PREFACE TO THE GREEK EDITION (1989)

March of 1987 was the seventh anniversary of the publication of my book The Knowledge of the Womb, 1 which reports 16 neurotic or psychotic-like cases of patients who had undergone autopsychognosia sessions, i.e. deep psychotherapy sessions with psychedelic drugs.

The post-psychotherapy clinical progress of the 16 cases in question up to 1979 is contained in The Knowledge of the Womb.

After 1973, I continued the experimental procedure of autopsychognosia sessions using Ketamine exclusively as the psychedelic drug. Late in 1984, serious health reasons obliged me to discontinue my experimental and professional activities.

During the last two and a half years, when I have been away from my patients, I have been recalling the experiences that took place from 1960 on, both my own personal experiences and those of my patients. And my thoughts keep turning to the powerful impact of the experimental findings from autopsychognosia sessions in 126 cases, and to my scientific and philosophical convictions and principles. The latter began being differentiated and ultimately underwent an almost radical change. Let me explain: up until the 1970s, I was a Cartesian on both the conscious and unconscious level, even when I was convinced that the "accepting intra-uterine experience" constituted a subjective truth. And the interpretation of my inconsistent position then: my absolute certainty that the intra-uterine experience was accepting for everyone without exception. Fortunately it did not take long to discover the "rejecting" womb. Then gradually, the enormous significance of the personal, subjective factor for every rejected patient began to take shape in my mind, i.e. the factor whose existence Cartesian methodology indirectly suppresses.

However, for reasons of momentum, I remained a Cartesian on the unconscious level. This can be seen clearly from the manner in which I perceived the principles of neuron fluctuation theory (See Knowledge of the Womb, p. 173). Fortunately my infallible teachers, i.e. my patients, helped me to perceive my conflicting convictions that existed on an unconscious level. On the one hand there were the wonderful discoveries made in the autopsychognosia sessions, and on the other the unconscious vestiges of Cartesianism which had been imbued in me at university and hardened my mental inadequacy (Cartesian methodology creates a psychological background of intellectual and emotional "security"). Lest there be any misunderstanding, let me declare that my anti-Cartesian position in the field of psychiatry does not prevent me from admitting that Cartesian methodology in certain disciplines in the macrocosm has achieved great successes and will go on doing so.

And now I feel the reader wondering: "So what do I care if K. was once one hundred percent Cartesian and now is eighty per cent anti-Cartesian?" A kind of reply to this question may be my realisation that not only my knowledge but also the rate of clinical improvement in the patients who underwent autopsychognosia sessions increased according to the degree to which my' Cartesian attitude became differentiated. In other words, the less I intervened in their subjective realisations with my intellectual interpretations, the more constructive were the therapeutic results. Among the 126 cases, there were not a few whose mental health was saved by the autopsychognosia sessions.

I must emphasise here that the publication of the present book would not have been possible without the enthusiastic encouragement and substantial assistance of my spiritual child, Iiannis Alevizos, and my biological and spiritual children Zephyros and Kostis. All three supported me wholeheartedly at the difficult and painful moments of my chronic illness. At the same time they patiently and persistently exhorted me to continue the written account of my 26 years of experience with autopsychognosia sessions.

Today this account is being published under the title The Power of the Womb and the subjective truth. The text has been simplified at some points, the phrasing improved and the concepts clarified, thanks to all three. Words are inadequate to express the gratitude I feel.

The book is divided into two parts: The first part, entitled The Interview, presents the contents of many hours of discussions between my son Zephyros and me during the last six years, in a question-answer form. Zephyros taped these discussions and then had them transcribed and typed. The typed text of these discussions was a substantial contribution to the publishing of the present book.

The second part contains: The glossary and some thoughts which clarify the sense in which certain of the terms are used, e.g. Cartesian methodology, macrocosm, etc.

An unpublished article about the Pharmacodynamic activity of Ketamine in the psychic sphere.

My personal thoughts about traditional psychiatry.

The thesis written by Ms Sandra Morris for her Master's Degree in psychology from Sydney University. It is exclusively based on clinical data from autopsychognosia sessions.

Two letters sent to me by Prof. Derek Denny-Brown of Harvard University and Dr. W.A. McIntosh, Director of the Rockefeller Foundation in Cairo.

I would ask the reader's forbearance regarding certain repetitions in the text that were unavoidable because of the question-answer form of the material in the first part.

Athanassios Kafkalides   Aixoni, Attica, July 1987

 

1 First edition in Greek 1980. First Edition in English 1995