homogenizing mode of cognition.
(one Russian investigation found that 54%of schizophrenics studied had a tendency toward "fruitless intellectualizing,philosophizing, and pseudo-abstract reasoning" [Gabriel, 1974, cited inOstwald & Zavarin, 1980, p. 75].
) A good example is the following statementby a schizophrenic, which I will return to later in this essay. After an initialcryptic phrase, the patient continues in the sort of vein that is likely to bedismissed as pseudo-philosophizing, as a case of vague or even emptyverbiage:Chirps in a box. If you abstract yourself far enough from a given context youseem somehow to create a new kind of concretion It isn't something youhave or see but yet somehow. It's being fascinated by the generative processof the mind. The thing is to be caught in it, yet abstract from it. Both be in itand out of it--revolving everything around me. (Lorenz, 1961, p. 604).
The aspect of Heidegger with which I shall be concerned is that of the famous`ontological difference'. This phrase refers to an issue that is easy enough tostate but exceedingly difficult to explain: the, in Heidegger's view, all-important yet easily forgotten distinction between entities and their presenceas entities, or between what he calls beings and Being, the latter of whichmight be spelled with a capital B. Though not always labelled as such,ontological difference--which the later Heidegger referred to as simply "thedifference"--is probably the most central theme running through the entirecorpus of his writings. While there can be no possibility here of expoundingall its nuances, ramifications, and possible contradictions, we do need toconsider its basic meaning and certain of its ambiguities before we can use itto understand schizophrenia.
In Being and Time (1962,originally published 1927), the major work of his firstperiod, Heidegger distinguishes between two domains of inquiry that helabels the "ontological" and the "ontic"--terms he leaves undefined but whichhis translators gloss as referring, in the first instance, primarily to Being andin the second to "entities and the facts about them" (Heidegger, 1962, p. 31,fn.). Being, at least at this stage of Heidegger's work, refers largely to thecontext or mode of being, what he describes as the all-inclusive but, for this
Re 'wooliness', see, e.g. Wing (1981, p. 121). Millon (1981, p. 295) describes murky and undifferentiated modes of cognition; note, however, that he is referring to the schizoid personality, the character type most commonly found as a precursor to schizophrenia. Thesupposedly undifferentiated nature of the schizophrenic's cognition is often asserted; e.g.Searles (1965).
As Ostwald & Zavarin suggest, however, these Russian findings may be tainted by the natureof the sample of 'schizophrenics': the diagnosis of 'sluggish schizophrenia' was sometimesapplied in the Soviet Union to intellectuals and political dissidents.
For a more confusing (and confused) speech sample which also illustrates the abstract and reflexive quality of schizophrenic speech, see Arieti, 1974, p. 265.