A Brief Account of Ignacio Matte Blanco Theory and Other Related Psychoanalytic Themes

A Brief Account of Ignacio Matte Blanco Theory and Other Related Psychoanalytic Themes

Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 22
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-4128-8.ch003
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Besides the crucial work achieved by Claude Lévi-Strauss on the structural aspects of human mind, among which is the so-called structural unconscious (according to Lévi-Strauss) as a main psychic component of human being, also Ignacio Matte Blanco has greatly contributed to determine those structural features of human psyche which could be suitably formalized, reaching to an his own notion of structural unconscious (according to Matte Blanco), which he wants to lay out within Freudian framework. He has also identified other interesting formal aspects of Freudian theory, above all those regarding the central passage from primary process to secondary one. In doing so, he has introduced the notion of symmetry and asymmetry, then rejoined into the most general notion of bi-logic, as the overlying logic system presiding the overall functioning of human psyche. So, in this chapter, we have briefly recalled the main notions of Matte Blanco's psychoanalytic theory.
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3.1. Introduction

Ignacio Matte Blanco has given a solid and valid contribution to the theoretical and epistemological systematization of the foundations of Freudian psychoanalysis. He has masterfully joined together feeling and thinking. In this chapter, we outline his work, also contextualized in relation to the general and wider psychoanalytic scenario. Main references for this chapter are (Matte Blanco, 1975) and, above all, (Rayner, 1995), this last almost verbatim.

Until short time ago, thinking and feeling have been mainly compared and contrasted of each other. Matte Blanco has been one of the firsts to have brought them together by looking at feeling in order to introspect about it for a few moments and consider it as a crucial phenomenon in our live.

Among others, however, also John Bowlby, inspired by Susanne Langer work on symbolization (which distinguishes between a discursive symbolization, mainly taking place at the social linguistic level as a sign, and a non-discursive or presentational one, in which the symbol has an immediate idiosyncratic sensory reference and there is a direct isomorphism between the thing symbolized and the symbol) has noted that, in animals and humans, emotion is an instantaneous appraisal and evaluation of the state of the external environment simultaneously at the internal physiological and psychological condition of the organism.

Therefore, emotion contains, in a whole and at the same time, data about both exteroception and interoception systems, bodily functions (both visceral and skeletal), memories, anticipations of the future, and the state of the own Self with others. To be noted here that, in human beings at least, the sense of the Self is central to any developed emotion. So, a feeling is basically an overall evaluation of the internal and external worlds together in one experience, with a two-way views integrated of each other.

Although rough and ready, as well as often incomplete and mistaken compared with the step-by-step analytic thinking, a feeling can have a quickness and efficiency which logical thought lacks. It is a somatopsychic event, a gestalt, a holistic experience of multiplicity. Moreover, if one considers its elements singly, apart from the others (hence, analytically identified), then the feeling magically disappears, while if them come together again (synthetically recollected), then the emotion returns.

Thus, if affect is an undivided whole event of quick appraisal, then the classical view that emotion is simply a disruptive force of reason must be discarded. Rather, it appears that feeling can be both a preliminary and an end stage of any thinking process. Therefore, an overall (emotive) appraisal of fear, curiosity or dissatisfaction, say, may give the incipit to thinking. From this standpoint, thinking contains a motive or drive element within it, an emotive charge which is not simple a mere psychic drive, in that there are other aspects, above all the ones related to body, mainly exteroceptive and interoceptive-physiological.

Therefore, emotion, synthetically perceived, can be viewed as an analysable structure with its own recognizable constituents and relations. Moreover, since an emotion has basic motivational aspects (intentionality), it is a complex structure controlled by feedback arcs, so that emotions are dynamic systems rather than mere static states.

It has been said above that an emotion (or feeling1) is both a preliminary and an end stage of any thinking process. With regard to the end of a thinking sequence, marked by an emotion, there is so an affect appraisal that ends such a sequence, for example by satisfaction, triumph, ecstasy, delight, orgasm or gloomy failure.

Between the beginning and the end, other emotions will be evaluating in the meanwhile thought sequence goes on. Note also that interpersonal atonements and empathy give rise to intersubjective experiences, which are usually central to the development of emotions and hence of deeply engaged thinking processes.

To sum up, an emotion, or feeling is, by its nature, an undivided whole, which runs to appraise overall the internal and external situation together. Detailed thinking, on the other hand, in its problem-solving aspects, is analytic. It deals with discriminating the significant constituents of a whole circumstance and their relationships in the situation. Analytic thought of any sort starts with awareness of a whole (synthetic) question, but is not holistic in its own nature.

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