Recently, when I speak to friends or someone tells me about the toughness of these times, when the conversation ends this expression always comes to me, and it is not clear whether I want to say it to my interlocutor, or to myself, as an antidote: Coraggio Casimiro!

It is an expression that has always inhabited the atmosphere for me, but that initially comes from an epistolary exchange. Between Freud and Abraham.

When ravaging times – almost always foreseeable – approach at work, with demands that appear as insurmountable as mountains, with a statistical frenzy in situations that have now proved insignificant; when it is time to report and evaluate clinical activity, translate our daily work into diagrams, formats, and algorithms, my boss – a very lucid psychoanalyst – tells me: “Coraggio Casimiro!” And she adds: “V” – another very lucid psychoanalyst – “always said this to me when difficult times were on the way”.

The beautiful thing is that this kind of demonstration of the oral tradition, this “she-told-me-that-what-she-always-tells-me-was-told-to-her-by-another”, is in turn reproduced and multiplied almost exponentially.


We are dealing in fact with an expression that is repeated in the letters between Freud and Abraham, in which you can often find at the end of a letter “Coraggio Casimiro“, and even as the letters advance “CC”. The editor of the correspondence clarifies things for us:

“Two guides with whom Abraham had climbed a mountain took some raw meat with them to eat. By the time they reached the hut and set about cooking it, it had gone bad, and one of them encouraged the other to eat it with the words: ‘Coraggio Casimiro’”[1].

Karl Abraham was the first to use the expression in a postcard that he sent to Freud from Rome in 1913. He signs the card: “The Jew survives it! Cordial Greetings and Coraggio Casimiro!”


We find a comment on this note by Jacques-Alain Miller on page 71 of volume 3 of the Buenos Aires Conferences[2]:

“It is incredible to think that it is this expression that Freud and Abraham retained, and which they continuously quote in order to give each other the courage to proceed in psychoanalysis. Clearly something in the flesh of psychoanalysis had been altered, it is what must be endured, and we are in the position of ‘eat your Dasein‘, we are obliged to eat the consequences of Freud’s act. The object a is on the level of enduring the consequences, and of course there is something ridiculous in this fact of one man encouraging the other to eat his Dasein, but here we are, precisely at the point where we are going to finish this horrible lunch.”


Our times perhaps open, then, another dimension. Perhaps this CC possesses now a double life, and designates not only the moment when someone has to overcome an obstacle and needs to fill themselves with courage, but also the moment of a strange consolation when we are confronted by the idea that the horrible lunch is about to come to an end.



Translated by Howard Rouse

[1] See. A Psycho-Analytic Dialogue: “The Letters of Sigmund Freud and Karl Abraham 1907-1926”. Eds Hilda C. Abraham and Ernst L. Freud, Basic Books, New York, 1965, p. 146.

[2] See. Conferencias Porteñas 3. Ed. Paidós, Buenos Aires, 2010.