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Abella, A. (2012). John Cage and W. R. Bion: An Exercise in Interdisciplinary Dialogue. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 93(3):717-731.

(2012). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 93(3):717-731

Interdisciplinary Studies

John Cage and W. R. Bion: An Exercise in Interdisciplinary Dialogue Language Translation

Adela Abella

(Final version accepted 11 November 2011)

The author discusses some striking convergences which appear in the thought of two unsettling and powerfully stimulating personalities of the 20th century: John Cage in music and art, and W.R. Bion in psychoanalysis. Both foster openness to the unknown and the need to tolerate ‘uncertainties, mysteries, doubts’, arguing for an attitude requiring negative valence and receptive emptiness. In their search for fresh personal awareness of reality aimed at allowing mental transformation and growth, both strive to disturb intellectual comfort and do not hesitate to use pro(e)vocative and even shocking means. They both propose an attitude towards tradition which demands the freedom to use and recreate inherited knowledge in a personal and innovative way. Finally, both Cage and Bion maintained a highly auto-reflective attitude, carefully considering the artist's/psychoanalyst's contribution to the process of art and psychoanalysis. These convergences probably represent important and wider contemporary cultural trends which permeate in their different realizations.

[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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