Wednesday, April 11, 2018

between the things in the room

The first job I ever had came at age 15, when my father, a Smith College professor, wangled me a job stacking books in the college library. It was tedious work, returning books to their allotted slots on the endless rows and occasionally I would take a break and read some of what there was ... especially aberrant-psychology stuff that had some wild and sexy bits.

And it was in that goofing-off mode that I ran into a book called "Language and Schizophrenia" in which there was a line that has lingered in memory -- a line from a patient. I think I have it pretty much right or maybe it's only close-but not exact:
The air is still here, the air between the things in the room. But there things themselves are no longer [t?]here.
Even today, I wonder what reality or irreality the line addresses. What did it mean to the speaker? Was it really aberrant or utterly on target? Was it too close to true to be labeled false/aberrant or was it somehow so false/aberrant that someone thought it could only be labeled as false/aberrant? Was it incoherent or truly coherent? And was I crazy for even wondering-and-yet-being-drawn-in?

I still don't know, but I do like the line.

1 comment:

  1. I think there was a phase in psychology / psychiatry when some significant number of the “experts” expected to find, ahem, “deep meaning” or, at least, symbolic clues in the utterances of the schizophrenic as shaman. I think most experts have moved past that and into the bosom of the pharmaceutical industry.