July 03, 2003

Selected Fact

Lock the tree with the old man
in a bedewed house, and,
by eating of the tree's fruit,
the old man becomes young.

Music from 'Atalanta fugiens'
emblem 9

Daily Zen

"The "selected fact", that is to say the element that gives coherence to the objects of the paranoid-depressive position, does so by virtue of its membership of a number of different deductive systems at their point of intersection. Obtrusion of the selected fact is accompanied by an emotion such as is experienced in regarding the object in reversible perspective."     Bion, Seven Servants, p.87

The selected fact is the fact that can't be selected because it will result in catastrophic change for the psyche or group. The selected fact is the fact that cannot be integrated into the current definatory hypothesis or basic belief system because its integration will cause the destruction of the container, the current definatory hypothesis maintained by mythical assumptions.

"I have used the term ‘selected fact’ to describe that which the psycho-analyst must experience in the process of synthesis. The name of one element is used to particularise the selected fact, that is to say the name of that element in the realisation which appears to link together elements not hitherto seen to be connected... The selected fact is the name of an emotional experience, the emotional experience of a sense of discovery of coherence."   Bion, Learning from Experience (chapter 23, p. 72)

"The selected fact is the name of an emotional experience, the emotional experience of a sense of discovery of coherence; its significance is therefore epistemological and the relationship of selected facts must not be assumed to be logical."     (Bion, 1962, p.73).

"Bion's contribution to the understanding of creativity is intrinsic to his 'theory of thinking' (1962). He conceived the thinking apparatus as the 'container-contained' - which was operated upon by the dynamic influence of the paranoid-schizoid (PS) and depressive positions (D), plus the 'selected fact' -akin to a catalyst. This process he termed 'PS<-> D' with the double arrow suggesting an ongoing oscillation between the two positions.
. . .
In the creative process, Bion shows that thinking involves the dismantling of previous views and theories, allowing the formation of new ideas. In changing one's way of thinking, the container has to be dissolved before it is reformed. Bion regarded the effort of dissolution as having the quality of a small psychic catastrophe, a "going-to-pieces". It was therefore a movement into the paranoid-schizoid position. The re-forming of a new set of views and theories is a synthesising move like that of the depressive position. Creative effort can therefore be viewed as an on-going process, on a small scale, of movements to-and-fro between the paranoid-schizoid and depressive position."
Nicola Glover: "Chapter Four: The Legacy of Wilfred Bion

Clay Shirky: A Group Is Its Own Worst Enemy
Sonia Neves Langlands: Magic Eye and Binocular Vision: What, According to Bion, are the Pre-conditions of the Phenomenon of "Insight"?
Authors and quotations: Wilfred R. Bion - Vera Rita de Melo Ferreira

The Future of an Illusion

It is only through the influence of individuals who can set an example and whom masses recognize as their leaders that they can be induced to perform the work and undergo the renunciations on which the existence of civilization depends. All is well if these leaders are persons who possess superior insight into the necessities of life and who have risen to the height of mastering their own instinctual wishes. But there is a danger that in order not to lose their influence they may give way to the mass more than it gives way to them, and it therefore seems necessary that they will be independent of the mass by having means to power at their disposal.     Freud Abtracts

Posted by psyche at July 3, 2003 10:11 PM