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Ingram, D.H. Rendon, M. (1989). The Psychonauts. Am. J. Psychoanal., 49(2):91-94.

(1989). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 49(2):91-94

From the Editors

The Psychonauts

Douglas H. Ingram, M.D. and Mario Rendon, M.D.

As psychoanalysts, we are explorers and wanderers over an internal geography of the mind. Our access to this inner space expands through the advancement of our discipline. Concurrently, we have options that enable transportation over the physical world with unprecedented speed and comfort. But there is perhaps a conflict here: technology, in facilitating transportation, may lure us away from the exercise of our own basic motility. As we walk, or wander, less and less, as we spend more time settled in one place, are we really gaining or do we also lose? Is there alienation resulting from this loss of animal function? We are reminded of Chatwin (1987), who suggests that only through nomadism, in the manner of the Australian aborigines, can one's true self be called into existence.

After visiting the United States, the philosopher Jean Paul Sartre remarked with nostalgia how, unlike the Europeans, Americans did not amble. From the automobile to the elevator and vice versa, the American's walking time is supplanted by machines. He contrasted the verticality of American cities without boulevards to the traditional horizontal plan of European cities. Is there a price we pay for the abolition of ambulation and wandering?

We believe that some form of alienation must result from a suppression of our nomadic urges. Of course, we do not believe all alienation comes from this, or that the development of specific psychopathological syndromes can at this point be traced to it. We are puzzled, however, by the fact that significant numbers of children are diagnosed as hyperactive in our society, a fact without historical precedent. Lerner (1988), following Mahler, has suggested that a disordered rapprochement phase may impair the child's capacity to move and explore. Bowlby (1988) regards the secure attachment as a sine-qua-non for wandering and exploring. We know after Brunner that intelligence is enactive before it is symbolic. Is there a relationship between the suppression of motility and the development of symbolic intelligence? What is the nature of that relationship?

Freud postulated a sublimation of sexuality. We mean to assert that the impulse to migrate and wander, or—more fundamentally, to be active and physical—may have a drive status similar to that of sexuality. Early educators thought that a sound mind can only develop in a soundly developing body.

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