Re: Quick guide to postmodernism (was: Re: Gibson

Subject: Re: Quick guide to postmodernism (was: Re: Gibson
From: Eliot Handelman (
Date: Sat Oct 01 2005 - 23:54:30 EDT

brian wrote:

> Eliot, could you please elaborate on schizophrenia being
> the disintegration of self? on or off list.

Here's sort of a quick explanation about what I mean, which you
can attempt to mesh with clinical literature if you like. The ref.
that stays most with me is Arieti's "interpretation of schizophrenia."

In classical psychiatry there is a concept called "the ego boundary."
It's like
a line around me that tells me where I stop and where the world starts.

eg, I know that this is "my foot." If you ask such and such a
schizophrenic, "what is
this," pointing to his hand, he might say: "that is the hand."

"The hand" isn't MY hand -- it's part of some sort of complicated system
that I'm
trapped in.

There are associated complaints where people demand that a perfectly
good limb be
amputated because they have the unshakeable belief that it's not theirs.
(there was an
NYC story about this not too long ago).

Certain aspects of the whole inner world of the schizophrenic are like
that -- parts of
the mind no longer seem to belong to you. It might happen that the
dissociated part is
one of your critics, real or imagined. You might feel controlled by
cosmic forces that
want to punish you. People might be able to read your thoughts, or
machines are used
to force you to recieve certain thoughts that aren't your own (the
so-called "influencing-machine.")

Artaud wrote, "the body has no use for organs." This
is a kind of schizophrenic code for asserting that your only sense of
interiority is as a useless
disturbance, an imposition from without. There's no inside. You can
understand this in the same way as feeling that
there's a hand at the end of your arm without necessarily feeling that
its yours.

In a PM situation, we're basically saying "this ISN'T actualy my hand --
because "i" is
really just a complicated social narrative or gentically originated
projections. We are, in fact, extrusions of
the world. The only thing left is a gigantic "we." The multicultrurism
of the 90s expresses the same idea in
a different way.

It's a short hop from there to most or all of the major styles of pm.

-- eliot

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