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Eigen, M. (1984). Do I Dare Disturb the Universe? A Memorial to Wilfred R. Bion. James S. Grotstein (Ed.). Beverly Hills: Caesura Press, 1981. 674 pp.. Psychoanal. Rev., 71(2):346-348.

(1984). Psychoanalytic Review, 71(2):346-348

Do I Dare Disturb the Universe? A Memorial to Wilfred R. Bion. James S. Grotstein (Ed.). Beverly Hills: Caesura Press, 1981. 674 pp.

Review by:
Michael Eigen

Wilfred R. Bion is a giant in psychoanalysis. Aspects of his earlier work on group dynamics and psychotic thinking have somewhat invisibly been assimilated by the psychoanalytic world. However, the greater part of his work lies virtually untapped.

It is a shame his writings appear so forbidding to most analysts and require an effort many are unwilling or unable to make. Immersing oneself in his world opens world upon world. A guide is often required. While there can be no substitute for a personal teacher, this volume, edited by James S. Grotstein, indirectly takes on something of this function.

There are articles by over 30 contributors who in some way have been touched by Bion. They are uneven in quality. Some are pedestrian and dull, others breathtakingly brilliant. Some are summaries, others probing. All are at least competent and painstaking (not necessarily “right”). To know Bion is to be painstaking. One cannot settle for less. But this is only the beginning. Exactness of thinking is simply a tool in order to reflect more delicately the richness of experience. In Bion's work thinking functions to open possibilities of experiencing. Without this strict development of gnostic functions our experiencing remains the duller. He is principally concerned with the intricacies of experiencing our experience, seeing and relating to psychic reality in a way that works through, or at least makes contact with, barriers to its evolution.

Most readers will most certainly be put off by Bion's attempt to develop a mathematical expression of psychic life.

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