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Molinari, S. (1981). W. R. Bion and the Myth of Oedipus. Rivista Psicoanal., 27(3-4):705-713.

(1981). Rivista di Psicoanalisi, 27(3-4):705-713

W. R. Bion and the Myth of Oedipus

Sergio Molinari

Being especially interested in the practice of psychoanalytic observation, Bion has been often urged to consider the classical Freudian Oedipal theory, towards which he proposes an attitude of «intelligent fidelity», constant in all his works. Bion's first criticisms are, however, rather obscure and do not seem to propose particularly new ideas. For example, he considers arrogance, instead of the sexual sin, to be Oedipus's capital sin and he also hypothesized the existence of nonlibidinal links between the individual and the group, after having described the conveniency of perceiving group phenomena both as «centered on the Oedipal situation» and as «centered on the Sphinx and connected with the problem of knowledge and scientific method». A superficial reading of his works could be conducive to thinking that we have to do with an attempt to water down, like Jung, the Freudian concept of libido, if it were not for the constant reference, in all his works, to M. Klein, and if the major part of the theories he believed should be part — as «extensions of the Oedipal situation» — of the analyst's observation equipment were not also of Kleinian origin. Moreover, Bion's debt towards Freud is always obvious, in spite of his refusal to give sexuality a central role, of his evaluation of K links (which refer to knowledge and curiosity) combined with L links (libidinal) and H links (aggressive), and his important criticism of the Freudian theory of the Oedipus complex, which he considers too concrete and too abstract at the same time.

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