The fracture between object and word

A. Correale

Health Department in Rome, RMB

I explore the relationship between language and experience in the genesis of delusions, adopting a bottom-up perspective according to which a fragmentation of experience is the preparatory field of the emergence of delusions. Delusions are prepared by a ‘hallucinatory’ state – a change in experience whereby some perceptions detach from the flow of the other perceptions because of their exceeding intensity and sensory power. The detail detaching from the whole elicits an intense emotion that is not fully conscious and may be perceived as a confused state of mind in which attraction and repulsion intermingle in a perplexing way. The hallucinatory object is too powerful, and the emotion it elicits is so overwhelming that no language can express it. In the preparatory field of delusion, sensoriality dominates over language. Delusion is the organisation of this fragmented sensoriality. The patient will have to insert hyper-sensorial details within a frame capable of making it intelligible. Yet these fragments of perception, charged with contradictory emotions, become estranged, mysterious and non-existent, or rather existent in a world apart that is incompatible with the ordinary world. Therapy of delusions is then a matter of deconstructing delusion into its individual building blocks, looking at the linguistic potential of each individual block.

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