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Mental Space

SALOMON RESNI KARNAC BOOKS Salomon Resnik Salomon Resnik Foreword by Riccardo Steiner Translated by

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SALOMON RESNI

MENTAL SPACE

KARNAC

BOOKS



MENTAL SPACE

Salomon Resnik

MENTAL SPACE

Salomon Resnik

Foreword by

Riccardo Steiner Translated by

David Alcorn

London

KARNAC BOOKS

First p u b l i s h e d i n Italian i n 1 9 9 0 b y Bollati-Boringhieri editori s . p . a . , T u r i n , Italy E n g l i s h edition p u b l i s h e d in 1 9 9 5 b y H. Karnac (Books) Ltd, 118 Finchley Road, London NW3 5HT Copyright © 1 9 9 5 by S a l o m o n R e s n i k T h e r i g h t s of S a l o m o n Resnik to b e identified a s t h e a u t h o r of t h i s work h a v e b e e n a s s e r t e d in a c c o r d a n c e with §§ 7 7 a n d 7 8 of t h e Copyright D e s i g n a n d P a t e n t s A c t 1 9 8 8 . All rights reserved. No part of t h i s p u b l i c a t i o n m a y b e r e p r o d u c e d , s t o r e d in a retrieval s y s t e m , or t r a n s m i t t e d i n a n y form or b y a n y m e a n s , electronic, m e c h a n i c a l , p h o t o c o p y i n g , recording, or other­ w i s e , w i t h o u t t h e prior p e r m i s s i o n of t h e p u b l i s h e r . British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data Resnik, Salomon Mental S p a c e I. Title 616.8914 ISBN 978 1 85575 058 6 Printed in Great Britain by BPC Wheatons Ltd, Exeter

To Herbert for his teaching

Rosenfeld, and his

friendship



ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I

w o u l d f i r s t o f a l l l i k e to t h a n k P r o f e s s o r Avron, whose

interest i n m y

Ophelia

research work led

to

t h e i n v i t a t i o n to give t h e o r i g i n a l s e r i e s of l e c t u r e s i n

the S o r b o n n e , o n w h i c h this book is b a s e d . M y g r a t i t u d e g o e s a l s o to t h e a c t o r P h i l l i p e A v r o n , w i t h

w h o m I have over m a n y a long y e a r d i s c u s s e d "theatrical s p a c e " , " m e n t a l space**, a n d life i t s e l f . I a m i n d e b t e d to t h e p o s t g r a d u a t e p s y c h o l o g y

students

a n d t h o s e fellow p s y c h o a n a l y s t s w h o a c c o m p a n i e d m e o n these travels along the pathways

of the m i n d ,

especially

S i m o n e Q u e l i n w h o s e c a r e f u l r e v i s i o n of t h e o r i g i n a l text d i d m u c h to r e n d e r it c l e a r a n d c o m p r e h e n s i b l e to

my

listeners. I was

very

moved

when

I read

the introduction

by

R i c c a r d o S t e i n e r . It w a s w r i t t e n f r o m a f r i e n d l y , s y n t o n i c , critical, w a r m m e n t a l space.

H e i s a b l e to s p e a k

about

m y m i r r o r i m a g e , from a n o t h e r m i r r o r i n g p o i n t of v i e w a s

vii

Viii

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

it w e r e ;

i n this way,

dialogue between

through

an

intense

and

u s , he c a n see w h a t I c a n n o t

lengthy always

s e e b y m y s e l f . W e a r e n e v e r e n t i r e l y a l o n e , for b e i n g i n touch with one's

self is part

of a

complex

network

of

i n t e r - r e l a t i o n s h i p s . I t h a n k h i m for h e l p i n g m e o n c e a g a i n to s e e m y s e l f t h r o u g h t h e l o o k i n g - g l a s s of a f r i e n d l y (T\

a s B i o n w o u l d h a v e s a i d ) — f r o m I to I , f r o m

eye

person

to p e r s o n , f r o m a friendly q u e s t i o n i n g t h a t i s p a r t of t h e t r a n s f e r e n c e n o t o n l y i n p s y c h o a n a l y s i s b u t i n life i t s e l f . I a m being helped by looking at myself, i n seeing how I l o o k to o t h e r s , f r o m a n - o t h e r p o i n t o f v i e w . P r o b a b l y t h e mystery

of r e a l d i a l o g u e h a s to d o w i t h t h e c a p a c i t y

to

bear otherness a n d constructive criticism. I a m i n d e b t e d to D a v i d A l c o r n w h o , w i t h

friendship

a n d r e s p e c t for m y t h i n k i n g a n d m y f e e l i n g s , w a s a b l e to translate t h i s book so accurately a n d creatively. I a m g r a t e f u l , t o o , to C e s a r e S a c e r d o t i , f o r h i s s t i m u ­ lating

and

rigorous

attitude

as

a

serious

publisher,

a l l o w i n g m e to s p e a k i n E n g l i s h to m y E n g l i s h p u b l i c . I w a n t a l s o to t h a n k K l a r a M a j t h e n y i K i n g for h e r e x c e l l e n t s u g g e s t i o n s at t h e c o p y e d i t i n g stage of t h i s book. A n d , f i n a l l y , I t h i n k w i t h g r a t i t u d e of t h o s e w h o s h a r e d m y c o m p a n y i n t h e " c a f e o n t h e corner** a f t e r e a c h l e c t u r e , a n d i n t h e c o f f e e - h o u s e s o f m y life . . . I w a n t e s p e c i a l l y to t h a n k m y wife, A n n a T a q u i n i R e s n i k , for o u r c o n t i n u a l l y s t i m u l a t i n g e x c h a n g e of v i e w s i n o u r d a i l y life, d i a l o g u e , a n d setting.

CONTENTS

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS FOREWORD

Vii Xi

Riccardo Steiner PREFACE

Introduction

XVii

1

CHAPTER ONE A s p a c e for p s y c h o a n a l y s i s

13

C H A P T E R TWO A s p a c e for t h i n k i n g

23

CHAPTER T H R E E A s p a c e for d r e a m i n g

37 ix

X

CONTENTS

CHAPTER FOUR Mirrors, corridors, a n d tears CHAPTER F I V E Space, illusion, and hallucination CHAPTER S I X A geometry of space: m e n t a l space a n d the transference CHAPTER SEVEN A s p a c e for d e l u s i o n , a s p a c e for c r e a t i o n CHAPTER E I G H T A space for concluding

REFERENCES INDEX

FOREWORD

Riccardo Steiner, Ph.D.

W

riting a preface to a b o o k b y S a l o m o n R e s n i k has

its paradoxical

side.

Inevitably,

whoever

w r i t e s it i n t r o d u c e s a n d fixes h i s o w n i m p r e s ­

sions, thoughts,

a n d reactions, either positive or

some­

t i m e s e v e n c r i t i c a l , w h i c h s e e m to c o n t r a d i c t w h a t i s , i n S a l o m o n R e s n i k ' s theoretical a n d clinical work,

perhaps

the m o s t specific (but also the m o s t elusive) c h a r a c t e r i s ­ tic,

t h e o n e t h a t i s t h e m o s t d i f f i c u l t to d e t e r m i n e

and

define: h i s m o b i l i t y — t h a t c o n t i n u a l dialogue w i t h himself, w i t h t h e p a t i e n t , w i t h the r e a l a n d p o t e n t i a l p u b l i c of h i s listeners and readers, creating by accumulation a

dense

"free" n e t w o r k of t h o u g h t s , a n a l o g i e s , a n d q u o t a t i o n s , b u t a l s o of f e e l i n g s a n d e m o t i o n s , t h r o u g h w h i c h — i n a

way

t h a t s o m e t i m e s , a t first s i g h t , s e e m s a little c o n f u s e d

and

disorganized—Salomon him

his way

R e s n i k r e v e a l s to u s w h a t i s f o r

of w o r k i n g . T h i s i s t h e c a s e i n t h i s

book,

w h i c h i s , to b e p r e c i s e , a c o l l e c t i o n of l e s s o n s o n p s y c h o t i c e x p e r i e n c e . B u t the title i t s e l f tells u s t h a t it i s a q u e s t i o n xi

Xii

FOREWORD

of e x p e r i e n c e of l i v i n g a n d c o m m u n i c a t i n g r a t h e r t h a n of lessons i n the traditional sense that is u s u a l l y given

to

t h i s t e r m , e v e n i f t h e a u t h o r h a s h a p p e n e d to s p e a k

in

a n illustrious centre like the Sorbonne i n Paris. I n these p a g e s , t h e r e f o r e , i t i s p o s s i b l e to f i n d t h e p l e a s u r e o f a n e n c o u n t e r , of a d i a l o g u e t h a t s e e m s n e v e r - e n d i n g a n d t h a t m o v e s e v e n o u t s i d e t h e l e c t u r e - t h e a t r e to t h e c a f e s

and

s t r e e t s w h e r e S a l o m o n s e e m s a l w a y s r e a d y to s t i m u l a t e his own

c u r i o s i t y a n d t h a t of t h o s e

around

him

more

deeply, often s t a r t i n g f r o m s i m p l e , t i n y details: a n a m e , its etymology, a gesture, a c e r t a i n feeling, a r e a c t i o n p i c k e d up

at

birth,

during

a

session

or

a

conversation,

unexpected memory, w h i c h the a u t h o r t h e n

an

elaborates,

d e v e l o p s w i t h v e r y s u b t l e a t t e n t i o n to t h e c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s o f h i s w a y of w o r k i n g w i t h p s y c h o t i c

patients—attention

to w h a t h e c a l l s t h e a t m o s p h e r e o f t h e s e s s i o n , to t h e b o d y a n d i t s e m o t i o n a l life, t h e u n c o n s c i o u s e x p e r i e n c e w e a l l p o s s e s s of it, a n d the w a y i n w h i c h a n e m p a t h i c e c h o i s r e c r e a t e d t h r o u g h the body a n d m i n d of the patient a n d t h a t of t h e a n a l y s t . I n a d d i t i o n , t h e r e i s a s p e c i a l type of a t t e n t i o n t h a t o f t e n l e a d s h i m to v e r y o r i g i n a l tions

on

the

way

of

living,

of

experiencing

observa­ time

and

particularly space, both physical and psychic. F r o m this p o i n t o f v i e w it i s d i f f i c u l t to f i n d i n c o n t e m p o r a r y analytical literature anything

like that w h i c h

psycho­ Salomon

R e s n i k i s c a p a b l e of o b s e r v i n g a n d b r i n g i n g t o life f o r u s . H i s c o n t r i b u t i o n s , a n d t h e s e p a g e s , too, b e a r

witness:

t h e y a r e t h e e x p r e s s i o n of a c u l t u r e t h a t i s b o t h

psycho­

analytical a n d psychiatric, but above all b o u n d up w i t h t h e h u m a n s c i e n c e s . I w o u l d c a l l it a l m o s t o m n i v o r o u s : i t mingles

pre-Socratic

and

oriental t h i n k e r s , poets,

and

p h i l o s o p h e r s of e v e r y a g e , b u t e s p e c i a l l y t h o s e l i n k e d w i t h the

surrealist experience, writers like Borges a n d

Italo

C a l v i n o , b o t h of w h o m w e r e p e r s o n a l f r i e n d s of t h e a u t h o r a t d i f f e r e n t t i m e s i n h i s life. A l l t h i s , a n d m u c h b e s i d e s ,

FOREWORD

Xiii

spontaneously interacts with Salomon Resnik's teachers: Pichon-Riviere,

Melanie Klein, Herbert Rosenfeld,

Bion,

w h o w a s b o u n d to R e s n i k b y a v e r y i n t e n s e f r i e n d s h i p , a n d even D. W. Winnicott, a n d then F r a n c e s T u s t i n , not forgetting a c e r t a i n i n f l u e n c e of L a c a n . T h e r e a d e r w i l l , for example, find i n these pages some very important

obser­

v a t i o n s o n t h e role of t h e p a r e n t a l c o u p l e a s w e l l a s of t h e father, w h i c h a l s o r e c a l l the c o n t r i b u t i o n of the F r e n c h s c h o o l . T h i s i s n o t s u r p r i s i n g , i n v i e w of t h e r e a l l y flung

and

education:

cosmopolitan from

nature

Argentina

he

of

went

far­

Salomon

Resnik's

to

then

Paris,

L o n d o n a n d b a c k to P a r i s , b u t h e a l s o s p e n d s t i m e i n I t a l y — V e n i c e , especially, is one of h i s favourite

to

now

"sanc­

tuaries", where he c a n rest a n d meditate. W h a t also strikes u s in this book is S a l o m o n Resnik's particular

sensitivity

to

the

bond

that

p l a s t i c a r t s , e s p e c i a l l y p a i n t i n g , to t h e

can

unite

the

psychoanalyst's

w o r k . T h i s i s n o t s u r p r i s i n g , g i v e n t h e t y p e of p a t i e n t s with w h o m the author works, a n d his interests. C e r t a i n problems

linked with

the

ontology

of

existence,

with

g r a v i t a t i o n a n d l e v i t a t i o n i n s p a c e , t h e p o s s i b i l i t y of self­ e x p a n s i o n or of feeling totally c r u s h e d a n d

suffocated,

feeling oneself living i n time or feeling totally b l o c k e d a n d p e t r i f i e d , a r e of b a s i c i m p o r t a n c e i n t h e p a t h o l o g y of t h e d r e a m - w o r l d a n d i n the h a l l u c i n a t i o n s of p s y c h o s e s

and

can

art,

easily find a v i s u a l correspondence

in certain

s u c h a s t h a t of B o s c h , M a g r i t t e , M i r o , K l e e , d e C h i r i c o , V a n G o g h , to n a m e o n l y a few. B u t t h e m o s t s t r i k i n g i s Salomon

Resnik's instinctive

capacity

for

recourse

to

p a i n t i n g a s t h o u g h it w e r e a d r e a m — a n a u x i l i a r y d r e a m , aesthetic a n d made us

understand

in the presence

better

through

o f r e a s o n , to

illustration

not

help only

h i s patients* experience, but also h i s own. T h e r e is aesthetic

sensitivity,

a

poet-ego

and

a

painter-ego,

an in

the w a y S a l o m o n recounts his patients' cases, w h i c h dis­

XiV

FOREWORD

tinguishes h i m almost exclusively among his colleagues, even those more illustrious t h a n himself, who are o c c u ­ p i e d w i t h t h i s f i e l d o f r e s e a r c h . A n d for t h o s e w h o

know

h i m a n d know how he moves, how he speaks also with h i s body

and

his

gestures,

these

pages

hold

an

almost

g r a p h i c t r a c e of h i s p e r s o n a l i t y , w h i c h s o m e t i m e s r e c a l l s t h o s e c h a r a c t e r s i n C h a g a l l ' s p a i n t i n g s w h o s e e m to l e v i ­ t a t e i n m i d - a i r , a s i f g u i d e d b y h y p e r s e n s i t i v e a n t e n n a e to receive m e s s a g e s that are invisible or b a s e d o n p s y c h i c ultrasound, but without completely losing contact w i t h the e a r t h , e v e n if at t i m e s they s e e m f a s c i n a t e d b y

the

j o y o u s n a t u r e of t h e i r levitation. Some

of t h e

of t h i s book,

most

beautiful

then, are those

and

interesting

devoted

to t h e

pages

use

that

S a l o m o n m a k e s of c e r t a i n m a s t e r s of c o n t e m p o r a r y p a i n t ­ i n g i n o r d e r to c l a r i f y t h e e x p e r i e n c e o f h i s p a t i e n t s . B u t w h a t is also important is that S a l o m o n R e s n i k ' s observa­ t i o n s a r e t r a n s f o r m e d often into the p o s s i b i l i t y of n e w , original

readings

of

certain masterpieces

of

Magritte,

V a n G o g h , de C h i r i c o , a n d so o n , w i t h o u t ever falling into t h o s e t e r r i b l e b i o g r a p h i e s b a s e d o n t h e p a t h o l o g y of t h e a r t i s t to w h i c h s o m u c h c o n t e m p o r a r y

psychoanalysis

has accustomed us. I

should

like

to

emphasize

one

more

thing

before

f i n i s h i n g . F r o m t h e s e p a g e s , a s f r o m o t h e r s of S a l o m o n R e s n i k ' s w o r k , t h e r e s h i n e s forth a s o r t of e m p a t h i c a n d s o m e t i m e s a l m o s t affectionate r e s p e c t for t h e s u f f e r i n g of the patient, w h o m

h e a l w a y s s e e k s to i n d i v i d u a l i z e , t o

perceive a s a person; a n d he is also helped by h i s deep k n o w l e d g e n o t o n l y of p s y c h i a t r y , b u t a l s o of p h i l o s o p h ­ i c a l p h e n o m e n o l o g y . T o t h i s i s a d d e d a s o r t of m o d e s t y , w h i c h is almost always there i n S a l o m o n R e s n i k ' s rela­ t i o n s h i p s w i t h t h e p a t i e n t s for w h o m

he is caring.

In

c o m p a r i s o n with the arrogantly paternalistic a n d p a t r o n ­ i z i n g tone of so m u c h c o n t e m p o r a r y p s y c h o a n a l y s i s — i n

FOREWORD

XV

w h i c h t h e a n a l y s t i s too often t r a n s f o r m e d into a s o r t of " p s y c h o - a g o g u e " — a teacher of t h e p s y c h e — o r

i n which

e x p e r i m e n t a l science, w h i c h s e e m s to t r i u m p h today e v e n i n o u r field, b a s i c a l l y r e d u c e s t h e patient to a " t h i n g " , forgetting the p e r s o n — t h e s e pages s h o u l d t e a c h u s all to r e m e m b e r a f a m o u s L a t i n s a y i n g t h a t s e e m s to c o n d e n s e m a n y a s p e c t s o f S a l o m o n R e s n i k ' s w o r k : "homo sum, humani

a me alienum

nihil

putoT—"I a m a h u m a n b e i n g , a n d I

c o n s i d e r n o t h i n g belonging to h u m a n i t y a s a l i e n to m e . "

London,

1994

PREFACE

F

rom my

early childhood, m y

dream was

to

have

a r o o m to m y s e l f . M y f a m i l y w a s o f m o d e s t o r i g i n , a n d i t w a s i m p o s s i b l e f o r m e to h a v e a r o o m o f m y

o w n until early m a n h o o d . I n those days, I w o u l d w a l k at

n i g h t a l o n g a w i d e a n d w e l l - l i t a v e n u e w i t h lots of m o v e ­ m e n t , l o t s o f life. I n t h a t L a t i n c i t y w h i c h i s B u e n o s A i r e s , the coffee-bars

were o p e n u n t i l v e r y late at night. I u s e d

to g o t h e r e a n d m e e t y o u n g p o e t s a n d t h i n k e r s , s o m e o f w h o m w e r e t r y i n g to f i n d t h e m s e l v e s , w h i l s t o t h e r s w e r e so terribly lost i n the world a r o u n d u s . A s a y o u n g adoles­ cent, I w o u l d identify w i t h t h e m . O n e day, w a l k i n g a l o n g the street, I experienced solitude i n the crowd, while I was

with people—a

discovery

solitude

of a p l a c e

inside

myself in w h i c h I could experience syntonically m y intimacy. where

Thereafter,

I knew

nobody,

I would

go

alone

to

i n o r d e r to t h i n k b y

w r i t e , to e x p e r i e n c e m y g e n e r a t i o n

own

coffee-bars myself,

to

contemplatively.

xvii

XViii

PREFACE

W h e n I left B u e n o s A i r e s i n 1 9 5 5

for t h e first t i m e , I

was

a l r e a d y a d o c t o r of m e d i c i n e a n d a

and

I was

about

to a t t e n d m y

g r e s s of p s y c h o a n a l y s i s . went

there with

first i n t e r n a t i o n a l c o n ­

It t o o k p l a c e i n G e n e v a , a n d I

Doctor Enrique Pichon-Riviere,

L i b e r m a n , Professor Ostroff (who w a s and psychoanalyst), Toledo, who

was

whom

deeply

I am

psychoanalyst,

both

David

philosopher

Leon Grinberg, and D r Alvarez

my

last analyst

in Argentina

indebted. I n Geneva I met

de

and

to

Melanie

Klein, Winnicott, Bion, Herbert Rosenfeld, H a n n a

Segal

( w h o m I h a d a l r e a d y s e e n i n A r g e n t i n a d u r i n g one of h e r seminars), J a c q u e s L a c a n , and all those

psychoanalysts

w h o s e writings h a d so interested m e . I w a s very w h e n I m e t M r s K l e i n , a n d I s a i d to h e r t h a t w i t h i n the following two y e a r s

moved

sometime

I w o u l d l i k e to c o m e

to

E n g l a n d to a t t e n d h e r s e m i n a r s a n d , i f p o s s i b l e , to h a v e further analysis with Herbert Rosenfeld. I returned

to A r g e n t i n a ,

became

t h e I n s t i t u t e of P s y c h o - A n a l y s i s , mind

and my

mourning.

a

full

member

of

and prepared my

own

p a t i e n t s for d e a l i n g w i t h s e p a r a t i o n

and

I was

making

ready

to j u m p

into

another

s p a c e , a v e r y a t t r a c t i v e o n e for m e — E u r o p e ( m y

parents

c a m e from R u s s i a ) . Attractive, yes, b u t w h a t a frightening experience. London,

I did not have

and besides

the m e a n s

I wanted

to go d i r e c t l y

to e x p e r i e n c e

m e d i a t e s p a c e — P a r i s , t h e c i t y of l i g h t of m y

an

to

inter­

adolescence.

My own culture—and, indeed, my psychiatric training— h a d s o m u c h to d o w i t h F r a n c e a n d i t s c i v i l i z a t i o n . I s p e n t a year a

there, working with Doctor Georges

m a j o r figure

of t h e g r e a t

French school

Daumezon, of c l a s s i c a l

p s y c h i a t r y . I w a s a b l e to d o s o m e w o r k w i t h s c h i z o p h r e n i c p a t i e n t s i n h i s w a r d , w h i c h w a s of i n t e r e s t to h i m ; w h e n Professor Morris C a r s t a i r s came from L o n d o n a n d a s k e d Dr

Daumezon

if t h e r e w a s

any

innovative

research

in

schizophrenia being conducted in his hospital, D a u m e z o n

PREFACE

Xix

p u t f o r w a r d m y n a m e . I h a d to s p e a k F r e n c h w i t h P r o f e s ­ sor C a r s t a i r s — m y E n g l i s h w a s so very poor. H e suggested I come

to E n g l a n d ; I r e p l i e d t h a t h e w a s l i k e a n a n g e l

bringing t h e good n e w s

I w a s so eager to h e a r ;

I was

h o p i n g to b e r e c o m m e n d e d for a p o s t t h a t w o u l d a l l o w m e to b e i n L o n d o n . T h e a n s w e r c a m e w i t h i n a f o r t n i g h t : t w o h o s p i t a l s w e r e w i l l i n g to offer m e a c o n s u l t a n c y . I w a s a b l e to " e m i g r a t e " to w h a t I felt to b e m y p r e d e s t i n a t e d p l a c e . England

was

the right

atmosphere,

upsetting

but

s t i m u l a t i n g , i n w h i c h t o go b a c k to m y b a s i c s o l i t u d e — t o r e - d i s c o v e r a n d go f u r t h e r i n t o m y o w n m e n t a l s p a c e . I was

impressed by Melanie

(1963),

a n d later

Klein's paper

by Winnicott's

on loneliness

"The Capacity

to

Be

Alone" (1958a).

I n a n o t h e r of m y b o o k s ( R e s n i k , 1986), I wrote t h a t r e a l dialogue

is

an

encounter

between

lonely

people—or,

r a t h e r , b e t w e e n p e o p l e able to b e a l o n e , people w h o a r e neither invasive n o r overwhelming n o r seductive, who

c a n give " s o l i t u d e " to e a c h other.

people

I use "solitude"

h e r e to m e a n a l i v i n g l o n e l i n e s s — b e i n g a l o n e w i t h

one­

self. T h e s u b j e c t of t h i s b o o k is really m y ontological pre­ occupation with discovering this creative solitude w i t h i n m y s e l f a n d b e i n g a b l e to h e l p m y p a t i e n t s b o t h to g a i n insight into themselves

a n d to recognize

that there

is

m o r e s p a c e for feeling a n d t h i n k i n g c r e a t i v e l y t h a n t h e y t h o u g h t . I n d r e a m s t h i s o f t e n a p p e a r s a s a c l o s e d d o o r to t h e a t t i c o r to t h e b a s e m e n t , w h i c h , o n c e o p e n e d , l e a d s t o a v a s t s p a c e , s o m e t i m e s empty, s o m e t i m e s stuffed

with

t h e a c c u m u l a t e d r u b b i s h w h i c h s o often w e u s e for filling u p a hollow b a r r e n n e s s . To

find

a

place

to

be

oneself

is a n

adventurous

e x p e r i e n c e t h a t everyone d e s i r e s , y e t w e live i n a c u l t u r e

XX

PREFACE

where

we are always

running

away

from

ourselves—

b u t r u n n i n g a w a y only i n c r e a s e s t h e fear of finding o n e ­ self, a n d t h e fear, i n t u r n , i n c r e a s e s t h e t e n d e n c y t o r u n a w a y , to e s c a p e into t h e outer w o r l d . S o m e t i m e s , i n t h e adolescent m i n d (whatever appears

o u r chronological age), this

a s t h e c o m p u l s i o n to j u m p

into t h e m i n d or

the m e n t a l space of a g u r u or some other leader. W h e n I jumped

into E u r o p e ,

I h a d to face t h i s i n myself, t h e

i d e n t i t y p r o b l e m of going t o w a r d s

a great a n d idealized

a n a l y s t a n d p h i l o s o p h e r — M a u r i c e M e r l e a u - P o n t y , for i n ­ stance, whose pupil I w a s i n Paris. I w a s facing i n myself the identity problem of a n y y o u n g p e r s o n w h o i s b e c o m ­ i n g a w a r e of h i s n e e d f o r a n i d e a l ego b u t a t t h e s a m e t i m e h a s to avoid t h e a l i e n a t i o n of extreme

idealization a n d

m u s t go b a c k to h i s o w n ego i d e a l a n d " r e a l " ego. O n e d a y , after w r i t i n g t h i s book, I f o u n d i n a b o o k s h o p V i r g i n i a W o o l f s A Room of One's

Own. I w a s s t r u c k b y t h e

t i t l e a n d felt v e r y m u c h i n t u n e w i t h h e r l a n g u a g e a n d evocative

metaphors. Virginia Woolf gave m e the living

i m a g e of t h e i d e a of s e a r c h i n g for a s p a c e for oneself. S h e awakened

i n m e m y infantile a n d adolescent

romantic

feelings of w a n d e r i n g a r o u n d g a r d e n s a n d h o u s e s , w o o d s a n d flowers, t h e n e e d for s o m e w a r m t h i n s i d e o u r s e l v e s , w h i c h w e m a y call "mother": the interiorized good mother. F o r m e , t h e i d e a of m e n t a l s p a c e i n p s y c h o a n a l y s i s i s a w a y of s t i m u l a t i n g i n e a c h of u s s o m e w a r m t h i n o u r o w n intimate h o u s e s : the body. P s y c h o a n a l y s i s i s s o m e t i m e s a

necessary

mediation—as

P a r i s w a s for m e , b e t w e e n

B u e n o s A i r e s a n d L o n d o n — w h i c h will help u s to d i s c o v e r o u r " i n n e r h o m e " , t o r e p a i r i t a n d m a k e i t fit f o r l i v i n g i n . T h e p s y c h o a n a l y t i c p r o c e s s i s a w a y of w a n d e r i n g i n s i d e our

o w n history,

through

a l s o t h e light. S o m e t i m e s

the dark

a n d t h e grey, a n d

our inner path is obstructed

b y periods of b a d w e a t h e r — t h o s e w h i c h m a y e v e n freeze over.

upsetting inner times,

PREFACE

XXi

L i v i n g t i m e i n s p a c e i s to flow a l o n g i n t h e w o r l d l i k e a r i v e r , to a d o p t H e r a c l i t u s ' s i m a g e o f t i m e b e i n g a r i v e r that changes

unceasingly.

Life i s p a r t of the n a t u r e

of

m a n , a n d t h e p r i n c i p l e of a l l t h i n g s i n p r e - S o c r a t i c t h i n k ­ ing is movement, motion. To experience e-motion is a way of b e i n g alive a n d i n c o n t a c t w i t h b o t h i n n e r a n d reality, w h e r e fantasy

outer

a n d imagination actively allow

us

t o t r a n s f o r m t h e r o u t i n e s of life i n t o s o m e t h i n g m a g i c i n our world.

MENTAL SPACE

Introduction

II n*y a pas de pouvoir divin, il y a u n vouloir divin eparpille dans chaque souffle; les dieux sont dans nos murs, actifs, assoupis. Rene Char, Les Marttneaux

T

h e p r e s e n t text i s b a s e d o n a series of l e c t u r e s I gave at t h e S o r b o n n e between October 1 9 8 7 a n d June

1 9 8 8 . T h e audience consisted of final-year

psychology s t u d e n t s a n d newly qualified p s y c h o a n a l y s t s a n d psychiatrists. T h electures were given i n a n a m p h i ­

theatre

t h a t g r a d u a l l y filled w i t h t h e i d e a s w e c r e a t e d

together,

the audience

a n d myself,

sometimes

s o m e t i m e s n o i s i l y — i d e a s waiting for someone

silently, to t h i n k

them, a s B i o n might have said. How

could w e integrate

ideas floating i n this v a s t

the medley composite

of feelings a n d

space

a n d arrive

at s o m e degree of h a r m o n y a n d u n i t y ? H o w w e r e w e t o c o m b i n e a l l t h e s e different p o i n t s of v i e w ?

1

2

MENTAL SPACE

At times, the space of the hall was like mental space, with its varying degrees of cogency and harmony. On s u c h occasions, the atmosphere was bright, pleasant, and breathable; but at other times an accumulation of floating thoughts and inanimate feelings turned it into something heavy and oppressive—a cloud obscuring all attempts at understanding. This atmosphere was mainly of my making, but the audience played its part too. When you breathe the air of feelings and ideas, changes of climate reflect the mental state of the entire group. We could think of it as an immateriality full of ideas, with as yet no apparent content, immobile, waiting expectantly. These qualitative changes in the space of our encounters are a way of expressing my feelings as I recall them now in my mind. An "empty space full of ideas" is the way I experienced the situation in fantasy; no space is literally deprived of qualities. Einstein commented that Descartes was probably correct to claim that empty space did not exist; since the discovery of electromagnetism, space, considered as a magnetic field, is always qualitatively real and "existent". All discourse takes place in time, aiming for the future along its own adventurous path between presence and absence, following its own rhythm, with its breaks (little deaths) and instants contributing to the life and structure of the logos. "Little death" implies that every separation between ideas is akin to an experience of mourning. L a n ­ guage, either as thought or as spoken discourse, is a set of acts of weaning. Melanie Klein declared that cognition (thought and speech) arises and evolves from the work of mourning characteristic of the depressive position. To return to the conference hall in the Sorbonne: during the pauses at the end of each lecture, students or colleagues would ask questions, albeit in a somewhat ritual manner, publicly or privately: often a small group

INTRODUCTION

3

w o u l d come w i t h m e to c o n t i n u e the d i s c u s s i o n over a c u p of coffee i n a l o c a l cafe. S p o n t a n e i t y of dialogue i s often facilitated b y t h e i n t i m a c y of a s m a l l group. O n c e , a s w e were sitting i n the cafe, we debated the difference b e t w e e n " m e n t a l s p a c e " , " i n t e r n a l world", a n d " p s y c h i c a p p a r a t u s " . We c o n c l u d e d t h a t it w o u l d be i m p o s s i b l e to s p e a k of a n i n t e r n a l w o r l d without t h e concept of m e n t a l s p a c e . A n d "psychic apparatus"? To this, A n n a Resnik answered: " T h e m i n d i s the a l l - p u r p o s e c r a n k - h a n d l e . " The

e s s e n t i a l i d e a here i s t h a t of m o v e m e n t , t h e

b a s i s for every k i n d of change, whatever t h e s p e c i e s . T h e q u e s t i o n might a r i s e a s to who h o l d s the lever. T h e m o n o ­ theistic theologian might s a y G o d , b u t t h e polytheistic G r e e k t h i n k e r s believed t h a t t h o u g h t h e deities c o u l d influence b o t h body a n d s o u l , they did not wield a b s o l u t e power over m a n . T h o u g h m a n i s amoKi'v^toc; [autokinetos: he m o v e s by h i m s e l f ! , h e i s s u b j e c t to e x t e r n a l forces e m a n a t i n g from t h e r e a l m of the gods. H i p p o c r a t e s c o n ­ s i d e r e d the s a c r e d s i c k n e s s , epilepsy, to b e a d i s e a s e c a u s e d b y i n t e r n a l f a c t o r s — a d i s t u r b a n c e i n the b r a i n , the physiological a n d s y m b o l i c e x p r e s s i o n of a private vital s p a c e . T h e origin i s endogenous, b u t t h e gods i n f l u ­ ence the outcome. D u r i n g the R o m a n period, meetings of the comitia were i n t e r r u p t e d if one of the m e m b e r s h a d a n epileptic s e i z u r e

[comitialis morbus], thought to be a n e x p r e s s i o n of t h e d i s p l e a s u r e of t h e gods. T h i s origin h a s r e m a i n e d i n the F r e n c h t e r m "crtse comiticde" to describe epileptic fits. T h e p r e - S o c r a t i c p h i l o s o p h e r s believed t h a t the m o v e ­ ment

of the p l a n e t s

corresponded

to the d i s c u r s i v e

r h y t h m of the u n i v e r s e . H e r a c l i t u s c o n s i d e r e d the logos a s a virtuality; P a r m e n i d e s added that i n order to become, one m u s t first be. T h e s e two perspectives m a y be c o m p l e ­ m e n t a r y , i n t h a t it i s n e c e s s a r y to s t a n d still for a m o m e n t i n order to t h i n k about becoming. A p a u s e , a little d e a t h ,

4

MENTAL SPACE

with its solitude and separation, enables the individual to take stock of his world. In his Theatetus, Plato argued that becoming and the idea of movement [from the Latin motus: emotion] are fundamental elements of mental and physical life (Resnik, 1985b). Much later, he described existence i n terms of movement, sensation, and knowl­ edge. Comparing hot and cold, wet and dry, he debated the question of sensory perception, the difference between things as they exist in the world and their "appearance" or fantasy. He considered pleasure and sorrow, desire and fear, colour, sound, and movement (rapid and slow) to be a phenomenology of the body experienced i n a world as yet virtual. Depending on the moment, one's eyes must be open (waking life), or closed (sleep and dreaming); to which must be added the dreamlike reverie of the poet. What is the meaning of reality in this ever-changing life? The external-internal landscape is like a kaleido­ scope, whose intermittent discontinuity moves from hiatus to pulsation. When Plato debated the question of fantasy and reality in the myth of the cave, he imagined the prisoners coming out of their inner life (the cave) carrying with them the shadows that would become fanta­ sies only when projected onto the mirror surface of the river. The screen on which images are projected is always mobile. The flow of water is a screen par excellence, thanks to which feelings can be given expression. This book is a study of the vicissitudes of the psycho­ pathology of everyday life as manifested i n clinical material drawn from my experience as a psychoanalyst with neurotic and psychotic patients through their day­ time and nocturnal fantasies. Freud observed the spatial dimension of reality with nocturnal eyes to adjust himself to the visible opacity of the unconscious and, like the

INTRODUCTION prisoners

i n t h e cave,

knowledge—that

to give

shape

5

to fantasies a n d

i s , to e x p r e s s t h e m i n the clear light of

day. T h e m i n d i s like a m u s i c a l i n s t r u m e n t — a lyre in spite

of its a s yet imperfect

tuning,

A n c i e n t s . T h e n o t i o n o f Stimmung

that,

c a n evoke t h e

i n phenomenological

p s y c h i a t r y i s d e r i v e d f r o m Stimme, v o i c e , a n d Slimmer, craftsman w h o tunes

a n instrument. W e could

the

borrow

t h e m e t a p h o r a n d s a y t h a t t h e t h e r a p i s t ' s f u n c t i o n i s to h e l p to t u n e a n i n s t r u m e n t t h a t i s n o t q u i t e i n h a r m o n y , not completely i n tune, more or less discordant. T h e psy­ chotic experience, w h i c h does not always imply p s y c h o s i s per se,

p l a y s a n i m p o r t a n t role i n K l e i n ' s c o n c e p t of the

individual. M y own interest i n metaphysical a n d existen­ t i a l q u e s t i o n s l e a d s m e to p a y c a r e f u l a t t e n t i o n to t h e psychotic

aspects

of t h e non-psychotic

individual. I n

order to u n d e r s t a n d psychotic experience, w e m u s t be i n c o n t a c t w i t h the everyday ontological c o n c e r n s of people a n d their interrogations patient's

affects

have

about

been

life a n d d e a t h . W h e n

blocked

for a long

a

period

a n d h i s " s o u l isn't moving a n y more", the r e - a w a k e n i n g of t i m e h i t h e r t o i m m o b i l e a n d p a r a l y s e d m a y b e felt a s a catastrophic experience. T h i s i s what B i o n m e a n t he talked of catastrophic psychoanalytic

change

when

occurring during the

process.

Serena, a y o u n g schizophrenic w o m a n , would speak of herself i n a cold, impersonal m a n n e r ; i n one session,s h e s a i d ; " I ' m s u f f e r i n g f r o m a n etherotopic u n d e r s t o o d h e r t o s a y heterotopic,

delusion"

I had

and, though unfamiliar

w i t h t h i s p a r t i c u l a r p s y c h i a t r i c t e r m , I felt i t t o b e p h o n e t ­ ically a n d conceptually interesting. I a s k e d her w h a t the e x p r e s s i o n m e a n t ( t h i n k i n g of t h e L a t i n hetero, o t h e r ) . H e r a n s w e r w a s very s i m p l e , b u t quite different f r o m a n y t h i n g I could have

imagined. Following h e r private

philology,

6

MENTAL SPACE

S e r e n a e x p l a i n e d : "Ethero i s d e r i v e d f r o m e t h e r a n d m e a n s t h a t s i n c e I w a s s u f f e r i n g s o m u c h , I n e e d e d to p u t

my

b r a i n i n t o a c o n t a i n e r f u l l of e t h e r . " T h i s w a s S e r e n a ' s w a y of s h o w i n g m e j u s t h o w

useful

h e r d e l u s i o n w a s i n r e s o l v i n g t h e p r o b l e m of h o w to c r e a t e for h e r s e l f a m e n t a l s p a c e w i t h i n t h a t v i t a l l y

important

o r g a n ( h e r b r a i n ) ; h e r i n t r i n s i c f r a g i l i t y m a d e it i m p o s s i b l e f o r h e r to f a c e u p to l i f e ' s d i f f i c u l t i e s i n a w a y

compatible

w i t h h e r m e n t a l condition. A s h e r m i n d awoke, the ether s t a r t e d to e v a p o r a t e ; S e r e n a b e g a n to f e e l a n d t o t h i n k i n a creative way, t h o u g h the p o e m s s h e wrote w e r e filled w i t h i m m e n s e m e n t a l p a i n . H e r e x p e r i e n c e o f life w a s i m m e d i ­ a t e l y e n h a n c e d ; t i m e , w h i c h u s e d to b e p a r a l y s e d ,

began

o n c e m o r e to m o v e f o r w a r d ; a n d h e r s h e e r d e s i r e f o r life became so imperious that I h a d the impression s h e

was

t r y i n g to m a k e u p for l o s t t i m e . O n e day, while S e r e n a w a s i n the clinic, a n u r s e f o u n d h e r a t t e m p t i n g to c o m m i t s u i c i d e b y h a n g i n g . L a t e r , s h e d e c l a r e d t h a t s h e d i d t h i s b e c a u s e s h e w a n t e d to live. I n t h e f o l l o w i n g s e s s i o n , it b e c a m e c l e a r t h a t h e r d e s i r e f o r i m m e d i a c y i n life w a s s o u r g e n t t h a t s h e w a n t e d t o l i v e " a c e n t u r y i n five m i n u t e s " a n d t h e n d i e . L i k e A c h i l l e s , " s w i f t o f foot**, w h o c h o s e to l i v e a s h o r t b u t g l o r i o u s l i f e , S e r e n a wanted

to l i v e t h e life of a l e g e n d a r y

narcissistically destructive matter

how

arrogant

heroine,

however

it m i g h t t u r n o u t to b e .

t h e ego,

it m u s t f a c e t h e

No

painful

p r o b l e m of t o l e r a t i n g t h e p o s s i b i l i t y of c h a n g e . T h i s " c a t a ­ strophic

experience"

of e x i s t e n c e

bears

witness

to

the

i n t e n s i t y of s o m e s i t u a t i o n s of p s y c h o t i c l i b e r a t i o n . The

discovery

of i n s i g h t i s s o m e t i m e s

a

vertiginous

r e v e l a t i o n f o r t h e s e l f a s it a w a k e n s d u r i n g t h e p s y c h o a n a ­ lytic p r o c e s s a n d discovers or re-discovers its o w n m e n t a l space,

which had

hitherto been

denied

or i g n o r e d .

To

d i s c o v e r t h a t t h e r e i s a s p a c e for f e e l i n g a n d t h i n k i n g i s often e x p e r i e n c e d o n t h e p h e n o m e n o l o g i c a l level a s a v o i d

INTRODUCTION

7

or a bottomless pit. To acquire inner perspective, to lean inwards from our own window, can be like falling blindly into the unfamiliar dark abyss of unconscious reality. For Freud, self-observation calls on that part of the ego which during the psychoanalytic process can project itself into the psychoanalyst's eyes as into a mirror and then look upon itself, poised between fascination and pain. Bion used the term "vertex" to refer to the visual pyramid observing the intimacy of its own being, like the Aristotelian vo-oc; [nomos] looking down from on high at man's seemingly bottomless chasm. To reflect on insight is an experience of overwhelming emotional intensity. The soul for the ancient Greeks, the mind for Freud acquires wings when repression and denial are lifted, and it can either accept its condition of being intimately bound up with the body in a universal actuality (the mind and the body ego are two sides of the same coin), or it can leave the body and fly off to live its psychotic escapades through other bodies, personalities, or cosmological constellations (metempsychosis and metasomatosis) (Resnik, 1986). Melanie Klein's concept of projective identification contains an element of evasion and reaching out to other mental spaces in a gradient that goes from normal to pathological. The more persecutory or pathologically depressive a given life experience is, the greater the need to separate from our own body ego by splitting mind from body. Some degree of splitting is part of normal life— indeed, being constantly aware of one's body may itself be pathological, for example in hypochondria—but excessive splitting gives rise to complex psychopathological condi­ tions such as depersonalization or split personality and threatens the very unity of the self. In his A n Outline of Psycho-Analysis, Freud (1940a [1938]) wrote: "We assume that mental life is the function of an apparatus to which we ascribe the characteristics of

8

MENTAL SPACE

being extended i n space. . .

T h e psychic apparatus ex­

p a n d s to o c c u p y s p a c e a c c o r d i n g to t h e r h y t h m of e a c h encounter. T h e psychoanalytic

experience i s a

dialogue

w i t h reality, w h i c h requires the transference a n d i t s u p ­ h e a v a l s for i t s v e r y e x i s t e n c e . I n t h e t r a n s f e r e n c e , p a t i e n t a n d a n a l y s t face t h e m s e l v e s a n d e a c h

both

other—two

people i n dramatic encounter, two m i n d s c o m i n g

closer

yet r e m a i n i n g apart a n d observing not only the l a n d s c a p e of t h e other's m e n t a l

space

autoheterocontemplation. sympathy,

empathy,

metamorphoses

of

b u t also

that

of h i s o w n :

T h e psychoanalytic

dialogue,

a n t i p a t h y , a p a t h y — a l l a r e different

pathos

i n this

encounter

between

m e n t a l s p a c e s . B e t w e e n n a r c i s s i s m a n d t h e c a p a c i t y to tolerate o t h e r n e s s , t h e m o d e l s of c h i l d h o o d e m e r g e i n t h e t r a n s f e r e n c e . T h e p a r a s i t i c m o d e l , for e x a m p l e , i s g i v e n d r a m a t i c force i n t h e n e c e s s i t y for t h e o n e to live i n s i d e the m e n t a l s p a c e of t h e other, w h o i s to b e w h o l l y r e s p o n ­ sible for t h e t r e a t m e n t ;

the symbiotic model

expresses

itself a s reciprocal p a r a s i t i s m . Ontological i n s e c u r i t y d e ­ m a n d s that pathos be projected into the m e n t a l s p a c e of the other, w h i c h c a n t h e n be u s e d a s a nest. T h e inability to

inhabit

one's

metempsychotic

own mental need

space

(projective

gives

rise

identification)

to t h e to

take

p o s s e s s i o n of t h a t of t h e other. T o l i s t e n m e a n s to leave s p a c e for t h e o t h e r to s p e a k a n d t o a l l o w o n e s e l f to i n t r o j e c t h i s p r o j e c t i o n s . O n e o f m y patients, Miss Olga, complained that h e r mother

never

h a d a n y t i m e to l i s t e n to h e r o r a n y s p a c e for h e r , h e r h e a d was

s o full of television soap

ference,

operas. B u t i n the trans­

t h i s p a t i e n t quite often c o u l d n o t l i s t e n to m y

r e m a r k s because s h e w a s absent-minded (absent from h e r m i n d ) o r , p e r h a p s b e c a u s e s h e felt t h r e a t e n e d b y t h e e n v i ­ ronment, person.

afraid

to l e a v e

any space

open

for

another

INTRODUCTION

9

T h e role of the p s y c h o a n a l y s t i s to r e m e m b e r h i s e x ­ p e r t i s e a s a f o r m e r p a t i e n t a n d to h e l p h i s a n a l y s a n d (the alter

ego) a c q u i r e t h a t s a m e e x p e r t i s e . I n h i s c r a f t , t h e

a n a l y s t h a s to c a l l u p o n h i s k n o w l e d g e of t h e

workings

of h i s o w n m i n d ; h i s o w n m e n t a l s p a c e b e c o m e s

a re­

s e a r c h i n s t r u m e n t enabling h i m to get i n t o u c h with t h e cacophony of his patient's emotional experiences, or their eradication. P h i l o s o p h e r s a n d p s y c h o l o g i s t s h a v e t e n d e d to ignore the fact that there exists a space

outside t h e body; y e t

every body m u s t occupy space, a s P a u l S c h i l d e r (1935) a r g u e d i n h i s p i o n e e r i n g w o r k i n t h e field of p s y c h o a n a l y ­ sis. H e wrote of a primitive or primaeval space, n o t yet unified, w h i c h o n t h e emotional level i s expressed

prin­

c i p a l l y v i a b o d y a p e r t u r e s . It i s difficult to d e s c r i b e o n e ' s o w n s p a c e ; to differentiate b e t w e e n the d i s t a n c e s i n t e r n a l a n d e x t e r n a l objects o c c u p y w i t h r e s p e c t to o n e s e l f i s a complex subjective task. T h e cultural environment m a y refuse to recognize t h e spatial reality of the body i n its s e x u a l d i m e n s i o n o r a s a b o d y - t o m b [aco|ia-af||Lia: sema).

soma­

W h e n w e a c c e p t t h e i d e a of t h e b o d y , w e h a v e to

a c c e p t the fact t h a t it h a s b o u n d a r i e s ; the s p a c e i n w h i c h w e live i s l i m i t e d , a n d a t t h e e n d of t i m e w e c o m e u p a g a i n s t a w a l l . T o live i s to a c c e p t t h e p a s s a g e of t i m e a n d the finitude that i s our future. A n a x i m a n d e r , refuting the notion

of infinite

time

[cxjceipov:

apeiron],

p u t forward

the hypothesis that both space a n d time p o s s e s s form a n d l i m i t . I n h i s a t t e m p t to c o n c e i v e of t h e p r i m a r y f o r m of t h e b o d y a n d i t s e l e m e n t s (air, water,

a n d fire), h e b e c a m e

involved w i t h the form of time, n a t u r e , a n d the

cosmos—

t h a t i s , w i t h g e o g r a p h y a n d cosmology. H e w a s , i n fact, the world's first cartographer,

t h e first to give s h a p e to

r e a l i t y a n d to h i s t o r y . L a t e r , E m p e d o c l e s w a s to a d d t h e fourth element, earth. The universe w a s inhabited by u n ­

10

MENTAL SPACE

k n o w n forces called gods, w h o could take o n h u m a n or a n i m a l s h a p e i n the m y t h s . T h e u n i v e r s e of m y t h s i s like a c o l l e c t i o n o f f r a g m e n t s , p a r t s [^oipat: moirai]

of the global

s p a c e w h o s e e s s e n t i a l feature i s to b e l i n k e d together. In

Greek

and Roman

polytheism,

the gods are the

b e a r e r s of m a n ' s feelings. T h e u n c o n s c i o u s too i s f u n d a ­ mentally polytheist—we

need only consider its diversity

of a g r e e m e n t s a n d a n t a g o n i s m s . F o r F r e u d , t h e c a p a c i t y for belief a n d i d e a l i z a t i o n , for s a n c t i f y i n g t h e t h i n g s w e venerate a n d hold i n awe, i s part of the c a r t o g r a p h y a n d topology of t h e s t r u c t u r e

of t h e u n c o n s c i o u s . T h e ego

i d e a l ( a n i d e a l of oneself) s e a r c h e s for a n i d e a l ego (the Other). T h i s O t h e r , i n F r e u d ' s view, i s t h e father, b u t for M e l a n i e K l e i n — a s I a r g u e d in o n e o f m y a r t i c l e s ( R e s n i k , 1989)—it i s t h e m o t h e r . F r e u d s p o k e too of p a r t s o r p i e c e s or fragments of the m i n d

[Stiicken]

a s constituting a com­

plex t h r e e - d i m e n s i o n a l c a r t o g r a p h y of the p s y c h e . Melanie stereoscopic

Klein view

established

the third

of r e a l i t y — t h r o u g h

dimension—a

h e r notion of i n ­

t e r n a l o b j e c t s a n d a t h r e e - d i m e n s i o n a l ego l i v i n g w i t h i n t h e m e n t a l s p a c e of t h e i n t e r n a l w o r l d , a s o p p o s e d to t h e t w o - d i m e n s i o n a l c o n c e p t of a n i m a g e p r o j e c t e d onto t h e flat

surface of a s c r e e n . Similarly, i n t h e present book, I

attempt

to d e s c r i b e m e n t a l s p a c e

a s a geometrical a n d

p h y s i c a l reality that is constantly i n movement, same

w a y a s post-Euclidian geometry

conceives

i n the of a

t h r e e - d i m e n s i o n a l world evolving w i t h time—i.e. q u a d r i ­ d i m e n s i o n a l i t y . I n h i s b o o k , The Sets, we

Unconscious

as

Infinite

Ignacio Matte-Bianco (1975, p. 418) says that w h e n dream,

we contemplate

a multi-dimensional

world

w i t h eyes m a d e for three d i m e n s i o n s . T h e i d e a of m u l t i p l e d i m e n s i o n s c a m e to M a t t e B l a n c o t h r o u g h h i s r e a d i n g o f Freud's

dreams. W h e n we dream, we become

personalities, experiencing o u r adventures

multiple

i n time a n d

s p a c e s i m u l t a n e o u s l y t h r o u g h e a c h of the protagonists. I,

1 1

INTRODUCTION

too, s p e a k o f d r e a m s i n t h i s b o o k , for i n p s y c h o a n a l y s i s t h e i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of d r e a m s i s t h e r o y a l r o a d t h a n k s to w h i c h w e a r e able to familiarize o u r s e l v e s w i t h

reading

a n d u n d e r s t a n d i n g the m e s s a g e s of the u n c o n s c i o u s . It i s n o t e a s y t o a c c e p t

one's m e n t a l s p a c e , for t h e

laborious t a s k of memory, r e m i n i s c e n c e , a n d knowledge i n g e n e r a l i s b o u n d u p w i t h a feeling of m o u r n i n g , a s F r e u d a n d M e l a n i e K l e i n pointed out. O n e form of defence a g a i n s t t h e difficulty of a c c e p t i n g one's o w n i n n e r s p a c e a n d m u l t i p l i c i t y of b e i n g c o n s i s t s i n filling u p t h e a v a i l ­ able m e n t a l s p a c e — w i t h t h i n air, a v a c u u m , or even w i t h erudition. T h e paradox is that erudition a n d experience— e v e n in materia

b e u s e d to fill u p

psychoanalytica—can

the s p a c e for feeling a n d t h i n k i n g or a s a s m o k e - s c r e e n for r e f u s i n g to a c k n o w l e d g e i t s e x i s t e n c e . The illustrations i n this book are paintings a n d draw­ ings by established artists or by some

of m y p a t i e n t s .

T h e y a r e a n a t t e m p t to e n c o u r a g e t h e r e a d e r t o w a r d s a n aesthetic a n d sensori-perceptual experience of the u n c o n ­ s c i o u s . I a m grateful for t h i s m a t e r i a l a n d p a r t i c u l a r l y to m y p a t i e n t s for t h e help they gave m e i n fulfilling t h e difficult b u t e x c i t i n g t a s k I s e t myself. I began this introduction with some comments

about

a t m o s p h e r e , a b o u t b e i n g able to b r e a t h e o r feeling stifled, about

warm

a n d cold, w e t a n d d r y , a s a p p l i e d to t h e

m e n t a l s p a c e of o u r encounter. I close w i t h t h i s a c k n o w l ­ edgement,

that

when

something

i s too c o m p l e x a n d

difficult to m a k e intelligible w i t h w o r d s , t h e a r t i s t i s t h e r e to g i v e i t v i s u a l f o r m a n d c o n t e n t .

CHAPTER ONE

A space for psychoanalysis

I

i n t e n d t h i s c h a p t e r to b e a first a t t e m p t a t c r e a t i n g dialogue between u s , a n exchange of views

between

m y m e n t a l s p a c e a n d y o u r s i n o r d e r to generate

a

space between u s . I hope that the clinical material drawn from

my

practice

as

a

psychoanalyst,

together

with

s k e t c h e s m a d e b y s o m e of m y patients a n d p a i n t i n g s b y established

a r t i s t s , w i l l h e l p u s to g e t c l o s e r to t h o s e

aspects of o u r experience w h i c h , b e c a u s e they a r e i n t a n ­ gible, a r e difficult to s h a r e . F r e u d w a s fascinated b y the work of artists a n d poets, for h e b e l i e v e d t h e m to b e i n i n t u i t i v e c o n t a c t w i t h w h a t remains

concealed,

r e p r e s s e d , o r forgotten

i n everyday

life. O b v i o u s l y s o m e c o n s i d e r a t i o n m u s t b e g i v e n h e r e t o the

cultural context

theories—fin-de-siecle

in which

he w a s formulating h i s

V i e n n a — a n d to h i s t i e s w i t h t h e

i n t e l l e c t u a l a n d a r t i s t i c life o f t h e t i m e . I n h i s biography of F r e u d , E r n e s t J o n e s

(1953-1957)

relates that w h e n the philosopher L u d w i g Klages, a friend 13

14

MENTAL SPACE

o f F r e u d ' s , w a s a s k e d w h a t w a s t h e b e s t w a y to s t u d y a n d understand

Freud's

thinking,

he

replied:

"By

Freud." J o n e s himself says that the best way

reading

to

under­

s t a n d t h e h i s t o r i c a l d e v e l o p m e n t of F r e u d ' s t h e o r i e s i s to r e a d h i s writings i n chronological order. I recall that w h e n I began m y training in Argentina, students were required to r e a d F r e u d s e q u e n t i a l l y d u r i n g t h e i r f i r s t t h r e e y e a r s , in m u c h the s a m e w a y a s m e d i c a l students r e a d anatomy. Yet

reading a n d quoting from

a writer's work is

no

s i m p l e t a s k ; every r e a d i n g i s , i n itself, a n i n t e r p r e t a t i o n . W h e n e v e r I q u o t e F r e u d o r t h o s e of h i s p u p i l s w i t h w h o m I worked

in

London,

I cannot

avoid

interpreting;

my

m i n d , m y t h o u g h t s b r i n g t h e i r o w n i n f l u e n c e to b e a r o n the words

I r e a d . T h e text is a d o m a i n over w h i c h

my

t h o u g h t s a n d i n t e n t i o n s m e a n d e r to e x t r a c t a p a r t i c u l a r m e a n i n g , w h i c h I c a n t h e n offer for y o u r c o n s i d e r a t i o n ( i n B r e n t a n o ' s s e n s e of " i n t e n t i o n a l i t y " — w e k n o w t h a t F r e u d a t t e n d e d F r a n z B r e n t a n o ' s l e c t u r e s at the s a m e p e r i o d a s Husserl). We could say that in his own way F r e u d w a s w r i t e r , a poet;

s e e , for e x a m p l e ,

his "A Disturbance

a of

Memory on the Acropolis" (Freud, 1936a). T h e etymology of t h e w o r d "poetry" s h o w s u s its l i n k s w i t h c r e a t i o n a n d invention. F r e u d was a discoverer a n d explorer who tried to s e t d o w n w h a t h e e x p e r i e n c e d . H e a t t e m p t e d t o c o m ­ municate

what

he

had

discovered

through

m a t e r i a l a n d the p r a c t i c a l a p p l i c a t i o n of h i s

clinical

hypotheses.

H i s r e s e a r c h o n t h e a c t i v i t y o f t h e m i n d , t h e c o n c e p t of t h e u n c o n s c i o u s , the m e a n i n g of d r e a m s , and

psychopathology,

artistic creativity is intimately connected

not

only

w i t h h i s o w n e x p e r i e n c e o f life, b u t a l s o w i t h h i s c l i n i c a l p r a c t i c e . I , t o o , u s e c l i n i c a l m a t e r i a l i n o r d e r to s h a r e w i t h y o u m y o w n e x p e r i e n c e a s a p s y c h o a n a l y s t a n d to t r y t o a c q u a i n t y o u w i t h a c e r t a i n n u m b e r of t h e o r e t i c a l c o n ­ cepts that I consider essential.

15

A SPACE FOR PSYCHOANALYSIS B u t , first, w h a t things,

is theory?

of e x p e r i e n c i n g

G r e e c e , Gecopia [theoria]

It i s a w a y of l o o k i n g a t

certain phenomena.

I n ancient

m e a n t looking, seeing, observing,

hence, speculation. Festugiere, the

contemplating—and,

f a m o u s s c h o l a r of a n c i e n t G r e e c e , d e c l a r e d t h a t t h e p r i ­ m a r y m e a n i n g o f t h e w o r d Oecopia r e f e r s t o s e e i n g [Gecopelv; theorein],

l o o k i n g a t l a n d s c a p e s , a n d i m p l i e s t h e i d e a of

marvellous [theoroi]

(Festugiere,

i n the sense

1936).

Plato

refers

to

of e x p l o r a t o r y j o u r n e y s

Geopoi

to

far-off

lands a n d seas. If p h i l o s o p h y i s a reflective e x p e r i e n c e of c o n t e m p l a t ­ ing the world, the psychoanalytic adventure is a n internal c o n t e m p l a t i o n t h a t e n a b l e s u s to l o o k i n t o o u r s e l v e s a n d discover w h a t h a s been excluded from c o n s c i o u s n e s s . T o help u s do this, we require someone else, b e c a u s e

psy­

choanalysis is a n experience that concerns relationship. It i s t h i s t h a t m a k e s t h e n o t i o n of t r a n s f e r e n c e s o i m p o r ­ t a n t : s o m e t h i n g i s t r a n s f e r r e d f r o m o n e to t h e o t h e r , f r o m p a t i e n t to a n a l y s t a n d v i c e - v e r s a — w h a t i n p s y c h o a n a l y t i c terminology we call transference-countertransference. an

earlier book

(Resnik,

In

1986), I s u g g e s t e d t h e i d e a of

" d o u b l e t r a n s f e r e n c e " i n o r d e r to e m p h a s i z e t h e f a c t t h a t psychoanalysis

is a sphere

in which

each

protagonist

takes something from the other a n d induces something i n the other. B i o n , w i t h w h o m I t r a i n e d i n L o n d o n , u s e d to say

that

analyst

the way is very

in which

important;

the patient the further

perceives removed

the from

a u t h e n t i c i t y t h e p a t i e n t i s , t h e m o r e h e r e q u i r e s to d e ­ velop a semiology,

a code for d e c i p h e r i n g t h e o t h e r . It i s

i m p o r t a n t , t o o , f o r t h e p s y c h o a n a l y s t to u n d e r s t a n d h o w h e i s p e r c e i v e d ; h e n c e t h e i d e a of i n t e r - d e p e n d e n c e i n h e r ­ e n t i n t h e v e r y c o n c e p t of t h e r a p y . ( T h e t e r m " t h e r a p i s t " i s itself very

ancient;

i n ancient Greece,

the

"therapeuts"

w e r e t h o s e w h o t o o k c a r e of t h e g o d s . It a p p e a r s to d e s i g ­

16

MENTAL SPACE

n a t e s o m e of M o s e s ' s followers, b u t w a s a l s o a p p l i e d to the E s s e n i a n sect, the J e w i s h contemplative order at the t i m e of the S e c o n d T e m p l e , w h o s e

task was

to

provide

s u p p o r t a n d r e l i e f to a n y o n e i n d i f f i c u l t y . P h i l o o f A l e x a n ­ d r i a d e s c r i b e s t h e m a s a p a l e o - C h r i s t i a n sect.) T h e p s y c h o a n a l y t i c e x p e r i e n c e h a s to d o a l s o w i t h t h e i d e a o f i n v e s t i g a t i o n ; e a c h of u s h a s h i s o w n i n d i v i d u a l w o r l d , i n h a b i t e d b y a k i n d of i n t e r n a l f a m i l y , a u n i v e r s e of o b j e c t s to b e v i s i t e d d u r i n g t h e a n a l y s i s . M e n t a l and

i n t e r n a l w o r l d e x i s t o n l y if t h e w o r l d

space

c a n be

per­

c e i v e d a s h a v i n g t h r e e - d i m e n s i o n a l i t y (see L a p l a n c h e Pontalis, Isaacs,

1967,

s.v. "Phantasy**; s e e a l s o F e r e n c z i ,

1952). T h e psychotic

often

lives i n a

&

1909;

"deflated**

w o r l d , a flat l a n d s c a p e w i t h o u t h i l l s o r v a l l e y s , w i t h

no

s p a c e for e m o t i o n s or t h o u g h t s . F e e l i n g , t h i n k i n g , i m a g ­ ining—these

require

internal

illumination;

Paracelsus

d e c l a r e d t h a t t h e a b i l i t y to i m a g i n e w a s t h e s i g n t h a t a n internal s u n existed. T o r e t u r n to t h e q u e s t i o n o f t h e o r y a n d p r a x i s a n d o u r d i s c u s s i o n of t h e c o n c e p t o f t r a n s f e r e n c e : F r e u d w a s b o r ­ rowing a n idea from Plotinus a n d the neo-platonists w h e n h e r e f e r r e d to t h e m a n w i t h i n a n d to t h e i m p o s s i b i l i t y o f dissociating the i n n e r self from the external world. T h i s i s p r e c i s e l y w h e r e t h e i d e a of t r a n s f e r e n c e c o m e s of

this

dynamic

exchange

r e p r o d u c e d i n the dyadic

with

significant

c o n t e x t of t h e

in—part others

is

psychoanalytic

r e l a t i o n s h i p . W h a t w e c a l l "insight**, t h e c o n t e m p l a t i o n of our

inner world,

the

discovery

of w h a t

has

remained

h i d d e n from consciousness, is not something that o c c u r s i n i s o l a t i o n : i t i s i m p o s s i b l e to a n a l y s e o n e s e l f a s

though

a l l t h a t w e r e r e q u i r e d i s to l o o k i n a m i r r o r . F r e u d h i m s e l f e m p h a s i z e d t h e l i m i t a t i o n s of s e l f - a n a l y s i s . T h e mirror, however, is a n appropriate m e t a p h o r w h e n w e r e f e r to t h e d e v e l o p m e n t o f i m a g i n a t i o n . F o r W i n n i c o t t (1958b), the first m i r r o r we

know

is our mother's

face

A

S P A C E

F O R

17

P S Y C H O A N A L Y S I S

w h e n w e l o o k i n t o h e r e y e s ; it i s a v e r y s p e c i a l m i r r o r i n t h a t it r e f l e c t s n o t o n l y t h e b a b y h i m s e l f , b u t a l s o

what

the m o t h e r i s feeling. F o r M e l a n i e K l e i n , the c r e a t i o n of a n i m a g i n a r y w o r l d ( p s y c h i c reality) i s i n itself a r e l a t i o n s h i p experience, a n d the transference originates i n s u c h infan­ tile e x p e r i e n c e s i n t h e e a r l y s t a g e s of d e v e l o p m e n t 1952). T h e t e r m "transference",

as I have

(Klein,

pointed

out,

t a k e s o n a specific m e a n i n g i n the psychoanalytic setting, p r e c i s e l y b e c a u s e o f t h e f a c t t h a t it h a s to d o w i t h r e l a ­ t i o n s h i p . It i s for t h i s r e a s o n t h a t i n p s y c h o a n a l y s i s

the

c o n c e p t of m e n t a l s p a c e i s n o t s y n o n y m o u s w i t h i n t e r n a l w o r l d ; it i n c l u d e s the e x t e r n a l w o r l d a n d

interpersonal

communication with others. In the psychoanalytic experience, theory a n d practice are inter-dependent. W i t h i n this reciprocity, the analyst's craft

and

the

patient's

expertise

grow

together.

Meta­

p h o r i c a l l y s p e a k i n g , if p s y c h o a n a l y s i s i s a s k i l l (just like a n y o t h e r ) , t h e p a t i e n t , t o o , h a s a t a s k to d o , a n d h e h a s to l e a r n h o w t o d o i t . P s y c h o a n a l y s i s i s o n g o i n g t r a i n i n g , f u r t h e r e d u c a t i o n ; w h e n s o m e o n e s t r i v e s to b e t r u l y h i m ­ self i n h i s social, family,

or a c a d e m i c relationships, h e

h a s to d e v e l o p h i s o w n w a y o f d o i n g t h i n g s , n o t i m i t a t e others. F r o m t h a t point of view, a n a l y s i s i s a p r o c e s s

of

i d e n t i f i c a t i o n — I s h a l l c o m e b a c k l a t e r to t h i s h i g h l y c o m ­ plicated issue. T h e psychoanalytic relationship is not built s i m p l y o n t h e w o r d s s p o k e n ; it i n c l u d e s t h e a t m o s p h e r e

generated

b y a c e r t a i n type of p r e s e n c e . G o o d t h i n g s a n d b a d t h i n g s are deployed,

depending on whether the atmosphere

o n e of e m p a t h y

or of a n t i p a t h y — b u t

a b s e n c e o f pathos,

if t h e r e i s

is

apathy,

t h e n there c a n be no m o v e m e n t ,

and

nothing c a n occur. R e a c h i n g out towards

someone

for t h e f i r s t t i m e , i n

t h e first s e s s i o n , c r e a t e s a k i n d of t e n s i o n . A

transference

fantasy is already t a k i n g s h a p e a s the patient m a k e s h i s

18

MENTAL SPACE

w a y to t h e a n a l y s t ' s ( i n t h e s t r e e t , t h e c a f e , t h e b a n k ) . T h e a n a l y s t a l s o e x p e r i e n c e s s o m e d e g r e e of t e n s i o n , a n e x ­ pectancy,

a countertransference fantasy—somewhere

on

the far side of t h e transference, or o n the other side of t h e street. T h e horizon i s some

distance

a w a y , b u t it m a y

s u d d e n l y close i n — w e call t h i s r e s i s t a n c e , fear, o r anxiety, i n o n e o r t h e o t h e r of t h e p r o t a g o n i s t s . T h e voice o n t h e telephone

asking

for a n a p p o i n t m e n t ,

the voice

that

a n s w e r s , t h e e x c h a n g e of l e t t e r s — a l l t h i s c r e a t e s a c o n ­ text i n w h i c h s o m e t h i n g i s a l r e a d y b e i n g e x c h a n g e d , it i s p a r t of t h e a n t i c i p a t i o n f r o m w h i c h a r e l a t i o n s h i p i s b o r n . T h e first s e s s i o n i s a n u n v e i l i n g , t h e b i r t h of s o m e t h i n g n e w , a n exclusive relationship that will develop

through

t i m e i n t h e a n a l y s i s . A n t i c i p a t i o n g i v e s r i s e to a n i l l u s i o n , i.e.

p r o j e c t i o n of e x p e c t a t i o n

a n d c r e a t i o n of a n i d e a l .

O n c e a g a i n w e c a n t u r n to W i n n i c o t t a n d h i s p r i m a r y hallucination—the "hallucinated breast",

a s opposed

to

the m o t h e r a s a p r e s e n t a n d whole object. T h e c o n c e p t s of i d e a l ego a n d ego i d e a l w e r e d e v e l o p e d b y F r e u d i n " O n N a r c i s s i s m : A n Introduction" (1914c).

Narcissistic satis­

f a c t i o n r e q u i r e s t h e ego i d e a l to b e a c c o m p l i s h e d i n t h e i d e a l e g o . T h e ego i d e a l c o n s t r u c t s a n i m a g e o r m o d e l — t h e i d e a l e g o — a t a r g e t t h a t i t a t t e m p t s t o a t t a i n . T h e ego i d e a l i s a l w a y s o n t h e l o o k - o u t for a " s u p e r i o r " or " a g g r a n d i z e d " i m a g e w i t h w h i c h to d i s g u i s e i t s e l f o r to identify. A t f i r s t , t h i s i m a g e i s n a r c i s s i s t i c , a n d t h e s u p r e m a c y of n a r c i s ­ sism, the supremacy

of a n a b s o l u t e

and

homogeneous

i d e n t i t y p r i n c i p l e , m a k e s i t d i f f i c u l t to a c k n o w l e d g e

the

o t h e r i n h i s o w n right; e x p e c t a t i o n s of h i m a n d i d e a l i z e d projections onto h i m m a y not coincide w i t h w h a t h e r e a l l y is. A u t h e n t i c dialogue m u s t be founded o h the recognition that

every

encounter

is

necessarily

asymmetrical;

in

a c c e p t i n g t h a t t h e o t h e r i s different f r o m m e , I d i s c o v e r t h e reality of m y basic solitude (Winnicott,

1958a).

19

A SPACE FOR PSYCHOANALYSIS Given

the structure

of t h e s i t u a t i o n ,

the

psycho­

analytic p r o c e s s i s a voyage between illusion a n d disillu­ s i o n . F o r a n a l y s t a n d p a t i e n t to w o r k t o g e t h e r e v e n w h e n there is disagreement or w h e n the transference i s n e g a ­ tive, t h e a n a l y t i c p r o c e s s r e q u i r e s a setting, a s p a c e ,

a

theatre i n w h i c h the unexpected a n d the problematic m a y be w o r k e d out. Fixing

a time

a n d a place

for t h e s e s s i o n s

brings

to m i n d t h e i d e a of " f i e l d w o r k * * — a c o n c e p t m a d e f a m i l i a r b y t h e topological w r i t i n g s of K u r t L e w i n ( 1 9 6 3 ) . was

a p u p i l of S t u m p f , w h o h a d w o r k e d w i t h

T h e n o t i o n o f "field** b e l o n g s

Lewin

Einstein.

o r i g i n a l l y to t h e w o r l d of

p h y s i c s , Faraday*s experiments, a n d Maxwell's theory of e l e c t r o m a g n e t i s m . T o b o r r o w t h e i d e a of field f r o m tromagnetic when

theory,

w e c a n s a y that every

it i s e x p e r i e n c e d

as

a void,

space,

possesses

elec­ even

its o w n

specific identity a n d quality. E i n s t e i n h i m s e l f pointed out that D e s c a r t e s w a s correct: v a c u u m is also presence. T h e e x p r e s s i o n " f i e l d work** i s a m e t a p h o r d e r i v e d f r o m ethnology a n d anthropology,

a n d a s s u c h w a s f a m i l i a r to

F r e u d (1912-13). Minkowski, w h o m F r e u d quotes, intro­ d u c e d t h e i d e a of r e a c h i n g o u t t o w a r d s t h e other o n h i s own home ground (Malinowski, 1964;

see also

Kaberry,

1963; Malinowski, 1944). T h e m e t a p h o r s F r e u d borrowed from other sciences—for example, from a typical component

archaeology—are

of t h e t r a n s f e r e n c e

"field**,

though

s o m e t i m e s discreetly; p s y c h o a n a l y s i s i s a k i n d of a r c h a e ­ o l o g y t h a t e x p l o r e s t h e ^oyoc;

[logos]

o f t h e ctp%rj

[arkhe]—a

quest directed towards the ancient a n d primitive, begin­ nings a n d origins. "Field

work**

is

a

notion

employed

in

American

psychiatry, especially by practitioners influenced by psy­ c h o a n a l y t i c t h e o r i e s ( S u l l i v a n et a l . ) , a n d i n A r g e n t i n a . E n r i q u e P i c h o n - R i v i e r e ( 1 9 7 5 ) u s e d to s a y t h a t o n c l o s e r

20

MENTAL SPACE

examination of the very first meeting with a patient, we can see that all the essential imaginary ingredients both of the nervous disorder and of its cure were already present, together with the primitive or in-fantile patterns of object relations. The idea of rhythm or tempo must also be taken into account. Rhythm requires discontinuity and pauses, and pauses are unavoidable "little deaths". A state of flux, "to become** (Heraclitus), is important, but it is just as crucial to stand still, "to be** (Parmenides), in order to take stock and reflect on the itinerary. Even if a pause is experienced as a loss, as something missing, as a mourning, it is also the ability to accept difference in the real world. The setting, the space of the relationship, concerns the format of the psychoanalytic work. The patient is heedful not only of the surroundings and of the content of the analyst's comments, but also of the feelings the ana­ lyst communicates to him. If what we say corresponds to what we feel, even though the words may not be quite right or to the point, that is perfectly sound practice; but if there is conflict between our words and our feelings, the patient will introject a split image. Therein lies the com­ plexity of the psychoanalytic situation; the unexpected is part of the psychoanalytic adventure, as in every other creative activity. I think that the greatest quality a patient can acquire after a long time in analysis is ego flexibility, the ability to invent and create the analyst each time. A common language is constructed out of words and gesture, an atmosphere in which communication becomes possible (or, perhaps, impossible); there is presence, too, and a persona, corporeality, ways of behaving or of pretending that each of us possesses. "Reality, the unexpected**, said Henri Maldiney.

A SPACE FOR PSYCHOANALYSIS

I r e m e m b e r a story a b o u t Italo C a l v i n o . I h a d

21

asked

h i m to t a k e p a r t i n a s y m p o s i u m o n c r e a t i v i t y i n V e n i c e . He

replied, "I a m

inventing book."

the

The

busy

novelist

teaching

w i t h the w o r k who

of

is going

theory

and

of c r e a t i n g

to

write

my

next

is

pro­

technique

v i s i o n a l ; I, a n e x p e r i e n c e d p s y c h o a n a l y s t

and

of m a n y

years*

s t a n d i n g , c a n n o t foresee t h e l a n g u a g e t h a t w i l l flow

be­

t w e e n a patient a n d myself, n o r the role or roles I s h a l l be c a l l e d u p o n to e m b r a c e o v e r a n d b e y o n d m y t r u e s e l f . These book:

considerations

mental space,

lead me

a n attempt

thinking about what

to t h e

theme

to r e c l a i m a

i s p e r c e i v e d , a locus

of

this for

locus

that is

often

t r a n s f o r m e d or e m p t i e d or o b s t r u c t e d or deflated. B i o n , s p e a k i n g a b o u t t r a n s f e r e n c e , u s e d to s a y : " W h e n we s p e a k from w i t h i n the transference, we bear w i t n e s s . " I n t h i s i n t i m a t e e n c o u n t e r w e c a l l p s y c h o a n a l y s i s , if the couple formed by patient a n d analyst are successful

in

t h e i r a t t e m p t to w o r k t o g e t h e r , t h e n s e e i n g , l i s t e n i n g , a n d p e r c e i v i n g w i t h a l l of o u r s e n s e o r g a n s b e c o m e

possible.

E v e n w h e n m i s t a k e s o c c u r , w e c a n still c o m m u n i c a t e , for t h e a b i l i t y t o t o l e r a t e e r r o r i m p l i e s t h e c a p a c i t y to a c c e p t s o m e degree of u n c e r t a i n t y . With

these

topics

in

mind—rebirth,

birth

of

self­

k n o w l e d g e , field w o r k — p a t i e n t a n d a n a l y s t e n d e a v o u r to construct

a framework

to w h i c h w e

give the

technical

n a m e "setting", a resourceful a n d enterprising workshop. Field, setting, c o n s t r u c t i n g analytic space, the r h y t h m at w h i c h t h e w o r k w i l l be d o n e — a l l are a s p e c t s of t h e a n a ­ lytic contract,

which,

like every

contract,

requires

two

parties. In

the

following

chapters,

I draw

on material

from

s e s s i o n s w i t h m y p a t i e n t s : t h i s is m y w a y of i n v i t i n g y o u i n t o m y w o r k s h o p , e v e n i f o n l y f o r a s h o r t t i m e . I t r y to c o m m u n i c a t e s o m e i d e a of the w a y I w o r k , a n d f r o m t h e s e

22

MENTAL SPACE

c l u e s y o u w i l l b e a b l e to b u i l d u p a n i m a g e , a n i m a g i n a r y picture

of a

relationship between

two

people.

Perhaps

q u e s t i o n s o f t h e o r y a n d p r a c t i c e w i l l s p r i n g to m i n d ; t h i s , i n t u r n , w i l l e n a b l e u s to o p e n u p a s p a c e

together,

a

s p a c e i n w h i c h w e c a n a t t e m p t to c o m m u n i c a t e a n d to build our own little—or big—workshop.

CHAPTER TWO

A space for thinking

I

n

this chapter

I hesitated

over

I discuss this

some

in chapter

clinical material. one

because

it

w a s o u r initial contact, a n d we first h a d to get to

know

e a c h other. R e a c h i n g out from oneself

towards

the other a l w a y s entails a risk: i n t e r p e r s o n a l contact i s indispensable but hazardous. T h e a n a l y t i c experience itself c a n be regarded a s being replete w i t h r i s k , insofar a s w h a t m a y o c c u r i s a l w a y s different a n d u n e x p e c t e d . G i v e n the m a g n i t u d e of c o n ­ scious

and

unconscious

variables

in

operation,

it

r e q u i r e s , a s I have s a i d , great stability, w h i c h i s w h y I have e m p h a s i z e d the idea of the t h e r a p e u t i c setting, the p s y c h o a n a l y t i c s i t u a t i o n , a n d the developmental h i s t o r y of the e n c o u n t e r w i t h i n the p s y c h o a n a l y t i c p r o c e s s . T h e n o t i o n s of s p h e r e , setting, p s y c h o a n a l y t i c s p a c e , a n d c o n s t r u c t i o n of place a n d r h y t h m for the w o r k of

23

24

MENTAL SPACE

psychoanalysis

are

the

fundamental

elements

of

the

t h e r a p e u t i c contract. A good contract, j u s t a s i n fair play, m e a n s that y o u c a n m a k e the r u l e s clear d u r i n g imple­ mentation;

it i s c r e a t i v e ,

meaning

that

technique

and

s c h o o l s of t h o u g h t a r e l e s s i m p o r t a n t t h a n s t y l e a n d p e r ­ s o n a l e t h i c s . L i v i n g i n a c o n t r a c t u a l society, we n e e d to r e a c h a g r e e m e n t a b o u t r u l e s , b u t we h a v e to leave

some

opening

each

for

inventing those

most

appropriate

to

case. T h e w o r d s we u s e m u s t , at least metaphorically, r e a c h out towards the patient's o w n language i n the s a m e that i n child a n a l y s i s the words are the play

way

sequences

t h e c h i l d b r i n g s to h i s s e s s i o n . I n t h e t h e r a p y i t i s e s s e n ­ t i a l f o r t h e a n a l y s t to m a i n t a i n a p l a y f u l ego, w h i c h r e a c h o u t to t h a t of t h e p a t i e n t , e v e n t h o u g h t h e

can

latter

m a y be limited, p a r a l y s e d , or u n r e s p o n s i v e . L e t m e s a y a few w o r d s n o w a b o u t L i l i a n e . S h e is a n intelligent a n d very sensitive w o m a n ,

but

fragile. M y i m p r e s s i o n w a s t h a t s h e w a s not v e r y h a p p y i n h e r e m o t i o n a l life, b u t a s f a r a s I c o u l d j u d g e s h e w a s n o t p s y c h o t i c , a n d t h i s i s w h y I w a n t to s t a r t w i t h h e r

case

m a t e r i a l . I n K l e i n i a n theory, the difference b e t w e e n

psy­

c h o s i s a n d n o n - p s y c h o s i s is relative, i n t h a t a n a l y s t s do a lot of w o r k w i t h the p s y c h o t i c n u c l e u s i n e a c h

patient,

a n d with both psychotic and neurotic transference

phe­

nomena. Liliane suffered from neurotic s y m p t o m s

and

behav­

iour disorders. S h e h a d a teenage daughter with

whom

s h e h a d a good relationship, a n d she w a s separated from her husband. I n o u r f i r s t m e e t i n g s h e t o l d m e s h e f o u n d it d i f f i c u l t t o t h i n k a n d to d o a n y t h i n g c r e a t i v e w i t h h e r life; s h e

felt

d e s t i t u t e i n s i d e , a n d , a b o v e a l l , s h e w a n t e d to b e a b l e t o e x p e r i e n c e s o m e k i n d of p l e a s u r e . S h e h a d g r e a t difficulty in

enjoying

h e r s e l f or e v e n

i n feeling p l e a s e d ,

both

in

A SPACE FOR THINKING

25

everyday things s u c h a s looking at a painting a n d i n her personal and professional relationships. L i l i a n e g a v e m e t h e i m p r e s s i o n of b e i n g v e r y t e n s e : s h e would walk in a hurried and bustling manner. Occasion­ ally a s m i l e w o u l d light u p h e r face, b u t o n the w h o l e s h e looked s a d

and

depressed;

her features

would

harden

f r o m t i m e to t i m e . I b e l i e v e i t i s i m p o r t a n t to d e s c r i b e t h e d e m e a n o u r a n d a t t i t u d e s of a p a t i e n t . A s y o u k n o w , i n F r e u d ' s first c l i n ­ ical case-study

he

describes the body language

of

his

patient; it i s o n l y later i n the a n a l y s i s , w h e n h e e x p l a i n s her psychotic ritual, that this aspect diminishes in impor­ t a n c e a n d h e n o l o n g e r h a s to l o o k a t h e r . I n h e r sixth session, Liliane, lying on the c o u c h , said a f t e r a l o n g s i l e n c e : " I h a v e n o t h i n g to s a y . . ." a n d ,

after

a f u r t h e r p a u s e : "I w o r k v e r y h a r d , a n d I h a v e n o t i m e for t h i n k i n g . " S h e h a d already told m e i n a previous s e s s i o n : "The

time

some

I have

for

thinking is

employed

to

other purpose." T h i s is a characteristic aspect

always

of

our c u l t u r e — k e e p i n g ourselves very "busy" i n our every­ d a y life. T h i s i s h o w w e fill u p s p a c e ; a s p a c e t h a t a t t i m e s we cannot put up with. I n m y view, this m a y

culminate

i n a p h o b i a o f e x i s t e n c e , of o u r i n n e r w o r l d , o f o u r u n ­ c o n s c i o u s . L i l i a n e a l w a y s h a d s o m e t h i n g to do a n d

was

kind

be­

unable comes

to t o l e r a t e

any

of p a u s e .

of r h y t h m , t h a t f u n d a m e n t a l

What,

then,

e l e m e n t of t i m e , if

there is no lull, no h i a t u s ? Liliane

was

so

involved

with

external

demands

on

h e r that s h e h a d no private space inside; I h a d the feeling t h a t h e r i n n e r m o s t s p a c e w a s a l w a y s " o c c u p i e d " , full of " n o t h i n g to s a y " . Noticing

a

certain

coolness

in

Liliane's

way

of

s p e a k i n g , I a s k e d h e r about h e r feelings. S h e a n s w e r e d : "I feel

cold

inside",

adding:

"Sometimes

I feel

anxious."

I w o n d e r e d w h a t s h e m e a n t b y " a n x i o u s " , a n d s h e t r i e d to

26

MENTAL SPACE

e x p l a i n . P u t t i n g h e r h a n d to h e r b r e a s t , a feeling of discomfort,

she said: "It's

a n d it frightens m e . I h a v e t h e

impression that I can't control it." T h e r e i s angor i n h e r ( i n F r e n c h , I t a l i a n , a n d S p a n i s h , t h e t e r m c o r r e s p o n d s l i t e r a l l y to " a n g u i s h " r a t h e r t h a n to " a n x i e t y " ; F r e u d ' s o w n G e r m a n t e r m , Angst, ang

h a s the root

[to t i g h t e n ] , w h i c h i s r e l a t e d to t h e L a t i n angor [ p a i n ] ;

Melanie K l e i n s p e a k s of "early anxiety", a n d s h e u s e s the expression "depressive anxiety"—Klein, 1975). T h i s i sthe transient

distress that we a l l experience,

b u t Liliane's

behaviour s h o w s that s h e i s i n a q u a s i - p e r m a n e n t state of anxiety a n d apprehension. There is a semiological ence between a n g u i s h a n danxiety. "Anxiety" f r o m t h e L a t i n arvdetas,

f r o m awaits

differ­

i s derived

a n d angere

[to c a u s e

pain] a n d i s a general description of a n individual's state of being.

"Anguish"

comes

from

angustia

c o n s t r i c t i o n ! a n d , a s t h e G e r m a n Angst

[narrowness, hasa

specific

physical significance. Liliane's

demeanour

then

changed,

a n d what w a s

w o r r y i n g h e r c h a n g e d too: n o w s h e w a s d i s t r e s s e d b y h e r work. Liliane w a s a reader i n a publishing house, a n ds h e wrote short commentaries o n various authors. S h e longed for t h e a p p r e c i a t i o n o f h e r s u p e r i o r , b u t h e w a s o f t e n l e s s t h a n e n t h u s i a s t i c a b o u t h e r p r o d u c t i o n s . I felt t h a t t h i s w a s h e r w a y of t r a n s f e r r i n g to a n o t h e r context t h a t w a s , i n fact,

taking place

(1893) described transference

something

inside herself.

Charcot

a s b e i n g r e l a t e d to b o d y

p h e n o m e n a , i n w h i c h a s y m p t o m refers to a n d i s a s s o c i ­ ated w i t h another, within the s a m e body. F r e u d borrowed the notion from Charcot, b u t i n a n intra-psychic, intra­ s o m a t i c s e n s e , a n d extended it to cover v a r i o u s forms of interpersonal relationships. Liliane expressed h e r personal problems a s if they be­ longed to h e r place of w o r k . After a p a u s e , s h e a s k e d : " D o y o u u n d e r s t a n d m e ? " I replied: "It s e e m s difficult for y o u

27

A SPACE FOR THINKING

to k n o w if w h a t y o u e x p r e s s , w h a t y o u ' p u b l i s h * , w i l l b e a p p r o v e d of or u n d e r s t o o d b y m e , the t h e r a p i s t - s u p e r i o r . * * T h i s i s a good e x a m p l e of m y w a y

of t h i n k i n g

a n d translating m y interlocutor's thoughts Melanie Klein taught me

to u s e

and

about

feelings;

in a n imaginative

way

the word-plays the patient expresses d u r i n g the s e s s i o n . Liliane u s e d the term "publish**—i.e. m a k i n g p u b l i c w h a t i s p r i v a t e a n d s e c r e t for h e r — h e n c e m y u s e of t h e

same

w o r d . I n s u p e r v i s i o n w i t h B i o n , I l e a r n e d to r e s p e c t

the

w o r d s u s e d b y t h e p a t i e n t a n d n o t to a l t e r t h e m w i t h o u t due cause. A f t e r a f u r t h e r p a u s e , L i l i a n e a d d e d : "I a m a l w a y s t i r e d a n d I h a v e t o m a k e a n effort to e x p r e s s m y s e l f , t o t r a n s ­ late w h a t I a m f e e l i n g . " S h e told m e of h e r l e t h a r g y h e r feeling of m e n t a l a n d p h y s i c a l s l u g g i s h n e s s .

and

Lethargy

a n d s l u g g i s h n e s s are often e x p r e s s i o n s of " s o m a t i c "

de­

p r e s s i o n , to b o r r o w a t e r m P i e r r e J a n e t ( 1 9 0 9 ) u s e d i n h i s d e s c r i p t i o n of p s y c h a s t h e n i a . Then,

from

the

soma

[body],

Liliane

touched

her

h e a d — a n a t t e m p t , i n m y v i e w , to t r a n s f e r w h a t s h e

ex­

p e r i e n c e d i n h e r b o d y to h e r m i n d : t h i s i s w h a t t h i n k i n g i s a l l a b o u t . S h e a d d e d : " M y h e a d i s full of p o l i t i c a l o p i n ­ i o n s , of t h i n g s I h a v e r e a d i n n e w s p a p e r s a n d m a g a z i n e s . B u t y o u can*t k e e p t h e s e t h i n g s i n y o u r m i n d , t h e y d i s ­ appear,

blown

away

by

the wind.

..."

If these

things

could be swept a w a y i n the wind, they are probably

mere

snippets t a k e n from newspapers a n d not real ideas.

She

c o n t i n u e d : " T h e w i n d s w e e p s a w a y a l l m y e n e r g y too; a n d I feel destitute w i t h o u t m e n t a l

energy."

H e r e w e h a v e a n o p p o r t u n i t y to d i s c u s s a t h e o r e t i c a l problem. The word

"energy"

evepTEia [ e n : i n ; ergon:

the

Greek

work], a n d exists i n both

is derived from

active

a n d passive forms, a s F r e u d pointed out in his d i s c u s s i o n of t h e i d e a of i n s t i n c t u a l d r i v e s . A s w e k n o w , F r e u d

was

influenced by Helmholtz a n d the scientific postulates

of

28

MENTAL SPACE

h i s d a y o n c o n s e r v a t i o n a n d t r a n s f o r m a t i o n of energy. I n " I n s t i n c t s a n d their Vicissitudes**, F r e u d (1915c)

An Outline of Psycho­

to t h e n o t i o n o f e n e r g y ,

and in

analysis

he uses

(1940a

[1938]),

alludes

the expression,

"the

e n e r g y of t h e d e s t r u c t i v e instinct**, i n a w a y t h a t i m p l i e s the i d e a of d e g r a d a t i o n of energy. In h i s 1915

paper,

F r e u d (1915c) distinguishes

tween "self-preservative

be­

instincts** a n d " s e x u a l i n s t i n c t s " .

L a t e r , s t i l l a d h e r i n g to a d u a l i s t i c v i e w , h e i n t r o d u c e d t h e h y p o t h e s i s o f "life** a n d "death** i n s t i n c t s . F r e u d w a s p r o b ­ ably

influenced

Empedocles

here

when

by

Greek

discussing

philosophy: the

classic

he

quotes

polarization

b e t w e e n love a n d h a t e . T h e r e a r e m a n y o t h e r i n t e r e s t i n g dualities—for

the

example,

distinction

Thales

makes

hot a n d cold. T h i s is even more primitive a n d

between

m i g h t evoke certain regressive a s p e c t s of t h e transference, b e t w e e n " h o t a n d cold** o r b e t w e e n " d r y a n d w e t " , a s i n a new-born child. In

Empedocle dAgrigente

y

Romain

Rolland

(1931)

wrote of "original fissure i n p r i m e v a l c h a o s " , to w h i c h I referred i n m y book on the psychotic experience 1986).

Symmetrical

transforms "vortex**

inert

pressure

chaos

as a metaphor

m o n language laboratory

into

by

two

a vortex.

for t h e a t t e m p t

(Resnik,

opposite

forces

I use the

word

to f i n d a

com­

t h a t w i l l e n a b l e u s to b u i l d o u r l i n g u i s t i c

together.

T o r e t u r n to o u r c l i n i c a l m a t e r i a l : L i l i a n e w a s t e l l i n g m e o f h e r l a c k of energy, a n d a t t h e s a m e t i m e of t h e g r e a t e x c i t e m e n t s h e felt i n h e r w o r k e n v i r o n m e n t : " I f e e l m e n ­ tally destitute, yet I a m n e v e r c a l m . " T h i n k i n g b a c k to t h e s i l e n c e w i t h w h i c h t h e s e s s i o n b e g a n , I r e a l i z e d h o w diffi­ c u l t i t w a s f o r L i l i a n e to t o l e r a t e p a u s e s a t t h e b e g i n n i n g of a s e s s i o n . " I a m a l w a y s excited. I c a n n o t r e a d quietly. I am

not

very

easy-going

nor

accommodating."

L i l i a n e s h o w e d h e r c a p a c i t y for self-observation,

Here, project­

A SPACE FOR THINKING

2 9

i n g o u t o f h e r s e l f t h a t p a r t o f h e r ego w h i c h i s b e g i n n i n g to e x p l o r e h e r m e n t a l s p a c e . " I a m t o o d e m a n d i n g

with

m y s e l f " , s h e w e n t o n , "too h a r s h , like m y m o t h e r . " H e r e , the i d e a of a s u p e r e g o figure c o m e s into the t r a n s f e r e n c e , a m e n t a l image of a n exacting m a t e r n a l superego. F r e u d wrote of the p a t e r n a l superego, while Klein introduced t h e notion of the m a t e r n a l which

emerges

d u r i n g t h e first y e a r

Melanie

superego,

of childhood. T h e

superego i s s o h a r s h d u r i n g t h i s first y e a r b e c a u s e it i s i n d i s s o l u b l y l i n k e d to the d e a t h instinct. T h e b a b y h a s to get r i d o f t h i s d r i v e i n o r d e r to live, b e c a u s e a

destructive

agent,

b u t i n s o doing,

it i s s u c h

h i s environment

becomes tinted with this destructive a n d persecutory i n ­ t e n t i o n a l i t y ; a t t h e s a m e t i m e , t h e life i n s t i n c t t a k e s o n a l l the aspects of a positive, syntonic a n d relational capabil­ ity. I o u g h t a t t h i s p o i n t to d i s t i n g u i s h b e t w e e n

"destruc­

tive" a n d "aggressive". T h e verb "to aggress" s u g g e s t s t h e i d e a of " g o i n g t o w a r d s the o t h e r " [from the L a t i n (ad + gradior),

adgredior

m e a n i n g "to go i n t o " , "to go t o w a r d s " , " t o

go u p t o " , " t o a p p r o a c h " ] . F r e u d a t o n e p o i n t

suggested

that the death instinct contained the n e c e s s a r y degree of aggressive

energy for development of the child's p s y c h o ­

m o t o r a p t i t u d e s . I n other w o r d s , a s M e l a n i e K l e i n w a s to point o u t , aggressive enables

force,

transformation

Thanatos

into

a

when

combined

of the destructive

constructive

capability,

with

Eros,

power

of

"ad-gressive"

e n e r g y p r o m p t i n g t h e i n d i v i d u a l to go t o w a r d s t h e o t h e r . F o r Melanie Klein, the superego i s not a static agent; it i s a d y n a m i c function w i t h potential for development "I often feel l i k e m y m o t h e r " , s a i d L i l i a n e . " M y m o t h e r h a s entered into m e , a n d w h e n I look i n t h em i r r o r , it's h e r reflection I see i n m y face a n d i n m y m o v e m e n t s . " W e have

to a d m i t

already

that

Liliane i s n o ordinary patient; s h e

h a s considerable

"insight".

What

does

Liliane

30

MENTAL SPACE

m e a n w h e n s h e says that w h e n s h e looks i n a mirror, she recognizes her mother's features? W h i c h internalized m a t e r n a l object t a k e s h o l d of the m i c r o p h o n e a n d s p e a k s i n place of L i l i a n e ? I n the semiology of the

transference,

w e m u s t a l w a y s b e attentive to c h a n g e s o f v o i c e a n d a s k o u r s e l v e s w h o really i s s p e a k i n g inside the patient, w h o i s r e m a i n i n g silent a n d watching w h a t is going on. "I a l w a y s h a v e a p h o t o g r a p h of m y m o t h e r w i t h m e " , added

Liliane. "I have

n o p a r t i c u l a r love for h e r , b u t I

can't h e l p it, a n d I don't k n o w w h y . "

After a

pause—a

p a u s e for reflection, to m y m i n d ; t h e r e a r e p a u s e s

that

are more like interruptions or b r e a k s a n d others that a r e links

a n d connections—Liliane added:

c a l l e d My Mother,

"I read

a

book

My Self, b y a n A m e r i c a n w r i t e r [ F r i d a y ,

19771. W h e n I w a s 15, I w a n t e d t o d i s t a n c e m y s e l f f r o m m y m o t h e r , to b e a m i l l i o n l i g h t - y e a r s f r o m h e r , to b e o n the other side of the world from h e r — b u t , i n the end, I ' m still t h e r e w i t h h e r ! " S h e w a s referring b o t h to h e r i n t e r n a l i m a g e of h e r m o t h e r a n d to t h e p h o t o g r a p h s h e h a d i n h e r purse. "Maybe this i s a n identification?" s h e asked. I r e ­ p l i e d t h a t I p r e f e r r e d n o t to a n s w e r t h a t q u e s t i o n a s s u c h , but encouraged

h e r to t h i n k a n d t a l k a b o u t i t . " I d o n ' t

w a n t b e a s h a r s h a n d a s powerful a s s h e is, b u t m a y b e I j u s t h a v e to b e ? " S h e told m e that h e r mother w a s very s t e r n w i t h her; t h i s i s L i l i a n e ' s i m a g e of h e r m o t h e r . S h e a d d e d : " I h a d to become years

tough

after

m y brother's

death;

h e w a s four

old, a n d it w a s a very painful time." Liliane w a s

eight y e a r s o l d w h e n h e died, a n d today it i s a s t h o u g h she

were

dragging

a n emptiness

along

with

h e r or

inside her, a t o k e n of her dead brother. " I r e m e m b e r that m y father cried, m y m o t h e r didn't, a n d a s for m e , I j u s t don't know. I c r y sometimes, especially w h e n I t h i n k of m y old mother. I t h i n k I ' m feeling l e s s cold now." I n t h e c o u n t e r t r a n s f e r e n c e I c o u l d feel t h a t h e r w a y o f s p e a k i n g

31

A SPACE FOR THINKING

w a s n o t a s c o l d a s it h a d b e e n a t t h e b e g i n n i n g o f t h e session. T h i s t a k e s m e b a c k to t h e m a t t e r o f t h e o r e t i c a l i n f l u ­ ences on Freud. He was undoubtedly inspired by Carnot's i d e a s o n t h e t r a n s f o r m a t i o n of k i n e t i c e n e r g y into h e a t ; t h i s c o u l d b e a u s e f u l m e t a p h o r for d e s c r i b i n g h o w d r i v e energy c a n be transformed into w a r m t h . L i l i a n e t o l d m e , a n o t e of t r i u m p h i n h e r v o i c e ,

that

s h e w a s a b l e to c r y ; t h e n s h e a d d e d , a f t e r a f u r t h e r p a u s e : " M y m o t h e r i s o b v i o u s l y p a r t of m y life, a n d i t ' s n o t to a c c e p t t h a t ! I w o u l d p r e f e r to t h i n k of s o m e o n e

easy

else—a

m a n , for e x a m p l e . " S h e w e n t o n : " M y f a t h e r w a s a r e l a x e d s o r t of p e r s o n . H e w o u l d l i s t e n c a r e f u l l y to m e , l i k e y o u , but he was

a bit selfish a n d didn't have m u c h time

m y mother." Here we

for

c a n see a n i l l u s t r a t i o n of F r e u d ' s

a n d Klein's theories about movement

from m a t e r n a l

p a t e r n a l r e l a t i o n s h i p s . I h a v e a t t e m p t e d to

to

communicate

as carefully a n d a s exactly a s possible w h a t Liliane said and her associations. W h a t is the difference b e t w e e n p s y c h i c a p p a r a t u s

and

m e n t a l s p a c e ? Is there a specific l o c u s i n o u r body called " p s y c h i c a p p a r a t u s " , o r d o e s it p e r m e a t e t h e w h o l e b o d y ? I s t h e r e a l o c u s or a " p s y c h i c a p p a r a t u s " t h a t w e

might

c a l l " m e n t a l s p a c e " ? T h e q u e s t i o n i s o n e of p o s s i b i l i t i e s , o f h y p o t h e s e s , of m e t a p h o r s . I w o n d e r , f o r e x a m p l e , locus is involved

when

Liliane says:

"My

father

what didn't

h a v e m u c h t i m e for m y m o t h e r . " W a s t h i s a r e a l e v e n t i n h e r l i f e ? I f s o , a t w h a t a g e d i d it o c c u r ? T e n , f i f t e e n ? D i d i t happen

in her parents' bed

actually taking place

or i n h e r m i n d — o r w a s

in that particular m o m e n t

of

it the

transference? I s u g g e s t e d to h e r : " Y o u r m o t h e r i s i s o l a t e d i n s i d e y o u , s e p a r a t e d from y o u r father." S h e a n s w e r e d : "I s o m e t i m e s feel i s o l a t e d i n s i d e , a n d often t h e r e i s g r e a t c o n f u s i o n i n me."

32

MENTAL SPACE T h e t h e o r e t i c a l n o t i o n s of i s o l a t i o n a n d c o n f u s i o n a r e

v e r y i m p o r t a n t , to m y w a y of t h i n k i n g . I n 1 9 5 0

Herbert

Rosenfeld wrote a key article o n i n n e r confusion i n c a s e s of c h r o n i c s c h i z o p h r e n i a . F o r R o s e n f e l d , there c o m e s

a

t i m e i n t h e t h e r a p y of t h e p s y c h o t i c p a t i e n t — o r w h e n t h e psychotic when

" n u c l e u s " is reached

the

objects

distinctions

separate

that

weaken.

in a neurotic

enabled

When

the

him

to

patient— keep

his

long-separated

in­

t e r n a l f a t h e r a n d m o t h e r c o m e t o g e t h e r for t h e first t i m e , a

state

of c o n f u s i o n i s triggered.

fusional

state

familiar

to

(This is not the

psychiatry,

con­

characterized

by

c l o u d i n g of c o n s c i o u s n e s s . ) I n the following s e s s i o n , Liliane s e e m e d m o r e relaxed a s s h e lay o n the c o u c h . After a p a u s e ,

she said:

T m

t r y i n g to g e t o r g a n i z e d . " S h e t o u c h e d h e r h e a d a s t h o u g h t r y i n g to o r g a n i z e h e r t h o u g h t s . S h e w e n t o n : " I n t h e l a s t few d a y s I h a v e b e e n feeling a little c o n f u s e d b u t a t t h e s a m e t i m e different i n m y d a i l y w o r k . I t h i n k t h a t the r e a l danger

is that m y work could easily become

a kind

of

d r u g . I ' m c l i n g i n g too m u c h to w o r k , p u t t i n g e v e r y t h i n g I h a v e into i t — a n d I e n d u p feeling e m p t y . " L a t e r we

shall

c o m e a c r o s s o t h e r i n s t a n c e s t h a t w i l l h e l p u s to u n d e r ­ stand what Liliane m e a n s by this "emptiness". S h e added: " W h a t h a p p e n s w h e n I'm not w o r k i n g ? " — then, as t h o u g h a n s w e r i n g h e r o w n q u e s t i o n , " I d o n ' t k n o w w h a t to

do

w i t h m y t i m e , it s e e m s t h a t I V e got o u t of t h e h a b i t of h a v i n g any. A n y w a y I don't really k n o w if there is a t i m e ­ s p a c e i n s i d e m e o r n o t . S o m e t i m e s I fill i t u p ,

sometimes

i t v a n i s h e s . W h e n I h a v e t i m e to m y s e l f , I d o n ' t k n o w w h a t to d o . " Again the psychopathology It i s w o r t h snippets

from

remembering newspapers

of m e n t a l s p a c e . here that Liliane spoke and

magazines

filling

m i n d . A p s y c h o t i c p a t i e n t of m i n e o n c e s a i d to m e :

of her

"Why,

A SPACE FOR THINKING

33

w h e n I see a car, do I have the sensation that there's a car i n m y m i n d ? W h y i s n ' t it a m e n t a l p i c t u r e ? " To be i n touch with oneself—which expect from

psychoanalytic

is what wec a n

treatment—means

to be i n

c o n t a c t w i t h one's o w n affects a n d e m o t i o n s . E m o t i o n i s m o v e m e n t , a flux o f a f f e c t s . T h i s b r i n g s u s o n c e m o r e t o the duality i n the p l e a s u r e - u n p l e a s u r e principle, between life a n d d e a t h , c o r r e s p o n d i n g t o c e r t a i n f e e l i n g s a n d t o t h e a b i l i t y o r i n a b i l i t y to tolerate p l e a s u r e o r p a i n . I u s e t h e w o r d " p a i n " n o t "suffering",

b e c a u s e they a r e quite

dis­

tinct i n etymology a n d i n m e a n i n g . Suffering derives from t h e L a t i n suffere undergo",

to carry], m e a n i n g "to

"to e n d u r e " , "to tolerate", "to allow". P a i n d e ­

r i v e s f r o m poena, people

[sub: u n d e r ; ferre:

a r e able

"punishment", "pain", "torment". to tolerate

Some

certain intensities of p a i n ,

others not, a n d medicine h a s taught u s j u s t h o w relative the notion of p a i n is. S o m e people w h o a r e very

severely

m e n t a l l y i l l — c e r t a i n a u t i s t i c patients, for e x a m p l e — f e e l n o p h y s i c a l p a i n . A p a t i e n t of m i n e h a d n o n e e d to go to the

dentist, because

h e w a s able

to

auto-anaesthetize

himself; it w a s only once h i s m e n t a l c o n d i t i o n b e g a n to i m p r o v e t h a t h e w e n t to t h e d e n t i s t , b e c a u s e i t w a s o n l y t h e n t h a t h e felt t h e p a i n o f t o o t h a c h e . T o c o m e b a c k to t h e v i c i s s i t u d e s o f m e n t a l s p a c e , w e may

wonder

what

Liliane meant

when

s h e said

s o m e t i m e s s h e w o u l d fill u p t h e t i m e - s p a c e

that

inside her,

a n d at other m o m e n t s this space would v a n i s h . H o w c a n s p a c e v a n i s h ? I e x p e c t y o u h a v e m e t people w h o give t h e i m p r e s s i o n of "flatness"; this m a y be their w a y of m a k i n g mental space vanish. I s a i d to L i l i a n e : " Y o u f i n d it difficult to tolerate between space

things"—to

space

m y w a y of t h i n k i n g , a p a u s e

or gap between

two presences.

"That's

is a

right",

a n s w e r e d Liliane. ' T m not s u r e I w a n t to experience time

34

MENTAL SPACE

as

being

always

something

of m y

own.

changing—sometimes

spasmodic."

I

had

the

The

shape

convulsed,

impression

at

of time

is

accelerated,

this

point

L i l i a n e w a s l e s s o n edge, a n d I a d d e d : "It's w h e n

that

there's

m o v e m e n t t h a t t h e s h a p e of t i m e c h a n g e s . " S h e

nodded,

saying: "Yes, movement saturated with anxiety." S h e is experiencing suffering over h e r b e h a v i o u r

and

a n x i e t y a b o u t h e r b o d y e g o — t h e ego t h a t e m a n a t e s t h e persona

from

that is h e r body.

Liliane then became less anxious and added, touching h e r s t o m a c h : " I n e e d p e a c e . I h a v e to c a l m m y and

also I m u s t

quieten m y

mind.

But

stomach,

when

I try

to

t r a n q u i l l i z e m y s t o m a c h , I e a t too m u c h , a n d I ' d l o v e to b e s l i m ! I s u p p o s e I w o r k i n t h e s a m e w a y t h a t I e a t — t o fill u p a n e m p t y s p a c e . " T h i s i s a n o t h e r w a y of filling m e n t a l s p a c e : b y m e a n s of d i s p l a c e m e n t , w e c a n go f r o m a s p a c e i n t h e m i n d t h a t i s i m p o s s i b l e t o fill u p

to

something

m u c h more concrete, a n d in so doing we experience mental vacuum

a s a s o m a t i c void. If the e m p t i n e s s

t h e s t o m a c h i s n o t t o l e r a t e d , b u l i m i a w i l l fill a

the in

mental

v a c u u m t h a t , t h a n k s to d i s p l a c e m e n t , i s e x p e r i e n c e d a s a s o m a t i c (body) p h e n o m e n o n . L i l i a n e t h o u g h t a b o u t t h i s for a m i n u t e a n d t h e n s a i d : " P s y c h o - a n a l y s i s i s too d e e p " , to w h i c h I a d d e d : " A n d y o u m i g h t fall d o w n into t h e v o i d . " L i l i a n e w e n t o n : " A b o t t o m ­ l e s s pit is a terrifying thing." P s y c h o a n a l y s i s is a way

of o b s e r v i n g t h e life w e l i v e ,

the e x t e r n a l a n d i n t e r n a l w o r l d s e x p e r i e n c e d a s two f o r m s o f r e a l i t y . I t i s n o t p o s s i b l e to a r g u e f o r t h e i d e a o f a n i n t e r n a l w o r l d a s p a r t of o u r e x p e r i e n c e of b o d y

space,

w i t h o u t t h e c o n c e p t of a s p a c e for i m a g i n i n g , f e e l i n g , a n d t h i n k i n g . F r e u d ' s n o t i o n of s e l f - o b s e r v a t i o n c o u l d b e

de­

s c r i b e d a s a n eye w i t h m u l t i p l e v i s i o n , w h i c h , f r o m

the

inside, c a n observe the external environment a n d ,

when

35

A SPACE FOR THINKING projected

outside

into

the

analyst's

internal perspective, volume, p a i n t i n g , The false

mirror

eye,

can

and substance.

discover Magritte's

{ F I G U R E 1), r e p r e s e n t i n g a n i m ­

m e n s e eye reflecting the s k y , i s a m e a n i n g f u l m e t a p h o r of the ambiguity between body a n d universe, the dialectic between internal a n d external world. Mirror reflection is p a s s i v e , d e a d , b u t a reflection i n a n eye p e n e t r a t e s i n s i d e ; i n s i d e t h e eye, a n image t a k e s s h a p e . Mental space without depth a n d volume is inconceiv­ able;

it r e q u i r e s t h r e e - d i m e n s i o n a l i t y . T h e

perspective

i n painting brought

the

i n v e n t i o n of

notion

of i n t e r n a l

p e r s p e c t i v e to a r t a n d a r c h i t e c t u r e . W h e n P a o l o U c c e l l o , Filippo B r u n e l l e s c h i , a n d L e o n B a t t i s t a Alberti refer

to

p e r s p e c t i v e , t h e m e t a p h o r t h a t c o m e s to m i n d i s t h a t of a s p a c e for t h i n k i n g , a s p a c e i n h a b i t e d b y m o v e m e n t : e m o t i o n of t h e a r t i s t w h o ,

to q u o t e

the

Vinci,

Leonardo da

"thinks with his hands". T h e v e r t e x (Bion) of w h a t A l b e r t i c a l l s t h e v i s u a l p y r ­ amid

is the

focus

of s p a c e

and

time

and

endows

the

p s y c h i c r e a l i t y of t h e w o r l d w i t h a n o r g a n i z e d g e o m e t r y ; i n t e r m s of t h e i n t e r i o r i t y of t h e i n d i v i d u a l , it c o r r e s p o n d s to t h e d i s - c o v e r y of i n s i g h t . I n t h e a n a l y t i c p r o c e s s , t h e r e i s a f u n c t i o n a l p o i n t or v e r t e x , w h e r e t h e ego i s t e m p o r a r i l y projected some

onto

the

eye

of t h e

other locus i n space

analyst

or

out

observation or "in-look", discovers a bottomless chasm,

w h i c h opens

up

towards

a n d time and, through

to r e v e a l a n i n n e r

self­

void—a

perspective

experienced as vertiginous anxiety by the patient.

When

the self observes,

at

it l o o k s i n s i d e i t s e l f or a p p e a r s

an

internal window, a n d in so doing r i s k s losing its balance a n d m e a n s of s u p p o r t . I n s i g h t , t h e c a p a c i t y for i n t e r n a l self-observation, m a y be experienced, a s i n L i l i a n e ' s c a s e , a s a terrifying b o t t o m l e s s pit. M a r i e B o n a p a r t e wrote t h a t once w h e n she w a s a young w o m a n i n Greece, she wanted

36

MENTAL SPACE

to s w i m i n a p l a c e c a l l e d " v o r t e x " . T h i s w a s a b l a c k h o l e w i t h a w h i r l p o o l , w h i c h c o u l d d r a g t h e s w i m m e r to b o t t o m ; l o c a l people c a l l e d it t h e p l a c e w h e r e t h e

the

waters

are e n d l e s s (Bonaparte, 1952). Before y o u c a n a p p r o a c h a w h i r l p o o l , y o u m u s t b e a b l e to s w i m , a n d b e f o r e y o u

can

explore a bottomless pit, y o u m u s t be solidly a n c h o r e d a n d securely held by the h a n d .

CHAPTER

THREE



A space for dreaming

h e t h e m e of t h i s c h a p t e r i s the v e r y c o m p l e x a n d difficult -A-

have

q u e s t i o n of d r e a m s — a t o p i c t o w h i c h I

given considerable thought.

Freud's

"royal

road" does, indeed, lead u s towards the u n c o n s c i o u s , b u t w e m u s t n o t forget t h a t i n t e r p r e t a t i o n p l a y s a n i m p o r t a n t part also. Interpretation is mediation, a n exchange

net­

w o r k i n w h i c h one p a r t y l e n d s s o m e t h i n g to t h e other; t h i s i s t h e e s s e n c e of t r a n s f e r e n c e . My

aim, as

practice.

always,

Theorization

i s to r e l a t e of

what

participation i n a praxis where

is

theory

to

observed

one is both

clinical requires

actor a n d

spectator i n the given situation. Psychoanalysis is obser­ v a t i o n of b o t h i n t e r n a l a n d e x t e r n a l w o r l d s — t w o

forms

of r e a l i t y . A s I s a i d before, it i s n o t p o s s i b l e to c o n c e i v e o f a n i n t e r n a l w o r l d , p a r t of o u r e x p e r i e n c e of o u r b o d y a n d its s p a c e , w i t h o u t t h e n o t i o n of a s p a c e for i m a g i n i n g , feeling, a n d t h i n k i n g .

37

38

MENTAL SPACE From

this

summit

we

c a n look

at

reality

i n its

d o u b l e c o m p o n e n t of i n t e r n a l a n d e x t e r n a l , a s i n a n o t h e r painting 2),

by

where

Magritte,

Euclid's

a n easel-window

time a n d space,

draws

promenades

(FIGURE

u s into p l a y i n g

with

with i n t e r n a l a n d external reality; o u r

perception is constantly i n motion, we find ourselves c o n ­ t i n u a l l y i n a state of emotion i n t h e etymological s e n s e of e-movere

t

w i t h i t s c o n n o t a t i o n of m o v e m e n t .

J e r e m y w a s a psychotic patient whose m e n t a l

space

w a s a s flat a s t h e s u r f a c e o f a s c r e e n . T h i s p h e n o m e n o n i s n o t s y n o n y m o u s w i t h p s y c h o s i s ; it c a n o c c u r , for e x ­ ample,

i n schizoid patients. A s I have

out—and

I return

to t h i s

topic

later,

already

pointed

too—in

certain

pathological conditions i n w h i c h m e n t a l s p a c e i s deflated or

flattened,

there i s n o r o o m for t h e t h r e e - d i m e n s i o n a l i t y

of t h e e m o t i o n s ; to c r e a t e a s p a c e f o r f e e l i n g a n d t h i n k ­ i n g , f o r t h e e m o t i o n s , r e q u i r e s s o m u c h effort resultant

pain

is unbearable.

Sometimes

that the

one c a n feel

e m p t y , like t h e e m p t y f r a m e of a p a i n t i n g , a s w e c a n s e e in

a n untitled Magritte

composition

(FIGURE 3 ) ; o r o n e

m a y feel f r a m e - l e s s , p e r h a p s s e a r c h i n g d e s p e r a t e l y for a p e r i m e t e r fence. the m e n t a l space

S o m e p a t i e n t s s e e k refuge or frame i n of t h e a n a l y s t , a n d t h e i n e x p e r i e n c e d

analyst m a y seek his i n academic

theory,

s o a s n o t to

lose h i s w a y i n t h e l a b y r i n t h of u n c e r t a i n t y . T h e patient w a s lying silently o n the couch; remained

silent. T h e atmosphere

became

I, too,

stuffier

and

stuffier—it w a s almost impossible to breathe. W e c o u l d not move

any more, we could not think a n y more. T h e

atmosphere

was

becoming

M a g r i t t e ' s The poison

foggy;

a

toxic

cloud—see

(FIGURE 4 ) — t h a t n o one c o u l d control

w a s p e r m e a t i n g the entire s e s s i o n . After a long silence, h e s a i d , T m a t h o m e a n d I ' m t r y i n g to f r a m e s o m e

paintings

for m y n e w h o u s e . I f e e l a b i t b e t t e r n o w t h a t I ' v e s a i d t h a t . " " T h a t i s e x a c t l y w h a t w e a r e h e r e f o r together**, I

A SPACE FOR DREAMING

39

replied; "to b u i l d a frame, to c o n t a i n t h e b l o a t i n g c l o u d a n d t r y to m a k e t h e a i r e a s i e r to b r e a t h e . . . ." On

this

analytic

question

of frame

interpretation,

S h a k e s p e a r e ' s Tempest

a n d content

t h e following

of psycho­

passage

from

s p r i n g s to m i n d :

W e are s u c h stuff

A s d r e a m s a r e m a d e o n , a n d o u r l i t t l e life

Is r o u n d e d with a sleep.

[The

Tempest

A c t I V , s c e n e i , 1 4 8 ff.]

H e r e t h e frame t h a t s h a p e s t h e n e t w o r k of m e a n i n g s i s sleep. T h e p s y c h o a n a l y t i c s e s s i o n , too, m a y b e p u n c t u ­ ated b y sleepiness o r reverie, a n a t m o s p h e r e i n w h i c h the developing exchange either becomes meaningful or con­ sists of mere verbal sounds. T h e atmosphere w e breathe d u r i n g a s e s s i o n i s i m p o r t a n t ; i f it b e c o m e s i m p o s s i b l e t o b r e a t h e , o u r t a s k i s t o t r y to u n d e r s t a n d w h y w e a r e o n the b r i n k of suffocation. W h a t i s going o n that c a n n o t yet be p u t into w o r d s

or is already beyond words, what is

c a u s i n g the feeling t h a t everything i s b e c o m i n g p a r a l y s e d , thick, obscure, stagnant? There i s a n atmosphere

which

envelops every s e s s i o n , j u s t a s t h eframe s u r r o u n d s t h e c a n v a s , a n d the atmosphere itself m a y be the m a i n c h a n ­ n e l for m e a n i n g f u l n e s s . It t h e n b e c o m e s i m p o r t a n t to u s e all one's

sensory

organs

to c a p t u r e

the climate

of t h e

relationship, the m e a n i n g a d u m b r a t e d i n the overhanging clouds. T h i s i s particularly useful w h e n there i s the feel­ ing

of being

dissociated,

s p l i t off, s e p a r a t e d

from t h e

m a n i f e s t content of w h a t i s b e i n g s a i d . C o m m u n i c a t i o n i m p l i e s m o r e t h a n the a c t of s a y i n g w o r d s , it h a s to do a l s o with breathing, with presence. The session is a a n i n t e r p l a y b e t w e e n figure a n d b a c k g r o u n d ; what

appears

incidental becomes

Gestalt—

sometimes

the real focus

of t h e

s e s s i o n , a n d w h a t i s s a i d a l o u d i s t h e r e m e r e l y t o fill a void. I n a n a l y t i c p r a c t i c e it i s i m p o r t a n t to follow a s s o c i a ­

40

MENTAL SPACE

tions step by

step, paying

c l o s e a t t e n t i o n to e a c h

new

development; with experience, we learn that associations are not only s p o k e n words

or t o n e s of voice, b u t

also

noises (internal, external), gestures, a n d acts. A w o m a n patient I w a s treating i n L o n d o n told m e one d a y of h e r f e a r t h a t a fire w o u l d b r e a k o u t i n m y c o n s u l t ­ ing-room—there was a peculiar smell, she said. I stood up to m a k e

sure that everything w a s

a s it s h o u l d be,

and

w h e n I sat b a c k down again, she said: T i n glad I m a d e y o u m o v e . " I felt p l a y f u l n e s s i n t h i s r e m a r k — t h e

patient

w a s a schizophrenic who h a d spent m a n y a long year i n h o s p i t a l , a n d it w a s o n l y a f t e r t w o y e a r s of a n a l y s i s t h a t s h e h a d a g r e e d to l i e d o w n o n t h e c o u c h . I f w e l o o k a t t h i s episode

i n a metaphorical way,

we

could say

that

the

i m a g e of a fire s t a r t i n g i n t h e h e a r t h i s p a r t i c u l a r l y a p p o ­ s i t e w h e n it r e f e r s to t h e f a n t a s y life o f m y p a t i e n t ,

who

h a d b e e n s o c o l d for s u c h a l o n g t i m e ; i n p s y c h o t i c s ,

the

c h a n g e f r o m t h e e x p e r i e n c e of t i m e a s f r o z e n , p a r a l y s e d , a t a s t a n d s t i l l , to o n e i n w h i c h t i m e i s a g a i n i n f l u x occur

quite

unexpectedly.

When

may

one's world h a s

frozen, t h a w i n g out c a n be experienced a s a

been

catastrophe,

a b r u t a l t r a n s i t i o n f r o m g l a c i a t i o n to c o n f l a g r a t i o n .

In

m a k i n g m e move, the patient signified that the r o o m itself h a d p l a y e d a p a r t i n t h e d y n a m i c s o f h e r a s s o c i a t i o n s ; it w a s , p e r h a p s , h e r w a y of s a y i n g t h a t p a r t of h e r i n t e r n a l space was becoming warmer. L e t u s t u r n o n c e m o r e to d r e a m s a n d t o L i l i a n e , patient I spoke

about

i n c h a p t e r two.

Before

the

I narrate

o n e o f h e r d r e a m s , I w i l l s u m m a r i z e p a r t of t h e s e s s i o n that

preceded

ambiguous

the

dream,

because

"setting"

is

a

very

a n d at b e s t relative c o n c e p t , a n d I feel t h a t ,

s o m e w h a t paradoxically, the a s s o c i a t i o n s c o n c e r n i n g the d r e a m b e g i n before the d r e a m itself a n d c o n t i n u e b e y o n d it. I n t h i s s e s s i o n , L i l i a n e s a i d t h a t s h e w a s l e s s a f r a i d t o s p e a k , a n d r e c e n t l y s h e h a d m a n a g e d to t r a v e l b y

plane

F I G U R E 1.

R e n e M a g r i t t e , The false [see p p . 3 5 , 5 2 ] .

mirror

(1928)

FIGURE 2

R e n e M a g r i t t e , Euclid's [see p . 3 8 J .

promenades

(1955)

FIGURE 3 .

R e n e Magritte, untitled ( 1 9 3 4 ) [see p p . 3 8 ,

55].

FIGURE 4.

R e n e M a g r i t t e , The (see p .

38J.

poison

(1939)

F I G U R E 5.

V i n c e n t V a n G o g h , The

in St Remy

corridor

of St Pauls

( 1 8 8 9 ) [see p. 5 1 ] .

hospital

FIGURE 6.

R e n e Magritte,

Castle in the Pyrenees

[see p .

52].

(1959)

F I G U R E 7.

Odette's drawing: "the dog-bear [see p.

73].

dream"

I

F I G U R E 8.

Odette's drawing: "theatre, c u r t a i n s d r a w n " [see p . 7 5 ] .

FIGURE 9.

O d e t t e ' s d r a w i n g : "stage" [see p . 7 5 ] .

FIGURE 1 0 .

G i o r g i o d e C h i r i c o , Poet's [see p . 7 6 ] .

pleasure

(1912-13)

F I G U R E 11.

G i o r g i o d e C h i r i c o , Autumn [see p. 7 6 ] .

afternoon

(1920)

F I G U R E 12.

G i o r g i o d e C h i r i c o , Mystery

street

and melancholy

( 1 9 1 4 ) [see p . 7 6 ] .

of a

FIGURE 1 3 .

R e n e M a g r i t t e , Evening [see p .

81].

falls

(1964)

F I G U R E 14.

C h a r l e s ' s d r a w i n g : "leg of t a b l e " [see p.

81].

F I G U R E 15.

Charles's drawing: "chair" [see p. 82].

FIGURE 16.

Charles's drawing: [see p.

82].

"lamp"

FIGURE

FIGURE

17.

18.

Charles's drawing: "coconut shy" [see p. 83].

Charles's drawing: "car reversing into tree" [see p. 84].

FIGURE 19.

C h a r l e s ' s d r a w i n g : " s a i l b o a t " [see p. 8 9 ] .

CL.il It

FIGURE 2 0 .

Charles's drawing: T r o j a n [see p.

92].

horse"

FIGURE 21.

Charles's drawing: [see p.

93].

"landscape"

FIGURE

22. Vincent Van Gogh, Starry [see p. 96].

night

(1889)

A SPACE FOR DREAMING without anxiety. My impression was, indeed, that

41

some­

thing w a s giving h e r i n n e r support; I a m convinced

that

h e r fear of s w i m m i n g ( a n d of b e i n g d r a g g e d d o w n into t h e d e p t h s ) or of flying h a d to do w i t h h e r i n t e r n a l i z e d m o t h e r o r c o m b i n e d p a r e n t a l c o u p l e . W e e a c h of u s h a v e i n s i d e ourselves two parents w h o support u s internally. I n the Second

World

War,

when

Anna

Freud

was

observing

children i n L o n d o n d u r i n g the Blitz, she r e m a r k e d

that

those who h a d a satisfactory relationship with their fam­ ily—in stand

particular with the the

s t r a i n of t h e

mother—were

situation, as

more

though

able

they

to had

i n n e r m e a n s of s u p p o r t . In Liliane's case, we m u s t draw a distinction between the

internalized mother

who

strengthens

the

ego

and

promotes i n t e r n a l consolidation (Winnicott), a n d the real, e x t e r n a l m o t h e r . E v e n the u s e of the w o r d " r e a r i n t h i s context is contingent, insofar as the external mother always

cathected

with projections,

are a l w a y s tinged with fantasy however,

cannot acknowledge

so

is

that

perceptions

projections.

Psychotics,

the intentionality of t h e i r

projections; they are convinced that w h a t they perceive is " r e a r a n d free of a l l f a n t a s y c o n t e n t . F o r t h e m , t h e w o r l d i s a k i n d of a n a t o m i c a l b a c k - c l o t h , w i t h n o e l e m e n t

of

fantasy. Liliane mother

was

thus

able

inside her mental

ference.

We

projections

could are

also

when

to

ask

one

discover

space,

an

internalized

t h a n k s to t h e

ourselves

what

of o u r p a t i e n t s

trans­

our

talks

of

own his

mother. T h i s is a highly complex question; sometimes the danger is that we become

a c c o m p l i c e s of t h e

imaginary

p a r e n t s . A vivid i m a g e of a p e r s e c u t o r y m o t h e r c o u l d d i s ­ tort the a n a l y s t ' s role. E v e r y p a t i e n t a n d e v e r y a n a l y s t c o m e s to t h e s e s s i o n with

his

fantasies

and

his

phantoms;

these

f i g u r e s a r e t h e v e r y m a t t e r of p s y c h o a n a l y s i s .

shadowy

42

MENTAL SPACE

O f h e r father, Liliane said: " M y m o t h e r constantly i n ­ vaded

m e , b u t at least

s h e w a s present;

my

father

w a s absent—for m e , h e didn't exist. It w a s m u c h later t h a t I

discovered

mother

that

he would

talk

things

over

with

my

a n d control the situation through h e r . " Liliane

a s s o c i a t e d h e r father, of w h o m s h e s a w little i n r e a l i t y , w i t h t h e fact that s h e c a n n o t s e e m e . L y i n g o n t h e c o u c h , a patient m a y have t h e feeling that the a n a l y s t h a s d i s ­ a p p e a r e d , a n d t h e r e f o r e w a n t to l o o k b a c k w a r d s i n o r d e r to m a k e s u r e h e i s s t i l l t h e r e . I n L i l i a n e ' s c a s e , t h i s m a y c o r r e s p o n d i n h e r i n t e r n a l r e a l i t y to i n v i s i b i l i t y a n d c o n ­ d e n s a t i o n of the object, a s i n L e w i s C a r r o l l ' s C h e s h i r e cat: " W e l l ! I've often s e e n a c a t w i t h o u t a g r i n " ,

thought

Alice; " b u t a grin without a cat! It's the most c u r i o u s t h i n g I e v e r s a w i n a l l m y l i f e ! " [ A l i c e ' s Adventures

in

Wonderland] Sometimes all that remains is a smile, a condensation i n w h i c h e v e r y t h i n g i s r e d u c e d to a s i n g l e s i g n . A t o n e point L i l i a n e a n n o u n c e d : " I h a v e a d r e a m to tell

y o u . I was in the village where I was along the street by

the

woman

near the market-place,

hand.

Suddenly,

there

with things

inside

us. I was

indignant,

roadway,

stamping

and I threw was?

Pharaoh's

think

chariot?

The little girl who accompanied

sister

woman,

or my daughter. he

asked

us

There

where

we

were

a hurry. I was going to the eye specialists, mistake—I associated

was,

in fact,

the salmon

heading for colour

wife

a man going

the Who

in

her

perhaps with

the

in

such

but Vd made

the dentists.**

to a

similarly

I

jostled

onto

it dirty.

me was

was

a

a little fabric.

she'd

because

all the textiles

on the cloth and making

that woman

me

Doctor, pushing

do you my

before

it, salmon-coloured

with the woman,

had an argument

walking

holding a little girl

appeared

with white hair, like yours,

handcart

born. I was

a

Liliane coloured

43

A SPACE FOR DREAMING carpet

and

pleased carpet

to

my

about ...

I was

was

also

that

Liliane

first

that—I'd me

Salomon.

turned

and

a pushcart had

name: at

into

the

same

containing a n

projected

into

I wasn't

something time

a

not me:

internalized

me—a

very

flat,

I

object

combination

of

m a t e r n a l (my white h a i r w a s p e r h a p s like h e r mother's) a n d paternal images. M y u n d e r s t a n d i n g of d r e a m s i s t h a t t h e s c e n a r i o , t h e n a r r a t i o n of t h e d r a m a of t h e d r e a m , c a n n e v e r be really been

dreamt.

exactly

what

has

what

c o u n t s i s t h e d r e a m t h a t i s r e - c r e a t e d w h e n it i s

I n interpreting a

b e i n g n a r r a t e d , for t h e n a l l t h e feelings a n d

dream

perceptions

arising from the s e s s i o n are brought together into

play.

T h e dream scenario as created during the session rep­ resented

a

street

from

her

childhood:

we

gone

had

b a c k w a r d s , regressed, into another t i m e — o r Liliane

had

r e - c r e a t e d a n o t h e r t i m e i n t h e p r e s e n t , r e - a c t u a l i z i n g it. The

incident i n the

consequences

street

did not

have

such

weighty

as Oedipus's encounter with his

father—

a n encounter that became calamitous because there

was

n o t e n o u g h r o o m for b o t h of t h e m . T h e O e d i p a l s i t u a t i o n was, however,

p r e s e n t i n L i l i a n e ' s i n f a n t i l e ego p a r t .

impression was

t h a t h e r a d u l t ego w a s

represented

My by

h e r s e l f , a n d t h e l i t t l e g i r l w a s a p l a y f u l ego; i n h e r a s s o ­ c i a t i o n s , s h e s a i d to m e : " W h e n I w a s a little g i r l , I w a s l i k e m y d a u g h t e r . " I feel t h i s i s e x t r e m e l y i m p o r t a n t w h e n l o o k e d a t f r o m t h e a n g l e of t h e t r a n s f e r e n c e a n d i t s i n t e r ­ pretation. On

this

point,

Rosenfeld,

speaking

of

seriously

p a t i e n t s w h o h a v e lost a l l c a p a c i t y for p l a y f u l

communi­

c a t i o n , s t a t e d t h a t i f w e m a n a g e to r e - a w a k e n t h e along with the

adult

ego,

this will enable

ill

an

child

infantile

t r a n s f e r e n c e to d e v e l o p ( R o s e n f e l d , 1 9 8 7 ) . H e m e a n t

the

t e r m to b e t a k e n i n a p o s i t i v e s e n s e , n o t m e r e l y a s s o m e ­ t h i n g r e g r e s s i v e . T h e r e u p o n , h e a d d e d , we c a n "get

down



44

MENTAL SPACE

to work" precisely because it becomes possible to play— each partner can bring along his playthings: the patient his associations, the analyst his ideas and intuitions. It is all this "recreative work" that makes it possible to invent a new common language. Liliane was setting the stage with, on the one hand, her adult and infantile egos and, on the other, her internal parental objects: mother and father saying to her, as it were: "You should go to the eye specialist's because you can't see where you're going." With these two aspects in place, conflict became possible for Liliane in the maternal and subsequently paternal transference, modulated by her own history and with the analyst as actor. She went on: "I can feel time getting mixed up." This is an example of the phenomenon of illusion I pointed out in Magritte's paintings. At one and the same time there is a 42-year-old patient and a 5-year-old child, plus the image of the mother she will be for her daughter. This set of different time sequences within the same space gives us an idea of how condensation works in dreams. "I didn't want to meet my mother here", said Liliane. I added, "Nor your father, who noticed that you couldn't see properly. There must be something very painful in all this, because of the association to the dentist." "Now I remember: I had a little plastic bag with me, and I didn't like it." "You prefer fabric, it's less artificial. What do the pieces of cloth make you think of, the ones the woman in the dream is carrying?" "I think of good-quality old-style fabric which has never been used, the kind grandmothers keep stored away like relics. In fact, when I express myself here, it's a way of washing my dirty linen in public." I agreed with what she had said, and I emphasized the fact that the textiles in the pushcart—fabric that had never been used, good-quality cloth, still pristine— were for her and for me. My understanding was that

45

A SPACE FOR DREAMING the pushcart,

personified by m e i n the session, i n the

s e n s e of a n object into w h i c h the m a t e r n a l image c o u l d be deposited, represented m y available m e n t a l space L i l i a n e w a s filling u p w i t h

aspects

which

of h e r s e l f t h a t s h e

could not herself retain. Like a grandmother,

she stored

away h e r precious possessions i n a trunk or a wardrobe; it w a s p e r h a p s

u p t o m e to p r e s e r v e

a n d protect

these

t r e a s u r e s from h e r dirty attacks. P e r h a p s i n h e r i n s t i n c ­ tual

drives

there

w a s a blind, uncontrollable

part

for

w h i c h s h e need a n analyst/eye specialist. Those were the fantasies material,

but we

always

I felt I c o u l d d e t e c t i n t h e

have

to r e m e m b e r

(as

Bion

pointed out) t h a t interpretations a r e n o m o r e t h a n w o r k ­ ing

hypotheses;

if they prove

relevant, the patient

will

r e s p o n d , a n d t h e w a y i s o p e n for f u r t h e r a s s o c i a t i o n s . F o r e x a m p l e , i n t h e c a s e of a c h i l d w h o c o n s t a n t l y r e p e a t s t h e s a m e play sequence i n h i s sessions, a good interpretation will open u p further associations, a n d h e will modify h i s play; this m a y indicate that a n e w transference space i s unfolding. After t h i s exchange, L i l i a n e r e m a i n e d s i l e n t — b u t t h i s t i m e it w a s a p a u s e for t h o u g h t . T h e n s h e w e n t o n : " I get into a b l a c k m o o d whenever I t h i n k of places I k n e w a s a c h i l d , m y h o m e - t o w n . I s a y I w a n t to b e r i d of m y m o t h e r , but s h e i s always with m e , i n m y bag. Y o u m u s t help m e to p u t m y t h o u g h t s i n o r d e r . " I r e p l i e d , " Y e t y o u r t e x t i l e h a s n e v e r b e e n u s e d a n d i t ' s of fine q u a l i t y . " "Yes, younger.

but what

. . . A h , I forgot,

d r e a m I give formula

a m I to d o w i t h

somebody

it? Now, if I

in another

the secret

was kept in a silver sphere.

sequence

of eternal

were

of t h e

youth;

the

. . . Yesterday I s a w a

film about magic i n Africa." I t s e e m s o b v i o u s to m e t h a t L i l i a n e w a n t e d m e t o s t o r e inside m y m e n t a l space the good-quality

fabric s h e h a d

n e v e r b e e n able to u s e . M e l a n i e K l e i n p o i n t e d o u t t h a t it

46

MENTAL SPACE

i s s o m e t i m e s i m p o s s i b l e to i n t e g r a t e c e r t a i n p a r t s of t h e self, s u c h a s v i o l e n t l y d e s t r u c t i v e or p o i s o n o u s

aspects,

b e c a u s e of t h e r i s k of c o n t a m i n a t i n g a p r i s t i n e s p a c e (the good-quality fabric that h a d never been used). T h i s is w h y p a t i e n t s s o m e t i m e s n e e d to p r o j e c t n o t o n l y

persecutory

a s p e c t s , b u t a l s o p o s i t i v e a s p e c t s i f t h e y a r e felt to b e i n danger. Pichon-Riviere (1952) examined this question i n a paper i n w h i c h he pointed out that i n their interpersonal relationships

psychotics

get

rid

of t h e i r m a d

aspects

either by m a k i n g the other p e r s o n i n s a n e or by projecting their persecutory a s p e c t s into the a n a l y s t or the

whole

Institutional setting; this done, the patient t h e n h a s

to

c o n t r o l t h e o b j e c t i n o r d e r to p r e v e n t r e - i n t r o j e c t i o n . T h i s is w h y

hospitalized patients

another

institution: the

one

contaminated—madness

so

often w i s h

they

are

to m o v e

in has

i s a l w a y s felt

as

to

become

coming

from

outside. T h e paper by Jorge G a r c i a Badaracco (1986) o n " t h e m a d d e n i n g o b j e c t * i s a l s o w o r t h r e f e r r i n g to o n t h i s point.

When

psychotic

there

is

aspects—you

safe-deposit

good-quality need

a

fabric—i.e.

mental

space,

a

non­ good

i n w h i c h to s t o r e t h i s p r e c i o u s c a p i t a l a n d

p r e v e n t a n y r i s k of c o n t a m i n a t i o n . T h i s h e l p s u s to u n ­ d e r s t a n d b e t t e r L i l i a n e ' s f e e l i n g s of g u i l t o v e r t h e i n c i d e n t in

the

street:

contain,

in

she his

has

to p r o t e c t

mental

the

pushcart,

person who the

can

good-quality

m a t e r i a l that s h e h a s inside herself. I n the d r e a m n a r r a ­ tive, L i l i a n e a t t e m p t s

to get r i d of t h e d i r t y a s p e c t s

of

herself. T h e r e i s a q u e s t i o n of i d e n t i t y h e r e : s h e d i s l i k e s t h e p l a s t i c b a g b e c a u s e it i s a r t i f i c i a l , a n d s h e w o u l d l i k e to g e t i n t o u c h w i t h t h e q u a l i t y f a b r i c i n s i d e h e r — h e r o w n t r u e i d e n t i t y . "Doctor**, s h e s a i d , " I ' m a n g r y w i t h m y s e l f . I d o n * t l i k e t h e w a y I a m . I*d l i k e to b e a u t h e n t i c . * * L i l i a n e w a s apparently reporting a dream, but I w a s aware this was

a colourful way

of t a l k i n g a b o u t

the

that

session.

47

A SPACE FOR DREAMING

M e l a n i e K l e i n a r g u e d t h a t t h e i d e a of d e p r e s s i v e g u i l t i s l i n k e d to a c c e p t i n g

r e s p o n s i b i l i t y for o n e ' s o w n

projec­

tions. A s L i l i a n e s p o k e of h e r v i o l e n t t e n d e n c i e s , s h e

began

to t u g f u r i o u s l y a t h e r c l o t h i n g : " I n e e d to t e a r s o m e t h i n g . When

I became

angry

as

a

child,

I used

to

tear

my

clothes; that excited m e sexually. Do you think F m m a d , or t h a t I n e e d a s t r a i t - j a c k e t ? Y o u k n o w , I feel o p p r e s s e d b y m y m o t h e r . " T h e m o t h e r L i l i a n e is s p e a k i n g of h e r e i s obviously

the

transference. that

by

internalized

persecuting

mother

I i n t e r p r e t e d t h i s to L i l i a n e ,

getting

forcibly

inside

me

with

of

the

pointing

out

her

psychic

m e r c h a n d i s e , s h e w a n t e d h e r a n a l y s i s to b e g i n for g o o d now. S h e w a s u s i n g projective identification m e c h a n i s m s to p u t i n s i d e m e

those

aspects

of h e r s e l f s h e w a s

a b l e to c o n t r o l or to p r o t e c t , a s k i n g t h e

un­

analyst-mummy

( a n d to s o m e e x t e n t t h e a n a l y s t - d a d d y ) to t i d y a l l t h i s u p properly. T h i s c o u l d be s e e n a s a k i n d of p a r a s i t i c m o m e n t the

analysis. E a c h

through

a

absolutely object

of u s

parasitic everything

relationships

at the beginning

phase, for

us. This

later

o f life

in which mother

becomes

pattern

too v i o l e n t ,

s a d i s t i c , or

destructive,

identifica­

the object into

t h e y h a v e b e e n d e p o s i t e d i s felt t o b e could

be

the

hospital,

the

bank,

Paula

feelings

c l a u s t r o p h o b i a o r of p e r s e c u t i o n a r e a r o u s e d . T h e violent the projections, the more

do

parasitic

persecutory;

H e i m a n n (1952) argued that w h e n projective tion is

goes

must

of

in

of

more whom

persecutory—this the

analyst.

The

p u s h c a r t - m u m m y m a y t u r n into a p r i s o n a n d c l a u s t r o ­ p h o b i c feelings are the Liliane

confirmed

consequence. this,

saying,

"I

p r i s o n e r i n a cradle, or w r a p p e d u p i n

feel

so

little,

a

swaddling-clothes

w h i c h s t o p m e b r e a t h i n g . " A g a i n s h e felt t h e n e e d t o t e a r

48

MENTAL SPACE

at h e r clothes, a n d

became

mentally

aroused:

"It's

as

t h o u g h I w a n t e d to g e t r i d of m y m o t h e r ; I f e e l i m p r i s o n e d inside

my

mother."

In my

view,

the

"clothing" Liliane

w o u l d l i k e to g e t r i d of, a b o v e a l l , i s h e r m o t h e r ' s w h i c h a t t h i s p o i n t i n t i m e w a s n o t for h e r a

womb,

protecting

w o m b . L i l i a n e , n o w a d u l t , w o u l d like to force h e r w a y i n t o t h e m a t e r n a l s p a c e of t h e a n a l y s t , a n d t h e f e r o c i t y o f h e r r e a c t i o n i s p r o p o r t i o n a l to t h e v i o l e n c e o f h e r p r o j e c t i o n s . Liliane expressed i n this w a y h e r s a d o - m a s o c h i s t i c feel­ ings i n the negative transference, w h i l e at the s a m e

time

i n d i c a t i n g t h a t s h e n e e d e d to t e a r a t h e r s e l f i n o r d e r t o open up some

breathing-space.

M e l a n i e K l e i n s p o k e of the f a n t a s y of g o i n g b a c k i n s i d e the mother's womb;

i n m y experience t h i s is, i n fact,

a

r e s p o n s e to c l a u s t r o p h o b i c a n x i e t y . B i r t h i m p l i e s c o m i n g out into the open; the h u m a n baby, u n l i k e a n i m a l s , i s c o m p l e t e l y u n p r e p a r e d for l e a v i n g t h e w o m b ' s

maternal

envelope. If there are no w e l c o m i n g a r m s , n o good m a t e r ­ n a l a t m o s p h e r e r e a d y to h o l d h i m , b i r t h i s e x p e r i e n c e d a s falling into the a b y s s . Melanie K l e i n p u t forward the i d e a o f a v e r y f r a g i l e p r i m i t i v e ego, w h i c h i s t o o w e a k t o t o l e r ­ ate t h e a n x i e t y c a u s e d b y t h e f a n t a s y of b e i n g f r a g m e n t e d a n d l o s t i n s p a c e . S i n c e it c a n n o t y e t b e u n i f i e d , t h e

ego

n e e d s a c o n t a i n e r ; going from i n s i d e to o u t s i d e i s a c a t a ­ s t r o p h i c e x p e r i e n c e of f r a g m e n t a t i o n , o f f a l l i n g t o b i t s . W h e n L i l i a n e s a i d s h e w a n t e d to b e r i d of s o m e t h i n g , she

added

sexuality. what

that

s h e felt a g g r e s s i v e

I think that

attacking

w i t h r e s p e c t to the w o m b

F e r e n c z i (1909) called "autoplastic

her

represents

identification":

a n object r e l a t i o n s h i p i s p l a y e d o ut i n a p a r t of t h e m i n d with

one's

own body

(or a p a r t o f t h e b o d y , a s

e x a m p l e of L i l i a n e ' s w o m b ) . H e r e , L i l i a n e w a s ing her primary womb.

object

relationship with

the

in the

represent­ maternal

49

A SPACE FOR DREAMING

T h e sample dream I have discussed with you

shows

h o w t h e d r e a m m a t e r i a l b l e n d s w i t h different a s p e c t s

of

t h e s e s s i o n a n d e l e m e n t s of the t r a n s f e r e n c e . I h a v e often wondered

Kleinian

why

analysts

do

not

publish

their

w o r k o n d r e a m s ; I t h i n k it m u s t b e b e c a u s e i n t h e i r v i e w d r e a m a n a l y s i s , like t h e r e s t , i s one a s p e c t of t h e a n a l y s i s of the

transference.

There is a very

specific

quality

o n e i r i c t h o u g h t , w h i c h c o r r e s p o n d s to t h e m o s t

to

embry­

o n i c m e s s a g e s t h e u n c o n s c i o u s i s t r y i n g to c o m m u n i c a t e . D r e a m analysis cannot be done in isolation, w h i c h is w h y I b e g a n b y d e s c r i b i n g w h a t h a d o c c u r r e d before a n d

after

t h e d r e a m itself. I n t h e c a s e of p s y c h o t i c p a t i e n t s , t h e p r o b l e m i s t h a t oneiric m e s s a g e s a n d reality m a y become confused.

They

a r e u n a b l e to d i s t i n g u i s h o n e f r o m t h e o t h e r a n d

have

difficulty i n r e a l i z i n g t h a t d r e a m s are a d r a m a t i c s e n t a t i o n of s o m e t h i n g

else. B i o n s a i d that

repre­

psychotics

c a n n o t differentiate b e t w e e n d r e a m s a n d reality; m y

own

w a y o f p u t t i n g i t w o u l d b e to s a y t h a t t h e p s y c h o t i c i s a d r e a m e r w h o d o e s n o t k n o w h e i s d r e a m i n g . I n o r d e r to n a r r a t e a d r e a m , w e m u s t first w a k e u p ; w a k i n g u p m a k e s u s aware that we have been dreaming, but the

psychotic

c a n n o t c o m e o u t of h i s d r e a m . There

are,

however,

intermediate

for e x a m p l e , r e v e r i e , d a y - d r e a m i n g . Leroy

(1933),

in

his

work

on

stages,

nuances—

. . . Eugene

dreams

and

Bernard

dreaming,

i n c l u d e d " w a k i n g day-dreams", together w i t h the gogic a n d h y p n o p o m p i c

hypna­

images that precede a n d

follow

t h e a c t u a l p e r i o d of s l e e p . T h e d r e a m a s r e p o r t e d i s n o t a f a c s i m i l e of w h a t patient h a s a c t u a l l y d r e a m t ; the story I tell m y s e l f m y patient is m y dream. W h e n I recapitulate a c l i n i c a l m a t e r i a l , s o m e t h i n g of m y s e l f c o m e s I

cannot

correctly

express

what

I feel

the

about

patient's

into

without

play. using

50

MENTAL SPACE

the d r e a m / d r a m a , the w o r d - g a m e s t h a t are o u r m u t u a l c o m m u n i c a t i o n i n m y "laboratory". I k n o w t h a t w h e n I relate L i l i a n e ' s d r e a m , I a m also n a r r a t i n g m y own, the s a l m o n - S a l o m o n d r e a m . T h e s e t r a n s f o r m a t i o n s are part of the v i c i s s i t u d e s of t h a t c o n s t a n t l y c h a n g i n g laboratory t h a t I c a l l the p s y c h o a n a l y t i c p r o c e s s .

CHAPTER

FOUR

Mirrors, corridors, and tears

H

aving discussed the topic of dreams, we now turn our attention to oneiroid states, and from there to psychotic modes of thought; and I approach these subjects within the overall framework of mental space. Dream time, time expressed as a spatial network, rhythm—these are the elements that compose the theatre in which dreams are enacted. V a n Gogh's The corridor of St Pauls hospital in St Remy ( F I G U R E 5), with its succes­ sion of spaces, gives us a n idea of rhythm in space and the way in which space can be seen as a n expression of temporality. This is the kind of time we encounter i n dreams, or in certain places—Venice, for example, where my own dream-place is. When we visit a given locality at different times of the day, we see a different scene each time; this is scenery in motion, kaleidoscopic dynamics,

51

52

MENTAL SPACE

where d r e a m time is represented b y a specific

organiza­

tion of s p a c e — P r o u s t i a n space. In chapter three I d i s c u s s e d Liliane's d r e a m a n d t h e d r a m a of the transference.

N o w I w o u l d like to t u r n to

the oneiroid a s p e c t s of the transference, a topic t h a t will b r i n g m e b a c k to t h e i d e a o f a n a l y t i c s p a c e a n d s e t t i n g . I will argue that three-dimensionality i s a prerequisite for a

space

for t h i n k i n g a n d feeling;

perience the problem

i n the psychotic ex­

i s t h e loss of d e p t h o r t h i c k n e s s

t h r o u g h refusal of this space

(and the resultant

retreat

into two-dimensionality). M a g r i t t e ' s The false

mirror ( F I G U R E 1) i s a p r i m e e x a m p l e

of t h e d i a l e c t i c s o f s p a c e : t h e i m a g e i s s o f u l l o f a m b i g u i t y t h a t it i s i m p o s s i b l e to s a y w h e t h e r w e a r e l o o k i n g a t t h e s k y s i t u a t e d i n s i d e t h e p e r s o n o r w h e t h e r it i s b e i n g r e ­ flected i n t h e eye. I n t h i s dialectic w e c a n n o t

legitimately

t a l k of i n t e r n a l a n d e x t e r n a l s p a c e , for e a c h i s a d y n a m i c reflection of the other. O n e of m y patients reported t h e f o l l o w i n g d r e a m : She

in as a child when

was

in the house

suddenly

she

she noticed

used

climbed

down the ladder and went through a tunnel

opened

onto an outside

she

knew

insight,

in reality.

a journey

area quite different from T h i s image

into

one's

made

which

h e r aware

the external world, w h i c h i n this case

live

She

the one

o w n internal world

k n o w l e d g e ) , c o u l d h e l p h e r to h a v e a different on

to

a ladder.

that (self­

perspective

w a s , i n fact,

m u c h m o r e c o l o u r f u l a n d lively. In

another Magritte painting,

Castle

in the

Pyrenees

(FIGURE 6 ) , w e s e e a r o c k i n l e v i t a t i o n . T h e r o c k i s f l o a t i n g i n m i d - a i r , a n d o n top of it s t a n d s a castle. T h i s i s a n excellent illustration of w h a t I a m about to s a y c o n c e r n ­ ing Irene, a 40-year-old patient of m i n e , neurotic a n d not psychotic. I none session, a s s h e w a s lying o nthe couch, s h e h e s i t a t e d a m o m e n t t h e n s a i d : " I feel e m p t y " , a d d i n g , "full of e m p t i n e s s , there's s u c h e m p t i n e s s a l l a r o u n d m e . "

53

MIRRORS, CORRIDORS, AND TEARS Another pause,

then: "The e m p t i n e s s is getting

and thicker." I n my

countertransference,

thicker

I could

t h i s feeling; t h e a t m o s p h e r e of the s e s s i o n w a s

share

becoming

stuffier a n d stuffier. " T h e e m p t i n e s s " , w e n t o n I r e n e , " i s getting t h i c k e r still all a r o u n d m e ; it's t u r n i n g into a h u g e rock

floating

above m y head. It's grey, a n d very heavy."

I r e n e h a d b e e n i n a n a l y s i s w i t h m e for t h e

previous

four y e a r s . A t first s h e w a s very inflexible. S h e told

me

that she h a d h a d a hard childhood, perhaps as hard as a rock, the rock she'd s e e n during this oneiroid episode. At p r e s e n t , I r e n e i s a little l e s s s t o n y a n d m o r e

flexible,

but

a t t h e s a m e t i m e m o r e v u l n e r a b l e ; f r o m t i m e to t i m e s h e s t i l l n e e d s to h a r d e n h e r s e l f a n d t o p r o t e c t h e r s e l f w i t h t h e k i n d of a r m o u r t h a t W i l h e l m R e i c h (1933) s a i d

was

s o m e t i m e s n e c e s s a r y to p r o t e c t a v e r y f r a g i l e ego. A t o t h e r moments,

h e r i n t e r n a l o b j e c t s , a s M e l a n i e K l e i n p u t it,

h e r i n t e r n a l locii, b e c o m e a s h a r d a s s t o n e a n d h a v e to b e ejected. M i d w a y between dreaming a n d wakefulness, this experience

could

almost

be

called

an

illusion

optical

w h e n l o o k e d a t f r o m t h e p o i n t of v i e w of s e n s o r y tion. I n fact, w h e n I r e n e feels the a t m o s p h e r e this

is

projection—the

herself—are

hard,

stony

aspects

percep­

changing, of

Irene

expelled a n d t u r n into the huge rock,

" c o n c r e t e " e x p r e s s i o n of t h e h a r d n e s s i n s i d e h e r

the

which

s h e i s u n a b l e e i t h e r t o c o n t a i n o r to t o l e r a t e . I t i s

not

a hallucination, but the underlying m e c h a n i s m s are i d e n ­ tical.

In hallucinations, a n

internal

sensori-perceptual

e x p e r i e n c e of a n i n t e r n a l object or object r e l a t i o n i s p r o ­ j e c t e d o u t s i d e by a s e n s e o r g a n (eyes, e a r s , n o s e , etc.). I n I r e n e , t h e d e e p s e n s e of c o n v i c t i o n u s u a l l y

encountered

i n c a s e s of r e a l d e l u s i o n a l h a l l u c i n a t i o n s i s m i s s i n g . I r e n e b e g a n h e r s e s s i o n w i t h a feeling of e m p t i n e s s , a n d

this

" f u l l of e m p t i n e s s " b e c a m e c o n d e n s e d a n d petrified. T h i s i s a n i n t e r e s t i n g e x a m p l e of a n o n e i r o i d e x p e r i ­ ence i n a n analytic session, a day-dreaming i n the t r a n s ­

54

MENTAL SPACE

ference.

I t i l l u s t r a t e s t h e e x t e r n a l i z a t i o n of a n i n t e r n a l

s i t u a t i o n t h a t t h e m i n d f i n d s it i m p o s s i b l e to e n d u r e ( t h e " m a g i c e y e " of t h e t r a n s f e r e n c e ) . T h e l e v i t a t i o n , t o g e t h e r w i t h I r e n e ' s s t r i v i n g to g i v e c o n c r e t e f o r m t o a h a r d e x p e r i ­ e n c e i n h e r p a s t a n d t h e n p u s h it a w a y f r o m h e r — a l l t h i s i n d i c a t e s t h a t s h e felt s o m e t h i n g i n h e r life t o b e

heavy

a n d difficult to a c c e p t . W e often d e s c r i b e d e p r e s s i o n a n d melancholia as

a heavy

burden;

levitation, the

fantasy

o f c o u n t e r i n g t h e p u l l of g r a v i t y , i s a n a t t e m p t to b r e a k free f r o m e v e r y d a y e x i s t e n c e w h e n r e a l i t y — a n d t h e t r a n s ­ f e r e n c e s i t u a t i o n — i s too p a i n f u l . I r e n e w a s n e i t h e r s c h i z o ­ phrenic nor psychotic; she did, however, have a schizoid personality a n d could exhibit psychotic features. p h r e n i c s often h a v e t h e i m p r e s s i o n t h a t t h e i r are

floating

in mid-air,

patient told m e

as

though

levitating.

Schizo­ thoughts Another

that s h e h a d fallen into the sea;

then,

n o t i c i n g t h a t a l l a r o u n d w a s b l u e , s h e d e c i d e d t h a t it w a s , i n fact, the s k y a n d not the s e a . T h i s c o u n t e r g r a v i t a t i o n a l t e n d e n c y i s t y p i c a l of the s c h i z o p h r e n i c v i e w of t h e w o r l d . Idealization is a form

of p r o j e c t i o n t h a t

enables

e s c a p e from everyday reality. D e - p r e s s i o n is a p r e s s u r e " , a fall; i d e a l i z a t i o n i s a n " u p w a r d

us

to

"downward fall", a s

in

m a n i c states. L e t u s r e t u r n to w h a t I r e n e w a s s a y i n g . " T h i s f e e l i n g o f h a v i n g a r o c k h a n g i n g over m y h e a d is like a fiction film. . . . "

hanging i n mid-air." Here we with the rock ambiguous

science­

S h e p a u s e d , t h e n w e n t o n : " I feel I ' m

floating

c a n see her identification

i n m i d - a i r . T h e r e i s a difficult

point here, because

it w a s

for t h e

and

moment

u n c l e a r w h e t h e r all this w a s h a p p e n i n g inside her, i n h e r i n t e r n a l w o r d , or o u t s i d e , i n reality; t h i s i s often the p r o b ­ lem w i t h psychotics. " I ' m moving a w a y from the earth, b u t I love t h e e a r t h ; w h e n I w a s

a l i t t l e g i r l , I u s e d to l i k e

walking and

bare

running in my

feet—but there

t i m e s w h e n I w o u l d n ' t d a r e to, o r m y

mother

were

wouldn't

MIRRORS, CORRIDORS, AND TEARS allow m e to." Irene w a s mother,

55

a n o n l y c h i l d , v e r y c l o s e to h e r

to m o t h e r - e a r t h ,

to

her

native

village,

to

the

countryside. I have already m e n t i o n e d the Magritte painting repre­ s e n t i n g a n e m p t y f r a m e (FIGURE 3). M a u r i c e , a 4 2 - y e a r - o l d patient with a schizoid personality,

often t a l k e d of h i s

feeling of i n n e r l o n e l i n e s s , e m p t i n e s s , a n d w h a t I w o u l d call "deflation". apathetic,

pathos,

He would

I'm unhappy."

say: He

" W h e n I feel l o n e l y is

apathetic—i.e.

and

without

w i t h o u t emotion, lifeless. H e w e n t on: " A n d

I'm

a f r a i d of feeling." After s o m e s i x y e a r s of a n a l y s i s , h e w a s b e g i n n i n g to e x p l o r e f e e l i n g s , b u t h e w a s a f r a i d to g e t i n t o u c h w i t h h i s m e n t a l s p a c e a n d w i t h the feeling t h a t h e r e a l l y e x i s t e d ; t h i s w a s e x p e r i e n c e d b y h i s f r a g i l e ego

as

too p a i n f u l a n d d i s t r e s s i n g ( m e n t a l p a i n ) . " W h e n I ' m n o t a n d i n s i p i d , I ' m a f r a i d to f e e l t h i n g s . S o m e t i m e s I f e e l

flat

m y s e l f i n f l a t i n g to t h e p o i n t of b u r s t i n g , or t h e n a g a i n I feel like a c l e n c h e d fist. I t ' s a s t h o u g h

I was

trying

to

compress m y inner space a n d prevent anything

passing

through." He made

he

a gesture

with his arm as

said

t h i s , t h e n w e n t o n : " S o m e t i m e s I feel h e a v y w h e n I d o n ' t succeed i n compressing everything." C o m p r e s s ,

oppress,

d e p r e s s , s u p p r e s s — a l l e n d i n t h e s a m e suffix. " W h e n I fail to c o m p r e s s

everything,

I feel s i c k . T h a t d i s g u s t s m e , I

f e e l a s t h o u g h m y s t o m a c h i s f u l l . " (At o n e p o i n t M a u r i c e h a d suffered from a gastric ulcer, w h i c h h a d since cleared up.) T h i s s e s s i o n m u s t b e l o o k e d at i n t e r m s of m o v e m e n t , because movement "When

my

is what

stomach

feels

Maurice was full,

I

have

talking the

about.

impression

t h e r e ' s a f o r e i g n b o d y i n s i d e m e . I f it d o e s n ' t m e l t , I h a v e to t h r o w i t o u t , e j e c t i t . " I s h e s p e a k i n g of a n o b j e c t ? o f a h o l e ? O n e m o n t h before t h i s s e s s i o n , M a u r i c e h a d h i s father;

he was,

i n fact,

very

depressed,

lost

sometimes

w i t h feelings t h a t h e w a s a s y e t u n a b l e to a c c e p t a s h i s ,

56

MENTAL SPACE

s o m e t i m e s i n a c o l d , p s y c h o t i c k i n d of d e p r e s s i o n . t h i n k i n g of m y

dead father,

I c a n see h i s cold

T m

corpse.

W h e n h e w a s alive, h e w a s often c o l d , d i s t a n t , a b s e n t . " A p a u s e , then: "I see a b l a n k space, unexpected, inside m e . I t m a k e s m e t h i n k of a n i g h t s k y w i t h o u t s t a r s . I f e e l f l a t a g a i n , t u r n e d into a s t r i p of c e l l u l o i d . I t h i n k I V e lost m y f a t h e r . " T r u e p s y c h o t i c s a r e i n c a p a b l e of s u c h

nuances.

O n e of m y s c h i z o p h r e n i c p a t i e n t s told m e at the e n d of h e r a n a l y s i s : " W h e n I t h i n k of t h e d e l u s i o n s I h a d , I w o u l d s a y t h a t m y t h i n k i n g h a d n o s u b t l e t y to it, o n l y u n y i e l d ­ ing dogma."

I i n t e r p r e t e d to M a u r i c e t h a t h e h a d t o

h e l p e d to d e a l w i t h m o u r n i n g a n d t h e l o s s o f t h e

be

object.

W h a t h e w a s l a c k i n g i n s i d e w a s t h e i n t e r n a l p r e s e n c e of a n a b s e n t f a t h e r , a l i v i n g m e m o r y , h o w e v e r d i s t r e s s i n g it m i g h t b e . H e felt d e f l a t e d a n d n e e d e d t h i s l i v i n g p r e s e n c e to h e l p h i m o r g a n i z e a s p a c e f o r h i m s e l f t o l i v e i n . A n a p p r o p r i a t e m e t a p h o r w o u l d be t h a t of a h o u s e : h o w we

structure

space

i n s i d e if there

are

no

can

columns

or

p i l l a r s — i n other words, the phallic s t r u c t u r i n g function of a f a t h e r ? M y t e r m for the c o n t a i n e r - h o u s e p l u s c e n t r a l pillar is "structuring combined parents", with

the

fantasy

of

"persecutory

as

contrasted

combined

parents"

d e s c r i b e d b y M e l a n i e K l e i n . T h e i d e a of g o o d

combined

parents is present in Melanie Klein's work, though d i d n o t f o r m u l a t e it explicitly, w h i c h i s w h y

she

I insist on

t h i s a s p e c t too. A g o o d i n t e r n a l i z a t i o n of m a t e r n a l

and

paternal functions

they

can a

work

is extremely

together i n the

containing

function,

the

important, so that

internal world: other

that

of

the

one

has

organization.

M a u r i c e s a i d , " I ' m a f r a i d of s u f f e r i n g a n d of f i n d i n g d i s ­ order inside myself, like a m e n t a l a s y l u m . " Here the problem c o n c e r n s the father a n d the organiz­ i n g f u n c t i o n : for M a u r i c e , d i s o r d e r m e a n s m a d n e s s ,

and

even w h e n he communicates psychotic experience, he is not psychotic.

"Sometimes

I feel l i k e a t a i l o r ' s

dummy,

MIRRORS, CORRIDORS, AND TEARS

57

stuffed full of a kind of undifferentiated sawdust." The sawdust is homogeneous, there is no idea of difference or of otherness, but it enables Maurice to fill up a vacuum he finds intolerable. "Everything inside me is cold. I think of Prometheus, who had to steal fire because he felt cold. I feel I am an island, time is circular, sometimes it stands still, always the same." Though Maurice is not psychotic stricto sensu, we would call him borderline. He provides us with a good picture of stereotypes: a circular world, which, though it might be in motion, always remains the same (like the repetitive movements of autistic children), cold and lifeless. It is one way of pretending to exist— there is movement, but robotic and circular. In another session, Maurice spoke of being inside a moving train; he himself was standing still, looking out of the window as the scenery flashed by. "The world is changing, but I stay the same. As I was coming to my session today, I noticed that the sky was blue, but there were clouds building up as though it were about to rain. Here on the couch I feel dry. From time to time I have the impression that tears will start to flow. . . . I'm thinking of my father." I pointed out that his internal sky was clouding over, he was ready to start crying. "But I don't know how to cry, crying would be a way of melting a frozen lump inside me." What Maurice was going through was extremely painful, but at the same time potentially invaluable. In my view, if someone can manage to com­ municate an aesthetic experience in such a manner, then a lot of work has been done by both parties. Maurice went on: "I remember that my father never cried, he was as hard as stone; I can't cry either. I need to harden myself. I see myself in a dream without pictures, a cold, leaden dream. It's a corpse-like feeling, a dream of death." Maurice could not experience grief; in order to mourn, one must be alive. Freud, in Mourning and Melon­

58

MENTAL SPACE

cholia ( 1 9 1 7 e [ 1 9 1 5 1 ) , p u t s i t t h i s w a y : " T h e s h a d o w o f t h e o b j e c t fell u p o n t h e e g o . " H e r e , t h e s h a d o w h a d b e c o m e h a r d r e a l i t y a n d t o o k u p s o m u c h s p a c e t h a t M a u r i c e felt a b s o r b e d into it, merged w i t h this corpse h e j u s t

could

n o t g e t r i d of. I felt, t o o , t h a t t h e a t m o s p h e r e o f t h e s e s ­ s i o n h a d b e c o m e like a l e a d e n d r e a m , a h a r d , m o t i o n l e s s r e v e r i e , a k i n d of a n n i h i l a t i o n w h o s e p u r p o s e w a s to o b v i ­ ate a n y feeling of loss of the object. I have given these two examples i n t h e hope that t h e reader m a y sense that beyond the concepts mechanisms,

object relations, defences,

of ego, ego

a n d resistance

there i s something immaterial i n interpersonal

contact:

a n a t m o s p h e r e or, a s I p u t it, a n ecology o f t h e e n c o u n t e r . It i s i n a c e r t a i n type of c l i m a t e t h a t w e i n t r o j e c t a n d project;

atmosphere

is one element

of t h e d r a m a a n d

p l a y s a p a r t i n t h e s e m a n t i c s o f it. Still o n the subject

o f Mourning

and

Melancholia,

w o u l d like to e m p h a s i z e t h e difference b e t w e e n

I

absence

a n d void. T h e descriptions of m o u r n i n g w e find i n F r e u d , Abraham,

a n d Melanie Klein stress that the absence of

t h e o b j e c t l e a v e s a v o i d i n t h e ego, t o g e t h e r w i t h a f e e l i n g of l o s s . W i t h t h e h e l p of a f u r t h e r e x a m p l e , I w o u l d l i k e to d e m o n s t r a t e w h a t t h i s void c o r r e s p o n d s to. Some intelligent

years

a g o , o n e of m y p a t i e n t s ,

m a n of 3 2 , very

inhibited, with depressive

inflexible

M r Tavel, a n

a n d emotionally

tendencies, w a s having

great

difficulty i n m o u r n i n g the l o s s of h i s m o t h e r . H e w a s w e l l ­ adjusted

a n d successful i n h i s w o r k — t h i s is typical of

the 3 5 - to 4 0 - y e a r - o l d o b s e s s i o n a l p a t i e n t ; n o w a d a y s t h e basic personality structure is more paranoid, perhaps b e ­ cause our culture h a s become more persecutory. Mr Tavel w o u l d frequently talk of h i s d e a d m o t h e r . S h e h a d died w h e n h e w a s 18, b u t i t w a s i m p o s s i b l e f o r h i m t o m o u r n or e v e n to e x p r e s s

either h i s feelings

of d i s t r e s s or h i s

close e m o t i o n a l a t t a c h m e n t ; it w a s a s t h o u g h h i s s p a c e

59

MIRRORS, CORRIDORS, AND TEARS

f o r t h i n k i n g a n d f e e l i n g w a s s e a l e d off. I n h i s s e s s i o n s h e w o u l d continually come b a c k to t h e topic of h i s m o t h e r and

the emptiness

h e r loss

h e r e p o r t e d a d r e a m : It was

very strange

one, because

whole funeral

procession

meant

for h i m . O n e d a y

his mother's

everything

funeral,

had to go to the cemetery

up the corpse and bring it back to the house. In the sion

there

was

a priest

but

ran in reverse.

a

The

to pick proces­

and a rabbi ( w h o m h e a s s o c i a t e d

n a t u r a l l y e n o u g h to m e ) . I k n e w t h a t h e h a d b e e n u n a b l e to a c c e p t t h e l o s s o f h i s m o t h e r w h e n h e w a s 1 8 — h e h a d n o t e v e n b e e n able to c r y : h i s ego w a s too fragile to face u p to s u c h a n experience. B u ta s h e w a sr e c o u n t i n g h i s d r e a m , I realized from t h e tone of h i s voice that h e w a s feeling u p s e t a n d w a s crying. A t t h a t point I m a d e a n interpretation:

"When

someone

buries

h i s mother, h i s

ability to c r y a n d to feel e m o t i o n s , t h a t p a r t o f h i s m i n d w h i c h i s a t t a c h e d to h i s m o t h e r , g e t s b u r i e d w i t h h e r . " W h a t I m e a n t w a s that w h e n there i s loss of the object a n d depression, it i s n o t only t h e object a s s u c h that i s l o s t , b u t a l s o a l i n k , i . e . a p a r t o f t h e ego t h a t i s a t t a c h e d to t h e o b j e c t . T h a t p a r t o f t h e e g o w h i c h i s l o s t w h e n t h e object d i s a p p e a r s involves, a s it were, a quantitative d i ­ m e n s i o n . I n M r Tavel's case, h e h a d lost a very large part; therefore, h e c o u l d n o longer "afford" to c r y , b e c a u s e t h e a m o u n t of ego t h a t r e m a i n e d w a s insufficient for feeling the loss of h i s mother. T h i s w a s , of course, u s e d u n c o n ­ sciously

as a

defence

against

entailed m u c h psychological

suffering,

b u t it

also

impoverishment. That w a s

w h y h e needed t h e image of h i s mother a n d that part of h i m s e l f s t i l l l i n k e d t o h e r t o b e b r o u g h t b a c k t o life a n d b a c k i n t o t h e h o u s e . T h e b o d y i s t h e s e l f ' s " h o u s e " ; i f it i s to b e a l i v e , i t m u s t b e a n i m a t e d o r r e - a n i m a t e d . M o u r n i n g is

always

attached

a double to

dies,

mourning: something

when

someone

i n ourselves

we are

dies too,

h e n c e t h e feeling of e m p t i n e s s . W h e n I s a i d t h i s to M r

60

MENTAL SPACE

Tavel, his emotional response was intense, and he

began

to w e e p . This was

a crucial moment in Mr TaveFs analysis,

a

t u r n i n g - p o i n t . F r o m t h e n o n , h e b e g a n to i m p r o v e i n t h e s e n s e t h a t f e e l i n g s , e m o t i o n a l i n v o l v e m e n t w i t h life, a n d t h e a b i l i t y to f e e l p l e a s u r e m a d e t h e i r e n t r y i n t o t h e t r a n s ­ ference, became

and

therefore

into

life:

a p l a c e for a b s e n c e .

emptiness,

the

void,

M r T a v e l said, "Now

I feel

permeable a n d alive." At that point we both recalled that at t h e b e g i n n i n g of h i s a n a l y s i s , three y e a r s before,

he

w o u l d w e a r a r a i n c o a t to h i s a p p o i n t m e n t s a n d k e e p i t o n throughout

the

session. Mr Tavel was

to s o m e

extent

j u s t i f i e d i n d o i n g t h i s , b e c a u s e h e w a n t e d to f i n d o u t h o w permeable h i s analyst w a s a n d whether he could project things onto h i m . He w a s

a b l e to f r e e

himself from

his

r a i n c o a t o n c e h e felt h e c o u l d t r u s t m e . We

could say

that the s h a d o w

r e t u r n i n g to t h e h o u s e

was

of the a b s e n t

a living s h a d o w

object

that

con­

t a i n e d t r a c e s o f a l a r g e p a r t of h i s ego. T h e w o r k

that

m o u r n i n g a c c o m p l i s h e s is the r e s t o r a t i o n of a n ished

and

mutilated

ego;

thereafter,

longer

deflated,

his

internal world

space

in which

the

capacity

for

the

patient

regains

feeling

impover­ is

no

volume,

and

a

working

t h r o u g h loss c a n find room. Melanie

Klein

does

not

discuss

emptiness

to

any

g r e a t e x t e n t , b u t i n h e r " A C o n t r i b u t i o n to t h e T h e o r y of Intellectual

Inhibition" (1931)

she

gives

the

example

of a 7 - y e a r - o l d boy w i t h o b s e s s i v e traits w h o h a d a great d e s i r e for k n o w l e d g e , for " i n t e l l e c t u a l n o u r i s h m e n t " . T h i s r e m i n d s m e of s e v e r e l y a n o r e c t i c p a t i e n t s w h o do n o t e a t food b u t n e v e r stop s t u d y i n g . T h e i r s is a k i n d of i n t e l l e c ­ t u a l b u l i m i a , t h e s u p e r f i c i a l f u n c t i o n of w h i c h i s a d e s i r e for k n o w l e d g e , b u t w h i c h , i n fact, i s a w a y of filling u p a n empty space: c r a m m i n g rather t h a n creative

knowledge.

M e l a n i e K l e i n ' s 7 - y e a r - o l d p a t i e n t , too, h a d h a d

feeding

61

MIRRORS, CORRIDORS, AND TEARS

p r o b l e m s w h e n h e w a s a toddler; t h e feeling of e m p t i n e s s i n h i s b o d y f o r c e d h i m to fill h i m s e l f u p w i t h

"knowledge­

foodstuffs**. T o r e t u r n to t h e p r o b l e m of m o u r n i n g : t h e t e n d e n c y to b l a n k o u t f e e l i n g s i s t y p i c a l of b o r d e r l i n e a n d

psychotic

p a t i e n t s . It c o r r e s p o n d s to t u r n i n g t h e o b j e c t l o s s t h a t t h e ego i s u n a b l e t o t o l e r a t e i n t o a v o i d . F a c e d w i t h d e a t h , t h e p s y c h o t i c d e f e n c e m e c h a n i s m t e n d s to e m p t y t h e s e l f o f a l l f e e l i n g , t h i n k i n g , a n d a b i l i t y to e x p e r i e n c e

loss;

the

t h e r a p e u t i c p r o c e s s h a s to r e t r a c e a l l t h e s e s t e p s , t r a n s ­ form

the

emptiness

into

absence,

and

encourage

the

p r o c e s s of m o u r n i n g . T h i s i s w h a t w e s a w i n M r

TaveFs

c a s e . T h e w o r k of a n a l y s i s i m p l i e s t r a n s f o r m i n g

empti­

ness

a n d reviving painful emotions, while at the

time

helping the

patient

to r e d i s c o v e r

same

the pleasure

of

feeling h e is alive. Melanie K l e i n defined the p a r a n o i d - s c h i z o i d position i n t e r m s o f a b i l i t y to e x p e r i e n c e l o s s , i . e . t h e p o s s i b i l i t y o f a c c e p t i n g t h e p a r t a s b e l o n g i n g to t h e w h o l e . D i f f e r e n ­ tiation is therefore to e x p e r i e n c e

a p a t t e r n for s e p a r a t i o n . T o b e

weaning,

o r to go

from

one

able

situation

to

a n o t h e r o r o n e t i m e to a n o t h e r , r e q u i r e s a c c e p t a n c e

of

t h e e x p e r i e n c e of d e a t h a s i n t i m a t e l y b o u n d u p w i t h life. G o i n g f r o m t h e b r e a s t to s p o o n - f e e d i n g i s a l s o a fall i n t o t h e d e p t h s of s p a c e , a n i n t e r n a l d e p r e s s i v e b r e a k d o w n , downward

pressure,

during

which

the

infant

a

requires

a g r e a t d e a l of c a r e a n d a t t e n t i o n . E v e r y p a r t i n g ,

every

s h i f t i n t i m e i s felt a s a n o t h e r w e a n i n g . B i r t h i s a

kind

of p r i m a r y w e a n i n g ; every s u b s e q u e n t t r a n s i t i o n i m p l i e s f a c i n g u p to l o s s . A l l c u l t u r e s h a v e t h e i r r i t e s of p a s s a g e at life's m a j o r c r o s s - r o a d s : b i r t h , a d o l e s c e n c e , death. A s

i n every

developmental process, the

marriage, dialectic

b e t w e e n d e a t h a n d r e b i r t h i s t h e r e to r e m i n d u s t h a t t h e n e w s i t u a t i o n or d e v e l o p m e n t a l c r i s i s i s e x p e r i e n c e d a n a b a n d o n m e n t , a feeling of total l o s s , c o l l a p s e , d e a t h .

as

62

MENTAL SPACE

What, then, is this void, this v a c u u m , this e m p t i n e s s ? Einstein argued

t h a t it i s a w a y

of p e r c e i v i n g s p a c e ,

p r o p e r t y of s p a c e i t s e l f . I h a v e a l r e a d y p o i n t e d o u t

a

that

t h e c o n c e p t of v a c u u m c h a n g e d i n m o d e r n p h y s i c s w i t h t h e d i s c o v e r y of the electromagnetic field. W h e n

someone

t e l l s u s h e i s e m p t y , w e s h o u l d t r y to d i s c o v e r w h a t h e i s e m p t y of. E d w i n A b b o t t , a n E n g l i s h a u t h o r w h o d i e d i n wrote a science-fiction novel called

1926,

Flatland

(1952),

from w h i c h I have t a k e n the following extract: I m a g i n e a v a s t s h e e t of p a p e r o n w h i c h s t r a i g h t L i n e s , Triangles, S q u a r e s , Pentagons, Hexagons, a n d other f i g u r e s , i n s t e a d of r e m a i n i n g fixed i n t h e i r p l a c e s , m o v e freely a b o u t . . . . I n t h i s flat l a n d , w o m e n a r e s t r a i g h t l i n e s , s o l d i e r s a n d w o r k m e n are isosceles triangles, the middle c l a s s s i s t s of e q u i l a t e r a l t r i a n g l e s , g e n t l e m e n pentagons;

the

gons—but

can

nobility have have

many

at least

more,

con­

are s q u a r e s six

or

sides—hexa­

at w h i c h

point

they

r e c e i v e t h e h o n o u r a b l e t i t l e of P o l y g o n a l . A b b o t t t e l l s u s a l s o of t h e W i s d o m o f t h e C i r c l e s ( t h e p r i e s t l y o r d e r a n d t h e h i g h e s t c l a s s of all). S t e r e o t y p e d m o v e m e n t s , a s t h o s e of t h e a u t i s t i c c h i l d , c o u l d b e t h o u g h t of a s c i r c u l a r : p e r ­ h a p s t h e i m p r e s s i o n of w i s d o m t h a t e m a n a t e s f r o m

the

autistic child c o m e s from the idea that a circle r e p r e s e n t s t h e u t m o s t c o n d e n s a t i o n of a l l e x p e r i e n c e . F o r A b b o t t , a s for L e w i s C a r r o l l , t h e r e a l q u e s t i o n i s o n e o f k n o w l e d g e . I n E u c l i d i a n geometry, we c a n m e a s u r e distance hence

differentiate

plane,

but we

between

locii

that

lie

need post-Euclidian theory

i n the if we

and same

are

to

i n c l u d e t h e n o t i o n of a s p a c e f o r t h i n k i n g , w i t h i t s t r i ­ dimensionality, depth, a n d volume. B i o n w a s particularly interested i n t h i s topic. I h a v e a l r e a d y m e n t i o n e d t h e i m p o r t a n c e of t h e c o n ­ cept

of p e r s p e c t i v e

and

Leon

Battista Albertfs

visual

pyramid, echoing Filippo B r u n e l l e s c h f s optical pyramid.

MIRRORS, CORRIDORS, AND TEARS

63

T h e b a s e is horizontal, a n d e a c h line radiates towards the o b j e c t . T h e e y e of t h e r e s p o n s i v e o n l o o k e r g i v e s

volume

a n d d e p t h t o a n o t h e r w i s e flat p l a n e a s h e c o m e s c l o s e r to the object. M y point is that the p y r a m i d i n t r o d u c e s i d e a o f p e r s p e c t i v e , t h e a b i l i t y to s e e t h i n g s f r o m

the

different

a n g l e s , m e n t a l s p a c e a s a c o n t a i n e r for life's e x p e r i e n c e s . T h i s s p a c e for f e e l i n g a n d t h i n k i n g i s d r a w n d i r e c t l y f r o m F r e u d ' s i n t u i t i o n of self-observation,

the observing

ego,

t h e o b s e r v i n g eye, w h i c h a c q u i r e s i n n e r p e r s p e c t i v e

and

g i v e s s p a c e to a n d for t h e u n c o n s c i o u s .

CHAPTER

FIVE



Space, illusion, and hallucination

I

would

l i k e to p u r s u e

my

remarks on dream

and

d r e a m - l i k e t h i n k i n g a s o p p o s e d to t h i n k i n g d u r i n g w a k i n g h o u r s — d r e a m r e a l i t y i n c o n t r a s t to e v e r y d a y

reality. W e have

a r e a b l e to n a r r a t e o u r d r e a m s b e c a u s e

the

ability

to

differentiate

oneiric

thought

we from

ordinary thinking. F o r the psychotic, on the other h a n d , this differentiation is b l u r r e d . I n a psychotic crisis, reality principle is dislodged, ciple t a k e s

over;

hence

the

and

an

prin­

"unreality"

distressing un-reality

cealed b e h i n d the psychotic's protective u s deals with reality i n his own way;

mask.

the con­

Each

the psychotic

of

has

t o b e i n f l e x i b l e b e c a u s e h i s ego i s s o f r a g i l e a n d u n a b l e t o tolerate uncertainty. D u r i n g this catastrophic experience, there

is a c r u c i a l m o m e n t

of p a i n f u l l u c i d i t y , a

water­

s h e d that concerns both his body a n d his m i n d — b u t the psychotic

is unable

to n e g o t i a t e

this decisive

turning­

point.

65

66

M E N T A L

S P A C E

P s y c h o s i s i m p l i e s l o s s of c o n t a c t w i t h reality, i.e. c o n ­ f l i c t w i t h t h e r e a l i t y p r i n c i p l e a n d s u b j e c t i o n to a p r i n c i p l e of u n - r e a l i t y or a l t e r n a t i v e - r e a l i t y . T h e m o r e fragile

the

ego, a s i n t h e p s y c h o s e s o r s e v e r e o b s e s s i o n a l n e u r o s e s , t h e m o r e t h i n k i n g h a s to c l o t h e i t s e l f i n a r m o u r : a c o n ­ crete, metallic, solid "principle". Since s u c h patients tend to feel f r a g m e n t e d

i n time a n d i n space a s though

they

w e r e f a l l i n g to b i t s , d e f e n s i v e a r m o u r - p l a t i n g i s n e c e s s a r y but not sufficient—their very thought processes m u s t also h a r d e n a n d s o l i d i f y i n o r d e r to b e " c o n v i n c i n g " a n d

to

i n v a d e t h e r e a l i t y of o t h e r s . I n a d e l u s i o n , t h e o b j e c t i v e i s n o t s o m u c h to m a i n t a i n c o n t a c t w i t h t h e e n v i r o n m e n t a s to c o n v i n c e

a n d to i m p o s e a n o t h e r v i e w o f r e a l i t y ,

o u r e d b y persecutory projections. After the

col­

catastrophic

e x p e r i e n c e of a p s y c h o t i c c r i s i s , t h e d e b r i s o f t h e b r e a k ­ down seeks shelter somewhere i n the environment: i n a tree or a r o c k or a river. W h e n

I t a l k of d e b r i s , I

r e f e r r i n g to t h e p s y c h i c a p p a r a t u s . t h a t one of the a s p e c t s

B i o n (1957)

of t h e p s y c h o t i c

reality is the development

am

showed

experience

of a v e r s i o n , a v i o l e n t

w i s h directed against a reality principle that

of

death­

generates

d o u b t i n t h e ego. T h e n a r c i s s i s t i c ego r e a c t s v i o l e n t l y a g a i n s t t h e

out­

side world a n d its values, a n d even more violently against t h e m i n d of t h e p s y c h o t i c h i m s e l f . T h e m i n d o r p s y c h i c a p p a r a t u s is a mediator i n our relationship w i t h reality; the

dissociated

psychotic

ego

attacks

this

apparatus,

w h i c h p u t s it i n t o u c h w i t h u n b e a r a b l y p a i n f u l s i t u a t i o n s . T h e r e a f t e r t h e s c o p e of t h e a t t a c k w i d e n s , a i m i n g n o w

at

the Other's psychic apparatus—the analyst i n the t r a n s ­ f e r e n c e s i t u a t i o n , for e x a m p l e . T h i s p r o j e c t i o n i s a

kind

of i n d u c t i o n , a c o - p r e s e n c e , a h a n d - t o - h a n d struggle, insidious

atmosphere

that

makes

it

difficult

for

an the

a n a l y s t to t h i n k . A s t h e n a r c i s s i s t i c ego t u r n s a w a y f r o m

SPACE, ILLUSION, AND HALLUCINATION

67

reality, the reality p r i n c i p l e s t r i v e s to m a i n t a i n its s u p e r i ­ ority

by

decoding

the

external

environment

according

to d e l u s i o n a l c r i t e r i a . T h e i d e a of d e l u s i o n a l d e c o d i n g i s u s e f u l for u n d e r s t a n d i n g p e r s e c u t o r y d e l u s i o n s a n d i d e a s of reference. T h e K l e i n i a n t e r m " p a r t s of t h e e g o " i s i n f e l i c i t o u s i n t h a t it a p p e a r s to i m p l y a m e c h a n i c a l k i n d of d i s i n t e g r a ­ t i o n o f t h e e g o , b u t it i s n e v e r t h e l e s s u s e f u l f o r s t a n d i n g the fact t h a t b e c a u s e

of t h e r e d u c e d

under­ capacity

for s y m b o l f o r m a t i o n i n p s y c h o s i s , r e a l i t y i s e x p e r i e n c e d concretely. We could suppose that i n the psychotic crisis, the m i n d b r e a k s d o w n into both psychotic a n d

non-psy­

c h o t i c p a r t s . T h e p s y c h o t i c a p p r o a c h i s to d e a l w i t h t h e s e fragmented bits a n d pieces in a "surgical" m a n n e r (Bion a l s o s p e a k s of the " c u t t i n g " a t t a c k t h a t the s c h i z o p h r e n i c m a k e s on his psychic apparatus). I n neurosis a n d

psy­

c h o s i s (it i s a m a t t e r o f d e g r e e ) , t h e r e i s f l i g h t f r o m

some

aspects

of r e a l i t y , from r e l a t i o n s h i p s , or f r o m

anything

t h a t h a s e m o t i o n a l l i n k s to r e a l i t y . F o r F r e u d , t h e d i s t i n c ­ tion between n e u r o s i s a n d p s y c h o s i s lies i n the fact that t h e n e u r o t i c s t r i v e s to m a i n t a i n s o m e

kind

of

contact,

however t e n u o u s , w i t h reality, w h e r e a s the psychotic a l ­ t e r s r e a l i t y s o a s to m a k e i t c o r r e s p o n d to h i s o w n p r i n c i ­ ple of r e a l i t y / u n - r e a l i t y ; d e l u s i o n is a n u n e a s y

alchemy.

O d e t t e w a s a y o u n g w o m a n of 2 8 w h o l i v e d w i t h h e r family i n a m a n s i o n house. O n e day she abruptly decided to l e a v e h e r h o m e - t o w n a n d flee to P a r i s : s h e w a s

trying

t o e s c a p e f r o m c r o o k s . A c c o r d i n g to O d e t t e , h e r b r o t h e r , a d r u g a d d i c t , h a d fallen into the c l u t c h e s of a g a n g of criminals

and

drug

dealers

who

supplied

him

with

c o c a i n e ; a s a r e s u l t , h e w a s g o i n g to s q u a n d e r t h e f a m i l y f o r t u n e . S h e felt r e s p o n s i b l e for h e r f a m i l y . I n t h e m o n t h s p r e c e d i n g o u r first m e e t i n g , Odette h a d b e c o m e i n t e r e s t e d i n e v e r y t h i n g t h a t t h e s e c r i m i n a l s w e r e u p to,

believing

68

MENTAL SPACE

that their activities were designed, however remotely, to p l u n d e r the family wealth. At o u r first a p p o i n t m e n t , I found m y s e l f i n the

pres­

ence of a slim young w o m a n , very tense a n d unyielding, with a n u n b l i n k i n g stare, w h i c h nevertheless from time to time

would

light

u p a n d become

communicative. S h e

looked u n f l i n c h i n g , emotionally indifferent, a n d s h e h a d trouble

expressing

described

herself.

I n a cold tone

of voice s h e

h e r delusion, w h i c h for h e r h a d t h e r i n g of

a b s o l u t e t r u t h ; t h i s w a s w h y s h e felt s h e h a d n o c h o i c e b u t t o c u t off a l l l i n k s w i t h h e r f a m i l y ,

at least for t h e

m o m e n t , a n d seek medical help. Her

c r y for h e l p

meant

that

at that

point

Odette

w a s aware that she w a s unwell, or at least that she w a s a f r a i d of g o i n g m a d . I n a perfectly intelligible a n d c o h e r e n t m a n n e r , t h o u g h c o l d a n d d e t a c h e d , s h e gave m e to u n d e r ­ s t a n d t h a t everybody i n h e r village k n e w t h e g a n g w e r e o u t to seize h e r m o n e y :

a boysinging i n a neighbouring

h o u s e h a d c o m m u n i c a t e d in m u s i c a l code the threats the p e r s e c u t o r s a d d r e s s e d to h e r . At one point i n o u r conversation, I a s k e d h e r w h e t h e r s h e h a d d r e a m s . Odette replied: " I thought—or p e r h a p s it was

a d r e a m , I ' m n o t s u r e — t h a t I was

house, message

asking

your apartment a very was

wide

open,

completely reach

it was

and I was empty.

the street a huge

The

tangled

spider's

web

at home,

but you'd

me to repair your television

staircase

case

weren't

heap

of

left

and there door.

up to your

surprised

to see

I went

because these

back was

insects

a to

was

The

door

that the flat

was

down,

I

couldn't

at the bottom of the

impossible

your

I went

on the second floor,

of centipedes

that was

set

leading

When

door,

colony

to

with it I n t h i s d r e a m ,

even though I wasn't familiar

o r s o r t o f d r e a m , you

coming

blocking formed

to cross

a

over."

stair­

the kind

exit of

69

SPACE, ILLUSION, AND HALLUCINATION

A s O d e t t e n a r r a t e d w h a t s h e c a l l e d a " s o r t of dream**, s h e r e m a i n e d i m m o b i l e e x c e p t for h e r h a n d s , w h i c h b e ­ g a n to m o v e . H e r a c t i o n s w e r e t h o s e o f s o m e o n e t r y i n g to escape from a trap he h a s fallen into. S h e looked at

me

carefully, i n p a r t i c u l a r at m y face a n d f o r e h e a d , for a few m o m e n t s , t h e n a d d e d : " I w o u l d l i k e to b e a lyst.** T h i s w a s

n o s u r p r i s e to m e :

psychoana­

I understood

her

m e a n t h a t s h e w a n t e d to b e i n s i d e m y h e a d , i n s i d e

to my

s k i n , a n d to g o u p to t h e s e c o n d floor, to s e e w h a t i t w a s like. I t h i n k t h i s is quite legitimate, b e c a u s e w h e n

some­

o n e g o e s to a p s y c h o a n a l y s t , h e c a n n o t s a y w h a t h e

has

to s a y ( c o n s c i o u s l y ) u n t i l h e h a s m a d e s u r e h e c a n t r u s t the analyst; will t h i s h e a d be a good hospital, a good safe­ deposit into w h i c h the patient c a n project the good p a r t s o f h i s ego h e c a n n o t h i m s e l f h o l d o n t o ? B e c a u s e o f h i s ontological insecurity, the psychotic (more t h a n the n e u ­ r o t i c ) h a s to b e a n e x p e r t s e m i o l o g i s t i n o r d e r to d e c o d e t h e o t h e r p e r s o n . O d e t t e h a d to b e c o m e m y h o u s e

and

v i s i t t h e d i f f e r e n t floors s o a s to k n o w w h a t w o u l d h a p p e n to w h a t e v e r

s h e g a v e to o r d e p o s i t e d w i t h m e . T h e

that, i n the dream-story,

the analytic place was

m e a n t for m e t h a t s h e h a d a l r e a d y p u t into m y

fact

empty mental

s p a c e , m y h e a d , h e r o w n f e e l i n g of e m p t i n e s s . S h e

had

got

and

r i d of h e r

persecutors—the

their spider's web

centipede

villains

of c o m p l i c i t y — o n t h e s t a i r c a s e .

Thus

there are two levels, two degrees, two l a y e r s , two Odette d i s c a r d s her persecutors

"downstairs**,

floors:

and

into

m y h e a d , m y m e n t a l s p a c e , m y s e c o n d floor, s h e p u t s h e r e m p t i n e s s . T h e pathetic air s h e h a d about her, the

pathos

expressed a s a painful but stereotyped grimace, gave m e t h e i m p r e s s i o n t h a t s h e h a d a l s o g o t r i d of

fragmented

b i t s o f h e r m i n d , p a r t s of h e r ego. As

I

reflect

Odette*s n e e d

on

that

first

encounter,

for h e l p , for r e p a r a t i o n ,

I

and

think her

that

feeling

70

MENTAL SPACE

that

she

been

was

a

projected

mechanism

we

broken-down into

me

by

call

"projective

piece

means

of m a c h i n e r y of the

had

pathological

identification".

Herbert

R o s e n f e l d p o i n t e d o u t t h a t o n e of t h e c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of p s y c h o s i s w a s to o c c u p y t h e a n a l y s t ' s s p a c e a n d t o m e r g e w i t h t h e a n a l y s t b y m e a n s of t h e a r r a y o f d e f e n c e

mecha­

n i s m s psychotics c a n call u p o n (Rosenfeld, 1987). I have o b s e r v e d t h a t the p s y c h o t i c is also k e e n l y a w a r e of t h e d a n g e r of " t r a n s - f u s i o n " — i . e . the c o n f u s i o n b e t w e e n o n e ' s o w n s p a c e a n d t h a t of o t h e r s . G i v e n h i s f e a r of l o s i n g h i s own boundaries and becoming

confused,

the

psychotic

t e n d s to w i t h d r a w a u t i s t i c a l l y o r r e m a i n s p a t i a l l y r e m o t e a n d u s e m e d i a t o r s i n o r d e r to c o m m u n i c a t e i n d i r e c t l y . I t i s p r e c i s e l y for t h i s r e a s o n t h a t w h e n a p s y c h o t i c i s i n analysis,

the

question

of c o n t a c t s

with the

family

be­

c o m e s s o a c u t e . K l e i n i a n a n a l y s t s t e n d to a v o i d d i l u t i n g the transference i n this way with family m e m b e r s .

How­

ever, p s y c h o t i c p a t i e n t s , like c h i l d r e n , do n o t c o m e

alone

to t h e i r s e s s i o n s ; f u r t h e r , t h e f r i e n d o r r e l a t i v e i s

often

t r a n s p o r t i n g s o m e of the p a t i e n t s ' m e s s a g e s . N o w a d a y s , it is commonplace

to s t a t e

that psychotics, like

drug-ad­

dicts a n d borderline patients, cannot contain their shat­ tered

ego;

they

live f r a g m e n t e d

in their families.

Bion

c a l l e d t h i s " b e i n g too s o c i a b l e " i n t h e s e n s e t h a t t h e r e i s too m u c h e x t e r n a l i z a t i o n . I h a v e often t h o u g h t t h a t a u t i s ­ tic m a n n e r i s m s m a y be w a y s of m i m i c k i n g m o v e m e n t s of water, w i n d , or other n a t u r a l elements. Nature alive, for t h a t i s w h e r e f r a g m e n t s

becomes

of t h e p s y c h o t i c c r i s i s

h i d e i n o r d e r to l o s e t h e i r m o r e h u m a n a s p e c t s : i d e n t i f i ­ c a t i o n w i t h a n i n a n i m a t e object i s o n e w a y of t r a n s f o r m ­ ing reality, one's self or one's m i n d , into s o m e t h i n g

that

i s d i v e s t e d of e m o t i o n . T h e f a c t t h a t O d e t t e h a d to r e p a i r m y t e l e v i s i o n s e t i s , of c o u r s e , role r e v e r s a l : s h e is m y

therapist,

having

deposited h e r illness i n m y h e a d together w i t h h e r d i s ­

71

SPACE, ILLUSION, AND HALLUCINATION turbed, mechanical, fragmented

ways, in a n attempt

to

free h e r s e l f f r o m h e r role a s p a t i e n t . B e i n g a p a t i e n t

is

a

terrible w o u n d

for

the

narcissistic personality;

such

p a t i e n t s h a v e to f i n d a n o t h e r level of t h i n k i n g or d e l u d i n g reality or another object—the analyst or some other per­ son, or thing. In

another

session,

Odette

began

to

fear

that

she

might not k n o w w h a t the analyst w a s t h i n k i n g a n d hence t h a t s h e w o u l d no longer be i n control. S h e emerged from h e r indifference

to s a y ,

" I n a way,

the

crooks and

the

spider's web are here." I replied, "I'm not sure, but

per­

h a p s t h e c r o w d o f c e n t i p e d e s m a n a g e d to c o m e i n t o t h e s e s s i o n a n d c h a n g e t h e w a y t h i n g s u s e d to b e . Y o u r e n v i ­ ronment h a s been modified." T h e s e are hypotheses, as all interpretations are. O n l y t h e d e v e l o p m e n t of t h e t r a n s f e r e n c e w i l l tell u s if t h e y a r e relevant. T h e

patient with paranoid delusions tends

to

interpret everything in his environment as having special reference

to h i m s e l f ;

perhaps there w a s that

the

here

I was

saying

to O d e t t e

that

s o m e k i n d of m i s u n d e r s t a n d i n g

centipede

web

that

had

invaded

the

and

session

h a d m i x e d u p our roles, so that we no longer k n e w was

patient

and who

ing, Kafkaesque

web

analyst. The reminded me

confusing, of w h a t

who

envelop­

Bion

called

" e n g u l f i n g a n d e n c y s t i n g the object", referring to p r o j e c ­ tive i d e n t i f i c a t i o n , w h i c h , like t h e retarius's

net,

entraps

and

spider's web

immobilizes the

or

the

object.

In

t h e s e s s i o n , O d e t t e w a s a b l e to c r e a t e a n a t m o s p h e r e

for

e n v e l o p i n g t h e a n a l y s t a n d s o t a k e p o s s e s s i o n of h i m . F o r the next sessions

and

six months,

remained

Odette

highly

came

d a i l y to

motivated.

We

progress i n a n a l y s i n g the psychotic a n d neurotic o f t h e t r a n s f e r e n c e , a n d t h i s e n a b l e d u s to f r e e

made aspects

ourselves

from the persecutory web. C o m m u n i c a t i o n b e c a m e and

more

lively,

with

feelings

and

her

emotionality.

freer The

MENTAL SPACE

7 2

delusional aspects theme

changed

c o n t i n u e d for s o m e

from

c r i m i n a l mores

time, b u t their

to p o l i t i c s .

Every

c o l o u r t h a t s h e n o t i c e d i n t h e street, i n h e r flat, o r i n m y c o n s u l t i n g - r o o m w a s the m a r k of s o m e political allegiance or other:

red represented

c o m m u n i s m , white

conserva­

t i s m , a n d b l a c k w a s t h e d i a b o l i c s i d e of every belief. O n e day, a s s h e w a s out walking, Odette s a w children c o m i n g o u t of a s c h o o l . T h i s p l e a s e d h e r a t first, b u t t h e n s h e h a d the i m p r e s s i o n that they t u r n e d into

puppets

a n d d o l l s . S h e h e r s e l f , t h o u g h a d u l t , felt s h e h a d a n i n ­ fantile ego, i n h i b i t e d a n d u n a b l e to play. " W h e n I w a s a girl, I n e v e r u s e d to p l a y m u c h " , s h e s a i d . M e l a n i e

Klein

p o i n t e d o u t t h a t t h e i n a b i l i t y to p l a y i n a c h i l d i s a s y m p ­ t o m of s e r i o u s d i s t u r b a n c e . Odette w e n t o n : " W h e n I s a w t h e c h i l d r e n c o m e o u t o f s c h o o l t o d a y , I felt i n f l a t e d , a s though

I were pregnant."

She paused

a moment,

then:

T m interested i n philosophy" (sheh a d been a philosophy student b u t h a d abandoned which comes mean

h e r studies) " a n d the word

into m y m i n d i s 'maieutics'." "That

letting ideas

be born,

might

don't y o u t h i n k ? " I said.

Odette a d d e d , " I ' m t h i n k i n g of S o c r a t e s ' m o t h e r ; s h e w a s a m i d w i f e . " I i n t e r p r e t e d to h e r t h a t I w a s t o b e a w i s e midwife

[midwife

"wise woman"]

in French

is

sage-femme—literally,

a n d understand that s h e needed help i n

s e t t i n g free t h e c h i l d i n s i d e h e r , w h o u n t i l n o w h a d b e e n i m m o b i l e , inhibited, lifeless, like a p u p p e t o r a doll. Odette i n t e r r u p t e d h e r a n a l y s i s after a b o u t s i x m o n t h s a n d w e n t b a c k to h e r h o m e t o w n . S h e felt m u c h

better,

but though s h e w a s less persecuted, s h e w a s not b y a n y m e a n s c u r e d . T w o y e a r s later, s h e p h o n e d m e to a s k m e to h e l p h e r a g a i n . S o m e t h i n g v e r y s e r i o u s h a d h a p p e n e d : h e r b r o t h e r , t h e d r u g a d d i c t , t o w h o m s h e felt v e r y c l o s e , h a d died of a n overdose. nant

h a d become

daughter,

H e r fantasy

reality:

about being

she now had a

w h o w a s c o m i n g a l o n g fine. Odette,

preg­

beautiful however,

SPACE, ILLUSION, AND HALLUCINATION

73

w a s f i n d i n g it difficult to c o m m u n i c a t e w i t h h e r ; a l s o , s h e was

afraid h e r b a b y m i g h t fall i l l if s h e h e r s e l f w a s n o t

c u r e d . S h e h a d tried to take u p h e r studies again, b u t s h e did n o t feel c a p a b l e of t h i n k i n g a n d s t u d y i n g ; s h e w a n t e d m e to h e l p h e r give b i r t h to h e r i d e a s a n d to t a k e c a r e o f herself.

After h e r brother's

death,

t h e feeling

that the

w o r l d w a s t h r e a t e n i n g h a d o n c e a g a i n c o m e to t h e fore. Odette w a s better t h a n w h e n I h a d first m e t h e r , b u t s h e still t e n d e d to b e c o m e alienated from a n d lose c o n t a c t w i t h r e a l i t y . S h e r e p o r t e d a d r e a m : " I can see

a soft

toy,

it's a big black dog or a kind of bear. It's as big as I am, and

it's crying. The strange

shaped

and ice-cold,

like very

could engulf and entrap was

afraid

thing is that its tears are cube­

to approach

dangerous

anybody

ice cubes

who comes

that

too close. I

it" S h e h e s i t a t e d a m o m e n t , t h e n

c o n t i n u e d : " I feel s o little. . . . C o u l d I d r a w m y d r e a m f o r y o u ? " H e r d r a w i n g ( F I G U R E 7) i s r e m a r k a b l e . T h e d o g - b e a r has

a pathetic

expression,

a l a t e n t pathos,

hinting at

i m m e n s e d i s t r e s s . I t m a d e m e t h i n k of a reified double. I asked herwhat

s h e thought

of h e r d r a w i n g .

" T h e eyes

s t a r e e m p t i l y , t h e h a n d s a r e c u t off; I t h i n k o f m y b r o t h e r with h i s h a n d s tied, a prisoner of h i s addiction, a n d n o w he

h a s departed

from

this world.

I feel

limp." I com­

m e n t e d , " L i m p l i k e a soft t o y d o g ? I t m u s t b e d i s t r e s s i n g for y o u n o t to b e a b l e to c r y feelingly o v e r y o u r

brother's

d e a t h . A n d it m u s t b e p a i n f u l a l s o n o t to b e able to r e ­ s p o n d to y o u r d a u g h t e r w i t h sufficient e m o t i o n , o r to feel that y o u a r ea puppet,

a soft t o y t h a t c a n ' t e x p r e s s

pain

a n d grief. T h e i c e - c u b e t e a r s s h o w h o w m u c h y o u n e e d t o cry,

a n d also t h e difficulty

y o u have

i n accepting

emotions a n d your warmth." I think that the cube

your shape

r e f e r s a l s o to a n inflexible, s t u b b o r n , i m p l a c a b l e p a r t o f her personality. O d e t t e w e n t o n , " I feel w e a k , e m p t y i n s i d e . . . . I c a n ' t feel a n y t h i n g , e x c e p t for t h i s s e n s a t i o n o f b e i n g full u p . "

MENTAL SPACE

74

I r e m i n d e d h e r t h a t before s h e h a d i n t e r r u p t e d the a n a ­ l y s i s , s h e h a d told m e of c h i l d r e n r u n n i n g o u t of s c h o o l and

turning

into

puppets,

mechanical

beings.

Odette

t h e n s p o k e of c o l o u r s a g a i n , s a y i n g t h a t m y p u l l o v e r w a s w a r m l y coloured. I h a d the i m p r e s s i o n that s h e realized, by contrast, that the coldness w a s inside her, her w a r m a s p e c t s h a v i n g b e e n projected onto m y pullover a s onto a s c r e e n . " I feel a k i n d of a n x i e t y i n m y s t o m a c h , a fear o r a h o l e . M y b r o t h e r ' s d e a t h h a s left a h u g e h o l e i n s i d e m e . " W h e n it i s i m p o s s i b l e to a c c e p t t h e d e a t h of s o m e o n e , w e feel w e h a v e b e e n r o b b e d of a l l e m o t i o n ; t h e the

void

becomes

firmly

entrenched.

emptiness,

in turn,

If,

this

e m p t i n e s s i s u n b e a r a b l e , w e t r y to e v a c u a t e i t f r o m mind;

by

d i s s o c i a t i n g psyche

from

soma,

we

the

locate

it

somewhere i n the body—for example, the s t o m a c h . T h i s i s t h e p a t t e r n for h y p o c h o n d r i a s i s . In

another

session,

Odette

looked

at

the

white­

coloured curtains in m y consulting-room a n d declared: "I feel a s flat a s t h o s e c u r t a i n s . . . . I n s i d e m y h e a d t h e r e ' s a p i e c e of w h i t e c l o t h j u s t l i k e t h o s e c u r t a i n s . M y

life i s

c o l d , d e f l a t e d . " I i n t e r p r e t e d t h a t t h e p l a c e for t h i n k i n g a n d creating images, h e r h e a d , w a s like a s c r e e n , a piece o f c l o t h : l i f e l e s s . " I t h i n k of a l l t h e p e o p l e w h o a r e d e a d : m y b r o t h e r , a f r i e n d of t h e f a m i l y .

...

I feel d e a d too. I

h a v e a h e a d a c h e . " " I t ' s v e r y d i s t r e s s i n g to f e e l d e a d - a l i v e " , I replied. Feeling dead a n d having a h e a d a c h e at the s a m e t i m e m e a n s t h a t o n a s o m a t i c level O d e t t e w a s a w a r e of the

distress that

caused

i n her.

being simultaneously

dead

and

alive

Here again m e n t a l p a i n is displaced

in

o r d e r t o a v o i d r e c o g n i z i n g it a s s u c h . Then window, occasions many

Odette

glanced

at

a

chair

standing

a l o o k of t e r r o r o n h e r f a c e . spoken

of m y

hand-crafted

I have

of t h i s c h a i r , w i t h r e s p e c t

patients

develop

transference.

near on to

There

pattern o n the chair, w h i c h Odette

the

other which is

a

inter­

S P A C E , I L L U S I O N , AND HALLUCINATION

75

preted a s "the chair's thoughts". Psychotic patients

often

m a k e c o n t a c t w i t h the i n a n i m a t e o b j e c t s t h a t a r e p a r t of my

working

Odette

environment rather t h a n directly with

continued:

"I see

someone

sitting in that

me.

chair,

o n e of m y b r o t h e r ' s g i r l - f r i e n d s ; I d o n ' t like h e r , s h e

had

links with the underworld." In the following s e s s i o n , Odette looked at m y

book­

s h e l v e s a n d n o t i c e d a b o o k o n t h e t h e a t r e . " I ' m t h i n k i n g of t h e t h e a t r e " , s h e s a i d . " M y b r o t h e r w a n t e d to b e a n a c t o r or

a

director."

'Theatre

is

not

the

same

thing

as

t h e c i n e m a o r a s c r e e n ; i t i s n ' t flat", I s a i d . O d e t t e w e n t o n : "I c a n s e e a s h a p e w i t h the c u r t a i n s d r a w n , m a k i n g a k i n d o f s c r e e n (FIGURE 8). A n d n o w t h e c u r t a i n s o p e n , I c a n s e e the stage; a

table.

it's empty The

only

stage, forgetting is

an

obvious

e x c e p t for a n person

in

upturned chair

the

play

has

left

h i s c l o a k o n t h e t a b l e " ( F I G U R E 9).

a l l u s i o n to

the

end

of a

and

session:

the This when

Odette l e a v e s t h e stage, s h e leaves s o m e t h i n g of h e r s e l f b e h i n d . S h e quits the transference stage, terrified at find­ ing within herself a

space

for

being

alive,

for

feeling,

for t h i n k i n g . A c c e p t i n g the suffering c a u s e d b y the l o s s of a l o v e d o b j e c t i n d i s t i n c t f r o m a p a r t of h e r s e l f p r o d u c e s a n e x p e r i e n c e o f m e n t a l p a i n a s a p r e c o n d i t i o n for alive. T h e i n d i s s o l u b i l i t y of h e r u n i o n w i t h h e r l i k e h e r f e m i n i n e ego

undifferentiated from h e r

coming brother, mascu­

l i n e ego, i s difficult to g r a s p c l e a r l y , b u t t h e c l o a k

may

r e p r e s e n t Odette a n d the object i n c o n f u s i o n , or h e r b i ­ sexuality;

she had abandoned

it i n h e r r u s h

to

escape

f r o m a s t a g e s c e n e t h a t w a s a b o u t to o p e n o n t o p o t e n t i a l suffering. up:

the

In this session a new dimension was possible

transition from

flatness

to

opening

the

d i m e n s i o n of d e p t h a n d v o l u m e . I t i s difficult to

third convey

the a t m o s p h e r e of the s e s s i o n , t h e a i r we w e r e b r e a t h i n g , the

movement,

the

question

of

whether

there

was

h u m a n being there or a puppet. P e r h a p s Odette w a s

a

dis­

76

MENTAL SPACE

s o c i a t e d — i . e . s h e h a d e m p t i e d h e r o w n c l o a k of a l l l i v i n g force; h e r r e a l p s y c h o t i c e x i s t e n c e w a s t a k i n g p l a c e side,

in

the

street,

galaxy—somewhere

on

another

planet,

or

in

out­

another

in a wandering, fantastic world. T h i s

i s t h e a t m o s p h e r e w e f e e l i n s o m e of d e C h i r i c o ' s s t r a n g e empty

townscapes

of F e r r a r a , w h e r e

immobility

reigns,

n o t h i n g m o v e s ( F I G U R E S 10 a n d 1 1 ) — b u t t h e n a g a i n , s o m e ­ t i m e s a c h i l d r u n s i n t o t h e l i g h t ( F I G U R E 12),

a n infantile

ego p a r t t h a t h a s n o t f o r g o t t e n h o w to p l a y a n d c a n

set

i n m o t i o n t h e p o s s i b i l i t y of a r e s p o n s i v e a n d l i v i n g t r a n s ­ ference w i t h the analyst.

CHAPTER SIX

A geometry of space: mental space and the transference

T

o i l l u s t r a t e w h a t I h a v e to s a y a b o u t t h e g e o m e t r y of m e n t a l s p a c e , I w i l l t a k e t h e e x a m p l e of C h a r l e s , a

22-year-old

schizophrenic;

he

is

of

Spanish

d e s c e n t a n d h a s b e e n i n a n a l y s i s w i t h m e for t h e p a s t

two years. H e c a m e to h i s first a p p o i n t m e n t a c c o m p a n i e d b y h i s m o t h e r a n d father,

a n d we all s a t d o w n i n m y library.

Charles struck m e a s a slim, handsome young m a n , but t e n s e , s i l e n t , indifferent to h i s s u r r o u n d i n g s , l o c k e d u p i n h i s isolation. H i s m o t h e r told m e t h e h i s t o r y of h i s i l l n e s s . Charles h a d become

more a n d more withdrawn

during

the previous three y e a r s a n d h a d interrupted h i s s t u d i e s at t h e M a d r i d A c a d e m y of F i n e A r t . T h e family h a d m o v e d to P a r i s a n d i n t e n d e d t o s e t t l e t h e r e f o r t h e

following

few y e a r s , a t least. C h a r l e s ' s r e g r e s s i o n w o r s e n e d : h e h a d b e c o m e l i k e a little b o y , u n a b l e to leave h i s m o t h e r . H e w o u l d follow

h e r everywhere,

repeating her movements

77

78

MENTAL SPACE

like a s h a d o w . was

his

H i s only contact with the external world

computer.

appearance,

it w a s

Given

his

devitalized

robot-like

e a s y to i m a g i n e t h a t t h i s

computer

r e p r e s e n t e d a m i r r o r - i m a g e of t h i s y o u n g m a n .

Charles

w o u l d s p e n d h o u r s at the keyboard, a n d w h e n the c o m ­ p u t e r w a s u n a b l e to a n s w e r t h e q u e s t i o n s h e t y p e d i n , h e would become

furiously violent a n d impulsively

aggres­

s i v e ; p e r h a p s h e felt d e s p a i r a t h i s i n a b i l i t y to

sustain

s o m e k i n d of d i a l o g u e w i t h t h i s i n a n i m a t e d o u b l e , w h i c h , i n h i s w a y , h e w a s t r y i n g to m a k e h u m a n . H e w o u l d l a s h o u t a t i t — s o m u c h so, i n fact, t h a t o n one o c c a s i o n

he

c o m p l e t e l y d e s t r o y e d it. T h i s m e a n t e v e n g r e a t e r i s o l a t i o n for h i m , a c o l d d e p r e s s i o n , i.e. w i t h o u t

emotion or i n ­

ternal movement. W h i l e h i s p a r e n t s were telling m e all this, C h a r l e s w a s s t a r i n g at one c o r n e r of t h e r o o m .

In terms

of m e n t a l

space a n d the transference, I would say he w a s

transfer­

r i n g s o m e t h i n g f r o m i n s i d e h i m s e l f to t h i s c o r n e r ; i n o t h e r words,

C h a r l e s did not

establish a

direct

transference

w i t h m e , b u t w e m e t , a s it w e r e , i n d i r e c t l y , i n t h e c o r n e r of t h e r o o m . H e g l a n c e d at m e , t h e n i m m e d i a t e l y l o o k e d t o w a r d s the corner. I h a d the feeling t h a t w i t h h i s

eyes­

m o u t h h e h a d first i n c o r p o r a t e d m e i n s i d e h i s s p a c e , t h e n d e p o s i t e d m e i n t o t h e c o r n e r of t h e r o o m . T h e

omnipo­

t e n c e of s c h i z o p h r e n i c p a t i e n t s , a s i n c e r t a i n o b s e s s i o n a l neurotics

with

pronounced

narcissistic

traits,

is

ex­

p r e s s e d m o r e i n t e r m s of a struggle for c o n t r o l of t h e t i m e a n d s p a c e of t h e a n a l y s i s r a t h e r t h a n a s o u t r i g h t h o s t i l i t y towards

t h e r u l e s of a n a l y s i s o r t h e t r a n s f e r e n c e

situa­

t i o n . B e c a u s e o f t h e i r f e e l i n g of i n s e c u r i t y , t h e y w a n t

to

be t h e s t a g e m a n a g e r s of t h e a n a l y t i c s i t u a t i o n . While I w a s having these sensory infra-verbal impres­ sions, the m o t h e r w a s talking about C h a r l e s , the removal to P a r i s , a n d t h e i r n e w h o m e . T h e r e i s a s e r v a n t ' s r o o m i n t h e flat, a n d t h e p a r e n t s h a d t h o u g h t t h a t C h a r l e s c o u l d

A GEOMETRY OF SPACE

79

u s e it a s h i s d e n . H e w a s v e r y c l e v e r w i t h h i s h a n d s , h e could m a n u f a c t u r e objects a n d restore antiques. T h i s w a s Charles's way

o f e x p r e s s i n g h i s d e s i r e to b e c u r e d ,

and

a l s o h i s w i s h to b e h i s o w n t h e r a p i s t : h e w a s t h e o n e w h o w o u l d r e p a i r the object. At that m o m e n t I h a d the impression, a s we

looked

s i m u l t a n e o u s l y t o w a r d s t h e c o r n e r of t h e r o o m , t h a t

we

w e r e m a k i n g c o n t a c t w i t h e a c h o t h e r ; it w a s

as

almost

t h o u g h w e h a d a r r a n g e d to m e e t i n t h a t p a r t i c u l a r s p o t . I f o r m u l a t e d m y f i r s t i n t e r p r e t a t i o n , s a y i n g to C h a r l e s t h a t I felt h e w a s

l o o k i n g for a p l a c e i n w h i c h h e c o u l d f e e l

p r o t e c t e d , so t h a t h e m i g h t get b a c k i n t o u c h w i t h

him­

self. I h a d t h e i m p r e s s i o n t h a t h e w a s s o m e w h e r e

else,

n o t " i n " h i s b o d y : h i s p s y c h i c ego, a l i e n a t e d f r o m h i s b o d y ego, h a d b e c o m e s e t t l e d i n a n o t h e r b o d y , or i n s o m e g e o ­ metrical

location,

and

as

a

result his

own

body

had

b e c o m e e m p t y . I w a s t r y i n g to m e e t h i m s o m e w h e r e i n t h e c o r n e r . C h a r l e s r e s p o n d e d to m y h y p o t h e s i s b y g i v i n g m e a r a t h e r m o r e lively look t h a n before. T h e first w o r d s

he

u t t e r e d w e r e " s e r v a n t ' s r o o m " , w h i c h I t o o k to b e a n a l l u ­ s i o n to s o m e t h i n g t h a t w o u l d b e o f s e r v i c e t o h i m i n t h e room where we were sitting. A t t h e e n d o f t h i s f i r s t m e e t i n g , w e t r i e d to d r a w u p p r e l i m i n a r y c o n t r a c t for t h e a n a l y s i s . T h i s w a s

a

extremely

a r d u o u s , f o r C h a r l e s d i d n o t l i v e w i t h i n h i m s e l f , b u t to a c o n s i d e r a b l e degree e l s e w h e r e — i n s i d e h i s m o t h e r , or i n other locations. T h i s is the m a j o r problem i n p s y c h o s i s . I o f f e r e d to t a k e C h a r l e s i n a n a l y s i s , w i t h f o u r s e s s i o n s p e r week. C h a r l e s c a m e a l o n e to h i s f i r s t s e s s i o n . H e w a s

still

silent, speechless, a n d once again I realized that he would s p e a k t h r o u g h h i s eyes: he looked all a r o u n d , at thing, u s i n g his eyes in a "tactile" way,

every­

as Henri Wallon

p u t i t . I t w a s h i s w a y of f e e l i n g t h i n g s : t o u c h i n g b o o k s o r p a i n t i n g s . I a s k e d h i m w h a t h e w a s l o o k i n g for, i f t h e r e

80

MENTAL SPACE

w a s something he w a s interested in. "History", h e replied. " W h a t h i s t o r y ? " I a s k e d . After a s h o r t p a u s e , h e a n s w e r e d : " I n S p a i n , there w a s C h a r l e s I, t h e n C h a r l e s I I , C h a r l e s I I I , a n d C h a r l e s IV. There w a s disagreement between t h e m . " I h a d t h e i m p r e s s i o n t h a t t i m e h a d c o m e to a s t a n d s t i l l a n d h a d taken o n a spatial dimension; h e w a s reciting t h e h i s t o r i c a l s e q u e n c e of t h e s u c c e s s i v e C h a r l e s e s a s t h o u g h they h a d existed concurrently. I r e m a r k e d that e a c h of t h e m h a d settled i n h i s o w n kingdom, a n d they found it difficult to t a l k to e a c h other. C h a r l e s a n s w e r e d : " Y e s , if one o f t h e m s p e a k s , it m e a n s w a r " , a d d i n g : " I t w a s o n l y when

C h a r l e s V of A u s t r i a c a m e

along that there w a s

reconciliation, a n d the kingdom w a s united." This

w a s Charles's

w a y of telling

m e that

there

were four C h a r l e s e s inside h i m , e a c h omnipotent a n d i n disagreement

w i t h h i s fellows. T h i s i s a n excellent d e ­

s c r i p t i o n of s c h i z o p h r e n i a , w h i c h before B l e u l e r u s e d to b e t h o u g h t o f a s folie

discordante

( C h a s l i n , 1920). I s a i d

to C h a r l e s t h a t h e w a s w o r r i e d a b o u t a g r e e m e n t a n d d i a ­ logue b e t w e e n t h e s e different p a r t s of h i m s e l f a n d t h a t h e n e e d e d s o m e o n e l i k e C h a r l e s V (I d i d n ' t s a y K i n g S o l o ­ m o n ! ) t o u n i t e h i s k i n g d o m , h i s ego. I a d d e d , l a m n o t u

C h a r l e s V , b u t p e r h a p s the two of u s w o r k i n g

together

m a y b e able to do s o m e u n i t i n g . " A s i l e n c e followed, d u r i n g w h i c h C h a r l e s s e e m e d to b e t h i n k i n g (perhaps t h e ideas floating i n t h e c o r n e r of the r o o m h a d r e t u r n e d to h i s m e n t a l s p a c e ) . H e t o u c h e d h i s nose a n d said: "I caught a cold, I have a r u n n y nose." H e glanced at a book, then at another: looking at something w a s h i s w a y of m a k i n g contact w i t h m y t h o u g h t s

trans­

formed into a n object—my library. H e stared intently at a b o o k o n m e n t a l h e a l t h , a n d after a p a u s e s a i d : " I t ' s h a r d . " A l l t h i s s e e m e d quite c o h e r e n t to m e : it w a s v e r y h a r d for m e , b u t e v e n m o r e s o for h i m . I c o m m e n t e d : " Y o u f e e l y o u n e e d to h a r d e n yourself,

to p u t o n a r m o u r . I f it c r a c k s

A GEOMETRY O F SPACE

81

open, the h a r d n e s s could melt, a n d everything w o u l d r u n out of y o u r n o s e . " Many

years

with body fantasies

of e x p e r i e n c e

have

t a u g h t m e t h i s w a y o f a t t e m p t i n g to p u t s o m e o n e i n c o n ­ tact with himself a n d — e v e n more difficult—with

someone

h e i s u n f a m i l i a r w i t h . I r e p r e s e n t e d for C h a r l e s s o m e t h i n g u n c a n n y . H e w a s q u i t e j u s t i f i e d i n t r y i n g to t o u c h a l l t h e thoughts

h e felt w e r e s u r r o u n d i n g h i m ; i n t h i s w a y

he

could know what I w a s thinking a n d whether there would be a place w h e r e he could t h i n k about himself. A n o t h e r p a u s e , t h e n C h a r l e s w e n t on: T m t h i n k i n g of someone w h o ' s violent a n d at the s a m e time likeable." M y idea w a s

that two

contrary

i n s t i n c t u a l drive aspects

C h a r l e s w e r e t r y i n g to m a k e c o n t a c t . T m

of

t h i n k i n g of

a

b r o k e n guitar", h e a d d e d . T h a t r e m i n d e d m e of a n o t h e r M a g r i t t e p a i n t i n g , Evening ing a

the

boundary

broken

pane

falls,

between

(FIGURE

13).

w h e r e the window m a r k ­ and

exterior

has

I commented:

interior

"Inside

your

a r m o u r - p l a t i n g t h e r e i s s o m e b o d y w h o feels b r o k e n (the g u i t a r t h a t n e e d s r e p a i r i n g ) a n d h a s to b e h e l p e d

back

into h a r m o n y , b a c k into e q u i l i b r i u m . B u t at the s a m e t i m e he is afraid h i s violent aspect could c a u s e damage—it

had

already

and

destroyed

communication,

h i s i n s t r u m e n t for r e v e r b e r a t i o n

his m i n d . " C h a r l e s replied: "There

are

t h i n g s i n m y h e a d t h a t a r e a b s o l u t e l y i m p o s s i b l e to c o m ­ m u n i c a t e . I d e a s m a y c h a n g e into s h a p e s , figures, or e v e n into n o t h i n g at a l l . " In

the

silence,

following

Charles

s e s s i o n , after

turned

his

head

a

moment towards

or two the

of

white

c u r t a i n o n t h e w i n d o w . I a s k e d h i m if h e c o u l d s e e

any­

t h i n g , a n d h e a n s w e r e d : " Y e s , t h e leg of a h e n . " U s i n g t h e i m p l e m e n t s a t o u r d i s p o s a l , I a s k e d C h a r l e s to d r a w

the

l e g of t h i s h e n . I n fact, w h a t h e d r e w w a s t h e l e g of a t a b l e ( F I G U R E 1 4 ) ; I p o i n t e d t h i s o u t to h i m . H i s m o t h e r h a d t o l d m e that w h e n they m o v e d into their n e w h o m e i n Paris,

MENTAL SPACE

82

C h a r l e s h a d found a table i n a r u b b i s h d u m p

and

had

r e p a i r e d it. S h o r t l y a f t e r t h i s , C h a r l e s ' s e y e s m o v e d to t h e

chair

s t a n d i n g n e x t to t h e c u r t a i n . H e w a n t e d to d r a w i t . H e m a d e a n e x c e l l e n t a n d h i g h l y d e t a i l e d s k e t c h of t h e c h a i r , e x c e p t f o r t h e f a c t t h a t it h a d o n l y o n e l e g ( F I G U R E 15).

So,

n o w we h a d a table-leg without a table, a n d a c h a i r w i t h o n l y o n e leg. O n a t h e o r e t i c a l level, w e c o u l d a s k o u r s e l v e s w h e t h e r these are part-objects or fragments of objects. C h a r l e s studied the chair with considerable and

made

comments

that

seemed

to m e

interest

to b e

full

of

w i s d o m : " T h e c h a i r i s v e r y u s e f u l for d i s p e r s i o n . " I t o o k t h i s to m e a n t h a t a t t h a t p a r t i c u l a r m o m e n t

the

chair

c o u l d g i v e r e f u g e to h i s f e e l i n g o f b e i n g f r a g m e n t e d .

Then

he

looked

at

the

pattern

on

the

chair—hieroglyphics

w o u l d b e a n a p p r o p r i a t e w o r d to d e s c r i b e i t — a n d s e e m e d f a s c i n a t e d b y t h e l a n g u a g e of t h e c h a i r . H e w a s

experi­

m e n t i n g w i t h h e r m e n e u t i c s , t r y i n g to d e c i p h e r t h e o b j e c t . "It's

probably

filigree,

there's

a

kind

of

logic

to

the

w r i t i n g . " I n h i s reified state, C h a r l e s h a d p u t h i m s e l f a n d all h i s f r a g m e n t s into t h i s u n f i n i s h e d c h a i r , a s i n c o m p l e t e a s h e felt h i m s e l f to b e a t t h a t p o i n t , w i t h n o l e g to s t a n d o n — f l o a t i n g i n m i d - a i r a m o n g the c l o u d s . I t h o u g h t it w a s q u i t e l o g i c a l f o r s o m e of h i s w a n d e r i n g i d e a s to s e t t l e i n t o h i s o w n " h o u s e for l i v i n g i n " — i . e . h i s b o d y a n d h i s m i n d . I p o i n t e d o u t to h i m t h a t i n h i s d r a w i n g t h e c h a i r d i d n o t h a v e i t s f u l l q u o t a o f l e g s , o n e o f w h i c h s e e m e d to b e i n the previous s k e t c h he h a d m a d e . C h a r l e s g l a n c e d a t m y l a m p a n d d e c i d e d to d r a w i t ; i n f a c t , h e d r e w o n l y p a r t of t h e l a m p ( F I G U R E 16). I felt t h i s to m e a n t h a t h e c o u l d p e r c e i v e o n l y a s m a l l p a r t of r e a l i t y , a n d also that there w a s

a l i t t l e g l i m m e r of l i g h t i n h i s

w o r l d , w h i c h c o u l d be projected onto a r e a l object. a n a t o m y of a l a n d s c a p e m e e t s the physiology

of t h e

The eye

83

A GEOMETRY OF SPACE w i t h w h i c h w e l o o k a t i t ; w e b r e a t h e life i n t o i t w i t h thinking.

Man

is a m a k e r

of f a n t a s i e s ;

our

it i s t h e y

that

enliven reality a n d m a k e the e n v i r o n m e n t m e a n i n g f u l . I n the fragmentation Charles

was

of a p s y c h o t i c c r i s i s , r e a l i t y

showing

me

both

the

explodes.

fragments

and

his

a t t e m p t s to l i v e t o g e t h e r i n t h e s a m e s p a c e w i t h t h o s e h e had

projected

into

my

furniture

and

my

space.

What

h e feels to b e p a r t s of m y p e r s o n a l i n n e r s p a c e w a s ing contact with the fragments after the Now

mak­

that r e m a i n inside

him

catastrophe. b a c k to t h e s e s s i o n itself. A f t e r a n o t h e r

pause,

C h a r l e s w a n t e d to d o a n o t h e r d r a w i n g : a r o u g h s k e t c h o f a

funfair

coconut

shy,

with a middle-aged

man

taking

a i m . B e s i d e t h i s is a m i s e r a b l e - l o o k i n g tree, w h i c h c o u l d a l m o s t r e p r e s e n t s o m e o n e r a i s i n g h i s h a n d s a s t h o u g h to i m p l o r e help; there i s also the i d e a of c a r r y i n g a

heavy

b u r d e n (FIGURE 1 7 ) . T h i s w a s C h a r l e s ' s w a y of e x p r e s s i n g h i s n e e d for h e l p a n d h i s feeling of h e a v i n e s s , a feature

of

weight

melancholia;

on

such

their shoulders,

patients

an

carry

accumulation

typical

a

heavy

of

things

they find unbearable. C h a r l e s glanced at m e as he w a s m a k i n g the sketch; I r e t u r n e d h i s look, w i t h the i m p r e s s i o n t h a t e a c h of

us

w a s t r y i n g w i t h h i s e y e s to t o u c h t h e c e n t r e of t h e o t h e r ' s target. T h e r e w a s a m o m e n t of t e n s i o n — p e r h a p s

anxiety

resulting from

in

what

I h a d s a i d or h a d t o u c h e d

him

previously—then C h a r l e s relaxed a n d smiled. In

the

following

childhood memories; up

ever

so

slightly.

session,

Charles

something was When

he

was

recounted

beginning 7,

he

had

to

some open

lived

in

C e n t r a l A m e r i c a (the f a t h e r t r a v e l l e d a g r e a t d e a l ) , i n a b i g house.

One

day

he

had

the feeling

intruder i n the garage, a n d he h a d

that

there w a s

told h i s m o t h e r

an so

p e r s u a s i v e l y t h a t s h e h a d c a l l e d t h e police. I n fact, it w a s

8 4

MENTAL SPACE

t h e h e a d of a s t a t u e ,

standing back

i n the s h a d o w s ,

a

s c u l p t u r e of o n e of h i s s i s t e r s . W h e n e v e r h e felt c o l d o r a f r a i d , C h a r l e s w o u l d t r y to get c l o s e to h i s y o u n g e r s i s t e r , w i t h w h o m h e h a d a h i g h l y eroticized r e l a t i o n s h i p . W h e n h e w a s a little boy, h e l i k e d to s l e e p i n h e r b e d ; t h i s b r i n g s t o m i n d t h e c o r n e r o f t h e room

he

would

stare

at—perhaps

it m e a n t

something

w a r m a n d e x c i t i n g for C h a r l e s . M y h y p o t h e s i s w a s C h a r l e s t o o k g r e a t p l e a s u r e i n b e i n g d r a w n to a that warmed

that

corner

h i m u p , c o n t a i n e d h i m , b r e a t h e d life

h i m — t h i s m a y be w h y

he would

s e a r c h for h i s

into

sister's

c r o t c h , the a n g l e - c o r n e r b e t w e e n h e r legs. H i s m o t h e r h a d s e v e r a l t i m e s s e e n h i m t r y to a p p r o a c h h e r a n d t o u c h h e r b e t w e e n t h e t h i g h s . W h e n I m e n t i o n e d to h i m t h a t

per­

h a p s h e w a s s e e k i n g w a r m t h a n d comfort, h e replied, "I find angles very interesting, I'm interested i n geometry." I went

on,

"Yes,

but

a

l i v i n g geometry**,

since

he

had

o b v i o u s l y c o n s t r u e d m y i n t e r p r e t a t i o n i n t e r m s of E u c l i d ­ ian, plane geometry. P e r h a p s w h a t h i s m o t h e r h a d w a s experienced by Charles as

said

persecutory.

C h a r l e s often s p o k e a b o u t l a k e s a n d a h o u s e t h a t h a d b e e n d e s t r o y e d — a h o u s e w i t h m a r s h l a n d s a l l a r o u n d it. T o m e , t h i s m e a n t a p l a c e w h e r e it w a s i m p o s s i b l e to f i n d a s o l i d footing;

h e n c e h i s feeling t h a t it w a s

difficult

to

s t a n d o n h i s o w n feet a n d b e h i m s e l f . H e w a s a n

empty

h o u s e t h a t h a d b e e n r a z e d to t h e g r o u n d ,

to

about

be

engulfed i n the shifting s a n d s of the e a r t h - m o u t h , c h a o s . At another m o m e n t , C h a r l e s drew a c a r reversing into a n d c o l l i d i n g w i t h a tree (FIGURE 1 8 ) . It w a s h i s m o t h e r ' s car, w h i c h he h a d taken, a n d he h a d h a d a n A c c o r d i n g to h i s m o t h e r , t h i s c o r r e s p o n d e d when

Charles had begun

to w i t h d r a w

accident.

to t h e

from the

w o r l d , w h e n h e h a d f i r s t b e g u n to f e e l d i f f e r e n t a n d m e n t e d . G e t t i n g into the m o t h e r ' s c a r or into the who

closely resembled their mother,

h i s little

time

outside frag­ sister

mummy,

85

A GEOMETRY OF SPACE

implies i n m y view pathological projective identification. It i s a m a n i f e s t a t i o n of s e v e r e a g o r a p h o b i a , t h e d r a m a t i c i n a b i l i t y to d e a l w i t h o p e n s p a c e s , h e n c e t h e n e e d a l w a y s to i n h a b i t s o m e o n e

else's body. I n the transference

we

m e e t t h i s k i n d of p h e n o m e n o n w h e n s o m e o n e " g e t s s t u c k into u s " . C h a r l e s gets into the car body, into h i s sister's c r o t c h , into h i s m o t h e r ' s or h i s s i s t e r ' s clothes. H e

re­

m e m b e r e d h o w , a s a y o u n g b o y , h e l i k e d to d r e s s u p i n h i s s i s t e r ' s d a n c i n g c o s t u m e ; w e c o u l d t h i n k of t h i s h i s n e e d to f i n d a s p a c e

for h i m s e l f i n s i d e h i s

as

sister's

clothes-being. E a c h o f u s h a s to f i n d a c o m m o n l a n g u a g e t h a t w i l l a c t a s a m e d i a t o r b e t w e e n two different w o r l d s — a m e a n s of c o m m u n i c a t i o n t h a t w i l l h e l p e a c h o f u s n o t to f e e l o b l i g e d to e n t e r i n t o t h e o t h e r ' s " b o d y w o r k " , a s C h a r l e s s e e m e d t o h a v e to d o . T h i s p r o b l e m o c c u r s f r e q u e n t l y w h e n w e d i s ­ c u s s c l i n i c a l m a t e r i a l : w h e n I r e p o r t a p a t i e n t ' s d r e a m , it i s to s o m e e x t e n t m y o w n d r e a m t h a t I a m n a r r a t i n g . I n o t h e r w o r d s , w h e n I t a l k of C h a r l e s , I a m , i n fact,

giving

my

accept

version

of w h a t

responsibility

for

happened,

it

with

all

and the

I have

to

imperfections

and

imprecision that that might imply. G i v e n that, I c a n t h e n p u t y o u i n t o u c h w i t h t h i n g s t h a t a r e d i f f i c u l t to municate

and

open

up

another space

for t h o u g h t

discussion. I have already stated that I prefer the " d o u b l e t r a n s f e r e n c e " to t r a n s f e r e n c e a n d

com­ and term

countertrans­

ference; if we place o u r s e l v e s i n a transference s i t u a t i o n , neurotic

or p s y c h o t i c ,

without

losing our

boundaries,

t h e n we will l e a r n m u c h from o u r patients. T h e

patient

t r i e s to e n t e r i n t o t h e a n a l y s t , n o t o n l y w i t h t h e i l l a s p e c t s , b u t a l s o w i t h the h e a l t h y p a r t s of h i s p e r s o n a l i t y , w h i c h h e f i n d s i m p o s s i b l e to p r o t e c t . S o m e t i m e s t h e p s y c h o a n a ­ l y s t d i v e s t s h i m s e l f of p a r t of h i s t h e r a p e u t i c role

and

p r o j e c t s it into t h e p a t i e n t ; i n t h i s w a y , a s S e a r l e s ( 1 9 7 9 ) points

out,

the

patient

can

take

on

the

therapeutic

86

MENTAL SPACE

role. I t h i n k that w h a t i s i m p o r t a n t i n p s y c h o a n a l y s i s not the obvious, but questioning the obvious. McDougairs

is

In Joyce

(1978) words: "Being a n analyst m e a n s

let­

t i n g o n e s e l f b e c a l l e d i n q u e s t i o n b y t h e p a t i e n t a n d to c a l l oneself i n question." T h i s is the

meaning

of the

term

"working through"—working through space, working with t h e s p a c e t h a t o p e n s u p the p o s s i b i l i t y of d i a l o g u e .

For

t h e r e to b e c o m m u n i c a t i o n a n d d i a l o g u e t h e r e h a s to b e separation; this is the problem encountered by those w h o d o n o t m a n a g e to c l i m b o u t o f t h e b o d y w o r k , to c o m e of t h e i r s p a c e .

out

CHAPTER

SEVEN

A space for delusion, a space for creation

I

n c h a p t e r s i x I d e s c r i b e d t h e case o f C h a r l e s , a y o u n g m a n w h o suffered f r o m

a schizophrenic disorder,

a b o u t the vagaries of m y sessions w i t h h i m , a n d

about the b i r t h a n d development of the

transference.

Charles h a d constructed a geometrical k i n d of t h i n k i n g i n the transference: he w o u l d glance t o w a r d s a corner of t h e consulting-room, indicating that I should look i n the same d i r e c t i o n — t o w a r d s t h e p l a c e w h e r e w e h a d a r r a n g e d , as i t were, t o meet for t h a t p a r t i c u l a r session. Charles was remarkably good at expressing himself figuratively.

I mentioned that

i n his

third

or

fourth

session he h a d d r a w n a m i d d l e - a g e d m a n s t a n d i n g at a funfair

s t a l l , w i t h a tree close b y ; t h i s r e p r e s e n t e d ,

in

m y v i e w , t h e m o m e n t w h e n o u r eyes—the p a t i e n t ' s a n d mine—were a b o u t to meet. W h e n I began talking, Charles l o o k e d a t m e as t h o u g h he w e r e t r y i n g t o l o o k i n s i d e , t o w a r d s t h e centre. T h i s was also h o w I w o u l d l o o k at h i m 87

88

MENTAL SPACE

occasionally,

so

it w a s

a

kind

of m u t u a l

exploration.

G i v e n h i s ontological i n s e c u r i t y a n d the fact t h a t I w a s o n l y j u s t g e t t i n g to k n o w h i m , t h i s w a s a p e r f e c t l y l o g i c a l state of affairs. I interpreted the tree a s p e r h a p s i m p l y i n g that he needed help, but also a s representing the

heavy

b u r d e n h e h a d to c a r r y . I also narrated a n episode that h a d occurred

during

t h e s u m m e r h o l i d a y j u s t before h e fell i l l , w h e n h e

had

b o r r o w e d h i s m o t h e r ' s c a r a n d r e v e r s e d it i n t o a t r e e . I n the current session, I pointed out the link between a n d the tree C h a r l e s h a d d r a w n : the tree h a d the

impact,

was

b e g i n n i n g to f i n d s o m e t h i n g s u p p o r t i v e .

and

perhaps

in the

this

withstood

transference

Charles Symbolic­

ally, this could be represented a s a c r a s h , a n accident,

a

t r a u m a t i c i n c i d e n t , w h i c h , a s F r e u d p u t it, i s n o t s o m u c h the c a u s e a s a precipitating factor, p r o d u c i n g r e g r e s s i o n a n d r e - a c t u a l i z a t i o n of a p s y c h o t i c of r e s p o n s e .

As

Charles was

or neurotic

recounting this

pattern

incident­

a c c i d e n t , I h a d the a l m o s t p h y s i c a l i m p r e s s i o n of b e i n g touched; sitting b e h i n d h i m in the s e s s i o n , I w a s t u r n i n g into the tree he h a d driven into w i t h s u c h u n c o n t r o l l a b l e anger. I h i n t e d , too, at t h e difficulty p s y c h o t i c p a t i e n t s with their "being-in-the-world" and with other

have

people—a

difficulty t h a t i n d u c e s "athletic" defence m e c h a n i s m s i n o r d e r to l e a p t h r o u g h s p a c e a n d t i m e a n d i n t o t h e O t h e r : i n t h i s c a s e , t h e a n a l y s t . I n t h e c a s e of C h a r l e s , into h i s mother's typical inside

examples rather

car of a

than

and

trying

psychotic

with

the

to g e t object

Other,

getting

inside me relation.

projecting

are

Being oneself

forcibly into the m o t h e r - c a r or the father-tree or into m e i n t h e t r a n s f e r e n c e , i s t y p i c a l of p a t h o l o g i c a l

projective

identification. This

type of p r o j e c t i o n s e r v e s

l e s s to

communicate

t h a n t o e x p l o r e a n d , i n t h e f i n a l a n a l y s i s , to i n v a d e . T h e

89

A SPACE FOR DELUSION p s y c h o t i c p a t i e n t , o r t h e p s y c h o t i c p a r t of t h e ego,

aban­

d o n s s h i p , t u r n s a w a y f r o m i t s o w n b o d y i n o r d e r to t a k e p o s s e s s i o n of a n d settle d o w n i n s i d e s o m e o n e e l s e . Abandoning

a s i n k i n g s h i p c o r r e s p o n d s to t h e

cata­

s t r o p h i c c r i s i s t h a t , K a r l J a s p e r s a r g u e d , w a s a f e a t u r e of schizophrenic experience. T h i s fantasy w a s expressed i n another drawing C h a r l e s made: he drew a boat, a n d sketched

himself

hidden

behind

the

sail

(FIGURE

he 19).

C h a r l e s h a d s e t s a i l i n a n a n a l y t i c craft i n w h i c h , for t h e moment,

he would

be

h a p p y j u s t to f l o a t ,

but

he

hid

h i m s e l f a w a y — q u i t e r i g h t l y , too, I t h i n k , g i v e n t h e t h r e a t s that day-to-day living m e a n t

for h i m . B e i n g i n s i d e

the

O t h e r , i n s i d e h i s b o d y o r h i s m e n t a l s p a c e , i s a s o r t of p h y s i c a l or m e n t a l counterfeiting or p l a g i a r i s m — t h e of s i t u a t i o n w h e n , for e x a m p l e , s o m e b o d y

kind

dresses up in

s o m e o n e e l s e ' s i d e a s . F o r a n a n a l y s t , t h i s i s , a s it w e r e , a rite of p a s s a g e ; b u t t h e p a t i e n t w i l l h a v e to a s k h i m s e l f how

he

c a n get

back

inside himself a n d put

his

own

clothes b a c k on. We m a y recall that as a child C h a r l e s l i k e d to d r e s s u p i n h i s y o u n g e r s i s t e r ' s d a n c i n g Sometimes locked

h e enters into the object a n d finds

in and

imprisoned. I n the transference,

outfit. himself for

ex­

ample, he gets inside m y h e a d a n d p u t s on m y ideas, m y psychoanalytic clothes: he does this at h o m e a n d i n the h o s p i t a l , w h e r e the o t h e r p a t i e n t s t a k e h i m for a p s y c h o ­ a n a l y s t (or s o h e t e l l s m e ) , a n d i n m y

consulting-room,

where he sometimes takes m y place during the session, p r o j e c t i n g h i s i l l p a r t i n t o m e i n a k i n d o f quid pro

quo.

C h a r l e s w o u l d l o v e to b e a p s y c h o a n a l y s t ; w h e n h e about

15

years

was

old, he h a d written a school essay

on

Freud. C h a r l e s ' s relationship with his father w a s fraught w i t h difficulty,

a n d that w a s how I interpreted the s k e t c h i n

w h i c h the c a r c r a s h e s into the father-tree. H i s rivalry w a s often e x p r e s s e d a s a g g r e s s i v e n e s s

towards a father

who,

90

MENTAL SPACE

i n reality, w a s quite

flexible.

p l a c e of t h e p s y c h o a n a l y s t ,

J u s t as he liked taking the C h a r l e s would also take h i s

f a t h e r ' s p l a c e — t h a t o f t h e i d e a l ego, to u s e F r e u d ' s t e r m ; h e d i s l i k e d b e i n g t h e s o n or the patient. S o m e t i m e s d i d u n d e r s t a n d t h a t a s far a s the a n a l y s i s w a s he

would

have

to

learn

the

difficult j o b

he

concerned

of

"being

a

p a t i e n t " . If he c o u l d s u c c e e d i n t h i s , he w o u l d be able to share the same quest with me a n d m y ego—patient analyst working as partners i n the s a m e

and

adventure.

C h a r l e s became interested i n archaeology.

Freud,

we

r e c a l l , felt t h a t t h e m e t a p h o r s o f a r c h a e o l o g y w e r e i d e a l l y s u i t e d to p s y c h o a n a l y t i c w o r k i n i t s s e a r c h f o r t h e a p K f j . C h a r l e s told m e

about

restoring old h o u s e s

and

man­

s i o n s , a n d h e a p p e a r e d to u n d e r s t a n d t h a t w e n e e d e d to harmonize

our

research

into

the

archaeology

of

the

present—i.e. the transference. T h e transference object is not

immutable,

it

changes

with

space

and

a c c o r d i n g to t h e o b s e r v i n g e g o ' s p e r s p e c t i v e

time

and

or vantage

p o i n t . T h e s e a r c h for a s p a c e t h a t w e c o u l d s h a r e b e t w e e n us—the

transference

space—is

not

a matter

of

simple

t h e r a p e u t i c c u r i o s i t y c o n c e r n i n g t h e i n n e r w o r l d ; it i s a p r e r e q u i s i t e for t h e c o n s t r u c t i o n of t h e t r i a d t h a t s t r u c ­ tures the analyst-space-patient

r e l a t i o n s h i p . It i s

upon

t h i s s t r u c t u r e t h a t t h e m e n t a l s p a c e of e a c h p a r t n e r w i l l b e a b l e to b u i l d . C h a r l e s w o u l d w o n d e r a b o u t t h e m e a n ­ i n g of c l o u d s , s h a d o w s , f o r m a n d s h a p e , s u b s t a n c e

and

c o l o u r a s t h e y s w a m into h i s i n t e r n a l field of v i s i o n . H e w a s t r y i n g to u n d e r s t a n d w h a t w a s g o i n g o n i n s i d e h i s head, a n d this could indicate that at s u c h times he really d i d feel t h a t t h e r e w a s a s p a c e i n s i d e h i m s e l f . H e c o u l d s e e , e m e r g i n g i n t o life, p h e n o m e n a a s y e t w i t h o u t s h a p e — " s h a p e l e s s " w a s F r a n c e s T u s t i n ' s ( 1 9 8 6 ) t e r m to d e s c r i b e objects t h a t do not yet h a v e their o w n i d e n t i t y — t h i n g s w e c o u l d try to u n d e r s t a n d together. W h a t , i n fact, h e

was

t r y i n g to d o w a s to l o o k a t h i m s e l f , to d e v e l o p h i s o b s e r v ­

A SPACE FOR DELUSION

91

i n g e g o i n o r d e r to s e e h i m s e l f t h r o u g h t h e e y e s o f h i s

alter

ego. When

he described what

w a s happening

inside h i s

m e n t a l s p a c e , h e t a l k e d of s e n s a t i o n s , w a v e s , v i b r a t i o n s o f colour. I n one of h i s drawings there i s a "cosmic

object"

(see i l l u s t r a t i o n o n cover): C h a r l e s i m a g i n e d r a y s o f light c o m i n g out ofa cave a n d rising into space. H e added: T m t h i n k i n g of b l a c k , red, a n d yellow: blots or r a y s . " I c o m ­ m e n t e d : " W i t h c o l o u r s y o u ' r e t r y i n g to d e s c r i b e , to t r a n ­ scribe y o u r feelings. A n d you're

trying to r e a d w h a t i s

written. M a y b e y o u c o u l d go o n a bit." W i t h o u t h e s i t a t i o n , he continued: "Yes, black is despair, red i s provocation, a n d yellow i s hope." T h e n he added: " A n d blue i s t r a n q u i l ­ lity.

I ' m trying

to p u t a l l those

colours

together."

I

r e m a r k e d : " B l u e i s t h e t r a n q u i l l i t y y o u ' r e l o o k i n g for w h e n you're i n d e s p a i r . P e r h a p s it i s the provocative a s p e c t i n y o u or i n others that keeps hope alive." After

a

colour,

short

which

pause,

in Spanish

Charles is

mentioned

another

corresponding

morado,

to p u r p l e , w h i c h h e c o n f u s e d w i t h violet. H e a s s o c i a t e d morado

t o morada,

a house or dwelling-place.

Psychotic

patients u s e projective identification o u tof despair; it i s e q u i v a l e n t t o m o v i n g h o u s e , i n t h a t t h e y t r y to g e t i n s i d e the other p e r s o n a n d settle d o w n there. A s B i o n s a i d , t h e more

their

situation

is persecutory

a n d distressing,

t h e f u r t h e r a w a y t h e i r p r o j e c t i o n s h a v e to b e . C h a r l e s ' s projections were sidereal; schizophrenics are particularly attracted

to t h e c o s m o s — f a r

from

t h e difficulties

of

h o r i z o n t a l i t y a n d t h e s o c i a l i n t e r p l a y o f e v e r y d a y life i n the present. I reminded C h a r l e s that h e h a d moved t h e f a m i l y left M a d r i d f o r P a r i s . T h i s c h a n g e

house

when

of domicile

w a s a n u p s e t t i n g experience for all of t h e m ; for s o m e o n e fragile, s o m e o n e w h o h a d t r e m e n d o u s difficulty i n i n h a b ­ iting space a n d uniting h i s o w n fragments a n d shattered

92

MENTAL SPACE

bits

a n d pieces,

the experience

could

be

traumatic.

C h a r l e s r e p l i e d : " I t ' s difficult. . . . " H e h e s i t a t e d , t h e n w e n t on: T m t h i n k i n g of t h e A r a b s glanced

w h oinvaded Spain." H e

at a painting representing a child holding the

r e i n s of a w o o d e n h o r s e o n wheels. T h i s r e m i n d e d h i m of t h e T r o j a n h o r s e , w h i c h h e t h e n d r e w (FIGURE 2 0 ) . S i n c e t h e p a i n t i n g d e p i c t e d a toy h o r s e , t h e r e w a s s o m e e l e m e n t of p l a y f u l n e s s i n t h i s s e q u e n c e , a m o v e m e n t t o w a r d s t h e i n f a n t i l e ego. A d e l u s i o n a l t r a n s f e r e n c e

can make

head­

w a y w h e n t h e i n h i b i t e d f r o z e n c h i l d p a r t b e g i n s to w a k e u p a n d w a r m u p . C h a r l e s h a d certainly not forgotten

how

to p l a y . T h e p u r p o s e o f t h e T r o j a n h o r s e w a s t o t r i c k t h e T r o j a n s a n d thereby

invade

t h e city.

Charles said: " I n

Troy, n i n e cities are buried, it's private." I w o n d e r e d "private" meant

i n this context;

m y view

what

w a s that the

archaeological research he w a s doing with m ew a s

some­

thing very private. C h a r l e s c o m e s from a family of nine; perhaps

they were

interlocked inside one another,

like

those R u s s i a n dolls. E i t h e r he w a s w a r n i n g m e , o r s a y i n g that t h e s e a r c h for h i s origins, h i s p r i m a e v a l

language,

w a s s o m e t h i n g private. We are here i n the r e a l m of the s a c r e d a n d the s e c u l a r ; w e a r e a l l a morada,

a temple. C h a r l e s associated

morada

to m o r a l , p o s i n g t h e e t h i c a l q u e s t i o n o f h o w t o r e s p e c t h i s privacy. W e k n o w that i n our work we have some

power,

a n d the patient bestows even more power on us. T h i s c a n be a g o o d t h i n g , b u t it m a y a l s o b e a d a n g e r ; on

h o w t h e a n a l y s i s develops.

primary

process,

it d e p e n d s

I n accordance

Charles h a d condensed

with the

several

ideas

a n d i m a g e s into a single item o r event. T h e r e f o l l o w e d a n o t h e r s h o r t p a u s e for r e f l e c t i o n , t h e n C h a r l e s s a i d : " D i d y o u k n o w there a r e affinities

between

certain colours, a n d that colours c a n take t h e shape of sounds

or of v o i c e s ? " T h i s w a s h i s discreet w a y of r e ­

93

A SPACE FOR DELUSION m i n d i n g m e that he still h a d h a l l u c i n a t i o n s . H o w colours, how m a n y voices were speaking inside

Charles?

T m

many

simultaneously

t h i n k i n g of g e o m e t r i c a l

figures,

a

d o d e c a h e d r o n . * * H i s a t t e m p t to f i n d a l a n g u a g e f o r h i m s e l f h a d t a k e n t h e f o r m of n o t v e r y w e l l a r t i c u l a t e d g e o m e t r i c a l f i g u r e s ; h i s t h i n k i n g w a s t r y i n g to h a c k a p a s s a g e t h r o u g h a m e n t a l s p a c e t h a t w a s still u n y i e l d i n g a n d a n g u l a r . I n o n e of h i s s u b s e q u e n t s e s s i o n s , C h a r l e s g a v e m e t h e i m p r e s s i o n of b e i n g c o l d a n d a s h a r d a s s t o n e , a s petrified a n d d e v i t a l i z e d a s I h a d felt h i m to b e t h e f i r s t t i m e m e t . After o u r lively, colourful e x c h a n g e , n e e d to d r a w b a c k ,

to fortify

we

h e h a d felt t h e

himself again and put

his

a r m o u r b a c k o n . After a few m o m e n t s , h e s a i d : " I ' m t h i n k ­ i n g o f w h i t e , i t ' s a n e u t r a l colour**, t h e n a d d e d : " M y m i n d ' s a b l a n k " [blanc: w h i t e , i n F r e n c h ! , " I ' m t h i n k i n g o f s p i e s " , h e s a i d , t h e n , " I ' m t h i n k i n g of the O d y s s e y . " I c o m m e n t e d , " L a s t time, y o u spoke about y o u r private language,

and

t h e s e s s i o n w a s i n t e n s e l y e m o t i o n a l . M a y b e y o u feel y o u showed

me

too m u c h of y o u r p r i v a t e

self. W e

e t h i c s , too, s o m a y b e y o u ' r e s u s p i c i o u s of m e ,

spoke

of

wondering

w h e t h e r I ' m o b s e r v i n g y o u w i t h t h e a i m of h e l p i n g y o u

or

of s p y i n g o n y o u . Y o u ' r e w o n d e r i n g w h o I a m . " " I ' m t h i n k ­ ing

of

yellow",

said

Charles—in his

language,

yellow

m e a n s hope, so I added: "If we respect e a c h other, there's hope. If w e c a n w a i t a bit u n t i l the a t m o s p h e r e b e t w e e n

us

b e c o m e s l e s s o f a t h r e a t , t h e n w e c a n go o n h o p i n g . " In another session, Charles drew s c e n e . O n e of t h e r o c k s r e s e m b l e s b i r d (FIGURE 21). tion

of

imagine

time,

a

a stony

a terrifying

landscape petrified

T h i s is Nature's catatonia, the petrifica­ lonely

and

desolate

landscape.

Charles in s u c h a universe, merging

I

into

a n d t h r e a t e n i n g N a t u r e . W h e n t h e ego i s s o f r a g i l e ,

can hard the

s u b s t a n c e of w h i c h o b j e c t s a r e m a d e b e c o m e s v i t a l l y i m ­ p o r t a n t : w e m a y b e m a d e of s t o n e , of w o o d l i k e P i n o c c h i o ,

94 of

MENTAL SPACE steel.

These

materiality

metaphors

of h u m a n

are

beings,

the

and

semantics this

is

of

the

particularly

i m p o r t a n t for p s y c h o t i c s . L o o k i n g a t h i s s k e t c h , I h a d t h e f e e l i n g t h a t C h a r l e s w o u l d l i k e to f r e e h i m s e l f f r o m

his

condition a s a lifeless bird a n d s o a r u p w a r d s

the

into

blue. I n the following s e s s i o n , after a long, h e a v y

silence,

s o m e t h i n g s t r a n g e o c c u r r e d i n m e : I b e g a n to f e e l s l u g ­ g i s h , a s t h o u g h i n a state of lethargy, w h i l e C h a r l e s w a s f a r a w a y , c u t off, s h u t u p i n h i s o w n w o r l d . T h e r e w a s

no

life b e t w e e n u s , n o v i b r a t i o n s , n o a i r , n o w i n d — j u s t a s i n t h e de C h i r i c o t o w n s c a p e s I m e n t i o n e d earlier. S u d d e n l y , I imagined I could hear a bird sing. I wondered what

was

going on: w a s I having a n hallucination? "Where is the bird?" I asked, a n d Charles, extricating himself from h i s stony m u t i s m , replied, " I n m y s t o m a c h . " I w a s still a s t o n ­ i s h e d a n d w e n t o n : " W h a t d o e s the b i r d w a n t ? I s it h u n ­ gry?

Cold?" A

playful

kind

of t r a n s f e r e n c e

woke me up. The atmosphere

stirred

of t h e t r a n s f e r e n c e

and

space

h a d changed, becoming less catatonic a n d less threaten­ ing; there w a s

s p a c e for t h e little b i r d , for t h a t p a r t

C h a r l e s ' s i n f a n t i l e ego o u t s i d e n a r c i s s i s m , t h e p a r t

of

that

w a s not stony, the part that needed help a n d w a r m t h a n d f o o d . T h e p r e s e n c e o f a n i n f a n t i l e ego, i n C h a r l e s a n d i n me, created a play-ground

(Winnicott) a n d b r e a t h e d

b a c k into the archaeological r e s e a r c h . W h e n is petrified, the fragments

produced

when

life

experience the

psychic

a p p a r a t u s b r e a k s d o w n freeze a n d b e c o m e c o n f u s e d ;

but

w h e n h a r d n e s s melts, everything breathes—Nature

and

C h a r l e s ' s i n f a n t i l e ego g i v e b i r t h to a b i r d . T h i s i s n o t i n itself sufficient: all i s not yet i n h a r m o n y , for t h e t h r e a t ­ ening voices

re-appear

and

the

noises

of t h e

city

are

a g a i n persecutory. T h e t r a n s f e r e n c e , i n fact, i s a n alter­ nating

current—positive

following

negative,

and

vice­

v e r s a . C h a r l e s s a i d , "Today m y thoughts are s h a p e d like

95

A SPACE FOR DELUSION thoughts."

"What

about

sounds

and noises?" I

asked.

" J u s t s o u n d s a n d n o i s e s " , w a s h i s reply. I do t h i n k t h a t C h a r l e s h a s i m p r o v e d , b u t a t t h a t p o i n t in

the

analysis

a

fundamental

question

came

to

the

fore: t h e n a r c i s s i s t i c w o u n d . T h e p a t h o l o g i c a l n a r c i s s i s m o f h i s ego i d e a l — b e i n g t h e K i n g o f S p a i n , t h e

delusion

n o u r i s h i n g t h e i d e a l i z e d i m a g e a n d m a k i n g it

patholog­

i c a l — w a s b e g i n n i n g to d e f l a t e . T h i s i s t h e p h e n o m e n o n I call

"narcissistic

depression"—linked

to

the

loss

not

of t h e object, b u t of a h i g h l y c a t h e c t e d p a r t of t h e

ego

(cathected, that is, by the delusion). T h e delusional state of m i n d often feels c r u s h e d b y t h e reality p r i n c i p l e . I n t h e narcissistic transference

as described by Rosenfeld,

the

O t h e r is the patient's opposite n u m b e r , h i s m i r r o r image, his shadow,

h i s m a n u f a c t u r e d object. T h i s prevents

the

n a r c i s s i s t i c m i n d set from being imperilled. O n the other h a n d , w h e n a p a t i e n t b e g i n s to b e a b l e t o t o l e r a t e

differ­

e n c e a n d to t h i n k of t h e o t h e r p e r s o n a s d i s t i n c t

from

himself, interplay a n d dialogue become possible; without d i f f e r e n c e , t h e r e i s o n l y e c h o . I f t h e ego l o s e s p r e s t i g e , it may

react negatively

and attack

linking. Two

states

of

m i n d a r e t h e n l o c k e d i n c o m b a t : t h e d e s i r e to b e h e l p e d , versus

the

desire

outlook/inlook. The

to

impose

ego

one's

becomes

the

own

pathological

battleground

for

political s u p r e m a c y between the delusional part a n d the i n f a n t i l e ego s e e k i n g t h e h e l p o f a n a d u l t ego. T h e c h i l d a n d a d u l t p a r t s w i t h i n t h e s a m e p e r s o n m a y t r y to n e g o ­ t i a t e t h r o u g h p l a y , e a c h a l l o w i n g t h e o t h e r to

challenge

its b a s i c t e n e t s — a r i s k y b u s i n e s s , b u t if s u c c e s s f u l , d i a ­ l o g u e b e c o m e s p o s s i b l e . S p a c e f o r logos c a n t h e n e x p a n d , t h e p o s s i b i l i t y of e n l i g h t e n m e n t d e v e l o p s — a

resplendent

light, not a b r o k e n l a m p like the one C h a r l e s h a d at

the

start

of h i s a n a l y s i s . T h e

remains

of t h e

drawn cata­

strophic experience that is a schizophrenic crisis c o n t a i n s o m e p o t e n t i a l for w a r m t h a n d light.

96

MENTAL SPACE In his paper on n a r c i s s i s m , F r e u d (1914c) emphasized

t h a t t h e d i s p o s i t i o n to p a t h o l o g i c a l accompanied

by a tendency

n a r c i s s i s m i s often

to e x a g g e r a t i o n .

T h e psy­

c h o t i c p a t i e n t ' s ego b e c o m e s t h e c e n t r e o f a s o l a r s y s t e m . Sometimes

i n the schizophrenic's

mental

space

there

are several galaxies, e a c h w i t h its o w n s u n . W h e n I look a t Van

G o g h ' s p a i n t i n g Starry

night

(FIGURE 2 2 ) , I c a n s e e

s o m e t h i n g that i s b o t h full of creative talent a n d

impos­

sibly i n s a n e . T h e r e are several planetary s y s t e m s , a n d the m o o n i s striving to eclipse the s u n — t h i s w o u l d m a k e m e t h i n k of the c o m b i n e d p a r e n t s i n c o s m i c conflict. T h e r e i n lies

the "brave

n e w world"

of t h e psychotic

crisis,

a

m o m e n t of i n t e n s e l y p a i n f u l l u c i d i t y f r o m w h i c h w e m a y — or m a y not—be

able to extricate o u r s e l v e s . A t t h e s a m e

time, it i s a m o m e n t

of light a n d w a r m t h , w h i c h

could

b r i n g i m m e n s e benefit a s long a s c i r c u m s t a n c e s are right and

helping hands

nearby.

My impression is that V a n

G o g h ' s m e n t a l stability w a s quite satisfactory d u r i n g t h e p e r i o d h e w a s l i v i n g i n A r i e s ; w h e n h e left f o r N o r m a n d y , on t h e other

hand,

h i s condition worsened;

it w a s a s

though his destructive part h a d begun attacking his link­ i n g capacity, a n d only the originality of h i s artistic ability remained. I n C h a r l e s ' s world, too, there were m a n y

sun-kings,

m a n y d i s s o c i a t e d split-off k i n g s , e a c h locked u p i n a u t i s ­ tic s p a c e , each

then suddenly

exploding

a n dm a k i n g w a r o n

other. T h i s i s t h e crisis situation, t h e w a t e r s h e d

b e t w e e n the c o m p a r t m e n t a l i z e d u n i v e r s e typical of m o r e ­ or-less chronic schizophrenics a n d t h e potentialities of a w a k e n i n g . A s the b a r r i e r s of e n c l o s u r e fall d o w n , t o g e t h e r i s felt t o b e c a t a s t r o p h i c ; H e r a c l i t u s ' s w a r

coming meta­

p h o r i s a n appropriate description. I n the transference, a s B i o n (1966) remarked, s u c h a n experience m a y produce a s p a r k o f life t h a t w i l l p r o v e v i t a l f o r t h e t h e r a p e u t i c

pro­

c e s s . T h e s e n s a t i o n , b l u n t e d for s o m a n y y e a r s , t h a t t i m e

97

A SPACE FOR DELUSION is once m o r e i n m o t i o n t u r n s into a conflagration;

cold­

n e s s abruptly becomes heat. C h a r l e s h a d split his mighty f e u d a l ego into f o u r p a r t s , e a c h o f w h i c h c l a i m e d to b e k i n g o f t h e c a s t l e (the f a m o u s " m u l t i p l e p e r s o n a l i t y " o f t h e schizophrenic), a n d the battle w a s projected into the c o s ­ mos. I n V a n Gogh's the atmosphere

p a i n t i n g , too, t h e battle i s s i d e r e a l ,

apocalyptic.

T h e hope

of t h e psychotic

ego i s t o i n v e n t a M e s s i a h , a c h a r i s m a t i c e g o - g u i d e , o r to p u t o n t h e m a n t l e o f a M e s s i a h a n d p r o j e c t the

fragments

of a m u t i l a t e d

disoriented

outwards

universe,

a

world desperately seeking direction. I n C h a r l e s ' s case, the struggle i s between this psychotic project a n d the of a n o t h e r

hope,

the hope

yellow

of h e l p a n d u n d e r s t a n d i n g ,

the hope of s h a r i n g w i t h h i s p s y c h o a n a l y s t e x p e r i e n c e n o t o n l y o f d e a t h b u t a l s o o f life.

inter alios

the

CHAPTER

EIGHT

A space for concluding

N

ow t h a t I a m c o m i n g to t h e e n d of t h i s v o l u m e , I w o u l d l i k e to d i s c u s s i n a little m o r e detail t h e question of emptiness a n d absence.

I wrote a n

article ( R e s n i k , 1 9 8 5 a ) w i t h t h i s v e r y title i n m e m o r y of

David Liberman, a famous Argentinian psychoanalyst. He was

a childhood friend of m i n e ; h i s loss s e t i n m o t i o n

inside m e all k i n d s of painful a n d nostalgic memories. R e m e m b e r i n g [recordari] I n L a t i n , recordari corda:

i s a w a y of evoking

feelings.

m e a n s to b r i n g b a c k t o m i n d [re: b a c k ;

h e a r t , m i n d ] . T h i s i s quite different f r o m A r i s t o t l e ' s

reminiscence, w h i c h i s sporadic, colder, a n d h a s more to d o w i t h r e a s o n a n d l o g i c . I n A r i s t o t l e ' s Poetica,

memory is

a recreative, lively m i m e s i s . T h e G r e e k c a t h a r s i s i s a t t h e root of m a n y f u n d a m e n t a l concepts of p s y c h o a n a l y s i s — not only a liberation, b u t also re-creation, bringing b a c k to m i n d .

99

100

MENTAL SPACE

Memory,

evocation,

a n d ritualization

all have

a

p a r t t o p l a y i n t h e i d e a of t r a g e d y , f r o m t h e G r e e k Tpoyot; Itrafifos: h e - g o a t l a n d (08^ [aoide:

song]; h e n c e the cult of

D i o n y s u s , i nw h i c h catharsis i s represented b y sacrifice, the

violent

would

of a

presence

primal

absence.

Nietzsche

s a y that tragedy i s born of t h e spirit of m u s i c ,

w h i c h , w i t h its r h y t h m a n d h a r m o n y , e n c o u r a g e s

rituali­

z a t i o n , s u b l i m a t i o n , a n d r e - c r e a t i o n of a n a b s e n c e i n a l l o f its aesthetic fullness. M u s i c , t h e a r t of D i o n y s u s , generates energy,

vigour,

a n d liberty i n life—in other words, internal movement a n d emotionality. T o re-create i s to p l a y w i t h a m e m o r y

that

h a s feeling; w e p l a y w i t h m e m o r i e s to e x p r e s s w h a t w e a r e feeling a n d to reveal nostalgia. N o s t a l g i a i s a t u r n i n g h o m e w a r d , vocrco