the philosophy of schizophrenia

need i say more?

sorry maybe i do… but i dunno what exactly so i am open to ideas…
specially about schools of thought that see it in a different light than psychiatry.

I don’t exist when I stand still, but I think they will still get me.

Have you ever read “Capitalism and Schizophrenia”? It’s in two volumes and written by Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari. The first section, “Anti-Oedipus” argues against the psychoanalytic ‘church’, insofar as all Freduian-style interpretations tend to recast every neurosis and psychosis in terms of the mommy-daddy-me triangulation of Oedipus. In other words, no matter what the patient says, the psychoanalyst will turn it into an Oedipal statement, even when it has nothing to do with your mother or father at all; in Deleuze’s opinion, Oedipus is a sort of “universal Catholic symbol” which produces a mediation of the flow of the patient’s speech, interrupts it and channels it into predescribed directions.

While Deleuze doesn’t idealize or even advocate schizophrenia (or the kinds of rampant drug use which was once thought to inspire similar ideations,) he does relate it to social desire in an illuminating way. The schizophrenic scrambles all the codes, is not born to a State or to parents, the schizophrenic represents a sort of “line of flight” from Oedipal meta-narratives.

Deleuze considers a schizophrenic out for a walk a better model than a neurotic on the couch. One of the major problems identified in the work is how traditional psychoanalytic models of interpretation, which seemingly have all this sociopolitical import (with discoveries relating to the unconscious and irrational behavior patterns) in fact end up supporting the state machine, helping them to produce subjugated subjects who are no longer capable of having an unauthorized desire… Basically, instead of emancipating us from Oedipus, psychoanalysis has only wrapped us closer within it, and only helps complete the internalization of the dominant social code, impressing it deeply into the psyche of the patient as “cure.”

Hmm I like your perspective on things, its pretty new and novel for this forum.

I read a couple of passages from this book in a library a few years ago, killing time. I find your exposition of it very keen and accurate (from the brief bits that I read, I mean). Ever considered writing a review of it? It’s the sort of thing Symposia needs more of, and you’ve obviously got the ability.

‘Can you harness the power of drugs without them taking over, without turning into a dazed zombie? It’s the same with schizophrenia… the schizophrenics in hospitals are people who’ve tried to do something and failed, cracked up.’

  • Gilles Deleuze, 1972

So, although Deleuze isn’t suggesting we all go out and take drugs or become schizophrenic, he is saying that there is the possibility of harnessing their power. However, I personally don’t like this statement for the reason that it suggests that schizophrenia is always the result of a decision.

While there are parallels here to Dali’s auto-critical ‘paranoiac’ method by which he claimed to be deliberately tapping into his unconscious (or the future, depending on how seriously you take him,) I wholly agree with your point about the potential of schizophrenia. The schizophrenic more easily breaks down than breaks through.

I’ll admit I don’t really like how close Deleuze gets sometimes to actually advocating schizophrenia as an ‘escape’ from an increasingly Oedipalized reality. I think he’s much stronger when he’s aiming towards a sort of schizoanalytic theory… but I suppose we can also read him at his word in the Marxian sense that as late capitalism extends its domination throughout the global market, the more it separates itself into a completely autonomous sphere of spectacular-production (desiring-production,) the deeper it sows the seeds of its own eventual downfall.

After all, when our desires are emancipated, who needs Oedipus? It’s not that, deep down, we really want to kill our fathers and replace him (even though maybe we do, and still feel guilty about it!) it’s that, deep down, we’ve been programmed and reprogrammed to accept the Oedpial model for society and reproduction.

Hi, this seemed an interesting discussion so i just thought i’d add my thoughts. I was diagnosed Schizophrenic about 10 years ago when I was at University but for me the experience of schizophrenia is that of being liberated from society and social worldviews. This can manifest as paranoia etc because although reason would tell the ordinary individual they are not the centre of the universe, having the capacity to create reality gives you an awareness of self. Consequently as a schizophrenic, i find existentialist philosophy fascinating and it is through people like Kierkegaard that I have come to understand myself and my position in the world today. I think a schizophrenic would find it more natural to be a Kierkegaardian Knight of Faith! One coud argue that Abraham had schizophrenic tendencies, to hear Gods voice and act on it in the resolution it would pay off. I do believe schizophrenia is a spiritual disease very much attached to the idea of Human Freedom but it takes strength and courage as a sufferer to harness the mindset.

‘Man is condemned to be free’ - only if we condemn ourselves possibly and I think schizophrenics have the capacity to do that better than others. Of course it is a debilitating problem or many people who are unable to overcome the shackles but for me it was an opportunity.

Wow! Thanks for sharing your experience, Danchoo.

Right when I looked at this thread I got handed an article called, “the schizophrenia of modern ethical theories” by Micahel Stocker. I’m gonna read it and come back.

“Schizophrenia” is only a word. “Nigger” is also a word.
“Psychology” is mainly a sort of caste-system enforcement, in which the “sanity” and “correctness” of an individual’s personality is determined entirely by social and cultural ideals. “Neurotic” is anyone whom crosses certain moral boundaries. “Defective” is anyone whom cannot preform certain mental or emotional tasks which the state demands. Everything from being a “sensitive” to being a “schizoid” – is seen as an "illness” by these arm-chair sophist fools. A group of catholic “psychologists” will readily call homosexuality a deviant mental disease, whilst something like circumcision is all-fine & good? So hypocritical; many “psychologists” are themselves mad-men; obsessed over the judgment and classification of another persons unobservable, deeper mental processes. And what if someone was an abused child? Lived through war traumas? Gotten raped? Deceived & brain-washed by religious cults? Twisted mass-media? False sciences? What of all this? Will they simply prescribe some sort of deadly chemical, in order to suppress certain mental animations, so that the “treated” “patient” is subdued into a more passive, easily ignored state? Mental traumas are not cured by drugs!

For most mental afflictions, peace is the cure. But peace is not political. Peace is not religious. So how can it ever be prescribed or given to the society, as a whole, by the ones whom have ruined that society in the first place? Satisfaction and natural life have been made into commodities which are suppressed and contaminated by their false distributors, so that anything soothing becomes “luxury”, and anything unnatural becomes “daily work”.

Psychology: The enforcement of state and religion.

As regards the understanding of ones sentient nature, and behavior, biology is the field of study, whilst “psychology” should be disowned immediately, and psychiatrists should be shot. You have no idea how many people that psychiatrists have indirectly caused the deaths of!

Sure, Dan, psychology’s got it’s failings, and you’ve nailed some of the most important ones. But we do need a practical science of the human mind; the problem is that an outdated psychology still maintains a chokehold on ‘legitimate’ authority over these matters–which, of course, is why it supports the state, the police, the medical/prison institutions, and of course, the academy; for a similar reason it supports Oedipal and Oedipalizing familial relations: it looks for them at every stage of analysis, and recodes your desires in terms of an Oedipal mapping.

At the risk of gross oversimplification, Freud’s essential discoveries could be described as follows:

(1) Neurosis has the truth as its cause.
(2) The unconscious has a structure. (This has a corollary: it is structured like a language.)
(3) The Oedipus complex is a cultural invariant, key to the development of human subjectivity.

But–excluding the last–these are, in a word, quite scientific presumptions of exactly the sort we’d need to make to produce a valid scientific description of the processes of the human mind. In other words, we have to move through Freud to pass beyond him; we can’t escape from Oedipus without first struggling with him, for in fact Oedipus is the invariable reason we struggle against authority, in our hysterical attempts to demand an inviolable limit, why we absurdly demand the arbitrary rule to be commanded by the other: “Why do/don’t you love me?” Oedipus, again, is the reason why we are made to desire our own shame, humiliation and slavery.

Psychology gives in critically to this kind of quasi-religious social programming. After all, there’s no cure without an accurate diagnosis, just as you cannot be emancipated without first recognizing you are in chains, confronting the reality of the social and psychic repression which has occurred. For once the flow of desire has been let loose, it radically differentiates itself without limit, destroying barriers and identities until every single name in history is an ‘I’. If it’s necessary to connect this desire back to language, back to a structure–we must assert a link between the unconscious and the social, which already gives us the most important clue we need to find escape-hatches, lines of flight from authoritarian modes of knowledge and Oedipal regimes of power.

The philosophy of schizophrenia? Philosophy about schizophrenia or philosophy from a schizophrenic? I wonder what the latter would yeild? What I think would be really interesting would be for a regular philosopher to become schizophrenic for one day and after coming back, philosophize on the nature of reality and perception.

Is it ethical to do what they did to that guy in a clockwork orange?

of course it was ethical

were they responsible for the actions he did after medication?



At some point – at the back of the head – near the invisible chains of cause and effect, reality creates fantasy, and fantasy creates reality. The farther ones understanding goes [back into this region], the more mental “truth” one gains, but that mind and body were not existing separately from their bodies, nor were they existing separately from their planet, etc. A whole understanding of “effect”, requires a whole understanding of “cause”. And a whole understanding of the “mind” would also require a whole understanding of very complex universal processes.

“Psychic training” is what bares larger truth of the mind. But that requires deep forms of meditation, development of the “inner eye”, etc. And this sort of “mystical” study cannot be reduced to the rotten old paradigm of word-expression. So it cannot become a “profession”. Gnosis has never had a truly successful representitive; that is why so many religions have become both corrupt and hallow, often ridden with the non-wisdom of the fallowers.

An accurate understanding of the mind also requires an accurate understanding of physics, too, in the same way that microbiology requires a good understanding of chemistry. There must be a unified field of knowledge. A unification of the “subjective” and the “objective”, with the common grounds of the “relative” and the “absolute” in plain-view.

There’s my rotten English.
Half full.
But atleast I expressed myself at about 13%?

What is the meaning of “oedipalized reality?”

Yeah, have them become a hallucinate for a day :astonished: And guess what: you can do that with LSD or mescaline etc…