What is it about?

Wilfred Bion was a psychoanalyst who was born in India. His theories and concepts were often regarded as mystical by several authors. His concept of 'O'--ultimate, unknowable reality, to be without memory and desire gained a lot of attention. This paper traces the link of 'O' to the sound of Om that he heard in the temples during his initial 8 years in India. This paper carefully connects his own life to the theories that he builds as an analyst.

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Why is it important?

Sound has not received much attention in psychoanalytic thinking. Although it is not totally foreclosed. However, such sonic contributions from India--the sound of Om and its link to the concept of 'O' by Wilfred Bion have rarely been touched by any analyst. Wilfred Bion's understanding of psychosis, what happens in the analytic setting has been revisited without memory and without desire--much like Bion's O.


I wrote this paper--perhaps an accurate rendering would be that this paper got written through me. As Wilfred Bion said, one cannot know the ultimate reality or truth. But one can be it. Bion referred to it as 'O'. I got a taste of what Bion meant in the process of preparing this article. At that time, I didn't know that this paper would receive the Stephen Mitchell Award 2021 from the Division 39 of the American Psychological Association. It made me the first person from India to win this award. After the age of 8, Wilfred Bion never returned to India, but India never left him. Receiving this award was as if, 'O' came back to its home--'Om'. Bion finally returned to India.

Mr. Vineet Gairola
Indian Institute of Technology Hyderabad

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This page is a summary of: On Wilfred R. Bion’s way of being: Linking truth, thought, and nostalgia., Psychoanalytic Psychology, January 2022, American Psychological Association (APA),
DOI: 10.1037/pap0000375.
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