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Phenomenology and psychosomatics



Phenomenology and psychosomatics



Vertex 13(50): 251-257



By dividing the field of the human, the psyche-soma dualism ended in sectorizing diseases into organic illnesses, and psychic illnesses. Eventually, however, the so-called 'psychosomatic disorders' that, apparently, had broken up such a pattern have been converted to a new corpus pineale just as Descartes would have done. The body is reduced to a mere instrument of psyche, and the subject is reduced to a mere onlooker of illness he or she tries to remove one way or the other. Conversely, phenomenology understands that, first of all, the body is 'the body I am' (Leib): the body is the place for communicating with other people, and the place for performing exchanges with things. It is through the body that the world affects us, and it is by means of the body that we display all our meaning onto the world. In everyday life people are just unaware of their bodies. Whenever anxiety busts out, however, the body makes a massive comeback, giving expression to the complex dialectics of the speaking subject through his or her body. Anxiety pertains to a pre-category order of the body, to the unfathomable depth reason is unable to pierce. At the bottom line of a great majority of psychosomatic disorders there lies an intersubjective anxiety conveying a conflict between the loss of an object and the obstacles thus hindering the personal growth. Reason, as a reflexive conscience is unable to solve the conflict -reason is not even aware of conflict, reason does not even perceive any likely relationship among disorders and such or such situations. The body, as an 'operating intentionality' (Merleau-Ponty), as a pre-reflexive access to the world, as a pathos life experience (Lang), will erupt and see to it that conflict is solved, and conflict-linked anxiety are transformed. Body and its great reason -- as Nietzsche would have said, 1883 -- solves everything its way.

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