Hurly-Burly – Commentary of Selected Papers (IV)

Inline image 1

“In this respect, I would like to iterate just what an instrument
of public service the journal of the New Lacanian School is”

Éric Laurent

On Jacques-Alain Miller’s “Psychotic Invention”
With his customary clarity, Jacques-Alain Miller speaks here of the place of “invention” for the speaking-being, especially the psychotic. Miller draws our attention here not to the early Lacan, the Lacan for whom language is the death of the thing, the mortification of the body, with various symptomatic residues remaining in the neurotic symptom, but rather to a relationship of the speaking being and the body that is more prevalent now, today, in the 21st century.
At this moment of the decline of the Father, of Oedipus, speaking beings are less able to draw upon the “established discourses” to resolve problems faced in the encounter with a body, with language, with society, with the relationship to the Other. Indeed, in this moment where the Other does not exist, we are able to not only retroactively see that the Other of the past was only a semblant, but we are also in a situation where to relate to one’s body, to society, involves this very concept of “invention” that Miller highlights.
The paradigmatic example Miller weaves his talk around is the schizophrenic, the speaking being faced with a body that is no longer organized (as the psychiatrists say) by the established discourses, but that is instead an enigma, which the schizophrenic may respond to with an invention–this organ, or body part, is for this; this other organ for that; and so forth. In such a way, the organs–those parts of the body enigmatically present as “out of the body”–can be made use of by the schizophrenic. This is true too for the ultimate “out of body” organ, language itself. For here too, unable to “organize” language through the established discourse, the schizophrenic may too invent a way in which to make use of language.
Starting from this hypothesis, Miller touches on paranoia as the case of invention of a bond with the Other and melancholia as type of negative invention, or, what we may call the clinic of non-invention: the melancholic as the speaking being who has failed to make or sustain an invention. Miller develops the concept further with regard to a different failure of invention, in cases in which the speaking being cannot transcend the trauma of language with an invention.
All of this is illustrated by Miller with clinical vignettes and literary references. Adrian Price’s translation includes notes that direct the reader to the various references in Lacan and elsewhere that Miller makes in the talk and also will assist the English reader with the translation of difficult concepts from Lacan.

Tom Svolos

Inline image 1


Back to list