Verso 2016 p. 385 “Openness to the other is what the doctrine of the relation of self to others teaches. The religion of the future takes this view over from the struggle with the world and pursues it free of the equivocations that surround it in that tradition. Its supreme form is personal love among equals rather than benevolence offered from on high or from a distance. Its more diffuse expressions, outside the circle of our closest attachments, are communities cemented by difference rather than by sameness and the higher forms of cooperation, organized institutionally in the practices of production, politics and civil society. Its work is the same as its presupposition: attenuation of the conflict between our need for other people and our need to escape the jeopardy in which they place us.
Openness to the new is the virtue that describes the moral consequence of the doctrine of the relation of spirit to structure. The religion of the future inherits this doctrine from the struggle with the world, and radicalizes it. This virtue acts out the human truth of our relation to the settled contexts of our life and thought. That they are ephemeral and defective, that they cannot accommodate all the experience and insight that we have reason to value, that there is always more in us, individually as well as collectively, than is, or can ever be, in them are facts giving us persistent reason to rebel against structures.
In rebelling against them, we must seek to change their character as well as their content: their relation to our structure-defying freedom. If we surrender to them and allow them to have the last word, rather than keeping the last word for ourselves, we interrupt our attempt to increase our share in the attributes of divinity. We cease to be fully human.”
p. 4 “This book discusses four questions: How do you say Hello? How do you say Hello back? What do you say after you say Hello? and, principally, the plaintive query, What is everybody doing instead of saying Hello? These questions will be answered briefly here. The explanation of the answers will occupy the rest of this psychiatric textbook, which is addressed first to the therapist, secondly to his patients as they get cured, and thirdly to anyone else who cares to listen.
- In order to say Hello, you first get rid of all the trash, which has accumulated in your head ever since you came home from the maternity ward, and then you recognize that this particular Hello will never happen again. It may take years to learn how to do this.
- In order to say Hello back, you get rid of all the trash in your head and see that there is somebody standing there or walking by, waiting for you to say Hello back. It may take years to learn how to do that.
- After you say Hello, you get rid of all the trash that is coming back in your head; all the after-burns of all the grievances you have experienced and all the reach-backs of all the troubles you are planning to get into. Then you will be speechless and will not have anything to say. After more years of practice, you might think of something worth saying.
- Mostly, this book is about the trash: the things people are doing to each other, instead of saying Hello.
It is written in the hope that those with training and talent for such things can help themselves and others to recognize what I am calling (in a philosophical sense) “trash” since the first problem in answering the other three questions is to see what is trash and what isn’t. The way people speak who are learning to say Hello is called ‘Martian’ to distinguish it from everyday Earth-talk, which, as history shows from the earliest recorded times in Egypt and Babylonia to the present, has led to wars, famines, pestilence, and death; and, in the survivors, to a certain amount of mental confusion.
It is hoped that in the long run, Martian, properly learned and properly taught will help to eliminate these plagues. Martian for example, is the language of dreams, which show things the way they really are.”
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Neuropsychoanalysis, 2013, 15(1)
p. 12 “The classical conception is turned on its head. Consciousness is not generated in the cortex; it is generated in the brainstem. Moreover, consciousness is not inherently perceptual; it is inherently affective. And in its primary manifestations, it has less to do with cognition than with instinct. In terms of the parallels drawn in Section 2, the conclusion is inescapable: consciousness is generated in the id, and the ego is fundamentally unconscious.”
p. 14 “The principal value of words, therefore, is not that they enable us to render conscious the inchoate processes of the id (which Freud thought was unconscious); what is important about words is the capacity to represent the relations between things, and re-represent them abstractly. This enables us to think about things, as opposed to simply think things (to think in images). This underpins the all-important “third-person” perspective, to which we shall return shortly.”
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Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 2007.
p. 18 “The individual, his character and his fate are for real. Each individual is different from every other individual who has ever lived or who will ever live. A human life is a dramatic and irreversible movement from birth to death, surrounded by mystery and overshadowed by chance.
What individuals can do with their lives depends on the way society is organized and on their place within the social order, as well as on achievement and luck. What happens in biographical time turns in large part on what happens in historical time. For this reason alone, history is a scene of decisive action, and everything that takes place in it is, like individuality itself, for real, not an illusory or distracting epiphenomenon obscuring a timeless reality. History is not cyclical but rather resembles individual life in being unilinear and irreversible. The institutions and the beliefs we develop in historical time may expand or diminish the life chances of the individual, including his relative power to challenge and change them in the course of his activities.”
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Published in 1994 by Stoddardt Publishing Co. Limited
The Laws of the Sky and of Atoms
p.147 “As a child, I often heard people talking about the law. There were several lawyers in my family. These discussions held little interest for me. They seemed futile and petty. There was more to life, I thought, than problems of common wills or inheritances.
The peaceful world of stars, the mysteries of atoms and molecules were much more attractive to me than the twists and turns of endless hair-splitting administrative procedure. The eternal laws, universal and inviolable, that govern the movements of planets and electrons seemed infinitely more worthy of attention than human laws, changeable, regional, and, in practice, constantly violated.
Thinking about the subject in the light of modern astrophysics, I’ve come to revise my position. To appreciate the role of human legislation in the management of the cosmos, I first had to acknowledge a basic attribute of nature: complexity. In parallel with the “infinitely small” of atoms and the “infinitely large” of life. It’s in this sphere that, despite its flaws and vicissitudes, human jurisprudence finds its justification and pertinence.”
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The Blue Mountain Center of Meditation
p. 50 “This may sound simple, but it is far from easy. Ask the mystics themselves: they will tell you how hard it is to get deep beneath the surface of the mind and remove everything that is not in harmony with the core of divinity within. The miracle is that it can be done at all. In spite of how the horizons of knowledge keep expanding, the one thing almost no one even suspects today is that it is actually possible, with a good deal of effort, to penetrate the depths of the unconscious mind and bring about the kind of unifying changes which will make a new person of us. This is the best-kept secret of the ages: that any one of us can become the kind of person he or she dreams of becoming.”
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page 67 “Civitarese (Intl Journal of Psychoanalysis, 2015) describes how the analyst’s attempt to rescue the patient gripped by hallucinosis requires the analyst’s loosening his or her ties to external reality. Following Bion’s advice, the analyst deliberately attempts to divest himself of the products of memory and desire, that is, contact with the cortical cognitive functions. This step facilitates regression to the level of his encumbered patient and perhaps, via mirror neuronal functioning, to resonate with that unverbalisable pain. This function, as described by both Bion and Civitarese, is not a violent act, as described with one who succumbs to frustration intolerance. It is an action that is more measured, suggesting that cortical mediation is not entirely switched off. But this level of hallucinosis is of value only when the analyst can subsequently “wake up” and re-engage his dreaming, symbolizing self to be able to think about the just experienced pain.
The use of hallucinosis, … operates as a rescue mission, dipping into the well of the inexpressible but then reconnecting with potential thought. This description of hallucinosis might be thought of as cleaving the union of the input from the external world with its links to the past (memory) and the future (desire) in order to venture via resonance and mirroring towards the wordless, affective upwellings with their intrinsic emotions. Solms’ notation that these interior upwellings must be linked with cognition for recognition and representation would be what the ‘waking up’, as described by Civitarese (2015) would accomplish.
It is interesting to consider that Bion’s dreaming and the transformation of the concrete involves the right hemispheric contributions of imagery and mental space along with the verbal symbolic functions of the left associational cortex, all sent forward to the prefrontal cortex, which reconnects these aspects with the affective upwellings to reconsolidate the core sense of a conscious self. Solms and Turnbull (The Brain and the Inner World, 2002) note that the function of the prefrontal cortex is a close correlate of the functions of maternal reverie, that needed object, which can apparently cause such frustration. Transformations in hallucinosis may, then, be thought of as both the violent destroyer of the link with the needed object as well as offering the initial steps towards rescue of the mind, which needs reunification with that object.”