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Morgan, M. Stokoe, P. (2014). Curiosity. Cpl. Fam. Psychoanal., 4(1):42-55.

(2014). Couple and Family Psychoanalysis, 4(1):42-55


Mary Morgan and Philip Stokoe

James Fisher's work on curiosity and the authors' own thinking in this area are described. Fisher's view of curiosity, as a genetic aspect of human nature, and as the essential driver causing the development of the mind and of consciousness, is restated. The focus of curiosity is emotion, and emotion is meaningful. Thus curiosity serves to represent symbolically the meaning of our experience. The authors agree with Fisher, Bion, and Britton that the impulse to curiosity stands alongside the impulse to pleasure, and that the tension between these two impulses affects and guides our psychological and emotional development. The fields of couple psychoanalytic psychotherapy and organisational consultancy are drawn on to demonstrate the centrality of curiosity and to indicate its essential role in the development of a creative couple stage of identity. The importance of anxiety in either stimulating or de-activating curiosity is described. The authors emphasise the balance between the pleasure impulse and the impulse to curiosity by showing that L and H can be seen as the former, while K pertains to the latter. Where anxiety closes down curiosity, it is argued that this is an example of L and H dominating K, and is another way to describe the paranoid-schizoid position.

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