Dr.med. Rosemarie Kennel



In this paper the attempt is made, in the sense of an interdisciplinary dialogue, to find parallels between the findings and models of neuroscience about the manner of organisation and function of the brain and the findings and models of psychoanalysis about the manner of organisation and function of the psyche. This takes place with the aid of a few concepts of psychoanalysis developed by W.R. Bion and a few concepts of neuroscience developed by G.M. Edelman.



The „Weltknoten" (universal knot), upon which all else is dependent, is how Arthur Schopenhauser described the body-mind problem. Freud, after having had to recognize the attempt to dissolve this knot reductionistically-materialistically as being too early and as having failed, he turned, apparently dualistically, completely to the phenomenon of the mind. But he never abandoned the idea that one day psychoanalysis, „should be based upon its organic fundament; but we do not yet know this" (1916-17a).

In the meantime the research interests, the aims and methods of natural science and psychoanalysis have developed in divergent directions. The rapid progress of neuroscience now suggests that the early ideas of Freud should be taken up again und be re-examined in accordance with the development that has taken place in the meantime in both sciences. Now we „know" the „organic fundament" better, of which Freud spoke. However, what conclusions could result from it for psychoanalysis remain open.

The brain-mind problem is burdened with fundamental epistemological difficulties. But it would seem to be appealing and also legitimate, simply to proceed pragmatically, and to investigate how mental and neurobiological processes both in time and space, not only run parallel with one another, but can also as far as possible be correlated, without at the same time demanding that the mental be derived from material processes. That should be tested out here on some of the concepts of psychoanalysis, as Bion has developed them as, in my opinion, in many aspects relationships with neuroscience can be established.

I. Wilfred R. Bion - after Freud doubtless the most interesting psychoanalytical thinker - in a central phase of his career (1950-1970) followed up the philosophical trends of thought of this time, with the intention of transforming psychoanalysis into a science, according to the model of logical empiricism, but without restricting it to this (Bléandonu, 1990). The diversity of mundane and clinical occurrences is reduced to a few important elements - „The Elements of Psycho-Analysis" (1963) - but at the same time the complexity is retained, through the assumption of the manifold, cross-linked, multi-dimensional, mutual relationship of these elements. In this mode of thought it is no longer substances, but factors and functions which are registered. It concerns the relationship of the elements with one another and no longer the tracing back of phenomena to the underlying instinctual forces. In this form of development of psychoanalysis, not only the observation and experience data (resulting from a change in the patients), but also the epistemological background in comparison with Freud's time has changed considerably.

M. Klein recognized the fundamental importance of interpersonal aspects, of projective and introjective mechanisms and of unconscious primitive, body proximal fantasies. Right from the beginning, early stimuli resulting from sensorimotor processes and instinctual or emotional interaction experiences are episodically associated with primitive unconscious fantasies. These for their part have an organising influence upon further experiences and embrace the elementary human experiences nutrition, evacuation, holding, linking, sexuality. M. Klein assumes that the body has an inborn „knowledge". Here Bion speaks more accurateley of inborn „preconcepts", i.e. phylogenetically acquired inborn expectations of the processes necessary for survival, which only after appropriate realisation can become a „conception" and the basis for a fantasy. After this the development and moulding of psychic entities take place first and foremost in exchange and interaction processes, with one's own body and the outside world in accordance with Gestalt giving and constructivistic principles.

Bion has further developed M. Klein's ideas, increased them by central new concepts and has elaborated a systematised theory, in which it principally concerns sensorially ascertainable experiences/facts and their connection with one another - the „elements" and their linkage. The elements are on the one hand basal psychic mechanisms and on the other hand sensorimotor, affective and cognitive development units in close interconnection with each other. In his „grid" Bion portrays the development and the custom of thinking right from the beginning in the body (beta elements), via unconscious and conscious symbolisation processes (alpha-function, alpha elements, dream thoughts) right through to elaborated scientific systems by differentiated transformation stages.

The basal mechanisms in their turn are functional circles into which, as contents, the above named elements, unconscious fantasies and psychic inner objects, which at different levels are in the same way both raw material and finished products, are „smuggled in", processed, changed and recursively regenerated. In this theoretical model of psychic development and psychic manners of functioning systemic-cybernetic components are to be agreed upon (even though for Bion a formulated system theory was not yet available). But it can in no way be restricted to this!

The three most important mechanisms are

1. The basic emotions love (L), hate (H) and knowledge (K), which are not only seen as psychic qualities, but also in their specific linkage function of objects. K, as the third great motivational power, was newly introduced by Bion, appropriate to the importance which takes up in his theory the position of the development of thought and the blocking of thought processes. - The emotional cathexis takes place in these functional cycles.

2. „Containing" is a basic pattern of human existence, in which two elements come into contact with one another in a specific manner and from this something qualitatively new develops. The abstract signs [signs for female and male: cross with circle above and circle with arrow to the right above] shall indicate the universal meaning and diversity of these interactional, dynamic, asymmetric, but reciprocal and circular relationship, which always applies when a matter, the contained [sign for male] is fed into the container [sign for female]. In the process of containing the contained is transformed and it can be reaccepted in a modified form, i.e. at a higher level. In an interactional exchange process at first diffuse corporal-concrete expressions are given psychic meaning, shape and coherence. The container/contained relationship represents the earliest form of communication and is the germ cell of all further developments of thought, feeling and contact capability.

But later it also remains basal ubiquitous when other communication forms have been formed, which operate on a symbolic level. The key term for this basal unconscious communication form is projective identification.

The elements and functions were intentionally mathematically noted by Bion in order to indicate the openness of the terms and lack of knowledge of the factual processes, which continues to exist until the present day. That is the functional cycle in which integration, structuring and symbolisation take place.

3. The third basal mechanism is the interrelation between the paranoid-schizoid and the depressive position. These positions are forms of the psychic organisation, which in each case are marked by a set of specific modalities of perception, emotion, cognition and related fears, relationships to objects and defence mechanisms. These are mental states and not structures.

According to Bion, a life time of constant oscillation takes place between the two positions, whereby he places the emphasis - and thus generalizing the importance of these processes - upon the transition from disintegration to integration, fragmentation to coherence and from chaos to shaping a „Gestalt". Chaos and order coexist and condition one another. Maturer psychic structures must be sustained from moment to moment with a considerable investment of energy. But it is the very fluctuation between the pre-symbolic and symbolic level which guarantees the coherence, depth, liveliness and creativity of the person.

That is the functional cycle, in which psychic contents are organised. (Post-Kleinians point out that it is only working through the depressive position that makes Oedipal triangulation possible, which forms the basis of reflexivity and auto-reflexivity.)

The „elements" of psychoanalysis are not unconnected with each other, but are connected together in a kind of network of mutual dependence. To find psychic meaning in the process of containment the libidinous, aggressive and epistemic cathexis, the oscillation between the paranoid-schizoid and the depressive position, between the concretistic double relationship in the projective identification (the object is that which is projected) and the triple relationship where symbolisation is possible (the object represents that which is projected) is necessary - both as a precondition as well as a consequence.

II. In neuroscience scientists attempt from a quite different starting point, to attribute human behaviour to biological explanatory patterns. The prominent Nobel prize winner and neurobiologist, Gerald M. Edelman in „Bright Air, Brilliant Fire - on the Matter of the Mind" (1992) describes how, from his point of view, the mind may be explained from the organisation of material as its basis, i.e. from the brain as a biological organ.

According to Edelman the organisation takes place right down to the neuronal level according to Darwinistic principles, and thus the brain - even though at birth it has a largely already fixed number of cells - is already dynamic and not static in its morphology. Evolution takes place through selection and not through instruction. (Therefore the brain cannot be compared with a conventional computer.) Intellectual processes are founded upon the evolution and development of the brain at the phylo-, onto- and epigenetic levels, which are conditioned by its anatomy, structure and function.

Internal and external stimuli lead at first to an anatomic selection of neuronal populations, and in a further stage to selective strengthening or weakening of synapsis of neuronal groups at the neurophysiological level. Thus representations of the outer and inner world are registered in maps. In mapping them, a topobiological system is created. I.e. the modality and quality of the stimuli are dependent upon the location of processing and upon the linkage with specific processing centres. Certain capabilities are bound to certain parts of the brain.

The parallel and reciprocal coupling of these maps by means of an exchange of signals makes a selective coordination of neuronal groups and their „switching circuits" possible, which takes place by means of a harmonious reaction to certain combinations of characteristics of the outer or the inner world (groupd coding). A master map in the sense of an instructor is therefore not necessary. This choice is both dependent upon experience (inner world) and the outside world. By means of successive and recursive synthesis new selective characteristics can come into existence. Already at this level a neuronal memory and a kind of learning exists - preliminary experiences influence later experiences. Edelman sees in this a „supporting pier of the bridge between physiology and psychology".

In global maps the above mentioned multiple mapping is associated with unmapped subcortical parts of the brain, which contain the value systems. These are vital values on the one hand which were developed in the course of evolution, and on the other hand evaluation of behaviour by appetite and hedonistic centres in the limbic system. It is only this connection which permits suitable categorisation of the preliminary experiences of exterior and interior world stimuli, registered in the maps, which are necessary for survival, and thus permit appropriate behaviour. Primarily, differentiation between one's own kind and strangers and thus the recognition of the prey, the enemy and the sexual partner are necessary for survival.

These value centres are the physiological basis of feeling, which make basal perceptual modalities possible. But only in connection with additional subcortical and cortical brain areas and thus also with cognitive components evolution of Edelman's Qualia and further of complex emotions takes place. (Qualias are subjectively felt feelings which accompany the perceptions, e.g. the „redness" of a red object.) The development of emotional and cognitive elements are fundamentally interconnected.

It is only the combination of the categorisation of perceptions and the memory, at first on a basal level, together with the value system which makes adaptive learning possible, that leads to a fast increasing flexible repertoire of behaviour in respect of outside world experiences. The learning experiences in their turn are registered in a developing memory, which is physiologically founded upon synaptic assessment of neuronal groups in global maps. This does not take place statically, in the sense of storage of units of information, but procedurally and is dependent upon the context. I.e., it results in a continuous recategorisation of the contents of the memory, which conditions the characteristics of the human memory, a high degree of ability to generalize and to make associations though the information is relatively inexact. The memory is a cortically and subcortically anchored system characteristic of the brain, and not only contains memories in the narrowest sense of the word, but is also necessary for the linkage in time which takes place from moment to moment, and thus for the smooth course of physiological and psychological processes. According to Edelman, the ability to form ideas, i.e. the categorisation of perceptions and values and the establishment of contacts between things and actions in accordance with general criteria (comparison, differentiation, recombination) develops long before the formation of speech. This is made possible in that the brain draws up maps of its own activities and not only of exterior stimuli. - This is the equivalent of a kind of inner categorisation of perceptions into which the bodily primary experiences are entered. This inner mapping is localised in the associative brain areas, probably without any fixed topographic assignment and is in signal contact with other sectors of the brain. Thus the ability to form ideas is closely linked with the unity of the categorisation of perceptions, memory and learning.

With regard to the existence of the formation of ideas and of a memory prior to the formation of speech, provokes Edelman to distinguish between primary consciousness and higher order consciousness. Consciousness develops in the course of the evolution and development as a new phenotypical characteristic. According to Edelman, this is biologically based upon the principles of the selection of neuronal groups, reciprocal coupling and recursive synthesis and Qualia assumption, which make subjective perception, the condition of being oneself possible. Consciousness is connected with the direct selective advantages of adjusting to the outside world, and is thus not only a concomitant of cognition, emotion and action, but represents a causally effective factor for further development.

„Primary consciousness may be composed of phenomenal experiences such as mental images, but it is bound to a time around the measurable present, lacks concepts of self, past, and future, and lies beyond direct descriptive individual report from its own standpoint. Accordingly, beings with primary conscious alone cannot construct theories of consciousness - even wrong ones!" (1992, p. 115-116). With the primary consciousness the brain categorises ist own activity. However, for the development of this primary consciousness, the connection and mutual adjustment of the value system located in the midbrain limbic system is necessary with the thalamocortical system, which regulates via the sensorimotor the connection with the outside world. I.e. formation of ideas which is located in the cortex has already always been closely connected to the limbic value system. Learning demands the categorisation of the outer world according to inner value systems and leads to a memory for value categories. Learning and this type of memory, by means of an additional exchange of signals for every sensory modality, make possible the construction of consistent scenes, whereby new events are connected with earlier categorisations from the outside world and can be classified in space and time. Thus, in the primary consciousness, categorised events are given a kind of quality of experience - described by Edelman as „illustrations" and „the remembered present".

On the basis of the primary consciousness, the higher order consciousness comes into being through the evolution of new forms of symbolic idea and memory formation, in particular of the ability to speak. Here Edelman attaches great importance to the development of a „self" and the interaction beween the „self" and „non-self" even before the development of speech. When acquiring speech, beginning with semantic „bootstrapping" (primary inputs), which needs the interaction with people, phonological symbols are associated with ideas, and are given meanings (the compilation of a „dictionary"). But the development of the semantics does not proceed separated from the pre-existent formation of ideas and allocation of meaning of the primary consciousness, and thus remains at first closely connected with the bodily primary experiences and the valuating memory. The syntax is subordinated to the semantics and is retrogressively freed from it and develops having regard to previously existent categories of meaning. (Also in the case of Bion, as of G.W. Frege, the thoughts precede an „apparatus of thought".)

Symbolisation - as a stage in the evolution which is reserved to the human being above all other living beings - permits the release from the „tyranny of the remembered present" and proceeds with immeasurable possibilities of generalization, categorisation, deduction, i.e. symbolic thinking. However, individualisation does not first take place at this level, but right from the beginning in the specific individual history set down in the morphology and organisation of the brain. Symbolisation, speech, reflexivity, temporality (in the sense of past and future), symbolic memory and thus the planning of actions with a new tremendously evolutive superiority, - but in the meantime threatening all life - are assigned to higher order consciousness. It makes possible the idea „of a world independent of the present", in connection with the past and a projected future. But also for the human being the „primary and higher order consciousness exist side by side and together with one another in interaction", and cannot be seen as separate from one another. Qualias founding in the primary consciousness are given a new dimension in the higher order consiousness. They are subjective recategorisations of connections, encumbered with values, with one's own self and its perceptions and ideas and thus responsible for personal experience and self reflection, i.e. consciousness in the true meaning of being consciously existent and of being „thus" in time. (Cf. Figure 1).

Whether these are not only necessary, but also adequate conditions for Edelman's programme, the explanation of „how the mind comes into existence in the brain", must for the time being remain open. It is however, astounding how close this brain model comes to psychoanalytical conceptions.

III. Neuroscience and psychoanalysis speak different languages - but it is not only the understanding which is difficult, there is also something slightly artificial which clings to the translation. The data of psychoanalysis is only obtained within an inter-subjective context and examined from an internal angle. Therefore it is blurred and fallible. On the other hand, neuroscience never has to give up its observer point of view in order to make sure of its material.

Psychoanalysis also tries to arrange, classify, and to integrate the phenomena into hypotheses and models, through subsequent theoretical penetration of its material. Bion also pushed forward the abstraction the furthest, but even his hypotheses were developed from the clinic and must once more be tied to it. Even if the dialogue is difficult, the search for parallels between the finding and models of neuroscience about the ways in which the brain is organised and how it functions, and the findings and models of psychoanalysis about the ways in which the psyche is organised and how it functions, is justified.

However, the semantic contents of the psyche remain outside and some would say that it is just this which is the essence of psychoanalysis. As to what importance is due to be attached to this search for parallels, what explanatory value they have, may remain open for the time being. But among the branches of psychology, it is psychoanalysis which has introduced the founding of the intellect in biology - at first with the instinct concept - and thus triggered off a culture shock. This beginning was never revised and has remained an outrage, in that psychoanalysis was neither able to identify itself as an exact science (Gruenbaum, 1987) nor could it be simply deactivated as an inconsequential art form.

Edelman has developed a dynamic model of the human brain. A brain which is always in action, always in a state of interchange with the outside world, and whose parts continually interact with each other and whose activity is not controlled by a programme or an internal instructor, but which adjusts itself by means of a continual exchange of signals, reciprocal coupling and recursive synthesis, in order to integrate the demands of the outer and the inner world, and to react to them as appropriately as possible. Such a flexible and responsive system is subject to faults at all levels, but is also correctable; it remains capable of learning for a whole lifetime.

Bion's theory, on the other hand, attempts to comprehend the complexity and plasticity of psychic development and happenings from a dynamic, multidimensional, dialectic and holistic viewpoint. To name a few keywords constructivism, non-linear dynamic, oscillation between sub-systems, interactions, circular processes with recursive and successive regeneration among others are the most important abstract assumptions of the theory developed in clinical practice. This modelling of psychic mechanisms is on the other hand remarkably close to the ideas of neuroscience. Biological functional principles may be recognized in the psychic manner of functioning.

In the constructivism of neuroscience, which has been confirmed on the basis of the findings of the research of perception, the strict subject-object separation, was relinquished as well as the assumption of possibility of recognizing reality in a kind of mirror image. As all signals from the outer world must at first be transformed into neutral neuronal codes, in order to be passed on to the brain, they must be reassembled in specific processing centres. The meaning of the signals, whether they be sensory stimuli or have a psychic content, is constructed in the brain on the basis of the topology of the various processing centres, as well as in the semantic context of the primary experiences.

This may easily be brought into harmony with the psychic constructivism of the object relationship theory. Also here the assumption was relinquished of an atomistic, only recently socially modelled individual, who is faced with a closed world, in favour of a mental picture in which the subject and his reality are gradually differentiated and mutually developed. It is however emphasised in psychoanalysis - and here Bion's containing concept had a pioneering effect - that for the psychic structuring interchange processes between people are necessary, which at first proceed asymmetrically, as one part already has a history and the other must first of all develop it. Therefore, the historical moment in addition to the biological plays an outstanding role in „animal symbolicum".

In neuroscience inborn or early ontogenetically acquired laws of formation (Gestalt) and evaluation systems are assumed, which make perception categorisation possible long before the development of any capability of consciousness. That is in harmony with Bion's preconcepts and their realisation as well as with the assumption of early categorisations of „good" and „bad". Over and above this, it supports the assumption of a developing inner world according to structured and constructivistic principles, in the form of unconscious fantasies and inner objects.

According to the findings of neuroscience, the process of perception is selective and is economised according to Gestalt principles. Thus a few signals are sufficient in order to recognise the content of the perception. Also here there are parallels to be found in the introjective and above all the projective mechanisms discovered by psychoanalysis, in that very little standard data is sufficient, in order to complete the perception contents, or to construct the content of meaning according to inner needs. A good explanation of the phenomenon of transference and of projective identification can be found here.

The continuos exchange of signals between the multiple maps, but above all the continuous connection with the limbic value system in the global mapping and with the final inner mapping find a parallel in Bion's functional cycles. Also here psychic entities are cathected with basal emotions (K, L, H), continually recategorised or newly categorised, unified or also fragmented (P-S/D), in order finally to be able to be symbolised and permanently structured (containing). The side by side and inside each other effect of emotions and cognitions, of presymbolic and symbolic, of reflection and self reflection and of subcortical with cortical brain areas, can be found with Edelman as well as with Bion.

The standardising inner perception categorisation, which in the case of Edelman makes the formation of concepts first possible, can be brought into connection with the psychoanalytic „ego", which in the case of Bion is not a firm structure, but a combined phenomenon, which needs the respective synthesisation.

The categories of the value system necessary to survival, which are developed in the evolution can be roughly allocated to Freud's sexual and aggression instincts, but also to Bion's basic emotions, in particular in the linkage forms. It is also remarkable that values developed in the evolution and values necessary to survival, which are aimed at acquisition of food, recognition of the enemy, reproduction, in Bion's group theory can be found again with the basic assumptions - dependency, fight/flight and pairing. Apparently in groups archaic behaviour patterns come to light with less inhibitions.

However, the most interesting point for psychoanalysis is, in my opinion, the concept of the primary consciousness and the higher order consciousness in Edelman's theory. Even in the case of Edelman the symbolisation does not come into being like a deus ex machina upon the maturing of the cortex, but is developed virtually ab ovo in groups of nerve cells via increasingly more complex and more comprehensive neuronal organisations step by step in many reentrant loops. At the level of primary consciousness there is a kind of pause. This becomes a permanent organisation - everything is present with the exception of the decisive step toward symbolisation and thus toward the higher order consciousness. Even when such a consciousness has been formed it remains in contact with all of the earlier phases of its development. However, the interplay between the primary consciousness and the higher order consciousness seems to be given a special importance.

Also in the case of Bion there are two forms of organisation of the psyche, the P-S position and the D position, and also here the oscillation between the positions is of great importance. Even if these positions cannot be completely allocated to the one or the other form of consciousness, there are elements in the one or the other position which show an astounding accord. It would perhaps be possible for the primary consciousness rather to settle between the two positions. On the other hand, position D, in connection with the Oedipal triangulation, can be allocated to the higher order consciousness.

When Edelman in the description of the primary consciousness speaks of „phenomenal experience such as mental images", then one thinks immediately of Bion's alpha elements developed in the containing, that he describes as „dream thoughts", which can potentially develop into thoughts. In both cases this concerns the formation of ideas but here and there the vagueness of the description is conspicuous, as though it concerned something which is still difficult to comprehend, something not yet clear, something fleeting.

If one at first brings the primary consciousness into contact with the P-S position, then both here and there the emphasis upon the immediate present is to be found, in which awareness of time and historic consciousness are missing, the absence of an expression for oneself and thus also for the object as the other (person) and the formation of ideas and a kind of primitive thinking at a concrete presymbolic level.

From the analytic standpoint the central concept of projective identification may be introduced, as a presymbolic form of communication of direct understanding, which exclusively arises, and is then assigned or subordinated to symbolic communication. Also, according to Edelman's concept, the respective preliminary experiences enter into the formation of ideas in the primary consciousness in a condensed form - „the remembered present" -. But they cannot be realized, as the notion of temporality is missing. The same applies to the contents of projective identification.

When this form of communication later becomes of prime importance with respect to symbolic communication, it is given pathological characteristics and as it does not have (or no longer has) the power of speech, it takes on a character of action, in that it tries to trigger off something in its facing object. Old, undigested, primitive fantasies and behaviour patterns are forced upon the object without consideration and give an impression of something immediate present. These contents still belong to the P-S position and, for whatever reasons, cannot be passed on undigested to the stage of position D. According to Edelman, it is possible to say, these contents remain in the primary consciousness, could not be symbolised and thus raised to the higher order consciousness. Projective identification is the central agent of the transference-countertransference situation, in that here it can be directly deduced and established what has happened in the past (the past in the present). With regard to the interpreting processing of the contents of projective identification in the containing of the treatment situation, these can be raised to a level capable of symbolisation,loose the unconscious action and emotional pressure and, in certain circumstances, can be consciously incorporated in a new, suitable context. It is therefore only then that these formerly pathological contents have achieved a higher order consciousness, and can be registered in a declarative memory or fall into oblivion as unimportant and disposed of.

In the case of Bion, the conception of the memory is, both in respect of actualization as well as of the conservation of psychic contents, very dynamic. Which contents are capable of being recalled depends upon the respective psychic organisation form. According to Bion, only alpha elements are capable of being recalled and can therefore be forgotten or suppressed, i.e. sink down into the unconscious, whilst beta elements if they are not processed are not preserved in the memory and therefore cannot be forgotten. They remain - virtually timeless - irritatingly present. And what cannot be remembered must be re-enacted. The past is subordinated in the context of the currently meaningful present, whether it be through re-enactment or through memory, a continuous reorganisation. This can also be found in Edelman's memory model. In the case of Edelman, the transition from the primary to the higher order consciousness, the leap into symbolisation, takes place, it is true biological well prepared, but then however, relatively suddenly, and is grosso modo equated with „the evolution of new forms of symbolic memory" and with the acquirement of speech. For the developing human subject, a human being as an object of the outside world only explicitly emerges in the stage of higher order consciousness, as he is now needed for the „semantic bootstrapping".

The concept of the container/contained, developed by Bion as the model inherent to the human being of psychic development at the link and coordinating point between the soma and psyche seems here to be considerably more differentiated and plausible. Sense and meaning do not come into existence intrasubjectively, but right from the beginning in an interactional connection. Only when „senseless material" has been processed in a comprehending relationship can bodily stimuli become psychic and then be further developed. Also in the case of Bion symbolic thinking develops from its corporal beginnings in many stages of transformation, as he traced it in his „grid". But hereby containing is constitutive for the human being and his psychic and social manifestation. Nature and history entered into association with one another here right from the beginning .(Cf. Figure 2).

But sufficient! There are still many parallels as well as divergences that can be found between Edelman and Bion. Will it result in a cross-fertilization? For psychoanalysis neuroscience can doubtless be a strong impulse, and in the currently arising context of justification, under certain circumstances could be very helpful. Conversely, psychoanalysis will have more questions for neuroscience than ready answers. Doubtless Edelmann has untied the „universal knot" a little more, but also here the problem of the coming into being of consciousness, reflexivity and symbolisation has not been fully solved. There is still a lot to be done - both for neuroscience as well as for psychoanalysis. A psychoanalysis in which clear thinking is bound together with human experience and wisdom - as we can find it in such an impressive manner in Bion's life's work.


Bion, W.R. (1962): Learning from Experience. London: Heinemann

(1963): Elements of Psycho-Analysis. London: Heinemann

(1965): Transformations. London: Heinemann

Bléandonu, G. (1990): Wilfred R. Bion. La vie et l'oeuvre. 1897-1979. Paris: Dunod

Britton, R. (1992): The Oedipus Situation and the depressive Situation. In: Clinical lectures on Klein and Bion. London: Routledge

Edelman, G.M. (1992): Bright Air, Brilliant Fire - On the Matter of the Mind. New York: Basic Books

Freud, S. (1915-1917):Vorlesungen zur Einführung in die Psychoanalyse. G.W.XI,403

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