Watercolor by Federico Mele, 2018 - Book illustration
In 2018, MCI1 will launch a fundraising campaign. Starting from next January it will be possible to book in advance a copy of the book "Descartes, Freud and cookies" whose proceeds from sales will be donated by its Author, Prof. Duca-Canavan, to the BPD2 research. The name of the beneficiary foundation will be revealed at the end of a selection between the registered candidates that will take place at the end of the campaign itself. Here's a bit of the interview soon to be available in some newspapers (keep an eye on this website for updates!):
(Q) Prof. Duca-Canavan, what can you tell us about the title of your new book and the idea which is behind the project?
(A) "Descartes, Freud and cookies. Beyond Psychoanalysis" has been inspired by two fundamental books, best sellers in the contemporary scientific and literary global markets, both written by Robert Lanza and Robert “Bob” Berman, two “men of science” who definitely forced the concept of Science itself to collapse, in 2009, with their first work "Biocentrism". Unfortunately, it took a long time before the general public could read, process and appreciate its contents. This actually happened a few years later through another of Lanza and Berman’s books: "Beyond Biocentrism" (2016). Lanza was named among the top 100 most influential people in the world by Time Magazine. Back to the book, I have personally suggested to add a little subtitle: "A modest proposal for an ideal conjunction of physics and philosophy of mind".
(Q) Why the "cookies"?
(A) Well, it is a metaphor I often use to explain the logical process of “enumeration” or the control instrument of “analysis” in the Descartes’ method. My students always like it. The fact is that we had two types of psychotherapies in modern history: psychoanalysis (Freud) and the less known psychosynthesis (Roberto Assagioli; yes, he was Italian!). The first one purely analytic then and the second one purely synthetic. According to the classical logics, in between, we have a tool: a very important tool, without which no mind functioning would be possible, no memories, no knowledge. Its name is “enumeration”, a selective process which allows us to keep or discard information in order to satisfy our personal, totally subjective need to know, to interact with the surrounding world. The specific data that we pick are those “cookies” we like the most in the “box”. Not just but they are the only ones which literally fit in our limited “storage space”: it is that simple indeed.
Lanza and Berman believe that time does not exist. Death does not exist. Everything is a beautiful product of our mind. I believe that too. I believe that our mind is far from being a neuroscientific monster built with synapsis and made of chemical reactions. I believe the mind and body are no different from each other. I believe that the mind can heal itself. So I am working on a new form of psychoanalytic psychotherapy which could be easily called biocentric. While researching into this project I was able to find a few pages on line of a contribution about a so called “biocentric therapy” which however does not involve psychoanalysis nor Lanza and Berman’s works on biocentrism at all.
(Q) Do you think Freudian Psychoanalysis has to be considered obsolete nowadays?
(A) There are a few mistakes in all Freudian theories. The first one is underestimating the entity of the “Ego”. Which obviously comes from a static, purely analytic view of how the mind is structured or effectively works. It is true that Science proceeds this way, from basic “static” concepts to dynamic mechanisms. It is true that we have invented the Psychodynamic discipline which however has no reason to exist, in my personal opinion. The question is, do we want to think the analysis as Romans or Greeks? Romans were not so good at understanding nor appreciating the complexity of reality, art or beauty. They were soldiers! And their language, which is the one that influenced all of the Anglo-Saxon languages the most, reflects their “military” culture. But analysis comes from the Greek verb λύω (lúo) which means “I melt”, “melting”, almost “organically”. Exactly as neuroscience thinks that chemical reactions do to our brain in order to form maybe feelings, maybe thoughts. (...)
1 MCI Foundation for the research and experimental development of social sciences and humanities
2 Borderline personality disorder
The interview was conducted by MC International Events Planning Limited on December 7th, 2017.