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The Freudian Subject, from Politics to Ethics Author(s): Mikkel Borch-Jacobsen and Richard Miller Reviewed work

(s): Source: October, Vol. 39 (Winter, 1986), pp. 109-127 Published by: The MIT Press Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/778314 . Accessed: 12/08/2012 22:42
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The Freudian Subject, From Politics to Ethics*

MIKKEL

BORCH-JACOBSEN
MILLER I haveno conscience. Fiihrer myconThe is

translatedby RICHARD

science.

- Hermann Goering

Whenone has a senseofguiltafter having a and because it, the committed misdeed, of feeling should more properlybe called remorse. It relates onlyto a deedthathas been and ofcourse, presupposes a it that done,
conscience
-

place. .

. . But if the human sense of guilt of primal goes backto thekilling the father, thatwas after a caseof"remorse. we all "Are to assumethatat thattimea senseofguilt was not,as we have in presupposed, existence the in before deed?If not,where, thiscase, did theremorse from? come -

was already existence in the before deedtook

the readiness to feel guilty

and Freud, Civilization Its Discontents

power or moral taboo-most

It mightseem strangethat I should approach the notion of "the subject in psychoanalysis"fromthe angle of politics and Freudian ethics. Afterall, isn't the subject with which psychoanalysis deals-and treats-first and foremost the individual, in all his remarkable resistance to the ethical and political of prescriptions society?Why then, you may well ask, should we consider this implacably singular subjectivityfromthe point of view of what- as political
often oppresses it, shackles it, or censures it? And

* Lecture delivered inJune 1986 at the PsychoanalyticInstitutein Paris as part of a seminar conducted by Drs. Wilgowicz and Gillibert.

nor do we know ifwe are stilldealing with a subject." Before we turn to the Freudian hesitation between a "politics"and an "ethics"of the subject.. The forsay thatthe Freudian subject is the other.an ethical beyond of the subject. it also affords opportunity extend. that is what I should like to demonstratehere. or separate it fromitself. understandthe subject we political.and to anticipate the ultimate goal of my text.I've just been doing it myselfwith transparent .To do so is to forceit into a dialectical mold. society.always identical to itself. however. everything the Freudian textconspiresto suggest the identity the identification of the desiringsubject and this"Other"which would at first glance seem to be opposed to it. so . We may still wonder. why Freud himself. forwant of a betterterm. divide it. or even by revealingthe Oedipal originof the moral superego. to alienate it. even contrastthis second "version"with the first. And it does indeed exist in Freud. that Freud's notion of the subject is ultian to mately played out. we ought to achieve some agreement on the significance and implications of this little and apparently so obvious. Thus. I might sameas the other. in otherwords." the political "ego ideal. whereas actually we need only put a different emphasis on what is the samenotion. whetherwhat we stubbornly of of persistin calling the subject desire or the subject the unconscious can really be so easily distinguishedfromwhat we no less stubbornly of persistin thinking as its Other-that is. It itjust as well to state at the outset that nothingseems more fragilethan in such a distinction. as must be clear by now. prohibition. in which case the latter. The question remains. however. of imperceptibledifference emphasis.. I am not sure that we should.Nowadays . Law. while reorientingthem somewhat. "literallyand in all its senses." the moral "superego"? Perhaps. in thisinfinitesimal. in which it serves to indicate what I call.Indeed.this is the dialectical and. the versionof our formula.word: subject. it involves two notions or "versions"of the subject. seemed so obvious.In short.afterhaving set up this immense antagonism between desiring subjectivityand the various "egoist" formsof reto pression. if we want to be rigorous. convinced as I am that it is here. triumphantly or absorbs into itselfthat otherness. For me. the symbolicFather. in no particularorder.Or.power . eitherwe understand thatthe Other is the sameas the subassimilates ject. eitherby rootingthe ego in the id. depending upon the emphavery different sis put upon it." For.that it is the mulation is obviously ambiguous. thenkept on trying reduce it. in Freud. certain analyses I have previouslypublished on this question of the "Freudian subject. to be the sameas theOther-and at once the formulabecomes more difficult to at once we no longerknow who or what thissubject is thathad just understand. and we must therefore employ it prudently.110 OCTOBER is it not a fact that the most intractablefeatureof the desiring subject is precisely its tendency to balk at being reduced to what Freud named the social "ego. by analyzing the libidinal structureof the linkage of political submission to the Ego-Ideal-Father-Leader. on the contrary. At least.

supposed. actually Cartesian) concept of subject that Lacan has imported into psychoanalysis withthe success of which we are all aware. But hence the been retained. are we reallysure thatwe alsubject the of subconscious. in the end. Paris. has the word--and invested with all particularlywhen it was simultaneouslybeingconcept--subject the HeidegWasn't it rather gerian de(con)struction of the "metaphysicsof subjectivity"? of more. . thisword." of in the early 1950s."or even of the "conscious" and the "unconscious. but." "desire. who preferredto speak of the "ego. I should merelylike in a verypreliminary way to draw attentionto its funcharacter. in the formof the Cartesian Cogito. The phrase is taken fromPhilippe Lacoue-Labarthe and J. I shall not dwell here on the theoreticaland institutional stakes involved in that nor on the complex conceptual "corruptions"'to which it has given operation. subject offantasy. the egobecomes a "subject"in the word's properlymodern sense.it is only to the extentthat it is the heir. the genealogy of the term? In this connection it in mightbe useful to recall that it occurs fairlyinfrequently Freud. Le Titrede la lettre. why. Nancy.but froma certain interpretation his work: it is from Lacan and his "returnto Freud. as Lacan indicated in "The mirrorstage as formative the functionof 1.the origin. in the State or in the work of art.in the sense thatbeing qua being is henceforth be conceived ofaccording to the initiallyCartesian notion of the auto-foundationor auto-positioning of a subject presentingitselfto itselfas consciousness. Since othershave already done so."etc. the quest forwhich is posed. first. to rather.""intersubjec"dialectics. in the representation or in the will. "What is being as being?" And. and presupposed in Book VII of Aristotle's ti Metaphysics: toon. is taken over fromphilosophy. rise. not fromFreud himself. as Heidegger has demonstrated.The Freudian Subject 111 withtermslike subject desire. Thus. and it is even less the psychologicalego to subject is not. For the the individual. which we nowadays so oftenfindit reduced.""alienation. 1973. as can be preciselyshown. the ultimum to that subjectum. in labor or in desire. it is this modern (and indeed. L. Above all. that we must date the intemperateuse of the word begun subject French psychoanalysts. ways know what we mean by the word in such contexts?For example." the "superego." quality of the Freudian textby riddingit of all psychologismor biologism. We mighteven designate it as the key term of Western metaphysics." the "id.we seem to have no difficulty of And yet. do we know the history. by Now." So we ought perhaps to begin by recognizingat the outset thatthe "subject"comes down to us.) should enable us to restorethe trenchant tivity. For obviously thisappeal to the philosopheme damentallyequivocal of the subject (as well as to thatof otherconcepts: "truth. this ultimatebasic position. "underlying" "subjacent" goal of basic. Nor should thisbe understood in the sense of an egoist subjectivist or determinationof being. Galilee. it designates the hypoor the keimenon. foundingphilosophical inquiry. comparative ease . as Lacan was well aware.

" a question of abstractingthe psychoanalyticexperience of the I "from And indeed. yes.stillretainsthe word. 1966. even in Freud restorationof the subject? Must himself. to wonder if. .Emptied of any substance. split subject of desire. subject present to itselfin consciousness.112 OCTOBER the I. in the closed combinative of signifiers which it stubbornly in of continuesto self-represent but always reemerging itself.that is. very enigmatically. That such a position. however.to analyze in any detail thispowerful entologyof the subject. would any philosophy directly descendant from the Cogito"?2 Freud have been given a second's philosophical attentionhad he not precisely contributed. the profoundlysubjected suband of language . in the representation.nothing. thought it might be timely.or in the wish? Nor is it a question of overlookingthe factthat the Lacanian subject is the originallydivided. this unexpected resurfacingof the subject smack in the middle of a interpret discourse devoted to a critique of the authorityof the consciousness and the illusions of the ego? Once the many conceptual "corruptions" Lacan has made of the Freudian textare taken intoaccount. this subject is stilla subject. and above all. Paris." Secondly. ifwe reallythinkabout it.which alone can provide us with a key to the confused fate of psychoanalysisin France? It is useless to conceal the factthatthatis what I attemptedto do in Le sujet I freudien. we can therefore ject of the signifier say. the subject continues to subsist in the representation its lack. 2. first. 93.that it was even urgent. oughtwe not ask what. Ecrits.is tantamountto a de-positionor dis-appearance does not if apparently make much difference a fortiori the subject'sfadingor aphanisis occurs throughwhat we persistin describingas an auto-utterance. ought we not returnto Freud. Seuil.However. the more powerfulin that it is advanced in the guise of a kind of negative ego-logyavid to assail the "imaginaryego" and the "subject in to supposed to know. reduced to only the desire forthatpart of itself infinitely language simultaneouslyarouses and forbidsit fromrejoining. always vanishing upon its disappearance. I have referred it because it seems to me thatit functions a real symptom.more than anyone else.has broughtabout this surreptitious we not finallysuspect the radicalityand the depth of the break Freud made on behalf of the unconscious? In short. the strong and autonomous ego of the ego psychologists. Jacques Lacan.fromthe veryfactof its being linguistic. It is not my intentionhere. in all rigornull. like the transcendentaland absolute subject of the philosophersor like its pale successor. For Lacan. to his philosophical underpinnings." I have neverthelessmade briefreference it. at least the pure positionof the subject. p. this that decentredsubject. anticipationof further analyses because today it representsboth the horizon and the condition of the possibilityof any investigationof the "subject in psychoto analysis. how are we to as For. to a requestioningof the notion of subject qua Ego. but. with Freud.

with the material fora new Cogito. Presses Universitaires de France. we must take care not to reduce the subject to the ego. I would recall that it is by representing itself. since there must necessarilybe a spectatorof that "otherscene"forsuch representations require a subject that representsthem to itselfas well as representingitselfin them.unconscious with which he the was dealing in an "unconscious." always." or an "id. as as of subjectum the total being. In thissense. it had the inevitable thoughts(Gedanken) consequence of reinstatingin that beyond another ego (always. contrariwise. apropos the linguistic"otherscene. more broken down." that "the signifier what is And it is also what obliged Freud representsthe subject foranother signifier. what is at stake in the "subject. the ego. basic and more subjectival than the conscious ego? For let us not forget thatthe and foremostthe subject of representation. As Michel Henry has recently noted in Gindalogiede la psychanalyse. The multiplicationof topographic agencies and "personages" in this sense contravenesthe subject's unity 3."in preparation).in other words. 1985.The Freudian Subject 113 behind the apparentlyradical contestation conscience and ego." to substantize.. In reality. in attempting qualifythisradical to to the self he dubbed "unconscious.imagination.e.In short. .we subject of the moderns is first can even go so faras to say: the subject as representation and the representation as subject.in but merelyconceived as being more short. to subjectivize.""fantasies. the schema of of the subject was not continuingsilentlyto command the theoryand practiceand even the politics. to itself. the same one)." Freud could scarcely have nonpresence chosen a more unfortunate termthan representation For (Vorstellung).3 to speak of unconscious "representations" was obviously to signal the existence of something beyond the subject.i." Freud had at the same time provided himselfwith a subject of representation. and yet always analytic subject.in the by mode of the cogito cogitare. indeed. Paris. that it is reallyrather so conscientiously. the structureof representationas auto-representation that should be dubbed the trueand ultimatesubject. since I. memory. But. once the question has been couched in those terms. me "with"all the representation poses beforeitself. it thatthe Cartesian ego establishes itself the basis of all possible truth. too. Thus." The various topographieserected since the Project testimonyto this constant substratification the psychoare of more fragmented. always more deeply led down to its own prebeginnings.the latteris nothingoutside the cogitatio withinwhich it presents itself.con-scientifically. of course.I. might have escaped the appeal of foundation for that is in fact.""memorytraces.was thus supposed to have thatcould thinkwithoutme. I shall have more to say elsewhere on this admirable and highly importantbook ("L'inconscient revisitS.in providinghimself withan unconscious made up of"representations.is it not obvious that. posing itself." "thoughts. This is the powerful constraint that brought Lacan to write.I wanted to know the extent to which the "fundamentalconcepts" of psychoanalysiswere still prisonersof or.of psychoanalysis. And.

therefore. which he began by calling "egoistic" and then "narcissistic. some libido. as a setting-before. any repression." as it cannot be preventedfromemerging. it subsists-breast or feces. some drive.subjectiveand objective. this evidence continues to be valid when we understand it as the object of some desire. be described as fantasmaticand even as "basicallylost. the unconscious is memory.a storehouse of traces. the same does not quite hold true ifwe turn to some other. understoodas libido. believe that it is in the directionof this objectival conI do not. its lack-of-being-itself. traumatic and as fracturing it may be. we know that veryearly on Freud feltconstrainedto make room alongside the desire forthe object which he discerned in sexualityforan "egoist" desire.we can be sure thathe would have founddevoid of any meaning at all the notion so dear to Emmanuel Levinas of some "trauma" having affectedthe subjectivityanterior to itself. And this memory must be underlaid. the object is always the object of a a puts it.remembrances. drive. in Freud. and. simultaneously. the object fora subject.representsitself.to any memory. This is the aspect that deals withdesire of the ego." and which he ended up by attachingclosely to the I shall not go into the details. ception of desire thatwe should seek." Does calling thiseternal representational subject "desire"change anything at all? Probably not. in thisconnection. an expression we must here consider in all its genitiveimplications. fantasies. the "drive"is only accessible throughits objects: it is because he only conceives it as representedto or beforethe psyche-or: the subect. Finally. According to Freud.prior to any to representation. Desire. beforea subject.From this viewpoint. at least insofaras it is described as desire foran object. in Freud. by a subject to which and in which it representsitselfthe subject of fantasy. as the German so descriptively and Vor-stellen).114 OCTOBER and identitymuch less than it supposes it: the subject can be divided only because it is onesubject.the backing forthe inscriptionor the substance hospitable to nervous "facilitations. much more problematic. of Lacan only confirms ject. This latter must thus be presupposed to underlie the object in which it sets beforeitself its or its enjoyment and in which.. neitherthe notion of some primaryrepression would have caused Freud to question his stubnor even of some "after-shock" bornlyheld notion of a subject already given. . therefore. already present (underlying)in its representations. it sets itself before pleasure itself. For us othermoderns. representing (i. inscriptions. indeed. On the otherhand. gaze or voice-in the representationof its absence.they are well known to identification process. is a subject.e.by conceiving the object of desire as that"part"thatlanguage and representation deduct or remove fromthe subthis basically auto-representative structure desire. Indeed.withoutmystery. or fantasmatic wish.aspect of Freud's theoryof desire. And. "small a" eludes the subject so totallyonly because the latter has first Object representeditselfin it: thus. We may only wonder why. material foran in-depthsolicitationof the schema of the subject. Let always such an object. a desire to be oneselfor to be-an-ego.

forexample. But ifI desire be (an) I. .Indeed. XVIII. This is obviously why the great textson the second position separating topographyare an inextricablemix of"ego analysis"and analysis of the culture or social tie: the otheris no longer an object. forwe oftenreally fail to appreciate in Freud the implicationsof this shifting and displacementof interest. p. via the themes of the "egoism"of dreams. Yet I must emphasize here the importance of that process. Freud. SigmundFreud.1974. G.SE. University 5.with being an "I.homosexuality. XIV. 299. this singular desire. myself. Freud. XXIII."social" relationships. in thissense abotherwords. which he had so tenaciouslyposited hitherto. HogarthPressand the Institute Psycho-Analysis. WilliamMcGuire. homosexual figureor persecutor always appeared to be becoming more and more like the ego. problematically--called the subject of the desiringrepresentation. in a lettertoJung.in freedfromall bonds.James Psychological for London. and henceforth which Freud.Princeton. whence the need to pay attentionto nonerotic. in in the formof identification. we mightsay. Press.6 was clearlyemphasizing the abyssal nature he of narcissisticpassion. ifI desire it myself.The Freudian Subject 115 all. trans. Freud wrotethat the ideal of the narcissisticego is "what we would like to be"5 or. the essence and foundationof identity ego). egosumalter a more Freudian version of thisother.the ego is no longera subject.SE. also--obscurely. Jung. inversely. Strachey. since the ego was originally 4. etc. When. his emphasis on the violent passion the ego conceives for(or devotes to) itselfwas not only to overturnthe initiallyobjectival definition of all affect the investigationsinto the repressing"ego" to desire. 6. p. 105. and. paranoia. better.Ralph Princeton Manheim. that that is an "emotional tie with another person" who one desires tobe(in contrast to the object one desires tohave). Thus. following elementary be because I am not it.model or rival. with what are we dealing here vis-a-visthis desire Freud described as "egoist"or "narcissistic"? First and foremost. The Standard Works. or passionate love.ThusI am thatother.whence the need to inscribethis"sociality" theego itself.verydifferent."7 By the strangestand yet the most logical of paradoxes. Now. Thus. Editionof theComplete ed." a "self".of the various stages of this clarifyingprocess. the more so in that this "other". For that ego-being (ego-ness. to the point of shattering veryobthe them. is the logic.Or. a subject: shut withinitself.thatbeing does not exist withinme: it is elseas where ego. 7. desire of no subject. ed. Freud. by and large.C. of others. confessedhe had not paid sufficient attention. an Objekt. 90. and fantasies. p. TheFreud/Jung Letters. "I Cogito: am the breast.in this who fascinatesme.to others.in whom I killmyself.4 It into question the subject of desire. to solute. superego. in whom I love other--always alter--Ego huic. and trans. The question was to haunt him fromthen on. must. withregard to identification. with Freud the attention devoted to the ego's narcissism led to the question of the Other.

that we should be seeking the ever-elusive"unconscious"? I have just noted.contravenesits auto-position.to present myselfto myselfin my presence: this other that I am no identified me. put another way.then I no longer represent tomyself. everything identified of played a part.of narcissisticChild and fascinating figures.the primaryidentification.as a subject's auto-affirmation. at the same time. Vor-bild Ob-jekt-has faded away. As forstigmatizing "alienation"of the narcissistic ." adding that thatprimitive relationship the object immediately amounts to its destroyingincorporation?Or elsewhere.eitheras model or as object. auto-position. by the autorepresentativestructureof narcissisticdesire. eaten him.in specula-tion. Yet by retaining.116 OCTOBER withothersor the otherprincipallyassimilated to the ego. in order virulently denounce the deception.thisdesire-to-be-oneself interpreted that so radically disrupts any notion of a "self. such as "primarynarcissism. or mighthave pro-posed himselfto me ." a typeof mental operation that ignoresthe distinction between ego and others. or. this That." is difficult envisage. in weakening thejoint mutual position of subject and object. to the illusion. True. that the ego emerges througha "primary to identification. beforeitself the mirror otherholds up to it.between subject and object. and in any event impossible to represent. the position of the subject of the representation.since it is preciselythe principle of thisauto-ob-position . For Freud also most frequently thisnarcissism. And. is this retrievalof the narcissisticego in the specularyotherthatLacan has described by using the termImaginary-but. when he attemptedto describe." the auto-conception. at least its image.""the omnipotence of thoughts. him since the exteriority which he in the other. the .""animism. Or the theoryof primarynarcissismsecondarily"granted"and "withdrawn" vis-a-visobjects: everything begins with and returnsto Narcissus. because I have fromthe outset assimilated him. which is nothing other than the ex. enclosed withinthemselves." "magic. in "On Narcissism: An Introduction. incorporated him. . this Id. too has evihe dently allowed himselfto be won over.totally Woman.if not the ego. is it not toward that.For that is. I have become unable to represent me. in in the imagine itself no way.thoughtof no subject at all. that unrepresentable"point of the other"to which Freud was tendingwhen he stated." as a desire of oneself by in its oneself.short."subject of to But desire. however.thatall thisis difficult think. under various names. in an apparent reversal. who never loses himselfin objects otherthan to findhimselfin them and represent himselfin them mirrorwise.of course.I should quickly to add that Freud himselfhad enormous troublein dealing withthisproblem. the ultimate implication of the entire and incorporation:if I am discourse on narcissism.or itscircular We need only recall. in a multiplicity ways. in fact. forexample. It specula-tively. That the ego can imagine itself outside itself. in the end. longer is and never was before because I have straightaway myself with him. between desire and its fulfillment? And is it not afterall in the directionof thisbasically unrepresentable thought.

the narcissismthesisdoes an inalienated identity more than manifest. that such Freudian or Lacanian interpretations It is my belief."that only serves to give some additional to dialecticcharacterofthe processbeing described. the fascinatedsubmissionofpsychoanalysisto the paradigm of the "subject. stifledas it is by a problematic of the political Subject. Now. it is obviously in Freud's so-called "political"or is "sociological"textsthat this reinstatement most flagrant.most massive. narcissistic desire in the of narcissismalso require interpretation. . . inevitably. when it comes down to it. ." as forthe Freud of "On Narcissism: An itself."Yet one need only read the textof Group to Psychology realize that the embryo does not develop and remains stillborn. This is all the more striking that the Freudian examination of culture and social in tie corresponds in the first instance. individual psychology. as I have said. p.to the narcissisticcharacter of that paradigm. Thus.and thus. In short since we do not have space to describe here in any detail the excomplex course of this essay. as I have triedto indicate here or there.The Freudian Subject 117 ego withinthe imaginary"otherself. "as a model. in his attemptto explain the social relationship. in a sometimescaricatural way. XVIII." It also attests." we are saying one and the same thing. as a helper. it was under the title of that the great 1921 political textGroup Andere and Analy(the Other) Psychology the sis oftheEgo opened: "In the individual's mental lifethe other is invariablyinvolved. therefore.when we say that psychoanalysisis in its essence deeply narcissisticand that. In this sense. as an opponent. They interpret of line of desire theysubscribe to a certain auto-interpretation desire. it reinstates the ancient and always new problematic of the "subject. by thus inscribingthe other in the ego. clearly. to get to the point." Freud began. desire to be oneselfto oneselfwithin and autonomy.a subject of the relationship.a desire bea subject. whereas to a thislatteris. . traordinarily continuallypresupposes.sometimescrudelyand sometimeswithmore subtlety. 69. confirmation the profoundly For the Lacan of "The Mirror Phase. . and from the very first."8 An admirable statement. whether as an "individual" subject or as a supra8. to the constrainingmovement thathas tiltedthe question of the narcissisticego towardsthatof the other who inwardly haunts and obsesses it.Freud." in reflection which it loves and deresent itself-in the specular mirror-image sires itself. is at the same time social psychology as well. Freud. And indeed.SE. .and one that does. appear to contain in embryoa whole nonsubjectival theoryof the "subject"and "social relationship.in a turnaround.to repthe ego continues to represent Introduction.

the auto-representation a subject: forFreud. unless it be minimal and intendedsolelyto relate the social body to itselfbetween the beloved Chief and his loving subjects.10 the exceptional importance of Freudian "group psychology"for any understandingofthe political and social factsof our time. Fayard. For. Not. it is because it is posited as an integrally as Staatknowing political totality. The Princeton 1981. ifFreud's societyis totalitarianin a strict and rigoroussense. This is further borne out by the speculative biology underlyingthe descriptionin GroupPsychology. Lacan.Freud never criticized 9. a totale no division. the love. Having said that. it is not a matterof declaringthatthatdescriptionis false. It is the profoundlynarcissisticfantasyof a single.Freud informs is a unanus. on the grounds of"union"and eroticBindung. as a result of so doing.9this is the totalitarianfantasy par excellence. E. a mass. imous "mass" whose members have set up the same "object" (the "leader" or in "Fiihrer") place of theirego ideal and who. University 10. because thattends. I too am prepared to recognize.is fundamentally. But we must also recognize that Freud did not so much analyze this totalitarianfantasyas subscribe to it. violence would be essential to it. Yet we are also saying that society. homogeneous body proper or recognizingno exteriority othernessvis-a-vis itselfother than in relation to itself. turnsociety to into an actual organism. on the other hand. his analysis begins with the desire. Chief-Subject Of course. and withoutwhich it would purelyand simply head in which it representsitself fall apart. in Claude Lefort. reciprocallyand among themselves.any society. From this viewpoint. in crowds. 11. "L'imagedu corpset le totalitarisme. the analysis comes up with a kind of political super-Subject in the dual shape of a narcissisticchief and of the mass. the latter welded togetherby love to their Chief. totalitarian.any society. contraryto what he is purported to have said here or there (and this was. all subjectivityand all individual desire disappears. 474-475: "For our purposeswe mustbeginwiththeremark. inter alia. identify.On the one hand.And it is thus the fantasy.1981. I hasten to add.with each other. King'sTwoBodies. incarnates it. neverto pp. dbnocratique. a sovereign sence political. and that mass makes a single body withthe society that embodies. Lacan's thesis.L'agedesfoules. That traitis not confinedto totalitariansocieties. No. we have firstsaid that society. Princeton. indeed. political subjectivity. a real body politic. of is a compact group. with Serge Moscovici. Kantorowicz. Fayard. or the libido of individuals. Press. who are consequently posited as preexistentto the various erotico-objectivalrelationshipsthat link them together. or myth"1). We all recall the famousconclusion: society." L'invention Paris. As Claude Leforthas shown in his expansion on Kantorowicz's work.And. 1959. Too many examples in recent historyconfirmit forus to doubt its exactness and precision. Serge Moscovici. Ecrits. Paris. .is in esbecause it depends totallyupon the figureof a Chief. because State coercion or tyrannical basically.118 OCTOBER individual. and Freud is clear thatthe reignofthe Fiihrer depends above all on thefiction of his love. once we recognize the fundamental fact that.

wouldhave been doneeither Freudor by nothing by Lacan to deal withwhatthelatter called"theobscenity thesocial tie"and substitute it anof for "cleansedof any groupneeds"("L'Etourdit. 1975. brutallyrevealed by the retreatof the great politico-religious dances. of course. on the contrary. Freud insisted much on his own function Chief-Father so as because he neverforan instant doubtedthebasic"inadequacies" his"band"ofdisciples."convinced as he was."12 an We must look carefullyat the historical and theoreticaljustificationfor thisexacerbation of the role of"leader"ofthe masses. complktes.Made aware earlier itsefects organizations' makingit patently of [emphasis mine]Freud wouldobviously havewondered aboutthefield openfor left dominance thefunction theboss of by or caid in anyorganization etc.pp.suggestible. sensational of A made prior fascist to by discovery. thecontrary.The Freudian Subject 119 "group psychology. whenhe heaps contempt thoseattending seminar signshis contributions on his or to Scilicet hisproper with namealone? In fact. going so far as to write (to Einstein) the followingterrifying "One instanceof the innate and ineradicable inequalityof men is theirtendency to fallinto the two classes of leaders (Fiihrer)and followers. 212." in 1921Freudfelt Republic." A remark in turn givesriseto several (1) "basicdiscovery" Group in is not are with Psychology thategos unitedin thesame identification the because he states. mutually self-identify their sharedlove the"Object" for thatis setup "inplace of"their Ego Ideal. A.in fact."as we would put it today) among "solitary ourknowledge the of made. (2) discovery" "anticipates" fascist massorganizations Bataillewas to noteas earlyas 1933.in Group and Analysis the Psychology the of Ego. Lenin to Mao bywayofMussolinior Tito? And is thisnotwhatLacan himself also sayingin is his way. 4. 12.an exploration by of of discovery theidentification each individual's witha sharedideal image themirageof ego whichis supported thepersonality thechief. Gustave BonandtheCrisis Mass Democracy theThird Le in Nye.SE. they on that because of ego's Ideal-Chief. deeply panicked. obvious. in other. 356) confirms description "crowd a of such onlybecauseitbroadly psychology." as thatofGustaveLe fascist led weretoexploit Bon. of "groups in fusion. (cf. which ideologues. p."a man of the "communal" masses. 178-179). 1973). The latterconstitute the vast majority." without personal identity.hypnotizable crowds. publicor in private." And that anonymous transcenman.in the mechanisms whichan organicgroup through in whose clear partiality be justified the basic can participates the crowd.that it represented the very essence of society. as in that of Le Bon or Tarde.theystand in need of an authority which will make decisions forthem and to which theyforthe most part offer unqualifiedsubmission. but in the end always the same: modern man. de-individualized. (published model-p. is no longer a subject: he is the true "Man withoutQualities. TheOrigins Crowd of Psychology. (3) "Made awareofitseffects. Oeuvres (as I. of . reinterpretationFreud'sthesis probably by reflection thefascist on Freud's"sensational the plicit phenomenon. in realitya "man of the crowds. XXII. .cf."Thus only an ("mediatized. byHitlerand Mussolini. it was based on the following appreciated observation--variously and exploited according to author.thatFreudhad started I[nternational] A[ssociation] P[sychoanalysis] on itspath tenyearspriorto thetime. Freud. p. of The massesneed a leader-isn't that whatall thegreat "leaders" thiscentury of have constantly in from reiterated.he became in interested the Churchand the Army. Thus. 487). so-called homo is democraticus. deliberately R. Paris. that others: Freud's that. he never questioned the primacy of the sentence: Chief." Scilicet. no the on and for solutely needto reorganize analytical community another goodreason: as Lacan himself notedin theearlier version histext of as an AnnextoEcrits. abLondon. . Lacan's "remark" supof a and a reinterpretation dictated imposes. In the case of Freud. in thatof fascistideologues as in thatof the Bataille of the 1930s.

I would thereforerecall that the investigationof Group concludes with an invocation of the "totally narcissistic"FatherPsychology and of thejealous "egoism"13 Chief-Hypnotist. just as he emphasizes the original characterof such group psychology. but it is also a mythbecause in that fictionit is reembodied and massively reinstated.with a deus ex machina. p. the of of was whomNietzsche from future. it is no mere chance thattotalitariand "personality cults"to flouranisms have caused so many "new mythologies" ish.the what is perceived of as a radical de-subjectivization more so in that it wards off In this connection it is probably not enough to say. self-confident independent. It must be added thattheyhave had greatersuccess insofaras theyhave lucidly. because we know we are dealing with someis Henceforth. in ereign" and "heterogenous"in Bataille's words--can other words. on the faredge of an investigationinto the nonpresenceof the selfimplicit in the social being. that the twentieth-century realized the modern rationale and goal of the Subject in all its total ab-solution and immanence. Freud. the but leaderhimself need love no one else.reinstitute. thing fictional. XVIII. of opposing fascismwith an other "heterogeneous" Inasmuch as the masses have no proper identity. as one so and alienation. 123: "He.Here. totalitarianisms have politically readily does today. cynicallydealt withthe de-liaison and dissolutionof the subthe jects dually implicitin such a goal of immanentization.absolutely narcissistic. lucidlyand naively." and .Briefly. "sovembody. We findthis same totalitarianmythof the Subject in Group and Psychology. depicted.120 OCTOBER absolute Chief. because it is quite obviouslyonly on condition that he be freeof ties to anyone (to any "object. only a mythcan provide them with one by positing a fictionin which theirunity is embodied. For just as Freud. totalitarian Chief the more easily imposes the fictionor figureof his absolute subjectivity because he knows fullwell that it is a mythand thatwhat he has beforehim is a mass of nonsubjects. emphasizes the radical alteration of so-called "subjects" assembled in crowds.In the textsof theoreticians in the histories inspired by them. and "acephalous" mythology. the figureof Chief-Subjectthus emerges brutally. reembody. on behalf of social identifications.theSubject a myth. this theme of"narcissism" of the primal Father is stilldecisive." as Freud says) that the Chief is able to propose himselfas a unique object to the admiring and awestrucklove of the masses-in short. in thisconnection."prestigious"and "charismatic"say Le Bon and Weber. he may be of a masterful nature. So. here too. an absolute Subject. give substantial consistencyand subjective unityto. the fullprimacy and principality of despite everything. the Even to-day members a group 'superman' the of onlyexpected standin needoftheillusion thatthey equallyandjustly are lovedbytheir leader(Fiuhrer).so does he restore. to create communitywhere earlier there 13. nor thatBataille and his friendsshould have dreamed.in short: in which they auto-envisage or auto-representthemselves as Subject. at theverybeginning thehistory mankind. this magma as ofunanchored identitiesor imitations.SE.

The Subject self-proclaims Chief. this case.circular presuppositionof a Subject-Foundation.whether like it or not: everywhere. coming up And this "an-archy"of the masses. And. more generally. we must stillunderstandwhence it derives its incredwe ible authority. at instauratio. Because the mythworks.the bethe commandment? ginnings. I tried to show that the very violence with which Freud posited a Subject as the originof Politics seemed to me to signal the failureofhis attempt at foundation. then.and this is the cynical lesson totalitarianism teaches us .The Freudian Subject 121 and suggestions.the relationshipwith others.since it is not fromsome subject? Since the subject. in the end.as we have seen." For. after myth? In all. collapse-of-principle? warded offby the Chief-Subjectmyth.perhaps-of the subject. when it posits the radical lack of the very political subjectivityit creates: Whence. in extremis origin.did it enable us in extremis. For.abyssal. and I put even greaterstresson thisbecause it is.as it were. I revelled in demonstratingthat failure: I confinedmyselfto drawing attentionto Freud's inabilityto found the social tie. Yet is it really fitting. In had been nothingbut a chaos of reciprocal identification is locked onto this fascinatingfigureof a' Narcissus or otherwords.the notion ofpolitics. on behalf whatshould we rejecttotali"politics of tarianism?In the name of what notion of "subject"and "politics. to achieve another and more essential understandingof the archy itself. to call it a mere I do not thinkso. and because of itsodd renewal itsenigmaticresemblanceto the totalitarian myth in of the figureof the Subject. everything question of a Egocrat sprung fromnowhere-which makes moot the difficult or social tie anterior to the ego and makes room for a "scientific relationship that is at once the mythof the Subject's originand the mythof the founmyth" itself dation of a Politics.they convulsively sacrificethemselves on the altar of his or its myth.totalitarian Chief-Subjectmyth. in a way. everywhere.Once its mythic characterhas been noted. just such a denunciation of myththatpreoccupied me in Le sujetfreudien. the masses group themselvesaround a Chief or Party supposed to representthem. nature of thisconstant.In short. that is the formidable problem posed by the Freudian and. in the last analysis. And we can do so even less in that it is only throughthat question that we findthe means to resistthe henceforth global dominationof the can-. keep loss-ofwith thingslike lack-of-foundation. Yet mightnot thatveryabyss. abyss of relationship be the source of some non-"subjective" notion of the subject? Were we condemned. its awesome foundingpower? Whence does it derive its authority. upon self-engenders both in It goes withoutsaying thatthismythremains forus to interrogate. obliteration-of-subject. that book.otherthan by presupposingin mythic forma Subject founded in itselfand based upon itself. and the Chief therehimselfas Subject. we can no longer shirkthat question. And that mythfunctionsall the better. in accordance of a non-"political" to withthe deeply ambiguous gestureof our post-Nietzscheanmodernity."ifit can truly .is a myth?Today.I confinedmyselfto revealingthe innatelyunfounded.

in Moses. p. in like wise."The dead. throughan enigmatic guilt and obedience that are The described as "retrospective" (nachtriiglich)."14 when viewed Now. he must be someday overthrown." in other words. this genesis of authorityis extraordinarily interesting fromthe angle we are now taking. the beginnings of an answer to that question. 143.) . an anterior version. we Father." It is the guiltbecause he is a dead Father. 14. another genesis forauthoritythan does Group envisages quite Psychology use (I in order to avoid the word power)."then. And thisfable.fromLivi-Strauss to Girard. We are familiar of with this mother-form the myth: it is the fable of the murder of the primal in and Taboo.It is forthisthat all of our disenchanted modernity. to the degree that it describes the primal authorityas an "ethical. in spite of everything. become. True." The "Father. we can say of all myth). in any case not of any man. For.And yetthatmyth. more properlyethical version. (Translation slightly modified. and thatis even why he feelstheneed. nor that of the Rights of the Human-Subject? the Freudian mythcan provide us with Perhaps. strength to this logic of the natural state.and not as a political authority. murdererssubmit to him.""moral" authority.in the remorsefeltby those who." Freud writes. does not appear in this strangeFreudian mythotherthan as a myth. alone. For we cannot.to have him murdered by his fellows:his power derived from and thus.is also the mythof the originofthe mythof the Father (indeed. Therefore. reelaborating. "sons.It according thathis is thus after murder." and in so doing he appears once again to be using the language of myth."became strongerthan the living had been. ifwe examine it closely. he stilldoes not hold any properlypaternal authority. as I have done That political version hitherto. in Totem and Taboo the primal authority that "Superman" Freud evoked authorityis not the Father-Chief-Hypnotist.the mythof his own power and the power of his own myth. to which we must now return. Freud is still speaking of a murder of a primal "Father. only afterward.SE.122 OCTOBER no longer be that of the Individual against the State. Totem and Taboodoes no more than provide us witha new mythoforigins. has criticized him: presupposing the authorityof the Father ratherthan deducing it. and even less thatof some absolute Narcissus.after the theyhave killed and devoured theirtyrant. the "great man.which is a mytheven in its auto-representation as a myth. as set forth Totem Father. in his narrative. and guilt-creating creating can already say-and herein lies the enigma-that such authorityis not the of authority any person. XIII. relyon the version supplied by Group Psychology. Freud. a of the myth is already reinterpreting. "Father. afterNietzsche before calling him. Freud is well aware that the dominating and jealous male of theDarwinian tribeis no Father.a new myth of foundation. for emerges "brothers"-and brothers the first because theyare guilty time in history.

an ultimately the wielder of that power is now dead and perfectly powerless. it is when the powerfulmale is dead and no longer present disconcerting to forbidanythingthat the alterityof duty and the debt of guilt." but the always singular interpellation a Super-ego of that is strictly. say thatthe murderers feel anxietyat having transgressedagainst taboos laid down by the Father. In a wholly way."It is thisstrangemoral authority. as a matterof fact.that the terriblefigurethat is to become the omnipotentFather. and. the law fromits own absence-literally ex nihilo.." writes the paradox." On the contrary. nor does he attempt to alleviate the resultant"discontentof civilization.because the subject submits to it by himself." What creates the communityis not principallythe fusional and loving participation of a collective Super-Subject or "Superman. Ibid. . Far from his murderers'feeling guilty because of some anteriorally known and established law (which brings us back to the status of soziale Angst). nobody. As Freud insistentlyemphasizes. or sin. For I repeat: the primal authority ethical authority belongs to no one. He says. a "twentieth-century myth. Freud does not deplore the death of the Father. to dub the "superego" or "ego ideal. theybecome aware of the law of the Father-inexplicably. all the more unbearable. perative" forthat matter. of the Chief). emerges. out ofterrorthrough the sense of sin (through Gewissenangst): "They thus created. It is moral anxiety(or anxiety of conscience: Gewissenangst) vis-h-vis an "inner" authority as "imas it is "categorical.the feeling of moral lapse. he offers the mythof the death myth. "outoftheir Freud.and of its us of any 15. As he says in Civilization and Its is not social anxiety (sozialeAngst)." And it is in place ofthat ego ideal that he will set up the Fiihrer Group of Psychology. whose mythwill emerge only afterward.is no power. despite all appearances.The Freudian Subject 123 What the members of the tribe submit to. carefully underscoring filial sense guiltthe two of fundamental taboos of totemism.is why the Freudian mythis not.and this is even odder.the commonplace Discontents.and because of which they forma human community.autonomouslythatFreud has earlierdescribedas the"voice of conscience"(Stimme Gewissens) des and that he was later. rigorously. it is only out of the guilt feeling. human society. because fraternal. then. 143. That. after Totemand Taboo. emerges."a new myth the nostalgicallyreinstating lost transcendencyof myth(of the Father. of God. no one.that the Father's taboos. and above all not to the Father-Chief-Narcissus. guilt feeling fearof being punished by some externalpower or censor.about what? Nothing. community."15! Freud does not. all spring fromanxiety.even stranger. finally indicating that the essence of the community is "ethical" beforebeing "political. p. thus. of rootingcivilizationin the "discontent" an a prioriguiltanteriorto any law and Name of the Father. and later the God or the Leader. The Father emerges fromhis own death.

p. finally. ifGod is dead.SE. to We can . but theyloved and admired him too. XIII. and it thus led inevitablyto envious.how is it that his murdererssubmit to him? Or.and on the remorse forcrime committed. See also SE. killed and devoured male of whom theywerejealous. cf. a communityoflove. theythus had to begin by killinghim. p.but theylovedhim. XIII.SE. should we not seek the key to filial-fraternal "retrospective not so much in "love" per se as in the highlyambivalent. however. 142. or socialist mankind lyingprostratebeforethe Stalinist"LittleFather. p. Now. primordial too. XXIII. . I think can at lastgrasptwothings for we the perfectly clearly: and thefatalinevitability thesenseof guilt.as the mythmakes clear. His sons hatedhim.to punish us? That is the engima of the myth. restson a crime. bound to make itself is also a part of the myth.if the Father is dead (if his power is purely mythic). obedience" So. Aftertheyhad got rid of him. Freud. Freud. understand cannibalistic as an attempt ensureidentification himby the act to with a incorporating piece ofhim.ifhe never was there. For it is only after theyhave eliminated the detested rival and when they are impelled by remorse that his murdererscome to love him as a Father and to be united in that love. hate-filled and devouring side of its nature? The membersof the tribe." of partplayedby love in theoriginofconscience 17. each ofthem but wished takehisplacein reality. also. .ifthe only goal was the to get rid of the retainerof exclusive rightsover the females of the flock?The him. about the "killersof God").and. 143. In order to love him. how is it that we are so eager to reinstatehim at the center and base of our societies. Society. SE. XXI.""17 16."1 Yet such "love" forthe Father. ." . singular of the cannibalisticincorporation the model. is it enough to evoke once again the love forthe Father? Freud in factwritesthatthe murderers"hated theirfather.124 OCTOBER as tirelessresurrection well. as is all too obvious. . merelybounces back: why do we feelguilty ifno Father is any longer there. rather(forwe are talkingabout ourselves. ." That mythspells it out forus: because his murderers"loved and admired "love"was admiring. . As the narrativehas it: "The violent primal fatherhad doubtless been the feared and envied model of each one of the company of brothers:and in the act of devouring him they accomplished with him. theirwish to identify had satisfiedtheir hatred and had put into effect themwhich had all this time been pushed under was selves with him. Why this. 132: "This remorse was theresult the of ambivalence feeling of towardthe father."the Volk race bound togetherin a fasces behind its Fiihrer? Because we feelguiltyforhaving killedhim: thatis mythicFreud's--still response. After their hatred had been satisfied their ofaggression. For.identifying. act their love came tothefore in by their remorse thedeed . 82: "they onlyfeared not and hatedtheir father also honoured himas a model. The question.who presentedsuch a formidableobstacle to theircraving forpower [Machtbedisrfnis] theirsexand ual drives. To solve it. p. the affection 6 felt. and each one of them acquired a portion of his their identification strength.both of Freudian myth and of the mythicpower it describes.

"all that is clear. but to acquire an identity. takinghis father's And. and the "envied"model it assimilatesis immediatelyeradicated.e. the murder of the Father is far less a mere animal strugglethan it is the Freudian version of Hegel's "struggle forpure prestige. . more so in that no ego is yet presentto see or conceive the anythingat all. Here the mythis not tellingus about a love foran object. Not (or only secondarily) to havethe women of the flock.to be the Subject-that the members of the horde kill and devour him. neitherloving subjects no nor beloved Subject. For what it treatsof. only by devouring him. as we know. it is because it is a desire to take unto oneself the other's being. failureis wish--of place--into farmore propitiousfora moral reaction than satisfaction." "devouring. everything begins with an identification Freudian myth corresponds exactly with the status of panicked anarchical. emptypower? From thefailure the devouring act of identification. From where does this of ghost. in the history of so-called "individuals" as well as in that of society. and it is forthat reason that I can become "me. Freud. swallowed up: "I am the breast. acephalic masses without a Chief. but about an indissolubly narcissisticand identificatory passion: it is to be the Father.and it is ultimatelyto be the only obedience" he vouchsafes: "This fresh explanation of the son's "retrospective emotional attitudemust also have been assisted by the factthatthe deed cannot have given complete satisfaction those who did it. none of the 18.his strength (Stiirke). 143. I..not to gain possession of an object of desire or pleasure. The phantom of Father-Subjectattacksthe guiltyconscience of the sons. noone. and in the end much less mythically than mightseem. is in the other. eaten. short."18 Thus.is the primal relationship with others-"primal" because it is the relationshipof no ego to no other.and here the words. a desire to assimilate his power in (Macht). The Father (but not a father. Yet it is at thisjuncture that the mythof the Subject arises.that what the Freudian mythis tellingus.In this light. Everything therefore vouringhim.his mastery:his autonomy as Narcissus.then. with a murderous and blind identification. no subject to no object. p.i. it is a relationship without relationship to another.in assimilatingthe other.In other withoutsubject."If desire leads to murder and devouring.""appropriating." "identification.in dehim. who then attemptto atone for their sin throughtheir love and submission.""I am the Father". And thus." an My being is ego. in incorporating begins.but merelya counterpart. Freud puts it in a footnote. Freud expresses it clearly when he with the Father": the speaks of the "need forpower" and the "desire to identify murder is committed. XIII. derive its vain. the ego. by settingit in the mythicoriginsof the human community.a fellowbeing) has been killed and thereis therefore subject at the foundationof the social tie. Not one of the sons had in factbeen able to put his original effect. an absolved tie: I am born.nor even a brother.SE. then. From one point of view it to had been done in vain.The Freudian Subject 125 "Model.

first mostimportant The and conscience 'Thou shaltnotkill. XXIII. Freud. XIV.it can be nothingother than the "absolute Master. The other was dead. That is why "the dead became strongerthan the livinghad been" and so why the "sense of guilt" is born of the anxious apprehension of death "beside the dead body of someone [we] loved. theirown being-dead. does not state it so clearly.isn't sons dear to him a part ofhis well-beloved ego? . 294-295: "Whatcame intoexistence beside the dead bodyof the lovedone was notonlythedoctrine thesoul. and all hisbeingrevolts against recognition thatfact.to be sure. pp."The important thingin arousingthe moral conscienceis not.brutally.as though and frightened his own by murder followed a fratricidal Freudbackto by paradox. And what is. Death or the dead: der Tote. with no one.has thefather's struggle-which brings him hispointofdeparture thusconstrains to fallbackon thehypothesis and (moreclassicand the obedience" intended avoid)ofa "socialcontract" one which hypothesis "retrospective of the was to See after parricide the amongtherivalbrothers. Freud conceives of this solution in other versions of the myth19). that the murderers."For "then" hissorrow willexperience fact in modeofdevouring he the that he. 20. they to face with what is par excellence unassimilable: theirown dizzyingly--face death.thebelief immortality a powerful of in and sourceof man'ssenseofguilt. death being the absoThe myth.in whichFreud.says Freud. it is the only way we can understand the retrospective power of death. to the scenario. thecorpsebe thatofa father. Firstand foremost Totem Taboo. "this dead man is me. The only therefore. 82: "Itmustbe supposedthat which brothers the a considerable timeelapsedduring with one another their for father's disputed himself alone.and yet he is infinitely other. the of each ofthepertoo.in other words. SE. We must in fact imagine. and therefore were themselves dead." death.So it and not at all empirical. In empirical realitythereis nothingto preventone ofthe tribefromtaking in his turn the place of the dominant male by eliminatinghis competitors(indeed.126 OCTOBER sons was able to become Subject and Chief by appropriating to himselfthe identityand glorious being of the Other. brothers struggling takethefather's place. represents for them their own unrepresentable death."20 "This dead man."Moses Monotheism which each ofthemwantedfor and describes same the heritage. that nor been murdered. suddenlyfindthemselvesfaced with "themselves". Der Tote who is resurrectedand lives on eternallyin the guiltymemoryof his sons representsdeath." as Freud says in "Thoughts forthe Times on War and Death. The identifying incorporationbroughtthem. also SE. finally.having devoured the otherin order to appropriatehis being.but lute limitof identification.can also die. as a reaction of againstthesatisfaction thehatredhidden behind the grieffor them." his dazed murderersmust have told themselves. since I cannot envisage in 19. dealing here: namely the unoccupiable place of the dead. p.'It was acquiredin relamade by theawakening was prohibition tionto dead people who wereloved. thatit have actually man"be confronted a dead is with with he in the important thing that"primal person whom identifies ambivalent "love. withwhich we are must be somethingquite different.but also theearliest ethicalcommandments.the indomitable act alteritythat brings about the failure of the identificatory of violence. withwhat escapes all appropriation. the dialectical assimilation of the other? To returnto and reverse Hegel's term. at the myth'sextremity.

in the end. that we are submittingto nothingbut ourselves. ofmyth.Subject.adding nothing.21 He is myself.""I to say and thathe was therefore I am the other. this All-Mightywho has escaped my power. to what in me is above me.is nothing. it is no longer whollythe myth of the Subject.that it may perhaps enable us to elude it. and it is forthat reason. Yet by adding that this all-powerful ego is "thedead. always himselfbelieved in this myth to a considerable degree. "His Majesty the Ego. what they assemble before." 21. to the ego's superego."In short:"I am not myself. 294: "Man can no longer becausehe had tastedit in his keep deathat a distance to himself as it. he also told us somethingquite different. For. Behold here my death. It is obedience to what in the subject is beyond the subject. what is it telling us? First. inescapable.followingFreud's attemptto to representthe unrepresentable. somethingalmost impossible forcedto utterin mythicterms:"I am death.. buthe was unwilling acknowledge for couldnotconceive dead.and only thereby.and one that also created a group.otherthan theirproper-improper theirproper-improper finitude.Of course. no Chief. it is only repeating the totalitarian the mythof Subject: State. the Fiihrer.and all the more other.like all myths. Ibid.in that. lucidly confronting vast power of the the totalitarianmyth. a community. once more.Yet this myth.theirpropermortality. Freud could only write a new myth." . respectfor othersbeforebeing submission to oneself. he pain aboutthedead.attemptingmyself envisage this other that is me by settingit. is its power: we cannot (but) representthe unrepresentable. Law.creates a "body politic"or a "mysticalbody": "This is my body. before myself. how now can I appease His wrath?" I have just used the language of the myth. that he himselfsuccumbed to its power. Other in generalare Me." And it is also quite true that Freud always Me.The Freudian Subject 127 myselfdead.the mythof the inevitablepower of myth-A mythof the mythicemergenceof the Subject.p. am not subject. of course. is obedience to what withdraws from the body social in its very incorporation and thereby. "total Narcissus." our death." What the members of the murderous horde submit to.powerful. finally. it is a myth. And this All-Other. what unites no them in a community.that is why the enigmatic"retrospective Freud speaks is an ethical respectbeforeit is a political submission.we cannot (but) present the unpresentable.but the myth is inevitable. improperpowerlessness to be Absolute Subjects.the mythof the death is no longerwhollya myth. And that. precisely. in attemptingto representthis deep withdrawalof the subject. no Father. and it to returnto the Freudian myth." obedience" of which And. the Chief. That is why. Here behold your own. Or.