Documentos para la lectura “la etificación del psicoanálisis” de Jean Allouch

O Real da ética 

Helena Besserman Vianna
Palestra proferida em Tours, 17/out/1998

Muito provavelmente minha participação nesta tão organizada jornada como prévia dos Estados Gerais da Psicanálise que será realizado em julho de 2000 em Paris, deve-se a publicação de livro de minha autoria – Não Conte a Ninguém… (Imago,1994), que na tradução ampliada em francês intitula-se “Politique de la Psychanalyse face à la Dictature et à la Torture” –N’en parlez à personne, com prefácio de René Major e em castelhano, com prefácio de Horacio Etchegoyen, “No se lo Cuente a Nadie” (Polemos, 1998).
Aprendi com meu pai, estudioso do Talmud, a resposta a uma de suas instigantes perguntas: “O que é que vive durante séculos,mas pode morrer ainda antes de ter nascido?” Resposta: um livro. “Nasce a cada vez que alguém o lê e pode morrer nas brumas do esquecimento, no assassinato da memória, nas deformações e omissões que se fazem de sua leitura”. Ou ainda, em se tratando do real da ética, o que inclui os impasses éticos da instituição psicanalítica, esta leitura pode ser realizada com angélica postura de cordeiro, propondo que questionar o comportamento ético dos psicanalistas face ao social, é apenas tentar uma tal denominada etificação calamitosa, como fez Allouch em seu livro sobre o caso Amilcar Lobo (Cahiers de l’Unebévue,1997).

Creio não ser necessário relatar-lhes o histórico do envolvimento de um candidato de uma das sociedades psicanalíticas do Rio de Janeiro (Rio1) filiada a IPA, Amilcar Lobo, em equipe de tortura a prisioneiros políticos em época de ditadura militar e a proteção que recebeu de seu analista-didata (Leão Cabernite), que teve, por sua vez como analista-didata a Werner Kemper. Kemper,que durante a Segunda Guerra Mundial trabalhou COMPROMETIDO com o regime nazista, na qualidade de diretor do Instituto Göring, chefiado por Matthias Göring, primo do famoso general de Hitler. Werner Kemper chegou ao Brasil em 1948, apoiado por Ernest Jones, então presidente da IPA. Também não vou detalhar pormenores quanto a participação ativa e/ou passiva de outros dirigentes da sociedade internacional fundada por Freud ou sobre aspectos éticos de algumas de suas afiliadas, pois a documentação de suas respectivas transgressões éticas consta pormenorizadamente nos livros que citei anteriormente.
Existem temas que possuem significado, representação e propriedades particulares: – real, ética, institucionalização, se inserem neste espaço. São conceitos polissemicos , questionados por filósofos, antropólogos, historiadores, cientistas sociais, e, evidentemente, também por psicanalistas.

Sabemos que diferentemente do que acontece com outros animais e seus agrupamentos, o sistema sócio-político de qualquer sociedade humana, não pode ser prognosticado a partir de conhecimentos sobre a espécie Homo Sapiens, por mais amplos que sejam os saberes utilizados. Por exemplo, especialistas no assunto, podem descrever com minúcias as abelhas e seu sistema institucional, podendo constatar que, se uma sociedade de abelhas modificar seu comportamento sócio-político-ético, esta sociedade caminhará para sua desintegração e possível extermínio, enquanto abelhas.
O mesmo não se aplica às comunidades humanas.

O conhecimento das origens e primórdios da cultura e dos sistemas sócio-políticos de seu passado, não me permite prever como evoluirá cada instituição, sua cultura e sua ética. Isto porque a cultura de cada sociedade é exercida e utilizada pelo conjunto de seus componentes. Cada ser humano opera e funciona sob a influencia de alguma cultura. Por outro lado, o comportamento de cada indivíduo também tem seu efeito cultural.

Deixo de lado deliberadamente certos aspectos específicos da ética psicanalítica, em especial no encontro psicanalista-analisante, e o que indago agora, não é tanto sobre o real da ética para o psicanalista, mas sim, quando e a propósito de que, falamos de ética no espaço em extensão (no sentido de estension de Lacan) do psicanalista no mundo , – esteja o psicanalista se penteando em banheiro público (exemplo de Allouch), praticando tortura a presos políticos, ou ainda apoiando direta e/ou indiretamente medidas institucionais atrabiliárias e totalitárias, seja em tempos de tirania ou de “soi-disant” poderes democráticos.

Sem pretender esgotar o assunto, formulo algumas hipóteses iniciais como encaminhamento para novas contribuições no que concerne aos impasses éticos que com freqüência se repetem em diferentes instituições psicanalíticas.

– a manutenção de segredos e ocultação de fatos institucionais, na grosseira pretensão de sustentar como verdade e como real, o poder do esquecimento;
– a notificação de ocorrências institucionais da mais alta importância social e política, como se nada de mais se tivesse passado;

Concordo, em termos gerais com as opiniões de Eric Santner, apresentadas em seu livro “My own Private Germany” (Daniel Paul Schreber’s Secret History of Modernity – Princeton Univ.Press,1966), de que impasses e conflitos individuais e coletivos, surgem quando há mudanças na matriz fundamental da relação do indivíduo com a autoridade social e institucional, e ao modo como cada um responde às exigências do poder e das autoridades ditas “oficiais”. Nas investiduras de poder, alguns, senão muitos psicanalistas, se enquadram no que Santner denomina de “investidura simbólica”, na qual fica dotado de novo status social e investido de um mandato simbólico que, desse momento em diante, impregna sua identidade na comunidade. Nesses casos, a estabilidade institucional bem como o equilíbrio emocional e o comportamento ético real de seus membros, fica submisso ao simbólico social e ao poder que a este se atribui, através de títulos, postos, honrarias e atributos similares.

Penso que, somente através do esclarecimento transparente e sempre documentado de fatos que de alguma forma atingem a comunidade, é que se pode estabelecer as responsabilidades individuais e/ou coletivas nas passagens ao ato que geram impasses maléficos ético-institucionais, ainda que, por particularidades inerentes ao nosso ofício, estes atos estejam quase sempre intimamente aprisionados ao uso indevido da transferencia e a questões que remetem aos problemas relacionados ao que se quer significar com “transmissão da psicanálise”.

Vou citar-lhes exemplos até bem conhecidos que corroboram os itens que acabei de mencionar.

A intervenção direta dos princípios e leis nazistas na Sociedade Psicanalítica alemã (DPG), iniciou-se em 1935, quando ficou estabelecido que as autoridades nazistas governamentais, só admitiriam a existência da psicanálise na Alemanha, se “todos os seus representantes fossem arianos”. Nestas circunstancias, Ernest Jones, na qualidade de presidente da IPA, reúne-se em Berlim com os membros não-judeus da sociedade psicanalítica alemã (entre eles Werner Kemper – fundador da primeira sociedade psicanalítica do Rio de Janeiro, a qual pertencia Amilcar Lobo, analisante em formação de Leão Cabernite, que por sua vez, foi analisante de Kemper) e, em reunião realizada em dezembro de 1935,concordam com que “os poucos judeus ainda remanescentes na sociedade deveriam apresentar suas demissões “espontaneamente”, para impedir a dissolução da sociedade e assim, “salvar a psicanálise”. Real de nova ética… Este episódio terrífico e vergonhoso para a instituição psicanalítica alemã e mundial, é descrito por alguns psicanalistas, entre eles Kemper, de forma escamoteada e eufemística, dando a entender que os psicanalistas judeus teriam liberdade para decidir, por vontade própria, se podiam ou se deviam demitir-se da sociedade psicanalítica alemã.

Outro exemplo: terminada a Segunda Guerra Mundial, a revista oficial da IPA, apresenta uma relação dos psicanalistas alemães falecidos durante a guerra, sem nenhuma menção ao fato de que grande parte deles eram judeus que foram assassinados ou exterminados em fornos crematórios dos campos de concentração construídos pelos nazistas.

Um último exemplo: em 1989, Amilcar Lobo escreve suas memórias em livro intitulado – “A Hora do Lobo e a Hora do Carneiro”(seu codinome na equipe de tortura). Em resposta a crítica que fiz a esse livro, Lobo diz o seguinte: “…Dra. Helena Besserman Vianna escreve que em nenhum momento me mostro envergonhado pelo que cometi ou assisti nos quatro anos que fiz o serviço militar. No entanto…parece esquecer que o Homem utiliza a tortura e os assassinatos há milhares de anos, desde que se organizou em sociedades. Há bem pouco tempo, a Inquisição torturou e matou inúmeros judeus e há pouco mais de quarenta anos o regime nazista alemão procedeu da mesma forma. Assim é o Homem na sua total estrutura mental e eu não me envergonho de ser um deles…”.

Convido-os a refletir e questionar no que esta declaração de Lobo contem de anti-ético mas, especialmente, de transmissão deformada do pensamento freudiano, dentro e fora do “setting” analítico ou a postura ética dos psicanalistas face ao real da ética.

Este tipo de declaração feita por Lobo é, evidentemente, eivada de aspecto político (e qual ato não é político?), e enseja a vontade de em parodiando Freud, chegar a poder dizer – “…estes psicanalistas são, portanto, os únicos a não serem …psicanalíticamente éticos!”.

É bem verdade que ao contar o que se pede que não seja contado a ninguém, fica presente o risco de se incorrer em erros de interpretação. Entretanto, a ocorrência destes erros é amplamente menor que os perigos da ignorância sistemática. Na pior das conseqüências, os erros de interpretação poderão ser retificados, enquanto que o silencio sobre as origens dos impasses éticos e seus desdobramentos em muitas instituições psicanalíticas, só podem servir a especulações inconfessáveis que não terão certamente, sequer, o mérito de se sustentarem diante dos fatos.

Para chegarmos ao ético nos dias de hoje, onde o mal-estar da civilização se faz sentir em crises de alma e –mercado, podemos observar, mesmo entre os psicanalistas, que grande parte das instituições psicanalíticas, simultaneamente a aparência de coesão entre seus associados, desenvolve uma nova relação e orientação no que concerne ao tempo social. Cada vez mais, generaliza-se a temporalidade que governa o mundo atual – o presente.

Neste sentido, ocorre-me ressaltar que o que denominamos convencionalmente de atualidade, não deixa de recordar a lembrança. Assim, pergunto: se é sempre oportuno lembrarmos que esquecemos, será também oportuno, em rememorando, restaurar tanto o objeto do esquecimento quanto o da lembrança? Penso que sim.
Não lembrar do passado leva ao risco de ter o pensamento e a postura ética do psicanalista e, de qualquer ser humano, em qualquer regime político, a voltar-se para o discurso apologético, buscando justificativas, defesas, ou mesmo louvando atos inconfessáveis do passado, ou ao risco de resguardar-se em arquivos que permanecem secretos, as transgressões éticas e os documentos que comprovam as devidas responsabilidades.

Não rememorar, cobra tributo a capacidade de pensar e questionar, especialmente a ética face aos Direitos do Homem.

A ameaça de esquecer que esquecemos, leva a construções de inverídicas reconstruções. O que se pretende com os “assassinatos da memória”, não é destruir a verdade. O que certamente pretendem obter é destruir a memória da lembrança e a consciência da verdade. Quero significar com estas palavras, que “não esquecer”, quase sempre pressupõe uma espécie de vingança pessoal ou institucional, enquanto que recordar favorece os aspectos positivos por uma vida construtiva e com amplitude de criatividade e de diálogo entre diferentes. Em outras palavras, não esquecer, é a guerra permanente, ao passo que rememorar é uma das possibilidades mais eficazes de desenvolvimento criativo nas posturas éticas e realísticas das instituições.

No desenvolvimento muitas vezes contraditório, lento e desigual de obter através do processo psicanalítico, subjetividades mais livres, a psicanálise não é, evidentemente, o único caminho. O futuro ainda é enigmático no que concerne aos rumos que tomarão os indivíduos para obter sua autonomia.
No que tange a lucidez, resta ainda muito a conquistar, pois a ilusão e a obstinação aos dogmas psicanalíticos já estabelecidos, tal qual Phénix, renascem sempre de suas cinzas. Ainda assim, a ética psicanalítica tem contribuído de forma grandiosa para desarraigar, especialmente no Ocidente, o obscurantismo e o fanatismo, contribuindoéticamente, ainda que modestamente, a buscar uma humanidade menos narcísica, apesar de seus paradoxos: o conhecimento do inconsciente, pode favorecer o consciente, na medida em que a responsabilidade individual na passagem ao ato é nomeada, levando ao respeito e prática dos Direitos do Homem.
Parafraseando Churchill, talvez, neste conturbado final de século, questionando os dogmas instituídos na ética dos psicanalistas, possamos nos dar conta que a psicanálise e o exercício de sua ética, seja um dos piores caminhos a trilhar, a exceção de todos os outros.

Termino com James Baldwin: “Nem tudo que se enfrenta pode ser modificado. Mas nada pode ser modificado até que seja enfrentado”.
Helena Besserman Vianna

Psicoanálisis

 

“DESISTENTIAL”
René Major

The deconstruction of Jacques Derrida is unthinkable without psychoanalysis and psychoanalysis has become unthinkable without Derrida. Derrida’s analyses of logocentric metaphysics, his theorizations of writing, différance and the trace, the archive, and desistance are indebted to Freud’s discovery of the unconscious and its processes. Conversely, a deconstructive reading of Lacan’s discussion of “The Purloined Letter” and of a case in “The Direction of the Treatment” interrogates the position of the analyst and any fixed identification with one or another protagonist of either the fantastic or historical scene.

1. Derrida and Psychoanalysis

In a text written at the beginning of the 1990’s, Jacques Derrida pressingly raises the following question: “Will we forget psychoanalysis?” He is indeed concerned with the symptoms of forgetting already at work in philosophical and in public opinion in general, not to mention what—also in the order of forgetting—can be observed in the psychoanalytic field itself and in its institutions:

A worry about what I’d call, vaguely, free-floatingly (but the thing itself is vague, it lives on being free-floating, without a fixed contour), the climate of opinion, the philosophical climate of opinion, the one we live in and the one which can give rise to philosophy’s weather reports. And what do the reports of this philosophical doxa tell us? That, among many philosophers and a certain “public opinion” (another vague and free-floating instance), psychoanalysis is no longer in fashion, having been excessively in fashion in the 60’s and 70’s, when it had pushed philosophy far away from the center, obliging philosophical discourse to reckon with a logic of the unconscious, at the risk of allowing its most basic certainties to be dislodged, at the risk of suffering the expropriation of its ground, its axioms, its norms and its language, in short of everything philosophers used to consider as philosophical reason, philosophical decision itself, at the risk, then, of suffering the expropriation of what–this reason very often associated with the consciousness of the subject or the ego, with freedom, autonomy–of what seemed also to guarantee the exercise of an authentic philosophical responsibility[2].

The decentering of consciousness carried out by Freud—consciousness is no longer master in its own house, it is largely submitted to obscure forces which it ignores—and the necessity that the history of reason itself be reinterpreted became genuinely significant in France, and later in Latin and Anglo-Saxon countries, only with the teachings of Lacan, who introduced this problematic in the literary and philosophical worlds. These worlds were seriously affected by it up to the point where one began to speak of the “end of philosophy.” Some, among whom Derrida—and for him most obviously and eminently—were already no longer thinking without psychoanalysis, while ceaselessly requiring of it that it “render reason.” Others were applying themselves to forget this troubling calling into question while attempting to restore a thought which was taking no account of Freudian advances. Let us continue reading:

What has happened, in the philosophical climate of opinion, if I may take the risk of characterizing it grossly and macroscopically, is that after a moment of intimidated anxiety, some philosophers have got a grip on themselves again. And today, in the climate of opinion, people are starting to behave as though it was nothing at all, as though nothing had happened, as though taking into account the event of psychoanalysis, a logic of the unconscious, of “unconscious concepts,” even, were no longer de rigueur, no longer even had a place in something like a history of reason: as if one could calmly continue the good old discourse of the Enlightenment, return to Kant, call us back to the ethical or juridical or political responsibility or the subject by restoring the authority of consciousness, of the ego, of the reflexive cogito, of an “I think” without pain or paradox; as if, in this moment of philosophical restoration that is in the air—for what is on the agenda, the agenda’s moral agenda, is a sort of shameful, botched restoration—as if it were a matter of flattening the supposed demands of reason into a discourse that is purely communicative, informational, smooth; as though, finally, it were again legitimate to accuse of obscurity or irrationalism anyone who complicates things a little by wondering about the reason of reason, about the history of the principle of reason or about the event—perhaps a traumatic one—constituted by something like psychoanalysis in reason’s relation to itself (Ibid.).

Psychoanalysis is what Derrida never forgets. He is bound to it, as to his mother tongue, by an originary, which does not mean univocal, bond. The one and the other resist him, just as he resists the one and the other. As with the mother tongue, the relation to the unconscious, which psychoanalysis brings into play, always remains both foreign and familiar. There is no relation to the unconscious which is not a tensed relation, one of resistance. But resistance is neither forgetting, nor negation. The unconscious can be approached only through resistance, as resistance is to psychoanalysis what air is to Kant’s dove. It is impossible to fly without the resistance of air.
As Geoffrey Bennington notes, the relations which Derrida’s thought entertains with psychoanalysis are original on several accounts. They are not only original in the sense in which they are properly his own [propres à lui], but also inasmuch as the relations which his work entertains with Freud or Lacan’s thought are singular with respect to the relations this very same work entertains with other thinkers. Finally, they are so inasmuch as Derrida’s relations to Freud are originary, at the origin, from the outset; there would be, there is no Derrida without Freud.[3]

In return—and I shall insist mostly on this—the paths opened up by Derridean readings of Freud and Lacan’s work have become ones which psychoanalysis cannot forget or foreclose, unless it forget itself.

From the early deconstruction of logocentrism and the early analyses of the repression of writing as a mode of constitution of Western knowledge since Plato, Derrida finds a powerful ally in Freud. In spite of the fact that Freudian concepts belong to the history of metaphysics, and that they are forged right at the level [à même] of the linguistic matter which he inherits, Freud diverts and subverts their meaning. Such is the case, for example, with the numerous traditional oppositions. The unconscious is no longer simply outside consciousness. It lives as a parasite to consciousness. Pleasure is no longer quite plainly the opposite of displeasure. It can be experienced or felt as pain and pain as satisfaction. The subject seeks and finds itself in the object which is nt, in itself, its opposite. There is no pure present in relation to the past. The past is present in the present and the present always already past. The origin is already delayed, the delay is therefore originary.

The Freudian concept of Nachträglichkeit, deferred action or afterwardness, which calls into question the metaphysical concept of “presence to self,” is essential to the Derridean thought of the trace, of the deferred, of différance. This debt is explicitly acknowledged in “Freud and the scene of writing”:
That the present in general is not primal but, rather, reconstituted, that it is not the absolute, wholly living form which constitutes experience, that there is no purity of the living present—such is the theme, formidable for metaphysics, which Freud, in a conceptual scheme unequal to the thing itself, would have us pursue. This pursuit is doubtless the only one which is exhausted neither within metaphysics nor within science [my emphasis][4].

Derridean “différance” is not the delay which a consciousness grants itself or the adjournment of an act. It is originary in the sense in which it erases the myth of a present origin. Since Freud, memory is represented through differences of breaches [frayages] and there is no pure breaching without difference. The Freudian Verspätung, the à-retardement is irreducible not only in the inscription of subjective traces, but also in the history of culture and of the peoples, as Moses and Monotheism shows[5]. Psychical writing is such an originary production that writing in a literal sense [sens propre] is but a metaphor of it: “The unconscious text is already a weave of pure traces, differences in which meaning and force are united–a text nowhere present, consisting of archives which are always already transcriptions” (FSW, p. 211). Derrida always conceives of the possibility of writing, of the one which is considered to be the most conscious and effective one in the world “in terms of the labor of the writing which circulated like psychical energy between the unconscious and the conscious” (Ibid., p.212).

From the Freudian scene of the dream, Derrida retains two things which he never abandons: 1) the connivance between so-called phonetic writing and the logos dominated by the principle of non-contradiction, which a certain psychoanalysis and a certain linguistics renew; 2) the unstable frontier between the non-phonetic space of writing (even in “phonetic” writing) and the space of the scene of dreams. Hence, linkings which do not obey the linearity of logical time are possible. Derrida relies on Freud’s appeal to the pictogram, to the rebus, to the hieroglyph, to non-phonetic writing in general, for explaining the strange logico-temporal relations of the dream, when he has to take issue with Jacques Lacan’s phonologocentrism in his commentary of Edgar Poe’s The Purloined Letter. The general writing of dreams puts speech in its place: “It is with a graphematics still to come, rather than with a linguistics dominated by an ancient phonologism, that psychoanalysis sees itself as destined to collaborate” (Ibid., p. 220), and this, following what Freud literally recommends in “The Claims of Psychoanalysis to Scientific Interest” (1913):

[For] in what follows “speech” must be understood not merely to mean the expression of thought in words but to include the speech of gesture and every other method, such, for instance, as writing. . . . it is even more appropriate to compare dreams with a system of writing than with a language. In fact, the interpretation of dreams is completely analogous to the decipherment of an ancient pictographic script such as Egyptian hieroglyphs. . . . The ambiguity of various elements of dreams finds a parallel in these ancient systems of writing[6].
Derrida focuses on the three analogies of writing Freud develops for explaining the functioning of the psychical apparatus in his Notes upon a Mystic-Writing Pad: 1) the keeping [mise en réserve] and the indefinite preservation of traces as well as an always ever-ready receptive surface; 2) the possibility of the erasure of the traces on a first layer—perception-consciousness [Pcpt.-Cs.]—assimilated to the celluloid sheet of the Writing Pad, does in no way prevent the persistence of the traces on the wax, which is compared to the unconscious; 3) the temporality of writing: “temporality as spacing will be not only the horizontal discontinuity of a chain of signs, but also will be writing as the interruption and restoration of contact between the various depths of psychical levels: the remarkably heterogeneous temporal fabric of psychical work itself” [my emphasis] (Ibid., p. 225). As in the Mystic Pad, writing is erased each time the close contact between the paper receiving the excitation and the wax pad retaining the impression is interrupted.

Derrida notes that in making a scene of writing, Freud will have left the scene be redoubled, repeated and exposed in the scene [on the stage]. All of Derrida’s writings, his thought of writing, indeed the concept of architrace and of the erasure of the origin, bear the trace of his reading of Freud. Everything will have begun in duplication, in iterability. Meaning is always ambiguous, multiple and disseminated. This is, long before structuralism in psychoanalysis existed, the first elements of a critique of it, that is to say, of a critique of the primacy, indeed of the imperialism of the signifier and of the symbolic order as they were developed by Lacan.

From the study of the metaphoricity of writing for giving an account of the functioning of the psychical apparatus and from his discussion of Freud’s Writing Pad as a technical model for representing memory externally as an internal archivization, Derrida was anticipating on the new printing, reproductive, formalizing and archiving techniques, by supposing that the machine itself might begin increasingly to resemble memory. Henceforth, would the psychical apparatus be “better represented” or “affected differently” by so many new prostheses of the so-called live memory?[7] Derrida comes back to this question twenty-eight years later and notes that “the technical structure of the archiving archive also determines the structure of the archivable content even in its very coming into existence and in its relationship to the future” (AF, p. 17). Now, psychoanalysis—its theory, its practice, its institution—is wholly a science of the archive and of the proper name, of a logic of hypomnesis which explains the lacunas of memory, of what archivizes memory by transforming it, or anarchivizes, erases and destroys it; it is also the science of its own history, of that of its founder, of the relation between private (or secret) documents and the elaboration of its theory and of everything which, in a subterranean manner, can enlighten its appearance in the world.

One finds the principle of the so-called “originary” delay and the notions of “imprint, pre-impression and of pre-inscription” again in the thought of desistance, which, since Derrida, I consider to be a central concept for psychoanalysis. Indeed “something began before me, the one who undergoes the experience. I’m late. If I insist upon remaining the subject of this experience, it would have to be as a prescribed, pre-inscribed subject, marked in advance by the imprint of the ineluctable that constitutes this subject without belonging to it.”[8] It is thus a matter of a constitutive desistance of the subject which destines the demand for meaning or for truth to the question of its own finality. Desistance redoubles or disinstalls everything which secures reason, without however falling into unreason “against which Platonic onto-ideology, or even Heidegger’s interpretation of it, is established” (D, p. 24). The logic proper to desistance leads to the destabilization of the subject, to its disidentification from every position in estance, from all determinations of the subject by the ego. This does not mean that the subject “desists itself” (“to desist” does not allow a reflexive construction in English which it requires in French) but rather that it desists without “desisting itself.” For Derrida, the thought of desistance is one of the most demanding thought of responsibility.
To think responsibility on the basis of the desistance of the subject from all determinations arising from the identifications which constitute their mask, is also to think responsibility from the unconscious, which ignores the difference between the virtual and the actual, between intention and action. It is to extend responsibility—that to which the subject must answer—well beyond the data of consciousness, to which Right and Morals usually refer. It is to open the field of the subject’s responsibility to what preceding generations bequeath us and to what is transmitted by a transgenerational memory. It is also to render the ethical act of nomination ineluctable[9].

While maintaining a possible recourse to the archive, to what is idiomatically inscribed inside or outside us, to what is both offered and subtracted from translation, psychoanalysis always attempts to come back to the live origin of the traces which the archive loses by keeping them in a multiplicity of places. There would be no drive [poussée] to preservation without, in the opposite direction, a drive to destruction, which itself belongs to the process of archivization. And if the authority of the principle which renews the law of the archive, its institution, its domiciliation is deconstructed by Freud, a patriarchal logic, also entirely Freudian, renews it institutionalizing strategy. For Derrida, “The possibility of the archiving trace, this simple possibility, can only divide the uniqueness. Separating the impression from the imprint] (AF, p. 100). One of the lessons Derrida draws from Freud, and it is not the least important one, is that “contradiction . . . modulates and conditions the very formation of the concept of the archive and of the concept in general –tight where they bear the contradiction” (Ibid., p. 90). Psychoanalytic language no longer understands the Unconscious from the standpoint of experience, of meaning and of presence, as Husserl did, but conceives of the Unconscious by removing it from what it makes possible, and by giving access “to what conditions the phenomenality of proceeding from an a-semantic instance.”[10] Translation henceforth operates within the same language by de-signifying and re-signifying concepts. For psychoanalysis this means: its “own” concepts, indeed the proper names which mark its history.

In his reading of Beyond the Pleasure Principle[11], Derrida indicates in what way “Freud advanced only by suspending, without any possibility of stopping, all the theses at which his successors or heirs, his readers in general, would have liked to see him stop. That reading was also an interpretation of what links speculation on the name, the proper name, or family names to science, particularly to the theory and the institution of psychoanalysis.”[12] That is to say, of what links the speculative to the specular, to the mirror which reflects the scene which the text describes. This reading will have left a strong impression on Derrida:

I wish to speak of the impression left by Freud, by the event which carries this family name, the nearly unforgettable and incontestable, undeniable impression (even and above all for those who deny it) that Sigmund Freud will have made on anyone, after him, who speaks of him or speaks to him, and who must then, accepting it or not, knowing it or not, be thus marked: in his or her culture and discipline, whatever it may be, in particular philosophy, medicine, psychiatry, and more precisely here, because we are speaking of memory and of archive, the history of texts and of discourses, political history, legal history, the history of ideas or of culture, the history of religion and religion itself, the history of the institutional and scientific project called psychoanalysis. Not to mention the history of history, the history of historiography. In any given discipline, one can no longer, one should no longer be able to, thus one no longer has the right of the means to claim to speak of this without having been marked in advance, in one way or another, by this Freudian impression. It is impossible and illegitimate to do so without having integrated, well or badly, in an important way or not, recognizing it or denying it, what is here called the Freudian impression. If one is under the impression that it is possible not to take this into account, forgetting it, effacing it, crossing it out, or objecting to it, one has already confirmed, we could even say countersigned (thus archived), a “repression” or a “suppression” (AF, p. 31).

In no way does Derridean deconstruction repress the Freudian inheritance. By an hyperanalytical necessity, it prolongs it by calling into question the desire or the fantasy of rejoining the originary, the irreducible, the indivisible. Concurrent with the two motifs of any analysis, the archeological motif of the return to the old, which governs repetition and its alteration, and the philolytic motif of the disassociative unbinding, of the decomposition of unities, of the deconstitution of sediments, deconstruction maintains the analytic exigency of the always possible unbinding as the very condition of possibility of binding in general:

What is called “deconstruction” undeniably obeys an analytic exigency, at once critical and analytic. . . . The question of divisibility is one of the most powerful instruments of formalization for what is called deconstruction. If, in an absurd hypothesis, there were one and only one deconstruction, a sole thesis of “Deconstruction,” it would pose divisibility: differance as divisibility.[13]

We are here touching upon the heart of the theoretical disagreement between Derrida and Lacan, the consequences of which for the psychoanalytic practice, theory and institution I shall briefly indicate[14]. This field is hardly explored and is one against which psychoanalyst still strongly resists. Let us recall that the analytic supplement [supplément d’analyse] required by “deconstruction” does not go without a certain emphatic homage to Lacan, of which I quote only an extract:
Whether one is talking about philosophy, psychoanalysis, or theory in general, what the flat-footed restoration underway attempts to recover, disavow, or censor is the fact that nothing of that which managed to transform the space of thought in the last decades would have been possible without some coming to terms with Lacan, without the Lacanian provocation, however one receives it or discusses it.[15]

2. Psychoanalysis with Derrida

In the second part of this essay, I shall attempt to show how several clinical, theoretical, and institutional aspects of psychoanalysis can be reconsidered, revised and modified by Derrida’s reading of some major psychoanalytic texts, such as Jacques Lacan’s seminar on Edgar Allen Poe’s The Purloined Letter. When transposed onto Lacan’s other texts, that is, onto the development of the psychoanalytic corpus, these deconstructive readings put into question fundamental psychoanalytic concepts, such as, for example, transference and the place of the analyst in interpretation, the function of the signifier and of the letter, their destination and their “destinerrance” (their wandering destination), the status of truth and of the effects of truth, etc. Such a rereading has implications for the practice and the theory of psychoanalysis, as well as for the history of the psychoanalytic movement. The analogies that are woven between the development of a theory and that of the socio-institutional context of psychoanalysis shall be evident. All this adds a new dimension to psychoanalytic thought, which can henceforth be called “desistential.” In the same way as Derrida is unthinkable without psychoanalysis, psychoanalysis has become unthinkable without Derrida. That is not to say that there is such a thing as “Derridean psychoanalysis,” as some people either think or fear. Psychoanalysis is at the frontier of all research (literary, philosophical, but also biological, genetic, etc.). It recognizes its numerous debts, but it does not need to be marked by a proper name, even if the function of the proper name occupies a central place in it.

Since the 1960’s, then, Derrida has interrogated numerous motifs governing both psychoanalytic and philosophical discourses. These motifs, to mention but only a few, are called phonocentrism, logocentrism, phallocentrism, “full speech” as truth, the transcendentalism of the signifier, the circular return of the letter missing from its “proper” place (I shall come back to this), the neutralising exclusion of the narrator from the scene of the narrative, etc. Now, these motifs are also those, which, at the same time, confidently construct Lacan’s theoretical, clinical and institutional movement of a “return to Freud,” which is as powerfully articulated as it is dogmatically asserted. These motifs are indeed found in the Ecrits (1966) and, exemplarily, in the opening text of this collection, which plays an organizing role independently from the date of its publication and that of the articles included in the collection[16]. This text, “The Seminar on The Purloined Letter” provides a reading of Edgar Poe’s tale The Purloined Letter, on the basis of the Freudian notion of “repetition automatism” which, for Lacan who finds support in Saussurean linguistics, becomes “the insistence of the signifying chain.” Hence, Lacan’s aphorism which concludes his commentary: “Thus it is that what the ‘purloined letter,’ nay, the ‘letter in sufferance,’ means is that a letter always arrives at its destination” (Seminar, p.53). This conclusion is possible only in so far as the letter, which is for Lacan the place of the materiality of the signifier, cannot be divided. Now, this “indivisibility” of the letter corresponds, according to Derrida, to the ideal identity of the letter, to its “idealization,” to which one can always object that a letter is divisible, can arrive or not at destination. This affects the logic of the event, the thought of singularity, the dissemination of the unique beyond the logic of castration, etc.

In order to limit my development, I shall concentrate here on how the neutralizing exclusion of the narrator in Lacan’s reading of Poe’s tale, which is echoed in the exclusion of the interpreter in “The Direction of the Treatment and the Principle of its Power” (a contemporary text to the Seminar which is formalized according to the same model), brings about an identification to one of the protagonists of the scene[17]. We shall see that this identification acts as a resistance to the desistance of the subject which alone is likely to situate the interpretation outside the scene where it can otherwise only but be expected and agreed upon by the analysand and the analyst. In this way, we shall see that what closes such a reading of Poe’s tale by locking it up, is nothing less than a historical scene, contemporary to the writing of the Seminar and “The Direction of the Treatment,” which evades this very reading.

In order to follow these developments, let us recall Poe’s The Purloined Letter. Two scenes generally leave the reader with a vivid memory of them. The first is played out in the royal boudoir in the presence of the Queen and the King. The Queen has received a compromising letter which she conceals from the eyes of the King through a simple gesture of turning it over on the table. Enters minister D___, who perceives the discomfort of the Queen and who, while he keeps up chatter about affairs of State, takes a similar letter out of his pocket and makes as if to read it before letting it fall onto the desk. All he then has to do, while continuing the conversation, is to pick up not his own letter, but the other, while the Queen is watching, prevented from stepping in so as not to attract attention of the King right alongside her. The second scene takes place in the minister’s study. While there on his first visit, the lynx eye of Dupin is drawn to a ticket which seems to have been abandoned in a card-rack hanging under the mantelpiece. From that moment on, his mind is made up. He deliberately leaves behind his snuff-box so he can return the next day to retrieve it. Armed in his turn with a counterfeit and having set up a street incident to bring the minister to the window at the right moment, Dupin, like the minister in the first scene, substitutes one letter for the other before taking leave of his host in the normal way.

In the Seminar, these two scenes are designated as two primal scenes, the second one being the repetition of the first. But Derrida reminds us that the two triangular scenes that Lacan discusses are narrated within the totality of the narrative structure. The scene which takes place in the royal apartments is recounted by the Prefect when he visits Dupin in the presence of the narrator and the second by Dupin, telling the narrator after the Prefect’s departure. Several consequences follow from the exclusion, not to say the foreclusion, of the narrator in Lacan’s reading, notably—as far as what interests me here is concerned—that of bringing about the identification of the analyst with Dupin’s position. The place proper to the letter in sufferance (and of the being in sufferance) is the one where Dupin and the psychoanalyst expect to find them: “In which respect Dupin shows himself quite the equal of the psychoanalyst when it comes to success”. Or else, “do we not in fact feel concerned with good reason when for Dupin what is perhaps at stake is his withdrawal from the symbolic circuit of the letter—we who become the emissaries of all the purloined letters which at least for a time remain in sufferance with us in transference”[18]. But why should the analyst just as well not identify himself with the narrator, who occupies the much more neutral position of hearing the narrative, for Dupin has a revenge to take on the Minister? Why should he not identify with the Prefect? Another reading can easily show that, by going to Dupin, the Prefect knew that the letter was already there or, if it were to be found, could not but be found there, since for him, to search the honorable detective or to exert any kind of pressure in the presence of the narrator is of course out of the question. He could only intimate that he was ready to pay the price for it. The same could be said of the Minister D___, Dupin’s brother. It is not the fact that the letter has been left exposed, as one pretends to believe, which makes it the best hiding place for the good sleuth. The Minister has left clues which might be indecipherable for anyone else other than Dupin. One knows that the stolen letter bears the Duc de S.’s seal, which is small and red, and that the writing of the superscription addressed to the Queen is bold and masculine. Now, the writing on the letter Dupin notices at the Minister is tiny and feminine, the seal large and black and marked with the cipher D. A woman, whom Dupin cannot but know and who owns the Minister’s seal, will thus have lent her support to the returning of the letter, of the same one, by invaginating it like a glove in order to divide it [la rendre double], to make it bear inverted signs on the inside and on the outside. Why should the reader, the interpreter, the analyst not still identify with the Queen, to whom the letter ends up by returning, whom, by the letter reaches, by erasing itself ?
Why should the analyst, if one really insists on retaining the analogy, not traverse the chain of identifications with each of the protagonists of the scene, who, in their turn, by escaping each of these identifications, will have been emissaries of the letter; by putting himself, without desisting himself, in desistance from the one or the other, from the one and the other, as far as it is possible to do the impossible? For the identification always has an end, a telos. Here, through the identification of the analyst with Dupin, the Seminar aims to make Poe’s letter—its decipherment—return to Lacan, by dethroning Marie Bonaparte’s too hermeneutical interpretation, which Lacan nevertheless partly takes up again on his own account. The Seminar also aims to make Freud’s very letter return to the same Lacan, that is, Freud’s letter, which prefaces the Princess’s book devoted to Poe, but also, by establishing the insistence of the signifying chain, the letter of the repetition automatism, the letter, then, of the resistance of the unconscious to the unconscious, which, beyond pleasure, governs the most determining effects for the subject

Poe’s tale which, together with The Murders in the Rue Morgue and The Mystery of Marie Rogêt, makes up a sort of trilogy, does not only authorize a series of abyssal readings [lectures en abyme], none of which can dominate the others, or allow an analogical reading with the unfolding of an analysis, but it also stages characters which are closely related with events of real life that are taking place at the time of their writing. Can one find analogies with such a model in Lacan’s Seminar? If such were the case, Lacan’s identification with the analyst Dupin would be overdetermined. The author of the Seminar tells us that “Dupin, from the place he now occupies, cannot help feeling a rage manifestly feminine” (p.51). A curious remark that is echoed in the “explosion of feeling” which the author shows towards a lady who remains unknown in the Seminar. She emerges on the occasion of Baudelaire’s inexact translation, pointed out by the Princess, concerning the place where the letter exactly lies: Baudelaire indeed erroneously translates “just beneath the middle of the mantelpiece” into “above the mantelpiece” (p.47). This question is of considerable importance if one expects the place where the phallus-letter is supposedly missing from its place to be precisely indicated: between the cheeks [jambages] of the fireplace. But, visibly yielding to anger, the author states that this question “may be abandoned to the inferences of those whose profession is grilling” and even adds in note, “and even to the cook herself” (p. 47).

This scene of writing made of Marie Bonaparte in the Seminar is duplicated in “The Direction of the Treatment” in another scene made of Sacha Nacht (Lacan’s rival in the 1953’s institutional fights) concerning the latter’s work entitled La Psychanalyse d’aujourd’hui. It might be useful to recall, in passing, that in this work, the identification of the analysand with the analyst is promoted as the criterion of the end of analysis. Here is an “intersubjective triad”—a triad comparable to the one formed by the Queen, the Minister and Dupin—terribly heated by a circulation of letters, by broken alliances and by an institutional scission. A letter dated 14 July 1953 from Lacan to Loewenstein (who was both Lacan and Nacht’s analyst, and Princess Bonaparte’s friend) enlightens, two years before the Seminar, the historical scene of legacy at issue, still the scene of the inherited letter, of the very letter of the inheritance. After having painted a picture of the state of play of psychoanalysis in France to Loewenstein, who is exiled in the United-States and has now become influential within the IPA (International Psychoanalytic Association), Lacan turns to the analysis of motivations. Let us follow the insistence of the signifying chain and the logic of the quart exclu: “To give you an analysis of what impels things, I must do justice to Nacht in conceding that he has neither vacillated nor flagged in the pursuit of his scheme [dessein].[19]” Dessein is the message-word, taken from the citation from Crébillon: “Un dessein si funeste / S’il n’est digne d’Atrée, est digne de Thyeste” [So baleful a plan, / If unworthy of Atreus, is worthy of Thyestes][20] which Dupin leaves as a signature on the substitute letter left to the Minister. It is also the slip object-word that Lacan transforms into destiny [destin] when he quotes “Un destin si funeste,” two times out of three. The design which Lacan attributes to Nacht is worthy of Thyeste and of the Minister, for “if he has grouped around him the majority of our old colleagues, it is due to a constancy in his policy which would be worthy of respect if it had not been the result of equally unchanging but implacably unscrupulous methods” (LS). For Lacan, Nacht is thus an “unprincipled man,” as it is said of the Minister. But, as the Minister for Dupin, he is also a brother: “My wife made him welcome and, in the house of my brother-in-law, Masson the painter, he was received with a hospitality that made him possible for him to remarry in the cordial atmosphere of a small Provençal village” (Ibid.). And further on: “My confidence in him, it must be said, was rock solid. . .” (Ibid.). This was still before the explosion of their friendly ferocity. A lady, and not just anyone, the legatee of the Freudian letter, is at the heart of their falling out:

Unfortunately for us, opposition took root in an unstable situation. Nacht, sure of his success, thought he could rid himself of the Princess: he dismissed her from our Counsels by refusing to welcome her. To be sure, it is reasonable to consider the actions of this person to have always been inauspicious in our group. The social prestige she brought with her can only warp relations there, the prestige she gains from her closeness to Freud means she is listened to with a patience which passes for approval, the respect one must show for an old lady requires a tolerance for her opinions which demoralizes the younger ones, in whose eyes we appear to be in a ridiculous position of subjection[21].

Nonetheless, the Princess still remains Lacan’s ally: “The help of the Princess, whose character you are well acquainted with, has brought matters to a head but has, I am sorry to say, served to crystallize a cell around Nacht. . .” [my emphasis] (Ibid.). And then, with the entrance of the lady from Vienna: “I was the extremely unwilling witness of the Princess’s astounding telephone calls to Anna Freud, in which she described our adversaries as gangsters. . .” (Ibid.). Then came the switching of alliances that followed Lacan’s drawing up of the principles on which an Institute of Psychoanalysis should be run:
Simply failing to mention both the Princess and her honorary functions was sufficient to decide everything. In a meeting that she had asked for . . ., she concluded a treaty with Nacht whose terms were only revealed by what then happened: the secret pact [my emphasis] was, after four months, to be sealed by a session uniquely devoted to giving the Princess the prize for her good and loyal services [my emphasis][22].

In connection with this, one should reread an enigmatic passage from the Seminar held two years later: “It is here that the origin of that horror betrays itself, and he who experiences it has no need to declare himself (in a most unexpected manner) ‘a partisan of the lady’ in order to reveal it to us: it is known that ladies detest calling principles into question, for their charms owe much to the mystery of the signifier.” The letter, let us recall, is the materiality of the signifier. The final lines of Lacan’s letter reveal a man confronted with despicable schemes, confident about the contribution he thinks he is currently making to the conception of analytic experience. The word destiny flows naturally from his pen: “Whatever happens, you should know that you will encounter here a man more convinced of his duties and his destiny” (LS).
The analogy between the events of real life, a sequence of unfathomable readings and a theory of the “analytic cure” is perhaps most “analogous” with the writing of Edgar Poe. “There are ideal series of events which run parallel with the real ones” reads the inscription at the beginning of The Mystery of Marie Rogêt[23]. This citation from Novalis adds that these events “rarely coincide,” but the narrator goes out of his way to emphasize the coincidences : “The extraordinary details which I am now called upon to make public, will be found to form, as regards sequence of time, the primary branch of a series of scarcely intelligible coincidences [Poe’s emphasis]. . .” (The Mystery, p. 143). And The Murders of the Rue Morgue suggests, for anyone interested in enigmas, rebus and in hieroglyphs, to reduce the totality of pieces down to four kings, each of the pieces having their double, just like Dupin, the narrator and the reader redouble themselves, and just as the letter, which circulates with its interior and exterior faces.
In the example that follows, which is even more closely related to analytic practice, it is once more the identification with one of the protagonists in a scene of inheritance of thought that reveals the blind spot of the interpretation or the fixation to a demand for meaning.

In “The Direction of the Treatment”, Lacan takes up again from Ernst Kris, one of the analysts of the famous troïka—Hartman, Kris and Loewenstein—whose names remain attached to Ego Psychology, the example called The Man with the Cold Brains. At issue is an American academic who cannot publish his research because he believes that he is guilty of plagiarism. His analyst, who aims to link the resistances to the analysis of defenses, seizes the opportunity of a work that the patient has just completed, concerning which the latter claims that he repeats in it the ideas found in someone else’s work, to assess the situation. The analyst discovers that the patient has apparently done nothing more than is normal practice in the field, indeed that it is him alone, the patient, who accuses the author of having said what he wants to say and even, that it is the imminent colleague who might in fact have repeatedly taken over his ideas. In brief, since the situation is reversed through reality-testing, the patient, after analytic sessions, begins to wander along in the neighboring streets in order to scrutinize restaurant menus in search of his favorite dish: cold brains. The so-called reality-testing will only have displaced the compulsion by making it look on the side of the brain of the analyst: “It’s not that your patient doesn’t steal that is important here. It’s that . . . steals nothing.”[24] This pertinent remark does not, however, wear down the point where something [ça] resists and which has once again something to do with identification. This time, it has something to do with the identification of “Dupin’s equal,” not with the patient believing himself to be a plagiarist, or with his reluctantly behaviorist analyst, but with the real or imaginary plagiarized. A note from Lacan cannot help but say it: “In the United States, where Kris has achieved success, publication makes news and teaching like mine should stake its claim to priority each week against the pillage that it cannot fail to attract” (Ibid., p. 280).

The impression of strange familiarity uneasily bears the division [partition] of the same and the effects of the double, and more precisely, of the uncanny inherent to the Bewusstsein (being known for having always been “already seen” [déjà vu]) and to consciousness taking itself for the object of its own [propre] “reflection.” For Freud, the phenomenon of consciousness lies in the doubling of an agency by itself: “But it is only this latter, material, offensive as it is to the criticism of the ego, which may be incorporated in the idea of a double. There are also all the unfulfilled but possible futures . . . , and all our suppressed acts of volition which nourish in us the illusion of Free Will.”[25] The experience of an exterior gaze on the so-called “self,” which is redoubled through its passage to the “inside,” implies the desistance of this gaze from the object which lends it assistance. This experience frightens reason, it is its risk and its chance. Its risk, for the meeting with the double, this double, which the subject calls to daylight, always confronts one to the other as wholly other and to one’s death. It is its chance of not being liberated by anyone else but “oneself”[26] and of dying of one’s own death.
Lacan has not failed to represent to himself, on the most spectral mode, such an experience. It should attract, as an hypothesis, an hypothesis of the school, the attention of the “candidates in training”:

Let us imagine what would take place in a patient who saw in his analyst an exact replica of himself. Everyone feels that the excess of aggressive tension would set up such an obstacle to the manifestation of the transference that its useful effect could only be brought about extremely slowly, and this is what sometimes happens in the analysis of prospective analysts. To take an extreme case, experienced in the form of strangeness proper to the apprehensions of the double, this situation would set up an uncontrollable anxiety on the part of the analysand[27].

The problematic of the double goes hand in hand with the division of the letter. It is in this respect that it prevents one from conceiving of a circular trajectory from send-off to destination. If the trajectory is possible it is nevertheless not guaranteed. Indeed, the double—notably in the analytic transference—redoubles the circuit of the letter from the start. The send-off is split [dédoublé] and turned back—to the starting point—and the divided letters, crisscrossing in their trajectories, constantly intercept each other’s messages. This is also what takes any demand for meaning back to its own finality.

These few indications aimed to draw attention to the impact of Derridean deconstruction on the analytic practice, theory and institution. Derridean deconstruction, which is not identifiable with any system, pursues indefinitely, or hyperanalytically, the analysis of the effects of the assignation of a place, of the subjection to a thought and of the fixation to the imaginary properties of a proper name.

[1] In print in a collective volume A comparison to Derrida at Cambridge University Press.
[2] Jacques Derrida, “Let us not Forget—Psychoanalysis,” The Oxford Literary Review 12, no. 1-2, Psychoanalysis and Literature, 1990, pp. 3-4. This citation is taken from my introduction to the paper “Reason From the Unconscious,” which I delivered on 16 December 1988 at the Sorbonne in Paris, on the occasion of the Forum “Thinking at Present” organized by the Collège international de Philosophie.
[3] I here follow closely Geoffrey Bennington’s remarks in his paper entitled “Circanalyse (La chose même)” delivered at the Colloque de Cerisy in July 1996 (forthcoming Paris: Aubier).
[4] Jacques Derrida, “Freud and the Scene of Writing” in Writing and Difference, with an Introduction and Additional Notes by Alan Bass (Chicago & London: The University of Chicago Press, 1978), p. 212. Henceforth abbreviated in the text as FSW.
[5] See Sigmund Freud, Moses and Monotheism, Three Essays, SE, XXIII, (London: The Hogarth Press and the Institute of Psychoanalysis, 1958), pp. 129-130.
[6] SE, XIII, pp. 176-7.
[7] Jacques Derrida, Archive Fever, A Freudian Impression, tr. by E. Prenowitz (Chicago & London: The University of Chicago Press, 1995), p. 32. Henceforth abbreviated as AF.
[8] “Desistance” in Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe, Typography, Mimesis, Philosophy, Politics (Cambridge [Massachusetts], London [England]: Harvard University Press, 1989), p. 2. “Desistance” (henceforth abbreviated as D) is the introduction to an English collection of essays by Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe who uses recurrently the verb désister and the substantive désistement. Derrida’s essay begins by addressing the problems of translation which these terms are bound to raise, in particular as far as in its juridical sense, the verb désister requires the reflexive construction [se désister] which does not exist in English. In his discussion—destined for an English readership—of Lacoue-Labarthe’s concepts of désistement and of désister, Derrida introduces the term “désistance,” but warns that it cannot be translated without further precautions as “desistance.” For an elaboration of the divergent and “very different syntactic possibilities” of “desistance” and “désistance,” see “Desistance”, cit., pp. 1-5. In this translation, désistance is translated as desistance. The italics should suffice to signal that precautions must be taken around this term.
[9] In “Géopsychanalyse” (in Psyché, op. cit.), Derrida elaborates on the way in which the psychoanalytic institution has been able to archivize the unnamable and how psychoanalysis could contribute to another thought of the ethical, the juridical and the political.
[10] Jacques Derrida, “Me-Psychoanalysis: An Introduction to the Translation of ‘The Shell and the Kernel’ by Nicolas Abraham”, tr. by Richard Klein, Diacritics (1979), p. 7.
[11] Jacques Derrida, The Post Card: From Socrates to Freud and Beyond, tr. with an Introduction and Additional Notes by Alan Bass (Chicago & London: The University of Chicago Press, 1987).
[12] J. Derrida, “For the Love of Lacan” in Resistances of Psychoanalysis, tr. by Peggy Kamuf, Pascale-Anne Brault, Michael Naas (Stanford California: Stanford University Press, 1998), p. 41; in Journal of European Psychoanalysis, n. 2, 1995-1996.
[13] “Resistances” in Resistances of Psychoanalysis, op. cit. pp. 27-33.
[14] I shall return later, without being able to develop them at length, to certain theses elaborated in my Derrida avec Lacan: Analyse désistentielle (Paris: Éd. Mentha, 1991).
[15] “For the Love of Lacan”, op. cit., p. 46.
[16] Jacques Lacan, “Seminar on The Purloined Letter,” tr. by Jeffrey Mehlman in J. P. Muller and William J. Richardson, eds., The Purloined Poe, Lacan, Derrida and Psychoanalytic Reading (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1988), pp. 28-54. See also Lacan, The Seminar, Book II: The Ego in Freud’s Theory and in Psychoanalytic Technique, 1954-55, tr. Sylvana Tomaselli, with notes by John Forrester (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988).
[17] For a more detailed and meticulous analysis, I refer the reader to “La Parabole de la lettre” in Lacan avec Derrida, op.cit., partially translated by John Forrester as “The Parable of The Purloined Letter”, Stanford Literature Review (Spring-Fall 1991), pp. 67-102. For Derrida’s reading of Lacan’s “Seminar on ‘The Purloined Letter,’” see “Le Facteur de la vérité” in The Post Card, op. cit..
[18] Lacan, Seminar, op.cit., p.48.
[19] La Scission de 1953. Documents edited by Jacques-Alain Miller, Ornicar?, 1976, pp. 120-132. Henceforth abbreviated as LS. Translated by John Forrester in René Major “The Parable of the Purloined Letter,” op. cit.
[20] Theodore O. Mabbot, “Text of ‘The Purloined Letter’ with Notes” in The Purloined Poe, op.cit., p. 27.
[21] Ibid.
[22] Ibid.
[23] Edgar Allan Poe, Selected Tales (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1980), p. 142.
[24] The Direction of the Treatment and the Principle of its Power” in Ecrits, A Selection, tr. by Alan Sheridan (London: Tavistock Publications, 1977), p. 239.
[25] “The Uncanny”, SE, XVII, p. 236.
[26] Allusion to one of La Rochefoucauld’s sentences concerning l’amour-propre.
[27] Jacques Lacan, “Aggressivity in Psychoanalysis” in Ecrits, A Selection, op cit.

Psicoanálisis

STATE OF PSYCHOANALYSIS WORLDWIDE

Elisabeth Roudinesco

Summary

On the occasion of the meeting of the Estates General, it is appropriate to emphasize that psychoanalysis puts into question the paternal function, and is thereby incompatible with all forms of sovereignty. Psychoanalysis opposes state terror and discrimination: in the face of the death drive, it mourns the loss of mastery and acknowledges guilt. The analysis of the solitary, uprooted subject that Freud inaugurated has been transmitted through discipleship and filiation, and while it has succeeded largely in Western, urban environments, it has spread throughout the world, proliferating in many Schools and diverse institutional settings, without being dominated by any single organization or hegemonic thought system. A contemporary renewal of the practice of psychoanalysis might take into account new forms of parenting and family relations, reconsider the treatment of homosexuality and the definition of perversion, and confront demands for diagnosis and therapy in changing social systems, while remaining open as a critical instrument.

Psychoanalysis was invented by a Jew of Haskala, in the heart of a Mitteleuropa still laboring under the ancient feudal system to which the Revolution of 1789 had put an end the previous century. Psychoanalysis was intended to re-evaluate symbolically a paternal function whose deconstruction it had also contributed. By means of its nocturnal vision of mankind submerged by the tragedy of Oedipus, it presented the world with a fascinating Utopia, a new science of the unconscious. In other words, Freud and his early disciples, the pioneers of the Wednesday Psychological Society[1], attempted to change Man, not by means of social revolution, but through an awakening of consciousness: a consciousness able to admit that its freedom could be bound to the fate of dreams, sex and desire, to the destiny of a failing reason.

In forty-one countries, psychoanalysis has had an impact since the early twentieth century; however, in only thirty-two of these has it succeeded in sometimes becoming a powerful institutional movement, at times becoming an establishment limited to a particular group or a number of individuals. It should not surprise us that it has spread, with few exceptions (for example Japan and India), in the areas of Western civilization (Europe, North and South America, Australia, Israel, Lebanon), with considerable variables depending on the country.

Born in the wake of industrialization, weakening religious conviction, and the decline of traditional patriarchy—that is, the lowering of autocratic, theocratic and monarchic powers, and therefore the advent of democracy and the emancipation of women—it dispensed its teachings, founded its associations and created its training institutes in large cities whose inhabitants are for the most part severed from their roots, withdrawn into a diminished family nucleus and plunged into anonymity and cosmopolitanism. Favorable to the exploration of intimate depths, psychoanalysis is nourished by a conception of the subjectivity which presupposes a solitude of man confronted with himself in renouncing all forms of tribal ascendancy.

The device of the couch in this sense is no more than the clinical translation of that detachment: a private discussion with oneself before an otherness reduced to its most simple expression. As for transference, the main concept established by Freud, it is no more than the transposition, at an intersubjective level, of an ascendancy which has become undone in reality, the power of which the subject reconstructed in his imagination for the purpose of the therapy.
Considering that these Estates General make reference to those of 1789 and that in the program’s illustration the king’s throne has been eliminated, in this way pointing at the absence of monarchic sovereignty in the interests of that of people—people like the psychoanalysts who gathered together today to speak of the future of psychoanalysis—I cannot resist asking whether or not that discipline is regicidal, whether the theory it puts into practice in order to comprehend the origin of societies assumes or not the existence of an original murder.

Freud preferred the English type of constitutional monarchy to the republican sovereignty of Year II established by the French Convention (June 24, 1793): the first in his opinion incarnated a culture of the Ego[2], a puritan Ego capable of mastering its passions, a moral rectitude, an ethic of constraint. The other, on the contrary, represented the territory of the hither, the aesthetic of disorder, of the libido and the driven masses–in other words, a bursting in of forces which, although uncontrollable, were not lacking seduction. This is a distinction between the masculine, with admiration for Cromwell, on the one hand, and the feminine, with fascination for Charcot and the demonstrations at the Salpétriêre Hospital, on the other.

Beyond this English/French bipolarity, and the admission of the sexual difference in his cultural choices, Freud constantly stresses, from Totem and Taboo to Moses[3], that the murder of the father was always necessary for the edification of any human society. However, once that act was accomplished, society did not abandon murderous anarchy unless that act was followed by a sanction and a reconciliation with the image of the father. In other words, Freud believed in the necessity of murder and the necessity of its prohibition, and at the same time in the necessity of the act and in the recognition of guilt sanctioned by the law. He believed that all human society is affected by the death drive and that that drive cannot be eliminated. However, he also asserted that any civilized society is based on the supposition of the existence of pardon, mourning, and redemption[4].

Can we consequently deduct that psychoanalysis is at the same time regicidal (based as it is on the Freudian thesis on the necessity of the act of murder) and hostile to all forms of inflicted death—torture or death penalty—since that act, although repeated in the history of revolutions, must be followed by punishment which tends to abolish the possibility of crime and therefore of capital punishment[5] In the same way, and to return to the question of what defines the conditions of the exercise of psychoanalysis in the world, we could say that it has no nationality, knows no frontiers, although its manner of establishment will inevitably bear the cultural traits of the country of adoption. It is therefore not essentially ‘sovereignist’, as it does not recognize the sacred nature of sovereignty—of the nation or its chief—although, historically, its modes of transmission have always been in support of the principle of filiation or “apostolic succession”, as Michael Balint put it[6]. It is, in other words, a system of initiation into knowledge and practice from a master to his/her disciple through the didactic treatment. Nevertheless, because it does not acknowledge that holy sovereignity, psychoanalysis as a discipline assumes the uprooting of the subject when confronted with himself, a decentering of the subject, as Freud put it, an interior exile which implies three narcissistic humiliations: no longer being at the center of the universe, no longer being outside the animal world, no longer being master of one’s own house[7].
One does then understand why psychoanalysis has become established in all the nations of the world subsequent to the psychiatric gesture called “Pinelian”, after Philippe Pinel, in the 18th century and ratified by the French Convention, which gave form to the removal of madness from the world of demonic possession and religion[8]. One also understands why it has always been persecuted in countries where the civil state did not exist—and even more so by those political regimes which had suppressed the entire body of basic freedoms characterizing that civil state: first of all, the Nazi regime designated it as a “Jewish science”, and as such it was victim of an extermination in spite of the spread of its concepts and its vocabulary; later, the Stalinist regime stigmatized it as a “bourgeois science” from 1949 on, even after twenty years had passed since it had disappeared from Soviet territory.

Michel Foucault emphasized rightly in 1976 that, in line with his rupture with the theories of heredity-degeneracy, Freud, as a reaction to the great wave of racism of his times, had given as a principle of sexuality “La loi—the law of alliance, of the forbidden consanguinity, of the Sovereign-Father”. Briefly, he had assembled around the question of desire all the ancient order of power, and he added: “psychoanalysis has been essentially—except for a few exceptions—in a practical and theoretical opposition with fascism”[9].

This Foucaultian judgement which I embrace is directed to the discipline itself. It is as a discipline that psychoanalysis is essentially incompatible with the dictatorial forms of fascism and with any of the forms of discrimination associated with it (racism, anti-Semitism, xenophobia, etc.), and it remains independent of certain representatives of psychoanalysis who, in particular historical circumstances, were not up to what this discipline demanded, to the point of collaborating with the regimes persecuting it[10].
It is good that psychoanalysis demonstrates that the destructive drive, murder, violence, hatred of oneself and the other, are the passionate invariants of the human condition which must be fought even when it indicates their infinite repetitiveness.

The double process of detachment from sovereignty and of extrication from a symbolic function of the father characterizes the very movement of psychoanalysis. The evolution of its institutions is testimony of it. For the early Freudians, psychoanalysis was the property of a founding father who referred to his own group as a “savage horde”. Those who left him assumed the role of dissidents and no longer belonged to the elected few.

The sovereign function of power was delegated by Freud to the International Psychoanalytical Association (IPA) in 1910. That was the only legitimate authority of psychoanalysis for nearly twenty years, which was directed not by the founder who continued to incarnate its creative force, but by his disciples of the first generation. That oligarchic type of power well suited a type of psychoanalysis which was still molded in the image of the theatrical production of a classical or Shakespearean sort: somewhere between the city of Thebes and the kingdom of Denmark.

With the scissions which would occur in 1927, the IPA gradually ceased being the vehicle of psychoanalytical sovereignty, remaining however—at least for a while—its only legitimate authority. Actually, those who seceded did not leave the community, in which the living Freud was still the main actor, but attempted to create other internal currents within that community. The scissions in the years between the World Wars was symptomatic of the impossibility for psychoanalysis to be entirely represented by a single government. That period of scissions reflected what was the very essence of Freudian invention: the decentralizing of the subject, the abolition of Mastery, the overthrow of monarchic authority.

This is why, after the Second World War, the IPA was no longer considered to be the only institution able to gather together the whole of psychoanalytical currents in one indivisible community. At that point, not only other associations which were attempting to coexist within a single empire, but groups which rejected the very principle of belonging to a single unity emerged. They made claims for both the disappeared father and his doctrine and an abandonment of his system of thought. These scissions signaled the transformation of psychoanalysis into a mass movement.

The present situation reflects the history which we have inherited. At this point, we know that no International can claim to be the incarnation of the absolute legitimacy of psychoanalysis. Consequently, all its institutions have felt the influence of the mourning for a sovereignty lost forever or engendered by the interminable mourning of the figure of a master to whom some would wish to be faithful at the risk of transforming that figure into a sham.

Therefore we have now no single International but many Internationals which group together some of the numerous associations—which are not homogenous or in perpetual mutation: presently at least four in addition to the IPA[11]. As regards associations, schools, societies, they number in the hundreds worldwide and represent around 30,000 listed practitioners, added to which are the independents, in constant progression, either belonging to no institution or more than one.

The success enjoyed by psychoanalysis was challenged by incessant attacks. During the first half of the 20th century, it was assimilated to a pan-sexualism and blamed for a lowering of civilized behavior. It was accused of corrupting morals and sowing discord within families. After 1960, when the Western world became more liberal in sexual matters, psychoanalysis was condemned for its alleged clinical ineffectuality, for its unscientific nature. After having been banished from the realm of right-thinking citizens for its rebel spirit, it was excluded from the academy of notables of science because of an attachment, considered conservative, to the traditions of Greek and Judeo-Christian humanism.

These criticisms are the sign of the force of psychoanalysis. However, although its institutions are not in danger, its teachings are widely threatened in the universities, in ways varying according to the country. It is in regression in Europe; it is limited to the Humanities Department (literature, philosophy, sociology, history) in the United States; while in Latin America—above all in Brazil—it has been strongly established in all the trainings of clinical psychologists (that is, in the Psychology Departments, which explains the vitality of the Latin American psychoanalytical movement which is today comparable to the ancient Diaspora coming from Mitteleuropa).
As an answer to the attacks, psychoanalysis could well adopt the famous phrase Mirabeau addressed—on May 5, 1789—to the Deputies of the Third Estate (soon to be called “députés des communes”): “Il leur suffit de rester immobiles pour se rendre formidables à leurs ennemis”(“It is enough for them to stay immobile to become formidable for their enemies”)[12] .

Despite the fact that the death of psychoanalysis has been regularly announced, psychoanalysis has in fact spread out into many currents of thought—obviously some Freudian ones, but above all the numerous interpretations of that current. Certain schools bear the name of their founding masters (Anna Freud, Melanie Klein, Jacques Lacan), while others instead choose a label, a conceptual belonging. One could list five main principles (besides classic Freudianism), divided in the various geographical areas I mentioned above: Ego Psychology, Self Psychology, Kleinism, Existential analysis, AnnaFreudism, Lacanism, each is in turn divided into various branches. The expansion is so vast that one might ask if there still exists a psychoanalytical community and whether the practitioners of the unconscious around the world still wish to communicate in a transversal way, beyond their respective schools.

The 19th century was the century of psychiatry, and the 20th was the century of psychoanalysis. What is by now referred to as the crisis of psychoanalysis is no more than a crisis linked to the definition of its specific nature in the world, in the 21st century where already now one is a witness to a great multiplication of psychotherapies: a thousand are presently accounted. Their success is due in part to the fact that psychiatric knowledge is bogged down in the cognitivist behaviorist classifications which reduce man to a sum of syndromes, as demonstrated by the interminable, so-called “diagnostic” debates which have stormed for the past twenty years regarding the DSM (Statistical and Diagnostic Manual of Mental Illness, adopted by the World Health Organization)[13]. However, that success is also the consequence of a transformation of Western society—the cult of happiness, the quest for health, the interest in the body and the privileges accorded to the achievements of a narcissistic individual. In other words, the theme of “personal development” has in the Western world—notably in the middle classes—substituted political or social commitment, so calling into question a subjectivity which is at the same time subversive and universalizing.

Adapted to each case, each group, each individual, and therefore adopted by the middle classes anxious about their well-being, these therapies were developed slowly, first in the United States beginning in the 1960s, then about ten years ago in most Western countries. At the same time, as the world evolved towards a global economy with no other enemy, after the defeat of Communism in 1989, the fantasy raised by the Self became sovereign in its own home and projected its fantasies onto another which incarnated what is foreign to oneself, foreign to the homeland, to what is intimate, to the nation itself[14]. Unlike psychoanalysis, but on the same terrain in which it is practiced, these therapies lead to the belief that individual will is more powerful than the weight of the past, that it is far more determinant for the destiny of the subject than repression or the anchorage in an unconscious genealogy.

If psychoanalysis must by now define its identity rigorously, while perpetuating the strength of its concepts, it cannot do so by closing itself within a dogma or a fake unity. In other words, if it is to survive as a clinical practice, it cannot avoid taking into account the real state of psychic suffering, which is generally treated by psychotherapies, and which has followed the transformation of the Western family, a transformation which was partly brought about by psychoanalysis.
Starting from these remarks, the reflection in progress in these Estates General could result in some propositions regarding (among others) the future of a new psychoanalysis which we wish to create. I would summarize these propositions in the form of the following questions:

1 – How is the Treatment-Type to be considered—the armchair-couch model—in a world where the demand for efficacy goes hand in hand with a conscious will of the users themselves (patients and practitioners of psychiatry, medicine and psychotherapy) to avoid exploration of the unconscious?

2 – How is a clinical knowledge to be created which would escape the present classification of psychiatry and without abandoning the essence of Freudian definition? In the case of the treatment of madness in a world where each subject will have more and more access to his medical files, should the nosographic frame, already denounced by Michel Foucault, be maintained, even though is in danger today more than ever of being assimilated to a discriminatory judgement?

3 – Can homosexuality be still considered a perversion and can one continue, contrary to the evolution of Western societies, to exclude even in-a-non-officially way homosexuals from the profession, as it is the case in certain psychoanalytic associations? In the same train of thought, should there not be more reflection on the manner in which psychoanalysis should take into account the statute of the child and the new forms of family organization (co-parenthood, homo-parenthood, artificial insemination) which already exist and are disapproved of by a considerable number of practitioners?

4 – How should the future of psychoanalysis be considered, both in the various countries where it has not yet been rooted and in Europe where it is enjoying a new success, notably after the fall of the Communist regimes? Will the new psychoanalysis of the 21st century be exported to these countries, following a post-colonial or a globalizing model, in the manner of an interpreting machine, or instead will it succeed in becoming a critical instrument, critical at the same time of its own dogmas as well of those schools of thought which resist its expansion?

In conclusion, I should like to extend my heartfelt thanks to René Major, as it is thanks to his passion for psychoanalysis and his tolerant and democratic spirit that this magnificent event was made possible.

[1] The Minutes of the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society, I, 1906-1908, edited by Herman Nunberg (New York: International Universities Press, 1962); Ibidem, II, 1908-1910, edited by Herman Nunberg (New York: International Universities Press, 1967); Ibid., III, 1910-1911, edited by Herman Nunberg (New York: International Universities Press, 1967); Ibid., IV, 1912-1918, edited by Herman Nunberg (New York: International Universities Press, 1975).
[2] See Carl Schorske, Thinking with History (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1998).
[3] Sigmund Freud, Totem and Taboo (1912-1913), SE, XIII, pp. 1-158; Moses and Monotheism: Three Essays (1939), SE, XXIII, pp. 1-137.
[4] See Jacques Derrida, “Le siècle du pardon”, interview with Michel Wieviorka, Le Monde des débats, December 1999.
[5] See on this subject Elisabeth Roudinesco, “Freud et le régicide. Eléments d’une réflexion”; it will be published on Revue germanique internationale in September 2000. And Myriam Revault d’Allones, D’une mort à l’autre (Paris: Payot, 1955).
[6] Michael Balint, Primary Love and Psycho-Analytic Technique (London: 1952).
[7] Sigmund Freud, A Difficulty on the Path of Psycho-Analysis (1916), SE, XVII, pp. 137-144.
[8]See Jacques Postel, Genèse de la psychiatrie. Les premiers écrits de Philippe Pinel (1981) (Le Plessis-Robinson: Synthélabo, 1998).
[9] Michel Foucault, La volonté de savoir (Paris: Gallimard, 1976), p. 198.
[10] See René Major, De l’éléction. Freud face aux idéologies américaine, allemande et soviétique (Paris: Aubier, 1986). Elisabeth Roudinesco and Michel Plon, Dictionnaire de la psychanalyse (Paris: Fayard, 1997).
[11] See Dictionnaire de la psychanalyse, op.cit.
[12] Albert Soboul, Histoire de la révolution française, vol. 1, De la Bastille à la Gironde (1962)(Paris: Gallimard, 1972), p. 148.
[13] See Stuart Kirk and Herb Kutchins, The Selling of DSM: The Rhetoric of Science in Psychiatry (New York: Aldine de Gruyter,1992).
[14] See Christopher Lasch, The Culture of Narcissism. American Life in an Age of Diminishing Expectations (New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 1991).

Psicoanálisis

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Psicoanálisis