拉康与弗洛伊德的临床实践 10


When discerning the three clinical paradoxes between speech and
language in his 1953 ‘Rome Discourse’, Lacan did not venture upon an
alternative definition of the nosological category of perversion. Instead,
he described the third paradox as ‘the subject who loses his meaning in
the objectifications of discourse’, which opened a more metaphysical
perspective on the antagonistic relationship between the subject (sujet)
and the ego (moi). Lacan put the ‘disguises of perversion’ in the neurotic
compartment—alongside the ‘talking arms of character’ and the ‘seals
of self-punishment’—as ‘hermetic elements’ which the psychoanalytic
exegesis can resolve (Lacan 1977e[1953]:70).


Lacan’s hesitation to qualify perversion as a discrete clinical structure
permeated much of his work from the 1950s, and is rooted in the
theoretical inconsistencies which troubled Freud in his pioneering
psychoanalytic explorations of the topic. Using the concept of perversion
in its then accepted medico-legal meaning of sexual phenomena
precluding genital union and/or the involvement of two consenting adult
human beings belonging to the opposite sex, Freud averred in his casestudy
of Dora and in his ‘Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality’ that
all psychoneurotics possess forceful, albeit repressed perverse tendencies,
and that the sexual constitution of the child, owing to its being ruled by
disorganized partial drives, is polymorphously perverse (Freud
1905d:231–232; 1905e [1901]:50).


Consequently, the category of
perversion was expanded to include children as well as adults,
psychoneurotics as well as ‘genuine’ perverts, and Freud saw himself
faced with the question as to what distinguishes true ‘positive perversion’
(perversion proper) from its false, ‘negative’ avatars.
After having discarded the nature of the sexual behaviours and the
contents of the fantasies, Freud eventually confided in the genuine pervert’s
fixation on the sexual object and the perverse exclusiveness with regard to
the sexual aim, processes which he attributed to an interaction of
constitutional and accidental factors (Freud 1905d:162, 235–240). Of
course, both fixation and exclusiveness are quantitative rather than
qualitative criteria, which probably explains why Freud continued to look
for more reliable distinctions between perversion and neurosis.


In ‘Fetishism’ (1927e), he launched the criterion of disavowal
(Verleugnung) to explain how a male child develops into a fetishist. When
confronted with the reality of sexual difference, the child disavows
castration (the mother’s lack of a penis) by convincing himself that the
mother does possess a penis. As a substitute for the painfully missed
penis of the mother, the fetish serves to sustain this psychic reaction of
disavowal and produces a split in the child’s ego, because it symbolizes
both mental triumph and the inherent threat of castration. According to
Freud (ibid.: 156–157), this split could also account for the fetishist’s
ambiguous attitude vis-a-vis his objects.


Although a proper qualitative criterion for (fetishistic) perversion,
similar to that of repression in neurosis, Freud’s mechanism of
disavowal proved as indiscriminate as the nature of the sexual
behaviours and the contents of the fantasies. For shortly before his
death, in ‘An Outline of Psycho-Analysis’ (1940a[1938]:204), he
emphasized the possibility of a disavowal of castration in non-fetishistic
subjects, that not only put the specificity of fetishism, but that of the
entire category of perversion at risk.


During the early 1950s, Lacan embraced the same definition of
perversion as Freud, and embarked on an analogous project of
differentiating between the polymorphous perversity of the child, the
perverse sexuality of neurotics (and psychotics) and the psychic structure
of genuine perverts.48 In Seminar I, he posited that the structure of
perversion is characterized by the reduction of the (symbolic) register of
intersubjective recognition to an imaginary relationship (Lacan


By this he meant that perverts try to reduce their
partners to mere objects, to instruments or idols—short of seeking solace
in idealized inanimate objects—whose only function is to satisfy their
own desires, with the caveat that the positions within this relationship of
submission/dominance can suddenly be reversed so that the original
master becomes the slave and vice versa. To the degree that this
observation ostensibly enabled Lacan to separate authentic perversion
from sexual ‘phenomena which one calls perverted’ on the ‘plane of an
exclusively playful execution’ (ibid.: 215), it did not stand the test of
infantile sexuality.


For in the same seminar Lacan admitted that ‘[I]f
analytic theory has qualified as polymorphously perverse this or that
mode or symptom in the child’s behaviour, it is in so far as perversion
implies the dimension of imaginary intersubjectivity’ (ibid.: 217–218).
Lacan returned to this issue in Seminar IV, in which he undertook a
year-long theoretical analysis of the child’s pre-Oedipal, pre-genital
object-relations, notably those that were being held to support its status
of polymorphous perversity as an imaginary intersubjectivity. Here he
defended the innovative idea that the pre-Oedipal relations between a
child and its mother are not governed by imaginary intersubjectivity at
all, because they are always already inhabited by the symbolic universe
in which human beings function.


To Lacan the primary mother-child
relationship is not a pre-established, symbiotic bond, but an essentially
heterogeneous sphere reigned by tension, conflict and misunderstanding
on both sides.


Criticizing Balint’s conception of the primary motherchild
interaction as a perfectly tuned, reciprocal exchange, Lacan claimed
that mothers do not love (nurture, nurse and nourish) their children simply
for the fact that they constitute their precious and vulnerable offspring,
but also because the children present them with an additional source of
satisfaction.49 Put differently, a mother loves her child not so much
because she is acting upon a natural mother instinct, but because she
unconsciously uses the child to cover up her symbolic lack of enjoyment
and to obtain supplementary satisfaction in a carefree and selfish way. In
Lacan’s terminology, there ‘is always in the mother, on the side of the
child, the requirement of the phallus, which the child more or less
symbolizes or realizes’ (Lacan 1994[1956–57]:56).


As far as the child
itself is concerned, Lacan argued that it experiences a psychic crisis when
it discovers that in order to secure the love of the mother more is required
than simply ‘being there’, that in order to sustain her love it is not enough
to offer oneself. The fact that the child is also ‘the phallus, as object of
the desire of the mother …constitutes an insurmountable barrier for the
satisfaction of the desire of the child, which is to be the exclusive object
of the desire of the mother’ (Lacan 1998b[1957–58]:285–286).


The child can alleviate this conflict in two different ways (Lacan 1994
[1956–57]:81–86). On the one hand, it can try to maintain the satisfaction
of its own desire (to be the exclusive object of the mother) by identifying
with the phallus (the object of the desire of the mother), whereas on the
other hand it can acknowledge the sociocultural exclusion of a fully
satisfying relationship with the mother and its concurrent promise of a
different, future fulfilment. In the former case the child endeavours to
satisfy all of the mother’s desires, thus putting its relationship with the
mother under the aegis of the imaginary, which entails unselfish
interdependence and strict reciprocity; in the latter case, the child
assimilates the symbolic convention of the prohibited relationship with
the mother, accepts its desire to remain fundamentally unsatisfied and
engages in a quest for substitute satisfactions.


Lacan argued that the
former solution leads to fetishism, the ‘perversion of perversions’ (ibid.:
194), whereas the latter introduces the child into the structure of neurosis.50
Despite its appeal, this elaborate explanation of perversion proved as
unsatisfactory as the previous one (of the reduction of the symbolic to
an imaginary intersubjectivity), since it begged the question as to how
perverts differ from psychotics, whom Lacan had also located outside
the symbolic pact.

拉康主张,先前的关系导致恋物癖,“倒错症中的倒错”。后者则是介绍小孩进入神经症的结构。尽管它的诉求,这个复杂的倒错症的解释,证明同样不令人满意,跟先前的解释(将象征化简成为想像的互为主体性)。因为它闪躲这个问题, 关于倒错症者如何不同于精神病者。拉康也将精神病定位在象征的盟约的外面。

Neither did Lacan’s solution answer the question
whether true perverts are any different from the multitude of neurotics
and psychotics who display ‘perverse’ behaviours.51 Accounting for these
neurotic and psychotic ‘perverse’ behaviours, Lacan often talked about
‘paradoxical perverse reactions’, perverse ‘paroxysms’, and passage a
l’acte, conceding that they too rest upon a shortening of the symbolically
regulated distance between the subject and his object of satisfaction, and
that ill-advised analysts can easily induce these reductions unknowingly
during the course of analytic treatment (ibid.: 81).52


To resolve the issue of the separation between perversion and
psychosis, Lacan returned to Freud’s 1919 essay ‘A Child is Being
Beaten’, in order to proclaim that perversion, unlike psychosis, follows
the fundamental pattern of the Oedipus complex:


Perversion is usually considered to be a drive which has not been
elaborated by the Oedipal, neurotic mechanism—a pure and simple
survival, the persistence of an irreducible partial drive. Freud, on
the contrary, in this primordial paper [‘A Child is Being Beaten’]
and also in many other places, indicates sufficiently that no perverse
structuring, no matter how primitive we suppose it to be…can be
articulated without…the process, the organisation, the articulation
of the Oedipus complex.
(ibid.: 120–121)


One year later, Lacan used almost exactly the same words to describe
the Oedipal character of perversion, yet now also broaching the ensuing
congruence of perversion and neurosis:


In order to abandon the notion that perversion is purely and simply
the emerging drive, that is to say the contrary of neurosis, one had
to wait for the signal of the conductor, that is to say the moment
when Freud wrote Ein Kind wird geschlagen…Perversion does
not appear as the pure and simple manifestation of a drive, but it
turns out to be related to a dialectical context which is as subtle, as
composite, as rich in compromise, as ambiguous as a neurosis.
(Lacan 1998b[1957–58]:230–231)


Later in the same seminar Lacan deployed the structural analogy between
perversion and neurosis further by claiming that the neurotic mechanism
of repression equally applies to perversion, ‘inasmuch as it presents itself
also as a symptom and not as the pure and simple manifestation of an
unconscious desire’ (ibid.: 336).53


Having postulated this constitutive link between the structures of
neurosis and perversion, Lacan’s subsequent move was to situate
perversion with regard to the neurotic dynamics of jouissance, desire,
object a and the fantasy.54 The groundwork for this new differentiation
was done in Seminar VI, in which Lacan contended that ‘the fantasy [?
a] marks every human passion with those traits which we call perverse’,
although ‘in the perversion, the accent is on the object a, [whereas] the
neurosis can be situated as having its accent on the other term of the
fantasy, the ’ (1977a[1959]:14, 16).


Throughout the remainder of his
career, Lacan employed this criterion of the fantasy as a tool to separate
neurosis from perversion. In Seminar XI, for example, he stated that the
structure of perversion is strictly speaking an inverted effect of the fantasy,
because it ‘is the subject who determines himself as object, in his
encounter with the division of subjectivity’ (Lacan 1977b[1964]:185).


Unfortunately, it is easier to pinpoint these references than to explain
what they mean. The gist of Lacan’s argument seems to be contained in
a passage from the 1960 text ‘The Subversion of the Subject and the
Dialectic of Desire in the Freudian Unconscious’, in which he wrote:
Perversion adds [to the privileged place of jouissance] a
recuperation of the f that would scarcely appear as original, if it
did not interest the Other as such in a very particular way. Only my
formulation of the fantasy enables us to reveal that the subject
here makes himself the instrument of the Other’s jouissance. It is
all the more important …to grasp the relevance of this formula in
the case of the neurotic, precisely because the neurotic falsifies it.
(Lacan 1977k[1960]:320, translation modified)


If perverts pass through the Oedipus complex, as Lacan had learnt from
Freud, then they must experience a loss of enjoyment (-f) in the same
way as neurotics (obsessionals and hysterics) do. Like neurotics they
must also set out to retrieve that lost jouissance, a project whose end
result would comprise the restoration of subjective fullness. Therefore,
the perverse recuperation of the f scarcely appears as original, because
the same mechanism is valid for neurosis.


What does distinguish a pervert
from a neurotic though, is the former’s peculiar involvement of the Other
in the subjective process of the recuperation of the lost enjoyment.
I have already explained that in Lacan’s idiom hysterical subjects
try to come to terms with symbolic castration (the loss of enjoyment)
by arousing and sustaining the desire of the Other. In a sense, hysterics
derive satisfaction from making themselves desirable, but not enjoyable.


When dealing with hysterics one often finds that they are extremely
attractive but utterly unpalatable, which is exactly what they intend to
achieve. For the hysteric, the enjoyment of the Other is what needs to
be avoided at all costs. In a slightly different way, obsessionals try to
overcome symbolic castration by neutralizing the desire of the Other.


Obsessional neurotics derive satisfaction from an estrangement of/from
the Other and perceive complete isolation as the most splendid of life
achievements. However palatable obsessional neurotics may be, they
do not really want to be desired, let alone enjoyed by others. Hence,
despite their divergent strategies vis-a-vis the desire of the Other, both
hysterics and obsessionals shun the Other’s jouissance. The worst thing
that can happen to them is to become an object for the enjoyment of
the Other.


This is precisely where the perverse structure branches off.55 In Lacan’s
view, perverts obtain satisfaction by ensuring the enjoyment of the Other,
thereby transforming themselves into an ‘instrument of the Other’s
jouissance’. Deriving satisfaction from conjuring up jouissance in the
Other, the pervert’s strategy to annihilate the effect of castration involves
neither taking things back from the Other (hysteria), nor minimizing the
loss (obsessional neurosis), but creating an alternative symbolic order in
which jouissance holds pride of place.


The pervert transcends the neurotic
opposition between jouissance and desire which results from the curtailing
impact of the symbolic law, and builds jouissance into the very heart of
the Other. In this way, the pervert literally perverts the neurotic law
according to which ‘jouissance is forbidden to him who speaks as such’
(ibid.: 319), advocating instead a ‘discourse of the right to jouissance’
(Lacan 1989a[1962]:60). From an excluded, prohibited privilege in the
neurotic’s economy, jouissance thus gains ascendancy in the pervert’s
ideology as a formal universal principle which is applicable to everyone
in every situation.56


In Seminar XI Lacan designated this perverse solution as an inverted
effect of the fantasy (Lacan 1977b[1964]:185). Normally, in neurosis,
the fantasy contains images of utter bliss in the presence of perfectly
adequate, obliging objects. The neurotic fantasy glorifies every
imaginable, prohibited sexual activity (and much more), which is why it
can be called ‘perverse’ in line with the aforementioned, classic definition
of perversion.


By contrast, the fantasy of the pervert is oriented towards
pure and unblemished, yet deficient and disconcerted objects that are
desperately in need of satisfaction. On the level of the fantasy, the pervert
does not desire lascivious and voluptuous studs (or vixens), but ostensibly
innocent, sexually deprived angels. The pervert’s fantasy is therefore
paradoxically less ‘perverse’ than that of the neurotic, with the proviso
that the pervert is keen to corrupt the cherished morality of the fantasized


During the first decade of Lacan’s teachings, the original confusion
between the polymorphous perversity of the child, the perverse activities
of the neurotic and genuine perversion gradually evaporated, giving rise
to the delineation of a separate perverse structure. The latter appeared
less as a particular type of sexual behaviours, notably all those
transcending the adult genital heterosexual standard, but more as a specific
relationship between the subject, the object and the symbolic order.


the less, it would also appear that the perverts’ construction of an
alternative ‘law of enjoyment’ makes them especially prone to indulge
in those sexual behaviours that are culturally prohibited. In other words,
Lacan’s theory implies that perverse behaviours—defined as above—do
not discriminate between neurotics, psychotics and perverts, although
perverts are likely to find great comfort in those sexual behaviours that
are forbidden by religious, moral or legal standards.57


Compared to his numerous reflections on the analytic treatment of
neurotics and psychotics, Lacan’s suggestions about how to work
analytically with structurally perverse patients are extremely limited. Is
it possible to diagnose perversion on the basis of the patient’s speech
and transference? How do perverts relate to knowledge and truth? Are
they affected by symptoms and if so, how do they experience them?
What, if anything, drives a pervert towards an analyst and would he be
approached as a supposed subject of knowing?


Can the analyst who is
working with a pervert use the same techniques of interpretation and the
same procedures for transference handling as those applicable with
neurotics? These and other technical questions are largely left in abeyance.
Some authors have insinuated that Lacan’s silence concerning the
analytic treatment of perverse patients should not bother analysts too
much, since perverts hardly ever come to see an analyst, either because
they are perfectly happy with their objects and methods of sexual
gratification, or because they are afraid that therapy will force them to
relinquish parts of their enjoyment (Miller 1996a[1989]:309–310).


It has also been advanced that those who do come are seldom interested in
a proper analysis; they are rather looking for technical advice on how to
carry on with some of their unlawful practices whilst keeping on the
‘right side’ of the law, which is but a surreptitious demand for extra
enjoyment. In the light of these observations, the attention of Lacanian
analysts has frequently shifted from the principles governing the analytic
treatment of perverts towards the clinical management of so-called
‘perverse traits’ (fetishistic practices, homosexual object-choice, sadistic
fantasies) in neurotic and psychotic patients.58


However small the structurally perverse clientele of the analyst may
be, it is definitely worth the effort to reopen the issue of how to direct the
treatment and, perhaps more significantly, of how to diagnose perversion
on the basis of speech and transference. Indeed, one can reasonably
assume that some perverts, irrespective of their access to gratifying sexual
objects within a self-styled symbolic order, may experience recurrent
bouts of anxiety or depression that propel them into psychoanalytic


Examples of how perverse patients enter analysis, including technical
and diagnostic guidelines for the practitioner, have been described in an
illuminating fashion by Andre (1993). Zeroing in on the extraordinary
nature of the pervert’s speech and transference, this Lacanian analyst


Perversion is traceable as such within the transference. It manifests
itself through a reversal of the relation with the Other and through
a radical subversion of the position of the supposed subject of
knowing …Hearing the pervert speak, it is impossible not to
experience an impression of indecency; one always feels a bit
violated by the pervert’s discourse…There is a perverse way of
pronouncing the fantasy…[Perverts have] a tendency to display
their fantasies, often by means of a provocation.
(Andre 1993:53–54)


This fragment contains all the elements an analyst needs to diagnose a
pervert. Unlike neurotics, perverts have no difficulty charting their sexual
fantasies and seem to derive enjoyment from embarrassing, shocking or
exciting the analyst with their kinky and sleazy details. This is what
distinguishes them from the patients on whose stories Freud based his
account of the fantasy in ‘A Child is Being Beaten’, because Freud’s
patients expressed their masturbatory fantasies with hesitation, uncertainty,
resistance, shame and guilt (Freud 1919e:179).


In addition, perverts do
not consult the analyst as a supposed subject of knowing, but as a supposed
subject of enjoying, which means that they assume her to be infatuated
with the same things as they themselves are, or desperately seeking the
satisfaction which the analytic profession does not allow and which they
themselves have on offer. As with everybody else, the pervert prompts the
analyst to let go of her restrictive code and to become an ally, or at least to
endorse the attractiveness of a life and law of enjoyment. Instead of
addressing the analyst as a supposed subject of knowing, perverts present
themselves as supposed subjects of knowing.


This perverse knowledge
concerns the pathways to enjoyment and they will try to convince the
analyst, whom they expect to be suffering from an obstinate reluctance to
follow these pathways, of their universal value as royal roads to happiness.60


Still, these diagnostic indications provide analysts with little guidance as
to how they should conduct their clinical vehicle when the passenger happens
to be a pervert. In one of his scarce outpourings on the analysis of perverts,
and in sharp contrast to the patent complexity of the situation, Lacan
maintained that perversion ‘is indeed something articulate, interpretable,
analyzable, and on precisely the same level as neurosis’ (Lacan
1977a[1959]:16). Here he reiterated Freud’s conviction that ‘the positive
perversions [perversion proper] are also accessible to psychoanalytic therapy’
(Freud 1905d:232).


Freud based his assertion on the idea that the fixation
and regression to an infantile sexual tendency in the ‘positive perversions’
must also originate in a repression of mainstream sexual development,
consistent with the central psychic mechanism in the neuroses. In Lacan’s
reading of Freud this meant that perversion is rooted in the Oedipus complex
or, in his own terminology, that the perverse individual succumbs to symbolic
castration as much as the neurotic does, leading to the installation of divided
subjectivity (), desire, fantasy and (lost) jouissance. Such being the case,
Lacan’s point seemed to be that neurosis and perversion can indeed be
analysed on the same (Oedipal) level.61


Nonetheless, the inverted effect of the fantasy in perversion, formalized
as a ? , constitutes yet another major challenge for the analyst, because it
somehow mirrors the analyst’s own position as Lacan conceived it at the
end of the 1960s. For the discourse of the analyst which Lacan constructed
in Seminar XVII (1991a[1969–70]) also has the analyst operating as an
object a and the analysand functioning as a divided subject (, the analytic
effect of hysterisation), which implies that there is a remarkable ‘structural
analogy between the desire of the analyst and the desire of the pervert’
(Andre 1993:17).


This formal congruence elicits at least two cardinal
questions. First, what prevents the analyst from being an institutionalized
pervert? How can we distinguish between the enduring dedication of the
analyst and the quintessential commitment of the pervert? And second,
assuming that there is a crucial difference between analysts and perverts,
how can analysts intervene effectively when their patients represent an
image of themselves? How can the non-perverse analyst work with a
singularly analytic pervert?


These clinical issues, alongside those emerging from the analysis of
neurotics and psychotics, will be elaborated in the following chapters of
this book, dealing respectively with the position of the Lacanian analyst
within the treatment, the strategies of transference handling and the tactics
of analytic interpretation.



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