Summary: The first section of this paper traces, in brief, a conceptual evolution of psychoanalysis from its Freudian foundation in 19th century empirical science to Lacan’s reformulation of psychoanalytic method, based in part on mid-20th century structural linguistics, as one that is not, strictly speaking, scientific. Throughout this movement, the therapeutic aim and the medium of speech remain at the center of psychoanalytic praxis. The author, therefore, explores the questions: what is speech and what is at stake for human subjects in speaking? In part two, parallels are drawn between four (ana)logical pairings of conceptual moments in Freudo-Lacanian and Hegelian theory in order to elucidate dynamic and topological intricacies in each. The Oedipus complex is described as a dialectical unfolding, wherein Hegelian and Freudian theorizing and Lacanian mythmaking are, similarly, creative retorts to contradiction and ambivalence. These subjective responses effect the Aufhebung or Verdrängung (in neurosis) of the conflictual impasse, and institute a vehicle for the transgenerational transmission of Kultur—what Hegel called Geist and Freud rendered Unbewusst.
This article focuses both on Lacan’s elaborations of the etiology of symptoms and the related question of the end of analysis. Starting in the 70’s, Lacan concentrates on a further elaboration concerning Freud’s notion of the fixation of the partial drives as the “causa” of symptoms and the end of analysis. In doing so, he supplements his earlier concept of the object a, that formalizes the four partial objects, with the notions of the “letter” and the “sinthome”. The end of the analysis and the definite disappearance of symptoms are situated by Lacan in the relation of the analysand with respect to his object. This relation is singular, hence only possible if it is no longer encumbered by the Other. After all, the sinthome is a knotting of the real, the symbolic and the imaginary that, following the example of Joyce, – operates entirely without the Other.
The author argues that there is a self evident relation between memory and fantasy. In the first part of the paper some fantasies about memory are brought to the fore. Also several factors that play a part in the availability of memories are discussed. Special consideration is given to conscious and unconscious repression. The second part concerns the inseparable interrelation of memory and fantasy, at which point the author explains the statement that every act of memory is also an act of imagination. Finally the vicissitudes of certain fantasies and their significance for implicit relational patterns are discussed. Particular attention is paid to the possible transition of a fantasy from the explicit to the implicit memory system.
In psychoanalysis, as the talking cure, language asserts itself pre-eminently as the mode of treatment. Formations of the unconscious, like symptoms, dreams and slips of the tongue, can be interpreted on the basis of their underlying linguistic structure. Bilingual analysands, however, possess more than one language code by means of which they can put such manifestations of the unconscious into words.. This raises the question of how the ‘language of the unconscious’ finds its expression through the discourse of the bilingual subject. Starting with Freud’s conceptualisation of the psyche based on word- and thing-representations, the author examines the status of the mother tongue and a second, later-learned language in the bilingual analysand‘s communication, on the basis of the following questions: (i) Are there any differences in transference, depending on the language in which the analysand expresses himself?; (ii) To what extent are the mother tongue and a language learned later in life interrelated and what does this tell us about verbal processes like repression?; (iii) What value should be attached to the initial choice of language and the language switch, if any, in relation to the process of transference?; and (iv) What conclusions can be drawn with regard to the required language competency of the psychoanalyst conducting an analysis in more than one language?
One way in which the dynamic unconscious is justified is by taking into account the evolution and development of the psychical apparatus. It could be argued that evolutionary psychology is the right way to approach this issue. We contend however that the focus on survival value leads to the overestimation of a functional approach being and to neglect of a the structural viewpoint. This has consequences for how the unconscious is defined. Whereas in Freudian metapsychology both stances (the structural and the functional) are present, the structural approach is absent in Smith’s view. As a consequence, the unconscious is reduced to one of its functions, i.e., self-deception. Furthermore, from the structural point of view, the relationship between repression (i.e., the mechanism that generates the dynamic unconscious) and self-deception is reduced to a loose analogy.