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Chapter 8: Inner Space and Spatial Extension
Inner space is, of course, not the usual physical space, and is not tied only to body images. It is affected by self-boundaries that are more emotional and psychological in nature, as illustrated in Larry's case in the previous chapter. There is a correspondence on the ontological level to the relation between the self-image and the body-image. In other words, just as self-image includes body-image in object relations theory, so in the experience of space,
inner psychological space includes the notion of space as spatial extension.
Inner space is not restricted to spatial extension, just as self-image is not restricted to body-image, which is analogous to spatial extension.
Here we can appreciate how the findings of object relations theory regarding the relationship between self-image and body-image help us to understand more clearly the concept of inner space, and to extend our insight into the nature of the mind as space. This inner space is bigger, more open, more encompassing than the notion of space as spatial extension. Focusing on the dissolution of the boundaries of the body-image, which are mental analogues of physical boundaries, tends to prejudice us towards seeing space as spatial extension.
But dissolving these boundaries, which are mental in nature, helps us open the experience of space to other dimensions that are more psychological. We see that spatial openness is only one dimension in inner space.
We will show later that by deepening our understanding of inner space, and by finding in it more dimensions of openness, we will be able to expand our knowledge of object relations and gain more insight into the psychic structure.
In particular, we will be able to explore on a more fundamental level the nature of identity, of the self, and its relation to self-image. We will be able to extend the findings of object relations theory to an understanding of the ontological nature of the ego, a question that has not yet been approached in traditional psychoanalysis.
This notion of space as openness in more dimensions than the spatial will help us to construct a theory about inner space and self-image. First, however, we must say more about this new notion of space. As the experience of space repeats,
deepens, and expands in the gradual process of dissolving self-boundaries, the individual becomes aware of more subtle kinds of boundaries. He becomes aware of and can dissolve boundaries regarding the depth and extent of his feelings,
the kinds and types of feelings and sensations he can have, the extent of his awareness of both mind and body, and the categories of possible experiences of himself and the world.
Space brings about expansion in the qualities of our senses, our sensations, and our mental capacities. It deepens our intuition. It expands our awareness into new dimensions of ourselves, some we would never have conceived could exist. It brings new capacities for perception and experience. In addition, space has the surprising and powerful capacity of expanding itself, continuously increasing the openness and dissolution of boundaries, allowing ever-greater understanding of ourselves and our minds.