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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Freud and the Metaphors of Writing

In this paper, our point of departure is Plato’s Phaedrus-dialogue, in which the role and meaning of writing for memory are assessed, focusing special attention on Plato’s evaluation of writing. The use of writing-metaphors in elaborating the model of the psychic apparatus in a number of Freud’s texts is also discussed. Relying on Derrida’s interpretation (1967), the Project (1950c [1895]) is our starting point and the Note on the Wonder-block of 30 years later rounds off the discussion. Tracing Freud’s development, it becomes apparent that the model of the psychic apparatus gains support as the notion of facilitation is further elaborated based on the metaphor of writing or letter. The Platonic distinction between writing as supporting memory and writing as a “true writing in the soul” is encountered again in Freud’s work.