Perhaps we are permanently enraged, taking revenge on ourselves for not being sufficient for ourselves, and taking revenge on others for never giving us quite what we want. And yet for Bion it is the evading of frustration that is catastrophic. Evasion of frustration, he continues, ‘involves the assumption of omniscience as a substitute for learning from experience by aid of thoughts and thinking’. If you can’t bear frustration, can’t bear the dependence on and involvement of others that satisfaction entails, you have to precipitate yourself into a state of already having and knowing everything […]. The self-cure for frustration is omniscience, the delusion of omniscience (there must be a figure somewhere who is exempt from frustration, and this is God; we need to be able to imagine someone who doesn’t have to feel frustration). Learning from experience means finding ways of making your need compatible with living in the world. Bion thinks we do this by thinking our needs through, observing what the world is like, and trying them out. Finding your place in the world means finding or making a place where your needs work for you.

Adam Phillips, Missing Out: In Praise of the Unlived Life