“How could I have been so stupid?”. Symbolic impoverishment and the question of ideals

Journal title PSICOANALISI
Author/s Gregorio Kohon
Publishing Year 2023 Issue 2023/1 Language Italian
Pages 23 P. 53-75 File size 281 KB
DOI 10.3280/PSI2023-001004
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The original interest in symbols developed by Freud and his early colleagues came to be superseded by the interest in the symbolic function of the mind. Later still, the emphasis was displaced to the question of symbolization as a process. Symbolic impoverishment is a specific intellectual inhibition, where integration and synthesis of thought have not been achieved. Part of normal development, the concept conveys the vicissitudes of human imagination and intelli-gence, their potential successes and failures. It is argued that different forms of stupidity are always part of this process. We can be fairly certain that everyone has lamented, sooner or later, “How could I have been so stupid?” Mostly asked in jest, this should be considered seriously, as a humbling question, addressed as much to myself as to others. At some level, it represents a genuine confession, an acknowl-edgement of the stupidity of which we are all aware, from which we all suffer. It belongs to a continuum, comparable to what we accept in psychoanalysis as the ones between neurosis and perversion, sanity and madness, maturity and immaturity. Stupidity exists, whether we like it or not, in different intensities in different individuals. Being intelligent or knowledgeable does not preclude it.

Keywords: symbolic impoverishment, stupidity, normal development.

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Gregorio Kohon, "Come ho potuto essere così stupido?". L’impoverimento simbolico e la questione degli ideali in "PSICOANALISI" 1/2023, pp 53-75, DOI: 10.3280/PSI2023-001004