The evil of modernity begins with the disappearance of the community of listeners.[1] Walter Benjamin

If one speaks with anybody it is likely that they too will be worried about the present state of the world. Many things are the matter and are frightening all of us. The problems are enormous from global warming, Covid and its vicissitudes and also the lurch to the right towards fascism and totalitarianism. How can people speak and listen to each other in times of a culture of deeply embedded lying and attacks on truth-and whose truths. I will try and examine how and what psychoanalysis might contribute in our polarized world of ‘us and them’

The tradition of Apocalyptic prophecy was developed in the Middle Ages, first by Jewish and later Christians to ‘console, fortify and assert themselves when confronted by threat[2].Messianism and debates about the Antichrist were further developed during the Crusades. Later the division into a good-bad dichotomy was enacted by the thousands of penitents masochistically scourging themselves across Europe in response to the plague as well as their mirror image of the Torquemadian sadistic persecutions of certain citizens. All the major European powers used such cruel display as it was socially, politically and economically expedient to those in power. Unconscious manifestations of human cruelties find expressions in societies and presently cruelties have engulfed the world again particularly in the current politically (Dis)United States and the recurrence of protest by Black Lives Matter reiterating the historical unconscious traumata of unmourned racism.

The claim to be Christian can be a surface cover of what is a ruthless and cruel ‘us and them’ system containing a desire to establish a politically totalitarian control. Believers engage in a narrow set of apparent religious terms. Join us, we want your soul, we want you to be born again, if you are unwilling to be like us we have nothing to say to you, you are on the side of the Devil. Armageddon is the place where the final battle between good and evil will be fought. Christians will be saved through Christ’s resurrection,and they journey straight to the Garden of Eden; others go to Hell .

There is no sense of concern for the other. There is instead a viciousness, and all badness is projected into the other(s). Historical examples abound with many connecting to the 1930’s when Nazism was intent on turning Jews and other groups into the untermenschen. For this to be successful the Nazi’s needed to get most of the people-the Volk to be against Jews-us and them.

In those years psychoanalytic ideas, analytic societies and analysts were attacked, many killed or displaced, leaving the analytic world reeling from the 1930’s and beyond the end of the Third Reich in 1945. Perhaps not enough work was done by the analytic community to come together and deeply examine the traumatic landscape of our analytic environment that was left. Perhaps the idea of the return of the massive individual, group, societal, country and world traumata is too unthinkable even for psychoanalysis, such that overall, despite many islands of creative thought about the happening of the Holocaust, we as a profession fear the return of the repressed.

How can the community of psychoanalysts engage when we too are frightened. Psychoanalysis has knowledge of hate and perversity that can be applied to help pre-empt violence through examining states of truth and false narrative that includes understandings of the unconscious in individuals, families, groups and societies that can, at times, nurture deep and vicious hatred of the other. My paper will examine people’s fears today, which predispose towards fundamentalist patterns of thinking and using conflicts in America as the exemplar.

For many Christians the imagined is more important and even more real than the lived life now. How can we tell what is real or what is knowledge or even know anything for certain? What can Society do with a severe clash of values, words and meanings. Individual freedom within a set of liberal rules is opposed by a more secretive system within particular religious sets of beliefs of an apocalyptic nature. One group accepts experts in the community on all manner of investigations whilst the other eschews ‘expertise’ and replaces these with particular biblical texts, particularly the Book of Revelations; by just quoting a biblical sentence views are justified as His expertise as written in ancient texts. Substantial views about the truth of life are spoken not only by the church leaders but many millions of their followers with a righteous dogma that theirs is a particular and absolutely accurate and correct understanding of truth with no place for doubt. Yet today the clash of cultures between the liberal desire for a society with rules and governed by free elections is being savagely contested by a differing series of theological ‘truths’ that is causing violence and severe schism within the politics and leadership in the US and other countries.
Important questions as to how Society and politics engage its citizens are not being discussed due to mutual contempt without debate -us and them. Discussion fails. Fake news is restated millions of times within the internet and on TV as if mass of reiteration makes meaning clear. It does not. Rather it is a form of bullying tactics and a dissent towards experts and expertise rather than God given words. These words are worshipped by the apocalyptic followers as the true measure of what is necessary in order to achieve certain ‘religious ‘goals. The believers regard everyone else on Earth as apostates and wicked. The far right conspiracy group QAnon alleges a secret cabal of Satan worshippers, cannibalistic pedophiles running a global child sex trafficking ring that plotted against former President Trump. Strangely such a bizarre phantasy is believed by millions of Americans as a delusional conspiracy takes over the mind of people as the Covid can do to our bodies. The cult predicts The Storm and The Great Awakening, concepts of religious millenarianism and apocalypticism. Trump the flawed Christian forgiven his sins is seen as a messianic messenger from God. The 2020 US elections had to be understood as stolen and fake as a prelude to usher in the Coming of the Messiah. Such ‘religious’ wrapping paper is the cover that white supremacists are using to develop totalitarian governance.

One can understand such violent, eruptive millennial phantasies as being a massive defense against individuals’ huge anxieties about living in today’s increasingly complex world and feeling lost, poor, vulnerable, alone and near to being wiped out, who hope for a powerful force that will nurture, control, regulate and punish. Messianic phantasies provide a security once one has accepted the entry ticket of being born again, now into the care of ‘new parents’. The prediction of the future apocalypse can be well understood as a projection into the future of a catastrophe in babyhood/childhood/adolescence that has already happened. This is a common fate for children brought up in poverty as the gap between poor and rich drastically widens.
The idea of the Church and its leaders functioning to look after the children in the flock is age old. The idea of rebirth allows an individual to lose their particular suffering and instead be part of an idealized large group. Any violence suffered in the original family is instantly projected into the rest of the non-believers. It is they who will go to hell. So if as a child, one had been terrorized by family poverty distilled into angry aggressive and even paedophilic parents there is a crystallising out of thinking to label the Other, as non-believers who will be severely punished in the fires of hell in the afterlife. Now sense can be made of QAnon being so concerned with the subject of paedophilia and labelling Democrats and socialists as being the vicious objects for children. The concern for children’s welfare consistently being reported in many communities of violence and sexual degradations suffered by children whose parents were unable to process their own anxieties and more so repeating the behaviour that was meted out to them by their own parents[3] .This is well known as cumulative trauma and identification with the aggressor that fuel trans-generational traumas. Many of these adults are now in a safe container inside the right wing politic whilst allowing the pain of the past to automatically project onto a new violent scenario of the rest of the people now consigned to hell. Bollas has described such a mental structure as Violent Innocence. The reborn disciple is as innocent as a newly born baby turning a blind eye to support projections of violence wherever the political leaders direct it.
Not a single Republican in either House voted for President Biden’s huge pandemic relief stimulus package in March 2021 even though it established a guaranteed income for families with children and has the makings of a policy revolution to care for the nation’s impoverished. Well of course because if the millions of impoverished families are really beginning to be cared for financially by the State, it may lead to a withering of support for the Republican Party.

Bion and Catastrophic Change
On 4 May 1966 Wilfred Bion presented to a Scientific Meeting of the British Psychoanalytical Society his paper Catastrophic Change. He was bringing attention to a pattern he had been observing in psychoanalysis and outside it in the form of something contains something and each impacted into the other .As Chris Mawson explained this “relates to two forms of the relationship between the pattern of existing knowledge and the impact of new perceptions and ideas’.[4] Here Bion cites the necessity to notice in Keats Negative Capability ‘when a man is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact or reason’.[5] Bion points to the analyst’s toleration of feelings in letting go momentarily, of facts and reasons in existing theories. In an Independent psychoanalytic context, it would privilege the analyst’s free associative state of mind receptive to new experience but not necessarily spoken. In such a state new meaning can dare become accessible to becoming represented. Bollas’ Unthought Known is an example that refers to preverbal, unschematised early experience including trauma that may determine one’s behaviour unconsciously, barred to conscious thought. Such activities in an analysis and elsewhere are highlighted by a sense of disorientation which may include something as absent,despite it having disruptive potentials. This is the territory of Bion’s concept of container=contained.
Bion goes on to describe the appearance of mystics or men of genius in many different fields Christ,Genghis Khan, Einstein. ”Some attract notice as outstanding personalities but some must be supposed to attract no attention because conditions for their existence is not propitious. A similar fate attends on ideas”.[6] Mystics are not so uncommon over the centuries and are known in all religions and contain ideas that may be called messianic. Bion thought that one function of society was to make such ideas available to members of groups either by laws in society or dogma in religion or laws or rules in mathematics and science. People have a problem that moves towards the catastrophic if these different applications of potentially genius perceptions become muddled up in the three different categories ( laws in society, rules and laws in science and religious dogma). This is especially so if dogma leaps from religious mysticism into the other categories. This is the territory of attacks on science and expertise and knowledge. In Apocalyptic Millennialism an extreme mystic view in a sect is pushed into other categories and structures of human existence. Global warming may be seen, felt and only believed as an expected and anticipated sign that the Days of the World are again nigh. The scientific view is that we need to urgently change our uses of coal, oil and meat eating that pours carbon dioxide into the atmosphere of our container as the delicate biomass of the Earth is in danger of severe and imminent irreversible climate change .The rules governing society are now seen to be in conflict and the incremental moves towards a scientific new beginning within the liberal imagination brushes against the seeking of a millennial cruelty to tip the globe into the particular mystic violence -that some 100 million Americans believe in. And an electoral war breaks out between the millions of citizens such that with 7 million more votes Biden wins the presidency by 306 to 232 Electoral Votes. Instantly and as predicted by Trump for months this authenticated election become a conspiratorial’ Steal’ believed by half the electorate, now contaminated inside a messianic phantasy. The insurrection against Congress became the sharp violent edge of a catastrophic uprising.
“The reaction of the Establishment is to prevent the disruption “[7] This time it failed. Bion goes on to write “The problems of the Christian Establishment developed even in the times of Jesus. The first were: delineation of the borders of the group, selection and training and stabilisation of the hierarchy [8] “. Who are the sects’ followers, are they religious converts or do they sail under a Christian ideological cover but with their own extreme right wing white totalitarianism (Proud Boys etc.) masquerading as supporting and being the shock troops to bring about a Catastrophic Age of a new Republican messianism. Does the Christian Right really believe that such extremist bully boys have God in their heart? Or do they make use of extremists just as they see Trump as having a leadership role, for now, in accessing more power for the millennial church. Trump has fully supported misogynistic and racist views of society [9].

Depending on whether the mystic is nihilistic to the community being disrupted or creative and appearing to eschew violence, Bion saw the Establishment preventing disruption. Yet who would be qualified to speak and to lead. This becomes a near intractable issue if ‘the mystic work is available to ordinary members who do not have the mystic’s qualifications for atonement to the deity’[10]. However the problem of such containment is particularly difficult if there are 100 million followers with a very large number speaking on behalf of the Deity mainly with a false expertise just because they have God in their heart. Devout followers may even want to join civil unrest for their own particular reasons and grievances. Of the Klu Klux Klan, Neo Nazi groups, Proud Boys, White Aryan Resistance, Atomwaffen Division, etc. many of whom have fought in the US military it seems reasonable to think that they do not speak from God but are part of Millennial Christianity now awake and disruptive in society.
For Bion thoughts can be independent of the thinker, such as ideas floating in the zeitgeist. Thoughts can become propaganda when followers sloganize them. The recent explosion of Fakeness proliferates falsity until it becomes a known and ignored lie. ‘The barrier of the lie increases the need for the truth and vice versa’[11].So Messianic ideas can cover political, insurrectional, racist ideas and destroys the rules of democracy. It should be possible to intuit the messianic ideas of the container from the myriad of forms contained which together become dynamically toxic and extremely dangerous.

Yet although we are confronted with these dangers at present, such historical moments of impending and impactful catastrophic change are part of human history: The Crusades, the Black Death, Pizzaro conquering Peru [12],400years of slavery, Hitler and the Holocaust, The Atomic Bomb, the 1919 plague and of course Global warming -such long events might be seen as some of many harbingers of catastrophic change.

What can psychoanalysis do when faced with being in times of catastrophic changes in the world?
Freud wrote in 1925:
I perceived ever more clearly that the events of human history, the interactions between human nature, cultural development and the precipitates of primaeval experiences (the most prominent of which is religion) are no more than a reflection of the dynamic conflicts …which psychoanalysis studies in the individual—are the very same processes repeated upon a wider stage.[13]

This differentiates psychoanalytic thinking of social and political phenomena from the clinical process in a psychoanalysis. Writing presumptuously as if a leader can be ‘analysed’ the press brings us to false diagnostic assumption. It is necessary to underline that expertise can be real and that truth has to stand up against being faked. If the expert can be debunked just by a false statement being retweeted thousands of times then that needs to be resisted and addressed, despite its difficulties. Often this requires bravery. In the light of two opposing and contemptuous groups knowing that each is unheard and unrecognised by the other, the analytic position is to be in the position of listening as the third. It is only in that space that the profound anxieties of expecting to be wiped out can be addressed. The paradox is that the oppositional groups, not hearing the other, each suffer mirror-like anxieties. Instead of being revolted by the others stance, recognition and understanding is required of the underlying history and impoverishment of their situation.

‘’As part of a MacArthur grant that Charles Strozier and Robert Jay Lifton received in 1988 to study how ordinary Americans imagined nuclear threat, they sought to learn how Christian fundamentalists’ apocalyptic orientation connected with nuclear threat. Strozier attended five different NYC sites to do in-depth interviews: a mainstream Baptist church, a Pentecostal church, a large African-American church in Harlem, an Upper East Side Bible Study Group, and Riker’s Island. Each religious setting welcomed him because he was a prospective convert. He was immediately taken into the fold and taught about the Bible as it supported apocalyptic thinking. After nine months his failure to convert despite his impressive store of religious knowledge was recognised and no more interviews were given. He proved to not ‘have Jesus in his heart’. A standout aspect of the research was that it changed him but none of the interviewees. He became more attuned to the complexity of human experience’[14].

When it comes to the feeling of love we human beings can often get such love states quite wrong. Yet if we take it as a true feeling, it does have a powerful meaning within the particular religious group and it is a statement that one believes and is a group member. That meaning further expands to ‘I am loved by God’ by being born again and so can you. Moreover, if you decline you are headed for Hell and Damnation. Rejecting the offerer of a felt divine presence immediately has nothing more to do with you. Perhaps there is a certain arrogance in their apparent knowledge as they instantly leave the lost soul alone to continue to wander. The gaze on one is withdrawn as one has no value in boosting the number of souls they are desiring to save. Identify with us or nothing. This cannot be about dialogue. It is not like discussion with friends or colleagues that expects disagreements and the links and friendships continue. In this apocalyptic dialogue unless one joins, one is wiped out as an enactment of the fallen status in the eye of the believer. The sudden withdrawal brings to the surface the falsity of the friendliness, revealing a selfishness as getting too close to the non-believer might now taint their special status and expected privileges in the life hereafter. To my mind this is a small enactment of a totalitarian position that embraces the new born again recruit as a fellow member or one becomes nothing. Human kindness is not then available because of a triumph of cruelty over the Other. Such a scenario applies to all Republican believers, except Liz Cheney, in Congress today wiping out freedom of expression, of thought and the freedom to debate with a venom that is still hard to believe . Such negative control systems are not, of course confined to the right [15]

The present clash seems inevitable without common space to enquire into these profoundly different ways of expressing ways to live as well as imaginings of death. If one is a millennialist then all men and women do not have certain inalienable rights. Not being a believer means that it is fine and even appropriate to remove voting rights in order to facilitate the apocalyptic Trumpian prophet as the Capital was the site (sight)of a vicious insurrection. The millennium vision demands the believers to expect and pray for a huge war as such conflict will deliver a Messianic new beginning. Such an omnipotent religious phantasy might be seen in contrast with Michael Balint’s view of a creative new beginning.
In apocalyptic thinking there seems to be a thread of grievance that draws the individual to the idea of being re-born. The thinking appears to be forward moving in that the re-birth and the blessing of the new belief will make certain that one will live a life without grievance in heaven. One of the problems about grievance is that the issues are so difficult and awful that the grievance structure demands a sense of entitlement, at last, that appears to be a state that narcissistically just demands more. Eventually the required changes may become so huge that it may only be assuaged by the power of God. The need for a dialogue with the other, who may listen carefully and helpfully is of no consequence because the other is already known to be of no help. Joining a group of grievance driven fellows and together signing up with a dictator, as we see in Trumpism or Bolsonaro-ism means the individual supporter melts into the group. The other is not needed to discuss and dialogue any individual issues. Yet there is a clue within the desire to be re-born. As Winnicott described the idea of future trauma is because past trauma has not been held, understood and mourned. The issue is one of cumulative trauma and I will include also generational racism and antisemitism that keeps huge groups of people ‘unable to breathe’ whilst falsely entitling white supremacists, fascists and Nazis’. As the past cannot be changed the direction is unconsciously spun into future times. However this sleight of time does not confront the real traumatised early life- being unwanted, perhaps coming to life from a failed abortion, not being loved, left alone, starved, beaten, incestuously molested .And all the time an expectation that someone would notice, see, hear and do something about the child’s plight can be carried as a severe chip on their shoulder. That provides the probability for the development of other coping strategies such as identification with the aggressor, becoming cruel oneself and finding victims to project one’s own earlier victimhood onto. And the pull to being reborn allows belief that God has now taken special interest, whilst leaving aside the painful question of why the child had not been heard during childhood and adolescence. It only works if a new victim is found who will go to hell instead.

Town Hall Meetings
I want to describe the value of so-called Town Hall meetings for citizens to discuss what is on their mind and of concern to them. After the publication of my 2019 book Dark Times I was invited by psychology and psychotherapy groups as well as bookshops around the U.K. and beyond to come and discuss my writings. Of course this was a way of eliciting book sales. The meetings had common elements. The attendees, in groups of 20-40 were concerned about not understanding what was going on in present politics, about Brexit, Global warming and deteriorations in Society. The expected expert was going to explain it all so that the audience would ‘know”. Instead after a brief description of the content of Dark Times alongside my concerns that led to its writing I turned the meeting into discussion. I wanted to hear their concerns and I would listen as long as it was understood that I was not going to answer questions. In addition, I hoped that everyone would dare to join in and speak together. I was determined to change the unconscious teacher-pupil vertex in order to think horizontally together. A group experience formed of discussing and thinking together. This activity allowed a sense of aliveness to emerge as individuals found their silent thoughts and dared to share them. Nobody was damaged it seems from being part of a thinking group and whilst the very difficult conflicts in life were, unsurprisingly not solved, an energy was sustained in the group to carry on thinking rather waiting passively for an expert to explain it .If attendees could talk together, then such group discussion could grow and citizens might begin to dare to think and speak and come to feel more alive in the moment instead of being full of despair in the absence of a capacity to think.
In 2018 had been very impressed with Michael Moore daring to hold Town Hall meetings in some rust belt towns in the U.S. He was able to dialogue with committed angry Trumpian supporters who detested Hilary Clinton. Managing to create a space for discussion rather than polemical point scoring and destructive and nasty comments allowed for a growth in self-thinking away from the propaganda usually fed to eager subjects. Later I was struck that Hannah Arendt too thought very highly of this form of political engagement. As Elisabeth Young-Bruehl wrote in her splendid biography of Arendt [16] “her amor mundi, that underlay her enthusiasm for ‘the council system ‘the political form. She considered an antidote to totalitarianism. She judged the council system the best form for genuine political life, allowing action and reasoning speech.” As well as studying such meetings, Arendt examined ward and voluntary associations, popular societies in the 1871 Paris Commune, the Russian extra-party workers’ councils or soviets appearing in 1905 and 1917 and the councils that emerged in the Hungarian revolution of 1956.As Arendt wrote [17] “spontaneous organs of the people, not only outside of all revolutionary parties but entirely unexpected by them and by their leaders”. Arendt considered thoughtlessness and even not-thinking, especially a lack of historical memory “about America’s revolutionary origins and constitutional tradition, which protected its council formations’[18]. Arendt wrote “Fear of Revolution has been the hidden leitmotif of post-war American foreign policy in its disparate attempts at stabilising the status quo, with the results that American power and prestige were used and misused to support obsolete and corrupt political regimes that long since had become objects of hatred and contempt among their own citizens”.[19]
The deep fear of another revolution wiping out their own seemed to contain an unconscious phantasy of say a return of French revolutionary practice of guillotining those in power that was then projected to American power pre-empting the unconscious fear by chopping off foreign heads instead.

In 1931 the League of Nations set up exchanges of letters between representative intellectuals ‘on subjects calculated to serve common interests of the League of Nations and intellectual life ‘and this led to Einstein to invite a conversation with Freud (published as Why War [20]). Whilst Freud was trenchant that mankind was aggressive, he failed r to address possibilities of dialogues between the dissonant parties prior to war. The thought of questioning particular belief systems is perceived as an attack on inalienable basic assumptions. Being unable to question destructive racist premises in the Constitution and for those left out of the phantasmic miracle of the afterlife is a reason indeed for sentient debate. Such phantasy is cruel to millions of US citizens who are not fundamentalist believers, let alone the rest of the world. We are left in such an enquiry alone as the true believers decided we are not like them and refuse to engage, unless they imagine converts can be made out of such scriptural conversations. Who then is to have such debates. We have witnessed the near impossibility of this being achieved in a political frame in the US as the Trumpian far right has captured any middle ground for discussion. The lie of a false election is believed by the majority of Republican members of both Houses of Congress. This leaves all types of religious leaders rather silent such that the control of the Second Coming is left in the hands of a very narrow range of theology. What would happen if religious leaders come together to express a solidity and solidarity on the present very dangerous millenary views for most of mankind that includes many in their own flocks. Religious leaders together in a commission show that the many theological views differ from a too simplistic politic resting in God in or not residing in the heart that is being used as propaganda to deliver the US and other countries into the hands of dictators [21]. Yet, as in the 1931 initiative the intellectual debate does not impinge on an aggressive rush to destructiveness and war.

Psychoanalysts have skills to evaluate the complex thinking between truth, lies, phantasy and reality as perceived in religious expression, freedom of thought and the demands of a cruel sado-masochist totalitarian governance that is entwined underneath the surface with rhetorics of cruelty that diminishes groups to being untermenschen as their basic human rights are wiped out. After all our analytic profession has deeply trawled the unconscious spaces of sado-masochism in human relationships and can use its experience beyond the couch as an evaluative tool about understanding unconscious meanings and metaphor in Society. We can examine who speaks on behalf of who in the unconscious object relational system .In Bion’s terms to delineate the leaders views from the parroting disciples,as dysfunctional splits in the unconscious mental apparatus.

Some Societies, such as the Mayans and the Incas searched for redemption through sacrifice, as an inclination to try and control death through death, as sacrifice. It was found in the annual Cretan ritual feeding young men and women to the Minotaur. The significances of sacrifice as a means of protecting a Society from death by doing death, establishes a powerful and cruel apotropaic Such Societies embrace cruelties as the victims are regulated to being inconsequential as lesser humans-the sacrifice is ‘not us‘, but of ‘them’. By understanding much more about the unconscious meanings of cruelties and murderous violence, attacks on others might be pre-emptied by understanding the sado-masochistic unconscious roots of apocalyptic thinking. Acknowledgement of the sources of misery that result in violence are in the history of both them and us . As understandings of specific historical positions that require the warring sides to demand further blood sacrifices unfold (over the centuries) the positions are stuck and fixed with each projecting hate and blame onto the other. Destruction is central for fundamentalist—apocalyptic thinking. Hope is embalmed in annihilatory thinking. There is no room for ambiguity as the difference between belief and no belief is obliterated. There is no space to think and feel either about oneself or the other. Instead a violent formality, a totentanz or dance of death is seductively available.

Yet things can be recognised rather than just reacted to. John Alderdice working from the small Alliance party of Northern Ireland was able to have a vision of understanding and giving recognition in Northern Ireland between the Catholics feeling abused, ill-treated and misunderstood for centuries and the ruling Protestants feeling that if they give up anything it is a nil sum game. When both sides have the chance and possibility to hear the misery of the other, there is a potential for compromise if both sides obtain something that they did not have before-respect and the potential for peace. Out of these dialogues between the warring parties, enticing them both to meet and hear out the other, Alderdice positioned himself as the analytic third. Each side received fleeting glimpses of a sense of mutuality and respect that a peace process might then deepen. It also meant that the reliance on an unconscious sado-masochistic mechanism that continuous binds the two sides together, constantly desiring blood sacrifice from the other through murders, could develop a new control system that both sides adhere to, with a letting go of the double-jeopardy of aggression. And so the Good Friday Agreement was born. Leaving behind the blood sacrifices into history requires mourning that allows the young of both sides of the conflict to dare to imagine that a creative life awaits them instead of becoming captured as a death giver devouring the soul that goes with knowing one has murdered for ‘the cause’.

To be engaged in such delicate work requires finding new forms of space to contain a different type of dialogue emerging. Winnicott’s concepts of Transitional space is valuable in the context of conflict resolution where creative, imaginative play can reframe matters rather than reiterating the age-old versions of destructive histories. Ironically the stuckness is due to an incapacity to play together with different ideas. Holding such a frame also means constructing the space as safe for all participants who fear the deadly reiteration of violence and brutality wiping out any space for thought

It is necessity for human beings to do the hard work of thinking as the prelude to having a freer life. The times are complex for sure but this is nothing new in world history. More pertinent is that time for thought is running out due to humankind’s insistence to raping planet Earth of resources while the vast majority of citizens are left, mainly silently, perplexed and feeling powerless. Not thinking allows us to avoid the confrontations with judgement. We all need to acquire the energy and knowledge to make judgements on what we want for the future, without the simplistic polarities of hiding from radical thoughts or joining the totalitarian groups who will think for and on our behalf. Or we can suffer a banality of non-thinking in accepting life’s fates. Psychoanalysis is not a special discipline, other than it contains the possibility of an evaluation of unconscious, hidden history, one’s own, the family and how one has taken or declined decision making in life. Psychoanalysis’ vitality is in the dyadic nature of discourse, privately held, such that by speaking one’s mind and hearing such internal thoughts spoken out loud, a shift can occur in our capacity to think. Applying this to develop skills in becoming the third to the conflictual sides seems an essential growth for and of psychoanalysis. Judging then and now is an alive position and in particular allows the possibility, through the freedom to think, to create new possibilities for the future. This does require judging one’s life, the family and finding a new answers to combat the unconsciously ‘safe’ position of living in an expectation of a return of the repressed. Or beyond that just an emptiness in the core of humanity. Having knowledge of the past, knowing history enables analysands to recover the possibility of a different future and, by extension, for citizens in groups to have knowledge through their own capacities for a freedom to think to be able to imbue politics with new meanings and goals for the pursuit of truth and happiness for all.

All such discussions together with a radical program of social, economic, and environmental renewal, especially to give greater resources to caring for babies and children through political actions would provide safety and security in these threatening times through the caring of all people, adults and children in this very damaged and damaging World.

Of course, I am over optimistic.

Dr Jonathan Sklar 2020-2021

[1] W. Benjamin Illuminations New York Schocken
[2] The Pursuit of the Millennium N.Cohn Paladin 1972
[3] In Freud’s Group Psychology even a religion that declares itself to be about love is hostile to those who are not a part of the community of believers.
[4] P.24, vol6 The Complete Works of Bion Karnac 2014
[5] Keats 1817 Letter to George and Thomas Keats 21/12/1817.
[6] P.31 ibid Bion
[7] P.33 ibid Bion
[8] P.35 ibid Bion
[9] An important reason is that Armageddon (Megiddo), a town in Israel is cited in the Book of revelation as the prophecies’ location of a gathering of armies for a battle during the end of times that brings on the fight between God and the Satan led unrepentant sinners.

[10] P.34 ibid Bion
[11] P.39 ibid Bion
[12]In 1529 Pizzaro conquered an Inca population of 20 million and fifty years later it had been reduced to only 900,000.It is only in recent times that the number has returned to its earlier number.(personal communication Dr Lemlij).Peru has the worst official Covid death rate( London Review of Books vol 43,no.24, 16 December 2021).
[13] Freud,S. An Autobiographical Study p.72
[14] C.Strozier private correspondence 2021.
[15] The idea of democracy being delivered to the people in the setting up of the Soviets as a consequence of the Russian revolution depended on who who controlled their agenda and in time Lenin and then to a greater extent Stalin took power and control of what had started off as a citizens’ democracy.
[16] Hannah Arendt For Love of the World Yale 2 edition p.xxiv
[17] Arendt .On Revolution
[18] Young-Brunel ibid xxv
[19] On Revolution
[20] Freud SE vol 22 p.199-215.