The Late Lacan

Lacan’s school was a major breaking point in the institutionalization and infantilization of psychoanalysis. When Lacan was kicked out of the IPA he created his own school of another type - one with rigor and multiplicity. The workings of that school and those that have evolved in its aftermath have attempted to lay out a path beyond the binary “institute/no institute” toward a school of another kind - and what Lacan called analysis in extension. The operations of the cartel, the pass, the topology and poetics of the symptom, and other experiments in their success and failure deserve serious study. If there is a problem with the few analytic schools of this type that exist, it is that they do not honor multiplicity enough. Others attempt to answer to this - but at the expense of rigor.


What is needed - or hopefully desired - is a school that offers rigor without rigidity and multiplicity without relativity. And/or those subjects who have the courage not to cede on their desire and to follow the singular path of formation that they feel called to without submitting to the pressure to be recognized by the master or protected by the group. Lacan did not say the analyst CAN authorize himself, he said the analyst ONLY authorizes himself by himself (and a few others). He cannot be authorized by any authority be it state, institute, or university. And in this he followed Freud. So who are these “few others”: the same since Freud’s time - other analysands and analysts within a community and ethic of difference. The political position of the analyst follows that of Bataille’s sovereignty (not Schmitt’s): neither to take up the position of the master nor its hysterical critique but to walk another direction - transversally - toward one’s desire regardless of the consequences of meconnaissance.

Analysis in Intension and in Extension

The meaning of psychoanalysis in intension and extension takes on several forms. From the intensive work of the imaginary to the extensive work with the object in the real. From the spectacular hypnosis of the gaze to the concrete construction of letters, numbers, writing, drawing, and new signifiers of a rigorous type. From the intensive auto-analysis carried out in the consulting room to the extensive ecole, college, or school of de-monstration. From the cure to the transformation of the social link by means of a new discourse relation.


Freud’s invention was the practice of psychoanalysis and his intention was that it be carried out beyond the medical, therapeutic, and academic realm. Lacan said his invention was the object (a) - and his intention was that this object be carried out in extension - that is to extend psychoanalysis beyond the imaginary fantasy to a clinic of the real.


It is to this end that in the end Lacan took up the practice of science as mathesis and art as poesis. The work of the scientist in his laboratory and the artist in his studio is finally brought together in Lacan’s school - which models itself after the community of mathematicians who present or demonstrate their work as a form of writing - an axiomatic logic or necessary contingency - within a community of others. It is at this place where mathematics and science begins to become one with art. Conversely it is at the place where the artist brings forth his singular desire along with a metalanguage of transmission to a community of other artists who have some semblance of what is being expressed that art becomes science.


We could say that psychoanalysis is a process of bringing forth one’s symptom, delirium, or object along with a metalanguage enabling some form of transmission of the impossible to transmit. By means of this not only is a symptom refined and a savoir-faire achieved but it is shared for others to witness if not make use of. This follows Charles Peirce’s project of pragmatism. It is here where mathematic science and poetic art converge with a writing of the symptom through a speech act of de-monstration or per-formance. This is a per-formation or pere-formation in which the dead father is resurrected, the absent father is re-invented. Voltaire said: “If God did not exist it would be necessary to invent him.” Now we have no other choice than to do so. The myth of the Oedipus Complex, the myth of castration, the guilt over the killing of the king or primal father, only serves to hide the more devastating fact of his absence, a void. We a-void or avoid the void. Negative Phi equals the Empty Set. 

The Return to Freud

The impossibility of the void calls forth the necessary contingency of the phallus or the father but only in its transient, multiple, and constructible form. The absolute insistence of the drive ensures that the master will never suffice. Freud had a presentiment of this as he moved toward the future. Perhaps he realized that as much as a solution was sought in the knowledge of the master, the teacher, the doctor, there was something more insistent in the patient as subject - a will or drive or unconscious. Thus eventually in Freud interpretation was replaced by construction in analysis.


In Freud’s reading of Schreber he posed the idea that there was little difference between Schreber’s delirium and his own delirium of psychoanalysis and the Oedipus complex. Later he claimed that the difference was that his delirium became transmissible and useable by a community of others. This poses the situation that Lacan took up - that psychosis is a social and symbolic symptom rather than a medical or biological one. What appears more and more clear through the work of Freud and Lacan is that the knot of psychosis is one that is co-created by subject and Other - one that is created or maintained between patient and doctor. The more Flechsig insists on his interpretation the more Schreber forecloses the master signifier and by unfortunate result the symbolic in general. The psychotic foreclosure is a desperate attempt to maintain subjectivity in the face of the discourse of the master - one further along the continuum than the strategy of hysteria. What Lacan was able to see is that it was possible not to throw the baby out with the bathwater - not to throw the symbolic out with the master - when he stated that one could do without the name of the father if one knew how to use it. The names of the father became pluralized as an alternative. Finally psychic structure becomes not something fixed but something one passes through. Thus Lacan calls psychoanalysis first a process of hystericization, then later a process of psychoticization. The analysand passes through hysteria and psychosis in its encounter with void and loss. Subjective destitution remains an inevitable complement to the invention of a new writing of the symptom.


In his later papers on narcissism, sexual development, and the Oedipus Complex, Freud elucidates a preliminary theory of what Lacan would later call the divided subject. In elaborating the standard Oedipal path Freud first states that the narcissistic object choice of the opposite sex parent takes place at the same time or a little later than the identification with the same sex parent but later revises this to at the same time or a little later. In any case it is clear that the order is not clear between being and having. This reveals the paradoxical split of the chicken and egg between desire and identity. The ego psychologists chose to model their theory and practice around the primacy of ego identity as ideal and cure. Lacan returned to the question of drive and narcissistic object choice to elaborate a theory and practice of desire. He honored this impossible division of the subject of desire: how can one have without being, how can one be without having. Perhaps the answer lies in the famous phrase that Lacan repeats for psychoanalytic practice: style makes/is the man. It is in the way that the subject chooses and uses the object that he gains an identity: one that is not bestowed by the other nor a compromise to the other’s demands, but one that comes from the first person singular “I.” An autopoesis: Wo es war, soll ich warden. Not where the id was the ego will be, but where it was there I will be.


In the splitting of the ego the narcissistic object choice of the drive runs counter to the ego identification emerging from the demands from the Other. The return of the drive, of desire, renders fruitless the dreams of ego psychology. This psychoanalytic divided subject only brings to individuated completion the social project of Greek science resurrected by the enlightenment. The recognition of subjectivity honors something in you more than you: Freud’s politics of the unconscious, the drive, the subject, and finally of the real to which Lacan remained militantly committed.


The Art of the Symptom

Next month will be the final seminar of the year at Apres-Coup in the “Sexuality and the Social Link” series - a topic which we have worked on for the past two years. In this seminar I will trace a link through Freud’s early to late work and Lacan’s early to late work regarding the construction of sex, desire, gender, and the “Art of the Symptom.” We will then discuss this in relation to the future of psychoanalysis as practice and school. This will speak to recent topics of the “Trans” and the “Acephalic,” but from the core of psychoanalytic theory and practice. It’s free and open to the public. 


The Art of the Symptom & The Future of Analysis


Apres-Coup Psychoanalytic - May 11 2016


Dr Scott Von


Lacan's final work demonstrates the clinic of the real through a writing of the symptom: the poetics, mathematics, and art of the psychoanalytic act. We will explore how this rigorous - yet not rigid - writing operates, and the implications for sexuality and the social link.


Freud:  "The Schreber Case," "Constructions in Analysis," "Civilization and its Discontents.”


Lacan:  "Joyce the Symptom," Sem 23: “The Sinthome," Sem 24: "The Unknown…,” Sem 25: "The Moment to Conclude.”


Psychoanalysis and the Occult

Please join us in New York next month for this unique event. It has been over 50 years since this material has been presented in public, and it has already generated much interest and controversy. Rather than a conference of papers this symposium will include inspired presentations and group intensives from a broad range of participants covering everything from IPA members and institute presidents to radical Lacanians, Reichians, and Jungians to occult and paranormal scholars and practitioners. It is free and open to the public, but space is limited and first come first served. 


Psychoanalysis and the Occult: Case Material on Psychic Reality - Analytica

April 9, 9am-5pm - NPAP

The purpose of the “Psychoanalysis and the Occult” Project is to return to Freud’s work on the psychic domain - the work on “telepathy” originally left out of the Traumdeutung and his development of “psychic reality” emerging from his analysis of psychosis and the Schreber case - and to compare it with the work of Lacan, Jung, Reich, and others who sought to explore psychic causality and the occult from a logical perspective.

In the 1950s George Devereaux published a compilation of material on Psychoanalysis and the Occult. In this book he collates material from early psychoanalysts regarding occult, paranormal, and psychic phenomena surrounding the clinical practice of psychoanalysis. From the ample material included by Freud we can dispel the myth that Freud was not interested in the occult—rather he sought to approach it in a different way than Jung. Devereux’s book further points the question in the direction of anthropology, ethnography, and comparative psychiatry in general. 

The “Psychoanalysis and the Occult” Project was initiated at Analytica in 2014 which since that time has held a series of events internationally. In this installment we will explore the transpersonal case material of psychoanalysis in intension and extension - that is of practicing analytic (analysand-analyst) dyads as well as of institutional dynamics - in order to demonstrate the necessity of expanding the form of the psychoanalytic school, clinic, and association for the future of analysis. We are inviting those who have a particular interest in this domain to participate in this important topic.

Institutionalization and its Malaise

There have been recent attempts to de-institutionalize psychoanalysis in America even at the moment when it is becoming more institutionalized than ever.  An air of malaise  pervades: a large group of analysts commiserating over the fact that they had attached themselves to institutes that they know are more than problematic and not taken another path.. There are few if any who truly follow their own path or “formation” as a lay analyst and to confront the authority of institutes and the law. But why don’t more do this? 


Lacan’s school was a major breaking point in the institutionalization and infantilization of psychoanalysis. When Lacan was kicked out of the IPA he created his own school of another type - one with rigor and multiplicity (to a certain degree). The workings of that school and those that have evolved in its aftermath have attempted to lay out a path beyond the binary “institute/no institute” toward a school of another kind - and what Lacan called analysis in extension. The operations of the cartel, the pass, the topology and poetics of the symptom, and other experiments in their success and failure deserve serious study. If there is a problem with the few analytic schools of this type that exist, it is that they do not honor multiplicity enough. Unbehagen attempts to answer to this - but at the expense of rigor. It is not considered a place that can provide a formation (by those inside or outside of it) so it is made up of those from other institutes. 


What is needed - or hopefully desired - is a school that offers rigor without rigidity and multiplicity without relativity. And/or those subjects who have the courage not to cede on their desire and to follow the singular path of formation that they feel called to without submitting to the pressure to be recognized by the master or protected by the group. Lacan did not say the analyst CAN authorize himself, he said the analyst ONLY authorizes himself by himself (and a few others). He cannot be authorized by any authority be it state, institute, or university. And in this he followed Freud. So who are these “few others”: the same since Freud’s time - other analysands and analysts within a community and ethic of difference. The political position of the analyst follows that of Bataille’s sovereignty (not Schmitt’s): neither to take up the position of the master nor its hysterical critique but to walk another direction - transversally - toward one’s desire regardless of the consequences of meconnaissance.

Schizoanalytic Theory of the Subject

Felix Guattari picked up analysis where Lacan left off at the point of the sinthome as artist, and where Reich left of at the point of a stunted production. Thus commodity fetishism and the production of the symptom is transformed into “desiring production.” Where the drive is submerged and emergent, desire addresses itself to the other who makes a hole, a gap, a space in the fullness of the drive. Thus desiring production is the human drived transformed in the social relation to the other. But now no longer overdetermined by ossified forms the process of desiring production is liberated for what it is in each subject’s life – in each encounter – it must be reinvented again.

Schizoanalysis is what Guattari called his reinvention of psychoanalysis, opened up beyond the psyche to material and social flows. The process of invention takes precedence, borrowing from the artist the creation of signs or semiotics. The schiz is a break and a flow simultaneously: the divided subject of the schiz is redirected back to a potential flow and communion – the schizophrenic breakdown is turned into a schizoanalytic breakthrough provided the body and the other become part of this global analytic process rather than trying to restore the individual ego to the social norm.

Modernist experimentations along these lines included so many political communities, artistic happenings, and amorous encounters that constitute an unfinished project. If postmodernism is to bear fruit it is only as an ubermodernism or hypermodernism where forms are remade and remodeled in baroque fashion aesthetic fidelity – not cynical nostalgia and restoration of the superego. This partakes finally of the chaosmosis – a signifier Guattari borrowed from Joyce the artist whose “Ulysses” and “Finnegan’s Wake” are blueprints of the future of poetics just as Guattari’s own “Chaosmosis” is a blueprint for the future of Freud and Lacan in the twenty-first century.

Pushing mathematical metamodeling of Lacan and Guattari further, Alain Badiou has founded his own version of the sovereign subject on set theory and category theory – a science of the subject so abstract as to bypass the imaginary ideological apparatus of scientific content or dogma toward a pure axiomatics where the empty place of the subjet sketched by Lacan finally comes to behold and uphold the empty void of Being itself. For Badiou the subject is not the empty hole in the fullness of the real. Rather the real is itself void and infinite simultaneously. To exist is to make something out of this nothing – but it is forever fleeting – necessarily so as to remain potent and potential. We only sufferwhen we hold on to this thing where there is no-thing. The subject then is what remains true to the paradoxical nothingness of the real. The divided subject is the subject-effect in a world still grasping substance. True subjectivity emerges in the embrace of the impossible – the struggle over nihilism emerging from awakening to the nature of Being and becoming – Nietzsche’s bridge over the abyss to the new man.

In Badiou’s “Theory of the Subject” the “anxiety” of splitting urges the subject to call in the “superego” of the other where the symptom becomes its counterpart. The alternative is to summon the “courage” to carry forth a new form or idea from the void that emerges at the breakdown of meaning or signification – socially this becomes “justice,” as opposed to law. An event takes place when there is a dissolution of a world. The passive form of the subject is that of Lacan’s divided subject of the symptom. The active form of the subject – subjectivization – recognizes the event and enacts a fidelity to it in order to bring to fruition a new logic – a new signifier – a new world. From “Being and Event” to “Logics of Worlds” there emerges a map of the new world – an atheological spiritualism and futurism of man’s co-creation in the universe in which the question of sexuality and mortality is absorbed into the larger question of transfinitude that faces us on a grand scale every day.

The questions of the limitations of sex and death – to which hysteria and obsessionality are the symptomatic refusals according to Lacan – are only contingent in the real, contingent in the human animal. The biological imperatives which condition our vehicle need not be mythologized: they have little to do with the spirit other than providing primary markings of the contingency and limitation of all things – all that which stands apart and exists. The separation from all things which our life bestows, the separation from this life which death bestows are only stops along the way.

What Freud, Lacan and others offer us through psychoanalysis is not just a cure where medicine fails but an offer for a new form of social relation based on individuation in common – collective co-creation – a portrait of the young man as an artist. Either we have the courage to face the angst of Being or we institute so many versions of the law – the superego which mirrors our egos as legal identities. Rather would we sign our portrait with letters – autopoetically.

The Position of the Analysand

At one point in his career, Lacan develops the idea of the four discourses from which we speak as subjects. Though he names these four separately he is clear that one individual can circulate among any number of them at different times – they are positions not personalities or stages. While the discourse of the master and the discourse of the university (or academic) have dominated our public discourse and continue to at present, Lacan also presents the discourse of the hysteric and the discourse of the analyst emergent in the modern subject of psychoanalysis. This model prepares the way for understanding the position of the analysand. For the analysand is he who speaks in order to inquire: to inquire into what causes his desire, meaning, and existence. The position of the analysand is a speech act in which truth as desire and desire as truth are at stake. To take up this position is to engage in a desire different from the cause of suffering – to exchange the jouissance of the symptom for a change in the symbolic, imaginary, and real. Freud called psychoanalysis a cure through love – not a cure by love or from love but a journey through desire, love, and jouissance by means of language, speech and finally letters – newly invented by the subject. This is why the position of the analysand continues to exist after analysis is over even for the analyst. When Slavoj Zizek for example calls the philosopher Hegel the most sublime hysteric he echoes his own desire to remain in the position of the analysand as philosopher rather than take up the position of the analyst. For the position of the analyst is different. Yet Lacan himself clearly continues to occupy both – declaring that his seminar is where he takes the position of the analysand, putting his discourse and inventions at stake and entreating his listeners to question him as only “he who interrogates me knows how to read me.”

At the same time, the position of the analysand before and after the ends of analysis is different. This is already pointed to in Freud’s discussion of analysis terminable and interminable – or finite and infinite. An analysis can end where a crucial subjective shift or event has taken place and yet be taken up again at a later date or in another way. For an analyst an analysis can also come to a sufficient end as a finite relation between subjects where analysand takes up the desire and position of the analyst clinically and yet continues the position of the analysand infinitely in his own way. It is in this sense that the positions of analysand and analyst continue to support each other in one subject, just as the two subjects – or the subjectivity of the two – of the analytic relation support each other.  For the desire of the analyst is not only the desire to occupy the position of the analyst for the other but its opposite – the desire to occupy the the position of the analysand as desiring subject as well. It is the desire of the analyst – as a clinical concept and in each unique case – that forms the limit to interminable transference in the analytic relation. This is why late in Lacan’s work he returns to the drive and relates it to the analyst’s desire. The misrecognition of the drive in fantasy and the compromise with the other found in an unsatisfactory desire leads to a symptom. The analyst is not there to fix the symptom and restore this compromise but to accompany a journey back to the drive and its vicissitudes – and this is another explication of the desire of the analyst.

The Ends of Analysis

“The symbolically real isn’t the really symbolic. The really symbolic is the symbolic included in the real, which very well has a name – it’s called lying. The symbolically real, being that part of the real that’s implied in the interior of the symbolic, is anxiety. The symptom is real. It’s even the only truly real thing, that is, the only thing that holds onto a meaning in the real. That’s why psychoanalysis can, if given the chance, intervene symbolically to dissolve it in the real.” (Lacan)

The symbolic in the real or symbolically real is the symptom. But the symptom is that which is defined by the Other. Whereas Lacan says that anxiety is the only real emotion or only true symptom. I would add that depression is but the mirror of anxiety and the pair anxiety-depression reflect the true confrontation with the real (which Melanie Klein made the reality of the initial ground of the subject in her schizoid and depressive phases.) When not symbolized in the mirror of the Other this encounter leads no longer to the symptom but to subjective destitution. Where anxiety – or the schizoid – is the confrontation with the infinite multiple – the oceanic fusion of too-much – depression is the ultimate castration, aphanisis, or fading of the subject before the empty void of too-little which underlies the real, and which Lacan called subjective destitution. This is one end of analysis.

But there is another end of analysis. The real in the symbolic or really symbolic as Lacan calls it is “lying.” This is what is meant by the statement that analysis is not a falsifiable or verificationist science. It does not intend to prove anything. Rather it shows that what is false can nevertheless be said, acted, and lived. To consciously lie already leads us to this fact, but the liar still believes in the truth of the Other as the pervert believes in the law. Analysis leads us to will this fact – to poetics and mathematics which consciously take up this practice of writing the impossible – that which does not stop not writing itself – the real. What Lacan calls the sinthome is none other than the symptom purified from being defined by the field of the Other and rather becoming the invention of the really symbolic. This shift in Lacan’s thinking is illustrated in the subtle change in his late seminars from his famous statement that a signifier represents the subject for (pour) another signifier – which connotes the subject of meaning and the Other – to the statement that a signifier represents the subject “in contrast to” (aupres de) another signifier – which connotes the immanent meaninglessness of the sovereign subject of pure difference of one sign from another.

The idea of the sinthome or sovereign subject was already suggested by Nietzsche and taken up by Klossowski in his concept of the simulacrum – that which does not stop willing itself as the invention of the new (meaning) from the insistence of the real impulse or drive. The key is not to let these simulacra become mistaken for the Truth – not to allow the Other to efface the creative subject. For Klossowski the artist of simulacra did not make this mistake. What Baudrillard calls symbolic exchange or poetic reversibility – a process akin to Joyce’s poetic practice – liquidates the signified and signifier alike – it sacrifices the referent by carving up the sign.

“Normal lying is different from performative creation both because for it to remain undetected, it merely has to maintain consistency, and because it maintains the belief in a preexistent referent; while for performative creation the test of success is not the absence of logical contradictions between the different versions – these contradictions can certainly be accommodated more or less easily by the one who keeps performatively creating himself – but the ability not to believe in and get sucked by the referent it secretes….To be the artist of one’s life is a matter of being connected by some means with the diagram and managing not to succumb to the temptation to consider what it reveals as belonging to a world. (Jalal Toufic)

The artist’s stroke of paint on the canvas, the poet’s line of ink on the page, the dancer’s gesture, and the mathematician’s arrows and letters are all diagrams of the simulacra of poeticscience in which the sovereign subject of nothingness performatively creates worlds which disappear without a sign.

Analysis and the Postmodern

If anything it was Freud who opened a door to understanding the social symbolic construction of subjectivity in regard to patients while Jung expanded this to include deep cultural mythical archetypes remaining in the collective psyche. This psyche is between the biological real and the social symbolic and cannot be reduced to either one. It is an unfortunate tendency of all humans including many analysts to formulate a discourse of objective scientific knowledge propped up by a covert master-slave relationship by which to judge their patients and fellow humans. And it’s just as easy for “postmodernism” to fall into the same trap without a practice. (I would dare say that that is exactly what more and more people suffer from – the phantasm of infinite possibilities opening up the nihilistic desert of the real – with defensive cynicism as the result.)

Lacan reminded us of this by restoring the radical gesture of Freud to develop a process-oriented practice of listening, relating, and experiencing the event of subjectivity which places analysis beyond hard and soft science into the realm of quantum or transpersonal science. Where the observer and observed mutually affect one another an ethical-aesthetic paradigm prevails. The one-to-one encounter without the mediation of an abstract grand narrative of scientific truth, morality, or cultural/familial tradition emerging out of the analytic, political, and artistic discourses of the twentieth century is the continuation of Jung’s recognition of “individuation” as the prime archetypal movement of modern man (beginning 2000 years ago with Christ). Individuation takes place in relation to the other as subject beyond object relations – still a rare occurrence in ontogenetic or phylogenetic development, but – as Jung showed – one in which the gnostics, alchemists and troubadors were involved before analysis. The postmodern promise of multiple selves often implies a rational ego. The so-called sane and insane selves may be equally alienating constructions of the Other in the patient – good and bad selves negotiated as identity with the therapeutic adjustor. To love and trust the essence, soul, or drive of the patient may allow it to emerge and construct itself of the pieces of the biological real and social symbolic as so many masks of jouissance in play with others. Lacan conceived of the end of analysis this way: one can do without the name of the father (of hierachical truth, law, or morality) provided that one can make use of it as symbolic construction linking one subject of the drive to another. Otherwise health and sanity are just the complement of illness and madness – and desire is entrapped by its need to transgress the law of constraint.

“Let us take the hatred toward one’s father in Oedipal family tension: as we see again and again, this hatred disappears, and a new understanding for the father emerges, the moment the son, in effect, gets rid of the shadow of paternal authority – in short, it disappears the moment the son perceives his father no longer as the embodiment of his socio-symbolic function, but as a vulnerable subject ‘unplugged’ from it. It is in this sense that, in true love, I ‘hate the beloved out of love’: I ‘hate’ the dimension of his inscription into the socio-symbolic structure on behalf of my very love for him as a unique person.” (Slavoj Zizek)

Clinic of the Real

We have discussed our similar views on the bio-psychic interactional view many times, and I wanted to recommend a recent book by Paul Verhaeghe – “On Being Normal and Other Disorders,” partly because it is one of the clearest statements of Lacan’s approach to differential diagnostics and treatment, and partially because it is the first text I have seen which takes an approach similar to mine – integrating a Freudian and Lacanian approach with recent developmental, neuroscientific, and psychosomatic research.

For Verhaeghe mutilation, anorexia, addiction, panic and other symptoms can be described as “actualpathological” attempts to deal with the drive where psychic processing is unable to create “psychopathology.”

If we return to Freud’s early work we can find the elaboration of actual neurosis versus psychoneurosis. Verhaeghe links this to the early transformation of the bodily drive in relation to the response of the Other and sketches out a map of how and why a more bodily response to the core anxiety-depression cycle (similar to Klein) develops when there is no imaginary and symbolic elaboration (or mentalization). In my work I have found a continuum from physiopathology to neuropathology to psychopathology that links medicine and psychoanalysis to understand the evolving human bio-neuro-psychic metabolizing immune process.

After reaching conclusions similar to Verhaeghe some years ago, I decided to undertake training and research that would allow me to work directly with the drive and create a “Clinic of the Real” which could treat neurological, immune, psychosomatic and borderline syndromes from an analytic position. Verhaeghe calls for this in his book when he describes Lacanian discourse theory and how to act from the position of the analyst in therapy (or medicine) while not yet being able to perform classical psychoanalytic methods – because in such patients psychic processing is not yet available. I try to create an environment where subjectivization or “subject amplification” is facilitated by the analytic position while working on the bodily drive with methods that do not override and suppress (pharmaceuticals) but support and detoxify (homeopathy, naturopathy, acupuncture) the deposited physical and psychic intrusions of the Other. Sometimes patients who begin here end up transforming their physical or “actual” symptoms into psychic ones and undertaking a more “pure” analysis.

In Lacan’s later work he focuses on the drive caught between bodily jouissance and the desire of the Other (mother, culture, language,etc.). The development of gender and sexual difference in the social will reenact this more primal split of being human, such that the “choice” of gender is a form of defense against primordial jouissance. The hysteric’s body and relation to the Other is “carved up” in such a way that this choice is far from clear. Paradoxically, Lacan believes this is closer to the analyst’s position than most “normal” neurotics in its lack of fixation – to the extent that analysis must often hystericize a rigid character structure to achieve a new breakthrough.

The case is very different for “borderline” or “actualpathological” conditions

What Verhaeghe calls “subject amplification” or I call subjectivization refers to the original relation between the subject which comes to be through signifiers of the Other (parents, culture). In a case in which this did not take place and bodily jouissance or anxiety remains at the level of actual physio- or neuro-pathology (since it could not be processed into psycho-pathology), one may recreate a relation in which new imaginary-symbolic signifiers are offered – not imposed – from what Lacan calls the position of the analyst.

In investigating the historical reconstruction of psychosomatic symptoms such as neurasthenia, psycheasthenia, possession, delusions, borderline syndromes, autoimmune dysfunction, addiction, panic, chronic fatigue, ADD…, I found (as the periods of elipsis indicate) no clear cut gap where so called physiological medical symptoms and psychiatric symptoms divide, so I have tried to develop an Analytic Medicine alongside “pure” analysis. The techniques used must be practiced within Lacan’s position of the analyst.

With homeopathic medicine and acupuncture we are able to contain symptoms without suppressing them and producing toxic side effects. Simultaneously we offer new signifiers for patients to process the experience of illness – what Verhaeghe calls “subject amplification.” Most important the therapeutic relationship is made from the position of the analyst – not the medical master or medical knowledge of the symptom. This leaves room for the demand for analysis to emerge through further imaginary-symbolic elaboration and the creation of new subjectivities and new social links.

Neuropsychoanalysis of Schizophrenia

It was partially my own experience with a family member who transfered childhood trauma and depression with no outlet into a myelin sheath degeneration which led me to the study and practice of psychoanalytic and psychosomatic medicine. In my practice I see the continual transfer of psychosocial experiences into physical disease and back again.

With specific reference to neuroscience, Roger Penrose and Stuart Hameroff describe the quantum coherence effects of the microtubules of cell cytoskeletons which operate at a more subtle yet more superordinate level of will and consciousness to the more linear discrete operations of neuronal firing. In their research they were able to disrupt simple external tasks with mild electrical current through the brain too subtle to effect the actual neurochemical transmission.

In my own doctoral research I argued that the quantum coherence of the cytoskeleton was able to translate nonlinear transpersonal events of consciousness and will before the further linear specification of neural mapping which requires the later (ontogenetically and phylogenetically) developed sheathed neurons for many of the logical symbolic behaviors which our particular external culture prizes.

Indeed I saw how the demyelinization accompanied decreasing ability to perform specific motor and memory tasks and increasing free associative behavior which was radically honest to the discomfort and/or amusement of others. With very little judgement this person entered childlike or mystical states which appeared to be pleasant. The negativity or guilt was in those who were observing.

Your comments neurologically parallel Aulagnier’s findings on the creation of schizophrenia from violent interpretation and intrusion which robs the ability of the psyche or self to evolve. The brain simultaneously is intruded upon and develops autoimmune defenses. Lack of the culturally normal specificity of tasks, pain from self-destruction, and fear of external judgement are often accompanied by heightened creative and paranormal abilities which have not been lost the way they are through normal development in this culture. This has led to an unfortunate dualism among those struggling for an enlightened approach to schizophrenia in many ways. There are BOTH biological causes and effects AND psychosocial causes and effects AND they are structurally coupled. One can have BOTH sympathy for the pain of “schizophrenic” subjectivity AND struggle for an understanding about how cultural judgement and medical labelling of “schizophrenia” as a disease caused by some bad gene or microbe perpetuates an inability to see how it develops and heal it.

For more general background reading I recommend.

Roger Penrose “Shadows of the Mind”

Wilhelm Reich “The Cancer Biopathy”

Klaus Dumke “AIDS: The Deadly Seed”

Ernest Rossi “The Psychobiology of Gene Expression”

Mark Seem “Bodymind Energetics”

Piera Aulagnier “The Violence of Interpretation”

The Truth of Analysis

“Because of the way in which he envisaged his fidelity to Freud, Lacan categorically rejected this nosological vision of the analytical situation. To that end he took up the modern notion of a non-conceptual gap between truth and forms of knowledge and projected it onto the field of psychoanalysis. Not only did he distinguish between truth and knowledge, he also showed that a truth is essentially unknown; that it quite literally constitutes a hole in forms of knowledge.
In doing so – and this is in my opinion a point whose consequences have yet to be fully grasped – Lacan declared that psychoanalysis was not a form of knowledge but a way of thinking.
Yet despite the claims of those who would like to effect a theological recuperation of psychoanalysis – and they are indefatiguable, rather like someone who has figured out how to turn pig-feed into a communion wafer – and who like to indulge in delectable speculations about the transcendence of the Big Other, Lacan himself, on the whole, refused any compromise about the immanence of truth.” (Alain Badiou)

The path which Freud opened within the realm of medicine was essentially an ontological break with the limitations of knowledge and its uses. For the past century there have been no end of psychologies, psychotherapies, and psychoanalyses regressing from this opening in the service of constructing new objects of knowledge and profit, including Freudians and Lacanians who rather than remain true the spirit remain slaves to the letter of a new religion. While Lacan was one of the few to articulate the extension of Freud’s path (already present in Lucretius and Hui Neng), it is intutively present in those like Laing and Mosher who recognized the absurd perpetuation of illness through “scientific” knowledge, judgment, and treatment, and even demonstrated the superior and less expensive success of “non-therapists” to heal psychosis in places like Soteria and the Philadelphia Association.

Lacan once described himself as Freud’s Lenin, in which case the inventive discovery of psychoanalysis as a practice of truth and thought was put into action through a transmission of a different type – without qualification, certifications, nominations, degrees, or trademarks. In the dissolution of the one school, a proliferation of multiples has continued to flourish devoted to an aim which runs counter to the patenting and profiting of new techniques propped up by the onto-theological belief in the miracle cure. While there may never be a Stalin of psychoanalysis (unless this be Slavoj Zizek) there is a multitude of corporate capital packaged pills and therapies to once again cover the unprecedented anamnesis of the twentieth century and prevent its further development: the withering away of the psychoanalytic state in the emergence of a community of those who have nothing in common but the love of truth and its emergence from what is radically unknown.


Soul Murder and Iatrogenesis

The investigation of the truth surrounding the Screber case serves as a model for a revelation about a cultural norm elaborated by Aulagnier’s work surrounding the concept of “the violence of interpretation.” We must be at pains to elaborate the “facts” by listening to Schreber’s own words concerning his experience rather than the interpretations imposed on him by Flechsig, Freud and others. At the same time we must be careful not to allow the facts to simplistically support a ubiquitous “real” physical abuse of Schreber and other children put forward by Niederland, Schatzman, Shengold and others too quickly. This would be to make the same mistake as Masson and others concerning the supposed cover up by Freud of real sexual abuse. The point – made clear by Laplanche – is that seduction, abuse, or trauma is inevitable, whether real or imagined, and that the psychic apparatus in its ideal state – supported by certain familial, interpersonal, and/or therapeutic interaction traverses a journey of encounters which elaborate the birth of subjectivity and the expansion of the “I.” The soul murder is not in the original abusive event but in the violence of interpretation that murders the psyche’s ability to assimilate and transform the event for itself. In this sense our whole culture and especially the medical model continues to conspire in soul murder. This is why it is not surprising to find that “soul murder” was an actual medico-legal term from Schreber’s time refering to iatrogenesis – doctor-induced illness. The radical event of Freudian analysis was to reverse this process and listen to the patient, yet even most therapists and analysts still regress to the violence of interpretation through there transference to the theories and authorities which protect them.

Lacan’s work maps this journey of the subject between drive and the Other, and Aulagnier demonstrates how the total eclipse of the drive by the intrusion of the Other prevents the elaboration of the subject in psychosis. This violence by which the Other interprets the experience of the child is simply less complete in cases of neurosis or normality. In neurosis we thus speak of a divided subjectivity (between drive and Other) at odds with the currently accepted norm, whereas in any given cultural norm a certain moral and physiological “truth” dictates the object relations among its participants. Freud posed this issue in “Civilization and its Discontents” and Lacan again ran up against this problem of the dualistic impasse of either neurotic subjection to the symbolic order or psychotic foreclosure of it, before resolving it in his later work on the “sinthome.”


If Schreber is the most cited patient in medical history, then perhaps it is because he is a kind of “Imitation of Christ” for our times. If we listen to his words he says his problem is a nervous illness. Perhaps Schreber’s crisis is not the total foreclosure of the symbolic but an increasingly problematic confrontation with it which manifests as various symptoms – first as a nervous exhaustion and depression and later as so-called “hallucinations.” In many respects we could take Schreber at his word and recognize that his problem is more neurotic than psychotic. (Increasing practice with our times may show us how much this is a continuum rather than separate categories.) The refusal to be recognized as a master in his newest professional victory as well as the failure to become an actual father may have given rise to a kind of flight into hysteria with all the associated neurasthenic qualities in addition to the position of being a woman to God.

We could then pose a different scenario in which Schreber, after repeated confrontations with his father who spoke of the necessity to “break the will of the child at any cost,” after continuing to compete with other men in his chosen profession of judge, finally fails to be able to shoulder this burden of becoming master and judge of a high court. Unrecognized in his new town and unable to succeed in fathering children with his wife, he has a final breakdown in which he becomes one to be cared for. In terms of the dualistic model of psychosis or neurosis/normality this is certainly a failure of the name of the father. But is it possible that Schreber will turn his symptom into that of an enjoyment of what Deleuze and Guattari call “becoming-woman” – into an exploration of another way of being – not judge but judged, not master but servant, not carer but cared-for, not God but “a woman.”

In this approach, rather than assuming a symptom to be a lack of what should be, we assume the symptom to be a creation – albeit unconscious – of what needs to come to be. By listening to it and mapping it, we allow it to take its course and either fall by the wayside to make room for another becoming in the birth of the subject ,or see that it is in fact the birth of the subject in which it becomes consciously assumed and lived – communicated to others through semiotic means which deconstruct and reconstruct the rigid symbolic. This process which has been well described by Bergson, Bataille, Bion, and Eigen as the function of the mystic has so far operated in our times in the everyday life of the artist more than in that of the analyst and analysand.

Fear, Mysticism, and Analysis

This poses a new model for analysis, in which we really let go of the “violence of interpretation” in favor of a kind of psychoanalytic mysticism partially mapped out by Lacan, Bion, Eigen, and Phillips. He who accompanies the other on a journey of subjectivity along with its terrors and ecstasies requires courage and experience more than clever knowledge in the application of techniques.

Hallucination and Perception

Finally the relation between self and other, inside and outside, dreams, thoughts, hallucinations, perceptions, and sensations depends more on how we come to collectively construct reality out of the real. What has been at stake for so long is a micropolitics of desiring production. Who controls reality. Is it possible to collectively create in a model which honors both the relational aesthetic and the individual ethic of sovereignty. Let us find out.


“The problem of anxiety is a nodal point at which the most various and important questions converge, a riddle whose solution would be bound to throw a flood of light on our whole mental existence.” (Freud)

Your raising the question of anxiety is sure to provoke anxiety in those who prefer to refer to diagnostic category-objects. Far from being objectless (or due to object-loss), it was Lacan who reminded us that anxiety arises in the presence of the object of desire. This is confusing unless we understand that for Lacan the object is always the fantasy that emerges at the moment of (its) loss. The object is a transversal linkage that commemorates a relation, so that transitional, partial, part, and self objects (not to mention clothes, cars, and books) are only so many remains of an overwhelming real jouissance (ecstasy-enjoyment) from which we all come. Strategies differ among individuals as to how to cope with the fundamental “bipolar” relation of isolation/fusion and its concomitant anxiety which you refer to through so many clinicians, and in psychosis the anxiety and the strategies are extreme.

Anxiety is so much the experience of the truth of humanity (as well as the core of symptoms) that we should not forget that these issues were negotiated in other cultures through rituals which we no longer possess:

“The anxiety of the neurotic individual is the same as that of the saint. The neurotic, the saint are engaged in the same battle. Their blood flows from similar wounds. But the first one gasps and the other one gives.
What chance demands of men: friendship.
But anxiety? shameful old hag at whom one refuses even to spit!” (Bataille)

For Bataille anxiety is what remains as we hold back our isolation even in the presence of our desire to connect – the solution being communication or communion, for “death can only strike the isolated being” whereas “anxiety communicated turns into glory.” Clinically this would call on us to move further away from an object-oriented interpretation-based approach toward a relational analytic communion sketched out by Lacan and Bion in their later work.

Roberto Harari “Lacan’s Seminar on Anxiety”
Georges Bataille “Inner Experience”
Sigmund Freud “Introductory Lectures”

Lacanian Analysis

“Psychosis, Neurosis, and Beyond: Lacanian Analysis and the Birth of the Subject”

Dr Scott Von

ISPS Presentation 5/22/04 – New York

Jacques Lacan distinguished the psychotic by the foreclosure of the symbolic order. But the neurotic too remains bound to a particular knot of signifiers of the symbolic, imaginary, and real from which he suffers. In his last seminars Lacan proposed a solution to the dialectical impasse of psychosis and neurosis through a logic of the symptom and a practice of the letter in which the subject is born through enunciation and transmission. This requires a kind of listening and play which eschews the violence of interpretation and has profound implications for clinical practice.


“Psycho-analysis and Psycho-catalysis: Substance, Set, and Setting in Clinical and Cultural Practice”

Dr Scott Von

PST Presentation 5/13/04 – New York

Psychoanalysis unties knots of the psyche unveiling the drive and leading the subject to his destiny. The ethics of analysis are opposed to current models of medicine and psychiatry which seek to adapt the patient to a particular logos.

While analysis dissolves aggregates of unwanted patterns, catalysis presents the psyche (or any existent set – for example, a body or a community) with an encounter with the other. This encounter can become an event which provokes the new within a previously determined set leading to assimilation and transformation. Conversely, this encounter can be rejected as when the immune system expels a foreign body, or deposited inside as repressed trauma repeating itself to seek expression.

Images, words, substances, and touch catalyze events which resonate in the psyche and soma of each being. For events which have remained repressed as traumatic encounters, it is possible to re-initiate, assimilate and release them through homeopathic substances, somatic touch, and semiotic images. In this case the “substance” or intervention alters the mind “set” within a new “setting.”

Analysis is the counterpart of catalysis – the undoing of the knots or patterns now stagnant in the set – a release of traumas – a dis-integration or differentiation into sovereign moments of the present. Analysis and catalysis provide an integration and differentiation of sets in a new “psycholytic” calculus of the bodymind which translates the transpersonal and topological real into everyday life.