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Anxiety is not without an object: a Lacanian speculation on the uncanny

Anxiety poses serious problems in regards to the phenomenological conception of perceptual awareness: what is the particular mode of “givenness” proper to the experience in anxiety? Is the existentialist tradition right to understand anxiety in relation to or in opposition with fear (i.e., as a sort of object-less fear)? The work of Lacan in his Anxiety Seminar (1962-1963) challenges the notion that anxiety can be understood in relation to fear, and it offers a novel way of addressing the troublesome phenomenological problem of anxiety’s object-relation. The formula that he puts forward, and which we explore in this essay, is that “anxiety is not without an object”. As a point of reference, the essay explores the properties of a curious topological object that greatly interests Lacan – viz. the Möbius strip – in order to shed light on a very peculiar class of phenomena, viz. uncanny phenomena. The overall aim is to show how the category of uncanny phenomena comprises a field of experience that forces us to revise the basic eidetic categories of Husserlian and existentialist phenomenology.

From the Mirages of Knowing to the Docta Ignorantia, a reading of “Variantes de la cure-type”

This article offers a close reading of Lacan’s text “Variantes de la cure-type”. Starting from the notion of deviation implicit in the title of this work, it is situated in the context of the institutional crises that marked the history of psychoanalysis in France in the period between 1953 and 1964. A second step dismantles the question of variations on the standard-cure as a pleonasm. In an attempt to avoid the aporia this implies, Lacan recenters the question around the position of the analyst in the field that founds itself in the relation of the subject to speech. The notion of narcissism as a function of the death drive and as the basis of knowledge is then introduced. Where common knowledge functions as a shield, a symptomatic manifestation of our own passion for ignorance, it has to be concluded that in the formation of the analyst a changed relation to knowledge holds a central place, a relation that permits the analyst to find his standard in a docta ignorantia.

The Death Drive, regarding the Real

Where do we find the link between the Freudian death drive and the Lacanian Real? In this theoretical enquiry we trace the relationship between the growing pains of the death drive and the Real in the writings of Freud and Lacan. With Freud we examine the place of the death drive in a theoretical framework. This search inevitably leads to the constitution of the pleasure experience which is very hard to understand in relation to the death drive. We run into the trauma, which is the pleasurable encounter with the Real. Next we concentrate on the Lacanian elaboration of the death drive in the coming into being of the subject. Through this, we stumble upon the Real as that enigmatic category which escapes any elaboration. This Real is then examined in combination with the death drive in an attempt to formulate their relationship. The Borromean Knot of the Real-Symbolic-Imaginary in masochism concludes this paper.

An Introduction to the Introduction of 1914. About the Narcissism of Sigmund Freud

This article is an introduction to Freud’s article on Narcissism. It attempts to bring the reader to revisit Freud’s text in a new way. Apart from the requisite amount of narcissism that each psychic system needs, we know all to well the places where that amount is exceeded. It is thought too easily that free association is the way to treat excesses of narcissism. Will a mere promotion of free association be sufficient or should the analyst be more exigent in relation to narcissism?

A child is killed

The author begins his argument by confronting child murder in the real: in clinical work, in the media, in historical accounts of rituals. Studying ritual child murder within the Inca culture, together with stories of child murder throughout history, allows the author to draw some initial parallels between ritualistic child murder and its treatment in the clinic. A Winnicottian reading of the genesis of the subject, with narcissism as a central focus, provides a framework for understanding this kind of aggression in the clinic. Taking into consideration the effects of being able to psychically represent, we learn that fantasmatic, real and ritual murder of a child is embedded in the structure brought about by the entrance into language.