NLS Minute 6


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Learning to speak their lalangue: an indication of the course of transference in ordinary psychosis

Dora Pertesi



Nowadays, in the era of the Other who doesn’t exist, ordinary psychosis gets on well both with the non-existence of the Other, as well as with that of the sexual relation. Why is that? “Because it replaces speech with number and gives the value of the real to the semblant”[1], as M.-H. Brousse points out.

The semblant is our language, the language as a social bond. So, how do some subjects express themselves?

In our era, we see subjects who are almost disconnected from the social bond, who however keep a degree of connection through certain signifiers, or through certain ephemeral norms, such as blogger, performer, hacker, etc. We need to note that the names of these norms do not set a limit to jouissance, because they are linked with a community that is not founded by an ideal, but through a common name (i.e. hackers) which is the opposite of a nomination.

These are subjects who do not possess the Name-of-the-Father as a pivot point of the symbolic order and of the delineating of jouissance. Very often this absence is even likely to endanger their own life. Multiple addictions, (alcohol, drugs, extreme sports, etc.) lead them to a jouissance without limits, and that is because going beyond limits is a way for these subjects to feel their body, “release adrenalin”, as is characteristically said.

Transference in its turn has undergone modifications. We cannot use the traditional transference terms anymore (Subject-Supposed-to-Know). And that is because these subjects feel almost threatened by a bad Other, are suspicious, laconic, cynical, ironic, speak their own language, a language which has very little to do with the semblant. However, a way needs to be found for transference to develop.

Within the context of the democratization of the Other, which according to J.-A. Miller is inherent to ordinary psychosis, one could respond, as G. Caroz maintains, with “a democratization of the relationship between analyst and analysand, which often gives the analytic session the air of a democratic discussion, of an exchange” [2].

Following the above, my opinion is that we often need to adopt the signifiers of the social or the biopolitical Other, as well as the subject’s talking style and language. Just like an analyst who learns the Donald [3]language, in attempting to communicate with a little girl, in the same way we can feel free to learn something from the special language and style of the subject. This is a language which contains elements of thelalangue, to which the unconscious is subjected as knowledge that has been processed, knowledge which consists of equivocities and homophonies, according to Lacan [4]. One can assume, as J.-A. Miller notes, that this language “is not a presumable language, but a language exposed” [5].

A language exposed touches upon something of the order of the real. In that sense, if the lalangue of the subject crashes constantly the semblant of the discourse then, we can tear this down, too. If they use slang, then by tearing down the semblant, we can use slang, too. If the language they use is more of a metonymic nature, we can introduce ourselves to a metonymic discourse. If they use word patterns (e.g. legit instead of legitimate), we can occasionally adopt this pattern. If they speak using a lot of foreign words, why not do the same ourselves?

In any case, a language exposed is very often used by poets and can have not only effects of signification, but mainly of a hole. We are not poets, but we need to learn by and through poets the following: poetic license, or else psychoanalytic license, in the issue of the use of language, various handlings are allowed…

“Nothing again nothing. Do you know nothing?

Do you see nothing? Do you remember Nothing?”

T.S. Eliot –The Waste Land

Translated from Greek: Haroula Kollia

[1] M. H. Brousse, « La psychose ordinaire à la lumière de la théorie lacanienne du discours », Quarto, 94- 95, p. 13.

[2] G. Caroz, « Quelques remarques sur la direction de la cure dans la psychose ordinaire », Quarto, No 94 -95, p. 54.

[3] La psychose ordinaire, « Lalangue du transfert dans les psychoses », Le Paon, p. 149.

[4] J. Lacan, «L’Etourdit », p. 490.

[5] La psychose ordinaire, p. 327.