Special events organized by the Lacanian Compass.
"The Culture of Narcissism"
A special video seminar by Fabian Fajnwaks
June 11, 2017 @11am EST
This video seminar will be broadcast online through Webex. Register with Juan Felipe Arango by emailing email@example.com by June 9th. Login instructions will be sent out in advance to those who have registered. The event is free and open to all.
In The Culture of Narcissism, Christopher Lasch explores the ego's function in the era of declining ideals and increasing weakness of social ties. Published in 1979, at the end of what Tom Wolfe called the "me decade," this book remains an absolutely contemporary work. Lasch explores familial (even Oedipal) and social consequences of these declining ideals or as we could translate in Lacanian terms as the declining father imago.
It is worth examining this social research from the perspective of the strengthening of the ego and the Borrromean solutions each parlêtre tries to arrange.
On Some Almost Unnoticeable Ways of Being Crazy
On the 19th of October 2016, at the invitation of Maria Cristina Aguirre and the NYFLAG (New York Freud Lacan Analytic Group), Gustavo Dessal delivered a presentation entitled: On Some Almost Unnoticeable Ways of Being Crazy. NYFLAG wishes to thank Gustavo Dessal for his exceptional presentation.
Taking as his point of departure the notion of ordinary psychosis, Dessal constructed his discourse around the three proper names that punctuate Lacan's teaching on psychosis: Aimée, Schreber and Joyce. Leaving the case Aimée aside, for lack of time, Dessal sketched first what Schreber and Joyce taught Lacan about psychosis. Schreber, as the letter S of his name suggests, stands on the side of the symbolic, and Joyce, with the J, on the one of jouissance. Schreber, indeed, gave to Lacan a way to understand psychosis by means of the Symbolic, while Joyce forced Lacan to go beyond it, into jouissance and the real. The two paradigms, nonetheless, should not be opposed, or played against one another, but seen as complementary argued Dessal.
Schreber was necessary to create one of the most important lacanian concepts: the Name of the Father, and the subjective consequence when it is inefficient: foreclosure. In Schreber's paradigm, psychosis is conceived of as a disorder of the symbolic, a break down in the symbolic chain that affects the signified and the subject. The foreclosure eliminates both, the signified and the subject. These two aspects that Lacan points out as the effect of foreclosure are immediate. The first one is the emptiness of signification (which could be so radical that the subject experiences it as something dense and full). The second is named the death of the subject, and is related to the moment when the signifier breaks free from the chain and returns in the real.
Joyce leads to another paradigm, a paradigm that underlines the possibility that the failure of the Name of the Father can be repaired even before the triggering of psychosis. A subject can supplement the foreclosure of the Name of the Father through a symptom that works to prevent the imaginary from getting loose from the two other registers. In this sense, the concept of symptom, remarked Dessal, becomes larger than the concept of the Name of the Father. Even in Seminar III On Psychosis, Lacan had an idea of this problem when he talked about certain schizophrenic patients who were able to have a functional life using the resources of an imaginary identification; people who mimic and behave by playing roles. But this resource is fragile and susceptible to collapse.
What is called the Sinthome is a construction with a different consistency. It may be strong enough to contain the flood of jouissance. And it is able to stabilize the subject. On the one hand, we have a delusional metaphor, which is able to stabilize a psychosis in a temporary way after it has been triggered. However this stabilization is produced at the level of the signified. On the other hand, we have the Sinthome that can fix something at the level of jouissance. The Sinthome operates in such ways, in some cases, that the triggering does not even take place. The delusional metaphor is a staple applied at the level of the imaginary and signification, while the Sinthome is a quilting point for jouissance. The delusional metaphor means something, while the Sinthome does not mean anything at all. It works as a Name of the Father.
What we call ordinary psychosis had a precedent, remarked Dessal, in the category of the so-called normalized psychosis studied by Pinel, like lucid madness, or partial madness that are almost invisible. And it is from the paradigm of Joyce that we can recapture those kinds of psychosis. Some people show symptoms that look like neurotics symptoms but that mean something else. There is the madness of everybody. But there is another madness. It is important to detect an ordinary psychosis because it has a great influence on the direction of the treatment. What we call negative therapeutic reaction for example can result from a false diagnosis. One has to be able to perceive the foreclosure without its classical symptoms. When a patient is supposed to speak about his Oedipus complex, maybe there is none. When a patient talks about his rituals, those rituals might not be obsessive.
To conclude his presentation, Dessal made a series of clinical remarks and case vignettes about the treatment of ordinary psychosis. First, unlike classical psychosis, where the psychotic break is easily localizable, it is very hard to find it in ordinary psychosis. Patients can experience inner states that can be grouped under the label of strangeness, but not as psychotic breakdown. Second, those patients, for the most part, lack a history, and proper narrative structures about their past. They present frozen significations and often don't commit to what they say about themselves. Third, many of them show a peculiar relationship to sexual life. Although psychoanalysis doesn't know anything about sexuality, it seems that they show clear sign of a weak sexual identity. In some cases, some perverse behaviors can be identified as means to prevent the threat of an invading intrusion for example. Fourth, those patients have difficulties with the social bond. They show signs of extreme shyness or, on the contrary, of helplessness in front of the other’s aggressiveness.
Some patients even express in very spontaneous ways, a family romance in which repression and censorship is almost nonexistent. Idea about incest can be conscious and won't produce subjective division or anxiety. This is why in ordinary psychosis a very colorful Oedipus complex can work as a supplementary Name of the father. Nonetheless, underlined Dessal, the delusional core is never missing, although never easy to find. It is generally consciously or unconsciously hidden. Psychotics are very cunning. Psychotics can give or keep information to themselves. Sometimes there are only allusions or ellipses of speech. But an analyst should never force them to tell their secrets, because to keep it is already a way to deal with foreclosure. The patient uses a form of ideology to stand apart from his own enunciation. For many ordinary psychotics, the body is a sort of a sacred temple that has to be protected. This is the reason why they are most of the time against medication. They may prefer to use heroin instead of taking psychotropic medication. The question thus is: how to help the psychotic to deal with the edge of the real, the liquidness of his life?
Never before our native helplessness has been more exposed than in the present, concluded Dessal.
A report by Frédéric-Charles Baitinger
New York Freud Lacan Analytic Group
'Anything Goes: The Imperatives of Jouissance in a Society of Permissiveness'
MArch 18, 2016
Lecture by Marie-Helene Brousse in conjunction with Clinical Study Days 9.
'Was Joyce Mad?'
November 4, 2015
Lecture by psychoanalyst, Adrian Price, translator of Seminar XXIII, soon to be published by Polity.
Lacan, Seminar XXIII Le Sinthome, Chapter V (February 10, 1976) "Was Joyce Mad?"
NGO CSW Forum Parallel Event
MArch 19, 2015
THE LACANIAN BODY
MARCH 21, 2015
THE REAL POLITICS OF THE BODY
NOVEMBER 22, 2014
Guest Speaker: Prof. Thomas Svolos, Creighton University, Omaha
· The Body Politic
· More, More, More Addiction
· The Psychoanalytic Soapbox
The 21st century body is no longer the body of a century or a half century ago--something has changed in the ways in which people relate to or experience their bodies today and the ways they describe this to those around them, including a psychoanalyst.
For this Seminar, I want to say something about the Lacanian approach to the body. This will be grounded in some classical notions of the body as imaginary body and even the symbolic body, but with a focus more on the body as real, as an event of the real. Lacan, famously known for his linguistic formulations about the unconscious as structured like a language, left us, in his final years, with a novel set of formulations that perhaps seemed bizarre at the time, but, in retrospect, were prescient mappings of our world now.
The symptom is no longer a metaphor, but a body event. The real is somehow more present, including in its reverberations on the body.
Drawing from recent work of Jacques-Alain Miller, we will explore how psychoanalysis may change to respond to this new world of the body.
Prof. Thomas Svolos is a psychoanalyst and psychiatrist practicing in Omaha, Nebraska. He is a member of the New Lacanian School (NLS) and World Association of Psychoanalysis (WAP). He is also Professor and Chair of the Department of Psychiatry in the Creighton University School of Medicine. His publications have appeared in nine languages.
CULTURE & PSYCHOANALYSIS
Culture & Psychoanalysis is an ongoing series of seminars devoted to contemporary art and culture from the perspective of Lacanian psychoanalysis. The program began in August 2011 with a seminar devoted to the Alexander McQueen exhibition at the MET. The presentations take place several times a year, responding to current political and cultural events. Artists, writers, filmmakers, and psychoanalysts are invited to present their work as a means to further develop psychoanalytic theory in the hypermodern era. Jacques Lacan proposed that the artist always precedes the analyst, in his “knowledge” of the unconscious.