On Attention, or Getting Out of Automation

  • Pietro Salemme Italian Center of Analytical Psychology


This paper explores the intimate connections that exist between the psychological phenomena of internal attention and mental automatism. The article does not regard attention as a psychological process made up of cognitive components, rather it takes into consideration the internal dimension that is shared by the meditative state as it is maintained by J. Krishnamurti in his public lectures.  Some connections between the Weltanschauung of J. Krishnamurti and those of the pre-socratic “sofoi“ (“wise philosophers” or “knowledge seekers”) are here highlighted, due to their being cultural, psychological and intangible worlds that connect the east with the west, with special regard to Heidegger’s philosophy. The article investigates attentive processes and goes on to examine some clinical examples taken from experiments of hysteria induced somnambulism and from experiments of hypnosis through which the author explores both the notion of mental automatism and that of affective type autonomous complex, as they appeared in Janet’s and Jung’s works. The analysis is concluded with exemplary clinical anecdotes that show how reflexive attention can lead to consciousness where automatism would otherwise reign and therefore make one able to abandon the predominant psychological complex responsible for psychopathological blocks.


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How to Cite
Salemme, P. (2023). On Attention, or Getting Out of Automation. Critical Hermeneutics, 7(1), 253-276. https://doi.org/10.13125/CH/5873