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Wilfred R. Bion Karnac Books ePub

Communication

I Importance of communication as a link between related objects

Knowledge of modern discoveries relating to logic would dispel a good deal of the prevailing confusion (which shows itself from time to time in controversies that disfigure the pages of Nature) concerning…

[J. H. Woodger, International Encyclopaedia
of Unified Science
, vol. 2, No. 5, p. 3]

 

The complaint is as old as the story of the Tower of Babel, and so is the wish that the problem might be solved, if in no other way, by divine intervention (as in the ‘Acts of the Apostles’, II, v) or by simultaneous translation (as at international congresses), or by a discipline of rigorous mathematical logic (as is proposed in the article from which I have taken my quotation).

Psycho-analysis does not allow one to suppose that the mechanics of communication operating through a universal language—whether that language is a universally known natural language, or an artificially produced language such as Esperanto, or the formulations of mathematicians, or the notation of musicians, or even the ‘universal linguistic’ of art itself, the content rather than the vehicle of the content—will be likely to rid us of disfiguring controversy in our attempts to co-operate in scientific achievement. But psycho-analytic experience shows that even the attempt to deal with individual tensions has not been, and is not likely to be, successful in abolishing this controversy.

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TWENTY-SIX

Wilfred R. Bion Karnac Books ePub

PRESENTER: The patient sat on the couch and said in a strong voice, Tve asked myself why I’m here today. There’s a soccer game this afternoon—Brazil are playing. I enjoy soccer so much I’m sorry to miss it. I was sure that I was going to get awfully bored here. I’ve been thinking how bored I would be ever since I put the key in the car to come here. And I’m still asking myself why I came.” I said, “I feel it is very difficult for you to admit that you do something because you enjoy it. You arrived here feeling certain that you would be bored. It seems to me that behaving like this makes you feel happy. Perhaps you are being masochistic.”

BION: The patient says he ‘asked himself, but he doesn’t say what he himself answered. Perhaps ‘he’ and ‘himself are playing another game which is also very pleasurable—a game in which he is cruel to himself and is also cruelly treated. But neither of the two people in the room can go to the football match, so both of them are cruelly treated.

P:  He said, “I don’t understand when you talk about things like masochism. Fm getting bored again. I’ve been bored ever since I woke up this morning, and I’m so bored now I feel like crying.” His tone of voice was one of a mixture of anger and sadness. He went on, “There’s a story about a woman that I can’t get out of my mind. Fortunately she is so unbearable that I can’t fall in love with her.”

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[‘Notes on Memory and Desire’ was published in The Psychoanalytic Forum, 2, Number 3 (Autumn 1967). These notes were probably written somewhat later.]

Introduction

Not a scientific paper but a super-scientific paper, i.e. a psycho-analytic paper dependent on advanced, psycho-analytic methodology. It is not sub-scientific.

The practising analyst, seeing patients tomorrow or the day after, is an essential, intrinsic part of the understanding of this address, though not in the least bit necessary for understanding the words and syntax.

Memory

Includes:

a. Remembering and forgetting.

b. Freud's notation ([‘Remembering, Repeating and Working-Through’, 1914g], SE 12, p. 147 et seq.), ‘A Note upon the Mystic Writing Pad’ ([1925a] SE 19, p. 227) and Civilization and Its Discontents ([1930a], SE 21], p. 71).

c. Elements that can be categorized in accordance with the Grid—all of which are transformations.

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4 August 1959

Wilfred R. Bion Karnac Books ePub

One way of dealing with the problem of scientific evidence for dream theories would be to restrict the search for data to experience shared by analyst and patient, or at which analyst and patient are both present. Such occasions might be all those on which the patient said he had had a dream, or all those on which there appear to be events taking place, e.g. the patient sits up and looks around in a dazed way; the analyst, identifying himself with the patient, feels that the experience the patient is having would be more understandable if the patient were asleep and dreaming.

‘More understandable.’ Why? Because it is more appropriate to the facts as the analyst sees them. But this means that if the analyst were feeling what the patient seems to be feeling, then he, the analyst, would be disposed to say, “I must have been dreaming”.

Just then I found I had been asleep; just before I woke I seemed to be saying to F that I was feeling I was going mad because I could not sort out the feeling I was having in the dream about having a dream and who I was. The dream seemed to be that I was trying to solve the problem I am in fact trying to solve, but with the addition of the fear of going mad—a sort of mental disintegration.

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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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