ENRICO G. BELLI
"FROM PSYCHOANALYSIS TO SOPHIANALYSIS"
Towards an unified theory of the Meta Psychological
and Anthropological camp
Essay (1989) 229 pages, size 16x22 cm, €…15,50
"...Man for Psychoanalysis is an individual still governed by the instinctual world, always oscillating between Eros and Thanatos (life and death). His only possibility is balancing the contrasts his Ego forces of Id and his Super-ego ( the vital forces of the instinctual structure with the rules of civilization with few or scarce possibilities for freedom from unconscious determinism...).
Man, according to Sophianalysis is a Person gifted with a proper identity who possesses the capacity to decide to love and to hate freely...
The most evolved aspect of the Sophianalytic school generally stretches from "Eligo,ergo sum (I choose, therefore I am)" to a conplete positives synthesis of "Amo, ergo sum ( I love, therefore I am)..."
At a clinical level we know that the psychic-pain ( somatic and existential) is basically linked to the presence of hatred (repressed or conscious) that comes to a Person from the environment as well as from his inner responses: psychis pain is very often the result of violences that stem from hatred organized with the complicity of Ego towards the Person himself, towards his mind and his body. At an existential level, we have experimented in Sophianalytic laboratories that the integral well-being of a person depends on the exercising of his capacity to love himself , to love the others and to be loved freely and not by force, so that a Man-Persona sapiens is recognised to have a great reparative and creative potentiality...".
From the initial chapters referred to the "Psychoanalytic Camp", with reflections on "Narcisism" and on some primary problems – " Onnipotence phase and Principles of Reality", the passage to the "Sophianalytic Camp" with specific themes is successively deepened, among which: "The function of the father"- "The woman among seduction, castration and repression" – "The hated son (Odyssey/Oedipus)" – "Destructive Aggression and Constructive Liberty" – "In the search for a sense of existence" – " The need for fusion".
With this essay the author leads us to the discovery of a new passage in the Metapsychological and Anthropological camp, towards an unified theory of Human Sciences.
(Translation by Alice Montalto Pinto)
2° WORLD CONGRESS FOR PSYCHOTHERAPY
Wien 4-8 JULY, 1999
FROM PSYCHOANALYSIS TO SOPHIA-ANALYSIS
TOWARDS A UNIFIED THEORY 1N THE FIELDS OF METAPSYCHOLOGY
By Enrico G. Belli
This paper is especially dedicated to my friends and colleagues in Latin America. I hope to collaborate with them during this passage (from Psychoanalysis to Sophia-Analysis), in the search for an ever increasingly Humanistic and Existential Psychotherapy, which can authentically contribute to a better quality of life. Our scientific and cultural commitment is based on the knowledge obtained through the fields of Existential Anthropology and Personalistic Metapsychology,
Once upon a time, the indios lived both on the earth and in the sky. But the sky wasn’t high up like it is today: then the sky and the earth were so close that every indio was free to move from one to the other without encountering any obstacle. But one day the indios who lived in the sky started getting sick from a horrible illness that spread like fire, bringing death throughout the region. The few who managed to survive moved to live on the earth to save themselves. The sky without indios became very light and slowly but surely it began rising higher and higher, until it reached the high place that it is now....". (1)
I used this Indio myth (a Bakairí legend) as a metaphor to indicate the type of disease that humanity is facing in every place on earth, regardless of its ethnic origin, due to the strong existential and social determinism, which affect everyone. This is also indicator of humanity’s project to build solutions to internal and social tensions, and to find answers to questions regarding illness, genocide, and life’s pain, and to overcome personal and interpersonal schisms and thus give new meaning to life.
Modern man is experiencing the archetype of the expulsion from Eden, the escape from the sky, the fracture between male and female, between love and psyche, between mind and heart, instinct and spirituality, determinism and free will.
On an anthropological level, Psychoanalysis, since its beginnings in the 19° century and its founder Sigmund Freud, has offered an important contribution to human knowledge (scientific-cultural-artistic) in its attempt to orient research by using a metapsychology that explores the labyrinth of the unconscious. It has traced an important path in understanding personal and social tensions in human behavior. The cardinal point of "psychological determinism", as an exceptional attribute of the unconscious in further development of the theory, does not differ much from the "laws of causality" which seem to guide and determine human behavior.
It’s as if we could say: "For Psychoanalysis, individuals are still determined by the instinctual realm, and continually oscillates between Eros and Thanatos (life and death); the only chance they have is to use the Ego to balance the contrasting forces of Id and Super-Ego (the vital forces of the instinct with the norms of civilization, with few possibilities to become free of unconscious determinism … )." (2)
While the various contributions in the field of psychoanalysis have greatly favored its evolution (Jung-Reich-Klein-Fromm etc.), this "tension between opposites" has remained as an existential prejudice, relegated to the Cartesian idea of "cogito, ergo sum" (I think, therefore I am). The laws of unconscious determinism remain at the basis(according to Freud), as though all dimensions of human reality can be analyzed according to these unchangeable, biological instinctual laws.
Sophia-analysis, on an anthropological level, according to the basic tenets proposed by its founder Antonio Mercurio, offers another type of evolutionary contribution to psychoanalytical theory with a "new personalistic metapsychology", giving it an "existential-anthropological" orientation.
Whereas for Freud psychological structure is based on the domination of the Id (instinctual determinism), from which the other basic components, the Ego (consciousness) and the Super-Ego (morality),’ differentiate themselves, for Mercurio the primary organizational principle is the "Io Persona", present from the moment of conception and capable of both free and determined responses within its internal dimensions (Psychological Ego, Corporeal Ego, Relational Ego etc.).
Sophia-Analysis also hypothesizes that the unconscious, configured as the "Existential Unconscious", can be edified, in the sense that all those repressed components within the psychological structure (both facts and decisions made which orient development from as far back as intrauterine life), must be acknowledged by the Io Persona. In this manner, a way out of determinism can be constructed, by slowly strengthening free choices that are geared toward repairing damage and toward creativity.
It’s as though the Io Persona were in a dialectical search for both the causes of its conflictual unconscious determinism (introspective, descending movement), and the vital sources of its freedom to make new decisions (evolutionary ascending movement).
The lo Persona is considered capable of being an end in itself while following its own internal project, and of becoming ever more aware and responsible (in the various phases of development) for the choices made in terms of its ability to freely love and hate. "On a clinical level, we know that psychological suffering (somatic and existential) is fundamentally connected to the presence of hatred (either repressed or conscious), which the Persona is faced with both in the surrounding environment and in internal responses. Very often, suffering is the result of hateful violence perpetrated with the complicity of the Ego to itself, its psyche and its body ...".
Learning to love oneself and others in an authentic manner, by gradually changing the conscious and unconscious remnants of hatred within, means also choosing (increasing "awareness") to humbly learn to build wisdom into one’s actions and thoughts.
By building wiser and more creative choices (so as to learn how to leave suffering behind by first going through it and healing it), through a consciously chosen process of evolution (analytical-experiential-interpersonal individual and group relationships), the Io Persona can revisit the abyss of hatred acted out against its own life project and that of others, and can also responsibly increase its ability to freely choose to repair the damage and become more creative.
The sophianalytical approach attempts to indicate a way towards unification for Homo – Persona – Sapiens; it is important to know oneself and to transform oneself with the help of the Personal Self and the Choral Self, achieving ever greater Freedom, Truth, Love and Beauty.
If the Io Persona can find a solution to one of the most basic dualisms within (love/hate) and thus attempt to create greater harmony and unification, it can do so largely thanks to one of the basic internal components (a fundamental value of being): FREEDOM.
I. THE PRINCIPLE OF EXISTENTIAL FREEDOM.
"Freedom from" and "Freedom to" are two of the intra-personal and interpersonal passages (descending and ascending) that the Io Persona must go through in its growth process and in its increasing awareness.
a) FREEDOM FROM:
With the words "freedom from", we can describe that internal evolutionary process characterized by personal research and elaboration (descending – it can be aided by individual and group psychotherapy), which helps one free oneself of psychological determinism and its connection to vengeful internal hatred (auto and hetero – destructiveness).
The Io Person must evolve and change its behavioral structure based on psychological reactions (determined) – anger directed at self and others – and get rid of the "Omnipotent ideal of Perfection", based on a "Will to Dominate". This type of basic structure acts voracious and egotistical actions, part of the Psychological Ego’s attempt to continuously control internal and external persecutory objects.
"Freedom from" is defined as the possibility to free oneself of a psychological schizo-paranoid nucleus, which keeps the Ego in a state of alarm and control and impeding the use of potential creative energy. It is also freeing one’s thought processes and actions of the defense mechanisms typical of the Psychological Ego which keep intact those "existential lies" that are the result of a demand for egotistical autonomy stemming from infantile narcissism (like the kind of false freedom similar to neurotic and psychotic anarchy).
b) FREEDOM TO:
"Freedom to" is the ascendant growth process of the Io Person when it becomes capable of acting out love and hatred (destructive-constructive aggressiveness) so as to activate those creative components capable of making amends and thus of favoring the ability to "become what one truly is". Gradually all personal potential can be encouraged to emerge.
"Freedom to" in the sense of "Eligo, ergo sum" (I choose, therefore I am), with the goal of becoming aware of one’s responsible choices. This is an important phase in that it signals the passage from the deterministic dominance of the Psychological Ego to an increasing ability to follow the "Laws of Life" pertaining to the lo Persona. In this sense, the Io Persona is open to others’ reality and its goal is the positive synthesis of " love of self, love towards others and the possibility to accept others’ love, freely and not as an obligation". "Amo, ergo sum" (I love, therefore I am), as Antonio Mercurio affirms.
By activating the "freedom to", the Io Persona, with the help of the Personal and Choral Self, can learn to go through life’s pain and heal it, so as to find hope and creative goals for oneself and others. The Io Persona becomes capable of dialectically becoming responsible for its sins, of transforming it and becoming free of it.
Existential freedom is thus a choice which favors the Person’s growth in every possible dimension (biological, psychological, existential and spiritual), and aims for the Ego’s harmonic integration by following the "Laws of Life" contained in the < PERSONAL SELF>, the energetic – spiritual nucleus of individual identity.
"Freedom to" is also a willingness to be open to human problems, in an attempt to understand the world and others. This implies a conscious choice to be part of a choral project, which can learn to respond to the real, vital needs and wishes of Humanity, and go beyond the pleasure principle to the "joy principle".
These considerations on the value of "freedom" lead to further ones regarding the anthropological research done on the concept of the "SELF". C.G. Jung made significant contributions to this research In the sophianalytical concept of "SELF", there are innovations on both a conceptual and methodological level, the former having to do with "personalistic metapsychology".
While being aware that the process of "individuation" is an archetypical, evolutionary one that has no end, and is characterized by the "tension between opposing factors" (Jung), Sophia-Analysis aims at responsible and conscious activation of the possibility to "synthesize opposites" (Mercurio). Its first metapsychological goal is to repair the fracture between the Io Persona and the Self.
"I describe the Personal Self as containing: the strength of love; a source of personal and cosmic truth; the desire for unification of the individual and of the cosmos; the identity of the person as a project in itself (as a goal and as a reason for living); the principles regarding joy and death for rebirth; the type of bliss found in the depths of being; a connection to the Cosmic Self; transpersonal communication with all other Personal Selves (Community Self) and with the Cosmic Self’ (A. Mercurio)’.
When the Person becomes aware of how the lo Persona and the Self contain (beyond determinism) "freedom in fieri and in actu" (potential and active freedom) to belong to a community and cosmic project, he or she can enter into a responsible dimension where narcissistic isolation can be overcome, the fracture between opposing forces can be recomposed, and the "synthesis of the opposites" can be attempted.
On an intra-personal and transpersonal level, the "synthesis of the opposites" which must be activated are many, and here I will mention just a few of the fundamental ones: Mind and Body, Rationality and Feelings; Masculine and Feminine; Instinct and Spirituality; Good Objects and Bad Objects; Persecutor and Protector; Egoism and Altruism; Love and Hate; Slavery and Freedom; Lies and Truth; Ugliness and Beauty; Stability and Change; Necessity and Possibility.
On a "personalistic-metapsychological" level, the lo Persona in contact with the Self during its growth process, can become capable of making these syntheses in a continuous dialectical and circular dynamic movement, by following the "principle of compensation" and thus overcoming the unilateral, hypertrophic dimension of just one of the parts. An example of this could be the type of command on the part of the Psychological Ego to not listen to the body’s needs, nor to those regarding the sphere of affects and relationships, to say nothing of the spiritual realm.
2. THE PRINCIPLE OF EXlSTENTIAL TRUTH
When we speak of Existential Truth, we are referring to that which, within each person (or group and/or culture etc.) can dialectically represent its exact opposite: "the existential lie".
In personalistic metapsychology, the existential lie has to do with the absolute narcissistic demands coming from the Psychological Ego (a product of internal hatred), which attempts to impose its "Will for domination" and its corresponding "Ideal of Perfection". These in turn lead one to attribute the responsibility for one’s suffering to others (parents, teachers, the environment).
The internal need for revenge (acted out both internally and externally) can bring one to the point where the existential lie becomes a truth in itself, so as to keep narcissistic demands intact (whether they be neurotic or psychotic). When evolution and personal clarification are geared toward acknowledgement of one’s own responsibility for life, the existential lie can be revealed and thus one can dialectically (in a multidimensional process of research and growth) discover the underlying existential truth.
From an "existential-anthropological" standpoint, a culture and/or a populace can remain within its demands for domination and perfection when it attempts to overcome other cultures in an egotistical effort to assert its "Will for domination and possession". Human history is full of populaces who have or who had a "destructive dominator" type of soul: one particularly eloquent example could be Sparta, which left little behind. To the contrary, Athens, which cultivated democracy and culture, left behind values that have guided the soul of human civilization.
Within this last century, which is ushering out the millennium, humanity has perhaps reached an all-time high in its expression of its "suicidal will" and its "homicidal will". This is evident in the two world wars and in the numerous ethnic conflicts still raging. As E. Fromm said, "the level of destructiveness increases with the growing development of civilization, and not to the contrary... ". (5)
I can’t help but think of the number of people on every continent without a place to call home, forced to battle to assure themselves mere survival, and I can feel their pain.
It seems that psychotherapy, which aims exclusively at healing the psychological ailments of individuals, has only partially achieved its goal. Sophia-Analysis, in its expression as existential personalistic anthropology, has the goal of achieving a different perspective on human well being and it attempts to make the myth of the new humanity, that myth which has pervaded the illuminated culture of this last century but which has yet to become a reality, come true. It tries to do so by promoting the development of the Person in all of its possible dimensions.
3. THE PRINCIPLE OF SECONDARY BEAUTY
"...Beauty... of all of psychology’s sins, its most terrible one is its indifference to beauty ... Psychology must find its way back to Beauty if it doesn’t want to die..." (J. Hillman).(6)
Sophia-Analysis, from its existential personalistic anthropological standpoint, is particularly interested in the development of Beauty. The concept of "Secondary Beauty", proposed by Antonio Mercurio, aims at the development of a unified and unifying type of personal growth whose goal is "making one’s life a work of art": of becoming an artist of one’s own life.
"... If we make a distinction between Primary Beauty and Secondary Beauty, we could say that art exists so that Secondary Beauty can be created. Primary Beauty is that which is created by nature. Secondary Beauty is that which is created by human beings.
(...) The first type is mortal, the second is immortal. Nature holds the secret of putting life into a seed and having it develop. But every life that develops, dies, as does the beauty of life. Human beings, instead, are capable of putting life and beauty into a work of art, and this life and beauty don’t die and they never will. Nature creates mortal life. Human beings create immortal lives, when artistic creation reaches its heights. But one can not reach the heights of art without facing pain and death ... Without going through pain, no work of art can be created. Human beings are the only living subjects that can face pain, overcome it and transform it into a powerful motor which, together with other factors, condenses those energies which make way for true works of art to emerge..." ( 7)A. Mercurio.
If human beings are the only living subjects who are capable of making sense out of life’s pain, they are also capable of creating "new myths" (new works of art), by attempting to overcome unconscious and existential determinism This goal is, however, an extremely difficult one to reach, as its route necessarily passes through (with art and wisdom) life’s painful aspects. For this reason each person must responsibly accept that it can not be faced alone. The Individual-Persona can face this passage if he or she is aware of being a part of a larger "living organism" (that of Humanity itself in relationship to other cosmic agents). In this manner, all the beauty that can be created can become a "Choral Secondary Beauty", built by many people who, in their unified and unifying selves, are not simply aiming at their own personal well being, whether it be individual or cultural, but at that of humanity.
I feel that this could be truly innovative, in comparison to the Freudian goal of transforming metaphysics into metapsychology following a unilateral conception of instinctual determinism.
In Sophia-Analysis, "personalistic metapsychology" must also contain (in a dialectical and circular sense) the needs of the Person and of the various cultures, expressed through myths and dreams, so as to discover the motivations (conscious and unconscious) not only of the psychological realm, but of all levels of existence.
In conclusion, I want to return to the "indio legend" that I used at the beginning of this paper to underline the fact that we in Sophia-Analysis are looking for a psychotherapeutic orientation (based on the values expressed in its Existential Personalistic Anthropology), which can offer answers to human suffering not only from a psychological viewpoint but also from a spiritual one. When we speak of spirituality, we are referring to a new dimension which is capable of making use of the deepest and most authentic values found in human science and culture, and which can contribute to the construction of a Universal Choral Soul, in an attempt to recompose the fracture between sky and earth, masculine and feminine, love and psyche, determinism and freedom.
1.Allessandro Oppes, "La via degli Indios", in Repubblica delle Donne, Anno 4’ n. 148, Roma, Aprile 1999, pag. 24
2.Enrico G. Belli, "Dalla Psicoanalisi alla Sophianalisi (Verso una teoria unificata del campo metapsicologico e antropologico", C. IN.PSY.Edition, Catanzaro,1989, pag. 115
3.Antonio Mercurio, "Teoria dell’Inconscio esistenziale", Costellazione di Arianna, Roma, 1995
4. Antonio Mercurio, "Teoria della Persona e Metapsicologia Personalistica", Bulzoni, Roma, 1978, pag. 229.
5. Erich Fromm, "Analisi della distruttività umana", Mondadori, Milano, 1975, pag. 21.
6.James Hillman, "ll codice dell’anima", Adelphi, Milano, 1997, pp. 56-61
7.Antonio Mercurio, "Gli Ulissidi (Il teorema ed il mito per navigare da un universo all’altro)", S.U.R., Roma, 1997, pp. 97-102.