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There's a problem loading this menu right now. After all, Freud writes, Trume, dreams, sind auch erinnern, are also a way of remembering. Can you see where this is all leading to? As I told you just a moment ago, the restitution of the subject's wholeness appears in the guise of a restoration of the past.
But the stress is always placed more on the side of reconstruction than on that of reliving, in the sense we have grown used to calling affective. The precise reliving - that the subject remembers something as truly belonging to him, as having truly been lived through, with which he communicates, and which he adopts - we have the most explicit indication in Freud's writings that that is not what is essential.
What is essential is reconstruction, the term he employs right up until the end. There is something truly remarkable here, which would be paradoxical if we gained access to it without having an awareness of the meaning it may take on in the register of speech, which I am trying here to highlight as being necessary to the understanding of our experience.
I would say - when all is said and done, it is less a matter of remembering than of rewriting history. I tell you what there is in Freud. That doesn't imply that he was right; but this thread is continuous, permanently subjacent to his thought's development. He never abandoned something which can only be put in the way I've found of saying it - rewriting history - a formula which allows one to put in perspective the various directions that he gives apropos of little details in the narratives within analysis.
Certain authors maintain that analysis is a sort of homeopathic discharge by the subject of his fantasised understanding of the world. In their view, this fantasised understanding should, little by little, within the day-to-day experience taking place in the consulting-room, boil down, transform itself, and achieve a new equilibrium within a given relation to the real. What is emphasised here, as you see, in clear contrast to Freud, is the transformation of the fantasised relation in the course of a relation which one calls, without further ado, real Certainly one can formulate these matters in a more open fashion, sufficiently nuanced to accommodate the plurality of the expression, as has been done by someone to whom I have already referred here, who has written on technique.
None of which, in the end, stops it from coming back to that. Some peculiar repercussions thereby result, which we will be in a position to point to when we come to our commentary on the Freudian texts. How did the practice that Freud initiated get transformed into a manipu lation of the analyst-analysand relationship in the sense that I have just outlined? That's the fundamental question that we will be encountering in the course of the study we are undertaking. The ideas that Freud introduced in the period immediately after that of the Papers on Technique, namely those of the three agencies, were greeted, employed, and dealt with in such a way as to result in this transformation.
Of the three, the ego took on the greatest importance. Since then all subsequent development of analytic technique has revolved around the conception of the ego, and that is where we must locate the source of all the difficulties arising out of the theoretical elaboration on this development in practice.
There is, without doubt, a world of difference between what we actually do in this sort of den where the patient talks to us and where, from time to time, we talk to him - and the theoretical account that we give of it. Even in Freud, where the gap is infinitely more narrow, we have the impression that some distance remains. I am certainly not the only one to have asked myself the question - what was Freud really doing? Bergler asked this question in plain black and white, and answers that we don't really know much, apart from what Freud himself allowed us to see when he himself set down, also in plain black and white, the fruits of certain of his experiences, namely hisfivegreat case-histories.
They are the best introduction we have to the manner in which Freud behaved. But it really does seem as if the character of this experience cannot be reproduced in its concrete reality.
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For one very simple reason, on which I have already insisted - the singularity of the analytic experience, when it comes to Freud. It really was Freud who opened up this path of experience. This in itself gave him an absolutely unique perspective, as his dialogue with the patient demonstrates. As one can sense all the time, the patient is for him only a sort of prop, or question, or sometimes even a check, along the path that he, Freud, took alone.
Hence, the drama, in the true sense of the word, of his quest. The drama which, in each of the cases he gave us, ends in failure. Throughout his life, Freud followed the paths that he opened up in the course of this experience, attaining in the end something that one could call a promised land. One cannot say, however, that he entered into it. You need only read what can be considered to be his testament, 'Analysis terminable and interminable', in order to see that if there was one thing that he was aware of, it was that he hadn't entered into it, into the promised land.
This article isn't recommended reading for all and sundry, fofnyone who knows how to read luckily there are not that many people who do know how to read - it is a difficult one to digest if you happen to be an analyst - if you aren't an analyst, you don't give a toss. Those whofindthemselves in a position to follow Freud are confronted with. So, we cannot do anything else but gather together what we will contribute to it under the heading of a critique, a critique of analytic technique. Technique is, and can only be, of any value to the extent that we understand wherein lies the fundamental question for the analyst who adopts it.
Well then, we should note first of all that we hear the ego spoken of as the ally of the analyst, and not only the ally, but the sole source of knowledge. The only thing we know of is the ego, that's the way it is usually put. Anna Freud, Fenichel, nearly all those who have written about analysis since , say it over and over again - We speak only to the ego, we are in communication with the ego alone, everything is channelled via the ego.
On the other hand, in contrast, every advance made by this ego psychology can be summed up as follows - the ego is structured exactly like a symptom. At the heart of the subject, it is only a privileged symptom, the human symptom par excellence, the mental illness of man. To translate the analytic ego in this quick and shorthand manner is at best to sum up what emerges from a straightforward reading of Anna Freud's book, The Ego and the Mechanisms of Defence. One cannot avoid being struck by the fact that the ego is constructed and is to be located within the subject as a whole, just as a symptom.
Nothing differentiates the one from the other. No objection can be made to this quite dazzling argument. No less dazzling is the fact that things have got so confused that the catalogue of defence mechanisms which make up the ego is as heterogeneous a list as one could conceive of. Anna Freud herself underscores this very clearly - to bring repression closer to notions such as the turning of the drive against its object, or the inversion of its aims, is to put side by side elements which are in no respect homogeneous.
Given the point where we still find ourselves, perhaps we cannot do any better now. But we can still highlight the profound ambiguity of the conception analysts entertain of the ego - which is the only thing to which one has access, despite also being only another hindrance, a failure [acte manqu], a slip. At the start of his chapters on analytic interpretation, Fenichel speaks of the ego as everyone does, and feels the need to say that it plays the essential role of being a function by which the subject learns the meaning of words.
So,fromthe very start, then, Fenichel is at the heart of the matter. Everything is there. The issue is knowing whether the meaning of the ego exceeds the self [moi]. If this function is a function of the ego, everything that follows in Fenichel's account is incomprehensible, and, besides, he doesn't press the point.
I say that it is a slip of the pen, since it isn't pursued, and everything that goes on from there amounts to saying the opposite, and leads him to the conclusion that, in the end, the id and the ego amount to exactly the same thing, which isn't about to clarify matters. But, I repeat, either the subsequent argument is unthinkable. This ego, what is it? What is the subject caught up in, which is, beyond the meaning of words, a completely different matter -, language, whose role is formative, quite fundamental in his history.
With respect to Freud's Papers on Technique we will have to ask ourselves these questions, which will take us a long way - but only on condition that, it isfirstof all in relation to each of our experiences. It will also be incumbent upon us, when we try to engage in discussions taking as our starting point the present state of theory and technique, to ask ourselves what was already implicit in what Freud brought us. What, perhaps, already inclined him towards those formulae to wttich we are now led in our practices?
What constraints might there be in the manner in which we are led to look at things? Or, in what sense does something that has happened since amount to being a development, a more rigorous systmatisation which corresponds better to reality? This is the register within which our commentary will take on its meaning. At the end of the last few lectures I delivered to you, you had a taste of a reading of what can be called the psychoanalytic myth. The direction of this reading is not so much that of criticism as of gauging the reality which confronted it, and to which it offers its mythical reply.
Well, the problem is more restricted, but also much more pressing, where technique is concerned. Indeed, the scrutiny that we will have to engage in of everything pertaining to our technique falls within the purview of our own discipline. If we have to differentiate the actions and the behaviour of the subjectfromwhat he says to us about them in the session, I would say that our actual behaviour in the analytic session is just as farfromthe theoretical account that we give of it. But this is only afirsttruth, which only has significance in so far as it may be reversed, and at the same time mean -just as close.
The fundamental absurdity of interhuman behaviour can only be comprehended in the light of this system as Melanie Klein so happily called it, not knowing, as usual, what she was saying - called the human ego, naively that set of defences, of denials [ngations], of dams, of inhibitions, of fundamental fantasies which orient and direct the subject. Well then, the theoretical conception we have of our technique, even if it doesn't coincide exactly with what we are doing, doesn't structure any the less, or motivate any the less, the least of our interventions with the said patients.
And that is precisely what is so serious. Because we have effectively allowed ourselves - in the sense, revealed to us by analysis, in which we allow ourselves things, without knowing it - to bring our ego into play in the analysis. Since it is argued that one is trying to bring about the patient's readaptation to the real, one really ought tofindout if it is the analyst's ego which offers the measure of the real.
To be sure, it isn't enough to have a definite conception of the ego for our ego to come into play like a bull in the china shop of our relation to the patient. But a certain way of conceiving of the function of the ego in analysis does have some relation to a certain practice of analysis that we might well call inauspicious. I am only opening up the question.
It is our task to resolve it. The totality of each of our world systems - 1 am referring to the concrete system which doesn't have to be already spelled out for it to be there, which does not pertain to the order of the unconscious, but which acts in the manner in which we express ourselves in daily life, in the smallest spontaneous detail of our discourse - is that something which must in actual fact, yea or nay, be employed in analysis as the yardstick? I think I have opened up the question sufficiently for you now to see the point of what we can do together.
Mannoni, will you get together with one of your neighbours, Anzieu for instance, to study the notion of resistance in those of Freud's writings available to you under the title On Psychoanalytic Technique, published by Presses Universitaires? Will two others, Perrier and Granoff for instance, collaborate on the same topic?
Then we will see how to proceed. We will let ourselves be guided by experience itself. Mannoni's presentation. We should offer our heartiest thanks to Mannoni who has given us a most happy prologue to the resumption of the seminar's dialogue. Nonetheless, he has distinctly phenomenological leanings, and I don't think that the solution has quite the form that he leads us to believe - as he himself has sensed.
But it is useful to haveframedthe question as he has, by speaking of an interpersonal mechanism, although the word 'mechanism' can only be an approximation at this juncture. Anzieu's presentation. Freud explains, apropos of Lucy R.
Later on, he says that he stopped worrying about this, and even renounced seeking an answerfromthe subject to the question, in accordance with the classical method, are you asleep? Within the limits of the most perfect ambiguity, he quite clearly states that all this put him in a most embarrassing position, which only came to an end the day he no longer cared one way or the other.
But he retained the pressure of hands, either on the forehead or on either side of the head, and at the same time he asked the patient to concentrate upon the cause of the symptom. That was an intermediary stage between dialogue and hypnosis. The symptoms were dealt with one by one, in themselves, tackled directly like so many formal problems. In Freud's hands, the patient was assured that the memories which were going to come forth were the most relevant ones, that all he had to do was trust in that.
And Freud added the detail that it would be at the moment when he removed his hands - mimicking the lifting of the barrier - that the patient would be completely aware, and would only have to take hold of what came into his mind in order to be certain of being on the right track. It is quite remarkable that this method proved itself perfectly effective, for the cases which Freud tells us of. Indeed, the case of Lucy R which is so elegant, was entirely solved, with an effortlessness which has all the beauty of works by primitives. You'll find happy chance, a benevolent divine conjunction, in everything new that is discovered.
In contrast, with Anna 0. It required work of extended scope, lasting almost a year. In the case of Lucy R. Undoubtedly we aren't truly able to see where the mainsprings lie, on account of its being too compressed, but, even so, it is of enormous use. This woman had what one could call olfactory hallucinations, hysterical symptoms, and their signification was detected, with locations and dates, in an altogether happy manner. On this occasion, Freud reveals all the minutiae of his way of working. What that was, we can only guess at on the basis of a number of rules which he has given us, and which have been faithfully applied.
As the best authors, and those who knew Freud, have admitted, one cannot gain a complete conception of the way in which he applied the technique. I must emphasise the fact that Freud progressed on a course of research which is not characterised by the same style as other scientific research. Its domain is that of the truth of the subject. The quest for truth is not entirely 2. What is at stake is the realisation of the truth of the subject, like a dimension peculiar to it which must be detached in its distinctiveness [originalit] in relation to the very notion of reality -1 have emphasised this in all of this year's lectures.
Freud was taken up in the quest for a truth which engaged him totally, including there his own self, and hence also his presence with respect to the patient in his function, let us say, of therapist - even though the term is completely inadequate as a description of his attitude. As Freud himself said, this engagement gave an absolutely unique character to his relations with his patients. To be sure, analysis as a science is always a science of the particular. The coming to fruition of an analysis is always a unique case, even if these unique cases lend themselves all the same to some generality, since there is more than one analyst.
But with Freud the analytic experience represents uniqueness carried to its limit,fromthe fact that he was in the process of building and verifying analysis itself. We cannot obliterate the fact that it was thefirsttime that an analysis was undertaken. Doubtless the method is derivedfromit, but it is only method for other people. Freud, for his part, did not apply a method.
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If we overlook the unique and inaugural character of his endeavour, we will be committing a serious error. Analysis is an experience of the particular. The veryfirstexperience of this particular thus takes on an even more peculiar value. If we do not emphasise the difference between thisfirsttime and everything that has followed since, we, who are interested not so much in this truth as in the construction of the access roads to this truth, will never be able to grasp the meaning of certain sentences, certain texts, which come into view in Freud's oeuvre, and subsequently take on, in other contexts, a completely different meaning, even though one might consider them to be stencilled one on top of the other.
The interest of these commentaries on the Freudian texts allows us to follow out in detail those questions which - as you will see, as you already see today have a considerable importance. They are numerous and insidipus - strictly speaking the sort of questions that each and everyone of us is careful to avoid, relying instead on a jingle, a formula which is schematic, abbreviated and vivid. What's striking about the passage that you refer to is that it takes offfromthe pseudo-anatomical metaphor called to mind whenever Freud talks about.
Here, what is stratified around the pathogenic nucleus calls to mind a bundle of papers, a score with several registers. These metaphors overpoweringly tend to suggest the materialisation of speech, not the mythical materialisation of the neurologists, but a concrete materialisation - speech begins to flow in the leaves of a printed manuscript.
The metaphor of the blank page, of the palimpsest, is also taken up on another occasion. Here we come upon the idea of several longitudinal strata, that is to say of several threads of discourse. One may imagine them as rendered material in the text in the form of literally concrete bundles. There is a stream of parallel words, and these broaden out at a certain moment to encompass this famous pathogenic nucleus which itself is also a story, they move away from it in order to include it and join up a little further on. The phenomenon of resistance is to be located precisely at this point.
There are two directions, one longitudinal and one radial. Resistance acts in the radial direction, when one wants to get closer to the threads which lie at the heart of the bundle. It is the result of an attempt to move from the external registers towards the centre. From the repressed nucleus a positive repulsive force is exerted, and when one strives to reach the threads of the discourse which are closest to it, you feel resistance.
Freud even goes so far as to write, not in the Studies, but in a later text, published under the title Mtapsychologie that the strength of the resistance is inversely proportional to one's distance from the repressed centre. It makes manifest the materialisation of resistance acquired in the course of experience, and precisely, as Mannoni put it just now, in the subject's discourse.
In order to know where it is happening [o a se passe], what the material, biological foundation is, Freud quite straightforwardly takes the discourse to be a reality in its own right, a reality which is there, a sheaf, a bundle of proofs as one also calls it, a bundle of juxtaposed discourses which overlap, follow on from each other, forming a dimension, a layer, a dossier. The notion of a material support of speech, singled out as such, was not yet available to Freud.
Today, he would have taken the succession of phonemes which make up a part of the subject's discourse as the basis for his metaphor. He would say that one encounters greater and greater resistance the closer the subject comes to a discourse which would be the ultimate one, the right one, but one which he absolutely refuses.
At the timeUcan spoke, the article was to be found in French in Mtapsychologie, trans. Bonaparte and A. Berman, Paris: Gallinard, In the attempt at synthesis that you are making, what has not perhaps been highlighted is the question which however is in the foreground, where resistance is concerned - the question concerning the relations of the unconscious and the conscious.
Is resistance a phenomenon which occurs only in analysis?
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Or is it something we can talk about when the subject goes about his business outside of analysis, and even before he enters into it, or after he has left it? Does resistance continue to have a meaning outside of analysis? There is a discussion of resistance in the analysis of dreams, to which neither of you have referred, and which nevertheless constitutes the implicit hypothesis behind some of the problems both of you have raised, since Freud there asks himself about the inaccessible nature of the unconscious.
And rightfromthe start,fromFreud's initial researches, resistance is linked to the idea of the ego. But when one reads some startling sentences in the text of the Studies, where it is not just a question of the ego as such, but of the ego as representing the ideational mass, one realises that the notion of the ego already foreshadows for Freud all the problems that it now presents for us. I would almost say that it is a notion with retroactive effect. It even seems,fromreading these early pieces in the light of what has developed since around the ego, that the most recent formulations mask, rather than reveal.
One cannot but see in this phrase, the ideational mass,6 something very close to a formula that I could have given you, namely that the counter-transference is nothing other than the function of the analyst's ego, what I have called the sum total of the analyst's prejudices. Thus, one discovers in the patient a whole organisation of certainties, beliefs, of coordinates, of references, which constitute in the strictest sense what Freudrightfromthe beginning called an ideational system, which we can in an abbreviated manner here call the system. Does resistance stem onlyfromthat? When, at the limit of this domain of speech which is exactly the ideational mass of the ego, I portrayed for you the sum of silence after which another speech again makes its appearance, that speech which is to be reconquered in the unconscious since it is that part of the subject separatedfromhis history - is that resistance?
Is it, yea or nay, purely and simply the ego's organisation which, in and of itself, constitutes resistance? Is this what makes it difficult to gain access to the contents of the unconscious in the radial dimension - to use Freud's term? That is a very simple question, too simple, insoluble, as such.
Fortunately, in thefirstthirty years of this century, analytic technique made sufficient progress, has been through enough experimental phases to distin guish its own questions. That is applying to analysis itself the schema that it has taught us. After all, isn't it itself a roundabout way of having access to the unconscious? It also raises to the second degree the problem that is set for us by neurosis.
I am only making a claim for this now, you'll see it demonstrated as we examine it. What do I want? You see that I push what I say quite far - it is incumbent on us to submit even analysis to the operational schema that it has taught us and which consists in reading enough in the different phases of its theoretico-technical development to advance further towards the reconquest of the authentic reality of the unconscious by the subject. This method will require us to go well beyond the simple formal catalogue of procedures or of conceptual categories.
Submitting analysis to an examination which is itself analytic is a step which will reveal its fertility in relation to technique, as fertile as it has already revealed itself in relation to Freud's clinical writings. Psychoanalytic writings swarm with improprieties of method. These are difficult themes to deal with, to verbalise, without giving the verb a subject, in addition we are always reading that the ego emits the signal of anxiety, handles the life instinct, death instinct - one no longer knows where the switch board, the signalman, the pointer is.
All of this is quite improper. We are continually finding Maxwell's little demons making an appearance in analytic writing, possessing foresight, intelligence. The annoying thing is that analysts do not have a clear idea of the nature of these demons. We're here to discover what the evocation of the notion of the ego means from one end to the other of Freud's work. It's impossible to understand what this notion represents as it began to emerge with the work of the s, with the studies on the psychology of groups and Dos Ich und das Es, if one starts by drowning everything in a sum total, under the pretext that what is involved is the apprehension of a certain aspect of the psyche.
That's not at all what the ego is in Freud's work. It has a functional role, linked to technical necessities. The triumvirate who work in New York, Hartmann, Loewenstein and Kris, in its current attempt to elaborate a psychology of the ego, is always asking itself - what was Freud trying to get at in his last theory of the ego? Has anyone up to. I am not interpreting, I am only repeating what can be found in Hartmann's two or three most recent articles.
In the Psychoanalytic Quarterly for , you'll find three articles by Loewenstein, Kris and Hartmann on this topic, which are worth reading. It can't be said that they lead to a fully satisfying formulation, but they are looking in that direction, and propose theoretical principles which have very important technical applications, which according to them have not been noticed. It is very interesting to follow the development of this work in a series of articles we have seen appear over several years, especially since the end of the war. I believe that what has happened there is a very significant failure, one which has to be very instructive for us.
In any case, there is a world of difference between the ego as discussed in the Studies, the ideational mass, container of ideations, and thefinaltheory of the ego, such as it had been wrought by Freud himselffrom on, which is still a problem for us. Between the two lies the centralfieldwe are in the process of studying. How did thisfinaltheory of the ego get to see the light of day? It is the apex of Freud's theoretical elaboration, an extremely original and novel theory. Yet, under Hartmann's pen, it seems as if it strove with all its might to merge once again with classical psychology.
Both of these things are true. This theory, Kris writes, brings psychoanalysis within general psychology, and, at the same time, constitutes an unprece dented innovation. A paradox that we will highlight here, whether we carry on with the technical papers up to the holidays, or tackle the same problem in Schreber's writings. In Bergman's article, Germinal Cell the germinal cell of analytic observations is taken to be the notion of a rediscovery and restitution of the past.
He refers to the Studien ber Hystrie in order to show how, right up to the end of his work, right up thefinalexpressions of his thought, Freud always kept this notion of the past in the foreground, in a thousand forms, and above all in the form of reconstruction.
In this article, the experience of resistance is therefore in no way considered as central. In contrast, when he set himself to work at the physiological level, he seems to have shown a certain lack of interest. That is one of the reasons why he didn't recognise the importance of the discovery of cocaine. His physiological research was feeble, because it stuck fast to therapeutics. Freud concerned himself with the use of cocaine as an analgesic, and left to one side its anaesthetic value.
Here we are reminding ourselves of a trait of Freud's personality. But to go so far as to say that turning towards psychopathology was for him a compensation is, I believe, a bit excessive. If one reads the works published under the title The Origins of Psycho-analysis and the rediscovered early manuscript in which the theory of the psychic apparatus figures, one realises that he was following the line of contemporary theoretical elaboration of the mechanistic functioning of the nervous apparatus - besides, everyone recognised it.
One shouldn't really be surprised therefore that electrical metaphors are mixed up in it. But nor should you forget that the electric current was experimented with for the first time in the area of nerve conduction, without anyone knowing what the implications would be. What's that? Don't get too excited about it. H Y P P o L i T E: The only thing that allows the analyst to be intelligent, is when this resistance makes the analysand look like an idiot It promotes heightened self-esteem. All the same, the trap of counter-transference, since we have to to call it that, is more insidious than this first plane.
We see here again the mechanism of intellectualisation, understand nature and by that very fact subdue her to oneself, the classical formula of determinism, which allusively refers back to Freud's authoritar ian character, which punctuates the whole of his history, particularly in his relations with heretics as much as with his disciples. I ought to say that if I do speak in this manner, I stopped short of making it the key to the Freudian discovery. Preliminary comments on the problem of resistance What allows you to speak of Freud's hypersensitivity?
You believe that the fact of bringing out a function like resistance indicates a specific intolerance in the subject to whatever resists him? Isn't it, on the contrary, knowing how to conquer it, how to go elsewhere and well beyond, which allowed Freud to turn it into one of the mainsprings of the therapy, a factor which one can render objective, nameable and manageable? You think that Freud was more authoritarian than Charcot? In other words, are those who fail to recognise [mconnaissent] resistance less authoritarian, or is it the person who recognises it for what it is?
I am rather inclined to believe that someone who, in hypnotism, attempts to make an object of the subject, his thing, to make him as supple as a glove so as to give him any form that he chooses, so as to takefromhim what he wants, is, more so than Freud, driven by a need to dominate and exercise his power. In contrast, Freud seems respectful of what is generally known as the object's resistance.
I believe that one must be extremely careful here. We cannot make use of our technique so importunately. When I talk about analysing Freud's work, it's so as to venture into it with unqualified analytic prudence. One shouldn't make a character trait into a constant of the personality, still less a characteristic of the subject. On this topic, you'll find some very hasty thingsfromJones's pen, but things which are nonetheless more subtly put than what you have said.
To think that Freud's career was a compensation for his desire for power, even for his clearcut megalomania, of which moreover one may find traces in remarks he made, I think that's.. Freud's drama, from the moment when he discovers his path, cannot be summarised like that. We have after all learned enough through analysis not to feel ourselves obliged to identify the Freud who dreams of world-domination with the Freudlvho reveals a new truth. It doesn't seem to me to arise out of the same cupido, if not of the same libido. Whereas in the Freudian domination, it is the vanquishing of a subject, a being who still has self-awareness.
Hence there is a stronger will for domination in the domination of the resistance to be conquered than in the simple and straightforward suppression of this. Is domination really what is at stake in Freud's experience? I always have reservations about lots of things which aren't specified in his way of going about things. His interventionism, in particular, Ifindsurprising, if we compare it to some of the technical principles to which we now grant importance.
But you'll find in this interventionism no satisfaction being gained from having won a victory over the patient's consciousness, in contradiction to what Hyppolite says, less, certainly, than in the modern techniques, which put all the emphasis on the resistances.
In Freud wefinda more nuanced attitude, that's to say, more humane. He doesn't always define what is now called interpretation of defence, which is not, perhaps, the best way of putting it. But when all is said and done, interpretation of contents has for Freud the role of interpretation of defence. That is because that's for you. I will try and show you in what way the danger of a forcing of the subject through the analyst's intervention emerges. It's much more out in the open in so-called modern techniques - as one says in talking about analysis the way one talks about chess - than it ever was in Freud.
And I don't believe that the theoretical promulgation of the notion of resistance can be used as a pretext for making this accusation against Freud, an accusation which goes radically against the liberating effect of his work and of his therapeutic activity. For this is well and truly your opinion. Certainly, one should show a spirit of scrutiny, of criticism, with respect to the founding works, but, in this form, it can only serve to increase the mystery, and not at all to throw light on it.
Let usfirstcongratulate Mannoni and Anzieu on their reports, which have the merit of showing us the controversial aspects of the question we are dealing with. As is appropriate to minds well-educated, but only recently initiated into, if not the application of analysis, at least its practice, there was in their reports something quite sharp, even polemical, which is always of value in revealing the problem's vividness.
A very delicate question has been raised, all the more delicate since, as I pointed out in my interruptions, it is very much a present concern for some of us. A reproach has implicitly been levelled at Freud, as to his authoritarianism, alleged to be constitutive of his methodfromthe beginning. That is paradoxical. If anything constitutes the originality of the analytic treatment, it is rather to have perceived at the beginning, rightfromthe start, the problematical relation of the subject to himself. The realfind,the discovery, in the sense I explained to you at the beginning of this year, is to have conjoined this relation with the meaning of symptoms.
It is the subject's refusal of this meaning that poses a problem for him. This meaning must not be revealed to him, it must be assumed by him. In this respect, psychoanalysis is a technique which respects the person - in the sense in which we understand it today, having realised that it had its price - not only respects it, but cannot function without respecting it. It would thus be paradoxical to place in the foreground the idea that analytical technique has as its aim to break down the subject's resistance.
Which isn't to say that the problem doesn't ever arise. Indeed, aren't we aware these days that an analyst doesn't make a single move in the treatment without teaching his students to be always asking themselves, in relation to the patient, the question - What defence has he come up with now? Identity is always embedded in a social context. O n the one hand, it is determined by that context; on the other hand, it is the very condition for our ability to participate in this context.
It might be the case that the violence that is caused by and in turn upholds rela- tions of domination cannot be avoided. However, it can under no circumstances be justified on the basis of the violence of separation. Castration here means mainly separation. O n the one hand, the mother is discovered as belonging to only one sex-that is, fantasies of the phallic- omnipotent mother are corrected. Thereby the mother is also recognized as a figure who cannot fulfill all desires.
Further- more, the child becomes first of all aware of its dependency, which should not be ignored. Lack and liberation condition and limit each other. Likewise, the relation between need or desire and satisfaction or fulfillment begins to change and to become more sophisticated. According to Kristeva, the separation from the mother lets the subject find its identity in the symbolic and thus translates the semiotic movement into the symbolic order , When we pay atten- tion to the parallel structure of the symbolic and the linguistic order, we can also see the connection between the experience of lack and the emergence and acquisition of language.
This law is not available; we are not free to choose it, or if so, then only in the mode of a coerced choice. In the moment of entry into language it is erected as pre-existing, as a law that has always been there and that attains validity through language. Thus, this law indicates both lack and abundance. Rendtorff describes-partially following Lacan, partially surpassing him- the task and limit of the law with respect to its significancefor individuals.
Rather, she intends to draw a connection-relevant for all human beings-between the significanceof lack and abundance and the birth of sociality, of structures and laws. Let me summarize how we are to understand castration: castration corrects fantasies of omnipotence in which a hyperpotent subject thinks itself able to do and to be everything on its own.
Sexual difference also and especially belongs in this context. Castration has to do with mortality, dependency, and sexuality. A phantasma- goric, imaginary potential is released. In many cultures, the completion of this phase and the entry into the society of adults is celebrated by a rite of initiation. Kristeva claims in the following passage that these rituals are superseded by imaginary activities, be they artistically creative or dreamlike. Modern societies have come to offer an invitation to engage in imaginary activities that replace-or merely water down-the rites of passage that other societies require of their adolescents.
Nevertheless, an adult could be entitled to this imaginary only as a reader or spectator of novels, films, or paintings-or as an artist. According to Kristeva, what is special about the modern way in which the individual enters society-the surpassing of initiation by imaginary activi- ties-is that it comes with very few constraints. Nonetheless, the passage to the symbolic is still unavoidable and must be marked by public or official rituals. But is it really legitimate to speak of a weakening of these rituals if we still associate castration with them?
Is it possible to maintain this conception of castratory socialization even though it has become clear that social structures might-but not primarily- limit the individual? The main accomplishment of social order and symbolic structures should be to regulate our communal life and to provide support and orienta- tion for the individual. Or must we understand this choice of words as a tribute to something that exceeds our grasp, something that hurts us without our knowing why?
Does the term castration acknowledge that social acceptance usually does not happen as smoothly as our theoretical conceptions suggest?
Is it meant to indicate that freedom from domination remains utopian and that some people will always manage to profit at the expense of others? Perhaps we will just not live to see this possibility realized. In any case, it is important to point out that the term castration-including symbolic castration-harbors more than the problem of how we accept mortality, sexuality, and dependence.
Should this ambiguity not be indicated by two different words? Even if a pessimistic view of culture is appro- priate, I think that it is important to state very clearly-thereby activating a human ability that I would like to label, freely adapted from Musil, as a sense of possibility Moglichkeitssinn see Musil , l -that a world that can do without actual or symbolic circumcisions is definitely preferable. There are two further reasons for avoiding the talk of castration.
Seminar of Jacques Lacan Book i Freud s Papers on Technique 1953 1954
It seems to me that from a feminist perspective the castration model can only have limited explanatory force. She argues that the fear of being deserted and the fear of not being loved are far greater than the fear of castration see Schlesier Even if these emotions are understood as reactions to a castration in the broader sense, we must still ask the question whether the terminology is necessary and to the point. Does not an approach that continues to work with the castration model of socialization fall behind these insights? The point, after all, is to develop a philosophy that does not engage in a power struggle or in castration.
If a feminist theory contains castrating ele- ments, it should at least not consider castration a principle. Instead, I think of these castrating elements as self-misunderstandings still in need of clarification or as reactions to patriarchal oppression that must be overcome. In Symbolic Castration: A Question, Kristeva herself relativizes and questions the concept of castration , She even admits that it is her own perversion that makes her stay with this choice of words.
However, much is still left open. Why does she choose to stick with the term castration? Why is she not aware-at least at this point-of the implications of her own argument? Why does she not differentiate between a necessary acceptance of lack and unnecessary constraints? Bettina Schmitz 81 zyxwvut As long as the possibility of having an effect on society is understood in exclusively phallic terms, it makes sense to talk about castration.
To change this understanding would require that the critical potential of the concept be elaborated and the logic of victimization Weir be rejected. At this point, the Lacanian concept of castration can be turned into a tool of critique, similar to the Freudian concept of penis envy. In this way, it can serve to uncover underlying presuppositions and-I am being optimistic here-to change them. This intention goes hand in hand with the hope that the rejection of the concept might bring forth the opportunity to develop a better form of socially organized communal life. We are in need of a new idea that allows us to conceive of the entry into society in a way that lets us acknowledge its violent moments and give them their place.
Jane Flax in particular emphasizes that affective bonds with others are much more important for individuality and sociality than the social function of denial. Nor is culture built out of the repression and sublimation of instinctual impulses or from a logic purely external to those subjected to it. The self is nothing but the process of this reconciliation. Despite her use of the term castration, we can find the rudiments of such a model of a social self in Kristeva as well. The idea of a subject that emerges from the mirror stage leads, according to Flax, to a reconciliation of internal and external realities.
A political culture can and must ensue from this reconciliation. We could even say that these two models condition each other because they conceive of one and the same process: one from the perspective of the individual and the other from the perspective of society. The status of citizenship is not any longer a male privilege.
At the same time, structures on the side of the subject are changing as well; matters for a long time beyond the reach of the power of the state are not any longer considered a private affair. The transitional realm in which the mediation between subject and state is unfolding and in which both actually constitute themselves has to be cultivated in order to avoid indifference toward the subject as well as infringements through the state. The relationship between the subject and its institutions has to be balanced out again and again anew.
It is in particular up to the subject-in-process to initiate reflections on gender difference and to make sure that those reflections are integrated into the process of determining justice. In turn, this continuous intervention will have an effect on the reemergence of subjectivity itself. The historical and emotional elements are not only constitutive for language acquisition but also sustained in all speech and writing. The way to an expanded notion of language and subject must be pushed further toward an understanding of society embedded in the event of language.
Kristeva points to such an understanding but this does not suffice. Lack can be understood and sensed as the mutual depen- dence of all human beings. It also makes itself felt as the necessity with which our own needs and desires find both their limitation and their fulfillment in the needs and desires of others. However, we should not give up the hope for a sufficiently good society that does not need to castrate its members, even though we might never feel entirely at home in an existing society. Especially her development of four types of text in Revolution in Poetic Language shows very clearly how she is both inspired by Lacan and yet also modifies his concepts see Kristeva zyxwv , In this time, Kristeva writes texts that are published in the EO:,4TJ volume as well as Le texte du zyxwvu roman The second phase Revolutionin Poetic Language, is characterized by the development of her own linguistic conception.
The essays published in the Polylogue volume fall into this phase, in which the psychoanalytic influence on Kristeva is beginning to emerge. During the third phase, psychoanalysis becomes significant for her also in a more practical manner. For a more comprehensive account see Schmitz Despite several similarities, one cannot straightforwardly compare Levinas and Kristeva.
Ewa Ziarek makes such a n attempt see This does not mean that within her theory there would be no difference between what is said and what is not said. A transposition takes place between those two spheres which is, however, not of central concern for Kristeva. O n subjectivity in this context see also Schopf It is of particular interest for her to question the subject regarding the unconscious.
In terms of psychoanalytic therapy, this means that the subject of true speech must, so to speak, first be born Roudinesco , In accordance with semiotics, the concept of language can be extended to other sign languages. Thus, mute persons can certainly not be regarded as lacking language and therefore as incapable of being subjects. The discussion that could and maybe should ensue from this problem reminds of a debate during the eighteenth century about mute and deaf persons see Bezold , Com- menting on The Elemental Structures of the Family, Lefort accuses L6vi-Strauss of taking the mathematical model for more real than reality itself see Lefort and Dosse , Regardless, structuralism acquires a new awareness of the insight, originally attributable to Kant, that there is no reality for us outside of the structures that we ourselves provide.
Saussure uses this distinction in order to stress the limits on the other side. He wants to emphasize that he was not talking about real things but about representations of objects. To claim that Kristeva wants to reintroduce the real thing-whatever that might be-to language, would be to misunderstand her entirely.
On the contrary, her theory of the process of signification is a n attempt to clarify how our representations of things are constituted by and in language. O n the mirror stage see also Pagel O n the history of the edition of this article see Roudinesco and Pagel and WeiB Kristeva stresses that the semiotic is regulated by a n ordering ordonnuncement while the symbolic is ruled by law loi , Just think of the different views on how babies should be dressed,how and when they should be fed, when they should be toilet trained.
See also LCvi-Strauss ,4. With regards to the problem ofcastration, Roudinesco argues that Lacan did not live according to his own doctrine. Her discussion of the notion of the mother in Stabat Mater shows further under- standing of this ambivalence Kristeva For a discussion of this question see Glass , in particular p. Beside Rendtorff see also David and Schmitz The use of the term zyxwvuts here and in the following passages is to be understood within this broader context of meaning. The same applies to the notion of penis envy, an equally obvious example of a patriarchal construction of femininity that may be used as a tool of critique.
A critical investigation of rituals of circumcision in other cultures-for example, female genital mutilation-shows that circumcision is not meant only symbolically, nor does it apply only to men. See Bion