Apparently, in about 3-4 months, the psychoanalytic group of which I am a member will feature a debate or discussion on the topic of Jacques-Alain Miller and his followers’ contributions to Lacanian discourse: the ‘One-all-alone’, the real unconscious, the ‘autism’ of jouissance, generalised foreclosure, the limits of meaning, the non-existence of the Other, the non-existence of symbolic paternity in particular, etc. Without dismissing JAM’s contributions in toto, I’m not likely to be on the pro-JAM side of the aisle. The practical effects of JAM’s positions are not entirely benign. They include racism, homophobia and transphobia, a blindness to colonialism, paranoia as an institutional imperative, and the abolition of the Freudian unconscious, as well as sublimation. I’ll turn to some of these another time.Continue reading
The scene was the mass uprising of students and workers across France in 1968. Famously, Lacan engaged with some of the students involved in the attempt at revolution. Two IPA analysts, writing under a pseudonym, denounced the students as would-be Stalinists acting out their infantile Oedipal problems. The IPA analysts, however, were not merely expressing a political opinion, but explicitly articulated their position in terms of the psychoanalytic jargon of their school, lending it a veneer of ‘scientific’ authority. It is a good example of University discourse, in other words, in that it places (psychoanalytic) knowledge at the centre of what in fact is a thinly-veiled partisan political intervention. (This great piece by Rabaté discusses the episode at length).Continue reading
The following is taken from a presentation at a conference by the Lacan Circle of Australia in Melbourne, 16/2/19. The conference was organised in response to this edition of The Lacanian Review, featuring a new translation of Lacan’s Preface to Seminar XI, and Jacques-Alain Miller’s extensive commentary thereof.
The following is taken from one session in a series of introductory seminars as part of the Lacan Circle of Melbourne’s activities.
There is an interesting remark by Miller, in a paper from 2012 on the aims of psychoanalysis. ‘The psychoanalyst’s routine is therapeutic. His business is with the symptom that has to be cured.’ Psychoanalysts can put on airs, and ascribe lofty goals to their practice, but people come to consult with an analyst because something is causing them suffering. As Miller says, ‘If somebody goes to see a psychoanalyst for the sake of knowledge and not to get rid of a symptom it is not very certain that his demand can be received’. So, whatever one may learn of oneself in the course of analysis, analytic praxis is not reducible to a quest for knowledge. Continue reading
There are no shortage of psychoanalytic theories of psychosis. The Lacanian account of psychosis that derives from the 1950s – and which we may think of as ‘classical’, in Lacanian psychoanalysis – can be found best expressed in Seminar 3, and the paper entitled ‘On a question prior to any possible treatment of psychosis’ in the Écrits. To put it very simply, psychosis is conceived of as a structure, not a checklist of symptoms, or a particular phenomenological condition. Where neurosis is characterised by the fundamental operation of repression, and perversion by disavowal, in psychosis, foreclosure is paramount. To illustrate: in repression, signifiers and thoughts become unconscious. It is as if they were swept under a carpet; out of sight, but leaving a lump, nonetheless. In foreclosure, not only is the same material not swept under the carpet, but it is never admitted entry in the first place. This has ramifications for a subject’s entire place and function within the symbolic order (i.e. the order of discourse and law). It is as if a set of organising principles are lacking, at least, relative to those found in neurosis under repression. Continue reading
I may say that in the last teaching, Lacan is very close to saying that all of the symbolic order is a delusion, including his own construction of the symbolic order. Continue reading
There is a tradition among certain psychoanalytic writers and schools, to decline any engagement with the world outside of analysis. In this tradition, psychoanalytic literature becomes a continual exegesis of the master(s), devoid of reference points to the world beyond. Thankfully, Eric Laurent and his colleagues are most definitely not of this tradition, as Laurent’s new book, Lost in Cognition, demonstrates amply. Continue reading
In psychoanalysis, there is a clear distinction to be made between guilt and shame. Guilt implies a relation to the law. The law is the flipside of desire*, since its instantiation generates the possibility of its transgression (and hence of enjoyment through transgression). Thus, the law limits and regulates the very enjoyment it makes possible.
Shame, by way of contrast, involves no transgression, but it does always imply a relation to an Other. Continue reading