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The walls within: working with defenses against otherness

Online Conference 5-11 July 2021

ON A QUOTATION FROM BION towards a transformational model for future

Following the theme of the symposium ('the shadow of the future'), the author presents a comparative reading of the context from which the quotation is taken, before going back over 'future' as it is currently portrayed in literature and utilized in business. This paper, covering a prismatic collection of associations and references, is composed of two strands of analysis: a second reading of the historical evidence for the quote, and a philosophical reflection on the thought that creates future. By distinguishing these two (reading and reflection), the author aspires to expose meanings that otherwise may remain obscured.Over the course of the paper, working examples of futures and shadows are drawn from a variety of sources. One of the detours undertaken is into the realm of fiction, borrowing from works as Coetzee's 'Elizabeth Costello' and Shakespeare's 'Hamlet'. Building on a role analysis vignette and examples from business consulting, the practice of forecasting is understood as a strategy to split off future from past and present experiences. The phallic image of 'implementation' is contrasted with more dynamic change strategies based on best practices and progressive learning. Finally, finding support in twentieth century epistemology and contemporary theories of consciousness, the author considers Bion as having guided psychoanalytic thinking from structuralism into post-structuralism. Bion's model for future is presented as truly transformational, logically independent from the present, and immanently manifold.