Etre et sexuation (Essais - Documents) (French Edition)

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It raises a question and implies a lack of knowledge. Its place is in speech. It is something to be heard by the Other. A fantasy, however, does not raise but rather answers a question. It is an answer to an impossibility, an answer that covers up a lack and prevents further questioning. In this sense all representations of femininity are fantasies. To exist means to be represented by a signifier. The logical notations serve the purpose of talking about a difference that cannot be determined, a presentation of difference that does not end up in imaginary complementarity.

The formalizations are not just supposed to be redundant. If that were the case an exposition in ordinary prose would be able to replace the formal notations. The contrary is the case: the formalizations serve the purpose of presenting and talking about an experience of a paradox, an impasse, an impossibility. With the help of the formulas it becomes possible both to recognize an impossibility as an impossibility without covering it up in imaginary representations or historically variable constructions and to know what kind of impossibility we are talking about. It is in this sense that psychoanalysis can be reduced to neither a biological nor a constructivist, historicist perspective.

An Introduction , Amsterdam I propose that the difficulty certain subjects have to learn and speak the language of their adopted country is a symptom. My hypothesis is that the difficulty to learn the language of the Other is a refusal to submit to the discourse of the Master.

It defies its knowledge, and it points to the hole in the Other. In this sense it obeys to the logic of the hysteric, who seeks a Master to castrate him. The state of the art of medicine is worthless without access to the language. But in the other hand, it indicates its link to jouissance. It aims at the supposed jouissance of the Other. The lacanian orientation disturbs the traditionally setting of practice, unmasking the jouissance at stake. We know that by emptying the words of their meaning, the analytic act inscribes itself as the limit of the flight-of-sense and by doing so it aims at the real.

The somatic symptoms are meaningless and as such silent. The complains must be expressed first to access later the realm of jouissance. When this space is created we hear the stories of love and desire, of pain and suffering, that constitutes our contemporary practice. In the Lacanian orientation we analyze case by case but we can also put these cases side by side and obtain a series. Here are some clinical vignettes to illustrate this.

She was bedridden, in a cast for more than 3 years. But it is the relationship with her ex-husband that made her suffer most. It took her a long time in the group before she could talk without crying. She married young, and her husband took her to live with his aunts. She was a stay-at-home mom, rarely going out, because she taking care of her 4 children, while her husband did as he pleased.

This went on for almost 30 years until the day she asked him where had he been. When he replied that he had been with the mother of his daughter, something snapped and she threw him out the house, his clothes and belongings out of the window. A boundary had been trespassed. She dreamt a number and told her husband to reserve that number. When the lottery played she asked him about it and he said he had sold that number.

Some time later a neighbor congratulated her for her good fortune in winning the big stakes at the lottery. She was surprised and denied it but he was adamant, as he himself had accompanied her husband to the bank. Having found the bank statement together with a house deed she waited in vain for her husband to tell her. She eventually took him to the house and confronted him. Then she took her children and left him. She has not forgiven him. These women relate the devastating effects of their relationships with their partners. The love failures, the discovery of infidelity, life in a couple without desire and without words plunge these women into a particular state of panic or depression.

Some can be considered cases of domestic violence. But above all, their stories tell us about the crossing of a line, a boundary trespassed and a betrayal that cannot be forgiven nor forgotten. For some of these patients the relationship with the mother constitutes a ravage. Some time later her home was burglarized and her jewelry stolen. She lives this as an irreparable damage that nothing can replace. She cries, she flushes, she is inarticulate. A childhood memory: one day, half- teasing, half in defiance she swallowed a coin.

Her mother beat her so hard that until today she suffers from headaches and vision problems related to that incident. She stayed with her mother while waiting for her visa to join her aunt in USA. He prostituted her. She managed to run away and joined her aunt later. She has three children each from a different man. Her oldest daughter died suddenly last year. While she is still mourning for her daughter, her mother is constantly asking for money.

She questions why did her mother do this to her. I propose that there is transference from this ravage in the rapport to the m Other or the partner to the Other of society. They abide to the rules and the laws paying more than their pound of flesh but they reject the language of the Other. Their survival as subject of desire is at stake. Libido as a lost object is concentrated in lalangue.

Refusing the language of the Other, constitutes their last refuge against an absolute Other. It is a way to render the Other incomplete. They would never have sought for psychotherapy. Their physical symptoms brought them to the Hospital and they handed their bodies to science. If they had not been referred to Mental Health Services these patients will have been treated only for their physical symptoms, maybe with some medication for depression and anxiety and they would have continue to drag their unhappiness and their misery, prisoners of the jouissance trapped in a mortifying relationship to the Other.

Our task is not to satisfy this demand offering a therapeutic listening or a dialogue to restore the subjective lack. The work of psychoanalysis invites the subject to be responsible for their choices and their jouissance. Let me quote one of them: Why is it that we choose suffering as a partner? The offer to go beyond the well-being and reestablishment of a functional equilibrium but to address the real is what is at stake. It is the position of the analyst that matters, in a practice that does not adjust to the statistical requirements of the contemporary master or to its utilitarian aims.

Jacques-Alain Miller [2] asks whether the encounter with an analyst may be useful or not, produce good or evil. He proposes the model of the psychoanalyst-object versatile, receptive and multi-functional, to loosen the ideal identifications, to consolidate a viable organization, to articulate, to liquefy and dialectelise sense,to introduce stopping points, quilting points to non-stop flowing sense. If the psychoanalyst knows how to be an object, then he says, the contraindications are decided case by case.

He defines this place as a place that welcomes contingency, where necessity loosens its grip, the site of the possible, versus the impossible of the real. The challenge is to become the psychoanalyst-object as a place of pure semblance, the reverse of every day life and for the subject to face what lies beneath the suffering to trade it for an analyzable symptom. Papers This is a modified version. Everyone is trying to recover the project. What project? Which everyone? Gone, the one whose endless choruses underwrote so many of my poems, pages that fatally depended just as this one probably does upon the irreplaceable, infinitely suggestive background vocalizations of Mary Hansen, RIP.

Surely I owe you more than one poem! You kept me company on so many nights, across and down so many pages. Who cares if most of them turned out more or less worthless without the Stereolab tracks that inspired them? I even met you once. You were so nice and I was so incapable of articulating anything remotely resembling what your voice had meant to me. I know I do. Just look how I deposit my blossoming life in his pale, shaky hands to crush, drop or pleasure as he likes.

Exhibit the exquisite corpse or rush on to the next emulator or the next thousand of them, flowing into the dead zones of a rich, feeble culture. Sound as fleeting monument to ragged dissent and all the elusive riffs smart poems pretend to ignore. But not this one. Meet my messed-up friend, my razor-thin underground hero. Later there will be time to redeem our pisspent youth, get married and have a house in the country, slip into some much more reasonable sequel, a life barely haunted by every one of our dead something friends.

Lacan is applying this theorem to the subject of science. Only the conclusion is stated as follows: In any formal language A there exists a statement S such that if A is consistent, neither S nor its negative can be proved in A. The propositions of A cannot be proved by reference to A. It does not mean that S is false but undecidable. His theorem of incompleteness entails that the consistency of A cannot be proved by any means within A.

Let A be the Other which is the concept of the unconscia-us. A statement S in the field of the Other cannot be guaranteed as true. Take a construction or any form of interpretation which attempts to complete the Other and make it consistent, that is, to fill out the lack in the Other. Such an intelpretation is neither true nor false, but undecidable; it is a proposition of the Other and cannot be proved by reference to the Other.

Whatever fresh knowledge follows in the wake of an interpretation is not an indication of its truth since this knowledge is also a proposition of the Other. The subject of science is being made the focus of logic. Modem logic sutures the subject of science. Logic makes a decision on what is true and false. Aristotelian logic makes it in natural language.

Modern logic creates an artificial language, that is, a formal system, in which the decision is made. This is not the subject of science. The subject in psychoanalysis, however, is the subject of science Lacan, The subject of science cannot be, then, a subject of natural language. It seems to me that this can be taken as the point at which a formalization is beginning. Modern logic attempts to reveal the structure of science ostensibly.

Lacan says it sutures, not science, but the subject of science. Science does not say true or false; the subject does. In a philosophy of science called logical empiricism theoretical terms are made dependent on observation terms. The truth of the observation terms must be guaranteed in theoretical terms. The subject of science must always be true.

Suturing this division makes the subject true. The subject is a logical inconsistency. The fIrst step in this formalisation asserts that the subject is undecidable, which is an indication that the subject contains arithmetic. In the clinic it is an empirical fact that the subject speaks a natural language. On the other hand. This reduction has to do with the shrinkage of knowledge since the subject is also described by Lacan as the result of the rejection of knowledge Lacan, The reduction is the direction of the treatment to a decompleted and inconsistent Other.

The subject is divided, Lacan argues, between truth and knowledge Lacan, If knowledge shrinks, it is contingent. In logic truth is necessary. It is not, however, the subject thal is necessarily true. In the paper that precedes the one under consideration, Lacan begins by stating that the drive as constructed by Freud is prohibited to psychologising thought which supposes a moral in nature Lacan, Here is a good reason for formalisation.

The basis of psychologising thought is natural language. The drive cannot enter natural language. In his introduction to the Foundarions of Arithmetic , Frege says that his method goes against psychologising thought. Formalisation constitutes a reduction that may take a long time of psychologising thought.

Knowledge shrinks, and the subject encounters the truth of the drive. The drive divides the subject and desire Lacan, The truth of desire seems to account for the logical inconsistency of the subject. Such is the structure of fantasy, according to Lacan. At the end of analysis the drive has something to do with the emergence of the desire of the analyst. This is not enlarged upon by Lacan here, though elsewhere he states that it is also the desire of the analyst which has been operating in the accomplishment of the analysis.

It must be the desire to create a language in which the subject can say the truth. Formalisatbn is the expression of the relation of the desire of the analyst to the truth. It seems to be a reduction to the first axiom of Peano: zero is a number. A lack in the foundations is just this zero; a painful emptiness that will make the subject inconsistent between the true and the false, and make it desire to find an Other that is complete and consistent.

The development of mathematics in the direction of greater precision has led to large areas of it being formalized, so that proofs can be carried out according to a few mechanical rules. The most comprehensive formal systems to date are, on the one hand, the Principia Mathematica of Whitehead and Russell and, on the other, the Zermelo-Fraenkel system of axiomatic set theory.

Both systems are so extensive that all methods of proof used in mathematics today can be formalized in them; i. In what follows it will be shown that this is not the case, but rather that, in both of the cited systems, there exist relatively simple problems of theory of ordinary whole numbers which cannot be decided on the basis of the axioms. How are we to locate Josef Fritzl, the Austrian monster who had her daughter imprisoned for a quarter of century and, after thousands of rapes, had many children with her? Thucydides has left us the history of the greater part of it, and his immortal work is the absolute gain which humanity has derived from that contest.

The answer is clear: the true formula is Jelinek oder das Unbehagen in der Kultur — Jelinek stages the obscene discontent that dwells in the very core of our culture, her work is in this respect similar to that of Rammstein in rock music. There is, of course, an obvious difference between Thucydides and Jelinek: Thucydides came afterwards, writing a history of the war, while Jelinek is even more than as contemporary, he is almost writing a history of the future, detecting in the present the potentials for the forthcoming horrors. This temporal reversal — the symbolic depiction precedes the fact it depicts, history as story precedes history as a process in reality — is an indicator of our late modernity in which the real of history is assuming the character of a trauma.

At this point, the fellow man changes into a Neighbor. This is what happened in a devastating way with Josef Fritzl: from a kind and polite fellow-man, he suddenly changed in a monstrous Neighbor — to the great surprise of the people who met him daily and simply could not believe that this is the same person. This obscene underground is discernible through its effects — in myths, dreams, slips of tongue, symptoms… and, sometimes, it enforces its direct perverse realization Freud noted that perverts realize what hysterics only fantasize about. Fritzl created in his cellar his own utopia, a private paradise in which, as he told his lawyer, he spent hours on end watching TV and playing with the youngsters while Elisabeth prepared dinner.

What makes his reign so chilling aspect of his reign is precisely the way his brutal is that his exercise of power and his usufruct of the daughter were not just a cold act of exploitation, but were accompanied by an ideologico-familial justification he did what a father should do, protecting his children from drugs and other dangers of the outside world , as well as by occasional displays of compassion and human considerations he did take the ill daughter to the hospital, etc.

These acts were not breaches of warm humanity in his armor of coldness and cruelty, but parts of the same protective attitude that made him imprison and violate his children. Fritzl claimed that he noted Elisabeth wanted to escape her home — she was returning home late, looking for a job, having a boyfriend, was maybe taking drugs, and he wanted to protect her from all that. I could have killed them all. Then there would have been no trace. No-one would have found me out. What is needed here is a more precise analysis of different types of turning a blind eye: one should not put under the same category the attitude of pretending not to notice the holocaust activities, and the fundamental politeness of pretending not to note when our neighbor looks really bad or inadvertently commits some embarrassing act.

This parallel can be extended to include the Fritzl-version of some of the most famous scenes from The Sound of Music. Ridiculous as The Sound of Music is as one of the worst cases of Hollywood kitsch, one should take very seriously the sacred intensity of the universe of the film, without which its extraordinary success cannot be accounted for: the power of the film resides in its obscenely-direct staging of embarrassing intimate fantasies. Take the risk and try everything your heart wants! Do not allow petty considerations to stand in your way! In the last years of the Communist regime in Romania, Nicolae Ceaucescu was asked by a foreign journalist how does he justify the constraints on foreign travel imposed to Romanian citizens — is this not a violation of their human rights?

Remember that Ceaucescu also perceived himself as a caring paternal authority, the father protecting his nation from the foreign decadence — as in all authoritarian regimes, the basic relationship between the ruler and his subject was also the one of unconditional love.

In the Freudian Lacanian body. Although we have not yet clarified in any ultimate way the distinction between matter in motion and an animate, living body in motion, we have since the time of Heraclitus, with rare exceptions the Eleatics thought motion an illusion , believed in motion as a cosmological principle underlying all physical reality. A body in motion, however, includes the opposition of movement and nonmovement.

At either extreme of motion or immobility there is suffering, some kind of deadly bliss, or death itself. To live a human rather than an animal life, we have, paradoxically, to arrest life, to inhibit its fundamental motility. To create a modicum of stable civilization we have had to learn all about nonrandom motion and measured variations. At certain periods, we have tended to privilege nonmovement, at others movement. The essay is a miniature case history of Freud himself, a heautoscopy.

Freud is analyzing an abnormal manifestation in his own mind: a repudiation of pleasure. He dissects a pathological moment, in which there is a certain failure of functioning on his part, a default of an earned experience of delight. Why does this moment above all others recur to Freud and demand analysis?

Why does it recur now? What is the pathological episode about? In German culture, Greece is like Mecca, a national spiritual ideal of the ego repeatedly formed and reformed into an array of dazzling myths by important cultural figures like Winkelmann, Wieland, Lessing, the Schlegel brothers, Hegel, Goethe. Kleist, Nietzsche, Hofmannsthal, and Rilke, to name only a few. The German dialogue with Greece has been more intense and continuous than that of any other European country. Every notable German on the Acropolis, or at the very thought of it, has somehow been deeply moved.

Most recently, it is here that Christa Wolf heard the voice of Cassandra:. I witnessed how a panic rapture spread through me, how it mounted and reached its pinnacle when a voice began to speak: Aiee! Cassandra, I saw her at once, She, the captive, took me captive… It worked at once, I believed every word she said; so there was still such a thing as unqualified trust.

Three thousand years — melted away. But Freud on the Acropolis, also an heir by education to all this love of Greece, hears nothing, He sees nothing, he feels no delight. He remains unmoved. Instead, he stands there, like the obsessional he always was doubting that he is where he is. This past thought, in yet a further displacement, turns out to be the replacement of a quite different thought that he had in fact had as a child.

Sigmund Freud, Psycho-analysis and telepathy - Patrick Valas

For it is not that he had, as a child, ever disbelieved in the existence of the Acropolis, but that he had doubted that be would ever have the happiness of being there. Incredulity is the essential subject matter of his thought or speech. He stops at the threshold of the act of experience, debarred from entry by disturbing, irrelevant thoughts. Such an inner division is always inhibiting and a sign of conflict. Freud calls his experience an experience of derealization ein Entfremdungsgefuhl. He feels estranged or distanced or alienated from reality. To de-realize or to estrange is to say that what is, is not.

Or it is to say that what is does not belong to me; it is not familiar, but strange. Derealization is a refusal of phenomenological reality; it is a refusal to see, to form. Reality is undone: it is not formed; it is not. Complete de-realization would be not to constitute reality at all, not to form, and not to be able to see it because it is not formed.

Freud obviously does constitute it, but refuses to believe in what he sees. He cannot see what he sees because he cannot believe what he is seeing. He refuses to affirm it. He withholds a positive judgment. Every doubter seems to become once again a Descartes: does what I perceive exist or not?

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What is real? Am I and my body real? Freud twists what concerned himself — a burning desire of his childhood to travel — into an ontological question alter the existence or nonexistence of Athens — as well as into an epistemological question alter the status of perception: is what I see here real? It is a consent to the loss of bodily sense pleasure. Freud here loses, as did the doubter, Descartes, his carnal value.

He too becomes a disembodied thinker. The Acropolis seems to symbolize for Freud an object that is unobtainable and it remains that , inconceivably distant, and distant in particular from his father. The second sentence above is a quotation from Napoleon, the words he purportedly said to one of his brothers during his coronation as emperor, confirming that for Freud too Athens is a crowning moment. Is it that acknowledging joy, always a power-enhancing experience in itself, would give Freud too much a sense of power over his lather, bringing on a conflict with the father, just as joy might bring unity with the mother?

Such a combination of power and joy has to be prohibited. His prohibition takes the form of a castration of the senses and of belief in the senses and their ability to deliver a world. Freud, we can say, following a commentary of Jacques-Alain Miller, speaks to himself in lieu of the father, who represents speech and with speech interdicts himself enjoyment. As Miller says:. But what does it mean to speak of lather and mother as signifiers?

It means … that for both sexes, the father is prohibitor, and … the mother is a signifier of the primary object…what we call the function of the father is language itself, as dead… On the contrary, the mother is always linked to jouissance , to enjoyment. And that is why… what appeared in Freud as the father prohibiting access to the mother appears in Lacan as speech interdicting jouissance. And that is why you find in Lacan the idea that enjoyment as such is forbidden to the one who speaks. Law is necessity, and necessity, as Hegel said, is motionless.

Traveling is a substitute for the kind of concrete motor activity, movement, and motor control for which Freud had such an immense appreciation. The content of his phobia was such as to impose a very great measure of restriction upon his freedom of movement, and that was its purpose. It was therefore a powerful reaction against the obscure impulses to movement, which were especially directed against his mother…since this pleasure in movement included the impulse to copulate, the neurosis imposed a restriction on it and exalted the horse into an emblem of terror.

He never abandoned his conviction that primal satisfaction comes from a discharge through motility [10] and that jouissance is in an essential relation to motion. Motor action means that for a moment thought is suspended. And it is this essential suspension of thought that Freud cannot attain on the Acropolis. Instead he thinks, and ideas themselves, as Freud said, can be symptoms covering up the truth of wishes. Traveling is essentially moving from place to place, a displacement.

Hence, it is also related, as Miller has brilliantly pointed out, to consistency knowledge , staying in a fixed place mentally, and therefore, also to its opposite, inconsistency truth , the new, different, that which displaces. Psychoanalysis, Miller has said, constantly relearns a necessary dissatisfaction with knowledge from hysteria, which questions knowledge in the name of desire.

His displaced himself constantly, almost hysterically, while always searching for the new, right insight. It reminds one that Freud discovered hysteria as a substratum also in obsessional neurosis.

Freud always spoke of the rebellion against God as a displaced rebellion against the father, and Freud says here that what finally interfered with their enjoyment of Athens was a feeling of piety towards their father. Freud says that Athens could not have meant much to his uneducated father and so it ends up not being able to mean much to the son, who finds himself unable either to trespass beyond the father or to believe in him.

A fundamental impiety would be involved in becoming Greek-identified, as had so many other eminent Germans. Thus, although Freud allowed himself to disbelieve in religious belief and to characterize it as illusion, he could not allow himself to believe in something else. Belief is love, connection, identification, and a sense of power.

To believe is to be because one allows the other to guarantee that one is. Not to believe is not to be or at best to doubt. Freud here in part is not. He doubts. Something in him is dead; something guilt? The immobilization of his sensuous perceptions and imagination is a self- punishment. Is this an inhibition or a symptom?

Freud says it is a failure in functioning and an abnormal structure. Why is it so difficult to have pleasure? How much pleasure did Freud give himself? Enough to be on the Acropolis — for the most remarkable part of the essay for me is how he and his brother came to be on the Acropolis at all. In Trieste on the way to Corfu, they saw an acquaintance who strongly advised them against going to Corfu because of the heat and suggested they take the Lloyd boat sailing to Athens that afternoon instead.

The suggestion immensely depressed both brothers because they agreed that the idea was impractical, full of difficulties, and probably, impossible to execute because without passports they would not be allowed to land in Greece. Freud traces this depression to the immediate negation by his superego of such a deep fantasy, something he had uncovered in those wrecked by success and in those whose guilt or sense of inferiority made them feel unworthy of happiness and not capable of going beyond a certain pleasure-threshold.

But when the time came, we went up to the counter and booked our passages for Athens as though it were a matter of course, without bothering in the least about the supposed difficulties and indeed without having discussed with one another the reasons for our decision. Wordlessly, even stealthily, the brothers decide to go to Athens, an act of impious superiority over their father as it turns out later, as if these two represented the entire fraternal horde acting against the father.

The Real as opposed to reality is approached by movement memories as well as by hallucination, and a motor image contains in it as much desire and as much danger of being transformed once again to jouissance as does an hallucination. For there is no doubt that only that has to be derealized which is immensely real: a reality that intimates behind it a Real, a desired encounter with sexual reality. Freud was never quite sure where to locate motor movement. It is normally, certainly, in large part in the control of the ego the will and in the service of reality and action.

It is certainly unusual to catch Freud himself at a moment when he is both wordless and acting wordlessly, a moment when his own motor movements are seemingly in the control of his id. Drive and desire join for a moment: he moves almost unconsciously just short of literally sleepwalking to get to Athens, but once there, he is immobilized. He does away with that which moves, his body. Disembodiment is not to be in the representation the Darstellung as opposed to the Vorstellung of the Real that is your body.

Thus we have, on the one hand, a cause of desire — the Acropolis — a fantasy object, associated perhaps in multifarious ways with all that for Freud was jouissance, and the elaboration of a motor imaginary, and real action. And, on the other, a lack of enjoyment, inhibition, and prohibition. Inhibition the initial depression in Trieste is the precursor of the prohibition the disturbance on the Acropolis. The binding up of pleasure is a necessity, but an unconscious arrest of pleasure or a turning about of pleasure into pain or unpleasure is a symptom.

Freud chooses to analyze his unpleasure and failure rather than such pleasure as he had after all he was there , giving himself more unpleasure granted that it is less pleasurable to analyze unpleasure than to analyze pleasure. Evidently, his knowledge could not harm his father, but his desires, including those for his mother, could.

His very desire for joy, maintained by a guilt at the thought of having it, assured his inability to have it. What crime have I committed that I am debarred from joy? In essence, here Freud discovers that he desires to be Freud; he affirms being Freud: and he finds the way to be Freud.

Therefore, what Lacan is saying is that it is possible, paradoxically, to discover the truth in dreams. We come at once upon a reevaluation of the neoclassical evaluation of the dream. For example, Descartes believed that dreaming, like the imagination, was inevitably inferior to reasoning less clear and distinct and not entirely false only because it was God after all who had placed the senses and the imagination in us. And because our reasoning is never so clear and complete during sleep as when we are awake, although sometimes the acts of our imagination are then as lively and distinct, if not more so than in our waking moments, reason furthermore dictates that, since all our thoughts cannot be true because of our partial imperfections, those possessing truth must infallibly be found on the experience of our waking moments rather than in that of our dreams.

According to Lacan, the dreamer, the true subject, says:. I am he who wants to be forgiven for having dared to begin to cure these patients, who until now no one wanted to understand and whose cure was forbidden. I am he who wants not to be guilty of it, for to transgress any limit imposed up to now on human activity is always to be guilty. I want not be born that … Precisely to the extent that I desired it too much, that I wanted to be myself, the creator.

I am not the creator. The creator is someone greater than I. It is my unconscious, it is the voice which speaks in me, beyond me. This is the meaning of this dream. Freud is the mere scribe, the recorder, not only of his own dream but of the dream of psychoanalysis itself: which has to be of and about the unconscious, concerned with its fundamental substance and form.

Given that Freud is truly only a scribe, then he is exonerated in all guilt, even that of having discovered the unconscious, because it is and he is merely its spokesman. In this dream, in which Freud establishes the truth of the existence of a subject of the unconscious, he moves definitively beyond the nineteenth century identification of the unconscious with the body to a vision where the unconscious is rather the recoil from carnal reality, a recoil and decampment made possible by language.

This decampment, of course, is never absolute, not even in psychosis. Lacan grants his own discovery of the unconscious, as built upon signifiers, scraps of linguistic material free of meanings, to Freud. Freud was already dreaming Lacan. The essence of the Freudian discovery, says Lacan, is that there is a subject beyond the ego and de-centered in relation to the ego. If this is not true, if this subject beyond consciousness does not exist, says Lacan, then all his own teachings are false.

Philosophers have always looked for a subject beyond the ego, although never before in the dream. And it had not occurred to them to suspect that this subject is linguistic. One of the forms that this search for a meta-subject has taken is the notion of a social subject, ethically elevated above the individual. Thus, historically, a strong ethical injunction against narcissism precisely. Descartes helped do away with all these pieties about our interest in the good of the all, says Lacan, by discovering that a formal, empty, solipsistic subject is indeed all he is.

Beyond the certainty of my thinking, I know nothing. Not that Descartes ever said that, but his position implies a heresy. It is clear that in the Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals , Kant was also searching for a subject beyond the ego, an objective subject, free of purely subjective factors, such as need, sell-love, sell-interest, desire, inclination, or anything that appeals to our imagination, like the idea of perfection or social unity, or the classical ideal of the ethical citizen of the state.

This imperative makes of every human being a legislative being, able to give the law to himself by his reason. It gives us the dignity of beings who need obey no other law but that which we have given to ourselves. Because the Kantian voice commanded, nothing less than the universal. The ten commandments that Kant managed to reduce to one and the categorical imperative prohibit subjective desires. Human truth, however, can only be found when you do not prohibit desires. Thus, whereas for Kant it was reason that enabled us to legislate autonomously without God, and to create another realm, the realm of ends or of understanding in opposition to the realm of nature, the Sadean realm of motion and motor discharge and to apprehend a moral commandment that operates on us like a law of nature, like gravity, for Lacan what could give such impartiality can only be something other than us, as language is.

Language as a set of material signs and syntactical rules not speech is autonomous and operative without us, like a machine. Such a semi autonomous mechanism, outside of us and yet inexorably active in us, gives us the equivalent of what the Greeks called fate, the irrational: a linguistic destiny, something which simultaneously exculpates us from guilt while making us guilty. The formula, says Lacan:. But the very manner in which it is spelt out, its enigmatic, hermetic nature, is in fact the answer to the question to the meaning of the dream.

One can model it closely on the Islamic formula — There is no other God but God. There is no other word, no other solution to your problem, than the word. The formula is a hallucinated vision of language as the Other: the signifier, without signified, without meaning, communication, or the transit to others: without the dimension of the voice or the drive or therefore the Real, as body or action. The coming into operation of the symbolic function in its most radical absolute usage endsup abolishing the action of the individual so completely that by the same token it eliminates his tragic relation to the world… The extreme use of the radically symbolic character of all truth makes it lose the sharp edge of its relation to truth.

At the heart of the flow of events, of the functioning of reason, the subject from the first move finds himself to be no more than a pawn, forced inside his system, and excluded from any truly dramatic, and consequently tragic, participation in the realization of truth. The symbolic alone, disconnected from the other orders, is no longer human truth.

If language acts and we are only the subjects of language subjected to language, its effect our action loses its tragic character and we are no longer responsible or even co-responsible. In his dreams, albeit only in his dreams, Freud, always so guilty as on the Acropolis , really has satisfaction and unlike most of us, he knows it. Outside of dreams, however, the price of being exclusively determined by the symbolic which we are not would be psychosis or death. And yet he is the subject who speaks … The subject inheres in all three orders and uses one order or allows himself to be used by it in order to attempt to escape from another order.

Freud lands in the unconscious symbolic or Lacan grants him his own vision of the nature of the unconscious signifier just after he has experienced a trauma in the Real and a crisis in the Imaginary. After his trauma in the Real to which I will return anon Freud convokes his peers and friends stand-ins and repetitions of his original oedipal relations for succor, anchorage, and stabilization. Immediately, he finds himself in the liberating, but also dangerously abstract and scientific order of the Symbolic.

The formula for trimethylamine, though itself abstract, is the sign of the chemical that is a decomposition product of sperm, the ammonia-like smell of sperm in the air, pointing to something absent but real. Given the two climaxes of the dream: the mouth the encounter with the formless and the formula the form , we see that the one issues from the other, the word from the mouth, along with the sperm.

The mouth, for Freud, was itself something inaugural, a beginning:. The first organ to emerge as an erotogenic zone and to make libidinal demands on the mind is from the time of birth onwards, the mouth. This first zone, related to sexuality and the feminine, object and hole at once, absent pleasure and drive, is the point in the dream to which Lacan returns, again and again, almost compulsively, revealing his fascination in the very fact of the multiple returns as well as in his heightened figurative language.

This mouth, says Lacan, is a horrendous discovery…of the flesh one never sees, the foundation of things, the other side of the head, of the face… the flesh from which everything exudes, at the very heart of the mystery, the flesh in as much as it is suffering, is formless, in as much as its form in itself, is something which provokes anxiety.

Spectre of anxiety, identification of anxiety, the final revelation of you are this — You are this, which is so far from you, this which is the ultimate formlessness. The metaphoric condensation collapses mouth, vagina, womb, phallus, birth, and death. It is a frightening, but privileged experience of the Real, the unnameable and unlocatable.

What Freud sees is not seeable. It is:. It is of course Lacan to whom the vision belongs or who extends it, because he seems to sense, as if for the first time, or certainly with the radiant freshness that characterizes the first time, the full weight of the Real compared to the other orders as well as the fact that the status of the unconscious depends as much on establishing its inherence in the Real as in language.

For why would we be so concerned with all that is stable and stabilizing: with the power of language images, names, nomination, structuration, law — if at the core were not something radically unstable, not merely the formless, but movement itself? True enough, but there is something in the subject besides the signifier, or the object and non-object, or even the mysterious, founding, and lost objet a , [39] and that is movement and immobility, which we sense in the action of needs and drives.

The original anxiety, provoked by the Real, is not only the anxiety of formlessness, or the loss and fall of objet a , but an anxiety having to do with movement and immobility. The mirror is a surface that reflects back form, the dream is a mirror that reflects back movement, being moved or not, being satisfied or not. The mirror provides us with the opportunity of a heautoscopy; we see our body image, and in the light of it, the world.

The dreamwork is a labor for our satisfactions. Autoscopy forgets movement. The dream reminds us of all the motion and stillness we have lived and witnessed. It is the apprehension of living matter by its most essential characteristics: motility and mutability. Lacan tends in this analysis to focus on the highly condensed images — the mouth, the acephalic Freud, the formula — that seem to form and then to explode under the force and pressure of their own massive condensation.

But he also sees the fluidity and mobility of these images. They are unsettled, mutable, plastic, inconstant, and shifting. It is an image of waves, of oscillations, as if the entire world were animated by a disquieting imaginary pulsation and at the same time an image of fire… Dreamwork, the essence of dreaming, is not about thought, nor is it primarily about form, or the formation of hallucinated images, or even about transformation, [40] but about work. Incoherent, and at once pleasurable and unpleasurable: a catastrophic jouissance.

Table of contents

These movements are at once an expression of unpleasure at excess stimulation and an attempt to create satisfaction by means of a discharge of the stimulation so as to bring about a stimulus stillness or arrest. A continuity of movement is only established gradually, just as is the unity of the body image. Coordinated and coherent movements, and entire, harmonized movement sequences, montages, or scenarios come to inhibit and organize movement in order to assure motor pleasure and control. Sucking — an even, rhythmic movement, self- soothing and pleasurable — is already a considerable achievement as every mother knows , a regularization of the oral drive, since the newborn does not necessarily know how to suck, but has to be forced into doing it or tricked by drops of milk on its lips.

Motor anxiety concerns a fundamental apprehension of an inadequacy of pleasure within excitation, or an inability to elicit it out of excess excitation. There is no pleasure without movement or having moved. Movement is pleasure, but not exclusively. The Sadean philosopher pursues pleasure via pain to its end, which is death. He knows nothing about the intricate compromises in movement and displacement demanded by pleasure and desire, as revealed in the dream. He sees no distinction between matter in motion and a living body in motion. Insight into the motor imaginary is reached only when the physical body is forgotten and the body image and all the other forms and objects that are pinned on it are shattered.

For the body image is too caught up in the pleasure of the perception of objects to describe the movement of the drives. Insight comes, perhaps, in dreams and art because these attack the ego, and go beyond the ego, putting consciousness in danger. When the ego is tom apart so is the body image, which means that the subject falls into pieces in immoderate excitation, and only then perhaps can it come symbolically to appreciate the absolute beauty and lenitive power of life in rhythmic motion. This is why our more sophisticated cultural motor imaginary combines movement and immobility in its representations.

Irvine on April Brill, New York: Random House, James Strachey, New York: W. Norton, Hegel, The Philosophy of Fine Art, vol. Alex Strachey, New York: W. James Strachey New York: W. Joan Riviera, New York: W. Francis Goltting, New York: Doubleday, Ernst Behler, New York: Continuum, Hegel, The Phenomenology of Mind , trans. Baillie, New York: Doubleday, A psychosis of short duration, no doubt, harmless, even entrusted with a useful function. Seminar II. Jeffrey Mehlman, ed. Joan Copjec, New York: W. Andrew Benjamin, Oxford: Basil Blackwell, New York.

Jacques-Alain Miller, trans. Alan Sheridan, New York. XXXVI, 4, Such was the case with Lacan who withstood the pressures fixing to bring him back into the supposed orthodoxy of the IPA, that is a professional practice of consensus. There, Lacan truly shows himself to be a freudian. Take for example the rule of the number, and above all, the duration of sessions, disputed so passionately for the way Lacan put it into practice.

For years this was the mark of lacanianism, what the IPA psychoanalysts fought against the harshest. The fixing of the frame is then to be conceived as an element of deontology or social morality; it is measured in terms of respect for the other, reciprocal engagements, and possible breeches of the contract.

These directives are initially laid out to the patient in the form of instructions which, however little the analyst comments on them, convey, even in the very inflections of his statement of them, the doctrine the analyst himself has arrived at. Lacan takes hold of the spirit of the freudian approach, whereas the post-freudians have tended to apply it to the letter.

Psychoanalysis enters into relation with the whole signifying system in which the analysand moves. On the contrary, the session is an element in the signifying series out of which the patient is inscribed into reality.

Rada Iveković

The lacanian session is not a space that invites regression. Over and against that, we submit the analytic act, from which Lacan derived the principle of action of the analyst and his conception of the session. The setting thus demanded, on the part of the patient as on the part of the analyst, goes well beyond the therapeutic and the aspects of care which always lie, on one side or another of charity.

In place of all these, they are content with fragmentary pieces of knowledge and with basic hypotheses lacking preciseness and ever open to revision. Instead of waiting for the moment when they will be able to escape from the constraint of the familiar laws of physics and chemistry, they hope for the emergence of more extensive and deeper-reaching natural laws, to which they are ready to submit.

Analysts are at bottom incorrigible mechanists and materialists, even though they seek to avoid robbing the mind and spirit of their still unrecognized characteristics. So, too, they embark on the investigation of occult phenomena only because they expect in that way finally to exclude the wishes of mankind from material reality. In view of this difference between their mental attitudes co-operation between analysts and occultists offers small prospect of gain.

If in the course of his work he were to be on the watch for occult phenomena, he would be in danger of overlooking everything that more nearly concerned him. He would be surrendering the impartiality, the lack of prejudices and prepossessions, which have formed an essential part of his analytic armour and equipment. If occult phenomena force themselves on him in the same way in which others do, he will evade them no more than he evades the others. This would appear to be the only plan of behaviour consistent with the activity of an analyst. By self-discipline the analyst can defend himself against one danger — the subjective one of allowing his interest to be drawn away on to occult phenomena.

As regards the objective danger, the situation is different. But the eagerly attentive onlookers will not wait so long. At the very first confirmation the occultists will proclaim the triumph of their views. They will carry over an acceptance of one phenomenon on to all the rest and will extend belief in the phenomena to belief in whatever explanations are easiest and most to their taste. They will be ready to employ the methods of scientific enquiry only as a ladder to raise them over the head of science.

Heaven help us if they climb to such a height! There will be no scepticism from the surrounding spectators to make them hesitate, there will be no popular outcry to bring them to a halt. They will be hailed as liberators from the burden of intellectual bondage, they will be joyfully acclaimed by all the credulity lying ready to hand since the infancy of the human race and the childhood of the individual.

There may follow a fearful collapse of critical thought, of determinist standards and of mechanistic science. Will it be possible for scientific method, by a ruthless insistence on the magnitude of the forces, the masses and qualities of the material concerned, to prevent this collapse? It is a vain hope to suppose that analytic work, precisely because it relates to the mysterious unconscious, will be able to escape such a collapse in values as this.

If spiritual beings who are the intimate friends of human enquirers can supply ultimate explanations of everything, no interest can be left over for the laborious approaches to unknown mental forces made by analytic research. So, too, the methods of analytic technique will be abandoned if there is a hope of getting into direct touch with the operative spirits by means of occult procedures, just as habits of patient humdrum work are abandoned if there is a hope of growing rich at a single blow by means of a successful speculation.

Such might equally be the fate of psycho-analysis. Let us return to the present situation, to our immediate task. In the course of the last few years I have made a few observations which I shall not hold back — at all events from the circle that is closest to me. A dislike of falling in with what is to-day a prevailing current, a dread of distracting interest from psycho-analysis and the total absence of any veil of discretion over what I have to say — all these combine as motives for withholding my remarks from a wider public. My material can lay claim to two advantages which are rarely present.

The first two cases, which I shall now report at length, are concerned with events of the same sort — namely, with prophecies made by professional fortune-tellers which did not come true. In spite of this, these prophecies made an extraordinary impression on the people to whom they were announced, so that their relation to the future cannot be their essential point.

Anything that may contribute to their explanation, as well as anything that throws doubt on their evidential force, will be extremely welcome to me. My personal attitude to the material remains unenthusiastic and ambivalent. A few years before the war, a young man from Germany came to me to be analysed. He complained of being unable to work, of having forgotten his past life and of having lost all interest.

He was a student of philosophy at Munich and was preparing for his final examination. Incidentally, he was a highly educated, rather sly young man, rascally in a childish way, and the son of a financier, who, as emerged later, had successfully remoulded a colossal amount of anal erotism. When I asked him whether there was really nothing he could remember about his life or his sphere of interest, he recalled the plot of a novel he had sketched out, which was laid in Egypt during the reign of Amenophis IV and in which an important part was played by a particular ring.

We found that his break-down had been the result of a great act of mental self-discipline on his part. He had an only sister a few years his junior, to whom he was wholeheartedly and quite undisguisedly devoted. But their affection had never gone beyond the point permissible between brothers and sisters. A young engineer had fallen in love with the sister. His love was reciprocated by her but did not meet with the approval of her strict parents.

In their trouble the two young lovers turned to the brother for help. He gave their cause his support, made it possible for them to correspond, arranged for them to meet while he was at home on vacation, and eventually persuaded the parents to give their consent to an engagement and marriage. During the time of the engagement there was a highly suspicious occurrence. The brother took his future brother-in-law to climb the Zugspitze and himself acted as guide.

They lost their way on the mountain, ran into trouble and only with difficulty avoided a fall. The patient offered little objection to my interpretation of this adventure as an attempted murder and suicide. After some six or nine months he had completely regained his ability to work, and broke off the analysis in order to take his examination and write his dissertation.

A year or more later he returned — now a Ph. I know it was in October that he started again, and it was a few weeks later that, in some connection or other, he told me the following story. There lived in Munich a fortune-teller who enjoyed a great reputation. The Bavarian princes used to visit her when they had any undertaking in mind. All that she required was to be supplied with a date.

I omitted to enquire whether this had to include the date of the year. It was understood that the date was that of the birth of some particular person, but she did not ask whose. Having been given this date, she would consult her astrological books, make long calculations and finally utter a prophecy about the person concerned. In the previous March my patient resolved to visit the fortune-teller. So he must be alive. The prophecy was made in March and was to be fulfilled during the height of the summer.

What do you find so wonderful in that? My brother-in-law is passionately fond of crayfish and oysters and so on, and last August he really did have an attack of crayfish-poisoning and almost died of it. Let us now consider this case. He is entirely trustworthy and is at present lecturer in philosophy at K I can think of no motive which could have induced him to bamboozle me. I myself was so much struck — to tell the truth, so disagreeably affected — that I omitted to make any analytic use of his tale.

And the observation seems to me equally unobjectionable from another point of view. It is certain that the fortune-teller was not acquainted with the man who put the question. Do not forget how many people are born on the same day. Is it credible that the similarity of the futures of people born on the same day can be carried down to such details as this?

If you grant the genuineness and truth of this observation, its explanation will be near. And we at once find — and this is the case with the majority of these phenomena — that its explanation on an occult basis is remarkably adequate and covers what has to be explained completely, except that it is so unsatisfying in itself. It was, however, present in the mind of her questioner. The event becomes completely explicable if we are ready to assume that the knowledge was transferred from him to the supposed prophetess — by some unknown method which excluded the means of communication familiar to us.

That is to say, we must draw the inference that there is such a thing as thought-transference. We have found similar distracting contrivances employed for instance, in the case of jokes where there is a question of securing a more automatic discharge for some mental process. It teaches us that what has been communicated by this means of induction from one person to another is not merely a chance piece of indifferent knowledge. It shows that an extraordinarily powerful wish harboured by one person and standing in a special relation to his consciousness has succeeded, with the help of a second person, in finding conscious expression in a slightly disguised form — just as the invisible end of the spectrum reveals itself to the senses on a light-sensitive plate as a coloured extension.

I could quote a parallel to this from a dream dreamt by another person , in which a prophecy was part of the subject-matter. The analysis of the dream showed that the content of the prophecy coincided with the fulfilment of a wish. For it had been made conscious during the treatment the year before and the consequences which had followed from its repression had yielded to the treatment. But it still persisted, and, though it was no longer pathogenic, it was sufficiently intense.

In the city of F a child grew up who was the eldest of a family of five, all girls. Her mother was older than her father and not an agreeable person. Her father — and it was not in years only that he was the younger — saw a lot of the little girls and impressed them by his many dexterities. The eldest girl became at an early age the repository of all the worries that arose from his lack of earning power.

Once she had left behind the rigid and passionate character of her childhood, she grew up into a regular mirror of all the virtues. Her high moral feelings were accompanied by a narrowly limited intelligence. She became a teacher in an elementary school and was much respected. The timid homage paid to her by a young relation who was a music teacher left her unmoved. No other man had hitherto attracted her notice. He was a foreigner who lived in Russia as the head of a large commercial undertaking and had grown very rich.

It took nothing less than a world war and the overthrow of a great despotism to impoverish him. He fell in love with his young and severe cousin and asked her to be his wife. Her parents put no pressure on her, but she understood their wishes. Behind all her moral ideals she felt the attraction of the fulfilment of a wishful phantasy of helping her father and rescuing him from his necessitous state. She calculated that her cousin would give her father financial support so long as he carried on his business and pension him when he finally gave it up, and that he would provide her sisters with dowries and trousseaux so that they could get married.

And she fell in love with him, married him soon afterwards and followed him to Russia.


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Except for a few occurrences which were not entirely understandable at first sight and whose significance only became evident in retrospect, everything went very well in the marriage. She grew into an affectionate wife, sexually satisfied, and a providential support to her family. She was now 27 years old and in the eighth year of her marriage. She lived in Germany, and after overcoming every kind of hesitation she went for a consultation to a German gynaecologist. With the usual thoughtlessness of a specialist, he assured her of recovery if she underwent a small operation.

She agreed, and on the eve of the operation discussed the matter with her husband. He told her to countermand the operation, as the blame for their childlessness was his. During a medical congress two years earlier he had learnt that certain illnesses can deprive a man of the capacity to procreate children.

An examination had shown that such was the case with him. After this revelation the operation was abandoned. She herself suffered from a temporary collapse, which she vainly sought to disguise. She had only been able to love him as a substitute father, and she had now learnt that he never could be a father. There remained one other way out, which is what interests us in her case. She fell seriously ill of a neurosis. For a time she put up a defence against various temptations with the help of an anxiety neurosis, but later her symptoms changed into severe obsessional acts.

She spent some time in institutions and eventually, after her illness had lasted for ten years, came to me. On one occasion, when she was perhaps 40 years old, the patient told me an episode dating back to the time when her depression was beginning, before the outbreak of her obsessional neurosis. To divert her mind, her husband had taken her with him on a business trip to Paris. She asked one of the hotel servants what was happening and was told that Monsieur le Professeur had arrived for consultations in his little room near the hotel entrance.

My patient declared that she would go in and have her fortune told. Her husband dissuaded her, saying it was nonsense. You will get married and have two children by the time you are My comment that it was nevertheless unfortunate that the date laid down by the prophecy had already gone by some eight years made no impression on her.