Nature Loves to Hide: Reflections on the Value of Not Knowing

Chris Joaniddes


This essay endeavours to be a partial psychoanalytically relevant interdisciplinary review on the theme of absence and ignorance. The well known French psychoanalyst André Green’s theoretical and clinical perspicacity has lately opened up new horizons into our reading of classical Freudian texts, so that our understanding of the vital role of loss and absence in the development of the psychic world and hence of subjectivity has been significantly enhanced. (Green, 1993) This essay makes use of philosophical and psychoanalytic theoretical formulations, which through their resonance or indeed their occasional dissonance, approach in ways that prove to be highly complementary, the elaboration of the notion of the negative. They address that is, the central shared formulation that thinking, as well as desiring, indeed the very structure of subjectivity and any meaning-bearing object, is established in the space created by absence or lack.

The query regarding the position of the negative i.e. of absence in the realm of knowledge, forms the central theme of this essay, given that both consciously and unconsciously, the absence-presence of knowledge dialectic and its vicissitudes, play such an indispensable role in the analytic process. The Same-Other dialectic, the acceptance or denial of limitations, as well as the use of illusion as a source of transitory pleasure via the negation of absence, or optimally, as a precursor of thought, form the basic elements of the argumentation developed.


psychoanalysis, containment, transference

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