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Grotstein, J.S. (1996). Thinking, Feeling, and Being: Clinical Reflections on the Fundamental Antinomy of Human Beings and World. : By Ignacio Matte-Blanco. London: Routledge. 1988. Pp. 347.. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 77:1053-1058.

(1996). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 77:1053-1058

Thinking, Feeling, and Being: Clinical Reflections on the Fundamental Antinomy of Human Beings and World. : By Ignacio Matte-Blanco. London: Routledge. 1988. Pp. 347.

Review by:
James S. Grotstein

The extraordinary contributions of Ignacio Matte-Blanco have begun slowly—all too slowly—to influence a growing number of psychoanalysts around the world. In this and most of his other earlier works it seems that he has set out on a mathematical pilgrimage to the shrine of Freud's Unconscious often in a state of joyous rapture as he rediscovers Freud's genius and his inestimable legacy, not just the existence of unconscious mental life but the fundamental nature of its operation. Over and over again, Matte-Blanco reminds us that analysts have too long availed themselves of the harvest of Freud's discovery without sufficiently appreciating the complexity of the unconscious, particularly in regard to its laws, grammar, syntax, and hidden order of operation, the ‘strange attractor’ that mysteriously organises its ineffable functioning.

The author states:

I think it is fair to tell the reader that a thorough understanding of … this book requires a certain amount of work. As I see it, the main reason for this difficulty is due to the fact that it deals with the most difficult and yet most important aspects of the Freudian unconscious (pp. 4-5).

He is right. In my own attempts to master the thematics of this text I first read the enormously helpful Introduction prepared by Eric Rayner and David Tuckett. Then I read the main text, following which I re-read the Introduction. After that I re-read Matte-Blanco's (1975) The Unconscious as Infinite Sets and followed that up with a reading of Eric Rayner's (1995) Unconscious Logic: An Introduction to Matte-Blanco's Bi-Logic and Its Uses. Gradually I began to comprehend the scope and significance of this daring yet reverent tome. I shall do my best synoptically to describe its importance and fascination for analysts.

The terms he imparts to us are important definitory tools for our understanding the radically different logic of the Unconscious.

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