Electronic Intercartel Towards Athens: Second Round

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The electronic intercartels at work – Report on the second round



By Despina Andropoulou, NLS delegate of cartels



The fruitful work of the electronic cartels came officially to its end a few days before the Congress of the NLS in Athens, a Congress that has exceeded any expectation, being up to the celebration of the ten years of our School.


The significant contribution of the e-cartels to the preparation of this great event dealing with the theme “the psychotic subject in the Geek era” is an undisputable fact. One of the papers of the first round and five papers of the second were presented at the simultaneous sessions, which proves that the electronic cartels are an essential instrument that promotes work transference within the NLS.


“Reality is approached by apparatuses of jouissance…”[1]


Every speaking being is constituted on the one hand by the primordial jouissance and on the other hand by the Other of language that is already there as an apparatus that regulates this jouissance. Lacan has related the subject of the signifier to the demand of the Other through the matheme of the drive (S barred ◊ D). Lacan strictly casts of drive as a signifying chain. The subject of the unconscious is designated ton the basis of an organic location (oral, anal, etc.)[2]. Moreover, it is by means of the circular movement of the drive around a subtracted object that every speaking being reaches the dimension of the Other of language[3].


The questions elaborated by the 17 vignettes presented concerned, on the one hand, the designation of the trouble in the subject’s ballasting in language, in this circular movement of the drive in subjects where the excess of jouissance floods the living being. Οn the other hand, they examined the identification of singular solutions invented by these subjects to deal with the non-ballasting.    


The real speaks


In his early teaching, Lacan relates the diagnosis of psychosis to the existence of language disorders. In the 3rd Seminar on “Psychosis”, we read: “I refused to diagnose her as psychotic for one decisive reason, which was that there were none of these disturbances that are our object of study this year, which are disorders at the level of language. We must insist upon the presence of these disorders before making a diagnosis of psychosis”[4]. Adding that: “But for us to have a psychosis, there must be disturbances of language- this at least is the rule of thumb I suggest you adopt provisionally”[5]. Moreover, J. Lacan underlines that Clérambault’s virtue was “to have shown its ideationally natural nature, which in his language means that it’s in total discord with the subject’s mental state”[6] and notices that “in the phenomenology of psychosis everything from beginning to end stems from a particular relationship between the subject and this language that has suddenly been thrust into the foreground, that speaks all by itself, out loud in its noise and furor, as well as its neutrality. If the neurotic inhabits language, the psychotic is inhabited, possessed by language”[7].


Twenty years later, in the 23rd Seminar on “The Sinthome”, Lacan returns to the question that constitutes the main thread of his teaching: “The question is rather one of knowing why a normal man, one described as normal is not aware that speech is a parasite; that speech is something applied; that speech is a form of cancer by which the human being is afflicted”[8]. The psychotic subject is the only one that could teach us about the structure of language, as long as “we cannot feel that the speech on which we depend is somehow imposed on us”[9]. Certain subjects “go as far as feeling it”[10].


Three of the cases presented illustrate the phenomenon of imposed speech quite clearly: The case of a 14 year-old girl (by cartel 1), having identified with the figure of a manga cartoon, is obsessed by the thought of “selling her soul to Devil” after her death (moment of separation from her parents). In order to defend herself against this threat, this non-repressed real that comes from the Other in the form of hallucinations (auditory and visual), she repeats her own words “never”, “it’s not true”, “I am not with the devil” etc and she gives herself over to rituals (prayers, washing hands, reading texts in a reversed order) looking for expiation. At the same time, bodily phenomena bear witness to the dissolution of the imaginary: the soul is detached from the body, becoming a multi-coloured ball wandering all over the place and returning to the chest causing her deep anxiety. In order to calm the culpability of being, the fault of existence, she will reach the point of rejecting life, testifying in this way to the mortifying aspect of her melancholy.     



In two other cases (cartel 7 and 8), the phrase “you are a fag”, is a predicate, an S1 nominating the jouissance in the real. For O., it is at the age of nine that “the fundamental xenopathy of speech”[11] will mark the beginning of a series of phenomena extending from paranoia to hetero-aggressive passages to the act, passing through fertile moments of delusion. The same sentence “you are a fag” set off by accusatory voices when the mobile phone rang, or by the sun streaming in through the hallway, will lead another young man to the analyst (cartel 8) after losing his position in politics. His main difficulty was his impossibility to assume a sexual position. The identification to a female friend who had completed suicide, right after his separation from a woman who wished he would be the father of her child and who misjudged his ideal, will be the onset of visual hallucinations marking the death of the subject.   


If in neurosis and perversion the subject receives from the Other his own message, in the case of psychosis the important thing is that it is heard really, in the real”[12].


The main characteristic of elementary phenomenon is that it is “without any attempt to integrate it into a dialogue” or moreoverclosed to all dialectical composition[13].


Petrifaction under an S1 : an ideal signifier out of a dialectic


The absence of a dialectic which characterises the discourse of the psychotic subject is not only traceable in the interrupted phrases or the insults transmitted by voices concerning a point of jouissance (“gay” or “fag”). The lack of an interval between S1 and S2 is also noticeable in the status of the ideal that supports the subject, which have appeasement and social integration as non negligible effects.


If the ideal of the “best lawyer” (cartel 3) and of the “best doctor” (cartel 5) are goals that give a meaning to J’s and V.’s life, the fact that these signifiers do not enter into a dialectic with a second signifier, make these specular identifications open to the threat of a devastating return of jouissance. The anxiety that emerges at the moments of vacillation of these identifications, leads to the emergence of the real in the form of elementary phenomena (mental automatism, hallucinations) which evolve into “small delusions”, revealing in this way the precariousness of the covering of the symbolic hole that they ensured up until then.


Likewise, in the case of L. (cartel 10), retirement is a turning point, it is even the point of the triggering-off of her psychosis. “Bank employee” like a master signifier that directed her life, had carried up to that point the function of a “pseudo Name-of-the-Father”, permitting her a certain separation from the maternal madness. The impossible separation from the “bank-mother” at the moment of losing her job has marked the unplugging from the Other.


These cases show the way in which the psychotic subject appears to be solidified under this S1, petrified by the signifier[14]. Subject and signifier constitute a monolith when the subject does not function as lack, when the object is not extracted. In addition, the subject’s identification to being the Other’s waste, constitutes the source of melancholy in two other cases of feminine subjects. The non-saying of her anxious and depressive father’s non phallicised jouissance petrifies S. (cartel 11) in a state of depression and culpability, that she cannot articulate. Death, expressed through suicidal thoughts seems to be the only possible way out. As it is impossible for her to talk to her “dead father” in her mother tongue, she will find a bilingual analyst to talk to, in a foreign language. The analyst is supposed to be in the subject’s fantasy the translator, a mediator between S. and her father, providing a certain separation from the trauma of the paternal lethal language. In the case of Z. (cartel 12) “forming a whole” with the mother, is her way to articulate the holophrastic whole that she constitutes as a subject with the other. A third party being excluded, it is impossible for her to assume a subjective position and commit herself to a professional activity. The prevalence of imaginary relations in the form of discreet erotomania generates the strong feeling of annihilation at the moments of loneliness to the point of suicidal thoughts. Z. is the Other’s object whose absence signifies her being dropped [laisser tomber].



The jouissance of the intact Other: persecution and erotomania



Another trouble at the level of the operation of separation has been noticed in cases where the subject, confronted with an intact Other (an Other without lack), identifies jouissance in field of the Other. As long as jouissance and signifier are identical, “what the Other means, what one implies, remains obscure and at the same time concerns the subject personally”[15]. At the same time, narcissism and identification are the two prevailing dimensions of the structure. A sexual relationship with a man of her father’s age when in her thirties, constitutes the moment at which A. (cartel 6) finds herself confronted with the central failure of the symbolic, causing her anxiety and perplexity. Being confronted with One-Father, a figure of the real father, reveals the deficiency of the paternal signifier having as major consequences the disorder in the symbolic and the delocalisation of jouissance. A. identifies in her sexual partner the unbridled jouissance that disturbs the order of her world and hence he becomes her persecutor: “He wants to hurt her, command her and read her thoughts”. Separation from him doesn’t relieve her from the persecution from the Other. His malevolence is extended and aims at A. whose actions acquire a signification for the others.” From that moment on, she becomes the object that completes the Other who enjoys her. As this paranoid certainty does not produce a stable construction, it gives way to the invasion of the body by the real, the “death of the subject”. On the other hand, O’s paranoia reveals the effort of the psychotic subject to “civilise jouissance by bringing it towards the signifier”[16]. Even though he succeeds in localising the “Kakon” in the maternal Other, in the transmitted parental genes and in his fiancée’s family, he is led to a passage to the act in order to separate himself from it, aiming at the loved object transformed into persecutor. Aiming at her beloved one, he aims the monster that he is for the Other after his surgical operation (that caused him a visible handicap). O. “is subtracted from the equivocations of speech as well as from every dialectics of recognition, he rejects the Other”[17], from the moment when the effects of the chirurgical intervention affected the body image.


Another woman (cartel 13) declaring to be “emotionally dependant”, deals with her erotomania and persecution by means of drug abuse, an addiction that separates her from the Other by the mortification of the body. Sexual relationships are repetitive encounters with the real father who abandons her for “God’s love”, while relationships with women lead her to the ravage of imaginary relations in the form of a delusion of jealousy.


In order to cope with the real that appears in the form of elementary phenomena (verbal insulting hallucinations, interpretative phenomena), another subject (cartel 17) chooses the pathway of requisition in court. This is her way to say “no” to the jouissance of the evil Other she recognises in the others.



Child psychosis: the child as the support of the maternal desire in an obscure term[18]


 “When there is no interval between S1 and S2, when the first dyad of signifiers becomes solidified, holophrased, we have the model for a whole series of cases –even though, in each case, the subject does not occupy the same place. In as much, for example, as the child, the mentally- deficient child, takes the place, on the blackboard, at the bottom right, of this S, with regard to this something to which the mother reduces him, in being no more than the support of their desire in an obscure term, which is introduced into the education of the mentally-deficient child by the psychotic dimension”[19]. The position that the psychotic child occupies is the position of the object a, the object that causes the mother’s desire, another name of the condenser of the maternal jouissance, which excludes him from the field of desire[20].


In his commentary[21], Eric Laurent underlines that “what the psychotic subjects bears witness to, is what a body is. In any case, it is not something that speaks. There is no language of the body. It is a point of effraction, incessantly open to the return of the unbridled jouissance. The psychotic who has not symbolised this jouissance, has not concentrated – as long as Lacan uses the expression “condenser” for the object – this jouissance in the organ that he abandons, that is the phallus. Therefore, the whole body of the psychotic subject can become an erogenous zone […] So, we can seize the child’s effort not to reconstitute a delusional metaphor, but to locally figure out in what way the child can try to make a function out of an organ. In other words, in what way he will be able to abandon it […] From the moment that for the psychotic child the paternal operation is not being produced, it is taken in the sexual relationship, which means that it enjoys. […] If the psychotic child is in this frightening work of making a function of its organs, it is due to the fact that, like every one of us, he is a son of the logos. He does whatever he can, to live up to that challenge”[22].


The boy of three and a half years (cartel 14) who jostled, bit the other children, enjoyed from being isolated and was talking to himself in an incomprehensible way, manages to construct a border to jouissance by being plugged into a double, who is the analyst. Subsequently, he produces imaginary identifications: one concerns a knowing-how, the profession of “bus driver”; and another one concerns the sexual position “evil girl”. “Due to his difficulty to sustain a phallic position, he differentiates the two sexes by binaries like good-evil. In other terms, for lack of phallic reference, he cannot do this distinction in relation to the sexual signifier”[23]. Furthermore, we can understand his game, which consists in attributing numbers to a series of buses by creating lines on a plate and in dispersing them violently, as an action of encoding, “a way of ciphering, of inscribing a part of the real rather than of giving sense. Ciphering is an operation of putting into order, of sorting out, which restricts the proliferation of language, being at the same time a practice of out-of-meaning.”[24].


U. (cartel 16) who was brought to the analyst at the age of 18 in order to treat his dysorthography, his dyslexia, and his significant learning delay in school, consents to enter into a sort of dialogue by means of guessing the analyst’s drawings. Whereas questions triggered perplexity and anxiety, the guessing game “introduced him into the enigma of language, where there could be on the contrary a surplus of knowledge [savoir] of the Other”[25]. As a second step, it is U. who invents a creative game and uses the analyst as his partner. Subsequently, knowledge on informatics becomes the object of dialogue with his partner. At the same time, in order to treat the invasive jouissance of the voice, he listens to music on his MP3. It is his way to close the ears, to “make turn his organ into a function, to abandon it”.      


In another case, M. (cartel 4), who consulted an analyst at the onset of adolescence (12 years old) on the occasion of an extremely violent episode, was able to pass from the “phrases of nobody” to the “phrases of myself” with the help of the analytic act.

More precisely, M. shouted “shit” in the underground instead of defecating on the lawn and this was due to the clinician’s intervention, who had remarked: “you are not a dog, you are a boy”. At the moment of the shout, the analytic act -that consisted in suggesting to him to write on a piece of paper the “real-ised” word- constituted a cut. Thus he achieved a treatment of the real by means of the letter. It is an effort to constitute a border, to constitute a body for himself. Subsequently, the clinician, by subtly making the piece of paper disappear into his pocket, effected a certain subtraction of the object. The production of a “pseudo oo lost-object” had as a result the subject’s access to speech[26].


The phenomena of “real-isation” of the symbolic as well as the will for immobility are also noticeable in the case of N. (cartel 9) who comes to the analyst in order to make sure that nothing in her or in her surroundings runs the risk of changing.


Possible ways out


As noticed in the report of the first round of the cartels, the two most frequent means of stabilisation and of appeasement in the cases presented were writing and compensation through nomination. The latter provides the subject with a certain knowing-how to do with his symptom while, at the same time, ensures him a position in the social bond (“geneticist”, “biologist”, “doctor”, “lawyer”). Once again, we observed that especially in the cases of paranoia (erotomania in the case of cartel 12, litigious delusion in the case of cartel 17) the subject finds a way out via writing. According to Jacques Alain Miller’s interpretation “in writing, the subject recuperates his activity in a univocal way. When one speaks, one is speaking and being spoken. It is inherent to the dialogue or to the exchange, one reverberates on somebody’s speech etc. It is as if writing put the question of the evil intention at a distance. There may be questions of decoding, but the intentionality is less presentified”[27]. This treatment of the Other by means of the letter is even more evident in the case of S. who writes in her mother tongue –while she chooses an analyst with whom she speaks in a foreign language- in order to assume something of the real that invades her. As the analyst notices: “her writings seem to be nominations that make holes in the real”. 


I all cases we observed that the analyst “waits for the subject as invention”[28] and that he is present so as to acknowledge receipt of it.





We will be back with the electronic cartels, in a slightly modified form, in September 2013 so as to prepare for the next NLS congress in Ghent.


I would like to thank all the colleagues who worked this year, the Plus-Ones for their contribution to the coordination of the cartels as well as the extimes for their availability and contribution to the elaboration of the cases: Patrick Monribot, Geert Hoornaert, Jacques Borie, Claudia Iddan, Monique Kusnierek, Franck Rollier, Jean-Luc Monnier and Philippe Stasse.



Translation: Despina Andropoulou and Iannis Grammatopoulos


[1] Lacan J., The Seminar, Book XX, Encore: On Feminine Sexuality 1972-1973 trans. B. Fin (N.Y. & London: Norton, 1998) p. 55

[2] Miller J.-A., « Drive is Parole » in http://www.lacan.com/drive.htm

[3] Lacan J., The Seminar, Book XI, The four fundamental concepts of psychoanalysis, edited by J.-A. Miller, translated by Alan Sheridan (N. Y and London: Norton, 1998)  p. 194

[4] Lacan J., The Seminar, Book III, The Psychoses, trans by Russell Grigg London, Routledge, 1993, p. 92

[5] Idem, 92

[6] Idem , 250

[7] Idem, 250

[8] Lacan J., Le Séminaire, livre XXIII, Le sinthome, Paris, Seuil, 2005, p. 95.

[9] idem

[10] Idem (our italics)

[11] Miller J.-A. « The interpretation in reverse » in  http://www.londonsociety-nls.org.uk/JAM_reverse.htm

[12] Lacan J., The Seminar, Book III, The Psychoses, op.cit., p. 50

[13] Lacan J., The Seminar, Book III, The Psychoses, op.cit., p. 22

[14] Lacan J., The Seminar, Book XI, The four fundamental concepts of psychoanalysis, edited by J.-A. Miller, trans. A. Sheridan  p. 238

[15] Zenoni A., L’Autre pratique clinique : Psychanalyse et institution thérapeutique, Érès, p. 171

[16] Maleval J-C. La forclusion du nom du père. Le concept et sa clinique, Paris, Seuil, 2000, p.324

[17] Miller J.-A., Jacques Lacan: remarques sur son concept de passage à l’acte, Mental, Paris: NLS, 2006, vol. 17,  p. 22

[18] Lacan J., The Seminar, Book XI, The four fundamental concepts of psychoanalysis, p. 238

[19] Ibid., p. 237-238

[20] Laurent É. «  La psychose chez l’enfant dans l’enseignement de Jacques Lacan », Quarto no 9, déc. 1982, p. 7 et 13.

[21] Ibid.,  p. 12.

[22] Idem.

[23] Comments by the extime J. Borie.

[24] Idem.

[25] Idem.

[26] Comments by the extime P. Monribot.

[27] Miller J.-A., L’Autre méchant, Six cas cliniques commentés, sous la direction de Jacques Alain Miller, Paris, Navarin, 2010,  p. 85-86.

[28] Ansermet Fr., « Autisme et émergence du sujet », in Conversation clinique organise par UFORCA le 30 juin 2013, À l’écoute des autistes, Ces concepts et des cas, Volume I






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