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The thesis that I would like to introduce in this text is that Clausewitz’s magnum opus On War is a text full of thoughts and observations that are of great value for psychoanalysis in theory and practice. In order to properly make use of them, it is necessary to do the work of making a mental translation of his thoughts to the object of individual and interpersonal mental life. The present text claims to offer, by setting a metaphorical relation between war and interpersonal mental life, a mental bridge through which this translation can succeed. Freud, who is known for his frequent use of metaphors, actually often used the metaphor of battle and thus already brought war into association with psychoanalytic thought. The presented metaphorical relation will allow to include Freud’s metaphorical use of battle and, so I hope, to bring his thought into a relation with Clausewitz’s thinking. In order to provide such metaphorical connection of war and interpersonal mental life, it is necessary to understand Clausewitz’s general understanding of the nature of war.

Symbol and metaphor

The symbolic dimension occupies a central position in the constitution of the subject and of the social field. It is argued that the function of the symbol and its effects on the psychical apparatus and on clinical practise are elucidated by psychoanalytic theory . The author starts with a discussion of the parallel Freud draws between psychogenesis and sociogenesis., The symbol is pivotal in these processes and is characterised by its ability (i) to generate sense and (ii) to connect subject and other (social bond). Both characteristics equally define metaphor. With reference to psychopathology, the function of both symbol and metaphor is highlighted in the process of the coming-into-being of the subject.

Jacques Derrida’s La mythologie blanche: La métaphore dans le texte philosophique, or the Myth and/in the Margin

In La mythologie blanche: La métaphore dans le texte philosophique (1971) rekent Jacques Derrida genadeloos af met de westerse, logocentrische vooronder­stelling van een metafoorloze metafysica. Via zijn ingenieuze “wet van de supplementa­riteit” deconstrueert hij de vermeend tegengestelde begrippen “concept” en “metafoor” namelijk als elkaars noodzakelijke supplement. Gezien de semantische verwevenheid van de opposities metafoor-concept en mythos-logos valt Derrida’s “wet van de supplementa­riteit” evenwel ook op die laatste tegenstelling toe te passen. Zo kan worden aangetoond dat ook “mythos” en “logos” niet aan oppositionele essenties beantwoorden, maar dat het ene begrip telkens de semantische ruimte bestrijkt die de andere openlaat. Bij de twee meest hardnekkige vooronderstellingen binnen het mytheonderzoek – de mythe zou beantwoorden aan een logische essentie en de poststructuralistische deconstructie zou van geen enkele waarde zijn voor de mythestudie – dient bijgevolg het nodige voorbehoud te worden aangetekend.

About the power of metaphor in poetry and psychoanalysis

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.

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