Poetic Experience as a Point of Departure for a New Approach to Insanity

  • Petr Kouba
Part of the Contributions To Phenomenology book series (CTPH, volume 75)


The phenomenon of being-away points to the region of mental death, but it cannot explain all suffering of the mentally ill. To come closer to this suffering it is helpful to pay attention to Heidegger’s elucidation of Hölderlin’s poetry where the phenomenon of suffering plays a decisive role. Contrary to Sein und Zeit, in Erläuterungen zu Hölderlin’s Dichtung suffering is not viewed on the basis of the integral ontological structure of individual existence, but marks the point of its disintegration. Suffering is here understood as the suffering from the disintegration of the self. Moreover, the disintegration of the self is not a mere accident, for it corresponds to the temporal split in which and through which the openness of being opens itself to us. Suffering thus reflects the radical finitude and contingency of our being in openness. Besides the temporal disjointedness of the self suffering is also marked by the collapse of the integral order of experience which issues from the fact that the openness of being is in Erläuterungen zu Hölderlin’s Dichtung understood as the chaotic openness in which all order of experience perishes and reappears. The openness of being is here adumbrated as chaos from which all order arises and in which it perishes. In the light of such chaotic openness, Heidegger uncovers the meaning of the suffering that is different both from the conventional clinical concepts and from his own privative notion of illness. But seeing the openness of being as the open abyss of chaos allows not only a new view on illness and health, but also a new view on human existence as such. Since human existence is essentially situated amidst the openness of being, its overall ontological structure, as it is depicted in Erläuterungen zu Hölderlin’s Dichtung, must differ from the ontological structure outlined in Sein und Zeit. Considering the radicalization of the existential finitude we can say that Heidegger has made a step from the existential analysis to the post-existential analysis. By making this step he has exceeded the romantic arrangement of thought and arrived at the position that is much closer to Deleuze and Guattari.


Suffering Disintegration of the self Chaos Order Post-existential analysis 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Petr Kouba
    • 1
  1. 1.Philosophical Institute of the Czech Academy of SciencesCharles UniversityPragueCzech Republic

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