Truth & Existence

Neville Symington on the truth in psychoanalysis:

Truth is real; it exists. Positivistic thinking has had such a strong influence on our basic assumptions that we tend to identify the real with what we can touch, taste, feel, see or hear. We need to ditch this preconception if we are to think psychologically. Most psychological realities do not have the property of extension or tangibility: a dream, a hallucination, a belief, a thought, a relationship, love, hatred or desire. But it is not true that these realities exist in some non-material sphere only. They are inextricably linked with the physical - this is so even of a thought. Truth is a reality of this nature. It cannot be measured but it does exist; the fact that it is difficult to define does not detract from this. Truth does not exist though as some eternal idea, as Plato thought, but as a reality that exists in between: in between two persons seeking it, in between psychoanalysis, sociology, psychology, economics and religion. It will not be possessed by any one person or group. Someone who proclaims 'I have the truth' has lost it. For truth can be seen or glimpsed, not possessed. When I see the truth some change occurs in me. I can never be the same again. Something in my personality has altered; a previous preconception gives way to truth, but it is in the very nature of truth that each glimpse only emphasizes the degree to which truth still lies outside or beyond. This means that the individual is always in relation to truth and is in a state of potentia. By potentia I mean a state of movement towards.

Neville Symington, The Analytic Experience, St. Martin’s Press, 1986, p. 17.

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