The Divided Self…

The Divided Self...


Dr. Laing’s first purpose is to make madness and the process of going mad comprehensible. In this, with case studies of schizophrenic patients, he succeeds brilliantly, but he does more: through a vision of sanity and madness as ‘degrees of conjunction and disjunction between two persons where the one is sane by common consent’ he offers a rich existential analysis of personal alienation.

The outsider, estranged from himself and society, cannot experience either himself or others as ‘real’. He invents a false self and with it he confronts both the outside world and his own despair. The disintegration of his real self keeps pace with the growing unreality of his false self until, in the extremes of schizophrenic breakdown, the whole personality disintegrates.


One response to “The Divided Self…

  1. this is the primary source i referenced in my post on your about page. i really think laing understands the dynamics of what leads towards the schizophrenic condition, and he was not afraid to wade into their realities vs stand outside and try to tame with medication. i’m so glad you mentioned him. i also believe the dysfunction in immediate relations, the double-binds in communication, etc lead towards the divided self. i read a short book of his called “knots”, which is essentially a ridiculous read of how ridiculously our communications work towards enslavement. it made me reflect on the knots that have tied me and i have placed around others. i wrote a short piece called “tying knots” (and i give laing credit for inspiration), it is perhaps one of the pieces i am most proud of. peace my friend.

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