[…] Time of human life beginning at birth is not the time of the foetus growing in the womb. The time of the movement of biological reality pertains to the reality of the universe. Then, what I said occurs; by hitting the retina, light determines the onset of a non-material reality that is defined as pulsion. A non-material reality that is the fundament of human thinking […].

To celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the first edition of psychiatrist and psychotherapist Massimo Fagioli’s first book Death Instinct and Knowledge (Istinto di Morte e Conoscenza), the Fondazione Massimo Fagioli is hosting an International Scientific Conference on Human Birth Theory and its psychiatric and socio-cultural implications.

The conference will be held in Rome on November 18 and 19 2022 at the Teatro Olimpico, Piazza Gentile da Fabriano 17.

Massimo Fagioli Copertina Istinto di morte e econoscenza

The conference will take place via livestream, and with simultaneous translation into English. In addition, an online contribution session is scheduled to take place.

The two days will see alternating spaces dedicated to presentations of experts’ papers, presentations of contributions on related topics, interventions by associations such as Netforpp and testimonies by notable members of the world of culture and journalism.

Professor César A. Alfonso will give a lecture on ‘Architecture: Psychoanalytic Insights on the Aesthetics of Living Spaces and Social Responsibility’. Professor Paolo Girardi will speak on ‘La criticità del paradigma biologico’ (The criticality of the biological paradigm) while Johanna E. Chambers will give a lecture on ‘The Modern Opioid Epidemic: An Example of the Intersection of Human Birth Theory and Attachment Theory’. Professor Lugi Cancrini will also participate with a lecture on ‘I cambiamenti rivoluzionari nella psicoterapia degli ultimi 50 anni’ (Revolutionary Changes in Psychotherapy in the Last 50 Years).

Two panel discussions are scheduled: ‘La psicoterapia dinamica alla luce della teoria della nascita: un confronto internazionale’ (Dynamic psychotherapy in the light of Human Birth Theory: an international comparison)’ and ‘Pensiero non razionale e identità umana’ (Non-rational thinking and human identity).

Sabrina Alfonsi, Councilor for Agriculture, Environment and Waste Cycle, and Daniela Spinaci, President of the Equal Opportunities Commission (Municipio I, Central Rome) will be in attendance, and Marta Bonafoni, councilor of the Lazio Region, will also speak.

The Fondazione Massimo Fagioli is a Third Sector organization that was recently established in Professor Fagioli’s honor with the aim of disseminating his theoretical thought in various fields and contributing to the preservation and protection of all his works. Through this event, the Foundation wishes to host the first important international discussion to deepen and share the scientific scope of the psychiatrist’s theoretical work with scholars and experts.

In Death Instinct and Knowledge, Massimo Fagioli expounds on the discovery of the dynamics of human birth as a foundational neurobiological event of mental reality: the onset of thought as a biological reaction of the new-born child to the stimulus of light on brain substance through the retina.

In the book, which speaks for the first time in history of ‘disappearance fantasy‘ and ‘annulment pulsion‘, the psychiatrist investigates birth, the development of the psyche, the birth of human thought and the conditions that lead to mental illness, laying the foundations for the cure of the psychopathological dynamics of the human mind.

The first of the four volumes that laid the foundations for Human Birth Theory and from which numerous other publications that elaborated on the theory originated, Death Instinct and Knowledge burst onto the scene of organicist psychiatry in 1972 and dismantled Freudian psychoanalysis by founding an original psychodynamic psychotherapeutic approach based on the interpretation of dream images.

The central focus of the conference is therefore Massimo Fagioli’s Human Birth Theory, its implications for the study and cure of mental illness, and its significance in the socio-cultural field for the new anthropological vision it proposes.

The conference will be attended by psychiatrists and psychotherapists, researchers from Italian and international institutions, as well as academics in the fields of art, history, philosophy and education.

The theory that is formulated in the five chapters that structure the book embraces many areas of knowledge and has significant cultural repercussions in social, political, cultural, philosophical, educational and economic spheres.

Thematic Areas

The Conference will take place over two days around three thematic areas divided into: Invited Papers, Roundtables, and in-depth sessions divided into a series of contributions and posters.

It will be held at the Teatro Olimpico in Rome and livestreamed with simultaneous translation into English. Pre-recorded contributions will be published on the conference website the same day.

Guest Speakers

Authors of contributions and posters

Scientific Board

Conference Chair: 

Francesca Fagioli

Conference Scientific Board:

Ernesto Longobardi (coordinator), Elisabetta Amalfitano, Carlo Anzilotti, David Armando, Alessia Barbagli, Martina Brandizzi, Paola Casolini, Giusi De Santis, Letizia Del Pace, Matteo Fago, Domenico Fargnoli, Francesco Fargnoli, Paolo Fiori Nastro, Maria Gabriella Gatti, Paola Gramigni, Annelore Homberg, Andreas Iacarella, Cecilia Iannaco, Nella Lo Cascio, Ilaria Maccari, Alice Masillo, Andrea Masini, Federico Masini, Elena Monducci, Ada Montellanico, David Natali, Fernando Panzera, Elena Pappagallo, Martina Patanè, Daniela Polese, Andrea Raballo, Ugo Tonietti, Andrea Ventura, Fabio Virgili.

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