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"Marginalia": Jacques-Alain Miller’s comment on Freud’s "Constructions in Analysis" We are pleased to circulate the English translation of a very interesting text by Jacques-Alain Miller: a rigorous and inventive comment on Freud‟s 1937 paper “Constructions in Analysis”. It is the transcript of a talk he gave at the "Milanese Workshop of the EEP" in 1994; hence it has the informal style of a seminar. We have already referred to it in our NLS Congress Preparatory Seminars and in some of the articles sent on NLS-Messager. I won‟t say more in terms of an introduction, but to recommend that you read it with your pencil in hand and Freud‟s text on your lap. You'll discover snippets of phrases or passages that have hitherto escaped your notice and you‟ll hear the formulations that have at times become too familiar, in a new way. That is the art of J.-A. Miller, to take hold of what in Freud‟s work was an "appeal to Lacan" and what the shifts were that Lacan applied, thus reinventing psychoanalysis. We thank Jacques-Alain Miller for his permission to translate it. We thank Adrian Price for the quality of the translation, which was just published in the Journal of the London Society, Psychoanalytical Notebooks 22. Anne Lysy
NLS Messager 31 - 2010/2011
MARGINALIA TO ‘CONSTRUCTIONS IN ANALYSIS’ Jacques-Alain Miller
Your bait of falsehood takes this carp of truth. Hamlet, Act II, Scene I, line 63 I‟m very happy to be here in these new premises in Milan, the acquisition of which is the result of the effort you‟ve put in together over this last year. It is therefore a show of confidence in the future. So we‟re saying goodbye to the superb Borromeo convent that had been housing us till now, and we‟re carrying on our Workshop in this new location.1 I recommend to all present that you number the paragraphs of the text. There are three sections, I suggest numbering the paragraphs starting over at one with each new section. The first section has five paragraphs, the second has nine, the third six.2 So we can reference the text by giving the number of the section and the number of the paragraph within the section. As it‟s a text that is markedly shorter than „Analysis Terminable and Interminable‟, we can maybe read it more attentively, more meticulously, line by line. [There follows C. Vigano‟s paper.] Instances I haven‟t checked the instances of the word „construction‟ in Freud prior to this text. Has anyone studied this? [A. Vila refers to „A Child is Being Beaten‟.] The reference to „A Child is Being Beaten‟ is indeed a very significant one, because the text we have before us ends with a mention of repression in the primary period, Urzeit. One has recourse to construction when one is aiming at a point in the unconscious that does not appear again. „Construction‟ is the word with which Freud designates the analyst‟s relationship with what remains repressed, with what analytic work does not manage to restore. In a first sense, „construction‟ designates the analyst‟s archaeological method, in a second sense, the word designates the analyst‟s relationship with what was primarily repressed. In „A Child is Being Beaten‟, the second phase of the fantasy can never be relived or recovered by the patient. It is the object of a construction. Perhaps a more exhaustive search for the use of the term „construction‟ in Freud prior to the present 1937 text will be required. Contradiction There exists, if you will, a contradiction in the text, but one that can be explained by its internal dialectical movement. Indeed, in paragraph four3 of the first section, Freud insists on the fact that everything is there, „everything essential‟ is there. Unlike the archaeological object, in the
This text groups together the contributions presented during the Milanese Workshop of the European School of Psychoanalysis on 26-7 February 1994. The French text was transcribed by J.L. Gault. The notes have been established by the translator. 2 [TN, The most recently published translation, by Alan Bance, cuts the fifth paragraph of the first section in two, giving the opening section six paragraphs; the sixth paragraph of section two is likewise cut in two, giving the middle section ten paragraphs; whilst the fourth paragraph of the third section is sliced in two, giving the final section seven paragraphs. See „Constructions in Analysis‟, in Wild Analysis, Penguin Classics, 2002, pp. 209-22.] 3 Ibid., [TN, paragraph five in the Bance translation.] p. 214.
he guided himself with the first texts and not the late ones. step by step. „psychological object‟ in the Bance translation. it‟s like the discovery of psychoanalysis. Try as one might. Construction is like an intermediary entity mid-way between interpretation and theory. with the analyst‟s themselves. it was the intoxication of interpretation. The word autodifeso is maybe a bit strong. At the same time there are some astonishing clinical insights. it‟s an act of self-defence. the discovery of the uncharted territory of the unconscious. but indeed. a pro domo defence speech. on the contrary: „Often enough it fails to lead the patient to recall what has been repressed. In this backward glance that Freud is casting. Freud’s Backward Glance What are we scrutinising in these late texts of Freud‟s? They hold a particular fascination for me. Freud replies in minute detail. When Lacan started to re-read Freud. everything is there. 3 .2010/2011 „psychical object‟ as he puts it4. This text was apparently written to answer the opponent who says: „You make it so that you‟re always right‟. like at the end of the text where one paragraph is dedicated to the treatment of psychosis. In this regard he even speaks about the extraordinary privilege of the analyst‟s work compared to the archaeologist‟s. translated into French as justification5. Freud discretely reproaches his pupils with not speaking about construction. The German word is Rechtfertigung. but ultimately. [TN. There is no intoxication of construction. It‟s the discovery of the psychoanalyst‟s implication in psychoanalysis. Here we‟re at the other end. here in this text. and then at the end he says: „All in all. to say. acknowledged. it is starting to exist. and there‟s a more discreet debate in the background. and the way they are putting the Freudian invention into practice. This text fits in with the series of texts where Freud 4 5 Ibid. there‟s a difficulty that‟s hard to locate. There is a kind of straightforwardness that makes the whole field of experience quiver and resonate. but at the same time there is a kind of ultimate elegance that goes well beyond the debate with the opponent. Freud is looking back at what he has accomplished. Psychoanalysis is starting to be modified by psychoanalysis. „justification‟ in the Bance translation. He has taken the objection very seriously. and even put it into a matheme. and is being modified by this very launch. In his style there‟s something that is being stripped back. The Psychopathology of Everyday Life. and even though everything is there. and also a complexity. It‟s slow. this high vantage point. not everything can come to be remembered. and maybe we‟ll manage to locate it in scrutinising this text.] p.] Ibid. he is putting psychoanalysis into perspective. 211. something remains closed off. but a veiled one. it so happens that not everything can come back. of psychoanalysis. which is perhaps more strictly exact.NLS Messager 31 . paragraph 1. It‟s no longer the discovery of the unconscious. The Italian text runs: Nel corso di questa nostra autodifese. At the time of Freud‟s first gallop. with the texts of discovery: The Interpretation of Dreams. For instance. has now been launched into the world. it‟s the time of construction.. [TN. our constructions are like delusions‟. a clear debate with the professor who says: „You make it so that you always win‟. it is spreading. Psychoanalysis exists. The Joke and its Relation to the Unconscious. But the text‟s dialectical movement leads him. and which was his prerogative. And therefore the text takes on the aspect of a kind of defence of psychoanalysis. There is this straightforwardness. It‟s no longer the big heroic gallop of the early texts. Everything looks straightforward. in section III. Synopsis How could the three sections of this text be shared out? In the first section. the opponent arrives on the scene. The practice invented by Freud.‟ This is where the whole business of the primary repressed appears. Now. There is an apparent debate.. paragraph 1.
Freud once again comes up against the problem the opponent posed him. and projects his position onto the analytic situation. he enters into a debate. Indeed. Troy does not get up to say: „No. there is „yes‟. 4 . his action. In the second section. As an aside. „Constructions in Analysis‟ likewise begins with the opponent getting up on the stage. The first part is dedicated to the analyst‟s work. Popper‟s whole argument is summed up in the first two sentences of this text: the psychoanalyst makes it so that his words are unfalsifiable. The major example is the text on lay analysis. The title of this third section could be: the delusion as the patient‟s construction. This is barely indicated. It‟s only the second section that introduces the communication of the construction to the analysand. and definitively opened up the path to Lacan‟s influence. what he does. but above all it is that the archaeological object does not speak. The analyst works at construction. He stands before Freud and tells him: „You make it so that you‟re always right‟. And this is also the value of the comparison with archaeology which of course has always been one of Freud‟s passions. what he says. The third section constitutes a clinic of the return of the repressed: how the repressed comes back in memory. Vigano highlighted the question‟s relationship with psychoanalysis‟s falsifiability. the man who demanded that analysis go quickly. the analyst stands at the centre. What elements does the opponent use to set out his problem? His intervention is a projection of his own position. in particular the American ones. But clearly this has a nether side. What does Freud do faced with this? He makes the patient disappear. In the whole of the first section.‟ In other words. it does not say: „I disagree‟. which defends the possibility of non-doctors practicing analysis. perhaps the analytic construction is a methodical construction. this is something his pupils were quick to refuse. In his paper. the first section presents the analyst all on his own grappling with the givens of the experience. Calling the text „Truth in Psychoanalysis‟ might have had more appeal for us. It‟s a very subtle manoeuvre on Freud‟s part. „I agree‟ or „I disagree‟.‟ Freud takes the thing seriously and asks himself: „What is truth in psychoanalysis?‟ The word „construction‟ is a bit heavy. in so far as this work differs from the analysand‟s work. because the „hurried man‟ came centre stage. Freud makes use of the other guy‟s words: „You make it so that you‟re always right. I exist three layers further down. there is no analysand. The consequence of this has marked the entire International Psycho-analytic Association. There is the analyst‟s work faced with the „psychical object‟. which is the construction as the analyst‟s delusion. He examines the different kinds of response the patient can give when the analyst communicates a certain type of statement that Freud calls „construction‟. but it‟s not the most interesting case. Freud opens a much more extensive chapter. In this text. The hardest thing to do is to defend psychoanalysis from psychoanalysts. there is „no‟. we also had this „reply to an objection‟ aspect. and as a solitary work. The first section is construction as the analyst‟s work. And: how it can come back in delusion. section two with communicating the construction and the patient‟s responses. The opponent was focussed on the „yes‟ or „no‟. But also: how it can come back in hallucination. In „Analysis Terminable…‟. the analyst‟s action.2010/2011 replies to an opponent to defend psychoanalysis. I would say that section one deals with construction as the work of the analyst. enters into a debate with the analyst. what Freud calls somewhere die Leistung. and the other guy. Let‟s come back to distributing the three sections of the text. his work. true or false. section three opens another perspective. but there are also a heap of other things.NLS Messager 31 . and maybe Vila will talk about that a little. in which amongst other things there is the „yes‟ and the „no‟. the patient. And amongst these reactions. as if the analytic situation were: the analyst says something. The delusion is a pathological construction. or Arbeit.
„preparatory work‟6. Furthermore. „From this raw material – so to speak – we have to produce what we want. It‟s something else. Vigano mentioned this. p. Why? Because what interests him is the repressed. That is the raw material of the analyst‟s work. fragments of memories in dreams. What‟s in question is the handling of knowledge in the analytic experience. 214. Bits and bobs. I‟m saying it in an abrupt way. I might be able to go further into the detail of these three sections without encroaching on the commentary that is going to be given. the real debate of the text is not completeness or incompleteness.NLS Messager 31 . and signs.. Paragraph five underlines the differences with archaeology. So. Then in paragraph four comes the analogy with archaeology. as an argument that is pursued over three quarters of an hour. Freud‟s point of view is utterly different: only bits occur. The heart of the difficulty that‟s preoccupying Freud is the inconsistence of truth. as the Italian edition points out in a note.‟ The second paragraph presents therefore the raw material of the work as being essentially fragmentary. One could take it as a whole. Section I The first paragraph of the text introduces the opponent. such as it can be reconstituted. you make a whole. The last word of the first section is Vorarbeit. there is a very amusing description of what the raw material of the analyst‟s work is. when he states that constructions are not to be communicated. The opponent appears on the scene. Freud himself questions the knowledge content of the construction. I‟ll leave the precise commentary to Vila who‟s going to do that 6 Ibid. The very notion of construction appears linked to the notion of completeness. ideas that go through the patient‟s mind. the text starts off from a phenomenon of inconsistence. but they indicate all the same what Freud‟s step is. Freud displaces the question by showing the solitary analyst grappling with the raw material. in the third paragraph the analyst‟s work is clarified: from the collection of fragments. paragraphs two and three answer each other. One could therefore discuss at length the completeness or incompleteness of the constructions. In the second paragraph.2010/2011 The titles I‟m putting forward could be discussed. which is hard to locate. 5 . Einfalle. He invents a coherence to these bits. Lacan is on the very same line as Freud‟s reflection. they could be fine-tuned. The analyst constructs for himself. it‟s much rather inconsistence and consistence. One could take the analytic session as something other than a fragment. like a narrative that aims at completeness. allusions. You have to read this text asking yourself: for Freud. But to state it in a short-circuit. It‟s made up of bits and pieces: dream fragments. Repression means that the unconscious only comes along piecemeal. Let‟s come back to the unfolding of the text. This is indeed what makes this text related to the „Negation‟ paper. what is operative? It‟s not the exactitude of the knowledge. The construction is only a piece of preparatory work. because whether the patient says yes or no. That‟s the debate of the text. clues of repetition phenomena that inhabit the patient. What appears thereof comes along in the shape of fragments. in fragments. because the second phase is to communicate it to the patient. Freud ends his first section with the preparatory work so as to introduce the second section in which he examines how it is communicated to the patient. it‟s not as serious as all that. Here fragments. there a whole. This could be taken as cynical: he goes so far as to say that if what we say as analysts is not true. The fragmentariness of the unconscious calls for construction. It‟s preparatory work. Here a practical question is raised which is still pertinent today: to what extent are constructions to be communicated to the patient? In spite of appearances. it comes down to the same thing. In a certain way.
we have the idea of a synchronic construction: from the remains. during the work on constructions. He is up against an object that cannot be taken head on. in the fifth he examines the „no‟. 219. In the fourth he examines the „yes‟. Section III Let‟s briefly sum up the third section. he states he is going to examine the „yes‟ and „no‟. p. we find intersubjectivity. we have the diachronic dimension. fourth and fifth paragraphs. etc. This is how this second section needs to be studied: the analyst and the analysand grappling with the truth of the unconscious. He‟s there to debate in the scholastic sense. like Mussolini. 215. is not what counts. When the first section concludes. One cannot speak the truth. you‟re wrong. one can only half-say it. Freud discusses the „yes‟ and „no‟. say something false? What guarantee do we have? The word „guarantee‟ is in the text: „What guarantee [do] we have. 9 Ibid. the whole university discourse gets up on stage. the analyst. Freud is already demonstrating this. All this development is made to show – paragraph 6 – that it‟s unimportant. The first paragraph is the introduction. As Vigano reminded us.‟ 10 Here the comparison with archaeology is no longer valid.‟. there‟s a jury to judge it. The term „psychical object‟ that crops up in this fifth paragraph 7 is necessary because it translates the solitary work of the analyst. 6 . and in a certain sense.. „Everything will become clear in the course of events.] 8 Ibid. we have the problem of error. and if you say „no‟. In the second paragraph. it‟s rather that. If you say „yes‟. One can only say the right thing about the unconscious in falling off to one side. Here. What happens if we say something false? If we. What counts is what lies off to one side. whatever the patient says. to the extent that the construction is communicated to the analysand. we‟re dealing with something else entirely. That doesn‟t mean that the analyst is always right. In the third. of guarantee. This is what Lacan would later call the mi-dire. the direct „yes‟. contrary to what the opponent thinks. p. 218. that we are not going wrong?‟8 So. „No. Section II In the second section. that what‟s important always comes indirectly. to the second which introduces a diachronic perspective. Something that‟s so different it can‟t even be pointed at with your finger. it‟s not right. It‟s not. it‟s not right either. When you write a thesis. in the second section. this second section ends with a sentence from Nestroy.e.. An astonishing principle is set out in the first paragraph: 7 [TN. and this is why he begins the text with a run-in with the professor who comes along saying. he‟s wrong. p. the „that‟s not true. because this relation is itself a crooked one. In the third paragraph. that‟s not right‟. That‟s why the professor is there. It means that the analysand is always wrong in his relation to the unconscious. 10 Ibid. the half-saying. i. the direct „no‟. It seems to me that the lynchpin of this section is the term „indirect‟9 Everything that comes directly. we draw up the plans of the house as it must have been at the start.. and all in great detail. whether he says „yes‟ or says „no‟. One cannot say the right thing about the unconscious in a direct way.NLS Messager 31 . We are dealing with the response to the psychical object. We go from the first section where the perspective is synchronic.. paragraph six in the Bance translation (see footnote 2) where it is translated as „psychological object‟ (see footnote 4).2010/2011 for us later. in a roundabout way. in the sense of sic et non. In psychoanalysis. that the analyst is always right whatever the patient says. of the guarantee of truth. Freud tackles the problem of error.
. Lacan will be very gentle when he says „truth has the structure of fiction‟12. the Freudian principle identifies memory with construction. that truth manifests itself in the form of delusion. „exert an extraordinary influence‟ over mankind due to their affinity with the repressed truth. Le seminaire. the conviction in the truth of the construction is equivalent to the memory. Freud is saying that „truth has the structure of delusion‟. which covers much of the same ground. Lacan. hallucination may indeed be that – a return of the repressed. in a certain sense. „The Subversion of the Subject and the Dialectic of Desire‟. but on the contrary. This is really wonderful. when it surges up. J. Erinnerung. 222. The text goes from an analogy between psychoanalysis and archaeology to an analogy between psychoanalysis and psychosis. New York. This matheme will be familiar to the English language reader from Miller‟s Seminar delivered five months later in Paris on 17 July 1994. Published in English translation as „Towards the Ninth International Encounter of the Freudian Field‟ in Analysis. that there is at least a close affinity between truth and delusion. that truth has much greater affinity with delusion. The Ersatz is used in the same way as the original. “If these delusions none the less exert an extraordinary influence over people. D‟un Autre à l‟autre. 7 . livre XVI.‟ & Lacan. which. and therapeutically this achieves the same result as regaining a memory. in Écrits. Norton. Seuil. 348.. Here we have in one sentence the critique of both religion and political ideologies as being a host of delusions inaccessible to logical criticism. Perhaps the repressed memory can only come back in a hallucinatory and delusional form. 2006. Paris. And delusion might also be that.2010/2011 In lieu of that. Freud observes that communicating the construction can provoke memories in the patient with an almost hallucinatory precision. 684: „[…] it is from Speech that Truth receives the mark that instates it in a fictional structure. 2006. The construction he presented to us at the beginning of the text as a method equivalent to the scientific method of archaeology turns out to be related instead to the psychotic‟s delusion. I‟ll write it up here as a matheme:11 E = EWK It‟s a principle that looks Einsteinian.] 12 Cf. a return of the repressed.”13 There we have it for the synopsis of the text. 13 Op. Just as E = MC2 identifies energy with matter. is to recover memories. cit. and he ends by indicating that between delusion and construction there is also affinity. never mind: conviction in the truth of the construction has the same effect as a memory regained. The whole goal of psychoanalysis according to Freud. Issue 6. p. but one doesn‟t get the impression that for him the truth of the repressed memory is of the order of exactitude. „Constructions in Analysis‟. Freud. J. 14-31. through the correct conduct of the analysis we succeed in firmly convincing him of the truth of the construction. S. and maybe identity. It‟s nothing next to the detail. In the fourth paragraph Freud gives some indications on the treatment of psychosis.NLS Messager 31 . p. p. The First Complete Edition in English. This could be written down as a major principle of analysis: Überzeugung von der Wahrheit der Konstruktion.. But if one cannot manage to recover them. They owe their strength to their measure of historical truth that they have extracted from repression of forgotten past ages. 11 [TN. The very end gives an astonishing insight into the „delusions of humanity‟. even though they contradict reality. pp. This means: perhaps truth. It‟s not said explicitly by Freud. because in the end.. according to the second paragraph of the first section. In the second paragraph. 1995. always entails a certain margin of delusion. It‟s the fight of the Enlightenment thinkers. In the third paragraph. investigation leads to the same conclusion as in the case of the single individual.
it‟s the fact that in analysis. 16 Ibid. p. It‟s what always remains out of step between the whole and the bits.2010/2011 Recht and Richtig I‟ll point out two terms that crop up all the time in the text: Recht and richtig. 8 . then it‟s that – One could imagine that the construction evaporates when one has retrieved the whole of the unconscious. 214 [Translation modified]. There we have it all. but he also says that over time one only communicates fragments of construction to the patient. and in an erratic fashion. it‟s written under repression. nothing gets created‟ – concerning the unconscious. These terms run through the whole German text. if one has the right to say it or if one doesn‟t have the right to say it. This means that after all is said and done. Recht means „right‟ in English. is „right‟ or not.‟15 „As is well known‟ – where do we know this from? This amounts above all to saying: in the unconscious. nothing is lost. and droit in French. This bar is never completely lifted. This is why Lacan pinpoints the analyst‟s position with the petit a. Quite simply. I‟ll quote the astonishing sentence from the first part of paragraph five in the first section: „As is well known. The first virtue of the analyst‟s speech is the push-to-speak. all that is known. „Everything essential is preserved‟ 16. a hard drive. p. that the truncated column doesn‟t say how it was when it was complete. It‟s noteworthy that this article ends on primary repression. a subject struck with the bar of repression. These terms are woven into the text. Freud is faced with the evidence that there‟s always a remainder. A complete construction may well be ideal. the barred Other. 211 (see footnote 5). [There follows A. as in „Analysis Terminable and Interminable‟. un like archaeology. it‟s all there. Can one really manage to retrieve completely this lost part? In „Constructions in Analysis‟. which serve above all to re-launch association. This is the Einsteinian principle of analysis. a simulacrum of the completeness of the unconscious. Vila‟s paper. At the end of the first paragraph. it is even what he called the signifier of the Autre barré. What does all that lead to? To a reflection on – what is truth? 14 15 Ibid. says Freud. Here. Each time.. And only little bits of it appear. Freud is saying that nothing gets lost. The analyst is the one who makes the subject speak as a divided subject. in so far as petit a has an effect of division on the analysand-subject. we have Rechtfertigung. It‟s the subject supposed to know. it‟s a memory. One has to proceed as if the signifier of the construction had the same value as the analysand‟s memory. the supposition that everything remains written and is never effaced. but one that‟s under repression. we have reason to doubt whether any psychical formation ever suffers really complete destruction.NLS Messager 31 . the question is one of knowing whether what has been said is „just‟ or not. we have bits. If there‟s something that makes construction necessary. Ibid. The classic adage runs: „Nothing gets lost.. This is why Lacan writes capital A with a bar. one has to proceed as if the construction has the same value as memory. and then a little further down it‟s a question of Richtigkeit. and richtig means „just‟ in the sense of justice as in justness.] and its Pathos What Freud calls analysis‟s extraordinary privilege compared to archaeology is not that the patient then replies that the Vénus de Milo doesn‟t answer. To build the construction is to make a simulacrum of this whole from the bits. the justness of the construction. „justification‟14. The unconscious revolves.
one has to speak in terms of the patient‟s conviction. If what makes the patient ill is the memory qua repressed. 221 [Translation modified]. The E=UWK principle is almost no longer thinkable in Freud. There was once a repression. and the door is open to suggestio n. to deny it. 9 . Lacan‟s point of departure in „Function and Field of Speech and Language‟ is to consider that the construction is made by the analysand. Freud acknowledges this himself: „Under what circumstances this occurs and how it is possible for an apparently incomplete substitution to have this full effect. Analytic work is to obtain the appropriate form of consent. This is what makes for the text‟s character of pathos. an epic. if what heals the patient is the acknowledgement of the repressed. 219.‟ 19 Ibid. p. le indagini future daranno una risposta. It is not simply to say „yes‟. One suffers from what one has placed under the bar. on the part of the subject. One could almost say that where the repressed holds firm. how does one heal? By lifting the repression. p. In this text. He widens the scope of his formula that the patient suffers from memories.. The idea of a completely healthy unconscious is not vouched for in analytic experience. In the end. It is the consent of Being. Thus the whole text bears on the question of knowing what the true consent is. In the very conduct of the analysis.. Truth is not exactitude. one has to start off from the question „what makes one ill?‟ This is the question Freud treats in this text. but it is structured like a fiction. „In this sense. The ideal of completeness is obsolete. things don‟t get structured in the way Freud had reckoned. which highlights a connexion between the approach to the repressed and the approach to anxiety. Ibid. one can occasionally see a truth emerge that causes anxiety. This „research‟ that Freud calls for. Can one say that there the subject lives in such proximity to the repressed that he is constantly anxious? In subjects who don‟t have this special affinity with anxiety. It isn‟t a delusion either. it would be appropriate to apply to delusion something I once said about hysteria: that the patient suffers from his memories. making the bits and pieces into a narrative. that he doesn‟t know what it is. that he has never practised suggestion on any of his patients. one perceives an appeal to another regime of analysis. 216: „[…] I can say that such an abuse of “suggestion” has never once occurred t hroughout my career. this is the historical dimension of repression.‟17 The final thesis widens the scope to include psychosis within the thesis Freud had put forward on neurosis based on hysteria. If the construction stays on the side of the analyst. and sometimes even a permanent one. It really is an appeal to Lacan. At the same time Freud says that this isn‟t suggestion. and the penultimate paragraph of the third section. consent to the unconscious as repressed. The Freudian equivalence is only thinkable within the element of truth.NLS Messager 31 .. The construction falls more to the analysand than to the analyst. Wahrheit. and today the subject is saying „no‟. which Freud brings into relation with Verdrängung. This text is already an appeal to Lacan. „future research shall give a response‟. To solve the question „what heals?‟. I agree that importance should be given to the fourth paragraph of the third section. The analysis is like the construction of a narrative. within Freud‟s coordinates. It‟s undoubtedly to be distinguished from anxiet y hysteria where anxiety constitutes a recurrent state of the subject. Verdrägnung. what is to be done when one cannot make the whole of the repressed come back? This is where the Ersatz comes in. Lacan is the one who will carry it through. It‟s not an exaggeration to say that this steps outside Freud‟s conception. This is Verleugnung. So. which is closely related to „Analysis Terminable…‟. It is to be seen off to one side. is a topic for future research‟ 19 . Cf. both in the second paragraph of the first section.2010/2011 On anxiety.18 This text is the pathos of S of barred capital A. p. his reaction in the face of the truth is to say „no‟. the only thing left is to believe the analyst. The very course of the analysis is a construction on the part of the analysand. The important term in this section is Verleugnung. 17 18 Ibid.
and that‟s why it‟s highly advisable to do so. In taking up Freud‟s text in detail we‟re going to be seeing this problematic peeping through the finish of some sentences. At the same time. On the contrary. By virtue of this. Lacan refers very little to construction as such. You tell me “no”. without structuring the case. like when he asks that the analyst be convinced of the existence of the unconscious. the ego doesn‟t have all that at its disposal. There is no symmetry between construction and interpretation. Interpretation and construction look to be homogenous. We‟re not dealing with someone for whom the patient‟s direct and immediate assent is sufficient. One needs to take into account the fact that Freud considers the conviction obtained in the patient. Let‟s ask ourselves what this conviction can be when someone as demanding as Freud employs this term.NLS Messager 31 . there‟s no doubt about it. and that‟s already something when they leave it up to him because many stop him. and whether we have it. the unconscious remembers everything. the interpretation looks like a little construction. Construction and Interpretation.2010/2011 Let‟s come back to the little discussion we had at the start on the complete and the incomplete. or it‟s the analytic device itself that‟s involved. In Lacan. it‟s a little pill of knowledge. The construction Lacan speaks about is the construction of the fantasy. which is accomplished through the effect of the analytic operation. the text questions any direct statement concerning the unconscious. Do I have faith? Can I have faith like one has an object? Does having faith mean that one doesn‟t pose the question of knowing whether one has faith? Freud doesn‟t ask for faith in the unconscious. There‟s a whole classical problematic of „having faith‟.‟ So. Knowledge and Truth I agree that Lacan respects the Freudian binary: construction/interpretation. if something like supervision [contrôle] exists. the assent he can give to the analyst‟s constructions. It‟s not impossible to conduct an analysis without doing so. construction and interpretation stand in opposition like knowledge and truth. he takes little interest in it because in his work it‟s called „structure‟. Moreover. but the fact that Freud denies it needs to be taken into account. precisely in this text. on this basis. It‟s not advisable to direct an analytic treatment without making a construction. whilst the interpretation has something of the oracle. it‟s above all the supervision of the analyst‟s constructions. that doesn‟t have any value either. the interpretation is the small. But what‟s advisable is to make a construction. Many analysts leave it up to the patient. that‟s our supposition. This may be disputed. „Constructions in Analysis‟ helps one grasp the concept behind Lacan‟s „construction of the fundamental fantasy‟. how does the subject play his part in relation to the unconscious qua subject supposed to know? This question runs through the text. though for Lacan interpretation and construction are two very different modes. It still remains that in Freud. a fragment of construction. that has no value. he gives a sustained criticism of the pati ent‟s „yes‟. Either the construction is an elaboration that falls to the patient. Moreover. and try to find out what we understand by this conviction. to have nothing to do with suggestion. whereas the construction is all the knowledge. and then to modify it according to the elements that crop up. It‟s highly advisable because it‟s not absolutely necessary. Therefore one has to wonder what Freud is aiming at when he speaks about the patient‟s conviction. The Lacanian analyst has to construct. The memories are there. Let‟s leave Freud be. This is what he explains at the start of the second section: the construction is the large. The interpretation is like an element of construction. and he doesn‟t ask for faith in the analyst‟s construction either. We‟re dealing with someone who says: „You answer me “yes”. The construction is an elaboration of knowledge. what then is conviction in the existence of the unconscious? 10 .
and which goes beyond what he has at his disposal. Op. To be Analyst of the School. The very example Freud takes here.. „The Function and Field…‟. rather than opening up the field of division phenomena. we never bring the subject to the pure „it‟s written‟ of memory. This prevents one 20 21 Ibid. This is the lesson of The Wolf Man. On the other hand. Neue Bedeutung One can identify the unconscious with the subject of the unconscious. it means that in his speech there‟s something that‟s written. pp. the „it‟s written‟ lies in speech itself. Is that equivalent to conviction in the existence of the unconscious? No it isn‟t. That‟s what makes for equivocation. That doesn‟t stop them from sometimes orienting themselves in the experience. That has plugging effects on the side of the patient.NLS Messager 31 . It‟s from the future that a fact from the past gets its meaning. and the closer one comes to truth. many interpretations lean on the relationship between speech and writing. the difference i s almost unlocatable. The problematic of assent rests on the entirety of the subject in the confession of what he believes or what he thinks. It‟s rather a conviction that is in itself unconscious. if only because we take into account the function of retroaction. where everything is already written.. believes in the existence of the unconscious? With what is called the Pass. but the signification. There is no doubt a chronological dimension.21 What is historical truth? It‟s not the exactitude of what took place. on the function the signifiers of the memory will take up.e. You say „no‟. it says „yes‟. above all they have an idea of the jouissance in speech. cit. 218. Where is the „it‟s written‟ in analysis? If you don‟t take the unconscious as the subject of the unconscious. On the contrary. It‟s not the profession of faith in the unconscious. i. and this is what the first section of the Rome Report sets out. but in any case. to the primary repressed. the more the difference between memory and construction tends to vanish.. We cannot feed a chronological conception of historical truth. 11 . and somewhere in your reply. following Freud‟s instructions. we find the „it‟s written‟ in speech. the equivocation of Jauner. but it says „yes‟. See also The Psychopathology of Everyday Life. p. How does one know if someone who is an analyst. It‟s a wholly different logic. What proves conviction is fundamentally the response that lies off to one side. Is that enough? It could be discussed. to the fact that the subject always says more than he knows. And precisely. That‟s the least of it. the truth of what took place at a point in the past depends on a fact that belongs to its future. because everything will depend on the meaning he will give to the so-called memories. whereas here the problematic of confession is founded on the contrary on a divided subject. 211-66.. and it‟s a matter of getting to read what‟s already written. it‟s not an act of faith. It‟s phenomena of division that produce conviction in analysis. that the subject asks only to enjoy his speech in analysis. What is really convincing is when you say „no‟. or who wants to be one. you get to glimpse something of that. For example. J. one is even well-advised to do so. it‟s not enough to simply believe in the existence of the unconscious. it‟s the reorganisation of what took place through the perspective of what will be. if one takes the unconscious as a subject.2010/2011 There are elements of a response in Freud.20 I‟ve just given you something important there. In practice. than he reckons he knows. What someone relates of their analysis can give an idea of how the analysis produced a certain sensitivity in him to division phenomena. even if it‟s not entirely explicit. What Freud calls conviction in the existence of the unconscious is to have repeatedly noted subjective division. then you‟re taking it as a memory. only becomes patent in writing itself. there‟s a limit: between memory and construction. Lacan. There are people who practice analysis and who are absolutely not convinced of the existence of the unconscious. in so far as that means adjusting oneself to the subject‟s division. Thus.
Sometimes this is done in terms of stages. it‟s a trauma. That‟s why Lacan makes the unconscious qua memory into what he calls the subject supposed to know. Someone recently made a whole typology of universal history in terms of older and younger siblings. Ther e has been an event. „Constructions in Analysis‟. one can say indeed that the matheme of the analytic discourse is one of Lacan‟s 22 23 Op. What‟s difficult is to have a concept of the unconscious that would be compatible with the speech act. a neue Bedeutung. In a text that counted a great deal for Lacan. with the feeling that Freud is being turned into „retroanalysis‟. a semantic effect that wears off with the outcome of analysis. It appears that to limit the mother-child relation. Lévi-Strauss said: „The unconscious is 23 empty‟ . is Mathemes in Analysis. as he says. When Lacan writes the barred subject. to the speech act. Where Freud spoke of conviction in the existence of the unconscious. Your feelings for your mother became ambivalent. the repetition of affects. it‟s very curious. cit.. But that‟s not what Freud is. All that changes a great deal the idea one can have of conviction in the existence of the unconscious. 1972. this seems to concern the construction of the fantasy: we see the subject‟s constant modes of response and jouissance being isolated. London. and it restores its value to speech. p. but it‟s also an effect of the operation. 12 . Freud. S.. What ultimately does one believe in? The knot of conviction is centred on the speech act. 215 [Translation modified]. Lacan speaks of the fall of the subject supposed to know. Your mother left you for a while. Matheme and Delusion It is accurate to say that the most developed way of making case constructions in Lacan‟s orientation is the matheme. Structural Anthropology. e suo padre acuisto per lei un nuovo significato. your father acquired a new signification for you. and with him a serious disappointment. It is without doubt different to think of the unconscious as being empty and to think of it as being full. the repetition of the subject‟s reactions. he is effectively writing the unconscious as empty. Lévi-Strauss. there‟s a constant mode of response. To me. The younger sibling is the one who introduces the Name-of-the-Father.22 It‟s very amusing. There‟s an „it‟s written‟ for each subject. and then the second child arrives.. 203. and it stops the unconscious being conceived of as the static reserve of a certain quantity of content. and on the „it‟s written‟ in speech. the arrival of the second child. but this is not the content of the unconscious. C. An example is never completely chanced upon.2010/2011 from reducing the unconscious to a simple memory where everything is already there. at the end of the first paragraph of the second section: Until your nth year you saw yourself as the sole and undisputed proprietor of your mother. I don‟t see why analysts shouldn‟t use mathemes to structure the cases they have in analysis. and at that moment the father takes on a new signification. Freud speaks about repetition. This stops history in Freud‟s sense being reduced to development. Penguin. The rule appears. a second child is needed. The „it‟s written‟ is also the power of repetition. The child pushes the father to the back. Look at his example of construction being communicated to the person being analysed. Based on this. The subject supposed to know is the unconscious. then a second child came along. „Constructions in Analysis‟. On several occasions in this text. Vol I. which we see coming back by virtue of the transference. Construction in the Freudian sense needs to be accorded its full place in practice.NLS Messager 31 . p. except that one cannot see what would stand to be gained in communicating them to the patient. Why this one? The example of these repressed memories you only get to through the analyst‟s construction is the elder‟s child‟s trauma when the younger sibling arrives. and afterwards she never again devoted herself exclusively to you.
cit. This conforms to what Freud says: the analysand will have to ricordare it and the analyst to costruire it. Interpretation strikes one of these elements. I agree with the difference Vila underlines between narrative truth and objective truth. the question arises of scientific delusion. If that‟s your own theory. Therefore. It‟s also Freud‟s question in „Analysis Terminable…‟. Then the production of homologous material. 24 Op. Cf. We‟re very far from the discussion with the learned professor. in nature. Here. to suffer and feel in his flesh and in his soul. the two terms converge. I don‟t think we can give this structure to every construction. cross over. which gets modified.. I find it very interesting. 214 (see footnote 6). or the more he is threatened with being worse off. but I haven‟t come across it in Freud. All ricordare entails an internal costruire. The truer it is. or rather. Écrits. the whole movement of the text is – how is it that elements belonging to two such different registers are substituted one for the other? The schema of retroaction.. cit. Now. to measure up like the archaeologist. I suppose Vila is referring to what Lacan explains in „The Direction of the Treatment‟.. in the real. the worse the patient is. Therefore. and I agree too about the contrast between the creation of a new signifier and the memory that is already there. First when the analysand‟s replies come along. „yes‟. whereas I would readily give it a more restricted meaning. Your theory is giving me an idea: to say the contrary: interpretation opens up. on Freud‟s first movement which is to rectify the patient‟s subjective position so as to introduce him to the analytic discourse.. J. and the analyst has to construct. being anxious. and interlock. you make it a fundamental value. Construction is first introduced here as the analyst‟s intellectual work. Freud presents the construction as the fruit of the analyst‟s solitary work. The repressed unconscious presents itself in fragmentary form. allows for an understanding of how ricordare and costruire come to be mixed up. in an Erlebnis. Any effort to structure material is a delusion. „Constructions in Analysis‟. and it‟s in this sense that‟s it‟s preparatory work. 24 I think we have to let this moment keep its particularity. whereas construction binds up several elements. construction closes off. „What is the place of interpretation‟ in Lacan. S. „The Direction of the Treatment and The Principles of its Power‟. in the third section. it‟s always a memory that has been reorganised after the event. 495-503. The analysand has to remember. Bit by bit the thing becomes more animated. But it gives a very wide meaning to Freud‟s expression „construction is only preparatory work‟25. Remembering Versus Constructing First of all Vila structured his paper on the contrast between ricordare and costruire. one would tend rather to say: interpretation strikes a chord and construction binds. pp. It would be marvellous for ricordare and costruire to be completely different. The memory is not a raw trace. At the end. one wonders: what is hurting the analyst like that for him to have to make a construction. You give a much fuller meaning to preparatory. 13 . Various In using the word rectificare. I say no. Freud. Clearly. who thinks that everything transpires between human beings in terms of debates: I say yes.NLS Messager 31 . „no‟. 25 Op. p. In the first section. I agree with Vila about the contrast between ricordare and costruire. being unwell. because next it will have to be communicated. the most significant response in Freud‟s view still being the negative therapeutic reaction. the idea of truth in movement and which gets rectified. to relive. He wouldn‟t have been afraid to call it one of his delusions either. Do you think that‟s in Freud? You say: „Construction opens up and interpretation closes off‟. on the condition that one see how on the horizon of the text. Section II. it happens in the body: being well. untrue.2010/2011 constructions. „I never thought of that‟. We‟re leaving behind construction as an intellectual exercise. which is much more worrying than the others because it responds from the other side. true.
but also to spot what‟s new when it‟s there. one always repeats the same thing. 212. It‟s a concise theory of repression. and it‟s not funny. This research ought to have been done in the Vorarbeit of the seminar. like in French. which demands a lot of attention. because the German states Folge. 211. p. and the affective motions they give rise to.‟30 The Italian translation is more accurate than the French.‟ 27 It‟s very amusing. [„emotional impulses‟ in the Bance translation] 30 Ibid. it‟s that. the analysts straight away cover their ears saying they‟ve already heard it. It‟s true. Freud says it‟s someone for whom he‟s always had „a high regard because he treated psychoanalysis fairly at a time when most people did not feel compelled to do so. Freud means that everyone knows already. but no one drew the conclusions that had to be drawn. every analyst already knows it. one is always working on what everyone knows already. […] it takes place in two separate sites. and at the same time. What Freud considers as being repressed are certain experiences. Erlebnisse. For a moment you ask yourself why your attention was not drawn to this fundamental fact a long time ago […]. on what everyone already knows. Doubtless in 1937 they‟ve already come to the time when everyone already knows everything. One has to be attentive to the detail of what emerges. The repressed is the subject‟s living experiences and his affects.‟26 The last sentence [of the opening paragraph] is a bit flat in Italian: „Of course. In psychoanalysis. But there‟s also a work on what‟s obvious. and the work the analyst does: […] analytic work consists of two quite different parts. because if the unconscious means something. If you look at the German text. In Italian. 14 . the practising analyst will learn nothing from this justification that he did not know already. It‟s a mode of receiving work that‟s very frequent in the analytic world. This is to say that it‟s an esoteric text. it‟s already foreshadowing the subject supposed to know: every analyst is already supposed to know what Freud is going to say. 211. oddly enough. i. and precisely the clinical description Freud gives. everything happens between Recht and richtig. p. 29 Ibid.. This term Folge can be found in the title „Some 26 27 Ibid. He sets great worth on the fact that analytic work is divided into two parts. 28 Ibid..e. Ibid. We ought to find out who said that. Freud indicates how this sentence is to be taken. we understand.NLS Messager 31 . and that‟s why it‟s very hard to find anything new. each of them allocated a different task. „consequences‟.2010/2011 What makes the analyst ill with psychoanalysis itself? In what sense are we trying with analytic theory to pass off the ill that psychoanalysis itself does us? Detail We have to come back to the detail of the text. he has to add „affects‟29: one can already see the necessity of implying the object a in this business.28 There. there‟s the work the analysand does. One works on what everyone already knows. Freud treats symptoms and inhibitions as consequences of repressions. Paragraph two would need to be discussed in detail. Freud‟s clinic is a straightforward one: „We know that his present symptoms and inhibitions are the result of […] repressions.. What does it mean to be right. we lose the value of the first paragraph. p. involving two different people... The sentence „every analyst already knows‟ is part and parcel of Freud‟s implicit debate with his pupils. Just for a piece of work to look the same is not enough to disqualify it. A bit later on. and who has the right to say what? The entrance of the „well-respected researcher‟ needs to be scrutinised. When someone comes forward to bring along a piece of work. It‟s not enough for him to say „experiences‟.
Freud accentuates the fragmentary character of the unconscious. It is noteworthy that it is only of the order of Wunsch. where we have Wunsch. „Constructions in Analysis‟. This is where the word „construction‟ comes in. In this paragraph. using Jakobson to give his matheme to the Freudian concept of substitution. So what meaning is to be given to what Freud says at the beginning of the third paragraph: „What we want is a reliable image of the forgotten years of the patient‟s life‟? That goes very far. and he was gradually drawn in. i. in The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works… Vol. Hogarth Press. he has to suffer. that‟s the imaginary. Where the analysand doesn‟t remember.‟ 32 Next. cit. What happens if you can‟t manage to lift repression? Something strange comes in its place: conviction in the truth of the construction.. a „complete picture‟. Freud‟s first position in the treatment was quite exterior to the patient. The relation of consequence is a signifying. How do you heal? You lift repression. caught up in the relation. XIX . S. p. to make room for the presentation of the analyst‟s work as liaison. logical relation par excellence. and perhaps the problem of psychoanalysis.2010/2011 Psychical Consequences of the Anatomical Distinction Between the Sexes‟31. Nothing in this text.. the very accent Freud lays in pointing this out means that everyone knows. It was the position of the objective scientist. the „wish‟. You grasp why Lacan was able to re-write to such an extent Freud‟s oeuvre with the concept of metaphor. that‟s within the symbolic element. London. he has to remember.. This selection has great interest. but makes nothing of it. What corresponds to the analyst‟s Wunsch? It would be a vollständiges Bild. We know what the analysand has to do in the analysis. In this whole text you can see the relation of substitution functioning. Freud says das Gewünschte.e. 32 Op. Not simply: what does the analyst do during this time? – but what is the subjective status of the analyst in the discourse? What therefore is this position which allows for effects of this kind to be obtained? I see in these sentences of Freud‟s the first hint of that question that would occupy analysts for a long while. This translates something very precise: the inclusion of the analyst as an internal factor of analysis. 1961. what falls on your path. and nothing in „Analysis Terminable…‟ allows us to believe that Freud is really thinking of the possibility of obtaining a complete picture. How is this to be structured? The dream memories. In German. 31 Freud. The analysand has to remember what has been repressed. Lastly. the analyst has to construct. The Freudian definition of the symptom makes it a consequence of repression. what comes along. [„indications of the recurrence of emotions attached to what has been repressed‟ in the Bance translation] 15 . 212. to enjoy. „[…] here we have to remember that this analytical work consists of two quite different parts […]. And one could say that the indications of the repetition of affects concern more the real. the analyst appears to him as a problem. „indications of the repetition of affects belonging to the repressed‟ 34. „Some Psychical Consequences of the Anatomical Distinction Between the Sexes‟. by recalling. This is where Freud‟s reminder comes in: there isn‟t just the analysand. Lacan says „metaphor‟. These then are the three elements Freud singles out. The incidental ideas brought along by free association. 33 Ibid. As in „Analysis Terminable…‟. pp. there‟s the analyst too.‟ One could say – what banality! And yet. of unrealisable desire. Freud.. Where Freud says „substitution‟. Here Freud is constructing the analyst parallel to the analysand. parallel to „memory‟. and the analyst has to construct what has been repressed. S. such as it presents itself as material: „fragments of those memories in […] dreams […]. it‟s Einfälle.NLS Messager 31 . But what of the analyst during this time? A line of reflection in psychoanalysis starts off from here. „incidental ideas‟33. That‟s what the discovery of transference is. I observed that Freud is accentuating the fragmentary character of the unconscious as raw material. 241-58. „desire‟. [„thoughts that occur‟ in the Bance translation] 34 Ibid.
I‟ll content myself with pointing out the expression Freud uses concerning both the analyst and the archaeologist. Freud says that it‟s not like that. According to Lacan. In the previous section. like the archaeologist. 37 Ibid. at the end of the text. he puts not only recollection. the communication of the construction.. p. the patient produces material and again one communicates a bit of construction. We‟ll maybe see tomorrow the exact meaning that can be given to the word „reaction‟. Aufgabe. It also responds to the mysterious question: And what does the analyst do during this time? Well. the epistemological part is the eight further paragraphs. Lacan would divide things up differently: on the analysand‟s side. das Recht zur Rekonstruktion. thus all of the task lies on the analysand‟s side. authorises himself. next he goes beyond right. Now I‟m going to take the last sentence of this section: This is where our comparison of the two types of work ends. The analyst. That‟s what Focchi has called an alternating movement. the plan becomes logical. the analyst was alone. It is to reply to Freud‟s question by putting the analyst at the place of what guarantees the validity of the analytic exercise. the analysand the task. and not as a whole in one go. not the task. but let‟s say straight away that for Freud this is a response that has an affective quality. dropping the whole Recht argument so as to link it to the construction of delusion. I‟ll just point out in paragraph five the expression. But this doesn‟t stop him. The analytic act consists in symbolically authorising the analysand‟s task. one will communicate it to the patient. to reconstruct a totality. the construction appeared as a mode of linking up fragmentary elements of the material. Focchi distinguishes the clinical part from the epistemological part. and what falls to the analyst is the act. Ibid. p. 35 36 Ibid.NLS Messager 31 . the further nine paragraphs in the Bance translation. In the first section. See footnote 2] 16 . 38 [TN. the analyst constructs. for the main difference between them is that. „the right to reconstruct‟35. without being sure of its validity. the analyst will have the act. On the contrary. as if the obliteration of the elder by the younger sibling were a major example of the holes in the history. The Plan of Section II When one has found the structure.. The second half of the first paragraph presents the articulation between construction and interpretation. The example Freud gives us deserves to make us pause. The first paragraph of the second section speaks about that: how are construction and communication articulated? One could think that the construction is going to be complete. whereas for the archaeologist reconstruction is the whole aim and the end of his efforts. at work.37 One cannot interpret any old how. It is the symbolic authorisation to proceed to the analysand‟s task. Here Freud shows that the construction itself is communicated in bits. but also construction. one communicates bits of construction. das Recht. In the fourth paragraph. „the repetitions of reaction‟36. 213. Interpretation is conceived of as a brick in the construction. Now there is the construction. 214. and that when that happens. Freud is presenting an argument of legitimacy.2010/2011 Freud makes construction an activity of the analyst which corresponds to the patient‟s activity of remembering. This presents itself here in the shape of a right. Initially. The archaeologist does not communicate his results to the monuments. The clinical part is the first paragraph [of the second section]. for the analyst construction is only preparatory work. Freud uses the word „task‟. starting off from fragmentary elements. he defends the right to construct. whereas the analyst communicates the construction to the patient.38 It‟s a somewhat unequal binary.
. „La méprise du sujet supposé savoir‟42. Truth cannot be spoken on the imaginary axis. Shakespeare. So. Eventually. he lies to himself. There is a locus of authenticity and guarantee.2010/2011 What moments in this section are you calling epistemological? The first moment is the one where Freud examines the question of the inexact construction. That‟s the problem when liars analyse themselves. and what happens if it‟s false? Is it true or false according to the patient? Is it true or false according to the unconscious? According to Freud.. Seuil. „mistaken‟ in the Bance translation] p. It takes intentionality to speak the truth. the other one says „no‟. And Freud shows precisely that in analysis this is not where the essential part occurs. should the subject lie. but when the subject testifies to his surprise. this would become Lacan‟s text. it‟s on 39 40 Ibid. the sixth. seventh and eighth40 deal with the modes of indirect confirmation. 17 . Paris. Freud says unrichtig. when he makes a slip.] 41 Ibid. quoted by Freud. J. The analyst has to conduct things in such a way that. 215. four and five [of this second section] where the two interlocutors are in a dual position: one of them says „yes‟. [TN.. Scene 1. And one cannot use suggestion on it. seven. a semblable who contradicts. p. truth is spoken in getting it wrong.‟ It concerns the truth of the construction as contingent upon the response from the unconscious. who does one lie to when one lies? One lies to oneself. „La méprise du sujet supposé savoir‟. Freud says: „Now there. W. one doesn‟t have permission to lie in analysis. Thus one can see why Freud began with that curious dialogue with the researcher who says: „All that can‟t be serious. it‟s “just”. that‟s richtig.e. The quote Freud gives. „your bait of falsehood takes this carp of truth‟41. truth according to the unconscious. One can only catch hold of the truth by getting it wrong. Next. The second moment is the one where he examines the indirect modes. one says „yes‟ and the other says „yes‟. It‟s precisely in the effort to speak the truth that the impossibility of saying the whole truth can be gauged. Next. could be rendered as „Getting the Subject Supposed to Know Wrong‟]. „What guarantee do we have‟ that the construction we‟re making is true? What happens if it‟s false? In other words. and here. paragraphs six. you cannot use suggestion on him. The epistemological part can be ordered like this: three approaches to the truth of the construction. The second paragraph is the inexact construction. It‟s very hard to lie willingly for very long. i. These are effects of surprise. In all the examples Freud takes. 215. currently unavailable in English translation. in the sense that the signifier lies. 2001. the first paragraph is indeed the communication-material alternation. which can be found again in paragraphs three. the title of this text. you‟re always right.. Is it true in itself. in Autres écrits. pp. what counts is the response from the unconscious. and someone found that wonderful. paragraphs three. Act II. The analyst deals with something other than an opponent. is very Lacanian. the unconscious doesn‟t lie. 329-39 [TN. Clearly. where both parties are symmetrical. the signifier is semblance. four and five examine the question of Ja and Nein: they concern the truth of the construction according to the patient. the question bears on the truth of the construction in itself. the big Other. And in analysis. from the Polonius character in Hamlet. If you let the patient speak. when in fact he betrays himself by avowing the opposite of what he wanted to say. To speak is to lie.NLS Messager 31 . He examines the truth or falsehood of the construction in itself. For a while. but one can always trus t it. it‟s possible. which means „unjust‟ 39 . 42 Lacan. The Ja and the Nein go back and forth between a and a‟. when it‟s not with a „yes‟ or a „no‟ that the reply is given. eight and nine in the Bance translation..‟ It‟s a dialogue at the level of the imaginary. Jouissance is not semblance. Hamlet. whereas it‟s a matter of establishing communication between the subject and capital A. He found it so wonderful that it worried me. It says it off to one side. In Madrid in January I said rather rapidly that „to speak is to lie‟. [TN. See footnote 2.
there is not what Freud calls „reaction‟. 46 Ibid. „the false construction falls away as though it had never been put forward. a piece of construction followed by the production of material. things are more complex. as the antiphonal chanting of analyst and analysand. „Constructions in Analysis‟. if he gives constructions that are unrichtig. it could be thought that if the analyst chants wrongly. Should we say something unrichtig to the patient. Naturally. it represents a waste of time. In such a case. It‟s a response that comes from the unconscious.‟ By means of the Shakespeare quote.44 It could have been thought. 17]. Freud says the contrary.. beside the point. If you think of the example Freud takes. well. Lacan. given what Freud presented before. that doesn‟t have any effect on him. „really‟.43 Lie and Truth Perhaps we could examine the question of why Freud thinks the danger of suggestion is no such thing in a well-conducted analysis. it‟s the unconscious that appears a bit farabutto in all this. Clearly. Relaying a false construction is not so serious. if the analyst is always unrichtig. But he leaves aside questions about when constructions have to be communicated. p. and how we can learn this from the patient‟s responses. Since we have the alternation scheme.‟ Next he introduces the patient‟s reactions. 45 Ibid. From truth. that if it‟s unrichtig.. 18 . In French we say plaider le faux pour savoir le vrai. What it teaches us is that it does no harm if we sometimes go wrong and present the patient with an incorrect (unrichting) construction as the probable historical truth. that would end up making things difficult. It always speaks the truth. J. Freud.. it‟s a catastrophe.. If we make the construction the antecedent. Cf. p. or between truth and lie. p. but that it can even give rise to interesting material. there only follows truth. which in Italian is farabutto. i. „to plead the cause of falsehood in order to get at the truth‟.. as if here the principle were being confirmed that ex falso sequitur quodlibet. to quote Polonius. one can very well have the following situation: with the bait of a false construction. but from falsehood. truth may also ensue. A Remark In the first sentence of the second paragraph of section two. S. in Ornicar ? Issue 17/18. Freud says something very precise: not only that the inexact interpretation doesn‟t do any harm. and if somebody invariably relays mistaken constructions to the patient. cit. Here we can see what meaning this word „reaction‟ has in Freud.NLS Messager 31 . One can likewise turn things around by saying: real-lie. lesson of 10 March 1977. 218 (see note 19). When the unconscious is involved.2010/2011 the side of the real.45 What does Freud‟s confidence here rest on? It‟s a confidence in the unconscious. 44 Op. but it says it by worming its way through.‟46 Freud adds just afterwards: „in many cases you have the impression that. 215. the Jauner/Gauner example 47 . and the material the consequence. Spring 1979. insinuando. „L‟impossible à saisir‟. he will make a poor impression on him […]: but one such mistake is harmless. 47 Ibid. It‟s a considerable loosening of the antithesis between truth and error. “your bait of falsehood takes this carp of truth”. Freud indicates that he won‟t be speaking about the art of communication: „In this paper our attention is exclusively centred upon work in preparation for constructions. in 43 [TN. asking whether our constructions are true or false. le réel ment is homophonic with réellement. This is how he expresses himself: Let us lend an ear to a comforting piece of information gained from our experience of analysis. valid material is created.e. then the duo comes apart.
one can see for example that he is speaks about the negative therapeutic reaction. but can equally well derive from some other factor in the complex analytic situation. but indirect confirmation. the patient is really much worse off. 218. [TN. It is rather a matter of always trusting the kernel of truth that is there. her deepest desire. because the nightmare is the surprise that awakens. the construction. 50 Ibid. in such a way that Freud depreciates all direct confirmation. On the other hand. In rare cases the „no‟ proves to be an expression of justified rejection. the dream has to be set apart from the other reactions Freud speaks about. says Lacan.49 Depreciation of everything that amounts to direct confirmation. As such. and so on. When the construction is really just right. in the lie too. the ninth paragraph in the Bance translation.. Therefore.] p. Wahrheitskern. to the extent that it is the fulfilment of a desire. it is mendacious. it is speaking the truth. one may translate: „Yes..NLS Messager 31 . she finds the correct orientation to the other sex as approved of by society and her family. by the unconscious. to receive a child from a man was. yes. The unconscious is lying. This lies at the centre of Freud‟s demonstration: confirmation. doesn‟t suit the analyst either. what parts of the construction have to be communicated. wanting to please Freud. it is to show that ultimately. In the eighth paragraph51.‟50 Where the patient says: „I never thought of that‟..2010/2011 what way they have to be communicated. Lacan takes this up. Freud‟s preference for the indirect is striking. 217. 19 . The patient‟s „yes‟ only has any value if it‟s followed by further indirect confirmations. 48 49 Ibid. The young homosexual woman. and the hallucination. but Focchi was right to introduce it. Here the ego shows itself to be a function of misrecognition. before the emergence of her homosexuality. far more frequently it expresses a resistance that may be provoked by the content of the construction put forward. in dreams. The term „surprise‟ isn‟t in the text. 216. because it structures the whole section on the „indirect‟. The starting point is that the analyst puts forward a statement. in the lie itself. p. The unconscious speaks a different language from the ego. The Reply Off to One Side When Freud says that the unconscious lies. Therefore there is a translation that is internal to analytic practice. p. Direct confirmations are on the imaginary axis: It may turn out that you gain very few clues as to whether your guess is right or not from the direct comments of the patient after the construction has been put to him. It‟s always truer when it‟s a nightmare. Ibid. the desire to say „no‟ to the analyst. On the other hand: „It is all the more interesting that there are indirect kinds of confirmation (indirekte Arten der Bestätigung) that are completely reliable. the delusion. the „non-dupe‟ attitude. the first form of her version towards the father. Freud‟s text ends on the kernel of truth. We need to try to locate with accuracy the shift Freud brings about in relation to his starting point. because the very definition of the dream makes it a lie. does the analyst really have to do with the lie in analysis? One mustn‟t allow oneself to be taken in by the significations put forward by the dream. Therefore. See footnote 2. And Freud says that it‟s to seduce him. straight away dreams of marriage. but the attitude of wariness. This is what Lacan underscores. that they are dreams dreamt for him. 51 Ibid. etc. all the aspects of the transferential relation I mentioned. in this case you‟ve touched the unconscious. A person‟s lies reveal this kernel of truth more than all the rest. children.‟ The negation has the value of a certificate of authenticity.48 What are these other factors? One might think that it‟s the imaginary relation in analysis. It‟s that.
When there are confrontations. Therefore. in reference to this statement. What the patient says is structurally part and parcel of the material. but these two replies have no privilege. her husband is going to fall ill. as Binasco has pointed out. the analyst who has uttered this statement. The third section sets out the question of the real. then slips away. when he says: “From the foregoing it will already be clear that we are not at all inclined to ignore the signals that are given out by the patient‟s reaction when we tell him about the construction. there is indeed an idea. amongst which there is the „yes‟ and the „no‟. secondly there is Verdrängung. My second remark is that the sequence Freud is already explaining in the first section is the following: the subject has Erlebnisse. In this scheme of things. with quotations of very precise statements. and then the husband chips in on the dangers it poses for his delicate health. As there are three sections to this text. Erinnerung. He speaks about it as if it were an object. 20 . It‟s quite justified because it‟s a question of the return of the repressed in psychosis. and are even depreciated. he hasn‟t analysed the patient‟s hysteria. playing on the signifier. Therefore. it‟s a matter of being on the trace of a truth that reveals itself as it flees.. This is no scholastic joust where it would be a matter of knowing who‟s right. He‟s said to her that if she goes on like that. The entertaining character of the second section is down to its exploration of the dimension of the symbolic. Firstly there are Erlebnisse. hence the necessity of memory. in order to retrieve the re-found Erlebnisse. but that means that for him the „yes‟ and the „no‟ no longer govern the question. we have the communication of the construction and the appearance of material. the patient is in a position of metalanguage in relation to the statement of the construction. In the second section. off to one side. Freud completely changes this set-up: the „yes‟ and the „no‟ are part of the material. the repression of these Erlebnisse. a truth about which no thesis can be made. the appearance of a certain number of reactions. The professor‟s conception is one of petit a. built on the opposition between the fragment and the whole. p. Can a rule of selection be found for the examples Freud has taken in this text? Why exactly has he taken these four examples? I‟m posing the question. Examples Freud presents an extra-analytic example of indirect confirmation. It says „yes‟ just once. the structure of the question.2010/2011 and then the patient says „yes‟ or „no‟.NLS Messager 31 . or else half-says it. based on the third section. unfolds in the imaginary register. and this return happens in the real. They are merely the patient‟s „reactions‟. it always happens on the imaginary axis. whereas the unconscious speaks just once. In any case. this husband who gets his wife examined because she‟s refusing to have sex with him. This can be seen at the start of the third paragraph of section two. dominant experiences with affects to accompany them. Out of Kilter My first remark is that Binasco‟s very thorough work has given me an idea. because a thesis is delivered. We don‟t have the patient speaking about a statement.”52 Freud insists on the respect with which we treat the signals that provide us with the patient‟s reactions. the two symmetrical characters who confront one another to know who is right. and barely at all. It‟s fairly provocative. of a privilege of 52 Ibid. it is defended in a viva. as Binasco demonstrated. and then slips off. petit a‟. through the stress he laid on the category of the real. one could say that the first section. It‟s a question of finding out who is right. they are not in a position of metalanguage. Freud‟s schema is a schema of „there is no metalanguage‟. or the patient. effects of translation. There is no confrontation at this level. 216. Freud shifts the very meaning of the debate. Freud doesn‟t seem to have taken the position of analyst here.
a piece of signifier. From there. But all the same this describes something of the analytic experience. it would end up at the analysand. As Lacan speaks of the piu-di-godimento. The third section. It‟s an „extra‟ connected to this very „out of kilter‟. The soll Ich werden that Maria-Teresa brought up means that the repressed wants to exist. it‟s a signifying elaboration. The analyst‟s constructions are made right where the patient cannot manage to remember. Here there occurs the phenomenon Binasco pointed out. If the upward thrust of the unconscious. delusion is like a dream. because it lets you think that there is a communication from one unconscious to another.. It means there is equivalence between Erinnerung and construction.NLS Messager 31 . It is in this way that Lacan‟s graph includes the patient‟s discourse looping back to the locus of the Other. starting off from the phenomena of the signifier. to come back to light. 219. There‟s a spot one can no longer navigate towards directly. What the patient says is completed on the side of the analyst. has the value of the memory. one has to speak off to one side. a surplus clarity signalled by the „out of kilter‟. It states that a piece of construction can be a satisfying Ersatz of the memory. Ibid. [TN. straight down the line. This is why the first paragraph of the third section is so essential. This means that a statement. the patient is there to remember. but always off to one side of the event. which can be treated without any pathos.‟53 Here we have the crux of the matter. 53 54 Ibid. he would be the one who remembers. the memory is an elaboration. This is how Freud came to formulate that what is repressed is historical truth. p. „But what they recalled was not so much the event itself that formed the content of the construction. and this has always been Freud‟s watchword: in analysis. were to be directly expressed. The equivalence between the memory and the construction with regard to truth is decisive for opening up the path to Lacan. out of kilter. the clinamen. just as the construction is. it ends up at the analyst. the „extra-clear‟54 phenomenon. The second section has highlighted the function of the „indirect‟. the „off to one side‟. Erinnerung. also emphasises this „out of kilter‟. and this corresponds to the return of the repressed. he would obtain a production of memories. This expression mixes memory and construction. He says that hallucination is like a dream.2010/2011 reviving in the present. Wahrheit. that the repressed wants to be said. That‟s the point. Freud‟s thesis is that the repressed wants to reappear. in a certain way. as if there were a clinamen of the repressed. It‟s in speaking off to one side that one speaks rightly. To take up Lacan‟s term. One can delude oneself on this score. and seriously so. This example is an example of memory. It means that. the phenomenon of überdeutlich. here it‟s a piu-di-chiarezza. as if the return of the repressed deviated at one point onto the analyst. from a formal point of view. Historical truth is not pure development. the repressed‟s will to be said. Freud suggests we consider that both hallucination and delusion correspond to the same mechanisms. Freud doesn‟t say that the return of the repressed drifts over towards the analyst and manifests itself in the shape of a construction. that hallucination and delusion correspond to the same structure as the neurotic mechanisms? It means that at bottom of the hallucination and the delusion there is a repressed truth. He extends to psychosis a mechanism he had been restricting to neurosis. what remark does the clinical consideration of hallucination and delusion start off from? Freud has noticed that when he would communicate a construction. but it‟s indicated.. Let‟s take this scheme of the „out of kilter‟. Indeed. What does that mean. nor is it the straightforward event. My third remark is that the text develops in the following way.] 21 . This is the crux of his clinical demonstration. „unusually clear‟ in the Bance translation. like limbo wants to be incarnate. But as it‟s out of kilter. but details closely related to this content […]. But the repressed only comes back at the cost of being out of kilter. It‟s very dangerous to say that. The conclusion of „Constructions in Analysis‟ is that ultimately what is repressed is truth.
hallucination and delusion. Rennes. October 1994. There will be a leftover. in the first paragraph of the third section. 4-30. Translated from the French by Adrian Price Originally published in the Cahier de l‟ACF-VLB. At the end of the text he achieves a kind of unification of the analytic clinic – a very surprising one – that simplifies all its contours. that further research w ill be needed in order to know how the construction can be equal to the memory. that he launches into his remark on the out of kilter memory.2010/2011 because it‟s after saying. Issue 3. We‟ve run out of time to go any further. 22 .NLS Messager 31 . pp.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?