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Cooper, P.C. (1999). On Hallucination, Intuition, and the Becoming of “O.” By Eric Rhode. Binghamton, NY: Esf Publishers, 1998, 230 pages.. Psychoanal. Rev., 86(6):965-967.

(1999). Psychoanalytic Review, 86(6):965-967

Book Reviews

On Hallucination, Intuition, and the Becoming of “O.” By Eric Rhode. Binghamton, NY: Esf Publishers, 1998, 230 pages.

Review by:
Paul C. Cooper, M.S., NCPsyA

What happens when what mediates the creative space for psychoanalytic truth to evolve becomes destroyed? From this central question Eric Rhode develops a compelling case for the inclusion of the mystical model in psychoanalysis. The multifaceted subtleties of Rhode's argument find support through a dramatic and vivid interweaving of French structuralism as explicated in Claude Lévi-Strauss's anthropological studies and in Wilfred Bion's post-Kleinian thinking. Both question the Kantian lexical roots of scientific method and its influence through the vehicle of atomistic positivism on early psychoanalysis. Rhode writes that “in their separate ways, Bion and Lévi-Strauss are concerned to qualify the view of truth that assumes that every event can be ‘read’ in the way that texts can be read” (p. 78). Bion criticizes the Kantian imagination by transforming the Kleinian notion of a progressive linearity from the paranoid-schizoid position to the depressive position into a mystical understanding of reciprocal oscillating dynamics. Reciprocity alters the understanding of the role of hallucination in psychic growth. Bion thus becomes attuned to the creative aspects of hallucination. Hallucination functions as a closed delusional system and as a factor in intuition. This evolution of Kleinian thought aligns Bion with Lévi-Strauss's structuralism. Reciprocal relations, according to Lévi-Strauss, are essential for the survival and growth of cultural forms. In the culture of the consulting room, transference functions to bridge the reciprocity between “inner” and “outer,” medical and mystical. Certain transferences, Rhode argues, “[require] the religious vertex1 to make sense of it” (p. 32). Operating reciprocally, the medical and mystical models function to create the tensions necessary for psychoanalytic meanings to evolve. The phenomena of two vertices, according to Rhode, create “imaginative space out of which the thinking of psychoanalysis arises” (p. 18).

Following Bion's lead, Rhode asserts that psychoanalytic insight derives from the intuition of “O,” Bion's symbol for ineffable truth or reality and relies on the infinite, which requires a mystical vertex.

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