Opening Remarks from Sharon Zvili-Cohen, Director of the NLS 2019 Congress Organizing Committee


Following the



Opening Remarks from the Director of the Congress Organizing Committee

Sharon Zvili-Cohen


Welcome to the Congress of the NLS – ¡Urgent!
We are very pleased to see so many of you who have come to work on this theme of urgency, a topic so relevant and close. We wish to thank Barbara Wolffer, the Director of the French Institute, Nurith Aviv, and all the special guests who are here to honor us with their presence.
We would like to welcome Angelina Harari, the President of the AMP, Domenico Cosenza, the President of the Euro-Federation, and the Presidents of the European Schools.
We extend special thanks to Éric Laurent for his contribution and his support of the School work during the upcoming days.
¡Urgent! The XVIIth Congress of the New Lacanian School, a School that was founded in 2003, embracing Societies and Groups in locations distant from one another, is hosting the Congress in Tel Aviv this year for the third time. Joining the official languages of the NLS, French and English, are the languages of our locality, Hebrew and Arabic.
The suggestion to add Arabic – a product of a conversation in our community following the Nation-State Bill – was raised before the Executive Committee of the NLS. The Nation-State Bill is a recently legislated fundamental law in Israel, determining, among others, that the Hebrew language is the “country’s language”, while Arabic is “a language of a special status.”
Between the “Master” and the “exception”, where shall you come to be? Where will you position yourself?
Psychoanalysis teaches us that no law can manage the intimate link one has with language and one’s singular way of being in the diaspora of language.
Whoever takes it upon himself to traverse the psychoanalytic experience oriented by Jacques Lacan and Jacques-Alain Miller, knows that to speak is not an automatic act, and that the way each one is entangled and extracted from the Other is embodied in this very act. It’s starting from the body that it is possible to posit the act of speaking, an act that returns to the body and constitutes it as Other.
The psychoanalytic discourse is a unique link, a social link. It is not a direct link of cause and effect, and as such, it makes a place for life possible, a place that goes beyond the place where you live.
In one of his recent formulations, Éric Laurent treats the unconscious as a Moebius strip embedded within the fault of civilization, introducing there something that is not of the Ideal.
With this Moebius strip, we can inscribe the link between the subject and the Other so that the interior and exterior are not two sides of the barricade, but are drawn from one another, thus forming a barrier to a segregative separation, and connected as such to the School politics which invite knocking on the door from the inside.
For me, something of the urgency came to bear when I realized that the wager taken by the NLS to hold a Congress in four languages, might turn out to be a pipe-dream. People might not come to hear all four languages!
What made it possible for me to wake up, was the fact that psychoanalysis has been alive and kicking in Israel for over three decades already; work has been going on for a while. A persistent community of psychoanalysts prevails. Space is made for the analytic experience and for conversation concerning issues of the formation of a psychoanalyst within the School. The ethics of psychoanalysis makes its way to institutions in the field of mental health thanks to quite a few analysts who have agreed to take part, in one way or another, in existing institutions, alongside newly invented institutions born out of the psychoanalytic discourse, making room, among others, for Arabic and Hebrew.
It is impossible to erase what cannot be erased. The Freudian invention has created a hole in the Universal; there, where there was no prior discourse, the unconscious could make its entry. It may be said there were no signifiers with which it was possible to “devour it.” This is the trauma to which Lacan’s teaching responds, as Jacques-Alain Miller tells us in one of the lessons chosen in preparation for the Congress.
The ripples of this hole in the universal, of this trauma, are what makes possible the creation of such a radical praxis, formulating the unconscious each time anew.
I wish to thank Bernard Seynhaeve, the President of the NLS, who was judicious enough, along with the Executive Committee of the NLS, to extricate a hesitant initiative out of its anonymity, granting it a name under the School. It has been a pleasure for us to work with you. Thank you to all those many who took part in the preparation and the work for this Congress, and of course to those who have made their way across continents to be here today. Joyous work!
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