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Biran, H. (1997). Myths, memories and roles: How they live again in the group process. Free Associations, 7(1):31-48.

(1997). Free Associations, 7(1):31-48

Myths, memories and roles: How they live again in the group process

Hanna Biran

The Human Soul was expelled from Paradise and was condemned to search, wonder and ache. It is a soul torn between the wish to be inquisitive and know more, and the fear of discovering painful truths. Our desire to broaden our consciousness is therefore always in conflict with its opposite counterpart: the wish to leave things lying in the depths of the unconscious abyss. The saying ‘let sleeping dogs lie’ reflects our anxiety when faced with the danger of waking up those drives which are better left dormant and of which we would rather not be aware.

Melanie Klein argues that babies are born with what she terms ‘The Epistemophilic Instinct(Klein, 1975). This term combines the Greek words for knowledge - episteme - and for love - philos.

With the term ‘epistemophilic’ Klein creates an inseparable connection between the wish to investigate and gain knowledge, and the drive to love. One may therefore say that knowledge and emotion come to the world hand in hand.

Freud supplied the foundation for this theoretical way of thinking. According to him, the ability to think, as well as the ability to tolerate frustration, develop when the reality principle takes control, substituting for the exclusive control of the pleasure principle. When a person is able to tolerate frustration, the process of search and growth will begin as an alternative to the immediate satisfaction of the drives (Freud, 1911).

Bion used the theoretical background laid down by Freud and Klein to develop a far-reaching and original theory of thinking.

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