Freud had come upon a similar notion when he used the term free-floating attention and Marion Milner used the term attention with a wide focus. I think these three clinicians were all trying to give expression to the same state of mind.. The condition of _reverie _is one in which the mind is liberated from any principles which have been handed down to us through our education at school, our scientific learning, from the accepted canons of art or religion. Discipleship is the antithesis of reverie. The following is a good expression of what I mean. It comes from Nikos Kazantzakis novel Zorba the Greek:
_While going down a slope, Zorba kicked against a stone, which went rolling downhill. He stopped for a moment in amazement, as if he were seeing this astounding spectacle for the first time in his life. He looked round at me and in his look I discovered faint consternation. _
_ Boss, did you see that ? he said at last. On slopes, stones come to life again._
I said nothing but felt a deep joy. This, I thought, is how great visionaries and poets see everything as if for the first time. Each morning they see a new world before their eyes; they do not really see it, they create it 3_ _
Anything that smacks of what Richard Church expresses when he says:
is the enemy of _reverie. _He is talking here of a culture dominated by a school of thinking which is disinfected of any alien or surprising ideas. Ideas, thoughts and projects have to be subordinated to a model.
When people use the word training with regard to psycho-analysis a shudder goes down my spine. Training is of course appropriate to all activities that require a human being to manage and master a machine. Machines demand to be used in a particular way. If I am propelling a car I cannot pull back a control column and fly it into the air. If I am in a plane I cannot use the right pedal to accelerate. I cannot go at 100 mph in first gear in a car; I cannot land a plane safely unless I lower considerably the R.P.M. Machines demand me to be trained but, even in the case of machines, there are fine differences that require not a trained reaction but an imaginative response.
Within the arena of psycho-analysis trainings are programmed within particular schools of thinking: classical Freudian, Kleinian, Independent, Self-psychological, the Relational, the Lacanian and many others. Reverie is not possible when my mind is focused within one of these schools of thinking. This is the way you are to think, says the one schooled by Winnicott; No, you should be thinking a different way says the Kleinian, No, this is all wrong says the Kohutian. Each demands that I think in the particular way that governs the school of thinking to which the speaker belongs. Each of these schools have a model into which I have to subscribe to. These models are also machines and have been partly fashioned by the machine mind of our culture.5
In human beings the need to belong is so strong that it is difficult for the individual to free himself from the chains of such an authority. This belonging gives the individual a feeling of fellowship with a group of others who have been manufactured by the same machine. Institutions are mechanisms for the preservation of dictates, principles that are to be followed, reservoirs of information but they are dead until a living person has breathed life into them. Arthur Bryant, the historian, made the point that institutions have no conscience. The source of conscience lies in the individuals transformation of intended action into terms of good or bad.
The helplessness of the institution confronts us when we realize that it cannot determine the individuals emotional state. Consider for instance some of the qualities which are required of the clinician: patience, tolerance, open-mindedness, generosity, empathy, courage. No training can endow the candidate with any of these qualities. They are all admirable but, to the chagrin of preachers, no one can impose these qualities upon another. I cannot persuade someone to generosity or to tolerance. Is there any way in which these habits of mind can be fostered in another ?
The first thing is to recognize an antinomy that cannot be reconciled in thought but can be in lived reality. The paradox is this: that a free creative act finds its source entirely from within myself, entirely from within the subject and yet it can be created from the emotional activity of another. These antinomies defy logic, cannot be reconciled through thought. It was the genius of Kant to recognize these antinomies and know that it meant that the human mind is limited in its capacity to reconcile what appear to be contradictions. Thought, as Henri Bergson emphasized, cannot capture lived reality. Antinomies in thought can only be reconciled in lived reality. 6
So if the creative in one can be generated from another, what is the state in this other that needs to exist if this generation is to occur ? The answer is _reverie. _I will give an example where this state of mind was productive for another mind.
An analyst was treating a man in his thirties who was living at home in his mother and fathers house. Mother forbade him to bring home a girl-friend to his bedroom. Father did not want him to be having sessions with his analyst and mocked him for needing analysis. The analyst had, as an aim, to liberate his patient from this domestic prison. Although some signs of liberation occurred like father came to accept his sons engagement in psycho-analysis and the patient requested more frequent sessions yet the patient remained installed in the parental home. Then one day the analyst was in his car at a red light with pedestrians crossing in front and the sudden realization came to him that he was imposing his desire upon the patient: his desire to free his patient from his parental chains. As this light shone in his mind he said to himself: I wont impose any such desire upon him and this decision ushered in a different state of mind. This state is difficult to describe. When Freud recommends evenly-suspended attention he says it is one that is free from the analysts own expectations. 7 He also wisely says that in this state he may learn something new. Freud says
So this state is one of curiosity, of discovery. Now the paradox is that this state which superficially looks as though its object is nothingness has a generative effect. In the case just quoted then shortly after the analyst had this moment when his mind lit up his patient moved from his home, installed himself in his own flat and was soon courting a girl-friend. So the very thing which the analyst had been subtly suggesting actually happened when he relinquished that state of expectant demand.
So far this state looks a bit similar to the state of Sunyata or emptiness of all things recommended by Buddhism but it is totally different in its essential nature. Freud refers to this state as evenly-suspended attention, Bion calls it _reverie _and Marion Milner calls it _a wide unfocused stare. _In the terms used by both Freud and Marion Milner, namely _attention _and stare there is the implication of an object not only looked at but taken in. When we use the phrase looked at the observer stays outside whereas the word gaze implies that there is a harmony of the similar 9 between the gazer and what is gazed at. It is not conscious observation. This has not, I believe, ever been better expressed than by Chesterton in his biography of Dickens:
_ He was a dreamy child, thinking mostly of his own dreary prospects. Yet he saw and remembered much of the streets and squares he passed. Indeed, as a matter of fact, he went the right way to work unconsciously to do so. He did not go in for observation, a priggish habit; he did not look at Charing Cross to improve his mind or count the lamp-posts in Holborn to practise his arithmetic For our memory never fixes the facts which we have merely observed. The only way to remember a place is to live in the place for an hour is to forget the place for an hour. The undying scenes we can all see if we shut our eyes are not the scenes that we have stared at under the direction of guide-books; the scenes we see are the scenes at which we did not look at all the scenes in which we walked when we were thinking of something else _ 10
The description of the state where the analyst has no expectation for the patient sounds like an emptiness and yet, considering the example given of the analyst who emptied his mind of any desire or expectation that his patient be freed of his attachment bonds to his family of origin, we see that this state seemed to generate a liberating momentum in his patient. So what is being claimed here is that this _attention _or staring indicates that there is an object being gazed at and, what is more, one that has a power.. So what is this object ? It is clearly no particular event, piece of teaching or idea. It is not something that can be claimed as a possession, whether by Science, Art or Religion. Psycho-analysis, whether it be a Science or an Art, has no claim upon this object. It is not anything finite or particular; it is something universal. If, as Freud suggests, it is a state in which the analyst may be surprised by some new piece of knowledge then the object is something that contains everything within it. If it did not then it would be a selection, even if a very broad one. So the object is a universe, the universe, embracing everything, in everything. The gaze is at and in totality. Totality is the object. And it is an object not an idea. It is reality not a fantasy. When we say something is real what do we mean ? We distinguish it from an idea, a figment of the imagination or a delusion. What is it that makes it real ? It is that there is one Reality of which this is a part. Bion named it O and defined it thus:
I think it very likely that Bion used the letter **_O _**to stand for the Greek word Ontos which, translated into English, equals Being. It has been suggested in several psycho-analytic papers that **_O _**stands for Origin but I think this is unlikely because _ontos _means _the thing-in-itself _or _ultimate reality. _Those are the words that a translator would use to convey the meaning of Ontos. Also Bion used other Greek letters to stand for realities he was describing like alpha and beta. The totality of reality is grasped through a reflective intuitive act of mind. It is not grasped through the senses.
It is necessary here to distinguish between knowledge taken in through the senses where the ego is in a receptive state though, as Freud indicated, the presence of what he called the stimulus barrier implies an activity even in receptivity. 12 This has also been emphasized by Edmund Husserl. 13 However we are talking of receptivity, an activity in receptivity as opposed to an act of mind that penetrates into mental reality. Although patients come to us as as psycho-analysts to be healed of mental illness yet the mental is not adequately described in our literature. When Archimedes lowered his body into that infamous bath in Syracuse and suddenly knew how he could determine whether King Hierons crown was made of pure gold or mixed with an inferior metal he had created volume. Volume is a mental reality; it is not an idea, not a representation of particular things but a reality in itself. Gravity is also a reality. Value is a mental reality. We are programmed culturally through scientific exclusivism to accept a body, a clod of earth or a leopard as realities because we can see them, touch them and even be attacked physically by one but because we have been instructed that this is the only reality we have failed to apprehend the presence of mental reality. So volume, gravity, value and relationship are mental realities. Of these four the one that concerns us here is _relationship. _
A relationship needs to be distinguished from attachment. To my knowledge the attachment theorists have not made this distinction but instead kept relationship within the conceptual language of attachment. An attachment is a sensuous material reality; a relationship is a mental reality. Material reality and mental reality interweave but this neither means that material reality is obliterated by mental reality, as some spiritual sects believe, nor that material reality effaces mental reality, as nearly all scientists believe and this is not just those in the physical sciences but also those in the human sciences which includes psycho-analysis. Now I need to consider more closely the statement that attachment is a sensuous material reality. In attachment there is always some mental component and in a relationship some sensuous component. The difference between attachment and a relationship is that we name a connection an attachment when the sensuous is dominant and a relationship when the mental is the prevailing component. So attachment theorists describe that the infant, whose mother is able to reflect on her own experience, attaches securely to his mother. However I think the right way to describe this is to say that such an infant is able to relate to his mother. A reflective state is one where the mother is able to relate to her own experience. The experience does not flood and drown her own personal centre. And this capacity to relate in one has a generative power. The reflective state is another word for reverie.
Marion Milner, quoting Elton Mayo, makes the important point that focussed attention is in the service of scientific observation whereas attention with a wide focus is for the fashioning of a relationship. So we might think that reverie is the preserve of the dissociated dreamer whereas it is the crucial factor bringing two human beings into communion with one another. So it is the very opposite of dissociation; it is that which brings one into association of the closest kind with another.
There is much discussion whether psycho-analysis is a science or an art. It is both. It is first an art because we might define art as communication between persons in the human community. It has been defined differently by Baumgarten, the founder of aesthetics, by Kant, Schiller and others but the view that holds conviction for me, namely Tolstoys, is that Art is communication. So psycho-analysis is first an art and secondly it is a science. The foundation stone of the psycho-analytic enterprise is the fashioning of a relationship. In a relationship two persons are brought into relation with one another. It is the relationship that creates the person. An analysis that by-passes the relationship and concentrates on the science is like the builder who built his house but forgot to establish a foundation for his building so, when there is some subsidence, the whole building collapses. It happens that some analyses are built upon a scientific theory that bears no relation to the person in the room with the analyst. I say some but I suspect it is more common than we like to acknowledge. References in an article that all come from a particular analytic school is a suspect sign of this.
So reverie arises from gazing at the totality of reality. The mind is open to this totality, is in relation to it. There is no field of human knowledge that is excluded from it whether it be astronomy, geology, history, neuroscience, sociology, psychology, economics, entomology or zoology. Martin Buber has given potent expression to this:
_ in the course of the history of the spirit each science that has detached itself from a comprehensive context and ensured for itself the independence of its realm has just thereby severely and ever more severely limited its subject and manner of its working. Bu the investigator cannot truthfully maintain his relationship with reality a relationship without which all his work becomes a well-regulated game if he does not again and again, whenever it is necessary, gaze beyond the limits into a sphere which is not his sphere of work, yet which he must contemplate with all his power of research in order to do justice to his own task. 14_
And no episode in the analysts own experience is excluded from it. Schools of thinking tend to direct the mind towards a particularity and so exclude large areas of personal experience. Any individual analyst will only have passed through a small portion of the totality of knowledge available but he knows that this little percentage is embedded in the totality of which this is only a part. This gaze at the totality is generative. The totality of existence has a power. We are in it and it is in us. The mind is never empty. Images, mundane and bizarre, pass across the inner radar screen. This happens because I, the analyst, and the other, the patient, both share the totality and yet are separate from it. These two seeming contradictories are not reconcilable in thought. It is philosophical arrogance to believe that thinking is able to harmonize all the antinomies of the world. The religious word mystery, properly understood, means that there are contradictions in the human world that cannot be grasped because of the limitations of the human mind. Mystery recognizes the boundaries that circumscribe our minds. I give one example of such a paradox. When Isaac Newton formulated gravity it was a creative act but before this act stones rolled down hills, apples fell from trees and the planets circled the sun so Newton created what was already there. This appears to be a contradiction yet ... the two are there: it was already there yet Newton created it. The mind cannot quite grasp this. Maybe in a million years if the brain size has increased and some new descendants homo sapientissimus has evolved on the planet then these new creatures will be able to grasp what poor homo sapiens is not able to. The Newton example refers to external events but the same principle applies to internal happenings. A young woman, as a child, was beaten fiercely by her mother with a cricket bat. She had been seeing an analyst for five years before she told him this. She told her analyst because now she had created what was already there.
The state of reverie plunges from the surface to the depths. We will start on the surface. A woman came to me in a state of dissatisfaction with her life. She was telling me how she had been for a time a social worker and then her management of an antique business. As she was talking there floated through my mind a woman who was an aviatrix and in her book Born to Fly she told how at the age of three she used to jump off a bench onto the ground, flap her wings and cry out I am an eppi-plane. She went on to become a famous Australian pilot. So this flashed across the inner radar screen as the woman was talking. I was certain that this was a communication from the woman who was consulting me so I said to her:
Is it that you have never been really sure what you want to do in life and this has been a source of frustration for you ?
and she answered immediately:
_I have always envied those people who have known since their teens what they want to do in life. _
A bit later she was talking of projects in different jobs that had failed and there flashed through my mind what a friend said to me when publishers had twice rejected a piece of writing that I had submitted:
_Neville until your rooms wallpaper is made up of rejection slips you have not started._
So I said to her:
_When a project at the start does not work the disappointment is so great that it saps all energy to continue_
and she told me that when something failed that she had put all her hopes into she collapsed helpless.
Now these two examples come from a reverie state of mind but not from the primitive depths. These flashes that pass unexpectedly across the inner radar screen are conscious experiences from the past that have been stored and used as communicative counters. They are what Bion referred to as ideographs.15 When they appear on the cinema within, the message is clear. The womans difficulties are within the perimeter of experiences easily identified by others. But there are deeper lights that require a penetration into beliefs that are less easily reached. With the latter the significance is not immediately obvious as it is in the examples just given. This is because they point to inner realities that are urgently seeking understanding in the patient but which, although present also in the analyst, have not yet been believed. There are realities which, to become real, need to be believed. An example would be someone whose I was absent but had yet to come to believe it, or someone who had died a death but did not yet believe it. In these cases it requires the analyst to reach this knowledge in himself because only then can the patient believe it. In order to know and then believe what he knows the patient requires a human being who shares this in order to be able to know it himself. This is because knowledge in its essence is a shared function. A realization emerges that the analyst is a human being like the patient. Bion refers to the patients increased consideration of the analyst as an ordinary human being. 16
What is this level which needs to be reached ? and whose instrument of discovery is the state of reverie ? It is things within us that have not yet had an encircling membrane to contain them. We have a particular word we use when the construction of a container has been achieved. It is the word belief. Belief is the subjective state that tells us that the construction of the container has been accomplished. It tells us of an inner reality that cannot be perceived through the senses but is apprehended through an act of mind. The state of _reverie _is the channel of communication between two human beings. It brings two selves into communion with each other. Such communion is only possible because of the reality shared by both. They are oned or united in their shared being. Ten years ago I had this experience. I have around me in my consulting-room eleven paintings around the walls. A man arrived for a consultation and I subsequently arranged to see him twice weekly. In the first session subsequent to that he went into a trance. In the trance his eyes roved dreamily from one painting to the next. He did not look at them fixedly but with what Marion Milner would call a wide focus. So his eyes, in this trance, travelled from one painting to the next. Then his eyes rested on a small painting of a house set against a landscape of coloured vegetation. His eyes again were in this disorganized trance state. Then he suddenly leapt out of the state and turned to me and said
_You painted that _
which I had. In the consultation and earlier in the session there had been no discussion about painting. When he said You painted that. He was quite certain. The trance state or _reverie _at a deeper level had revealed something with certainty. I emphasize with certainty which is psychologically different from dogmatism. Dogmatism is the ingestion, shorn of inner process, of the thinking of another. Certainty arises from a relation of inner to inner, person to person.
What I have referred to here as trance is reverie at a deeper level. It requires the mind to be shut off from scientific observation. A patient was very insistent that she wanted to know nothing about my biographical life. The reason for this desire of hers was that this external knowledge interfered with knowledge of me achieved through deep reverie or trance. Freud gives the interesting example of a fortune teller who prophesied that her subjects friend had died from crayfish poisoning. . She attributed this knowledge to information that came from her astrological calculations.. Freud, however, and I believe correctly, thought that her mind met with her subjects mind in what he referred to as thought transference but, and this is the point I want to emphasize, Freud surmised that The fortune-tellers astrological activities would in that case have performed the function of diverting her own psychical forces and occupying them in a harmless way, so that she could become receptive and accessible to the effects upon her of her clients thoughts . 17
This _deep reverie _is quite different from the surface reverie, examples of which I gave when seeing that woman in consultation. Deep reverie connects to the place where the I is being formed. The formation of **_I _**requires the meeting of persons which occurs in the state of deep reverie. For this to occur the analyst needs himself to enter a trance, a doze-like state. This can occur if patient and analyst are connected to each other in this shared level. This deep reverie is the state that Dickens was in, as described by Chesterton, who says that Dickens was a dreamy child immersed in deep reverie, immersed in a state, not O but one governed by O. It is significant that the person, Bion, who recommended a state which he referred to as one without memory or desire is the same person who formulated O. In similar way the man, Chesterton, who recommended a _dreamy _state rather than priggish observation is the same one who championed Ens which is the Latin equivalent of the Greek Ontos.18
The analyst is called to deep reverie by a patient in that state. There is a call to the analyst to enter this state of deep reverie when the patient is in it. Something calls inside the patient and the analyst resists, fights against it. Sometimes the analyst is not prepared to enter that state. A patient was silent in every session and the analyst said to him Why arent you talking to me ? The patients response of silence was saying Why wont you meet me where I am ? Another analyst saw a patient for the first three months of her analysis in verbal conversation then suddenly she was in the trance and an image came forth in verbal expression once in ten minutes. The analyst made a decision to enter into communication at this level. Another analyst had a patient in silence for long periods. The patient said in a verbal session You know what is happening to me but I dont. The analyst dozed and this is not the same as sleep. Bion refers to a waking dream. In the doze the analyst was taken into this dream and images came to him but, as he came out of the doze, he frequently was not able to catch the glimpsed ikon. Being able to catch it and bring it from the dreams domicile into the world of time and place and link the two was a daunting task. The analyst realized however that the achievement of this enabled the patient to make meaning of her life. Meaning is what is produced subjectively by relationship.
Is there anything that the analyst can do to give rise to the state that is receptive to deep reverie ? LARANJA
I gave two examples of surface reverie and so I will now give three of deep reverie. The first comes from a colleague who reported thus concerning a man whom he had been seeing for some time:
"I was impressed at the end of a session in which he and I had ostensibly harmless exchanges but that as he left I had the vivid thought that he looked like a whipped dog" when he returned for the next session I commented that when he left me after talking as though something agreeable was taking place he actually looked like a whipped dog when he left the room". He was silent and I saw a small tear course down his cheek and then he said, "when I was a small boy when my mother came home from work she would take me into the garden and tell me to choose which branch of a tree I wanted to be beaten with: I only knew she was angry with me when she decided to beat me". The second example was when I, the analyst, was in a doze and there flashed into my mind this incident. A house surrounded by four feet of concrete pavement with a swimming-pool beyond. A friend went up to the first floor, opened the window, ran across the room and jumped, clearing the concrete paving, and landed in the water. Had he failed to clear the paving he would have been either dead or a cripple. It flashed in the doze; I nearly did not catch it but just did. The patient was in total silence. He had been seriously suicidal. The flash indicated that he had just managed to thrust himself beyond the suicide. The other was a flash from a film that I had seen forty years before. It was of four men in a submarine that had sunk to the bottom of the ocean, knowing that they were going to die and starting to pray. Again I only just caught it. These both came within a week. He had been in silent communication for many sessions. I knew from similar happenings in the past that a deep transformation was happening. I also knew that his inner being had been in isolation. That to move out of the familiarity of isolation, out of control of his own destiny, into relation was risky and dangerous. The previous suicidal state was governed by a determination to control his life, his death. In a verbal session a little later he said that if he were given news that he was going to die he would accept it, he would not go to extraordinary measures to preserve his life. He also said that the meaning of his life had changed because his three children were now all married and settled. He also realized that it was not necessary to control when death came to him. It might come unsought, unsent and that he was prepared for that. These two flash images were the communication I had received concerning this transformation. I doubt whether the deep reverie would have occurred had this not been so. But this is not quite right. This communication at a deep level which is the source of communication also firmed up my own convictions. This deep reverie consolidated my I and also his _I._ It is relevant that the nature of his acceptance in face of news of death is something shared by me. But this is a subject for another paper.
[2_]20 Living matter is said to consist of protoplasm, a mere word which like so many others is employed as a cloak for our ignorance._ MACNEILE DIXON, W. (1958) The Human Situation. p.138 Penguin Books.
23 The human mind is not, as philosophers would have you think, a debating hall, but a picture gallery. Around it hang our similes, our concenpts. The tyranny of the concept, as, for example, that modern one, which pictures the universe a machine ... this tyranny of the concept is one from wich the human mind never escapes. MACNEILE DIXON, W. (1958) The Human Situation. p.63. Penguin Books.
24 BERGSON, Henri. (1919) Creative Evolution. pp.171-172. London: Macmillan & Co: _ the intellect represents **becoming **as a series of states, each of which is homogeneous with itself and consequently does not change. Is our attention called to the internal change of one of these states ? At once we decompose it into another series of states, which, reunited, will be supposed to make up this internal modification though we may do our best to imitate the mobility of becoming by an addition that is ever going on, becoming itself slips through our fingers the intellect lets what is new in each moment of a history escape. It does not admit the unforeseeable. It rejects all creation._
30 Protection against stimuli is an almost more important function for the living organism than reception of stimulithe sense organs, which consist essentially of apparatus for the reception of certain specific effects of stimulation, but which also include special arrangements for further protection against excessive amounts of stimulation and for excluding unsuitable kinds of stimuli. FREUD, S. (1920) Beyond the Pleasure Principle. S.E.v. XVIII. pp. 27-28. London: The Hogarth Press & The Institute of Psycho-Analyis.
31 This phenomenologically necessary concept of receptivity is in no way exclusively opposed to that of the activity of the ego, under which all acts proceeding in a specific way from the ego-pole are to be included. On the contrary, receptivity must be regarded as the lowest level of activity. The ego consents to what is coming and takes it in. HUSSERL, Edmund. (1973) Experience and Judgment. p.79. Evanston: Northwestern University Press.