the autonomization of some delusional theme – in this case an event

with a watch – is best understood as a progressive loss in the ‘transparency’


74

of the particular thematical issue involved. In a sane person any such theme

– i.e. a preoccupation with an event such as a picked-up watch – can be

compared to the blind person’s cane which functions as part of him, and is

an organ of perception of sorts. A thematic preoccupation is similarly a way

of guiding thoughts and actions, which is nevertheless transparent, because it

allows the subject to take things as they come, whether for or against or

neutral to the project in view. Where the deluded subject differs in this

respect is that the very theme is not transparent, but opaque, and, instead of

opening out this or that avenue to solving some problem, closes the very

gates to any such solution. Moreover, the theme which is supposed to be

directing the subject’s actions then becomes an object in itself [generating

the paradoxical situation that an objective event becomes more subjectively

influential in the deluded subject’s perceptual representation of other events,

but also more objectivized than any similar but non-delusional

preoccupation that a normal person might be engaged in]. This objectivity

further obstructs [further to the inappropriate subjectivization of what after

all was a trivial event] any balanced view as to what’s what about matters

quite tangential to a theme of watches and found objects, etc. The overall

upshot is that the new thematic autocracy no longer reflects or represents the

actual situation in the world [ne raconte plus le monde] but only its, the
75

autocratic theme’s, own indulgent scenarios [ses propres histories], to do

with suspicions and persecutions.

Binswanger’s Wahn book and the move to the

phenomenology of constitutive genesis

Wahn (Binswanger 1965), as well as his earlier book Melancholie und

Manie (Binswanger 1960), belongs to the phase of his ‘return to Husserl’,

and more precisely to the genetic phenomenology of the later Husserl, with

an emphasis on Husserl’s notion of a Lebenswelt, a pre-intentional rapport

with the world. Binswanger claims that in Wahn and Melancholie und

Manie he does not abandon his Daseinsanalyse, based as it was on

Heidegger’s Being and time, but goes on to say that psychiatric

phenomenology cannot do without either. What the later Husserl allows,

however, is not a description of delusional experience, but merely the

possibility of responding to the question as to why and how this particular

sort of experience occurs.

In his introduction to Wahn, Binswanger discusses the two approaches to

psychopathology, the Heideggerian and the Husserlian, and concludes that

what he is doing in espousing a Husserlian approach is actually making what


76

he previously did of a Heideggerian sort in his Daseinsanalyse more

scientific. What he further claims, however, is that whereas his

Daseinsanalyse was an attempt to show that the mad person replaced what

was ontological by what is ontic, the emphasis on Husserl shows that what

the mad person is doing is completely the opposite – it is that he or she is

really replacing the ontic by the ontological.

What is just as striking is that he uses one of the same five cases on which

his Daseinsanalysis was based – Suzanne Urban – to argue for this new and

inverted position. What he now sees is that a case such as this is delusional,

not because she is disposed emotionally to this state, but because she is

captivated by beings themselves, i.e. escapes the lures of the Greek physis

[animality] only to be taken over by what he refers to as the ‘terrific’, the

pure strangeness of what beings are, and this shift [on the part of the deluded

no less than on the part of Binswanger’s volte-face] is accounted for by the

new situation’s being a consequence of ‘subjective transcendence’ and not

‘objective transcendence’ i.e. it is to be put down to what the subject intends

and not what the object passively evokes in the human being.
77

He then invokes a further case, the case of Aline (Binswanger 1965) to

illustrate his new position. She was convinced that she had a plaster around

her head which picked up other thoughts and transmitted them to her

and kept her bones in place, which otherwise would be displaced by a

previous ECT. [She had other delusions, which, in contrast with the above],

led Binswanger to conclude that she had a complete lack of sensible

intuitions, or rather a replacement of them by some mechanical device, and

that nothing was left of a normal communicability with other people –

everything was now electrical, and the like. [In view of this Binswanger

seemed to have retreated from the emotional and being-in-the-world and

other such notions with which he had formulated the condition heretofore.]

In a further case (Binswanger 1965), of the celebrated dramatist Strindberg,

Binswanger analysed some of what Strindberg wrote of his experiences, and

what he, Strindberg, concluded to be their nature: thoughts without images,

concepts without a sensible representation, considering himself to be

perceiving ‘everywhere intentions, orders and punishments’; and

furthermore his sense of living in the presence of someone else, but not
78

someone with any corporeal presence but rather of someone without any

appearance – an appresentation without presence, impersonal and invisible.

Strindberg’s delusional state was therefore much more complex than the

mechanical toings and froings of Aline, or Suzanne Urban’s experience of

slander. He had persecutory elements, certainly, but also a religious theme,

and also several subthemes of a scientific nature, to do with what he thought

he had discovered.

In view of all this, particularly Strindberg’s delusional motifs of a religious

and scientific nature, Binswanger was right to veer towards Husserl and see

in this philosopher’s emphasis on logic that the deluded state was something

to do with a logical anomaly [as opposed to any emotional anomaly, which

he had laboured under an apprehension about with his focus on Heidegger’s

early philosophy]. Even more, Strindberg’s situation is rather that he,

Strindberg, is not even captivated by other beings, as in the case of Aline,

and certainly not in the throes of guilt like Suzanne Urban, but is living in

another realm completely apart from these – and is quite clearly into a logic

of superior power – outside anything at all to do with the core of the human

being.
79

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Copyright of this book returned to the author after it went out of print.

The author has died and we have been unable to contact proxies. We

trust the author would have approved the educational use of this

translation of his work.

Maudsley Philosophy Group