The famous French ethologist, neurologist and psychoanalyst, Boris Cyrulnik was giving a public lecture, in Lausanne, last Friday evening (Nov. 9, 07) on behalf of the Eben-Hezer Foundation.
First of all I was quite impressed with the queue of people who booked too late and came nevertheless just in case some seats would turn out free at the last minute. I knew the guy was popular, but this was beyond imagination.
I was even more impressed when the talk actually began. Boris Cyrulnik is a brilliant popularizer, which is really not a common feature amongst French scientists. The theme was “Le souci de l’autre”, literally ‘The concern for the Other’.
Does the Concern for the Other exist amongst other living creature than humans? Why does it not exist amongst all individuals within the human species? How can morals be so simply switched off during wars and back on when peace returns?
I’m definitely not going to sum anything up here. First because even though I felt very clever during the lecture (I was indeed under the impression that I understood everything he said ;-), I feel far less clever now, trying to remember what was actually said. And because I have tons of stuff to do this afternoon.
The one thing that really struck me was the demonstration of the 3 causes that can lead to serious issues in the constitution of the individual’s ‘sensory envelop’ (actually leading to sadism or masochism in the best case and autism in the worst with a huge variety of psychopathic intermediate possibilities) :
1. A shock regarding a close relative during the early childhood (illness or death of a parent for instance);
2. Too much love and affection; too big expectations for a single child to cope with;
3. Too many people around for a constructive relationship to actually take place.
(All this was, of course, supported by various samples of scientific evidence)
If the first argument seemed quite obvious before the talk, I could only vaguely suspect the two latter points. Definitely worth the short trip!
I shall probably attend whatever lecture Boris Cyrulnik gives in the neighbourhood, and I might even read a couple of his books.