Customer Service | Help | FAQ | PEP-Easy | Report a Data Error | About
:
Login
Tip: To see translations of this article…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

When there are translations of the current article, you will see a flag/pennant icon next to the title, like this: 2015-11-06_11h14_24 For example:

2015-11-06_11h09_55

Click on it and you will see a bibliographic list of papers that are published translations of the current article. Note that when no published translations are available, you can also translate an article on the fly using Google translate.

 

For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

Ullrich, H. (2013). The Primordial Mind in Health and Illness: A Cross-Cultural Perspective, by Michael Robbins, Routledge, London, 2011, 240 pp., $38.95.. Psychodyn. Psych., 41(4):663-666.

(2013). Psychodynamic Psychiatry, 41(4):663-666

The Primordial Mind in Health and Illness: A Cross-Cultural Perspective, by Michael Robbins, Routledge, London, 2011, 240 pp., $38.95.

Review by:
Helen Ullrich, M.D., Ph.D.

Michael Robbins proposes a duality of mental activity and thought. He describes primordial mental activity (PMA) as present from the inception of life. This appears analogous to Chomsky's concept of an innate common underlying deep structure for all languages. Through the different facets of the primordial mental activity prism Michael Robbins portrays its roles in psychoanalytic theory, in different cultures, in shamanic sessions, in normal development, in dreaming, in psychopathology, and in other arenas. His case studies of a Maori shaman, the Amazonian Piraha tribe, Bob Dylan, and a patient are especially interesting and helpful in understanding varied aspects of primordial mental activity as it relates to primary process, abstract thought, shamanic trances, and psychosis.

In this book the author has met the challenge of explicating primordial mental activity in its many mutations. Distinguished from thought, Robbins regards primordial mental activity as characteristic of the unconscious, the dreaming state, the spiritual cultures, and the psychotic. Attachment relationships develop before formal thought and so belong to primordial mental activity. The many tendrils of primordial mental activity are too diffuse to comprise a coherent whole.

The classification of some cultures as spiritual is slippery, as different segments of one population may focus on abstract thought parallel to primordial mental activity, while all likely manifest both types of thought, even though particular languages such as Piraha have no means for the linguistic expression of abstract thought.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

Copyright © 2019, Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing, ISSN 2472-6982 Customer Service | Help | FAQ | Download PEP Bibliography | Report a Data Error | About

WARNING! This text is printed for personal use. It is copyright to the journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to redistribute it in any form.