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Tylim, I. Siassi, S.F. (2008). Psychoanalytic Reflections. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 89(5):1041-1044.

(2008). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 89(5):1041-1044

Panel Report: Hope in a Time of Cholera

Psychoanalytic Reflections

Isaac Tylim and Shahrzad F. Siassi

The panel ‘Hope in a Time of Cholera’ explored current psychoanalytic thinking about the phenomenon and affect of hope. In his opening remarks, Dr Isaac Tylim set the tone of the conference with an apt quote from Elie Wiesel: ‘Hope without memory is memory without hope.’ Using the storyline of Gabriel Garcia Márquez's well-known novel Love in the Time of Cholera (1989) as the background for the theme of his discussion, Tylim highlighted the persistence of hope between the novel's two lovers as they faced a devastating illness. He argued that this theme of love serving as a barrier against despair in the midst of adversity demonstrates how, in facing trauma, one has to wait and hold out hope; hence Love in the Time of Cholera is interchangeable with Hope in a Time of Cholera (Tylim, 2007).

Referring to the common root of both waiting and hope in the Spanish word esperanza, Dr Tylim underscored the paradoxical relationship between the two concepts in that hope evolves from waiting, and without the latter waiting can easily turn into despair with tragic consequences. It follows that one way of facing trauma is to hold on to hope and to wait. While some traumatized individuals are unable to wait, to hope, others seem more resilient and persistent in their waiting. Those unable to wait cling to the present; those able turn to the future. Tylim argued that, because of its inherent primary process logic, hope — like illusions, fantasies and religion — functions as an anodyne and a buffer against despair.

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