Dynamic Physiology : A Four-Beat Cycle of the Psyche

I introduced Reich’s four-beat cycle yesterday, which is a model for all living processes, particularly as manifested at the biological level. There is a corresponding four-beat cycle which has been pointed out by Steven Decker, which relates more to the psyche, and follows the pattern of : Desire – Resonance – transference – fulfillment.

These four beats correspond directly to their biological counterparts of : tension – charge – discharge – relaxation. I’ve written a number of blogs around the concept of resonance, and  understanding it this enlarged context of how it fits into the four beats adds even more understanding of it. Here is a brief description of the meaning of each of these four beats :

  • Desire — This isn’t so much the usual subjective desires which we are full of, but rather our true objective desire function, which sits at the core of our individuality. Discussion of reforming the education system, for example, often hints at something which gets close to this concept, when including these ideas of facilitating the unfolding of each student’s unique interests and talents as one of the higher goals of a true educational program. The etymology of ‘desire’ means ‘of the stars’, which gives a strong indication that our objective desires come from our cosmic self.
  • Resonance — Notice that this is the second beat, and comes after clarifying the objective desire. This makes it much more clear that what we resonate with is a function of our desire function, and is therefore the reason why certain things or people just seem to light up for us in resonance, when they are related to our desire. All aspects of warmth, enthusiasm, and inspiration are related to this part of the cycle.
  • Transference — In the most general sense, this is a kind of expression, communication, or discharge. All of the energy and charge that built up in the first two beats, if it is to follow a healthy path, needs an appropriate form of release. If, for example, someone’s desire is to be an artist, and their resonance is for a specific type of art or subject matter, then the transference has to do with the actual completion of an art piece, which has the function of discharging the energy in a healthy manner. This is the part of the process which is about manifestation, and ultimately of bringing out true aspects of the self.
  • Fulfillment — In our fast-paced, neurotic society, this is usually the first beat to be sacrificed. When it occurs in a healthy context, it represents both the true satisfaction of what was created and expressed, as well as the moment of completely letting go, which creates the space which allows the next cycle to start from a healthy baseline. When this beat of the cycle is partially or wholly skipped, the residual, undischarged energy becomes the basis for building up walls of neurosis.

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