11 December 2006

Lacan or Weltanschaung? The Discussion Continues

My Argentinian friend, the analyst Gracelia Ferraro, has honored me with another letter responding to my remarks about the situation of psychoanalysis in the United States and asked that I post it here. I have been remiss in not posting it earlier and hope she will graciously accept my apology. Gracelia writes,
One addition to Lacan's "obscurantism" and the difficulty of reading his work: Lacan uses this speech to make "real", as a dream, that there is no sense of senses or there is no metalanguage. The unconscious is never clear or rational but always enigmatic and I appreciated the difficulties in reading Lacan as part of my training as an analyst. So even if I agree with the fact that simplifying may be useful from the teaching point of view, very useful, the thesis that it is efficacious "transmitting" an encounter with how the rhetoric of the unconscious works is quite inane. We see here the same ethical problem that haunted Freud during the last years of his discoveries. Should we do anything to keep the psychoanalysis alive? (See Ernest Jones’s discussion with Freud about the foundation of the IPA as related to medical vs. psychoanalytical practice). Should we keep its foundations intact with such a high price to pay: fewer analysts with no social or academic achievements? We have to keep in mind that Lacan’s interest in the institution pertains to his question of how an analyst is made. What desire animates an analyst? How does one's own analysis leads to it?

I understand the cultural context you explain as being representative of our cultural differences, and obviously you must be correct according to what I can read elsewhere. However in my country, the problems are of a different shape but lead to the same problem: The Psychoanalytical Institution (APA) loves the symbolic and the mirror stage, but have mixed it with anything at hand resulting in a lame heterodoxy or heterology , while keeping the “contratransferencial” form of interpretation.

We cannot make ourselves the keepers of orthodoxy or the “truth” which being half said reaches the impossible, but we have to care about the enigmatic shape of unconscious and not confuse it with either the mystical or over rational “scientific” biases. That is how I understand what is at stake with Lacan's engagement with knots or mathemes within his discourse: a complete “transmission” of the concept.

How can the Academy can take the extreme and exceptionally precise enunciation "there is not a sexual proportion"? what biologist will agree?. We can trace this extraordinary (for the common sense) assumption back to Freud. But you see Levi, these are questions not discussed, we prefer to see Lacanian “concepts” everywhere except where they have to be seen: at the less-one of the subject, the parletre … Many think that Lacan is a structuralist because of Derrida's influence on Academics (I guess). We need to stress this point if we don’t want to be so divided between our practice and “ the world”.
I have nothing more to add, except perhaps to raise the question of whether the subject is, in fact, present in discussions of Lacan in the United States. By this I am not referring to the level of the concept, where one heroically defends the concept of the subject against postmodern, neuropsychological, and post-phenomenological declarations that the subject is dead. Within Lacanian practice, the subject is never encountered as such, but always fades behind the signifier, disappearing the moment that it appears. The subject is present as enigma. What the appropriations of psychoanalysis by cultural studies risks is an illusory mastery of the subject or suturing shut of the unconscious on the premise that psychoanalysis provides the tools to decipher all formations of the unconscious.

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Anonymous Dr X said...

Very interesting discussion. Just want to let you know that someone is listening.

December 11, 2006 5:16 PM  
Blogger Sinthome said...

Thanks! Lot's of interesting associations going on over at Dr X's Free Associations. The posts on fundamentalism are terrific.

December 12, 2006 12:50 AM  
Anonymous grace ferraro said...

Dear sinthome: the lack of interest in the subject let me a bit "down" but later I have to confessed that it change into some kind of happiness (no bipolar disease here)because it make me think again in an old idea of mine. should Psychoanlysis became a sect? dont worry I am not talking about scientology or such things but the Old Greek platonic Liceum,or the orphics...few people interested in study, learning, reaserching...outside the "reality" not the phantasy, goes by...sophisms in a way has won the battle against philosophy

December 21, 2006 9:22 AM  

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