Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Introduction (to the schizophrenic descriptions)

Those of you who know me know that I did a summer residency at the Wilton Hershey Medical Center, in Pennsylvania. I worked with Dr. Jared Hagerty, who is quite well known for his work in experimental phychiatry.

Now that I've finished the residency, I've finally had the opportunity to experiment with language functions of hebephrenic schizophrenics. [See inset: Dorene, a schizophrenic patient standing on a chair.]

In the next several posts, I will show some descriptive linguistic sequences used by schizophrenics to describe everyday objects. Each patient was to look at a given everyday object (for as long as they wished), and then write their description on a sheet of notebook paper provided to them. I will present to you their descriptions verbatim.

Please try to guess what the object is that they are describing.

There will be a winner* each post: the person who guesses correctly the object that is being described in each post. I'm working from the hypothesis that schizophrenics, contrary to popular belief, can ultimately be understood by people who are exposed, even breifly, to an example of a schizophrenic's personal language system (contained fully in the schizophrenic's single utterance).

*Winners will have the satisfaction of being able to communicate successfully with a hebephrenic schizophrenic, and will receive the code for this award:

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cindra said...

Amazing. Schizophrenia can be so cruel...our nephew has been tormented for 20 years...good for you in all you do, flic!

flic said...

cindra- Thanks. It's hard to see a family member be afflicted. Learn to roll with the punches is the best advice, believe it or not.

flic said...


Explainer: In the Introduction, in the last sentence, I said, "... exposed, even briefly, to their personal language system."

This means that reading even one sentence or phrase of a hebephrenic schizophrenic will suffice in determining a personal system (i.e., anything that is outside the universal norm).

And the residual of the personal is then the universal grammar and the normal structures and functions of letters, sounds, and words that we all know and love.

When you read the hebephrenic schizophrenic's descriptions, you will see a mixture or blending of those two above-mentioned dichotomies, the personal and the universal.

Keep in mind that the hebephrenic schizophrenic lives almost entirely in a fantasy world of his/her own. They take figures of speech literally. The words in their sentences are connected more by sound rather than sense. The hebephrenic schizophrenic has not only withdrawn from reality but has almost subsituted a synthetic reality for it.

But don't forget, in the language of the hebephrenic schizophrenic there are always subtle and almost unseen connections to what we all generally call reality.

flic said...


Explainer: in the Schizophrenic description #1 post, junior hawk asked me about the legality and ethics of posting a patient's picture and descriptive sentences publically on a blog. I answered him thus:

Yes, it is legal. But more than that, it's also ethically right. The families and/or the legal guardians of every single one of the patients you'll see here in this series has requested that both the patient's picture and descriptive sentences be exposed as such.

In fact, this kind of exposure has already proved therapeutic for Leonard. He has since been at work trying to write a more "precise" description of the object that we are now trying to figure out. Ironically, this experience has made him rudimentarily "connected" to the real world.

And at some time down the road, I hope to invite a few of the patients you'll see here as guest bloggers on this blog.


Robert said...

this blog is so wonderful

please keep it up!

flic said...

Thanks Robert!

karinaxoxo said...

Thanks for visiting my blog :-)

flic said...

karinaxoxo- I had fun! I'll visit again.

flic said...

PSYCH WINNER! for Schizophrenic description #1 is /t. at mo'po - code poetry.

flic said...

PSYCH WINNER! for Schizophrenic description #2 is Good For Me at Back to Myself.

flic said...

PSYCH WINNER! for Schizophrenic description #3 is Canopenner at Department of Redundancy Department.

Enemy of the Republic said...

This is one of the coolest blogs on the net--no lie. You are a very original thinker. I'm too tired to guess, and I'm probably wrong anyway, but this is still fascinating.

flic said...

enemy of the republic- Thanks very much for the compliment, EOR! Can I use that quote in a blurb for my new book? I'm honored that you say that.

As far as "too tired to guess", you've made a good guess in Schizo Description #2. In fact, sometimes one could effectively dismantle a bug that's been planted by the CIA by using only a pair of scissors!

And I'm still looking forward to you making some more guesses here and there in future Schizo Descriptions.

flic said...

PSYCH WINNER! for Schizophrenic description #4 is Cherie! at Cherrypicker.

flic said...

PSYCH WINNER! for Schizophrenic description #5 is /t. at mo'po - code poetry .

flic said...

PSYCH WINNER! for Schizophrenic description #6 is E. at Esquire .

flic said...

A Three-Way Tie:

PSYCH WINNERs! for Schizophrenic description #7 are gumblemurray at Stupendously Average, and Good for Me at Back to Myself, and E at Esquire.