VIII Congress of the World Association of Psychoanalysis WAP
World Association of Psychoanalysis

23rd to 27th April 2012
Hilton Hotel

Macacha Güemes 351, Puerto Madero
Buenos Aires City, Argentina

First Preparatory Evening Towards the VIIIth AMP Congress

"The symbolic order in the 21st century. It's not what it used to be. What consequences for the treatment?"
Transcription of the Conference given at the EOL on Tuesday 19th April 2011, at the first evening of preparatory activities for the forthcoming AMP Congress in April 2012.

Without Nostalgia
by Oscar Ventura

So, where to begin? What order to choose for this intervention? First, I would like to say two words about the poster for the Congress. When I first saw it, I must confess that it took me a while to orient myself in that image. I am not saying I am more oriented than before. An image, as the saying goes, "is worth more than ten thousand words". Well, I don’t know if that was the case for me on this occasion, but I didn’t have too many words, or at least I didn’t find them. It is true that an image often needs no words, it may coagulate them, stop them, but effectively images do speak, without one necessarily having anything to say about them. Also, on the other hand, we know that images can trigger a flood of words. Flory, for instance, encouraged all our colleagues in the world to give an opinion, to say something about what the poster for the Congress suggested to them. I haven’t been able to read the scope of this invitation yet. I don’t know what kind of response it has had. In my case, the picture has left me without many words. Although I can rescue a few, very briefly; one could say for example that the image evokes a certain disorder, a crossing of the letter under the relentless advance of a sharp futuristic weapon-like dagger, which makes a beam, perhaps of a blinding light, break and makes the letters themselves vacillate where the Symbolic order aims to inscribe itself. We could also say that it is not easy to orient oneself in this over-written world of the poster, traversed by a swarm of crossings that make me think of those postmodern architecture buildings. It has something of the LaSalle Art College in Singapore, the jewel of postmodernist architecture, this type of architecture that critics say has an effect close to deconstruction and which directs our minds to a kind of labyrinth. Finally, but amid all this, there is something that differentiates itself from the rest. Something that is highlighted. The only thing that is highlighted in bold in the whole poster is a sentence that says: It’s not what it used to be. I will then start out there.

It’s not what it used to be. I will pause for a moment on this sentence. If we say that it is no longer what it used to be, we are saying that it is something else. Somehow we are obliged to think: what is now that which was before? What has that turned into? If we get carried away by this it is easy to let the question slide towards thinking that the symbolic order is otherwise. But in what way can we think of a new symbolic order? This is not a simple question, nor is it a banal one. For if we admit that the symbolic order as we knew it no longer exists or, to be more precise, is on its way to extinction, we are somehow forced to think that the analytic treatment as we knew it will be extinguished in a not too distant future, that it will not take long for it to be abolished, discarded just like any other object. Is this the danger? Or we might rather say that this is the fantasy: the extinction of Psychoanalysis.

Actually, the question about the extinction of Psychoanalysis runs throughout the history of the psychoanalytic movement; Freud himself saw it under threat from its very outset. Indeed civilization embodied in the irreducible of the death drive runs counter to the law of desire. But it must be said that it is to a certain extent. Jacques-Alain Miller's conference in Comandatuba [1] for instance, turns the question upside down, as a function of that fantasy which leads us to think rather that the structure of the contemporary social bond is analogous to the structure of the analytic discourse as Lacan isolated it. I do not believe, frankly, that Psychoanalysis may be on the way to extinction. I rather think that we should beware of its success. We can discuss this a bit later.

To put it rapidly, the question is to what extent the symptom will be treatable by speech, in the terms we continue to use up until now. Including those of Lacan’s later teaching.

Stefan Zweig with Joyce
I will first take two literary references that oriented me in writing this brief reflection about the theme of the Congress, which constitute a counterpoint, two different ways to think about that which, as the title tells us, "is no longer what it used to be". They are two writers who found their own ways to respond to the irretrievable break of a symbolic order which had oriented civilization until the beginning of the 20th century. The first twenty years of the past century are probably a determining turning point, crossed above all by the Great War, unprecedented in both its cruelty and in the sophistication of the forms of destruction. They are also the years when the definitive introduction of Psychoanalysis in culture generated a tremendous commotion in the symbolic order. Well, one of these references is Stefan Zweig. The other is James Joyce. I think that Zweig's book "The world of yesterday" [2], beyond the strictly literary value it has, which is of course undeniable, is also of particular value to us because it goes beyond the strictly literary question; we cannot even say of this book that it can be identified with the genre of autobiography. It is a story rather inscribed in the order of the testimony. There is a clear difference between testimony and autobiography, even more when we know that, although SZ was never an analysand in the strict sense of the term, we know about the deep affinity he had with the analytic movement and the almost familiar proximity he had with Freud, both in Vienna and during their exile in London, where they shared an almost daily exchange during Freud's last year of life. It was around that time when for example SZ brought Salvador Dalí to Freud's house. It was the time when Dalí painted the now famous portrait of Freud, which Freud never had access to, he never saw it. SZ withdrew it from Freud's gaze at the very moment when Dalí finished it. He didn't want Freud to see it as he thought that Dalí, clairvoyant, had already included death in it. SZ probably also saw that threatening shadow over him and this withdrawal also implied the profound bitterness of a man for whom all hope in the world he had once known had collapsed.

SZ testifies, with impressive strength, embodied in a subjectivity that becomes universal, to the definitive rupture of the places where the master signifiers were inscribed for him and for his contemporaries; master signifiers which had oriented civilization before the rupture of an order which had maintained its consistency and its development in the stability of a world organised by belief: by the consistency of the great narratives that had woven a social bond in some way considered permanent. I will read you a short excerpt from the book that illustrates this with the precision of the writer and witness who himself incarnates the collapse of all semblants. It is on page 322 [3]

"No wonder a whole young generation looked bitterly and scornfully at their fathers, who had allowed themselves to be deprived first of victory and then of peace, who had done everything wrong, had foreseen nothing, and had made the wrong calculations in every respect. Was it not understandable for the new generation to feel no respect whatsoever for their elders? None of these young people believed in their parents, the politicians or their teachers. Every state decree or proclamation was read with distrust. The post-war generation emancipated itself, with a sudden, violent reaction, from all that had previously been accepted. It turned its back on all tradition, determined to take its fate into its own hands, moving forcefully away from the old past and on into the future. An entirely new world, a different order, was to begin with these young people in every area of life, and of course it all started with wild exaggeration. Anyone or anything not their own age was finished, out-of-date, done for. Instead of going away on holiday with their parents, children of eleven and twelve were hiking through the countryside in the Wandervögel groups –organised and well-instructed in sexual matters- reaching Italy and the North Sea. School councils on the Russian model were set up, with young people keeping a sharp eye on the teachers and making their own changes to the curriculum, because children wanted to learn only what they liked. There was rebellion, purely for the fun of rebelling against everything once accepted, even against the natural order and the eternal difference between the sexes. Girls had their hair cut in such short bobs that they could not be told from boys; young men shaved off their beards to look more like girls. Homosexuality and lesbianism were very much in fashion, not a result of a young person’s instinctive drives but in protest against all the old traditional, legal and moral kinds of love. Every form of expression, of course including art, tried to be as radical and revolutionary as possible. The new painters declared everything done by Rembrandt, Holbein and Velázquez out of date, and embarked on the wildest of Cubist and Surrealist experiments. In every field, what could be understood was poorly esteemed- melody in music, a good likeness in portraiture, clarity in language. The definite article was omitted, sentence structure reversed, everything was written in abbreviated, telegraphese style, with excitable exclamations …" (Undoubtedly, this last remark is a privileged anticipation of what the new forms of contemporary communication would become, with the fragmentation they produce within language thanks to the atomization of the letter).

Well, at the same time that SZ constructs in his book the narrative of the outbreak, he gives an account of how unbearable this crossing was for him; this brutal fall of the ideals forged throughout the centuries. We know that SZ succumbed to this, his destiny is inscribed in the despair in which the radical loss of meaning submerges him; the cascading flight that drags him down when the fall of the father is made present. And the solution he finds is the accomplished act that suicide constitutes. It is the way which pushes him to silence the vociferation of a world which no longer represented him. A way out, if we were to make clinical conjectures, on the side of melancholic identification with the fall of the father. There is no way for him to invent a new narrative.

In Joyce, his contemporary, we find a counterpoint. Joyce's production orients us in a different direction. Referring only to one aspect of the question, we see how Joyce's work progressively mutates from his first stories, from the time of the portrait of the artist as a young man, to a turning point, a first scansion which is the writing and publishing of Ulysses. And we can also see how, gradually, we find in Joyce's literature a kind of decomposition of discourse, where the narrative itself, its logic, considered from the perspective of what is understood as an order, begins to lose consistency. While SZ remained faithful until the last moment to the coordinates of the narrative, to the sense of the story, which is only lost in the real of death, Joyce goes a step further and stops an instant before death. 'Stop'[1], he says, and makes the symbolic order shatter, disintegrating it. The letter, "the material support of discourse" as Lacan teaches us, takes on a dimension in which it becomes unreadable, but which nevertheless maintains a bond with the Other, so that the outside of meaning can be read. At the end, with Finnegans Wake - his great and definitive 'Work in progress'[2] - Joyce produces a radical rupture from any order. There is certainly something visionary in all of this, it anticipates the decomposition of the symbolic order, probably along the sames line of contemporary art, where what is at stake is the abolition of meaning. Of the meaning of narrative itself. It is the definitive decadence of narrative forms. Meaning is ephemeral, it has a nearly instantaneous caducity. There is no more support of meaning. And we must not forget the fabulous irony that can be captured in Finnegans Wake; after all, the book deals with the vicissitudes of a family - that Master signifier of the old symbolic order - the Earwicker family, with its father HCE and its mother ALP, a beautiful metaphor for thinking about the current forms of that which we still call a family. Well, we all know that it is a kind of madness to orient oneself in this book, which after all claims to be inscribed as a comic novel. I believe we can here differentiate the comic and the ironic. And I say this because I tend to think that with Joyce we learn to think, surely among many other things, the good use of irony. That is, to be able to accept the inconsistency of the world without falling into cynicism. Or into suicide. It is certainly better to go on living. We must go on living and at the same time maintain an ethical position. We do not take our own lives, but we do not convert ourselves to the dictatorship of the postmodern object either. It is along this fine line that the analytic discourse passes in the 21st Century.

Well, this was a first articulation I wanted to transmit in order to think about that which is no longer what it used to be. Two ways of responding to the rupture in the symbolic order. SZ and Joyce finished their books almost in unison in the same years. And both their works were published with little time difference. Joyce finished FW in 1939 and SZ finished his book in 1941. FW is published in 1939 and the publication of "The World of Yesterday" is posthumous, in 1944.

Let’s go on. Contemporary with them is also that which interests us most, the presence of Freud. Freud, as Lacan says, is "a man from another time". But of course, there is a movement in Freud which might appear in the first instance very obvious to a naive reading of his presence in the 20th century. There is a risk sometimes, in Europe for instance - not the enlightened Europe, of which there are still a few islands, but the clinical Europe - the risk of reading the banal trait of the letter that says "Freud was a man of another era", reading it in the sense of what is already over, in the sense of what has been surpassed. This is a debilitated thinking, a dangerous debility, because it is traversed by the hallucination of the new and the rapid. It is one of the forms of disdain for knowledge, in this case, a disdain for clinical knowledge.

Freud actually touches the key, the very heart of the symbolic order by openly showing the mechanisms at play in the organization of the neuroses: the pathos of the father, if we may put it like this. And at the very moment he touches it he definitively destabilizes it. There where the organization of culture seemed to have settled down and appeared to coagulate the signification of the social bond, suddenly sexuality erupts as the very condition of the misencounter with the symbolic order. Very early in his work Freud shows that it does not work, but that in some way, at least up to the '20s, it can be fixed. The optimism in the symbolic order ends there Even if there is an attempt - by all means – to find the formulas able to reestablish it, 'it' fails. The subject resists in every way, he becomes refractary to the efficacy of the enactment of the symbolic order in the treatment. The privileged instrument of the Freudian analytic act, interpretation, sustained precisely by the symbolic constellation, ultimately looses its efficacy. A variety of clinical phenomena bear witness to this. Undoubtedly the paradigm is the conceptualization of the death drive (never fully accepted by the post-Freudian analysts who veer today towards the hopes of biology and neurosciences) and of the clinical phenomena inscribed around the negative therapeutic reaction. These are irrefutable proofs that 'It' resists. Moreover, the enigma of femininity also leaves Freud, the man from another era, without symbolic resources, so to speak. The symbolic is already holed on many fronts. Yet its inertia remains compelling and its clinical efficacy can be still, to a certain extent, be verified today. Although I believe we are going through the concluding moment of mourning.

Freud, the man of another time, perhaps despite himself, as Lacan says, had already very early captured in all its magnitude the fragility of the resources of logos to tame the real. Both in 1917 ("A Difficulty in the Path of Psycho-Analysis")[4], and in 1925 ("The resistances to psycho-analysis")[ 5] he comes back to the consequences for the fate of civilization of the belief that humanity could be sustained, protected by the resources of a universal law able to regulate jouissance. When Freud lists the three great wounds inflicted on narcissism, Darwin, Copernicus and the Unconscious itself, should we not see them as accurate shots announcing the turmoil of a symbolic order that, in each era was thought of as sufficient to give meaning to the presence of that speaking being who, in his structural weakness, can find no other recource than a narrative which seeks to elevate him to a centre impossible to define. Just like the metaphor of Borges and the sphere where its centre is nowhere and its circumference is everywhere according to the moving point. I could speak about Borges, some of you know of my passion for him. With JAM we invented, 11 years ago, Uqbar in his honour. Lacanian Borges. But there is no time for that.

But what is after all the symbolic order as seen from Freud? Is it the Oedipus complex and its structuring potentcy without which many believe Psychoanalysis would have no epistemic consistency? Is it true that its building would collapse like a house of cards if Mummy and Daddy had not reproduced the little drama, narrated over and over again by the subject? No doubt Freud is much more than that.

Nonetheless Lacan is needed to give Freud's work its full magnitude. Lacan precisely, as we know, put order in Freud and tried to isolate with the greatest purity that which we call the symbolic. Let's think about things in a very simple way, for example, how thought works. Until late in his teaching Lacan had homologated the symbolic order and thought. Afterwards, towards the end, he gives up on isolating a pure symbolic order. He rather produces a relegation of the Unconscious and the symbolic order in favour of a real knotted to the body. The concept of mental debility derives from this conception. The symbolic is debility par excellence. The subject suffers from the symbolic as a demonstration of his absolute disharmony with the natural order. If Lacan went on as far as saying that thought was an illness, the parasite of that illness is the unconscious, the symbolic order.

Thought, that which Lacan identified with the symbolic order itself, functions in the first instance at the level of difference; it constitutes a binary logic founded on the 0-1, on the cybernetic combinatory: difference between the sexes, man-woman. Differences between the functions, father-mother. Difference between life and death. Historically, if we may say so, this is the way in which thought has been organised and in which functions have been distributed. It is from the Other qua ex-istent that we find an order where differences are entrenched. An order of well-established and well-installed hierarchies. The symbolic dominates over the image, the signifier dominates over the signified. Analytic interpretation was to begin with also inscribed within this logic. It was undoubtedly a convenient way to understand things.

But we see how this order in which we sustained ourselves is progressively diluting. The advance of civilization is itself diluting it. And Lacan knows how to read the issue in the good way. What Lacan verifies each time with more precision is how an erasing of the differences sustained by the symbolic order is gradually produced. Instead of the binary, there is a swarm of signifiers. The Other loses consistency before the One. The imaginary One. The symbolic One. It is not possible, or at least it is no longer so easy to identify hierarchy and dialectics. There are no effects of signification in this conjuncture. If we could somehow illustrate it, we could say that there is a predominance of metonymy over metaphor. Signification radically vacillates and we are here already faced with a problem.

Let's think about the consequences that in first instance we can extract from this mutation of the symbolic order. And to what extent this affects the destinies of the analytic treatment.

It should also be said - and this is fundamental in order to understand today's world - that we are witnesses to an unprecedented and already definitive incidence of science on subjectivity, and that this also poses a horizon where the erasing of differences becomes more pronounced, with a brutal push towards homogenization and an ever more pronounced tendency - at least in Europe - to raise solutions to the efficacy of the technical object, protected by what is considered scientifically demonstrable.

I think we all pretty much agree that we are going through the era of the fall of the great narratives and the breakdown of the semblants that sustained confidence in the organization of the world. You have only to glance at the most immediate current affairs, at the triggering of the financial crisis, for instance, in order to verify the extent to which it becomes impossible to restore the SsS, to reestablish confidence in any Master signifier. Any attempt at regulation is refractary to the logic of discourse itself. At this level we see amplified the complexity of an order of the world where the displacement of objects is vertiginous, where we find great difficulty in fixating significations, for them to be long-lasting. And this no doubt concerns us. It is difficult to find things that last, that are perpetuated in time.

The fall of the great narratives has undoubtedly consequences on the fall of the narrative in singular. Consequences on the subject itself, impoverished by the invasion of the object. And if we wish to orient ourselves in the clinic, we find ourselves more and more frequently before a major obstacle. The treatment as such, traversed by this new symbolic order, demonstrates that the Name of the Father even though it has not yet lost its clinical operativity, shows that it becomes more and more complex for the subject to find good ways of doing with it. I am not saying to find ways of being oriented by it. I am speaking about the difficulty the subject has to find a more or less reasonable way in which to make do with it. Even this great clinical alternative, the pluralization of the Names of the Father, it is not that easy for it to be operative. The contemporary clinic, in a general sense, shows us the enormous difficulties subjects have to construct a narrative, a story that would allow a certain degree of symbolic formalization. Rather it is now a clinic of the passage to the act that begins to be habitual, a clinic that has a direct relation with jouissance and its imperative, where the invitation to elaborate is usually rejected. It is rather the imperative for immediate satisfaction that orientates the field of demand, and under this perspective, interpretation and the symbolic shelter in which we oriented ourselves since Freud, begin to prove themselves ineffective. We have perceived these effects with more clarity for quite some time, probably even more since that enormous clinical formalization produced in the Freudian Field by The Conversation of Arcachon and The Conciliabule of Angers [6], together with The Convention of Antibes [7] thanks to which we realised that we were more and more confronted with subjects unsubscribed to the unconscious; with subjects impoverished of the symbolic function and with the irreparable devaluation of knowledge that this implies. The contemporary subject usually presents - we probably must qualify this with regards to what happens in Europe and in Argentina, I do not believe things can be directly extrapolated, but there is no doubt a tendency - the contemporary subject, I was saying, presents himself not with a search for knowledge but rather with a demand for an instruction manual. They do not usually show any interest in the cause. This is really consistent with what we have been reflecting on for some time, when we affirm that an order constituted by the rise of the object a to the zenith shapes subjectivities in which love and castration are increasingly excluded.

The lost object, this compass that oriented us, begins to be a chimera in an era where any kind of loss is experienced as an injustice. This is the era in which the object is rather always present, hence what we call generalised anxiety, which is nothing but the massive presence of the object in the world. This introduces a modification in the processes of mourning themselves, in the subjective capturing of the holes in the symbolic. I am not referring here just to the great mournings, but also to the dystichya [misfortune, discontent] of everyday life. The time for working through is reduced to a minimum, in favour of a time where fulminant substitution prevails, the time for understanding is abolished in favour of a subjective autism which materialises itself within a broad field, from chemical intoxication to the most diverse social or non-social practices which have in common the closure of speech, not in the sense that subjects don't speak, but in the sense of the constriction, the reduction of speech to which they subject themselves. In a strict sense, to speak is to lose, it is to cede something to the Other, and it is this form of saying that begins to be increasingly absent.

This reminds me of those passages in Seminar XI when Lacan said, in relation to the clinic: it does not matter why your daughter is mute, what matters it how to make her speak. For Psychoanalysis, it is not enough to know why she is mute, but one has indeed to make her speak. But making her speak is not enough either. Because what is at stake is to find the formula able to mobilize something of the real on the basis of a knowledge; and for that it is not enough to speak. Otherwise we wouldn't be establishing any difference with the regime of the psychotherapies, whichever they are, which all mobilize the apparatus of language. And I think herein lies a great difficulty. How to rethink the analytic manoeuvre to mobilize knowledge in a way such that it may touch the jouissance at stake in the era when we know the inertia of discourse formalizes a social bond where the object is conceived as the very hope for a satisfaction which, by structure, is lost forever? It is not easy for the postmodern subject to bear the analytic rigor, to consent to the fact that, in the end, he will have to find the formula to mourn the object, when the entire apparatus of discourse pushes him, as Lacan says of the psychotic, to carry it in his pocket. Here, in this conjuncture, lies our wager and also our difficulty. In what way must we know how to use the words, old or new, that will serve to rectify the position of the subject before the real, whether they are subjected to the regime of the Name of the Father or obliged to sustain, by whatever means, a system of representation guaranteed by something in a world where any semblant able to embody any kind of authority whatsoever, vacillates in an almost definitive way. This no doubt implies that we think about our own forms of guarantee.

It is probably because of this, that the device of the pass becomes essential both for the specificity of Psychoanalysis not to be diluted in the Babel, and also to orient a possible clinic of the social bond that does not fall into contemporary cynicism, one which may push towards producing the good forms of distance from the imperative. Precisely by finding the formulas to provoke speech in its more authentic sense.

But all this poses something of a paradox, because on the one hand our possibility of clinical efficacy on jouissance resides in a narrative being constructed, in a fiction being established to operate with its own structure of fiction, if we may put it like that. But, on the other hand, it happens that the subject of demand is increasingly less conditioned by the love that the demand is the vehicle of. Which in turn implies an obstacle to operate on desire, to be able to clarify it on the basis of the demand.

Every demand is demand for love, we know Lacan's maxim. Can we still claim this? Undoubtedly yes. But we also observe how the field of demand is traversed by something of a different kind, by a type of demand much more opaque which may coagulate in the will of the subject to persist in being his own predator. It's what we hear many times, no desire for change is displayed in speech, but rather a demand declined in rigid statements of how to enjoy more, or alternatively (which after all is the same thing) of how to recover in the quickest possible way the lost jouissance. It is a formula constructed within discourse and which is in consonance with the postmodern aporia that aims to make the symptom - read as a disorder thanks to the entire apparatus of discourse - disappear.

It is quite evident that in this new symbolic order the fall of the ideals mutates in favor, as Lacan said, of the iron law of the superego. And this has consequences on love.

This movement also implies something paradoxical. In so far as the treatment is a reduction of the ideal, love identified to the ideal must also fall. But, at the same time, it is necessary that it is reintegrated in the psychical economy under a modality that would not be that of the ideal. If our wager is to make the forms of a new love beyond the Other emerge, beyond the ideals we have to invent a presence of that new love which for Lacan was not confused with the ideal. For love not to cease, precisely, to be the most reasonable bridge that allows jouissance to condescend to desire.

But we must not forget that we are going through the era of generalised pornography, and not only in its slope of the imaginary copulation of filmed bodies, images amplifying ad nauseam the possibility of making the sexual relation exist; this is not new, it is traversed by all the potency of the imaginary pregnancy. Generalised pornography is a trait of perversion under which the forms of a universal exhibitionism are inscribed, one that pushes towards the foreclosure of love and which tends to coagulate the signification of cynicism, under the imperative that everything is possible. In this scenario there would be no barrier for jouissance.

The wager of the School and its device, from this perspective, is materialised in the effort to isolate with the greatest possible clinical precision, the particularity of this new love, in order to transmit to all, and not only to analysts, but to a broader field, the way, the manner in which the emergence of a new love may function as a sufficient veil that allows desire to be re-positioned as a compass. It is the singular formulas of the production of this new love that can orient the analytic act in order to think the clinic in the 21st century which, after all, has only just begun. Completely convulsed, it must be said.

No doubt there is a new symbolic order whose consistency is already more than noticeable. It is the prevalence of that which can only be inscribed under what Lacan called formalised truth. It is an order sustained neither by the ideals nor by the semblants of the Name of the Father. It is supported by real objects. Very well moored in discourse by the weight of the object a.

I believe that the very logic of the analytic discourse does not allow us to adopt any position inscribed in the nostalgic path, for that which used to be. It does not allow us, to say it emphatically, to go back on the tracks of a lost satisfaction. Nostalgia is of no use, revindication is even more dangerous, as it could lead us towards a religious discourse, one in which one falsely rends one’s garments, invoking the idea of pushing towards a useless forcing that tries to inject the Name of the Father where its efficacy is already futile. This forcing makes the discourse swivel towards the forms of identification to the obscene trait of the Other which usually declines towards fundamentalism.

Without doubt we have the symptom, something that Lacan though was irreducible. As long as there are symptoms there will be analysts willing to accommodate them. But up to what point will the symptom remain ductile to the analytic discourse? Up to what point will we be able to sustain ourselves in continuing to be a fundamental part of the symptom's addressees? This is the question that properly concerns our existence and which we cannot cease to interrogate - it is not convenient to stop interrogating one's own symptom. At the end of the day, the symptom of Psychoanalysis itself, incarnated in culture, is probably one of the forms of guarantee of our existence in this world we inhabit, and which is becoming ever more unknown with regards to the coordinates through which we made the treatment pass during the 20th century.

There is of course more, but I will stop here. It is necessary to give ourselves some time to talk. Many thanks.

Buenos Aires, April 2011.


Translated from the Spanish by Florencia Fernández Coria Shanahan
Translation reviewed by Roger Litten


  1. A Fantasy. Conference by Jacques-Alain Miller at the IVth WAP Congress in Comandatuba. Brasil in July 2004. A version in five languages may be found at:
  2. Stefan Zweig. "The World of Yesterday", Pushkin Press London, London, 2009.
  3. Stefan Zweig. op.cit., pp. 322-23.
  4. Sigmund Freud. A difficulty in the path of psychoanalysis. SE, Vol 17, 1917.
  5. Sigmund Freud. The resistances to psycho-analysis. SE, Vol 19, 1925.
  6. "The unclassifiable of the psychoanalytic clinic". Jacques-Alain Miller et al., Ed. Paidos. Bs. As.
  7. "Ordinary Psychosis" The Convention of Antibes, Jacques-Alain Miller et al., Ed. Paidos, Bs. As., 2003.

* In English in the original [TN].
** In English in the original [TN].