THE VAGARIES OF THE SUPEREGO

Abstract: Freud’s analysis of crowd psychology is the final result of the traumatic impact of the Great War. First, he introduced the notion of death-drive as the dimension beyond the pleasure-principle; then, he analyzed the formation of social groups which bring individuals to forsake their ‘rational’ behavior and surrender to self-destructive violence. Freud’s analysis should be supplemented by Lacan’s distinctions between superego, Ego- Ideal and ideal ego – through this triad, we can understand today’s rise of the new figure of obscene Master.

The joke of psychoanalysis

Lacan’s notion of “objet a” designates the paradox of an object which gives body to a surplus over all determinate objects, an object which gives body to a lack constitutive of desire. What happens with this object at the end of the psychoanalytic treatment? The text proposes a parallel between the final moment of the treatment and the final reversal in telling a joke: in both cases, the sudden shift of perspective enacts what Lacan called the fall of the object, its change from a fascinating mystery to an excremental remainder.