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Thanopulos, S. (2009). Emotion as an Infinite Experience: Matte Blanco and Contemporary Psychoanalysis edited by Alessandra Ginzburg and Riccardo Lombardi Franco Angeli, Milan, 2007; 311 pp; €26.50. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 90(1):189-193.

(2009). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 90(1):189-193

Emotion as an Infinite Experience: Matte Blanco and Contemporary Psychoanalysis edited by Alessandra Ginzburg and Riccardo Lombardi Franco Angeli, Milan, 2007; 311 pp; €26.50

Review by:
Sarantis Thanopulos

Ignacio Matte Blanco — a great Chilean analyst who died in Rome twelve years ago — was very famous and appreciated at the international level even outside the world of psychoanalysis. Nevertheless, most analysts do not read his work and ignore his thought. Matte Blanco moved to Rome in the late 1960s. He expanded and to a certain extent revolutionized the theory of the unconscious as conceived and developed by Freud. However, his very original but very complex approach seems to discourage the supporters of a form of psychoanalysis based on ease of understanding, quick emotional contact and handy concepts. Therefore we welcome the book edited by Alessandra Ginzburg and Riccardo Lombardi, L'emozione come esperienza infinita [Emotion as an Infinite Experience], which is entirely focused on Matte Blanco's contribution to contemporary psychoanalysis. This book shows that the author's complex theoretical approach is not necessarily too intellectual so as to make clinical practice too dull, but that it can play an important support in creating a smooth and intense analytical relationship.

Matte Blanco explored the unconscious and defined two mechanisms underlying the function of the mind, two different organizations to represent the self and the world: the symmetric mechanism and the asymmetric mechanism. The former ignores the Aristotelian principle of non-contradiction; it operates in a (virtual) multidimensional space and processes the representation data according to generalization and infinitization that tend to abolish the differences between the things that are represented, as well as the distinction between the representation and the emotion generating such representation.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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