This article is in three parts. The first part follows J.-A. Miller’s thinking on the unconscious as a subject, as a want-to-be, which gives it an ethical, rather than an ontological, status. This way of thinking is not only in opposition to, but in my opinion also in addition to, a classical mechanical way of thinking about the unconscious. The second part presents the concept of “logical time” and comments briefly on Lacan’s article “Le temps logique et l’assertion de certitude anticipée”. Both in this theoretical part and in the third part, a case study, we find arguments for the position that the unconscious, and psychoanalysis itself, should be approached from an ethical perspective, especially at the point where we meet the S(A/ ).
This article broadly discusses the concept of the death drive. It demonstrates how a biological frame of reference is inadequate for interpreting the (sexual) drive. The notion of the compulsion to repeat helps us to understand why Freud was forced to introduce the death drive and, at the same time, to acknowledge it as being the underlying determining principle of every drive. Making use of the notions das Ding and objet a we show how Lacan’s reading of this controversial concept of the death drive precludes an organic interpretation. Finally, two clinical fragments illustrate how the activity of the death drive may reveal itself.
The way in which obsessional neurosis is dominated by the attempt of the subject to liberate itself from the grasp of the mother is illustrated with a fragment from the analysis of an obsessional man. Both the castration of the mother and the problematic character of the Name-of-the-Father take a central place. It is observed how the subject is hired by the mother in her search for an object capable of filling her lack. This is the seduction of the mother: by pretending that the child would be able to be or to have what she is missing, she strokes its narcissism, and in the process, she rejects the desire of the future obsessional. For its part, the subject starts to desire what the mother demands and is captivated by the metonymic glide of objects, none of which are able to fill the maternal lack. Because of the mortal immobilisation and the constant frustration following from the identification with the phallus, the subject will try to buy itself out of being the phallus by having it. That is what happens at the stage of privation. Refusing to accept the castration of the mother, whether through identification, possession or exploitation of the phallic object, each time the desire of the mother surfaces, it presents an anxious threat for the obsessional, who fears being reduced to that same phallic object. Trying to fine-tune anxiety and desire leads him to construct a paradoxical universe, the frame of which is formed by an Other, designed as both total and without object simultaneously. This Other is no longer grounded in a cut, but is based on a distance: everything which belongs to the field of the real is being pushed into the realm of the hypothetical. Delay and doubt play an important role in this and help to create an “impossible” object, enabling the virtual existence of the Thing to contine.
This article investigates the relationship between the poetic use of language and analytic interpretation. Poetry and psychoanalysis are strongly formalised practices which, by transgressing the laws of discourse, lay bare the intimate relation one has with jouissance, and in doing so, demonstrate many similarities. Both analytic interpretation and poetic scripture are born out of a violence against language, out of an attempt to create sense out of non-sense, and out of the suggestion that meaning and sound would have a natural connection. Above all, they share the same ethical aspiration, not to retreat before the impossible real. Each stumbles in its particular way at the attempt of the signifier to signify itself, but in such a way that the object a, rolling out of its narcissistic envelope, reveals itself. It allows the poet to illuminate the gap within the metaphor; to the analysand it offers the opportunity to change his position towards the jouissance.