"Freud’s ‘Project for a Scientific Psychology’ is the Rosetta Stone of neuropsychoanalysis. It was the foundational text for the whole of what became known as metapsychology – Freud’s basic theory of the functional dynamics of the mind – and a sophisticated model of the neural mechanisms by which those dynamics come about. In other words, the ‘Project’ (as it came to be abbreviated) was the first attempt – Freud’s own attempt – to achieve what the whole interdisciplinary endeavor called neuropsychoanalysis is trying to achieve today".
Here is a description of the way this Newre-edited Pproject was born:
“As soon as I found the opportunity, therefore, one long weekend in 1984, I sat down with the ‘Project’ on one side of my desk and my trusted neuropsychology textbook (Luria, 1980) on the other, and then I tried in vain to translate Freud’s opaque terms and concepts into their presumptive contemporary equivalents. For three days I did nothing else. I was completely spellbound, but ultimately frustrated; put simply, too much was unknown. I concluded that what was required was not a theoretical exercise but rather a comprehensive programme of interdisciplinary, experimental and clinical research. I have spent the rest of my working life trying to get that research programme off the ground.
My great good fortune in the intervening decades between then and now was to have opportunities to work with and thereby closely learn from two outstanding scientific pioneers of our time, first, the affective neuroscientist Jaak Panksepp, and second, the computational neuroscientist Karl Friston. The integrative achievements of these two great minds, far more than my own clinico-anatomical research efforts, brought me to the present juncture, where I believe the moment has come for us to attempt what Merton Gill declared impossible and undesirable when I was still a student: to update Freud’s ‘Project’ in such a way that it can once again perform its historic role as the Rosetta Stone of our field.”
As a kind of introduction, Prof. Ssolms added from personal discussion with Maggie Zellner:
“In my view, the value of the piece (and the full treatment you are elaborating elsewhere) is the articulation of an infrastructure of a truly neuropsychoanalytic model of the mind and brain. This model allows for theoreticians, clinicians, and researchers to account for the complex interactions between cognition and emotion; impulse and regulation; consciousness and unconscious processes; genetics and experience; etc. All of this is meaningful to clinicians who work with these dynamics in everyday work. I think if you can articulate that, it may encourage a few more readers to wade into the dense piece — it really opens up after a few pages, and I think any readers who can get into the middle and end sections will find it thrilling. (Maggie Zellner, personal communication)”
- We are opening a reading group. This group is going to meet this year on Tuesday's 7PM Israel and Cape Town time for three hours each time.
- This meeting will happen once a month on the first Tuesday of the month. And 12 consecutive meetings will follow.
- We will read Freud's paper: PROJECT FOR SCIENTIFIC PSYCHOLOGY with its new version, as was revisededited by Prof. Mark Solms, in a neuropsychoanalytic formulation.
- We will start with another paper written by Prof. Solms: Revision of Drive Ttheory. We will then further work on the Freud’s Project and Solms’s New Project, side by side.
- The reading group will start ion February and will be open for a whole year (dates will be delivered as we will open the group).
- When one joins the group he /she will pay $30$ a month ($ 360 $ a year), and will be committed for one year (until February 2022).
Format of meetings:
At each meeting a portion of text will be chosen, members of the group will be instructed to read it, and to raise their questions as we will follow the text. We will start with reading a basic paper on a Revision ofrevisiting Drive theory, and the re-formulaedited Project will follow. Since it is the first international reading group, we will re-organize and re-organize the structure of the meetings together. HoweverYet, to begin with, the first part of each meeting will be reading together, the second part will be discussion, clarifying how the reading is related to members of the group’s work, and the third part will be reflection on what was achieved, how did we learn (each member from his own experience) and what is needed to better the reading, understanding etc.
Chair, Israeli Neuropsychoanalytic Society