精神病 195

The hysteric’s question (II): What is a woman?

What was the meaning of my lecture last night on the training of analysts? It
was that it is essential to carefully distinguish between symbolism properly
so-called, that is, symbolism as structured in language, that in which we
understand one another here, and natural symbolism. I have summed this up
in the expression, To read coffee grounds is not to read hieroglyphics.


For the audience that it was, it was necessary to bring the difference between
signifier and signified to life a bit. I gave examples, some of them humorous,
I gave the schema, and I went on to some applications. I reminded them that
analysts’ practice makes them fascinated by highly seductive imaginary forms,
by die imaginary meaning of the subjective world, whereas what one needs
to know – this is what interested Freud – is what organizes this world and
enables it to be displaced. I pointed out that the dynamics of phenomena in
the analytic field are linked to the duality that results from the distinction
between the signifier and the signified.


It’s no accident that it was a Jungian who brought in the term symbol. At
the heart of the Jungian myth the symbol is effectively thought of as a flower
that rises up from the depths, a blossoming of what lies in the depths of man
qua typical. The question is whether this is what a symbol is, or whether on
the contrary it’s something that envelops and forms what my interlocutor
nicely called creation.


The second part of my lecture concerned the consequences in analysis of
forgetting the signifier-signified structuration. And there I was only able to
give an indication of the way in which the theory of the ego currently being
promoted in New York circles completely changes the perspective from which
the analytic phenomena have to be approached, and that it is party to the
same effacement. This effectively ends up placing the ego-to-ego relation in
the foreground. And a simple inspection of Freud’s articles between 1922
and 1924 shows that the ego is nothing like what it’s currently made out to
be in analytic usage.


If what is called strengthening the ego exists, it can only be the accentuation
of the fantasy relation that is always correlative of the ego, especially in the
case of the neurotic with a typical structure. As far as the latter is concerned,
the strengthening of the ego moves in exactly the opposite direction from
that of the dissolution, not only of symptoms, which are strictly speaking
within their own meaningfulness but may when the occasion arises be mobilized,
but also of the structure itself.


What is the sense of what Freud contributed with his new topography
when he stressed the imaginary nature of the ego’s function? It’s precisely
the structure of neurosis.


Freud relates the ego to the object’s fantasmatic character. When he writes
that the ego has the privilege of reality using, of reality testing, that it’s the
ego that indicates reality for the subject, the context leaves no doubt – the
ego is here as an illusion, what Freud called the ego ideal. Its function, which
is not that of objectivity but that of illusion, is fundamentally narcissistic,
and it’s on the basis of this function that the subject gives something its
connotation of reality.


From this topography there arises what in typical neuroses is the place of
the ego. The ego in its imaginary structuration is for the subject like one of
its elements. In the same way that Aristotle declared that one must not say,
Man thinks, nor, The soul thinks, but, Man thinks with his soul, we shall say
that the neurotic asks his neurotic question, his secret and muzzled question,
with his ego.


The Freudian topography of the ego shows us how a hysteric, or an obsessional,
uses his or her ego in order to raise the question, that is, precisely in
order not to raise it. The structure of a neurosis is essentially a question, and
indeed this is why for a long time it was for us purely and simply a question.
The neurotic is in a position of symmetry, he is the question that we ask
ourselves, and it’s indeed because it affects us just as much as him that we
have the greatest repugnance to formulating it more precisely.



One Response to “精神病 195”

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