i Being a Character /i shows how each person unconsciously invests the ordinary objects of life with particular and private meaning. As each person subsequently voyages through the environment he encounters objects that are already laden with previously invested meaning and in this sense the individual is evoked by encounters with objects. br Taking Freud's theory of the dream work as a model for all unconscious thinking, Bollas argues that we dream work ourselves into becoming who we are, and he illustrates how the analyst and the patient use unconscious processes to develop new psychic structures that the patient can use to alter his or her self experience. br Building on this ground, the latter part of the book describes very special kinds of self experience, including the tragic madness of women cutting themselves, the odd experience of a cruising homosexual in bars and baths, the demented ferocity of the Fascist state of mind, and every person's self experience as a member of his or her historical epoch. He includes a seminal chapter on the Oedipus Complex, arguing that Sophocles and Frued point to an entirely different 'resolution' than heretofore argued in any of the schools of psychoanalytic thought. br The main purpose of i Being a Character /i is to rethink the nature of the individual's creation of a lived environment, and the author draws on his clinical experience as well as the notebooks and the writings of poets, scientists, painters, sculptors and anthropologists to support his view that each person dreams himself into existence and walks about henceforth in his own private dream.
"Being a Character explores the subject of self-knowledge and the individuals' construction of meaning in their lives. It is always stimulating, particularly through the author's use of his own self-experience. This book is well worth reading by anyone involved in psychotherapy or related work. Indeed, it could fruitfully be read by a much wider audience." - Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy