Report – NLS Knottings Seminar, Bruges 3.3.2012, Kring
12 avril 2012
12 April 2012
NLS Knottings Seminar
March 3, 2012
Kring voor Psychoanalyse van de NLS
With : Natalie Wulfing (for the Executive Committee of the NLS), Gabriela van den Hoven (guest from the London Society), Peter Decuyper (member of the Kring). Chair: Joost Demuynck.
Report by Stijn Vanheule
Natalie Wulfing gave the theoretical part of the Knotting Seminar. The title of her talk was ‘what is it that we read when we listen’. As she started Natalie Wulfing indicated that Miller’s talk at the last NLS conference – Reading a symptom – was most inspirational for her.
The terms ‘speaking,’ ‘listening,’ ‘writing’ and ‘reading’ are pivotal. These language functions confuse with the symptom, but which object do these terms address?
Since Freud psychoanalysis is related to reading, which is to reading the dream. In what way is reading different from listening? A fundamental hypothesis in Lacan’s work from the fifties concerns the signifier and the signified, which are separated by a bar, indicating that both are not related. This idea of the bar is a precursor of the idea that there is no sexual relation. Lacan’s algorithms, like the algorithm S/s, are writings. A writing grasps a problem, but doesn’t solve it. It allows us to work on this problem and to start explaining it, without obtaining complete understanding. The algorithms free us from the clutter of meaning and signification. Thus considered, writing and communication are opposites. Writing is better able than communication to access the Real.
To what extent do we read what is said by an analysand, what is written in speech? From what we hear we translate to something that is written. For example, the algorithm S/s suggests hearing what the analysand says qua signifiers, and urges us to refrain from using our own understanding as a criterion. The signifier creates meaning effects, like in metonymy and metaphor. We don’t interpret as long as we are not in the analysand’s language field. Moreover, we use interpretation to cause a split between meaning and what is said.
Language has a function of making something exist that cannot otherwise be expressed. It thus has a creative effect. E.g. a schizophrenic man, who discovers his lack in being, is anxious when he is confronted with sexual jouissance. He then feels guilty, and feels that he must confess, like saying that he is ill, which has nothing to do with reality. What operates here is a mode of repression, a sequence from jouissance to naming. The unconscious is an effect of the confrontation between jouissance and language. What is beyond language? There is a symbolic aspect of the symptom that can be articulated, but there is also a Real aspect. This is the fixity. It is written as a letter. There is a gap between saying and writing. We have to listen to this gap, we have to read it. The written goes beyond the signifier. The letter does not signify. It is an impact of the signifier on the body, provoking jouissance, not meaning. E.g. a young woman complains about her husband, for not making love with her. He treats her like his mother and this disturbs her. She tidies the house all day, as she did as her mother’s favorite child. The Mother often said: ‘perfect’. This word has a special effect on her; it brings tears to her eyes, and acts as an imperative. It is an element of lalangue for her. The complaint about her husband and to have a ‘normal’ sexual life is thus linked up with ‘perfect’, not to questions of femininity.
What becomes of interpretation when we address lalangue? Speech at the level of lalangue relates to the body and not to the Other; it is a-speech. Interpretation at this level restores lalangue and addresses the equivoques. What is the signifier in the late Lacan? It doesn’t signify: outside the field of identification the signifier does not signify the subject. The Real is one’s non-being, a point of castration.
Freud wanted to solve the symptom via a universal rule: the Oedipus complex and castration at the level of penis-envy and the masculine protest. In contrast, in Encore, Lacan brings the One to the fore; we are all alone with our jouissance. There is no pre-discursive reality: reality and the Real are totally separated. Castration is now related to the not-all. In which way does the letter give access to the Real? Lacan defines the letter as a litter, a waste product, and the speaking-being, a substitute for the unconscious, because ‘man speaks with his body’. E.g. a psychotic analysand suffers from an S1 that torments him, which implies that it cannot be treated via other signifiers. Nothing dissolves the idea; to approach it at the level of the letter has the chance of diffusing the completeness of this master-signifier, to lose some of its tormenting effects. What is it that we read? We read what is there, what is constant, what is written.
In the clinical part of the Knottings Seminar Gabriela van den Hoven first presented a case. The case concerned a hysteric woman, focusing on the question: am I a man or a woman? Next a case was presented by Peter De Cuyper, focusing on the analysis of a man whose speech is not guided by the phallus, but by a fundamental emptiness.