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At the beginning of the Schreber case we find a period of disorder (...). It presents a whole set of symptoms which, because it has generally been hidden away or, more exactly, because it has slipped through our fingers, has been unable to be elucidated analytically (…). We can discover, with very few exceptions, what appear to be the meanings and mechanisms we see at work in neurosis. There is nothing that more closely resembles a neurotic symptomatology than a prepsychotic symptomatology. 



Katan reports a case (…).  It was the case of a youth at the age of puberty, whose whole prepsychotic period the author analyses very well, while conveying the idea that there was nothing in this subject of the order of accession to anything that would realize in him the virile type. Everything failed. And while he did try to conquer the typically virile attitude, it was by means of imitation, of a latching on, following the example of one of his friends. Like him and following him, he engaged in the first sexual maneuvers of puberty, namely masturbation, which he subsequently renounced under the injunction of the said friend, and he began to identify with him for a whole series of exercises that were called exercises of self-conquest. He behaved as if he were at the mercy of a severe father, which was the case with his friend. Like him, he became interested in a girl who, as if by chance, was the same one his friend was interested in. And once this identification with his friend has gone quite a way, the young girl will readily fall into his arms.

p. 192


(…) It's a mechanism of imaginary compensation – you can verify the usefulness of the distinction between the three registers (…)

p. 193


Once the psychosis has broken out, the subject will conduct himself in the same way as before (…). No meaning emerges that is fundamentally different from the prepsychotic period. All his conduct in relation to the friend, who was the pivotal element in his attempt  at structuration at the time of puberty, can be rediscovered in his delusion. (…) All the contents implied in neurotic meanings are there. But the essential point, which isn't highlighted, is that the delusion began the moment the initiative came from the Other, with a capital O, when the initiative was founded on a subjective activity. The Other wants this (…). 

p. 193


Recall this little subject who, to us, appeared evidently very lucid. Given the way he had grown up and prospered in existence, in the midst of the anarchy, which was merely a bit more patent than in other cases, of his family situation, he had attached himself to a friend who had become his point of implantation in existence, and all of a sudden something happened, he wasn't able to explain what. It became very clear to us that this was bound up with the appearance of his partner's daughter (…).


We haven't been very stringent about the rigor of our remarks (…). This simple little chap (…) was knocking against something, and he didn't have any keys, he spent three months in bed in order to find his bearings again. He was in a state of perplexity.


A minimum of the sensitivity that our trade gives us clearly demonstrates something that can always be seen in what is known as prepsychosis, namely the feeling that the subject has come to the edge of a hole. This is to be taken literally.

p. 202-203


Jacques Lacan, Seminar 3, The Psychoses

Extracts by Yves Vanderveken



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