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

Subject: Re: Quick guide to postmodernism (was: Re: Gibson
From: Eliot Handelman (
Date: Mon Oct 03 2005 - 16:50:45 EDT

Richard Wentk wrote:

> At 04:54 02/10/2005, you wrote:
> My understanding of schizophrenia was that a significant symptom is
> the confusion between signifiers, metaphor and reality.

Well, schizophrenia is nowadays recognized as a group of disorders, so
symptoms can be very
variable. What you're referring to is clinically called "concrete
thinking." The main confusion isn't
literary -- it's rather something like an inability to shut the doors of
an encroaching world -- a sort
of very complex identity theft.

> So a normal person might say 'I feel invisible.' A schizophrenic will
> believe they actually *are* invisible.

Well, that's a kind of comic book craziness.

The example you'll find in every textbook is this. If you ask someone
with schizophrenia to
explain the proverb "a stitch in time saves nine," he might reply
something like this: "it means
that I should sew nine buttons on my coat."

Part or the problem (in this example) is that the proverb has been
understood as a
kind of instruction to do something fairly arbitrary, as if the author
of the proverb knew
all about me, and wanted to boss me around. This is called "an idea of
reference" --
the belief that things that have, in reality, nothing to do with me, are
actually messages that
have something very specific to say to me -- that I should fix my coat
eg, or maybe there's
something important about the number "9" if only I can figure out what.

We ALL experience things like this at one time or another. An "omen" is
an idea of reference. The belief that the stars somehow determine my
is such an idea. The the universe was created by a moralizing
intelligence who demands that
you go to church is another such idea. By creating personal meanings
that don't exist, the
schizophrenic is only being human.


>> 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."
> What's the difference between 'I' as a complicated social narrative,
> and 'we' as the same?

 Are "we" in fact a social narrative or a narrative at all?

Jaynes thinks that one of the one of the 3 things that consciousness is
all about is
"narratization" -- we perceive the world as before and after, cause and
effect, putting things
into a story.

Is the brain that does this itself a narrative of some sort? That
doesn't seem to make any
kind of sense.

Did you mean something else?

-- eliot

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