SCHIZOPHRENIA, ARCHETYPES, ART, & COMMUNICATION
In the spoken conversation of the schizophrenic personality, there is often carried encoded the image of the "archetype".
practice identifies irrational statements made by individuals, especially
those statements preceeding a suicide attempt, as delusional thinking
, and subject to psychiatric treatment according to the law of most states.
Dissociative thought process, also called "unreality," in which
an individual becomes bewildered by a sudden conscious distinction or
separation between perceived objects and their applied names according
to language, is also a condition identified as psychotic disorder. So-called
"paranoid delusions," where social participation problems
are involved, represent more deep-seated fear issues rather than those
of perception, and are not within the realm of this discussion.
In anthropological methodology, how such mental phenomena are estimated, and the way in which the array of implications of delusional ideas are understood, do define the relation between the individual and the social group, and also reveal the status of the ongoing progress of human evolution within the social grouping.
Stated simply, any comprehensive attempt towards prognosis of these conditions must beg two questions: "what is the potential level of understanding of creative thought and of the perceptions capable by the human mind that human beings can attain?" and, "how can the social group learn to accommodate, rather than repress or dismiss, these unusual ideas, the introduction of which often lead to innovative technological inventions, lasting literary motifs regarding the human condition, or more peaceful means of planning the social order itself?"
In terms of individual communication, any persons independent thoughts at any given moment might, as often as not, be connected with a specific subject, or to the same specific sense, as what they wish to say. In our normal working hours, most of us are well aware that we can be thinking in at least two places at once -- there with our work and somewhere else in our intermittent daydreams or plans for our off-hours time -- But when the working moment becomes critical for any reason, and we realize the importance of what we say, or wish to say, the awareness of meaning is suddenly with us, and the speaker may in that moment notice that he will first say something to himself before speaking the words aloud.
Especially in business language, where complex messages concerning complex business procedures are communicated, a speaker will become immediately aware of the effect of verbal clarity in eliciting response and enthusiasm or approval in their audience. In reality, however, the speakers understanding of the process may be still formative, artificial, even insincere, or far deeper already into the process. Before we speak our associative notions, sensations, impressions, intentions or objective desires, we must first compose words into an integrated verbal thought structure which may carry the essence of one or many symbols.
For the person with schizophrenic symptoms, however, each thought structure made, each word spoken, may represent the form of a bridge laid over an underlying fractalization of the sub-dimensions of their conscious universe, of which the speaker is aware. Not present at this time is any developed protective enclosure of a built-up repertory of conscious thoughts which have been already generated as the result of cognitive resolutions of previous states of confusion, in simple terms, there is a lack of "guarded words." --- In therapeutic terms, this presents a basic problem in the process of communication : In each thought wished to be expressed there is the clear presence of the "archetypal image," a Platonian idealized form image or symbol, which is both verbal and visual.
In mythological and anthropological terms, an archetype is described as the witnessed recurrence of typical model forms which reflect mental images. These images somehow recollect or correspond with wider universal experiences.
Archetypes may be also be recognized as the appearance of distinct personality types, or in the emotional sensations of sacredness or awe associated with objects of religious worship. It even may occur when we encounter an extraordinary landform. --- We should also reference in this definition such patterns as easily recognizable geometric figures and architectural structures, classical motifs, and figures of speech which occur in different languages with similar patterns of symbols and meaning.
The meaning of the term "schizophrenia" is derived from the Greek schizein, "to cleft, split, or divide." Conventionally, this is taken to mean simply that the person is trapped in a separation of their thought process from their emotional feelings and experiences. Thoughts seem to go off onto conceptual tangents, and to further inform the emotions concerned with those objects and subjects, in abstract or bizarre interpretations. The problem, however, is far more fundamental to the nature of experience and communication, and the conscious logic of the mind's inner voice that accompanies these events.
The conscious challenge is similar to the situation faced by a person who is attempting to speak a new language in a country in which all others present are native to that language. That person will be actively structuring in their mind each sentence that they are about to utter,according to the rules of grammar, syntax, and the conventional meaning of the words they wish to use. The main objective is simply to communicate in a two-way conversation, and for meanings to be mutually understood.
The schizophrenic person with untreated symptoms, however, is faced with another obstacle to generating this flow of sentences: that they perceive the actual "split" of the mind and the world on all levels at once. The "cleft" seems to be a commonly occurring visual symptom, a "line" or division of space seen to split the entire universe vertically, from top to bottom -- from the zenith to the nadir of the visual field. This phenomenon has been described repeatedly by personalities undergoing breakdown as a visible edge of space, separating left from right, which extends vertically down the bridge of the nose and out to the vanishing point of the horizon.
Both symbolically and perceptually, the "schizma" represents at the top, the worlds of angels and the creators of the world, either nameless or identified with God, with which the person identifies himself because of his feelings of unlimited energy.
At the bottom of this view is represented the dimension of the emotions and their physical effects on the physical person. Here lies the very "Abyss", a gorge of unreckoned and unimaginable depth. Unhappily, also familiar as the "pit" to the modern "manic-depressive" personality, the idea of this sub-dimension, and the word itself, dates back in Western culture at least to the time of the Babylonians, as it is the phonetic name of "Apsu-Abyss," the mate of the most primordial dragon Ti'amat the feminine "surface of the waters" of the pre-existing, empty Void of the universe, also referred to as Tehom in the first chapter of Genesis.
According to the Enuma Elish text, Apsu-Abyss is the personification of the "Bottomlessness", and he was entrusted by Ti'amat to preserve the "Tablets of Destiny." The progeny of these dragon beings were the populous pantheon of the Sumerian gods who caused such a din in their numbers that Ti'amat and Apsu-Abyss then wished to destroy them. But the progeny, led by Marduk, prevailed and killed their progenitors in order to create the social order of mankind.
A significant problem for the individual with schizophrenic symptoms is that their speech is heard as incomprehensible, illogical, and therefore as meaningless ravings. Reference points appear to be disconnected, and reasoning tinged with inexplicable fear or excitement. But this very level of mental intensity in the schizophrenic person may be what it is that creates the extraordinary need to communicate their experience. But in most cases it is also that which makes their speech unable to achieve a shared understanding with another person. This situation can result in a sense of immanent isolation, when all other persons with whom they communicate have their own set agenda of personal categories, or lines of communication which do not allow for the shared understanding or perception of someone with extraordinary perceptions.
In semiotic terms,
any person who attempts to communicate with another, does so normally
by expressing in speech or writing a verbal construct of the subverbal
thoughts and visual images which occur in their mind. To the schizophrenic
mind, however, is twofold and critical:
Secondly, that objects are not merely witnessed as existing in space as formed and crafted things, but that they are actively generating the space in which they are situated, and therefore as coherent objects possess an implication of a gravitational field which creates a curvature of space. To the morbid sensibility, this gives the impression of "graveness" and the connection with death.
The odd phenomenon of the piling up of objects by the individual, in many cases, is also a representation of the process of language, wherein each object comes to stand for the story associated with it and is then built into an architectural hierarchy of thoughts, involving questions of balance, support, and distribution of density.
To the subliminal perceptual awareness, the world consists of a confluence of objects, each embodying its own dimension of an accompanying story, a history of its creation and fashioning into its present form, and the categorical possibilities of its forward evolution, as it is that no object is truly stopped in time.
Since the advent of psychoanalysis in this century, public policy has tended toward a kind of historical amnesia regarding the former social treatment of "madness" as it was perceived in the general culture : The consciousness brought about by the Freudian movement, since the beginning of the 20th century, and the later development of anti-depressant and anti-anxiety medicines, was essentially a paradigm shift from the previous conventional recognition of the workings of the mind -- whether political, religious, scientific, or sexual. The usual method of treatment, for those whose level of hyperactivity or hyperverbality did not work within their social parameters, was by simple physical containment in institutions for the "insane."
The literary development
and wide popularization of the Romantic and tragic novel in the 19th century
brought about a new sense of the consideration of human experience and
responsibility. Whereas in earlier literature, experience had been described
as a linear sequence of events, the introduction the individual "main
character" possessing an internal point of view, as well as the sensation
of a "destiny," quietly but actively reshaped the normal view
of the human psyche as a dynamic multi-leveled facility, and allowed wider
social channels for diverse perceptive abilities.
The schizophrenic mind also experiences this dynamic facility, perceiving an outer dimension consisting of layers of energies which can be compared to and represented by the forms of the states of matter as labeled by medieval and Eastern science, namely -- Earth, Water, Air, and Fire.
As water, a fluidic movement of energy is in operation at all times. This has been perceived in the past through the many eastern methods of chakric arrangement of the passages of etheric forces through the human metabolic system of central bodily organs such as the heart, the navel.
As air, awareness of the subtleties of hearing and vision are accentuated. The hearing is stimulated in a manner that brings about awareness of an inner voice. A constant narration is given by the intelligence to the operational logic of many types of normal phenomena and mechanical or physical processes. The world seems in the act of explaining itself.
As fire, the mental passions and the personal sexual awareness and bodily self-presence are accentuated. Limitless possibilities encrust both the physical and metaphysical aspects of presence and there is a consciousness of .motion within the continuity of time. Fire can also be the element which consumes these very thoughts, as though they were meant as kindling.
As earth, the awareness of the physicality of time and space and the presence of the bodily form are brought within the understanding of the intelligence. The ordinary sensations of solidness and hollowness may even alternate, thus affecting the sense of well-being and equilibrium.
Depending on the mode of expression favored by the particular personality, the category of the symbolic content will be stated or be pathologically withheld from being stated in terms of its relational content. The most commonly witnessed extreme examples include topics of the human/ animal body format, internal or external; the sexual organs or their impressions; the menstrual or scatological functions and bizarre creative possibilities; the labyrinthine or contoured topography of the world; or the byzantine possibilities and fantasies of emotional interaction.
Of the many categories of thought to be communicated, in both the material and spiritual realms, it is in questions of religion, where the person comes most in conflict with established interpretations of the divine and the diabolical. There is the persistence of an inner argument between the two polarities, experienced more as expressions of energy than as personality forms. The individual might identify himself with God, but I maintain that this is simply a matter of trying to give a name to the quanta of hyperkinetic energy and penetrating intuition that is experienced.
In my personal and activist contacts, friendships, and curatorial relations with individuals who have been medically diagnosed with these related ailments, I try to take an egalitarian position, and (even while I have made my own serious errors in appropriate judgement) I cannot philosophically abide any other position. This is to say that all individuals, whether afflicted or normal by the democratic principles of Enlightened Rationalism described by John Locke, John Stuart Mill, and Tom Paine deserve as a matter of human rights to be afforded the personal space in which to develop their own ideas.
I believe that Western culture, since the end of the Middle Ages, has deeply exacerbated its level of human relations by its unwillingness and neglect towards the perceptions and depth of understanding of energetic forces, provided by such individuals. Instead, it has relied on the "objective method" to generalize its logical interpretation of verbality, rather than utilizing a more "inductive method" to attempt any deeper interpretation to take into account the knowledge of profound and prophetic phenomena enabled by this quantity of symbol consciousness -- excepting through the visual arts..
We realize and accept scientifically that in the natural world animal, plant, and mineral there are cycles of growth (such as crystallization/ metabolic elongation), stability (stasis/ maturation), decay (sedimentation/ aging), and metamorphosis/ evaporization/ after-life). Each of these states is fuelled by a particular process, such as internal structural pressure, flow, compression, exposure to the elements, or spiritual belief.
In order to truly evolve our civilization, our social, economic, and religious institutions must recognize and eventually bring into this equation also the human processes of "experience" and "transition". Many examples, given to us by creative and "irrational" minds, we must challenge ourselves to fathom.