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Gargiulo, G.J. (2006). Ontology and Metaphor: Reflections on the Unconscious and the “I” in the Therapeutic Setting. Psychoanal. Psychol., 23(3):461-474.

(2006). Psychoanalytic Psychology, 23(3):461-474

Ontology and Metaphor: Reflections on the Unconscious and the “I” in the Therapeutic Setting

Gerald J. Gargiulo, Ph.D.

If the entire cosmos were scaled down to the size of earth, the part accessible to us would be much smaller than a grain of sand.

—Brian Greene (2005, p. 285)

Freud, like any man who does not sacrifice the complexity of life to the deceptive simplicity of rigid concepts, has said a good many contradictory things.

—Hans W. Loewald (1980, p. 255)

In this article the author discusses various conceptualizations of the dynamic and the generic/descriptive unconscious. Studying the generic/descriptive unconscious, the author offers analogues from the field of quantum physics as models for understanding the concept as a statement about being. The author proposes understanding the dynamic unconscious as being created by interpretations. Critiques are offered for any reading of the unconscious, dynamic or generic, whenever any substantive reality is implied. Additionally, the “I” is discussed as an “imaginative cultural construct”; its relation to community, in its formation and functions, is delineated. The implications for therapy are presented in light of the therapeutic relationship between psychoanalysis and spirituality—both understood in terms of the here and now of an individual's life.

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