Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Theory 4 (Email 2)

Hi Samantha
      Lacan is an interesting case among the primary French theorists of post/structuralism in that most of his work is in the form of lectures.  His collection of papers, Ecrits, includes pieces reworked into essays  from lectures.  There are some 26 or so lectures (as far as I know), now mostly available in some published form or other (albeit still unofficial versions in some cases).  I tried to avoid reading them all, but by now have read more than half.  They really are engaging, and reward attention, more than reading works actually composed as books in some cases (Zizek, to name one egregious case, has published more than 60 books).  That Proustian syntax to which Anastasia alluded is apparently the way Lacan spoke, his natural style -- multiple subordinate clauses putting off the direct object.  His speaking style confirmed or demonstrated his point about the role of the quilting point (point de capiton) not just in syntax but at every level of discourse and action:  that we cannot be sure what the meaning of a statement is until the period is closed, and that signification thus is retroactive.  At the same time, the quilting point is at work  all along and a purpose of style is to play with the expectations of interlocutors, to  manipulate hopes and fears (as in narrative and drama). 

  Your comments motivated my opening, to get around to say that the beginning of Seminar XI is not planned in the way a book introduction would be, but is circumstantial, or historical, at least in part, addressing the fact that he had just been excommunicated and hence could not hold the lecture he planned, and had to find a new site -- place and institution -- in which to work (recalling Adam's post also).  The opening is relevant, certainly, as we learn over the course of the year, since Lacan has in mind the comparative history of the two apparati that are our precedents:  religion and science -- wondering where psychoanalysis falls, and what may be learned from his experience of innovations undertaken in the name of a return to the founder of the new practice, Freud himself. 

    Looking back could connect with the adage, reculer pour mieux sauter, crouching in order to leap more forcefully.  His audience is no longer primarily professional or vocational, so he shifts discourse positions, from master to university  (as he  later articulated the available positions:  master, university, hysteric, analyst).  He returns to the four fundamental concepts, inventions of Freud, in order to take them up and develop them further, in order to advance the "Freudian Field."  As our theorist, we consider him to be performing "first philosophy" (metaphysics), opening a new dimension for ontology, just as the Classical Greeks did when  they invented Philosophy and the new institution of the Academy. 

  As for narcissism, we understand by this term in psychoanalysis an orientation necessary for everyday functioning.  Kendra noted a keyword for this new ontology -- desire.  A reduced version of the shift from literacy to electracy would be to say that literacy took care of an ontology of knowledge:  the love of wisdom (sophia, knowledge) at the beginning.  They assumed that this "love" or desire for knowledge was in the  nature of the human (even its defining characteristic).  Psychoanalysis, functioning as electrate metaphysics, takes up the other side of the project:  the love, the desire that motivates and frames knowledge.  This love yields at least a few secrets under scrutiny, and much of the seminar is devoted to understanding the primary role that desire plays in transference, which is the medium that must be made to emerge within the analytic treatment if there is to be healing.  "Transference" is not exclusive to psychoanalysis, and has always  played some role in intersubjective institutions, such as education, religion, politics, but it is foregrounded in psychoanalysis. 
Your comments are valuable in noting Lacan's references to his own ontology, and in looking for instructions.  In the context of our project, the  poetics, we do not want to be psychoanalysts any more than we want to be Chinese.  Rather, the final poetics emerges from the intertext of the  CATTt resources.  For  the  moment we recognize "transference" as an experience for this new institution of the electrate era that may be generalized, with consequences and opportunities of practice for the general population of egents.

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