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Sanville, J.B. (1998). Response to Blanca Montevechio. Gender and Psychoanalysis, 3(2):205-211.

(1998). Gender and Psychoanalysis, 3(2):205-211

Response to Blanca Montevechio Related Papers

Jean B. Sanville, Ph.D.

I have appreciated the comments of Montevechio, especially her emphasis on how historical events become myths that then may enter into our thinking about gender and culture. Her own book, La Metáfora de la Conquista (1991), was my first introduction to the hypothesis extant in countries south of the border about the historical part played by the Conquest in rendering the worldwide asymmetry of male—female patterns perhaps more rigid and difficult to overcome in Latin Amerca. Her use of the figure of speech, metáfora, was evidence of what I later confirmed to be her interest in the nature of belief as rooted in myth (Montevechio, 1995). Elements of symmetry between patterns of male—female relationships at the time of the Spanish conquest and those of today have permitted easy transferring from the then to the now (the Greek verb, metapherein, means to transfer), albeit unconsciously. Beliefs are not necessarily rational for they are connected not with reason but with feeling. But, she said, in her presentation at the 1995 International Psychoanalytic Congress, they are the deepest stratum of human life the ground on which life moves. It is in metaphors, such as that of the Conquest, that cultural meanings about differences between men and woman may be described, although the origins of beliefs about those differences may be lost to consciousness. Montevechio observes that irrational beliefs coexist in the psyche with rational “secondary processthinking. So I read her to be saying something similar to another Latin American writer, Matte Blanco (1975, 1988), who has written that all thinking is bi-logical, i.e., ordinary bivalent logic combined with that derived from emotion. What may matter is the proportion of one logic to the other, and whether their relationship is of dialectic or of rigidity.

My

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