Philosophy of Schizophrenia 1

As a “philosopher” with schizophrenia, I must talk of schizophrenia. I think it is that fundamental, that basic, to one’s mentality, if one suffers from this most costly of all illnesses. One must come to terms with it. In a way, I think, humanity must come to terms with it. This is my small effort toward that process.

I have realized that any other writing would be, for me, disingenuous. Until now, I had been trying to pass, though with varying degrees of success, for a normal writer. Yet I would be tempted to let technical clinical terms slip into my discourse. And sometimes I would. Not that such half-honest writing would have been without value – but – why not seek higher value? Why not speak as I am – who totally I am?

So when I decided to “let all burners blast,” (an image from science fiction), and writePhilosophy of Schizophrenia – to write this, and nothing else – it was very liberating. Finally I can use my knowledge, and share all with the world – share what some of us in “the clinic” have known for a while; there is more than illness and disease going on here. More than negativity. There is a special ability – you could say a “schizoability” – which graces those with “the illness” (at least those taking medicine) – graces for whatever reason, and allows us to access consciousnesses, which, while not totally unavailable to healthy minds – are at least pretty darned far out of the ordinary!

As a philosophy “of” schizophrenia, my critique (of reality) will be difficult for some to digest. No surprise – schizophrenia is the most difficult of ideas. But we have a hold – language. Indeed, the prime variant of the illness would have as its moment “voices” – language, in other words, as the key defining symptom. “Imaginary” language, but yet language. For “voices” – audio hallucination – can have some very real, profound effects on reality. They did on my reality. My voices concocted elaborate fantasy “matrices” for me to move within, during the year of psychosis

before I “got caught,” and was first medicated and diagnosed, ten years ago, at age 22.

Voices even directed me through what those familiar with Janov’s theory would recognize as “primals.” These events, of astounding subjective intensity, born from an intimate knowledge of Primal theory – though I had had no Primal therapy – are the some of the things I blame my current seemingly high level of functionality on. And though it is said the sooner you treat the disease, the greater the prognosis, I on the other hand have come to believe that possibly letting it run its course for a full year was cathartic, for though I had the most intense quantity and quality of voices during that year, since medication my problems have been minimal, and probably mainly sourced in my substance abuse.

A fantastic fiction? We will follow those who suggest that “fiction is truth,” and “truth is fiction.” Not to say that there are no facts that hold. But instead, that fiction is something that holds – and what holds is often a fiction. But surely, you may say, fiction should be banished from responsible philosophical discourse...

However, in the world today, the prevalent modality of communication – whether in philosophy departments or medical schools – is not sane rationality, but instead, I argue,fictionality.

Everything one comes across in the air – if not in its “factuality,” then at least in itstone – seems reducible to fairy-tales or stories – simply not true to life.

And even if you don’t have schizophrenia, your own mind – mind – may be giving you fiction. The lies you were told could have made you into a lie. Yes, this is but theory. Who needs it? We are for instance told by one of the great American novelists that ignorance of theory can help one to write more naturally! But this bliss-argument betrays the fractal complexity of the true extensionality of speculative thought – which is that which is simply open – as in, you can indeed believe the claims that “conceptual materiality” – culture or the spoken, however you name it – is a very real, very potent and very deadly adversary of any growing thinker – language changes us into beings who, while able to “think,” have trouble escaping “thought” – what my teacher referred to thinking’s static forms as.

Death, the finality of life – I hesitate to call it life’s “end,” for this word has other connotations. Death – the finality of life, can never be known by a mortal. Perhaps that is why the schizophrenic seeks it – and so often finds it... The schizophrenic feels as though s/he knows everything already. Indeed – this may be true. With broken open sensory gates, with a perceptual matrix that may have seen heaven, heard screams of hell, heard the voice of god – he may indeed know everything he ever knew... Yet suicide – the attainment of the ultimate knowledge – is horribly premature, horribly un-thought-out. For it is obvious that we will reach death later. So why hurry the process? Why not learn even more about life? More, more, after all, is what the neurotic/psychotic is basically supposed to be after in this life.

If not for the grace of god, there I would also go... So why not rephrase the tradition? It is obviously not working, if one tenth of the sufferers are killing themselves, and I mean literally... Who knows how many others are simply dying...

To rephrase the tradition would be to rephase it. And the way to best do that is through concepts materialized – through words flowing across the page, through the air... Logos, language, is the object between us, and my final subject. As such, I will play with it and within it. I will not do predicted things. You will not know where we are going, until we have gone. Some will enjoy this type of approach, some will be afraid...

Is this an arbitrary, idiosyncratic conception? One not worthy of public concern? Perhaps. But all conceptions – all objects, really – are by “definition” ever (exactly) visible to one person only. (The same face is never seen again.) This is why, with new concepts, one can sort of tease reader minds into flowing certain ways – while with totally old-moded writing, there are too many preconceptions, and the picture is muddled and diffused by the reader, who is already thinking the wrong things, as s/he may be reading and thinking s/he has already understood the right things... A picture of your exact thinking – a conceptual mirror – is hard to find. Especially in these times, when, more than ever, visibility and vision are policed and administered literally and metaphorically. Many die without realizing it – they hold tunnel vision, or severely limited perceptuality. They cannot see the virtual – what is not here now, but perhaps would be in a better life... So this is philosophy’s task – not only to make the wanted virtual real – but to make it even just perceptible in the current cultural regime.

I will follow the most persuasive thinkers in focusing on language as a possible matrix for the possible solution. Language is, some say, the ultimate site of desire. And the family – where most language is learned – the nuclear furnace of signs, if you will, is itself social, or trans-familial and historical – so this is really a public concern.

Because our form is our limit – our formation is our horizon – I wonder that if the social is so good, why is anyone against it? “Find yourself in other people – love is the essence of life,” seems to be the message of culture. On this view, ultimacy is, not language, but conversations – not consciousness, but sociality. But if something pushed to high intensity, as in urbanicy, causes brain disease and pathology of all kinds – if entering the social world is a kind of symbolic struggle, a meaning-seeking behavior – a veritable request to be manipulated by events – then we must question “socialization” and suspect that it is an homogenization.

How many directions can words “point” at once? And since we can’t perceive them literally pointing to anything, how strong is language’s interpretationality – its possibilities to be subjectively appreciated or understood – when interpretationality may be a symbol not only of the war inside one consciousness, but the war for the freedom of the world?

The “neo-logos” – invention of concepts – is a groundbreaking task that should be learned as young as possible. For “a new concept” is, if you study the matter, the only thing a thinker can really go for, in this age of “It’s not only been said, it’s been said better.”

What are the most beautiful objects? I would say they are the ends, the “objects,” most full of life. Of course, it is impossible, almost, for something to be full of death, full of the imaginary. The death is a fantasy of those with too many problems in life. Those who have “too good” of a grasp of the truth? How can anything be “too good”? It can’t... Simply, or not so simply...

People have many different conceptions of how the schizophrenic thinks. This matters, especially to the philosophically ignorant youth, the children “in search of.” Those dysguided ones who would seek to find the most extreme psychologies available. Who would seek to flirt with, but often actually attain, madness... And if nothing human is alien, then we all have a “predisposition” to schizophrenia. Brain disease could be initiated in anyone, given sufficient stress... I’m sure the Nazi torturers, or the Soviet doctors, discovered this...

Philosophy of schizophrenia? A contradiction in terms? Can the insane think? Perhaps even language itself is contrived to make us appear anoetic – unintelligent. Whenever I start talking about the illness, I feel like I’m sounding weepy or disturbed... But I am not that. I am the strongest. Maybe the things sufferers have to say are so new, so radical, that, like all the new and the radical, they seemingly come from crazed mentalities. Perhaps I am crazed. Yet, in a crazed world – what is the appropriate response? What is the appropriate adjustment to a living hell? I don’t know... Maybe it is not normal at all, to write the things I have written, here and elsewhere, in a palimpsestic autochthony...

I am trying to discover the point of a “philosophy of schizophrenia,” as I write. It is definitely just a philosophy, and perhaps just of a schizophrenia. This is, it is a singular phenomenon of a singular phenomenon. But I’m sure generalities abound. I’m sure my experience can be universalized.

But really, am I arguing for an “elitist conception” – where philosophy would be taught to children, and people would have intellectual debates in public? That would be a sort of “ultimacy.” (The highest level.) Ultimacy is a concept which terrestrials should realize is “solar,” or biased in the Christian, up-down hierarchy of “god is above.” It is said that a religion such as Islam is horizontal, directed at the fluxion of history on the surface of the earth. Of course a solar religion is actually historical and horizontal if analyzed properly. Just as everything is really historical...

TV is the most active variant of historical Culture, whose aim, to all intents and purposes, seems to be to program its human “channels” – its bearers – to reproduce it – culture – most passionately, for all time to come, at the symbolic and conscious level. Do not be fooled by the

variety. As there are many ways to simplify linguisticality, there are many ways to destroy the world. Poverty of phenomenality – or “nothin’ on tv” – is one of the great crimes of the media age.

“Phenomenality,” or the unveiling of a thing to consciousness – the thing’s becoming a real phenomenon to someone, allows us to tell you about things without reference – you want to get good, working for your dream, which should be almost impossible not to pay attention to!

Though “seeing is believing,” “A myriad of views don’t add up” causes one to trust the fact that at least one’s appreciation of life is unique. Reality needs to shine through, in word-images of whatever fractal involution.

For instance, the media’s, (what I will call the cultural institutions, tv channels, etc.), seem to say, “We could make everything run smoother – shows would be easier to program people with, if people didn’t have the sophistication to react with appropriate critique.” Sad, but true, as you know if you’ve “hooked up” to the “teevee” lately... The idiot box? The feed-tube? Watching, one wonders what it is all for... A good question... For most of the “truth on the news” is the wrong truth at the right time – not, in other words, true to life...

But don’t we all agree on evil? Perhaps – perhaps not... There is an – unconscious at times – pervasive thought that “the normal” is good. “Normalism” as a mode of thinking holds the “is and shall” to be ultimate, and would subject the “ought and should” to endless ratiocinating and often irrational criticism. Thus terms like “abnormal psychology” are used to apply to “the criminal mind.” Revolutionaries of the past are called “the fathers of our country,” while revolutionaries today are called “Pinko-commie fags,” “draft-dodgers,” “bleeding-heart liberals,” and many other things.

I say this stuff, because it is said there are resonances and harmonies in the brain and mind – resonances and harmonies which would allow all to be connected, at least in one brain, which is, of course, a total connected system. Thus I am suspicious of “analytic” American philosophy, which claims to be about “solving problems” and not “constructing systems.” I would approach minds, which are systems, and the way to do this is with a textual system, it seems to me...

Thinking – a sort of “material conceptuality” – is of course totally related to the world, the universe – while also somehow unrelated, somehow independent. Just as there are desires one has no need for, and needs one does not desire, lexicons can make unclear – reaffirm the

nonsense-icality of language and life in general.

The stimulation possible from the truth is amazing. Lucidity was said by Levinas to be “openness upon the true.” I think that is a good definition. Suicidality involves a tunnelling into what is false, an obsessional focus on death. Instead of having tunnel vision, why not be a visionary? The current contemporary historical “horizon of formality” – or limited way of thinking – even though

private language flourishes, (and the more abstract the art, the more immortal), denies us the creation of our own schemata. A schema – a model – or abstracted representation – of something is resizable, and endlessly relative in its implications – and we mean here that expression and performativity are equivalent; there is no distinction between a good work and a work that changes the world well.

Could school be an external problem? With its incessant focus on clarity, on “complete sentences” and “well-structured essays” etcetera? I would propose that the “coherency” beloved of schools sickens a growing brain, if the state of our democracy is any indication about the worth of our classrooms. (Most go to public schools. Almost most of us don’t vote. (And when we do vote...))

Yes, this approach, this kind of thinking, is somewhat “impressionistic.” (As if impressionism somehow had a negative valuation.) But we must ask, about structure, What is the real connection between one thing and another? Or, Why do I keep changing the subject? Because, in the brain and on the net – everywhere, I would claim – nothing is every really “connected” to another structure. What happens instead is a back-and-forth exchange of signs. And a linear text has to sort of simulate this exchange – because it is a singular, fixed structure. No exchange within it is possible. Though exchange between the structures of thought that it sets up on the reading brain is, I would hope, not only possible, but inevitable.

All these dreams, these plans... What shall come of them? A published book? That wouldbe my dream... This time, I want it to be a good book, a book that can be read, again and again... I will put about a year’s effort into it... Then kill myself at the end, if all does not go well... Just kidding.