The subject and the lie: from méconnaissance to mensonge

In this paper the author discusses Lacan’s changing theory of the subject in the early texts of the Écrits and relates it to the notion of “the lie” in psychoanalysis. As Lacan’s view of the subject shifts form the Imaginary to the Symbolic, the source of man’s primordial discord and alienation shifts from being located in the relationship to the image to finding its source in the relationship to the signifier. We could qualify the shift from an imaginary to a symbolic subject theory as a shift from one kind of not wanting to know to another, as a shift from one kind of lie to another. We discuss this as a shift from méconnaissance in the Imaginary to mensonge in the Symbolic. We conclude with a few remarks on the notion of truth in psychoanalysis, the consequences for clinical practice and the role of the psychoanalyst, who is now redefined as a practitioner of the symbolic function.

The clinical interpretation of Don Quixote

In this contribution we take a psychoanalytic look at the novel The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra. We follow the clinical adventures of Don Quixote and the diagnostic interpretations he comes across on his journey. We discuss a number of psychoanalytic case formulations that situate the knight in the realm of psychosis and that endeavour to construct the clinical logic of his adventures. Via a discussion of Lacan’s remarks on bovarysm and a consideration of the relationship between literature and psychoanalysis, we come to a second section, where we find our knight again, now no longer as a model of madness, but as a paragon of normalcy. Here Don Quixote has become a paradigmatic example of the way human identity and subjectivity are rooted in narrative and fantasy. Here each one of us becomes a Don Quixote, wandering through the world, guided by delusions and misapprehensions. We conclude with an examination of the way in which the fiction of psychoanalysis relates to the fiction of the subject. Here we encounter the psychoanalyst as a Don Quixote.

Le dansêtre – on psychoanalysis and dance

This article tries to provide a few concepts that can be of interest when thinking about dance, a theme that’s been rarely explored within psychoanalytic literature. Based on interviews conducted with professional dancers, we develop the idea of the dansêtre, in analogy to what Lacan specifies as the parlêtre. With this term we refer to the dancer who carries out a singular dance consisting of repetitive movements which are linked with a bodily jouissance. This entails that, through these movements, the real of the body can partly be experienced while at the same moment the dance movement offers a way of coping with this bodily jouissance. At this point something sinthomatic appears, a way of dealing with the real which has no sense. The factor that drives the singular dance doesn’t seem to belong to the symbolico-imaginary and is therefore unknown to the dancer. Yet the own singular dance is expressed anyway and it is by expressing it that the dansêtre takes shape. By elaborating this concept, we aim to invite future research regarding dance. The way in which the bodily jouissance takes place in dance, seems a question that can lead to interesting findings, taken that we are all confronted with the capricious real of the body.

Psychoanalysis: a symptomatic problem

In this article the author explores why psychoanalysts are often seen as troublesome people and why they give so much critique. Foucault stated that in modernity the epistèmè changed: ‘man’ came in the thinking frame and human sciences were born. In his opinion psychoanalysis has in this epistèmè the position of a counter-science. In this article the author shows how psychoanalysis is different from human sciences in two aspects. First, psychoanalysis has another subject theory. The subject is not seen as something that can be discovered and has authentic qualities, but is fundamentally desiring and divided. Second, the author explains the difference in the way knowledge is grasped in psychoanalysis and human sciences by using Lacans discourse theory. These different points of view, mark the position of psychoanalysis in the modern epistèmè. The author concludes by stating that this is why psychoanalysis is so problematic for others. As a discourse, she is a symptom that appears because human sciences fail to grasp subjectivity. This is why psychoanalysis is fundamentally intertwined with the other human sciences and will probably disappear one day.

The plague: Freud, Lacan & the crisis of critique

During its long history, psychoanalytical theory has developed a criticism dealing with almost the entire domain of human culture and civilization. That theory lays bare the unconscious motives and structures which, on the conscious level, can have all kinds of pernicious effects. The weak point of that criticism, however, consists in its awareness that the unconscious motives and structures it brings to consciousness, after its critical analysis, will remain unconscious and repressed. In that sense, psychoanalytical theory performs a critique of criticism as such. Unmasking falsity and lies does not necessarily result in establishing truth.

This essay outlines the contours of such a psychoanalytical ‘critique of criticism as such’, as well as its implications for contemporary critical thought in general. The essay more precisely focuses on the right-wing cultural criticism, which makes use of criticism’s newly discovered ‘tragic condition’ in order to support a conservative ethical, cultural and political programme. This essay proposes a few points of reference replying to these tendencies in contemporary critical thought.