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Anàmnesis: the deep meaning of life

Anàmnesis: the deep meaning of life
Dr.ssa Mara Breno*

MATERIA PRIMA Rivista di Psicosomatica Ecobiopsicologica – Memoria e Oblio - Numero VII - Settembre 2012 - Anno II


« Of soul thou shalt never find boundaries,
not if thou trackest it on every path; so deep is its cause»
[Diogenes Laertius IX 73]

Within a relational reality like the psychotherapic relationship it is important to carry out the reconstructing and the restoring of the experience and of the history of the patient working on those fragments of memory buried in the psychic and corporeal distress of the patient in the attempt to take the patient’s Ego more and more towards its roots in the optic of a “continuum” of his Self.
In this perspective, the hidden “memories”, those that if symbolically considered allow the human being recuperating the lost sense of his belonging to the great “plot” of Life, are to be searched in the bios, the phylogenetic architecture (Frigoli, 2004) from which the corporeal Ego emerges in the ontogenetic experience. 
In Phaedus by Plato (2008) , the anàmnesis reveals the reminescence of the Soul in relation to its previous experiences giving evidence of the archetypal foundation of the sensible where the knowing, the getting to know has the meaning of recognizing. Without this reminescence, without referring to those ideal models where the sensible things are not but pale copies, it is not possible to have a real knowledge of the sensible phenomena. According to this philosophical vision, the anàmnesis is the awakening of a knowledge already present in our Soul which through the intellect reveals the laws at the basis of the manifestations of the phenomenal. From a Platonic point of view, the anamnesis, does not just imply the remembering, but also the awareness of our origin, that mythical moment where our soul unites to the matter, the very moment of our incarnation. Psychologically, this moment hidden in the obscures sides of our collective unconscious refers to our archetypal identity , the Self, which cannot be directly known, but postulated as a hypothesis of research, as a path of knowledge and awareness the Ego tends to. In the ancient texts the art of memory, described by famous initiates like Giordano Bruno (2004),”treasures” the possibility related to the human being, once able to go further his egoicity, to find in his memory those correspondences among the things of the world, their analogies, their hidden sense, their value meant as the “alphabet” of the Nature able to recuperate our origin.
If Plato through the anàmnesisi invites us to contemplate the ideas present in the iper-uranical world to recognize the archetypes guiding the “memory” of the world fallen into the oblivion, how is it possible for the modern man to approach the knowledge and the understanding of the archetypal world without getting under the dangerous spell of the inflation as stated by Jung (1976)? Is it possible through the anamnestic analysis of the memories of a patient, of his vicissitudes and of his physical and mental disorders to orient to the discovery of that hidden sense inspiring the existence of every human being referred to as the Self by the psychosomatic Self?
Our Ego is strictly related to the common laws of space and time and can only have access to the archetypal totality if it stops analyzing every event of the existence though the cause-effect criterion which in its linearity of a “before” and an “after”, can orient us to understand the development of a phenomenon, but risks of darkening the archetypal value of the Self which has its origins in the ”darkness”, the very sense of our existence. That is evident when the Ego decides to “re-visit” the events of a life examining them in their possible networks of analogical relations in the symbols (Frigoli, 2010). In the anamnestic analysis, the psyche is forced to experiment a circular experience where every event linked to another one in a play of subtle correspondences, ends up defining a mental field whose extension depends on the different subjective ability of the subjects to express the analogical thought. This “circular” tendency is determined by the operating of the analogy and the symbol that, as known from the laws of the unconscious, does not respond to the linearity of the cause-effect criterion.
The ecobiopsychological therapist in his continuous search for the “meaning” of the existential events of the patients connecting them to the possible analogies allows not only the establishing of the inter-hemispherical connection between the emotional and the cognitive world, but evokes in himself and in the patients that modus operandi of a subjectivity with its roots in the archetypal world of the correspondences. Between the patient and the therapist is not only activated a bi-personal field given by two egoic subjectivities, but also a new field which is fluid and opened to more totalizing dimensions able to orient towards a possible individuation.
The activation of a circular logic within the relationship typical of the living beings, like the events of the story of a patient, are not only approached in relation to their meaning from a biographical point of view, but also concerning their analogical relation being the human being a complex psychosomatic unit; and that opens up to that context of the imaginary representing not that much the certainty of the situation but the domain of the possible.
Therefore the help given to the patient to connect the ‘fragmented” pieces of his past and present, intra-psychic and relational, psychosomatic and spiritual experience means  recuperating that imaginary ability containing his emotional world. And that allows in the therapeutic relationship, in the mind both the therapist and the patient, a whirling “motion” of relations which activating the dimension of the symbolic between the two actors, allow the “synthetic” forces of the Self-operating helping a suffering soul and where possible indicating the sense of an existence.

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*Dr.ssa Mara Breno – Psychologist, psychotherapist, expert in psychosomatics and relaxation theories with particular regard to psychosomatic and symbolic aspects. Teaching responsible and supervisor at the School of Psychotherapy of the Istituto ANEB. EMDR therapist and author of scientific contributions.

Translated by Dr.ssa Raffaella Restelli – Psychologist, member of the British Psychological Society (UK), Ecobiopsychological Counselor and expert in ANEB Psychosomatic Medicine. Linguist in ANEB Editorial area.