精神病 286

精神病 286

The notion of Verwerfung indicates that there must already have been something
in the relation to the signifier previously lacking here in the initial introduction
to fundamental signifiers.


This is, quite clearly, an absence undiscoverable by experimental research.
There is no way of grasping something that lacks at the time it lacks. In the
case of President Schreber this would have been the absence of the primordial
male signifier to which for years he was able to appear to be equal – he looked
as if he, like everyone else, were upholding his role as a man and of being
somebody. Virility does signify something for him, since it’s equally the object
of his very lively protestations at the time the delusion erupts, which initially
presents itself in the form of a question over his sex, an interpellation [appel]
that comes to him from outside, as in the fantasy – how nice it would be to be
a woman undergoing intercourse. The delusion’s development expresses the
fact that for him there is no other way of realizing himself, of affirming himself
as sexual, than through admitting he is a woman, transformed into a
woman. This is the axis of the delusion. For there are two planes to distinguish.


On the one hand, the course of the delusion reveals the need to reconstruct
the cosmos, the world’s entire organization, around the fact that there is a
man who can only be the wife of a universal god. On the other hand, let’s
not forget that in his common discourse up to the critical period of his existence
this man appeared to know just like everyone else that he was a man,
and what he somewhere calls his manly honor cries out aloud when he happens
suddenly to be aroused a bit too strongly by the enigma of the absolute
Other entering into play, which emerges with the first signs of the delusion.
In short, we are led here to the distinction that is the thread running through
everything we have until now deduced from the very structuration of the
analytic situation – namely, what I have called the little other and the absolute


The former, the other with a small o, is the imaginary other, the otherness
in a mirror image, which makes us dependent upon the form of our counterpart.
The latter, the absolute Other; is the one we address ourselves to beyond
this counterpart, the one we are forced to admit beyond the relation of mirage,
the one who accepts or is refused opposite us,5 the one who will on occasion
deceive us, the one of whom we will never know whether he is deceiving us,
the one to whom we always address ourselves. His existence is such that the
fact of addressing ourselves to him, of sharing something like language with
5 . . . celui qui accepte ouquise refuse en face de nous . . .him, is more important than anything that may be placed at stake between him and us.


Misrecognizing the distinction between these two others in analysis, where
it’s present throughout, lies at the origin of all the false problems, and in
particular of the one that appears now that the primacy of the object relation
is being emphasized.


Indeed, there is an obvious discrepancy between the Freudian position
according to which the newborn, on entering the world, is in a so-called
autoerotic relation, that is, a relation in which the object doesn’t exist, and
the clinical observation that from the beginning of life we undoubtedly have
every indication that all sorts of objects exist for the newborn. The solution
to this difficulty can only be found by distinguishing between the imaginary
other insofar as he is structurally the originary form of the field in which a
multiplicity of objects is structured for the human newborn, and the absolute
Other, the Other with a big O, which is surely what Freud was driving at –
and which analysts have subsequently neglected – when speaking of the nonexistence,
originally, of any Other.


There is a good reason for this, which is that this Other lies entirely within
itself, Freud says, but at the same time entirely outside itself.
The ecstatic relation to the Other is an issue that didn’t arise yesterday,
but because it has been left in the background for several centuries it’s worth
our while, for we analysts who are constantly dealing with it, to reexamine


In the Middle Ages a distinction was drawn between what was called the
physical theory and the ecstatic theory of love. This is the way the question
of the subject’s relation to the absolute Other was raised. Let’s say that in
order to understand the psychoses we have to make the love relation with the
Other qua radically Other, and the mirror situation, everything of the order
of the imaginary, animus and antnta, which is located according to the sexes
at one or other of the places, overlap in our little schema.


Where does the difference between someone who is psychotic and someone
who isn’t come from? It comes from the fact that for the psychotic a love
relation that abolishes him as subject is possible insofar as it allows a radical
heterogeneity of the Other. But this love is also a dead love.


It may seem to you that it’s a curious and unusual detour to resort to a
medieval theory of love in order to introduce the question of psychosis. It is,
however, impossible to conceive the nature of madness otherwise.
Think about, sociologically, the forms of enamoration, of falling in love, attested in culture.



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