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Racalbuto, A. (1989). A Note on the Conference “The Symbol between “Pathos and Logos”. Rivista Psicoanal., 35(1):172-182.

(1989). Rivista di Psicoanalisi, 35(1):172-182


A Note on the Conference “The Symbol between “Pathos and Logos” Language Translation

Agostino Racalbuto

In September 1987 a conference was held at Montebelluna on symbolisation (“The Symbol between Eros and Pathos”). Marco Colafelice, who hosted the two-day meeting, opened the proceedings with an interesting talk, noteworthy for its discussion of the etymology of the word “symbol” and for its rich historical and cultural references. The next speaker was Giovanna Giaconia, who in her paper “The Symbol: a Life-Story” referred to the necessary space between the knowing subject and the object of knowledge, which forms the basis of the individual's sense of psychical relationship with the world. After having pointed out that the “instinct to signify” (Eco) is formed through the code of the maternal sense, which encourages the child to produce fantasies, presentations and symbolisations, the author stated that sublimation itself is a means of forming symbols. In this way, the transgressive intention of the instinct to signify is re-established - and what is transgressed is the law of the mother, of one's own desire for fusion, as well as that of the father, who is viewed as a separating Oedipal entity. Transgession permits the recovery of forbidden desires by marking out within the ideal Ego the site (“the holy site”) of the encounter-clash between the law of the Super-Ego and the desires which are the derivatives of transgressive instincts.


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