China on the Mind
Routledge – 2013 – 158 pages
Several thousand years ago Indo-European culture diverged into two ways of thinking; one went West, the other East. Tracing their differences, Christopher Bollas examines how these mentalities are now converging once again, notably in the practice of psychoanalysis.
Creating a freely associated comparison between western psychoanalysts and eastern philosophers, Bollas demonstrates how the Eastern use of poetry evolved as a collective way to house the individual self. On one hand he links this tradition to the psychoanalytic praxes of Winnicott and Khan, which he relates to Daoism in their privileging of solitude and non verbal forms of communicating. On the other, Bollas examines how Jung, Bion and Rosenfeld, assimilate the Confucian ethic that sees the individual and group mind as a collective, while Freudian psychoanalysis he argues has provided an unconscious meeting place of both viewpoints.
Bollas’s intriguing book will be of interest to psychotherapists, psychoanalysts, Orientalists, and those concerned with cultural studies.
"It is amazing to read such a deep understanding of Chinese thinking from a Western psychoanalyst. He provides us with evidence of the remarkable ways psychoanalsyts think: Showing us things we had not seen before, exploring things in ways one would never have dared imagine, providing us with a new experience, with new discoveries, and the pleasure of this way of learning." - Prof. Dr. Yunping Yang, Psychoanalytic psychotherapist & Psychiatrist, Beijing Anding Hospital, Affiliated to Capital Medical University, Beijing, China
"It is astonishing not only how much the author knows about the Chinese mind but how he really shows a new perspective on the differences between China's mind and the Western mind!" - Li Yawen, Psychiatrist, Beijing Anding Hospital, China
Introduction. Part I: Moments. Self as Poem. Rites of Passage. Part II: Life’s Gate. Spiritual Integration.To the Task Inwardly. Inaction Happiness. Part III: Cultivation. Rifts in Civilization. Lost in Thought. Group Mind. Possibilities. Coda.
Christopher Bollas is a psychoanalyst and novelist.