Thursday, August 9, 2007

"I" was a teenage robot

All this puts us in the position of grasping schizophrenia as a break-down of the relationship between signifiers. For Lacan, the experience of temporality, human time, past, present, memory, the persistence of personal identity over months and years- this existential or experiential feeling of time itself- is also an effect of language. It is because language has a past and a future, because the sentence moves in time, that we can have what seems to us a concrete or lived experience in time. But since the schizophrenic does not know language articulation in that way, he or she does not have our experience of temporal continuity either, but is condemned to live a perpetual present with which various moments of his or her past have little connection and for which there is no conceivable future on the horizon. In other words, schizophrenic experience is an experience of isolated, disconnected, discontinuous material signifiers which fail to link up into a coherent sequence. The schizophrenic thus does not know personal identity in our sense, since our sense of identity depends on our sense of the persistence of the "I" and the "me" over time

Fredric Jameson, "Postmodernism and the Consumer Society"

1 comment:

"Post-Google" by TAR ART RAT said...

From January 2001 until January 2004 I lived nextdoor to a halfway-home or assisted living house for schizophrenics and other mentally ill people. Just walking by every day was strange and sad- they did often have routines, even if the routine was to sit on the front porch all day and chain-smoke all day or (as one guy did every day for years) walk in circles singing softly to sheets of opera music- so often that there was a large circular path worn into the front lawn. Anyhow, the disturbing thing about seeing them every day was that they never made any progress- year after year they did the exact same super-simple activities... in the sumer of 2006 I saw the opera guy on the bus- thinking "Holy cow, he's on the bus, he must be getting better!" so I tried to talk to him:
"Hey, we were neighbors for three years- remember? how's it going?"
he just blank stare and sort of "ribbit"ed...
"uh, ok, hope your singing is going well."
"yap.. yeap. m-hm"
and that was all.

One of the ladies there actually did befriend a very old chinese man in a wheelchair from the eldercare place across teh street. they hung out every day sitting on the lawn just sort-of talking.