The Violence of Emotions – Bion and Post-Bionion Psychoanalysis – Giuseppe Civitarese

                                              Photo by c@rljones on / CC BY-NC

Routledge, 2013   p. 24

“Transcending the caesura and reversing perspective (RP) may be a process that initially leads to new ideas being ‘felt’ as if they possessed some of the qualities of bizarre objects – the objects that are created when the contact barrier is dispersed.  When new thoughts are allowed to arise, this may call for an unaccustomed permeability of conscious to unconscious thought, which is then the mental state that is actively pursued by evenly suspended attention or negative capability (NC).  For this reason, many original ideas may at first appear strange or mad, and may give rise to a sensation of excessive ambiguity or even of confusion, to such an extent that their protagonists can uphold them only if they have ‘faith’ in the existence of a reality (O) which they are deemed to reflect.  The contact barrier is seen to be unstable, and its state of permeability to be dynamic.  Just as projective identification (PI) and the paranoid schizoid (PS) –  depressive (D) oscillation have become physiological mechanisms of thought, so the mechanism of reversible perspective (RP) can be seen as not always pathological – at least when the subject, while switching between different viewpoints or reversing the figure, does not apply an absolute or once-for-all denial to the alternative perspective, but instead tolerates the ambiguity and frustration of not being able to see both the figure and the ground together.  The slash (i.e. the punctuation mark) as it were slopes the other way.  Throughout his oeuvre, Bion seems never to have proceeded in any other way.  In a passage from Learning from Experience in which he describes how the selected fact may represent the factor, the caesura, that confers sense and coherence on formerly meaningless elements, he hints at this non-pathological dimension of reversible perspective (RP), in noting that this event ‘is accompanied by an emotion such as is experienced  in regarding the object in reversible perspective’ (Bion, (1962), Learning from Experience, London, Karnac 1984, p. 87).”

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