41 Slices
Medium 9781855752405

14. A learning experience in psychoanalysis

Meltzer, Donald Karnac Books ePub

Psychoanalytic Group of Barcelona

This chapter is in fact part of a more extensive work, the gestation of which commenced in 1991 when our first contract with Donald Meltzer came to an end. We had the prospect before us of publishing a book that would expound some of the teachings that he had transmitted to us through clinical work. We held a meeting during which Meltzer showed little interest in this book; he did, however, show interest in a book that would give an account of our experience of working together as a group in psychoanalytic training. He put forward his idea of training based on the model of an atelier (Sincerity had not yet been published) and encouraged us to describe and define our experience.

This surprised us. We were not very convinced. We feared that it exceeded our abilities. We therefore went on with the tasks we had previously planned (the “case” book, as we called it within the group, was published: Meltzer & GPB, 1995). In spite of our perplexity, astonishment, and doubts, the idea was not abandoned; it was put off and at times forgotten, but it kept on reappearing with increasing force throughout the years. From 1991 on we held a series of meetings designed to elaborate our ideas around our experience as a training group. We felt that we did not meet the necessary requirements for observing ourselves—and even today we still have similar doubts. We do not feel that we can answer the question about the group’s particularity; this query remains.

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Medium 9781855759107

8. The web

Cohen, Margaret Karnac Books ePub

O! let him pass; he hates him
That would upon the rack of this tough world
Stretch him out longer.

Shakespeare, King Lear, Act V, Scene 3

In Middlemarch, George Eliot writes: “I… have so much to do in unravelling certain human lots, and seeing how they were woven and interwoven, that all the light that I can command must be concentrated on this particular web, and not dispersed over that tempting range of relevancies called the universe/’ It seems that in this she was influenced by the seventeenth-century philosopher, Spinoza, whose work she was translating in 1885-86. Spinoza elaborated a very complicated metaphysical theory in which he argued for the interconnectedness of everything and for the view that in saying anything about the world, we necessarily say something false in that what we say can only be part of the story. This is a very compelling idea, and in the foregoing quotation George Eliot was, I think, struggling with it. She wanted to think about her characters in depth, she placed them in their families and social context, and in Middlemarch she gave some political and social background, but she was aware that there are all kinds of “relevancies” that she did not consider.

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Medium 9781782204343

12 - Degrees of Entrapment: Living and Dying in the Claustrum

Karnac Books ePub

Pamela B. Sorensen

In his evocative and difficult book, The Claustrum (1992a), Donald Meltzer offers an investigation and description of claustrophobic phenomena. I suggest that these phenomena might be viewed on a continuum from relatively ordinary, with potential to yield to the developmental momentum of object relations both internal and external, to so severely disturbed that the life of the mind hardens into a death of the soul. To illustrate this continuum, I use two films: Coraline, directed by Henry Selick (2009) and based on the 2002 novella by Neil Gaiman, and The Talented Mr. Ripley, directed by Anthony Minghella (1999) and based on the 1955 novel by Patricia Highsmith. These films characterize the predicament at either end of the continuum; they show how escape from the non-life of the claustrum is made possible at the more benign end and how the possibility of exit is foreclosed in the most extreme form of pathology. Studying the films through a psychoanalytic lens brings into focus the critical factor in determining the degree of entrapment suffered by the self caught in a claustrophobic world, devoid of emotional intimacy and filled with dread.

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3 - Point–Line–Surface–Space: on Donald Meltzer's Concept of one- and two-dimensional Mental Functioning in Autistic States

Karnac Books ePub

Suzanne Maiello

“In the early days, there was great pleasure in doing what my teachers taught me to do and finding out that they were right…. But then…there comes a time when you cast off from the pier and into the open sea and are on your own…”

Donald Meltzer, “A Review of My Writings” (2000)

Dimensionality and the human mind: Edwin A. Abbott and Donald Meltzer

Towards the end of the nineteenth century, Edwin A. Abbott published a satirical narrative with the title Flatland—A Romance of Many Dimensions (1884). This modest little book did not achieve great success at the time. It was discovered almost forty years later after Einstein's formulation of the theory of relativity and the introduction of the concept of time as the fourth dimension of three-dimensional space. The story is about a two-dimensional world referred to as Flatland. Its inhabitants are geometric shapes. The main character is a square. He receives the visit of a sphere who takes him to three-dimensional Spaceland. The revelations of Spaceland open the Flatlander's mind to new and unexplored lands. His research is oriented both forwards towards increasing dimensions, and backwards to Lineland and Pointland.

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9. Love and destructivity: from the aesthetic conflict to a revision of the concept of destructivity in the psyche

Meltzer, Donald Karnac Books ePub

Jean Begoin

I first heard Donald Meltzer speak about the “Aesthetic Conflict” when he presented this new concept in Paris, at a meeting of the GERPEN1 in March 1986, almost fourteen years ago. This paper became the second chapter in his book The Apprehension of Beauty, written with Meg Harris Williams and published two years later, in 1988. As did many others who were listening to Meltzer on this day, I felt that moment deserved to be considered historical, and I still think it was. Many elements were new in this concept, but what was most striking was his evident inspiration: we were listening to a new Meltzer—not so much in his theories, with which I had been familiar for more than twenty years, after having had supervisions and having translated his two first books into French—but especially in what I have to call his “spirit”, a new way of thinking theories, comprising a newly integrated mixture of psychoanalysis, philosophy, and poetry. Actually, it would be more precise to say that we were present at the birth of a higher degree of integration of qualities we had in fact always known in Meltzer since his first papers and his first book, The Psycho-Analytical Process: a unique Meltzerian mixture of science and art.

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