30 December 2009

Purple teeth

The idea of schizophrenia as an excess of self-consciousness suggests the separation of normality and psychopathology is a question of degree. Ultimately, the analogy of the mind as a machine, mechanism or a computer evokes the feeling, or image, that if something goes wrong, something malfunctions or breaks down, that normal functioning is separated from that which is broken in a much more dramatic fashion than it really is. On the other hand, when things are only separated by degree, they are not separated by an unbridgeable gulf; indeed, the borders between them are blurred and indistinct. Consequently, it becomes difficult to define what belongs to normality and what belongs to the mad.


  1. It is perhaps the very way in which the subject is interwoven into the fabric of his intersubjective world, and by virtue of the intricate network of meaningful association that he finds himself engaging in, that makes a condition such as schizophrenia so profoundly dramatic and difficult to comprehend. Moreover, it seems that the very issues brought to light and addressed by phenomenology, namely, kinesthetic sensations, perceptions of the corporeal body and the external world, self-apprehension, and more expansively, elements pertaining to the subject’s intentional arc, are the issues which are acutely affected in the schizophrenic condition. The symptoms of schizophrenia are direct expressions of, and reactions to, those very elements.

  2. "And how comfortless is the thought that the sickness of the normal does not necessarily imply as its opposite the health of the sick, but that the latter usually only present, in a different way, the same disastrous pattern."
    - Minima Moralia