The entrance into the unconscious
Anna 0. and Freud’s desire

In order not to leave you thunderstruck by an affirmation that might seem to you somewhat risky, I shall do no more than remind you how Freud sees the entrance into the unconscious.


Anna 0.—let us drop this story of 0 and call her by her real name, Bertha Pappenheim, one of the great names in the world of social welfare in Germany—not long ago one of my pupils brought me a small German postage stamp bearing her face, so you see she left some mark in history. It was in the case of Anna 0. that the transference was discovered. Breuer was quite delighted with the smooth way the operation was going. At that time, no one would have challenged the signifier, if it had been
possible to restore this word to life from the Stoic vocabulary.


The more Anna provided signifiers, the more she chattered on, the better it went. It was a case of the chimney-sweeping treatment. There was no trace, in all this, of the least embarrassing thing. Look again. No sexuality, either under the microscope or in the distance.


Yet sexuality was nevertheless introduced by Breuer. Something even began to come back to him, it came back to him from himself— you are rather preoccupied by it. Thereupon, the dear man, somewhat alarmed, good husband that he was, decided that things had gone quite far enough—in response to which, as you know, 0. displayed the magnificent and dramatic manifestations of what, in scientific language, is called pseudo-cyesis or, more familiarly, she blew up with what is called a nervous pregnancy.


What did she show by this? One may speculate, but one must refrain from resorting too precipitously to the language of the body. Let us say simply that the domain of sexuality shows a natural functioning of signs. At this level, they are not signifiers, for the nervous pregnancy is a symptom, and, according to the definition of the sign, something intended for someone. The signifier, being something quite different, represents a subject for another signifier.


There is a great difference to be articulated here, for, and not without cause, there is a tendency to say quite simply that it was Bertha’s fault. But I would beg you to suspend your thoughts on this matter for a moment—why is it that we do not consider Bertha’s pregnancy rather, according to my formula
man’s desire is the desire of the Other, as the manifestation of Breuer’s desire? Why do you not go as far as to think that it was Breuer who had a desire for a child? I will give you the beginning of a proof; namely that Breuer, setting off for Italy with his wife, lost no time in giving her a child, as Ernest Jones
reminds his interlocutor—a child which, from being born in these conditions, says the imperturbable Weishman, had just, moment when Jones was speaking, committed suicide.


Let us leave to one side what we might in fact think of a desire to which even this outcome is not indifferent. But let us observe what Freud says to Breuer— What! The transference is the spontaneity
of the said Bertha’s unconscious. It’s not yours, not your desire, it’s the desire of the Other. I think Freud treats Breuer as a hysteric here, since he says to him: Your desire is the desire of the Other. The
curious thing is, he does not make him feel less guilty, but he certainly makes him feel less anxious— those who know the difference that I am making between these two levels may take
this as an instance of it.


This brings us to the question of what Freud’s desire decided, in diverting the whole apprehension of the transference in a direction that has now reached its final term of absurdity, to the point at which an analyst may say that the whole theory of the transference is merely a defence of the analyst.


I swing this extreme term in another direction. Indeed, I show precisely the opposite side when I say that it is the desire of the analyst. You must follow my thinking here. It’s not simply a matter of turning things upside-down. With this key, read some general account of the question of the transference, written by anybody—anyone who could write “ Que sais-je?” on psycho-analysis can just as easily give you a general account of the transference. So read his general account of the transference, which I designate here adequately enough, and draw your own conclusions with this in mind.


Is not the contribution that each individual, Freud apart, brings to the subject of the transference something in which his desire is perfectly legible? I could do an analysis of Abraham for you simply on the basis of his theory of part-objects. It is not only a question of what the analyst wants to do with his
patient in the matter. It is also a question of what his patient wants to do with him. Abraham, we might say, wanted to be a complete mother.


Then I might also amuse myself by punctuating the fringes of Ferenczi’s theory with a famous song by Georgius Je suis fils-père (‘I am son-father’).


Nunberg, too, has his own intentions, and in his truly remarkable article on Love and Transference, he shows himself to be in the position of arbiter between the powers of life and death, in which one cannot fail to see an aspiration to the divine position.


All this may be no more than a kind of game. But it is in the course of some such story that one can isolate functions like those that I wished to reproduce here on the blackboard.


In order to conjugate the schema of the net with those I have made in response to a psychologizing theory of the psychoanalytic personality, you have only to turn the obturator I referred to earlier into a camera shutter, except that it would be a mirror. It is in this little mirror, which shuts out what is on the other side, that the subject sees emerge the game by means of which he may—according to the illusion of what is obtained in the experiment of the inverted bunch of flowers, that is to say, a real image — accommodate his own image around what appears, the petit a.


It is in the sum of these accommodations of images that the subject must find the opportunity for an essential integration. What do we know of all this ?—if it is only at the mercy of fluctuations in the history of analysis, of the commitment of the desire of each analyst, we manage to add some small detail, some corroborating observation, some incidental addition or refinement, which enables us to define the presence, at the level of desire, of each of the analysts. This was the band, as Freud put it, that he left behind to follow him.


After all, the people who followed Christ were not so brilliant. Freud was not Christ, but he was perhaps something like Viridiana.2 The characters who are photographed, so ironically in that film, with a small apparatus, sometimes remind me irresistibly of the group, also photographed innumerable times, of those who were Freud’s apostles and epigones.


Does this diminish them in any way? No more than the apostles. It is precisely at this level that they could bear the best witness. It is by virtue of a certain naivety, a certain poverty, a certain innocence that they have most instructed us. It is true that those around Socrates were more brilliant and that they teach us no less about the transference—those who remember my seminar on this subject will bear me out. I will take this up again next time, when I will try to articulate for you the significance of the function of the analyst’s desire.



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