What is at Stake in Lacanian Theory

It is argued that what is at stake in psychoanalytic theory, is first of all psychoanalytic practice, i.e. the endeavour to guide the psychoanalyst in bringing his conception of his experience above the level of common sense knowledge. Secondly, psychoanalytic theory must be constructed in such a way that it holds out from a scientific point of view. More specifically, Lacanian theory is a theory on the subject, on desire and on jouissance and must be situated in the intersection of cognitivism (the symbolic) and ethology (the imaginary), while it introduces a third dimension, that of the jouissance (the real). Furthermore, it is argued that psychoanalysis discovered that in the human animal language has emancipated itself from its operational function in that it parasitizes and transforms animal jouissance.

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About Lacanian Practice: Ethics, Technique, and the Clinic versus Today’s Discontent of Desire

Rejecting the formalism of the IPA, lacanian practice is subject to the technique of Speaking Well. The cure is a dialectical experience aimed at desire which moreover affects jouissance. The analyst engages his or her subjectivity, judgement and desire in the cure. The present day analyst must reinvent his or her practice in order to respond to the effects of jouissance which arise out of capitalist discourse. He or she must guard against reverting to a master discourse and persist in carrying the question of desire .

Suicide and Death-Drives

The death-drive runs as a red thread through a reading of Lacan. Starting from a clinic of suicide, Lacan proposes a theory whih is based on a split that is present at every level of the human structure: the real (biological), the imaginary (narcissistic), the symbolic (linguistic), up to and including the fantasma (primordial masochism). We attempt to draw a lesson from this concerning the cure and the problematic field of mental health.

Oedipus, Freud’s dream

It is argued that Freud’s analysis of Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex should be read in the context of his Interpretation of Dreams. There it figures in the chapter on typical dreams of the death of beloved persons, dreams from which Freud infers a murderous desire directed to the father. Later, Freud admitted that this view involved his own reaction to the death of his father. For Freud, the latter constitutes the most importance experience in a man’s life. From then onwards however, the theme of the murder of the father is revealed as a fantasm that hides the castration of the father with which the son is confronted when his own father dies. With reference to the hellenistic commentaries on Oedipus Rex, a Lacanian interpretation of the tragedy is proposed. It is argued that Oedipus Rex is the tragedy of the subject and his responsibility when Mythical discourse was replaced by the Master discourse, in which the Master figures both as father of a castrated reality and as mythical father who escapes castration. Castration consists precisely of the loss of jouissance introduced by the Master discourse. Eventually it is argued that, for Lacan, the castration complex comes down to the truth of the Oedipus complex.

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Violence and Discourse

Using Lacan’s notion of capitalist discourse, the author provides support for the comprehension of actual discontent in our civilisation, for the “new symptoms” and for new forms of violence. Capitalist discourse substitutes the normative function of the law with the ideology of liberty. But the liberated man is isolated and his freedom is deceptive: he is increasingly dependant on the consumption of objects that provide him with a plus-de-jouir. A purely capitalist discourse is nothing but an ultraliberal utopia and its crises can only provoke the return of the master discourse, or worse, of the totalitarian discourse. Psychoanalytic discourse is considered as an alternative, albeit that it requires passage via the hysterical discourse.

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