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The walls within: working with defenses against otherness

Online Conference 5-11 July 2021

Know No Limits: The Destruction of Self-knowledge in Organizations

Organizations sometimes set goals for themselves and make demands on their employees that require levels and types of competence they do not possess. Doing so can constitute an attack on the employees' self-boundaries and self-knowledge. While directly motivated by the organization's grandiose fantasy, this attack may also be indirectly motivated by envy and hate. In such cases, the organization's goal is to mobilize aggression to secure against the self-integration expressed in self-knowledge. In educational institutions, the attack on self-knowledge can also be considered an instance of what Bion refers to as the hatred of a process of development. When faculty and administration deny students' limits, this may express projection onto students of their own wish to have no limits, especially to deny those limits associated with old age and death.