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Riefolo, G. (2014). Truth and Falsity. Reflections about the Authenticity Process. Ital. Psychoanal. Annu., 8:41-61.

(2014). The Italian Psychoanalytic Annual, 8:41-61

Truth and Falsity. Reflections about the Authenticity Process Language Translation

Giuseppe Riefolo

«la natura umana è costante. Spesso, se si è onesti, un'emozione privata diventa l'esperienza di tutti, mentre un fatto pubblico, noto e importante, si perde nella sua insensatezza»

S. Rushdie

During a visit to the occupational therapy ward of a military psychiatric hospital, at the beginning of the war, Bion has a clear impression that «some sort of equilibrium of insincerity had been achieved by patients, doctors and community alike. The nature of this equilibrium was not understood or even observed: I concluded that the only occupation that could be therapeutic was the study by the group of the nature of the affliction from which they individually and collectively suffered» (Bion, 1948, 81). In another note written in 1971 he says: «Does anyone claim ownership of a lie? Of course not, because as the question is formulated the lie is worthless - it represents worthless property. Worth is that which enhances the value of the person to his community; it must be distinguished from apparent or reputed worth. In the domain of thought, values are contingent» (Bion, 1992, 354).

Although on several occasions both Freud and Bion suggested that in order to evolve, the mind needs «truth,” Bion introduced relative values for defining truth and falsity: if seen from the vertex of the subject who maintains it, a falsehood can be true, and if we consider the contingent circumstances such as the environmental and temporal factor, lies could even be «regarded as great gifts of imagination» (Bion, 1971, 26).

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