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1. Any of a group of psychotic disorders usually characterized by withdrawal from reality, illogical patterns of thinking, delusions, and hallucinations, and accompanied in varying degrees by other emotional, behavioral, or intellectual disturbances. Schizophrenia, often associated with dopamine imbalances in the brain and defects of the frontal lobe, may have an underlying genetic cause.
2. A condition that results from the coexistence of disparate or antagonistic qualities, identities, or activities: the schizophrenia of the double espionage agent.
Schizophrenia, group of mental disorders marked by a variety of symptoms. Not until the 20th century was schizophrenia distinguished from other forms of mental illness.
Symptoms of schizophrenia include thought disorders, hallucinations, inappropriate emotional reactions, and excited, repetitive movements. Schizophrenia usually occurs before middle age, and the first episode typically takes place during adolescence or young adulthood. It involves deterioration in a person's work, social relationships, and ability to care for himself or herself, together with one or more of the symptoms noted above.
Schizophrenia results from an interplay of biology, psychology, and culture. It does run in families, and investigators have debated whether the condition is due to heredity or the result of being reared by a parent with a disorganized personality. Recent studies have demonstrated that schizophrenia can involve a genetic defect. For instance, researchers at the University of Colorado announced in 1997 that they had possibly identified a genetic defect that is linked to a receptor in the brain that contributes to a person's ability to filter out background noise. In schizophrenics this flawed receptor apparently causes auditory hallucinations.
Psychological research has linked schizophrenia to environmental conditions, such as unclear communication within families and the disorganized family life or poor health that is often associated with poverty. Brain research has provided several clues to organic factors related to schizophrenia. For instance, dopamine, a chemical messenger in the brain, may be present in abnormal quantities in schizophrenia. Also, structural abnormalities have been found in brains of some people with schizophrenia.
The most powerful treatments for schizophrenia are antipsychotic drugs, which enable many people with schizophrenia to function free of troublesome symptoms. Drugs may stop acute episodes of schizophrenia and prevent future breakdowns. They can produce side effects, however, and long-term consequences. Not every patient with schizophrenia benefits from antipsychotic drugs, and some do not need them at all. Psychotherapy is also commonly used to treat patients who receive medication.
multiformity: schizophrenia, split personality,
dual personality, multiple personality, personality disorder
psychosis: catatonia, schizophrenia
Schizophrenia may be a
consequence of literacy.
Marshall McLuhan (1911-80), Canadian communications theorist. The Gutenberg Galaxy, "Typographic Man Can Express But Is Helpless to Read the Configuration of Print Technology" (1962).
There is no such
as "schizophrenia," but the label is a social fact and the social fact
a political event.
R. D. Laing (1927-89), British psychiatrist. The Politics of Experience, ch. 5 (1967).
Writing is a socially acceptable form of
E. L. Doctorow (b. 1931), U.S. novelist. Interview in Writers at Work (Eighth Series, ed. by George Plimpton, 1988).
Another example of a current manifestation of this imaginal aspect of electricity or electromagnetism is in the motifs of schizophrenia and paranoia. The most common ones which you will know from the "X Files" is that someone has implanted a small chip in us and is controlling us from a distance through electromagnetic waves. This is a very common and powerful motif within schizophrenic madness, and is less explicitly manifested in conspiratorial theories. It goes back throughout the history of modern communication technologies. (I am using the word "schizophrenia" in quotes because, of course, it too is a construct which can be questioned and interrogated.) But we already know that schizophrenia acts in many ways as a kind of avant-garde. It is interesting how they pick up things right away. As soon as the telephone was invented, Thomas Watson got reports from people saying that other people had implanted telephones inside their heads and were using them to give them secret messages and trying to control them and tell them what to do.
Beneath this figure of madness is a whole set of very powerful and profound questions that affect those of us who are not sucked into these kinds of worldviews, questions about electromagnetic control, about the limits of identity and about the unseen level of vibrational influences which, if you actually unpack, have a lot to do with the more theoretical questions we have about power and control in the information industry.
- Erik Davis - _Spiritual Telegraphs and the Technology of Communication_ lecture
In his controversial 1976 book, _The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind_, Julian Jaynes, a Princeton psychologist, argued that the brain activity of ancient people - those living roughly 3,500 years ago, prior to early evidence of consciousness such as logic, reason, and ethics - would have resembled that of modern schizophrenics. Jaynes maintained that, like schizophrenics, the ancients heard voices, summoned up visions, and lacked the sense of metaphor and individual identity that characterizes a more advanced mind. He said that some of these ancestral synaptic leftovers are buried deep in the modern brain, which would explain many of our present-day sensations of god or spirituality.
In Summary: thoughts of the brain are experienced by us as arrangements and rearrangements - change - in a physical universe; but in fact it is really information and information processing which we substantialize. We do not merely see its thoughts as objects: how they become linked to one another. But we cannot read the patterns of arrangement; we cannot extract the information from it - i.e., it as information, which is what it is. The linking and relinking of objects by the Brain is actually a language, but not a language like ours (since it is addressing itself and not someone or something outside itself).
We should be able to hear
this information, or rather narrative, as a neutral voice inside us.
something has gone wrong. All creation is a language and nothing but a
language, which for some inexplicable reason we can't read outside and
can't hear inside. So I say, we have become idiots. Something has
to our intelligence. My reasoning is this: arrangements of parts of the
Brain is a language. We are parts of the Brain; therefore we are
Why, then do we not know this? We do not even know what we are, let
what our outer reality is of which we are parts. The origin of the word
"idiot" is the word "private." Each of
us has become private, and no longer shares the common thought of the Brain, except at a subliminal level. Thus our real life and purpose are conducted below our threshold of consciousness.
From loss and grief the Mind has become deranged. Therefore we, as parts of the universe, the Brain, are partly deranged.
Out of itself the Brain has constructed a physician to heal it. The subform of the Macro-Brain is not deranged; it moves through the Brain, as a phagocyte moves through the cardiovascular system of an animal, healing the derangement of the Brain in section after section. We know of its arrival here; we know it as Asklepios for the Greeks and as the Essenes for the Jews; as the Terapeutae for the Egyptians.
From _VALIS_ by Philip K. Dick
"It is not a sign of good health to be well adjusted to a sick society." - J. Krishnamurti
[...] schizophrenics often report oceanic feelings of oneness with the universe, but in a magic, delusional way. They describe feeling a loss of boundaries between themselves and others, a belief that leads them to think their thoughts are no longer private. They believe they are able to read the thoughts of others. And instead of viewing people, objects, and concepts as individual things, they often view them as members of larger and larger subclasses, a tendency that seems to be a way of expressing the holographic quality of the reality in which they find themselves.
- _The Holographic Universe_by Michael Talbot
"If the human race survives, future men will, I suspect, look back on our enlightened epoch as a veritable Age of Darkness... They will see that what was considered 'schizophrenic' was one of the forms in which, often through quite ordinary people, the light began to break into our all-too-closed minds."
- R.D. Laing
"It is justifiable to regard the term 'sickness' as pertaining not to the acute turmoil but to the pre-psychotic personality, standing as it does in need of profound reorganization. In this case, the renewal process occuring in the acute psychotic episode may be considered nature's way of setting things right."
- John Weir Perry