Medicine, Mind and Adolescence, 1993 - 1994 - VIII, 2 - IX,1

The Kairos of Existence

Giuseppe R. Brera

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The scientific logos of Medicine, founded on the clinic method and biomedical research, permits us to discover the determinant role of subjectivity, that is the subject's psychological-existential dimension in edifying, on the basis of natural laws, the human, individual and interpersonal reality.

The close inter-connections between immunitary, endocrinological and central nervous systems signal the overcoming of the Cartesian paradigm res-cogitans - res-extensa, that is the body-mind dualism which still characterizes research and clinical applications and the consequent separations among institutional roles. At the same time the research in Health Psychology on the role of the health beliefs, (beliefs in what can be at risk or at benefit for one's own health), give value to the role of motivations meaning that motivations seem to have an organizing role on "beliefs" and therefore on the perception of risk-behaviour. (1a-1b)

The introduction in clinical and scientific research of the psychoanalytic method as access to the deep, permitted to make important considerations on human reality, overcoming the limits of the Freudian theory and to comprehend the tension of existence toward the knowledge of truth and love, bringing to light a hidden human dimension stronger than the pulsional dimension aimed at Eros and survival. The human reality seems to be finalized to realize a dimension where truth (logos), love (ethos) and man's pleasure and survival (anthropos) are in perfect harmony in the subjectivity and individuality of existence.

I named this realizing dimension of existence "Kairos" (2). Thus the human destiny, given certain necessary conditions, seems to be happiness.

Starting from adolescence man begins to discover life as a possible world of truth and love, that is to feel as realizable the "Kairos" of the existence, I refer to the knowledge of truth, love and pleasure and joy of living.

During this period, the "pathos" of the existence as a dialectic conflict between the possible and the real arises.

During this period of existence man becomes aware of his own existence and of existence as mystery of life, mystery of death and the question of the meaning and the claim of love appears not only as a request of dependency, protection and confrontation with the family, but also as a research of an intimate and confidential affection which can permit to define the meaning of one's own affective and sexual identity (I feel, I desire, I love). Nevertheless the satisfaction of this subjective dimension doesn't seem sufficient for the work of constructing a personal identity. A "self ideal" which overcomes the idealized parent of the first childhood and seems codified in the human deep appears to be necessary.

Giuseppe R. Brera: "The Kairos of Existence". Paper presented at the First International Congress of Adolescentology, Assisi, Italy, October 22-24, 1993.

Key Words: Adolescence, Existence, Kairos, Identity, Life

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