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On Kimura's Ecrits de psychopathologie phenomenologique
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Philosophy, Psychiatry, & Psychology 8.4 (2001) 337-338

This book is a French translation of six articles that the Japanese psychiatrist, Kimura Bin, wrote in the 1970s and 1980s. There is the usual long introduction in such books by the translator. There is also the mandatory explanation of the whole matter as a postface by philosopher Henry Maldiney as if the meaning of anything these days has to be in the form of a sandwich.

The first article by Kimura Bin deals with the meaning of certain Japanese words pertaining to self and inter-subjectivity. The critical Japanese word is aida, which means something like interpersonal bonding and is that primordial state of the human being that founds both everyday sociality and the individual self, the latter both in its external and internal composition and orientation:

"From time immemorial, the Japanese understood interpersonal social existence, the being between, life in the aida of itself and of others, as the essential trait of an individual human. The interpersonal aida is in some sense the quintessence of known individuality."

Schizophrenia, for Kimura, stems from a disturbance in this aida at the most fundamental level, and all its manifestations follow from this.

The second article is entitled "Time and Anxiety (Angoisse)." This sets out his major psychopathological thesis—judging from these six articles—which is that schizophrenia and depressive illness differ fundamentally in their temporality. In schizophrenia the subject is geared toward the future: "Subjects with a schizophrenic tendency give sufficient proof in their daily life of a marked inclination to imagine future possibilities or ideas whose feasibility is impossible or implausible." In depressive illness there is a preoccupation with the past: "The lived time of the melancholic type of person has a preponderance towards the past, or, more precisely, towards lived being up to the present."

The third article, entitled "Schizophrenic Temporality," amplifies this thesis and introduces his terminology for these, respectively, as the Latin terms, ante festum and post festum. The French translation gives the meaning of the latter as "apres la fête" and "trop tard"—after the holiday, too late. (I shall deal with the potpourri of languages involved below.) This article is the most elaborate, and in it Kimura attempts to derive the core characteristics of the two nosological entities from these two underlying anomalous temporalities.

The fourth article is about borderline states, a nosological entity that I have no sympathy for, and I shall not discuss it.

The fifth article is entitled "Reflection and Self in Schizophrenia." Again, it concerns a fundamental difference between the mode of reflection in schizophrenia and that in depressive illness, but I cannot say, despite numerous readings, that I understand it. The reason for this may be my poor French, an inadequate translation, or a confused formulation in the first place, or all three. The gist of it seems to be that in schizophrenia the "other" is a "stranger" projected by the thinking self, whereas in depressive illness the "other" is a "familiar" inhabitant of the sociality adherent to this condition.

The sixth article, "Pathology of Immediateness," is an attempt to seek philosophical, theoretical, psychopathological, and even nosological and biological backing for what Kimura has set out earlier, particularly in the third article. Hegel, Lacan, Bergson, Heidegger, Derrida, and Husserl are brought in as philosophical support. Blankenburg and Binswanger provide psychopathological backing. A third prong is the nosological tradition, prevalent in Germany and Japan in the twentieth century, of promoting the concept of an atypical or third type of psychosis with a biological resemblance to epileptic psychosis. All this is then brought together and complicated by a discussion of language and 'mediation' to support the notion that there is a third psychopathological principle—in addition to the ante festum pertaining to schizophrenia and the post festum pertaining to depressive illness—which is that of an intra festum: a preoccupation with the now, characteristic of atypical psychoses with an epileptic basis.

These articles tax one's linguistic and conceptual repertoire to the limit. There may be readers who sail through them, although I doubt it, because to understand what Kimura is driving at, one needs to be a linguistic polymath, to have...



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