Every two years, on alternating sides of the Atlantic, an International Meeting brings together the members of the IF and the School around a theme decided upon at the previous Rendez-vous.
Before each Rendez-vous, some preparatory works are sent out on the members’ distribution list and published on the site. The contributions presented during the RV are published electronically in the Revue Héterité.
Each Rendez-vous is an opportunity for brining together the assemblies of the IF and the School, with the goal of adapting our orientation and function on the basis of our acquired experience and evolving circumstances.
The Paradoxes of Desire
It’s a known fact: desire is not so easily satisfied. Observation shows us the twists and turns in pursuit of an object that fades the instant that it is grasped. But why so much fuss for a simple matter of pleasure?
Freud recognized in the tragedy of Oedipus the obstacle to the complete satisfaction of desire: the hope for love that takes hold of an immature organism. Culture with its interdictions gives symbolic import to this first impossibility. Thus desires, for which objects are fixed from infancy and barely accord with each other, find their regulation in the Law. It de-realizes these objects and through its permanence perpetuates desire in its indestructibility, until the dream, the height of evanescence, realises it.
Lacan brought this indestructibility to the law of the signifier and showed the determining place of language in the constitution of desire, displacing the paradox of an object that loses its value as soon as it is possessed with that of a desire incompatible with the word that supports it.
Side by side with the failures of desire, are the successes that must be recognized. Rarely do they take on the allure of a performance and very often slip into the suffering of the symptom, a paradoxical satisfaction. It is at this level that psychoanalysis can intervene in order to free-up pleasure in love and work, the fields that Freud identified. Psychoanalysis enables a subject to discover that he is the director of a life, his life, and that his fear of being only a puppet confuses things. Indeed, it is never one univocal interpretation of a text, its meaning coming from the fantasy.
Lacan did not deliberately mention the author as the ideal horizon of a psychoanalysis. However the unconscious text makes and affects the being who speaks to the extent of the interpretations that he, as a subject, has given and can give to them; this text is what the subject has that is most real and therefore most singular. Thus Lacan, after having carefully extricated the structure of desire in its link to the symbolic Other, has tempered its promotion in favour of an interrogation of jouissance.
Indeed, the symbolic and the imaginary that determine desire and its paths do not go without a real, which is not reduced to their impossible unification. Lalangue, outside the chain, reveals its presence and its causal dimension there, and leads us to reconsider what identifies a parlêtre. The Name-of- the-Father then finds a new definition, where the act of nomination makes the sign of a desire that he who receives it and accepts it can put to work.
This advance, which dissociates desire from all authorized representation, has some major consequences, as much in the experience and transmission of psychoanalysis, as in the reading of the phenomena of our times. We are still taking an inventory of the consequences of the first, particularly with the Lacanian formulation of the end of analysis by identification to the symptom. As for the second, the times have not waited for us in order to proceed to such a dissociation, currently attributed to a decline of the father, while this decline bears on the collectivizing power of the grand master signifiers which governed society up to the time of Freud. We can observe that this change does not facilitate the lives of subjects who no longer even have the resource of being opposed to these ideas, as much as they have little consistency.
What then can be the forms of desire that the modern subject must invent, with their impasses that are as much symptoms, occasionally qualified as new? The link between the real of the signifier and the imaginary of the sexuated body being stretched, even broken, the question has repercussions for the links of love, sexuality and family. In this context, how can psychoanalysts sustain their desire to be the interlocutors of the sufferings that pass before them?
I – Desire, this incarnated aporia
This expression of Lacan in “The Direction of the Treatment” indicates that desire, the effect of the signifier, is not articulated without taking into account the body and the jouissance that marks it, on the side of its lack, castration, and also on that of the remainder, the drive. The different clinical structures must find a way of organizing themselves from this relation.
II – New desires
Our times are characterized by an offer of multiple satisfactions that seem deregulated with regard to the master signifiers that were still current in Freud’s time. What is the impact of modernity on the place of desire in the subjective economy, in its link with that which takes on the mask of a mad jouissance?
III – The names of desire
With Lacan’s reconsideration of the signifier which is no longer cause of the cut with jouissance but which is in itself jouissance, desire takes on a new dimension, bound to the saying. Desire is no longer then desire for recognition, nor uniquely the desire of the Other, but takes on a singular value for the parlêtre. The course of an analysis, right up to its end, thus demands a redefinition.
IV – What is it to interpret desire?
If desire is its interpretation, this point assumes conditions that respond to those of its constitution. The psychoanalyst, through the transference, is thus inseparable from the very definition of the unconscious, and is included in the structure of desire. In order to intervene effectively, the psychoanalyst’s desire must have other co-ordinates, those that he has taken from his own analysis.