The seminar of jacques lacan freuds papers on technique

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The Seminar of Jacques Lacan Book I: Freud’s Papers on Technique

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Against this, Lacan views the ego as thoroughly compromised and inherently neurotic to its very core, as a passionate defense of a constitutive ignorance of the unconscious. Appearances notwithstanding, the ego is, when all is said and done, an inert, fixed bundle of objectified coordinates, a libidinally invested and reified entity. By contrast with the ego and the illusory sense of fictional selfhood it supports, the psychoanalytic subject of Lacanianism is an unconscious kinetic negativity defying capture by and within ego-level identificatory constructs.

The Lacanian enunciating subject of the unconscious speaks through the ego while remaining irreducibly distinct from it. Returning to a tighter focus on the mirror stage proper, Lacan, relying on empirical data from the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries, posits that very young children, between the ages of six and eighteen months, quickly acquire the ability to identify their own images in reflective surfaces. At this time, infants are lacking in most physical and mental abilities possessed by older human beings. Following Freud here, Lacan fleshes out this helplessness into which birth throws neonates, describing in detail the anatomical, physiological, cognitive, emotional, and motivational facets of this natural condition of post-birth prematurity.

For Lacan, identification with the imago-Gestalt of the moi entails alienation—and this for additional reasons over and above those given in the preceding paragraphs. But, in subsequent revisitations of the mirror stage during the s, Lacan dramatically highlights the supporting role of fellow human beings instead. This later shift of emphasis has two crucial consequences. Or, as the Lacan of the eleventh seminar would put it, there is something in the me more than the me itself to the extent that this moi essentially is a coagulation of inter-subjective and trans-subjective alien influences.

Although he often talks of mirrors as shiny reflective surfaces, he does not limit mirroring to being a visible physical phenomenon alone. The lower-case-o other designates the Imaginary ego and its accompanying alter-egos. The capital-O Other refers to two additional types of otherness corresponding to the registers of the Symbolic and the Real.

Thanks particularly to what he takes from his engagements with structuralism, Lacan, throughout his career, is careful to avoid a pseudo-Freudian reification of the bourgeois nuclear family, with a mother and father biologically sexed female and male respectively. The maternal and paternal Oedipal personas are psychical-subjective positions, namely, socio-cultural i. That noted, in the Lacanian version of the Oedipus complex, the maternal figure initially features for the infant as a Real Other i. But, because of the combination of her obscurity and importance, the mother qua Real Other also is a source of deeply unsettling anxiety for the very young child.

She seemingly threatens her offspring with being alternately too smothering or too withdrawn, too much or not enough. However, different subjects-in-formation distribute their identifications differently. Skipping over a lot of details and cutting a long story short, the later Lacan, when taking up the topic of sexual difference, preserves this Freudian emphasis on asymmetry. In this vein, Lacan introduces the idea of sexuation as the Real of sexual difference, namely, as an impenetrable, opaque facticity of this difference continually prompting and yet perpetually resisting being adequately translated into the terms of Imaginary and Symbolic realities.

The structural-psychical positions of masculinity and femininity embody constitutively out-of-synch and inherently incommensurable subjective stances, incompatible yet interacting arrangements of distinct sorts of libidinal economies. Lacan elaborates upon and extends this Freudian theoretical framework. Need, demand, and desire form a conceptual-terminological triad in Lacanian theory. Needs are biologically innate vital requirements for the human being as a living organism. Humans are born saddled with such imperatives from the very start, although, as per Freudian Hilflosigkeit , they are powerless on their own to satisfy these bodily dictates for a protracted initial period lasting well into childhood see 2.

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The combination of being prematurationally helpless but having unavoidable needs means that, over the course of physical and mental development, the infant must come to articulate its needs to bigger others. Of course, crying, screaming, gesticulating, and the like are early expressions of needs, being the fashions in which infants prior to acquiring language per se alert the older individuals around them of their requirements. Through these spontaneous interpretations, others, whether knowingly or not, participate with the pre-verbal child in shaping links between needs and the socially mediated significance of the expressions of needs.

As the infant continues maturing, soon acquiring language, the influences of others and Others especially inter-subjective others as conveyors of the signs and signifiers of the big Other qua trans-subjective symbolic order—see 2. He stipulates that desire is what remains after need is subtracted from demand. What, exactly, does this equation mean? Through being translated into demands, needs come to be saddled with surpluses of more-than-biological significances; vital requirements take on the excess baggage of meanings over and above the level of brute, simple organic survival.

Lacan therefore asserts that each and every demand is, at bottom, a demand for love. As will be discussed here shortly see 2. These fantasies cover over the impossibility of bringing desires to satisfying ends. As should be evident by now, the intervention of the signifiers of the symbolic order i.

Through the intrusion of these signifiers cutting into both the body and mind of the young child, a proto-subjective being of need, passing through the demands of discipline in both sense of the genitive , is transformed into a subject of desire. In connection with his revisions of the Oedipus complex see 2. But, as Lacan observes, Freud also oddly defines the aim Ziel of any and every drive as satisfaction.

Therefore, how can a drive achieve satisfaction if its aim defined as the achievement of satisfaction is inhibited? As seen see 2. There where desire is frustrated, drive is gratified. Drive gains its satisfaction through vampirically feeding off of the dissatisfaction of desire. Like the register of the Real with which it is most closely associated, jouissance , a notion that comes to the fore at the end of the s, is difficult to encapsulate in succinct defining formulas. The best way to begin getting a sense of what Lacan means by jouissance is through reference to the Lacanian distinction between drive and desire see 2.

The post Freud muses that all drives might be said to be death drives, meaning that each and every drive perhaps works, at least in certain respects at certain times, contrary to the pursuit of the pleasurable as balance, gratification, homeostasis, satisfaction, and so on. The many possible sadistic and masochistic implications of this side of the libidinal economy are not difficult to imagine.