179 Chapters
Medium 9781855759688

12. Dénouement

Meltzer, Donald Karnac Books ePub

Donald Meltzer

T

his sort of book [Studies in Extended Metapsychology], which is the residue of clinical and teaching experiences rather than of any systematic research, seems a kind of compost heap. It is primarily intended to increase the fertility of the next developmental steps of others, to help them to bring to life their nascent creativity. But one also tends to hope that something alive of one’s own may be found, unexpectedly, to be growing on the heap, a clump of mushrooms or a surprise of daffodils. Does the book add up to anything other than what it claims: a series of studies illustrating the use that Bion’s ideas have found in my consulting room?

Bion himself was very opposed to a distinct “school” growing up around his ideas, perhaps partly because the adjective “Bionic” had such comic overtones of science fiction, gardening, electronics and quackery. But chiefly he felt, and I feel perhaps even more strongly, that the formation of “schools” is a miscarriage of science. It is naive to suppose that deep and significant differences exist. It is political to exploit them within the organizations of psychoanalysis. It fails to understand the impossible task of rendering in language the ineffable phenomena of the mind. And finally it shows little comprehension of the history of art and science. In so far as the metaphor of progress as forward movement is permissible, the development of art and science, or, in the case of psychoanalysis, art-science, moves forward in spiral fashion in some respects, or like a caterpillar in others. Those in the vanguard of development think they are miles ahead of the rear-guard when they reckon linearly, but they need only look sideways to see they are only inches in advance. Furthermore it is necessary for them to pause, and teach, and help the others to catch up before they can go on. If they fail to do this, their language, and soon their thought, becomes so idiosyncratic that they find they have departed from the social field and must find their way back. In a way this happened to Bion with Transformations [1965] and had to be rectified by altering his metaphors in Attention and Interpretation [1970].

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Medium 9781855752528

11. Sylvia: the exciting servitude of jealousy

Karnac Books ePub

THERAPIST; At the time that Sylvia seeks help, she is approximately 40 years old. She consults on account of obsessional jealousy as a result of her husband’s extramarital affairs and intimate relationships. For many years, this couple had led an “open” marriage, both having affairs with different people. There came a point when she became aware of the fact that her husband was truly interested in another woman, and she felt her marriage to be threatened. As a result, she says that she feels intensely jealous and fears going totally mad, as this intense jealousy has completely invaded her.

She was the first to have extramarital affairs, although she always made sure that these did not interfere with her life with her husband. He, on the contrary, has never been discreet and has not even avoided telephone calls from his lovers to the couple’s home, or avoided having her meet them, and soon.

MELTZER; The fact that her husband isn’t jealous is a problem. This part of the story in which she says that she was the first one to have extramarital affairs is probably not true. There are usually two different versions of the marriage, given by each member of the couple. When one of the two organizes the marriage around the idea of a contract and the other does so with a romantic expectation, the former does not adjust to the latter and the latter enters a form of sadomasochistic “romantic agony”. Go on, please.

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Medium 9781855759688

3. The unconscious phantasy of an inner world reflected in examples from literature

Meltzer, Donald Karnac Books ePub

Joan Riviere

The inner world which in our unconscious phantasy each of us contains inside ourselves is one of those psychoanalytical concepts that most people find especially difficult to accept or understand. It is a world of figures formed on the pattern of the persons we first loved and hated in life, who also represent aspects of ourselves. The existence even in unconscious phantasy of these inner figures and of their apparently independent activities within us (which can be as real, or more real and actual, to us in unconscious feeling than external events) may seem incredible and incomprehensible; it might therefore perhaps be useful to approach the problem from the opposite end, as it were, that is from the conscious level. My aim in this contribution is essentially to forge a link between certain conscious experiences, which will be familiar to most people, and the proposition that phantasies of our containing other persons inside ourselves, though deeply unconscious, do exist. For this purpose I have selected some relevant passages from literature. Before discussing these, however, I will consider shortly the question why this proposition of internal objects seems so difficult to accept.

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Medium 9781855756786

IX. 1914 Mourning and Melancholia (Identification Processes)

Meltzer, Donald Harris Meltzer Trust ePub

I would like to discuss now that rather interesting period in the early years of the First World War when Freud had very few patients, since his students were mainly from abroad, and when he had time to think and take stock of the science which he had fathered - or mothered. He realized that there were great difficulties in every direction: in the training direction, in the theoretical direction, in the technical direction and also in conceiving its place in the world and what it might reasonably mean as part of the culture. He had been considerably stirred up earlier by the so-called defections of Adler and Jung and in the years from 1910 or 1911 onward there are outbursts against them in his writings every once in a while. They are interesting outbursts because their content often suggests that he is reviling them for just those things about which he is really troubled himself and with which he has not yet come to grips. For example, much of what he reviles Jung for will in fact later turn into his revision of instinct theory, although it is of course not quite the same as Jung’s theory. He is reviling Jung for abandoning the central role of sexuality, the Libido Theory and so on in favour of something that he considered to be a watered-down, popularly acceptable product. Twelve or fifteen years later, it changes in his own hands into the new instinct theory, in which sexuality is not given this primary place but has to take its position within the life instincts and be opposed to what he calls the ‘death instinct’. Similarly in his reviling of Adler, mainly for his masculine protest and his will-to-power theories, one finds the harbingers of Freud’s later struggle with the whole problem of hatred and evil and destructiveness, which finally became the concept of the death instinct.

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Medium 9781855759534

16 Eduardo (April 1996)

Karnac Books ePub

Carlos Tabbia

E duardo is a 35-year-old engineer, he is single; his father and a brother are engineers too, and his mother is an orthodontist; they are all alive. He is in the fourth year of his analysis, five times a week.

Introductory notes

The material that follows consists of two sessions from a month ago. But first I would like to say something about the patient's present situation, which is probably related to a change of attitude on my part. He is more depressed, and he admits that he doesn't know how to work, that he lacks knowledge as an engineer, and that it never was his chosen profession; sometimes I get the impression that there are suicidal ideas floating about. He has spoken to his father about being disorientated and not knowing what to do about his working life; his father told him to stay close to him and he will teach him how to work. In the associations the father seems to be showing more interest: he asks Eduardo why he doesn't go to work, where he spends his money; he has also enquired about Eduardo's work from the person in charge at the office. But Eduardo works himself into a manic state of excitement; for example, his father has been asked to give a paper at a conference in the university, and Eduardo has offered to write it for him.

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