Desoille’s Method

Desoille’s Method

Let us follow Desoille’s method in all its apparent simplicity.


Get rid of your cares. That would no doubt be the first piece of advice that a psychiatrist would give an anxious subject. But Desoille will not use this abstract formula. Instead, he will replace this very simple abstraction with a very simple image: sweep away your cares. But don’t limit yourself to words. Feel the gestures; visualize the images; pursue the life of the image.


To do this, we must give the imagination “ control over the broom.” Become homo faber, which is that this poor sweeper is when faced with a very monotonous task! Little by little you will come to participate in his dreams, in his rhythmic reverie. What do you have to sweep away? Cares or scruples? You will not take quite the same sweep of the broom in the two instances.


You will sense the dialectics of scrupulosity and resolution come into play. But what slows down your soul—perhaps simply the roses of a faded love? Then work slowly and realize that the dream is over. How well your dying melancholy dies! How well your past passes! Soon your task will be over and you will be able to breathe again, with a collected soul, at peace, a little enlightened, unburdened, and free!


This very small, imaged-filled psychoanalysis delegates to images the task of the terrible psychoanalyst. Let “ everyone sweep his area” and we will no longer need indiscreet help. Anonymous images are here given the responsibility of curing our personal images. Images cure images; reverie cures memory.


But perhaps it would be useful to have one more example. Desoille also uses the “ ragpicker’s way” successfully. It is more analytical than the “ sweeper’s way.” It is good for getting rid of cares that are somewhat more conscious than the thousand vague or poorly formulated problems that can be merely “ swept away.”


Desoille counsels the subject who is bothered by a specific concern to put it with all the others in the ragpicker’s bag, in the sack that he carries behind his back. This is in keeping with the very expressive and effective gesture of the hand that throws everything it scorns behind the back.


Some will object that this gesture is only vain pretense, that the person frees himself only on a deeper and more personal level. But they forget that we are dealing with psyches that cannot decide to make up their minds and who do not listen to rational rebukes. We can have an effect on tem only if we begin with imaged behavior. We give them gestures of freedom precisely because we have confidence in the collective nature of a psychology of behavior that is formulated according to elemental images.



Air and Dream by Gaston Bachelard

Translated by Springhero 雄伯

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