Issue #62 May 2023

Existence and Psychosis: Between Ludwig Binswanger and Henri Maldiney

Will Henry Stevens, "No. 2", (1939)

The question we will pursue concerns the existence of psychosis. This is to say: not simply that there is an existence describable as psychotic from which our own is to be distinguished, but the existence of what cannot be separated from the basic sense of what it means to exist, as a specific determination of it that brings into relief the inflections of the whole. It is this fundamental intuition that deploys the scene of the psychiatric movement of which two representatives will give testimony. Between Ludwig Binswanger and Henri Maldiney, one who begins and the other who ends a century of research engaged in by many, we will chart certain positions that shape the possibilities and ends of investigation from which they issue, that is, the tradition of phenomenology and Heideggerian analysis brought to bear on and in turn shaped by a field of experience seemingly refractory to their founding ideals: that of madness. In this attempt to chart in a limited space basic tendencies indicative of a general position regarding madness, and in particular that of psychosis, we will explore in detail two texts representative of their authors’ orientations. We begin with the last text published in Binswanger’s life under the title Wahn (1965), translated into French as Délire, which is the version that we will use. After an analysis of the currents that comprise this text, considered by Binswanger as a recapitulation of his thought as a whole, we will move to Maldiney’s Penser l’homme et la folie (1991), a compendium of essays written over a thirty year period. With Maldiney, we will attempt to bring to the fore certain changes in the conception of psychosis that, though firmly within the landscape of Binswanger and his Daseinsanalyse, nevertheless present significant nuances in positions that, without our having the resources to show it convincingly, perhaps lead beyond the horizon of what existential analysis is able to explain. It is thus with Délire that we shall begin.


· · ·


For Binswanger, the being of psychosis, as a form of Dasein, projects a world beyond ontic givenness. However, the world that is projected is not that of originary transcendence into which a being falls as the horizon of significability: “…il s’agit chez lui aussi d’un “dépassement” certes pas “vers le monde”, mais vers la mondéité en général, en d’autres termes d’un laisser régner un monde de façon qu’il soit projeté par delà l’étant”1placeholder (1993, 17, [translations in footnotes -eds]). If Dasein, as a basic determination of existence, presents itself as a fundamental disposition toward the world as such, this is to the extent that it expresses the simplicity of a being-affected wherein it finds itself as mood (humeur, Befindlichkeit), which as accord (Stimmung), is the location of its freedom. The lack of freedom, or the deficiency of Dasein qua malade, for Binswanger, is not in the lack of relation to a world, but in the preponderant invariability of a certain kind of relation to which Dasein projects itself as the possibility of its existence: “L’élément “négatif” dans la non-liberté, sa “déficience”, ne signifie alors rien d’autre qu’un contournement autoritaire de la disposibilité et de l’être-d’humeur. Ce faisant la disposibilité en vient à une indisposibilité et l’être-d’humeur devient arbitraire”2placeholder (18). It is the invariable that is the ground of the arbitrary. And so, if Dasein’s being-toward its death is nothing other than its ownmost possibility of existence, malady would fall under a foreclosed death through the impossibility of horizonal movement, or the rigidification of finite existential possibility in a form of indeterminate necessity. The relational being of Dasein, in this state, is

“…arrêté “au point mort” et ensuite encore à la déficience de la temporation (Zeitigung) au sens du retrait des moment rétentionnels ou mnémétiques et de la prédominance de la pré-attente ou du guetter en général et de la saisie, qui en résulte, de chaque présent isolé en tant que menace…le Dasein ne se résout plus en liberté dans le pour-quoi, la destination et l’avec-quoi. La mondéité du monde est bien plutôt ici bloquée dans un seul ou rétrécie à un unique pour-quoi, une unique destination, un unique avec-quoi”3placeholder (20).

The unique face of transcendent necessity turns to everlasting grimace when it becomes a matter of integrating its image into the relay of protentions and retentions that characterize Dasein as in-the-world. The failure of integrating the unique into the relays that characterize “Dasein” as being thrown into a world with others, results in an evaluation of a given aspect of the everyday as an intentionality bound to the predominance of the unique image, as an intentional attack against the unique. “…à la place du On-dit, de la curiosité et de l’équivoque, apparaît ici justement une intention déterminée, un commandement déterminé…une soumission, une torture déterminés ou bien encore une tentation et un appel déterminés”4placeholder (22).

With Heidegger’s existential analytic as a background determination of world inhabitation, it becomes a matter of describing phenomenologically the substitution of the unique image of the world crystallized in psychosis for the relay of images that constitute the continuity of experience, a continuity that will be understood here on the basis of Husserl’s analyses. The model of experience as given through an analysis of Dasein qua malade is to be drawn back to what Binswanger understands as the constitutive source of the “failure” of Dasein to be what it is, which, we find, hinges on the disruption of the continuity of contact with world. “…ce dont il s’agit pour nous est […] la description des structures et des enchaînements structuraux phénoménologiques dans la constitution et la genèse de l'”expérience” délirante”5placeholder (33).

The basis of Binswanger’s transcendental phenomenology of non-delirious experience, to which the being of psychosis is contrasted, can be summarily stated. Three terms—Phantasia, Mnémé, and Aisthesis—are employed to describe the constituting moments of what is lived as objective perception. “Phantasia est la règle de l’établissement et le maintien des impressions sensorielles, la mise en image, la mise en lumière ou en vue, en un mot, le faire “paraître”…la Phantasia est la prescription qui, dans le présent ou l’actuel, met en relation le préactuel (le retenu ou le souvenu)—exprimé en grec: le mnémétique—avec le préattendu”6placeholder (35). The synthesis of Phantasia thus relates what Binswanger will call Aisthesis, which is not simply sensation but its “capacity for receptivity” in Kant’s sense (the préattendu), to what is called the schema of Mnémé, the projection of the retained image (préactuel) into the actual of Aisthesis. In other words, the Mnémé is the protentional schema of what is retained. And so, the synthesis of Phantasia is what originally establishes perception as the relay between a retained image and a sensorial world, while the Mnémé “…représente la projection, le schéma des prescriptions de formation-en-image…C’est seulement parce que la Mnémé est schématisée et fixée de façon rigoureuse qu’une entente est de façon générale possible”7placeholder (37). We can thus say, in general, that the image generated from a succession of relays between the original formation-in-image of Phantasia and the intuitive content given through Aisthesis is schematized by a Mnémé charged with the power to form a protentional common image of this succession. The commonality of the schema, one could further say, is what undergirds the “They” character of the world which Binswanger understands, quite differently than Heidegger, as the site of the authenticity of experience—as what is intersubjectively shared, in keeping with Husserl. Sanity is thus characterized by the unbroken relay between the aspects of Phantasia, Mnémé, and Aisthesis. Binswanger’s phenomenology of psychopathological states unfolds as the identification of the breakdown between these levels.

The question is thus, how perception becomes deformed. For Binswanger, the fundamental cause of the distorted image produced in the various kinds of psychosis invariably concerns a non-alignment between the aspects of Phantasia and Mnémé. “L’opposition à la liaison naturelle des prescriptions de la Phantasia ne réside pas dans le défaut complet de la Mnémé, mais dans le manque de rigueur de son schéma, en d’autres termes de sa défaillance quant à la poursuite des prescriptions “naturelles” de renvoi”8placeholder (40). This means that this “lack of rigor” in the production of a common image by which Dasein experiences the continuity of a shared world is nothing other than the result of a failed synthesis of Phantasia to form an image that accords with the evidence of Aisthesis. It is in this sense that Binswanger speaks of a primary deformed perception of which the Mnémé expresses its schematization in the experience of madness.

What is at issue, then, is very simply the coherence of perception, its phenomenological conditions, and the conditions of the break with the natural image produced in conformity with the continuity of synthesis. The “continuity of synthesis” is another way of expressing what is proper to an internal consciousness of time, or the awareness of self as an intentional being possible of an unlimited development of concordant intuitions. In what becomes the invariable theme of Binswanger’s text, the multiformity of pathological states are reduced to the negation of this continuity:

“…le “temps” au sens de la conscience intime du temps, de l’enchaînement interne ou mieux du renvoi l’une à l’autre de la rétention, de la protention et de la présentation ne forme plus aucun flux, ne s’écoule plus mais s’arrête…il s’agit d’une temporation qu’on peut caractériser de façon imagée comme un “court-circuit”, c’est-à-dire d’une temporation comportant l’absence de rétentions propres aussi bien que de protentions propres”9placeholder (44).

The internal time awareness that brings the synthesis of intuitions to that of perceptions—the determination of transcendental subjectivity as what guarantees the concordance of intuitions through their relation to objective entities in general—becomes, in delirium, detached from this synthesis. And for Binswanger, this detachment is expressed as the production of an experience for which a factual real no longer holds the key to what internal time awareness crystallizes: “…moins l’homme s’adonne aux faits et aux états de faits et moins il les laisse être, plus il les “contourne”, alors c’est d’autant plus qu’il s’éloigne de l‘expérience factuelle et cela veut dire de la réalité effective”10placeholder (46).

Will Henry Stevens, Untitled, (ca.1945)

The question becomes: What does this conception offer to the thinking of madness as it is for itself, that is, as a concrete form of existence with its particular logic and sets of experience? In other words, how is it possible to conceive of pathological states as anything other than negative determinations of the possibility of existence in a world due to constitutionally distorted images of it? In his reworking of earlier case studies that fill the remaining sections of this late text—that of Aline, Suzanne Urban, and August Strindberg—the interpretive limits of Binswanger’s approach, animated by a theoretical fixation concordant with the pre-interpretive judgment of its object, become apparent.

We shall now pass briefly through these studies so as to bring to view a problem that is perhaps generic to existential interpretations of madness as a whole, namely, a generally accepted conception of human existence that acts as an arbiter in determinations of deficiency, and thereby, we state, resides at the level of a fundamental misrecognition. With Henri Maldiney, it will be a question to what extent he escapes the tendency of this approach to which he is in many ways deeply indebted.


With the case of Aline, Biswanger’s analysis precisely follows what has been elaborated concerning the failure in the production of an image that can schematize adequately the flux of experience: rather than doctors and nurses with intentionalities bound to the common interest deployed in the world of therapeutic intervention proper to the function of a hospital, it is a matter of electric rays emanating from an obscure, polyvalent source. But rather than considering what might be the relation between the significations of this form of phenomenological evidence and that of the evidence generated through the pursuit of therapeutic research proper to the clinician, Binswanger concludes that the pathways of her experience are a result not of an amplification of perceptive possibility wherein the Mnémé is given freedom to schematize Aisthesis outside the factual confines of the common image of the Phantasia, but of the total rigidification of perceptive possibility and the negation of an intersubjective world:

Nous ne découvrons pas, chez elle, la moindre amorce d'”éléments” mnémétiques ou d'”éléments” de l’ordre de la Phantasia, donc pas la moindre amorce d’une spontanéité qui fait de l’affection au sens kantien une réception, un laisser-renconter véritable. On en reste à l’impulsion mécanique…Ce qui reste de l’intuition, c’est une machine qui s’enregistre elle-même, un enregistrement mécanique. Phantasia et Mnémé sont seulement des éléments figés de cet appareil enregistreur”11placeholder (73).

From this impossibility of authentic encounter of a factual real, he concludes that her subjective position can be reduced to an auto-registration of what is eternally the same: an electrified transcendental subjectivity without the possibility of immanent encounter: “Dans le “monde” délirant un abîme se creuse entre le rencontré-transcendant et le constitué-immanent, il doit même être clair que, dans le délire, nous ne pouvons en général pas parler d’une constitution (“immanente”) du rencontré-transcendant12placeholder (80). And so, “…les “rayons parlants et pensants” are “comme substituts mnémétiques, en quelque sorte, d’alter ego effectivement apprésentés”13placeholder (89). The rays are thus substitutes for the presentation of other human egos, distorting the possibility of a co-presentation of intentionalities in a common world. Without denying that other human intentionalities are distorted for Aline as Binswanger describes it, is it not itself a distortion to say that alterity is fundamentally blocked, that the transcendence of the other is not effectively a matter of immanent world concern? Here, as elsewhere, it is a question of which other Binswanger is able to accept. This is to say, an authentic experience of alterity, or alter-ego, can only be in his conception that of another human. Yet it is the question of what undergirds the everyday continuity of human intentionality that is at issue in this case, which, despite the descriptions he provides, Binswanger nonetheless obscures.

With Suzanne Urban, the problem perceived is in essence the same as that analyzed in Aline, where a co-presence of the subject and her alter-ego as constitutional of objective perception is negated in an ideal structure with which she identifies herself, the difference here residing only in the form of the object that replaces the relays of factually-bound protentions and retentions:

“La différence [entre Aline et Suzanne Urban] réside seulement en ceci qu’il s’agit là-bas de l’enregistrement d’un événement électro-mécanique, alors qu’ici, chez Suzanne Urban, il s’agit de l’enregistrement d’un événement humain (le martyre). Mais dans les deux cas l’enregistrement en tant que tel, considéré du point de vue de la transcendance, se déroule selon un schéma mécanique, rigidifié, fonctionnant à vide. Ce schéma (le martyre) apparaît à la place de la variabilité et de la mobilité des impressions sensorielles et de leurs moments mnémétiques d’accompagnement”14placeholder (105).

In both cases, instead of analyzing the “distorted image” both as it is for itself as a form of evidence and as it is for the other—as a kind of intersubjectivity wherein the element of relation to a non-human alterity is precisely at issue—Binswanger believes to have found the key to a fundamental interpretation of psychosis consistent with primordial phenomenological evidence, that is, as the deficiency of what is evident to the analyst and to others that share the same image. Concurrent with the outcomes of treatment of the cases at issue, the hermeneutic key seems not to have been resonant with the conditions of a cure.

In any event, bracketing the therapeutic efficacy of his conceptual matrix, that toward which Binswanger strives at the level of interpretation, despite its merely negative descriptive value resulting from a generalized valuation of normal human experience, nevertheless has in view a problem that is fundamental to the lived experience of psychosis in both its crippling alterity and imaginative polyvalence: what Binswanger will conclude his text with under the heading of “logic of fate” in his analysis of August Strindberg.

If the entirety of Binswanger’s approach could be reduced to a simple element, it would be that of establishing the continuity of experience on the basis of which psychosis is the break in its legibility. Continuity means to say that the transcendence of the I and the Other are continually referred back to the flux of an immanent world, exterior to their transcendental conditions of contact. In the objective world picture, transcendence is a condition of content: the I is not to be confused with its experience or with an other I. Yet in the experience of psychosis, and indeed in early stages of psychological development, it is precisely this identification that is thematic. The question is whether it is terminal, and in what sense it can be made to speak. With Strindberg, as Binswanger understands it, there is at work a certain choice of the discontinuous and unverifiable—God, the Devil, secret powers—that give to the everyday script of experience a heightened reality that unveils a unique destination of Dasein precisely not in accord with its possibilities but with its finality:

La tâche psychiatrique devant laquelle nous place le cas August Strindberg…ne se situe donc pas dans le domaine de la vérité ontologique au sens de Heidegger, mais dans celui de la vérité ontique, donc non dans le domaine de la liberté quidans son essence en tant que transcendence” place le Dasein comme pouvoir-être dans des possibilités, mais dans le domain du choix final qui “s’ouvre dans son destin”15placeholder (146).

In this movement toward its fate,

[i]l s’agit tantôt d’un effondrement total, tantôt de la conquête d’une réussite triomphale…il y a des actions “liées au destin”, d’un ou plusieurs êtres étrangers au moi, totalement arbitraires, dépourvues de caractère temporel; tout ceci indique que nous ne nous trouvons plus sur le terrain d’une logique normale de la vie et de la science, mais sur celui d’une logique délirante du destin”16placeholder (165).

It is this logic that needs to be made explicit, not simply in its lack of being but in its effective reality as revelatory of the desire and terror that exceed the legibility of human experience. To do so, we turn to Henri Maldiney.


· · ·


It is the singular strength of Maldiney’s interpretive position to understand the experience of the impossible in psychosis, with its attendant identifications and logic, not simply as the impoverishment of a basic human possibility but as a singular occurrence within the course of life of Dasein that marks its possibility of fundamental transformation. The impossible, the discontinuous alterity that tears the script of everyday legibility, is expressive of a possibility of which no other possibility that opens in the field of bios, of life, can become adequate. For Maldiney, psychosis reveals in existence—which is other than the field of continuous phenomenological involvement characteristic of the everyday—the fundamental possibility of its impossibility, the essential discontinuity that marks the fate of Dasein. It is in this way that the form and quality of the impossible comes to subtend all particular, lived possibilities: “[ ] entendons-nous saisir dans l’existence psychotique l’existential humain qui la rend possible, là même où la psychose en est une forme à l’impossible”17placeholder (1991, 5). In psychosis, the form of the impossible is nothing other than existence itself; existence does not exist outside of the form of its ideal (the impossible) of existence. To this extent, we can say that it is simultaneously what is most proper and most foreign to the subjective being of psychosis as the overriding authenticity of the inauthentic (the other). As Maldiney says,”[s]i nous prenons le terme d'”authentique” dans son sens juste, celui de l’allemandeigentlich”, de ce qui m’est éminemment propre, absolument mien, c’est-à-dire ab-solu de tout autre fondement que l’acte de ma propre fondation, nous dirons: l’être-là (Dasein) psychotique est une existence dont l’authenticité est en jeu dans son inauthenticité même,” where “la situation agonique s’est thématisée en alternative rigide, où le psychotique est prise entre l’impossibilité de réaliser l’Idéal et l’impossibilité d’y renoncer”18placeholder (6). But what does it mean to authentically exist in one’s inauthenticity? How does this express something other than a negation of what is properly one’s own, and how does this conception evade an understanding of psychosis as a lack of reality? Because if, as Maldiney states, “[l]à où le sens de l’existence est en cause, nous ne pouvons partir d’une définition a priori de l’existant et voir comment le psychotique s’y articule 19placeholder (7), then the actuality of such an existence must be conceived on grounds other than that of what, as we know, characterize Binswanger’s.

Will Henry Stevens, Untitled, (ca. 1939-1947)

The Ideal is what effectuates a difference between levels of life and existence such that from one level to the next the sense of continuity is not phenomenally evident. The common conception of madness as what escapes the unifying forces of an individuating psychological— or in Binswanger’s case, transcendental—constitution are thus founded though merely negative judgments in relation to this existence itself. In schizophrenia, as Maldiney says, experience is expressed through at least two degrees: “Les expressions verbales du malade ne sont pas à la mesure de son délire. Et son délire n’est pas à la mesure de son histoire, c’est-à-dire des transformations de sa présence que, par son délire, il tente à la fois d’exprimer et de surmonter”20placeholder (8). The linguistic structure of psychosis thus marks a difference in nature from its reality. The abyss that language attempts to cross to find the measure of the Ideal is likewise the impossibility of a personal history to render what it hides from view. For Maldiney, however, this does not impede the possibility of a phenomenological approach based on the intentional structure of madness wherein the very impossibility of integration of existence becomes the touchstone for its description. Yet it remains a question of what we are to understand as the “failure” in this existence, as when he states that “[l]a psychiatrie phénoménologique traite le délire comme un pur phénomène qu’il interroge sur son sens intentionnel. Les conduites délirantes reposent en effet sur des structures d’acte dont les intentionnalités défaillantes expriment, dans leur échec même, la hantise d’une convergence à la fois tentée et perdue”21placeholder (9). What is the sense of this attempted and failed convergence that a phenomenological approach attempts to evince in its interpretation? How can this failure be understood otherwise than the failure in the integration of phenomenological evidence into a coherent script?

The “sur-concept” of psychosis, the Ideal, most prominently expressed in schizophrenia, is the form of the impossibility of existence as what is most proper to the existence of the being in psychosis, as what “…dans son évidente et fallacieuse autonomie, n’est qu’une formation substitutive à la métamorphose existentielle qui constitue l’événement schizophrenique lui-même”22placeholder (10). What is the sense of this substitution? That for which existence ought to be, the proper of authenticity as self-formation of immanent modes of existence enmeshed in the sphere of life, is cathected in a transcendent moment that determines various possibilities of being in the world as foundationally impossible or insupportable, or, as for Strindberg, undesired due to the sense of negated fate. Yet the psychosis in its rigid alterity has no other sense, by this account, than the dynamic becoming of something that becomes existentially exposed: the subjective being for whom the psychosis is the fundamental problem of its existence is gripped by the problem of the transformation of determinate possibilities to which one is given over into self-constituting difference: “Ce sur-concept est le substitut d’un projet, est son universalité marque qu’il est le substitut du projet intérieur à tous les projets, c’est-à-dire de la transcendence dimensionnelle de l’existence. Sa surélévation rigide…est la déchéance de cette transcendence”23placeholder (10). “Dimensionality”, for Maldiney, is that for which the psychosis is an attempt of recuperation, the psychosis whose form is the symptom of a necessary failure insofar as the discontinuity of existence remains static in the Ideal. Dimensionality, or “transpassibility” as he also calls it, is thus a certain temporality of existence beyond its ideal fixations that all psychosis is bound up in as both symptoms and attempts of transgression. The transcendence and negativity of existence is expressed in a wholly other sense in the “transpassible”: the impossible enters temporality as what is truly other than the self, becoming a defined possibility of the subject’s alterity.

Le négatif en général récapitule une négation répétée ou continue qui redouble en idée la disparition du maintenant. La négativité réelle du temps procède au contraire d’une apparition perpétuelle de nouveau, que la première ignore. L’avènement du présent est celui d’une présence dont la constitution dimensionnelle est d’être à l’avant de soi. Quel que soit cet avant, c’est là sa transcendence, dont s’éclairent à la fois l’asymétrie du temps et sa perpétuité”24placeholder (46).

· · ·


The impossibility of the Ideal, the constitution of which residing in the disparition of the “now” of existence (in its variable openness by the invariable limit of attempted integration), exposes an ambiguity central to the development of Maldiney’s attempt at its description: psychosis is both the failure of integration and the necessity of this failure, and that points to something beyond the achievement of normalcy in the cure. The split between the level of ontic, lived engagements and the ontological plane of existence that confers sense in relation to the unfolding of experience, is developed by Maldiney as that which is essential to the crisis that the psychosis represents: a temporal impasse wherein the variable element of “transpassibility”, of which the psychosis is an effect, is blocked by its total circumscription at the level of Ideal: “A cet idéal surélevé, le malade reste accroché sans pouvoir monter plus haut ni redescendre, et il considère et juge du même point de vue fixe tout ce qui arrive, quels que soient le cours et les trans-formations des choses”25placeholder (118-9). The temporal character of this arrestation of contact between the ontic and the ontological is that of the catastrophe of presence proper to anxiety with its intuition of the total collapse of world reality. Yet the way out of the impasse cannot be sought through an equalizing of the planes of bios and existence, which can only lead to a further repression of the problem of existence even if it provides temporary relief through certain convictions normalcy affords. For Maldiney, the logic of fate characteristic of the Ideal in psychosis, even in its most rigid sur-elevation, is the mask for a logic of otherness outside of what can be idealized; and it goes without saying, outside of protentional orientations that mark the transcendental subject in its intersubjective world. There is opened, as Maldiney describes it,

[l]’événement, le véritable événement-avènement qui nous expose au risque de devenir autre, [qui] est imprévisible. Il est une rencontre avec l’altérité dont la signifiance insignifiable révèle la nôtre. Il est de soi transformateur. Il ouvre un monde à l’être-là qui l’accueille en se transformant et dont l’accueil consiste dans cette transformation même, dans un devenir autre”26placeholder (419).

This event and the possibility opened through it, rather than the negation of psychosis, is its realization. The transvaluation of impossibility, of which existence is the expression, requires the logic of fate that supports it, a logic which, if followed through, leads not to the same, but to the other.

Turner Roth is an essayist, journalist, and poet. He received a MA in Philosophy from Université Paris 8 and Kingston University London, and a BA from Bard College. He lives and works in New York City as a political organizer and homeless outreach worker. His writing has appeared in People’s World,, Movable Type, and WordShed, among others.

Works Cited

Binswanger, Ludwig. Délire, tr. Jean-Michel Azorin et Yves Totoyan. Grenoble: Editions Jérôme Millon, 1993.

Maldiney, Henri. Penser l’homme et la folie. Grenoble: Editions Jérôme Millon, 1991.


“…there, it is also a question of ‘transcending’, but certainly not ‘towards the world’, but towards worldliness in general, in other words of letting a world reign so that it is projected beyond being” (translation by the editors).


“The ‘negative’ element in unfreedom, its ‘deficiency’, then means nothing other than an authoritarian circumvention of disposability and being-in-the-mood. In this way, disposability becomes indisposability, and being-in-the-mood becomes arbitrary” (translation by the editors).


“…is arrested ‘at a standstill’ and goes even further as to a deficiency of temporation, in the sense of the withdrawal of retentive or mnemetic moments and the predominance of pre-expectation or watching-out-for in general and the resulting apprehension of each isolated present as a threat…Dasein no longer resolves itself in freedom as the what-for, the destination and the with-what. Rather, the worldliness of the world is here either blocked in a singular world, or narrowed down to a singular what-for, a single destination, a single with-what” (translation by the editors).


“…in place of They-say, curiosity and ambiguity, what here appears is precisely a determined intention, a determined command…a determined submission, a determined torture or even a determined temptation and call” (translation by the editors).


“…what we are concerned with is the description of structures and of structural phenomenological sequences in the constitution and genesis of delirious ‘experience'” (translation by the editors).


Phantasia is the rule for establishing and maintaining sensory impressions, putting them into image, into light or into view, in a word, making them ‘appear’…Phantasia is the presupposition which, in the present or the actual, relates the pre-actual (the retained or remembered)—in Greek: the mnemetic—to the pre-expected” (translation by the editors).


“…represents the projection, the schema of the presuppositions of formation-in-image…It is only because the Mneme is schematized and rigorously fixed that an agreement is generally possible” (translation by the editors).


“The opposition to the natural binding of Phantasia‘s presuppositions does not lie in the complete failure of the Mneme, but in the lack of rigor of its schema, in other words its failure regarding the continuation of the ‘natural’ presuppositions of postponement” (translation by the editors).


“‘Time’, in the sense of the intimate awareness of time, of the internal enchainment or, better still, where the postponement of retention, protention and presentation, no longer forms a flux, no longer flows but stops…it is a temporation that can be imagined as a ‘short-circuit’, i.e. a temporation involving the absence of proper retentions as well as proper protentions” (translation by the editors).


“The less man indulges in facts and states of affairs and the less he allows them to exist, the more he ‘bypasses’ them, then all the more he distances himself from factual experience and that means from effective reality” (translation by the editors).


“We do not discover in it the slightest hint of mnemetic ‘elements’ or ‘elements’ of the order of Phantasia, so not the slightest hint of a spontaneity that makes affection in the Kantian sense a reception, a genuine letting-encounter. What remains of intuition is a machine that records itself, a mechanical recording. Phantasia and Mneme are nothing but frozen elements of this recording apparatus” (translation by the editors).


“In the delirious ‘world’ an abyss is created between the encountered-transcendent and the constituted-immanent, and it should even be clear that, in delirium, we cannot generally speak of an (‘immanent’) constitution of the encountered-transcendent” (translation by the editors).


“…the ‘speaking and thinking rays'” are “like mnemetic substitutes, as it were, of alter egos actually made present” (translation by the editors).


“The difference [between Aline and Suzanne Urban] lies only in the fact that Aline records an electro-mechanical event, whereas Suzanne Urban records a human event (martyrdom). But in both cases, the recording as such, considered from the point of view of transcendence, unfolds according to a mechanical, rigidified schema, operating in a vacuum. This pattern (martyrdom) appears in place of the variability and mobility of sensory impressions and their accompanying mnemetic moments” (translation by the editors).


“The psychiatric task before which the August Strindberg case places us…is therefore not situated in the realm of ontological truth in Heidegger’s sense, but in that of ontic truth, i.e. not in the realm of freedom which ‘in its essence as transcendence’ places Dasein as power-to-be in possibilities, but in the realm of the final choice which ‘opens itself up to its fate'” (translation by the editors).


“…it is at times a question of total collapse, at others of the conquest of a triumphant success…there are actions ‘linked to fate’, of one or more beings foreign to the ego, totally arbitrary, devoid of temporal character; all this indicates that we are no longer on the terrain of a normal logic of life and science, but on that of a delirious logic of fate” (translation by the editors).


“We intend to grasp in psychotic existence the human existential that makes it possible, even though psychosis is a form of the impossible” (translation by the editors).


“If we take the term ‘authentic’ in its correct sense, that of the German ‘eigentlich’, that which is eminently mine, absolutely mine, i.e. ab-solute of any other foundation than the act of my own foundation, we would say: the psychotic being-there (Dasein) is an existence whose authenticity is at stake in its very inauthenticity,” where “the agonic situation has been thematized as a rigid alternative, where the psychotic is caught between the impossibility of realizing the Ideal and the impossibility of encountering it” (translation by the editors).


“…where the meaning of existence is at stake, we cannot start from an a priori definition of what exists and see how the psychotic articulates it” (translation by the editors).


“The patient’s verbal expressions are not commensurate with his delirium. And his delirium is not commensurate with his history, that is, with the transformations of his presence which, through his delirium, he attempts both to express and to overcome” (translation by the editors).


“…phenomenological psychiatry treats delirium as a pure phenomenon, questioning its intentional meaning. Delusional behaviours are in fact based on act structures whose failing intentionalities express, in their very failure, the dread of a convergence that is both attempted and failed” (translation by the editors).


“…in its obvious and fallacious autonomy, is only a substitute formation for the existential metamorphosis that constitutes the schizophrenic event itself” (translation by the editors).


“This sur-concept is the substitute for a project, and its universality marks that it is the substitute for the project within all projects, i.e. for the dimensional transcendence of existence. Its rigid elevation…is the decay of this transcendence” (translation by the editors).


“The negative in general recapitulates a repeated or continuous negation that doubles in idea the disappearance of the now. On the contrary, the real negativity of time stems from a perpetual appearance of the new, which the former ignores. The advent of the present is that of a presence whose dimensional constitution is to be ahead of itself. Whatever this ‘before’ may be, it is its transcendence, which illuminates both the asymmetry of time and its perpetuity” (translation by the editors).


“To this elevated ideal, the patient remains clinging without being able to climb higher or come down again, and he considers and judges from the same fixed point of view everything that happens, whatever the course and the trans-formations of things” (translation by the editors).


“…the event, the true event-advent that exposes us to the risk of becoming other, [that which] is unforeseeable. It is an encounter with otherness whose insignificant significance reveals our own. It is inherently transformative. It opens up a world to the being-there that welcomes it by transforming itself, and whose welcome consists in this very transformation, in becoming other” (translation by the editors).


May 2023


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