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Grid

GRID

The grid is an instrument for classifying psychoanalytic material, coming from either the patient or the analyst, proposed by Wilfred R. Bion in his Elements of Psycho-Analysis (1963). Classification is made along two axes, with the vertical axis representing the genetic evolution of thoughts or ideas, and the horizontal axis representing the uses or functions attributed to thoughts or ideas. By combining the vertical categories with the horizontal uses or functions, a grid is obtained that makes it possible to classify the "elements of psycho-analysis"the term Bion applies to the thoughts and emotions of the patient-analyst dyad.

Bion does not advocate using the grid as a working method during sessions. Rather, it is conceived as a tool that the analyst can use outside of the sessions to clarify their ideas or reexamine material.

By means of the grid and other abstract systems of notation, Bion sought to bring a greater degree of specificity to psychoanalytic theory. For example, in the theory of the Oedipus complex that helped Sigmund Freud to found psychoanalysis, there are elements that are constants, fixed through their association with other elements. Thus, in the classic oedipal scheme, it would be impossible to detach any of the following from the whole: sexual agitation, sexual curiosity, or castration. Bion's use of new methods of notation began with his book entitled Learning from Experience (1962) and reached its height with Transformations: Change from Learning to Growth (1965), where the reader finds a profusion of mathematical signs, Greek words, arrows, dots, and lines, the assimilation of which (when it is possible) adds little to analytic understanding. Bion himself admitted his failure, referring to his mathematics as "Dodgsonian," in reference to Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll), the author of Alice 's Adventures in Wonderland. The grid was not as ill-fated as Bion's other notation systems and has even become emblematic of his research.

Arranged along the vertical axis of the grid are the following: A) beta-elements; B) alpha-elements; C) dream thoughts, dreams, and myths; D) preconception; E) conception; F) concept; G) a scientific deductive system; H) algebraic calculus.

The horizontal axis essentially presents the functions the mind uses to have access to the real: 1) definitory hypotheses; 2) denial; 3) notation; 4) attention; 5) inquiry; 6) action.

If, in the horizontal axis, Bion draws from Freud's 1911 article, "Formulations on the Two Principles of Mental Functioning," the vertical axis instead reflects the influence of Immanuel Kant's epistemology.

As a whole, the grid recalls Kant's categories (much more than it does Dimitri Mendeleev, contrary to what some have suggested). Like in Kant's faculty of thought, there are three levels in the grid: sensibility, understanding, and reason. Sensibility, in Kant's work, is predominantly passive and serves to receive impressions from the outside (the equivalent of Bion's lines A, B, and C). Understanding is active; it takes sensibility's components and forms them into judgments and real knowledge (the equivalent of Bion's lines D, E, and F). Reason is the final stage in the operations of knowledge, which are begun by the senses and continue through the understanding.

For all its interest, Bion's grid did not achieve the degree of abstraction he believed was desirable in the development of any scientific theory. The grid did not produce the desired combinatory effects, in the same way that psychoanalytic theory is not at the level of a predictive scientific system. Perhaps the ascent into abstraction is not possible for psychoanalysis, just as it is not possible for the other human sciences. Walking in the footsteps of Ludwig Wittgenstein, Ernst Mach, and Bertrand Russell, Bion did not take into account the methodological obstacles raised when one attempts to assimilate the natural and human sciencesobstacles evoked by Wilhelm Dilthey in his Introduction to the Human Sciences: An Attempt to Lay a Foundation for the Study of Society and History and by Georges Politzer in his Critique of the Foundations of Psychology: The Psychology of Psychoanalysis, among others.

Pedro Luzes

  source: In W.R. Bion, Elements of Psychoanalysis, London: Heinemann.
  Definitory hypothesis 1 ψ 2 Notation 3 Attention 4 Inquiry 5 Action 6 ...n.
A Beta-elements A1 A2         A6  
  B Alpha-elements   B1   B2   B3   B4   B5   B6   ...Bn.
  C Dream thoughts, dreams, and myths   C1   C2   C3   C4   C5   C6   ...Cn.
  D Preconception   D1   D2   D3   D4   D5   D6   ...Dn.
  E Conception   E1   E2   E3   E4   E5   E6   ...En.
  F Concept   F1   F2   F3   F4   F5   F6   ...Fn.
  G Scientific deductive system     A1          
  H Algebraic calculus              

See also: Concept; Container-contained; Learning from Experience ; Maternal reverie, capacity for; Preconception.

Bibliography

Bion, Wilfred Ruprecht. (1963). Elements of psycho-analysis. London: Heinemann.

. (1965). Transformations: Change from learning to growth. London: Heinemann.

Politzer, Georges. (1994). Critique of the foundations of psychology: the psychology of psychoanalysis (Maurice Apprey, Trans.). Pittsburgh: Duquesne University Press. (Original work published 1928)

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grid

grid / grid/ • n. 1. a framework of spaced bars that are parallel to or cross each other; a grating: the metal grids had been pulled across the foyer. 2. a network of lines that cross each other to form a series of squares or rectangles: a grid of tree-lined streets. ∎  a football field. ∎  a network of cables or pipes for distributing power, esp. high-voltage transmission lines for electricity: the second reactor was not connected to the grid until 1985. ∎  a network of regularly spaced lines on a map that cross one another at right angles and are numbered to enable the precise location of a place. ∎  a pattern of lines marking the starting places on a auto-racing track: first away from the grid. ∎  Electr. an electrode placed between the cathode and anode of a thermionic tube or cathode-ray tube, serving to control or modulate the flow of electrons. 3. a number of computers linked together via the Internet so that their combined power may be harnessed to work on difficult problems. • v. [tr.] [usu. as adj.] (gridded) put into or set out as a grid: a well-planned core of gridded streets.

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"grid." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. 16 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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grid

grid, gridiron.
1. Network of one lot of equidistant parallel lines laid at right angles over a similar set forming squares, establishing the pattern for a plan, e.g. of a building using, say, a columnar and trabeated framework, the columns placed at the intersections, or of a city with streets regularly spaced and crossing each other at right angles.

2. Mullioned and transomed window (grid-tracery), or a grille of metal or wood in a screen.

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"grid." A Dictionary of Architecture and Landscape Architecture. . Encyclopedia.com. 16 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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grid

grid grating. XIX. Back-formation from GRIDIRON.

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grid

grid: see electron tube.

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grid

grid See mesh.

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"grid." A Dictionary of Computing. . Encyclopedia.com. 16 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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grid

gridamid, backslid, bid, did, forbid, grid, hid, id, kid, Kidd, lid, Madrid, mid, outbid, outdid, quid, rid, skid, slid, squid, underbid, yid •scarabaeid • Aeneid • nereid •spermatozoid •Clwyd, Druid, fluid •noctuid • rabid • carabid • ibid •morbid • turbid • wretched

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"grid." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Retrieved August 16, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/grid