261 Chapters
Medium 9781855750616

ELEVEN

Wilfred R. Bion Karnac Books ePub

PRESENTER: The patient came in, greeted me, and lay down on the couch. Her speech was interspersed with sighs and weeping. She complained that she woke up several times during the night. During the day she is unable to take care of her house; she has to stay in bed most of the time and needs her mother with her all the time to comfort her. Although this calms her down, it has been a cause of worry and annoyance to her husband.

BION: DO you get the impression that she suffers from insomnia?

P:  Yes. During the three years she has been coming to me she has had alternating states of insomnia and sleeping well.

B:  I don’t know what all these sighs and tears are about, but supposedly the patient is in a state of mind in which people are when they are awake. The fact that a person is what we call ‘asleep’ could also be described as being ‘in a different state of mind’. Patients say they had a dream and did this, that or the other; it is quite useful if we can interpret these ‘remains’, but suppose the patient doesn’t have any dreams. Why does this patient not want to ‘go to sleep’? Where does she go? And where does she go when she apparently sleeps well?

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Medium 9780946439980

[Undated—1960]

Wilfred R. Bion Karnac Books ePub

Dream-work-α

To what extent is myth-making an essential function of α? It may be that the sense impression has to be transformed to make it suitable material for dream-thought, but that it is the function of dream-thought to use the material put at its disposal by α, the units of dream-thoughts so to speak, in order to produce myths.

Myths must be defined; they must be communicable and have some of the qualities of common sense—one might call them ‘common non-sense’.

Dream-work and α

The episode of the rain storm has emerged at different times in fragments. Rain—without a raincoat—taking the only taxi—pneumonia feared for me—self in rain at my house.

Then there was his account of the baby with a horn on its nose—some cowl on its head—his wife and blood—shambles.

There was his dream of his other self. This was coherent and might be an account of what I had said to him in a session. If so, it is almost accurate, but I am his other self and it is called a dream.

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Medium 9781855750616

TEN

Wilfred R. Bion Karnac Books ePub

PRESENTER: The patient, a twenty-year-old girl, came in, sat down and said, “Do you know what happened? My phone was disconnected. I went to ask what had happened and they said the account hadn’t been paid. They said they would reconnect it. It’s not right, is it? Do you think it’s right?” Then she said, “Guess what mark I got in the test I took—you must guess—I won’t tell you. Maybe you don’t want to tell me because you’re going to give me a bad mark.” She stopped for a moment and then said, “I got nine out of ten”.

BION: DO you want to go on being analysed by the patient? She makes an evocative statement, “You guess—then I shall know who you are. If you say nine is a bad mark, it ought to have been ten, then I shall know that you are the sort of analyst who is like a very bad conscience.”

P:  I said, “I think you are very worried about the kind of marks you think I am giving you.” She agreed: sometimes she says, “Yes”; sometimes she expresses agreement with her eyes; sometimes she smiles. Once in a while I ask her what she is smiling about. She says, “Oh no, it’s nonsense.”

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Medium 9780946439980

[Undated]

Wilfred R. Bion Karnac Books ePub

The scientific deductive system and calculus via Euclid

What are the scientific deductive systems that could be used in psycho-analysis? What form would a calculus take? Can it be found in Euclid? That is certainly what I suspect. That is to say that the problem would be associated with the three-kneed thing with equal legs; and this would provoke the search, as described by Poincaré, for the harmonizing fact to be selected. What then?

If this is correct, then one would suppose that the scene described by ‘blood everywhere’ might be formalized, say, as ‘the looking-glass murder’—rather like a film being projected end first so that the scene of bloodshed would depict itself as one in which the ‘blood everywhere’ was being reabsorbed through the original route. Cubism might be a kind of attempt to geometrize a scene: in this way the looking-glass murder would need to be formalized—but how? Do Lewis Carroll's chess rules for Alice Through the Looking-Glass give a clue?

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28 February 1960

Wilfred R. Bion Karnac Books ePub

The scientist's mistrust of human intellectual effort tends to make him look longingly at the machine that can so often be made to appear the ideal recording instrument, a matter of rigid scales, pointers, unchanging weights, and so on. This attitude, which has something to commend it, yields matter for speculation if one considers it as betraying suspicion of anything that possesses life. How are we to find the truth, to gain knowledge, if facts can be recorded only by an object incapable of judgement or anything we regard as thought on the one hand, and on the other if thought is possible only by an object incapable of recording facts?

The difficulty may not be real in any significant way, but seems so because the method of formulation, in terms of knowledge, truth, and reality, leads to fallacious exaggeration of some elements of the problem, to the exclusion of others. Progress is less impeded if we consider ‘know’ to refer to a relationship, and reality and truth to refer to qualities of mental phenomena necessary to sustain mental health.

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