Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

2020 Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming

Bion, Wilfred Ruprecht, and “O”

  • John Eric KillingerEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-24348-7_841

Speaking of “O”

In seeking to formulate a general theory of the internal object, the British psychoanalyst Wilfred Ruprecht Bion (1897–1979) developed an epistemological understanding of the absolute truth in and of any object. This absolute truth he called O. While O cannot be known, it can be known about – even its presence can be recognized and felt as, for example, in the Zen or Archimedean experience of eureka. But O itself is unknowable.

Knowledge respectfully leads to the indescribable ultimate reality, godhead, or “O,” but the two concepts are not synonymous. Mathematically, Bion might have written this as K → O, not K = O, for K ≠ O. Transformations occur in or under “O,” the godhead rather than imago dei or God, for both imago deiand God are imbued with activity, while the godhead is irreducible to operations. K, which stands for knowledge, is usually referred to by Bion as “curiosity.” Bion often quoted a statement of French author and critic Maurice Blanchot (given him by...

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Intermundia Press, LLCWarrentonUSA