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Verhaeghe, P. (2005). Die Sexualitt in der Formierung des Subjekts. Texte Psychoanalyse.Aesthetik.

Kulturkritik, 25, Heft 3/05, Passagen Verlag, Wien? PP; 33-53;

Sexuality in the Formation of the Subject Paul Verhaeghe In matters of sexuality and eroticism, today at least in our part of the world almost anything is possible.1 This is quite clearly demonstrated by the reduction in the category of perversion that we have seen the last twenty years. Contemporary perversion comes down to the transgresi o i ome c n e ta dta a o tt s n fn r d o s n, n h t b u i o f s meaning that paedophilia and sexual aggression have become the main, if not the only forms of perversion left. Indeed, compared to the neurotic society of 25 years ago, contemporary western discourse is very permissive and what used to be prohibited has now become almost common practice. Contraceptives are reliable and cheap, the age of the first full sexual contact keeps dropping and the sex shops have moved from the back alleys into the main street. In the light of these changes, we expect a massive increase in sexual e j me ti c mb ai wt te ain o a aua s x at a d a aua n y n,n o i t n i h r i f n trl e u l n o n o h sg i y n trl gender identity, meaning undisturbed by cultural and religious restrictions. Instead of that, we are confronted with something completely different. Indeed, although there is probably an increase in sexual enjoyment on the individual level, nevertheless on a larger scale, we are confronted today with a depressive society. On top of that, the issue of gender identity has never been more confusing than it is now. From my point of view, this is the contemporary version of the ever-present scandal of sex: whatever the societal constraints or freedom, there is something that does not work. Freud (1920g) talked about e o dtep a uepi ie, a a a B yn h l sr r c l L cn e np (9 4[9 4: 9 6 ) e t v nfr e wt h n rn o t tu usma q 1 9 1 6 ]5 , 4 w n e e ut r i i U e e c nr o j r h h s e o n u e. Why does it have to be like that? In order to find some answers, I will elaborate two themes. First of all, I will present a brief and selective sketch of the Freudian drive theory. Secondly, I want to discuss the idea of gender identity development in relation to this drive theory. In both these themes, we will meet with an inner conflict that will give us an explanation for the scandal. The drive concept is typically Freudian, meaning: seemingly easy, but very hard to u d rtn .t p e r frh fs t i te ri b a d n e z r e u l e r n es d Ia p as o te i ti n h D e A h n l g n u S x a h oi , a r me u t e dating from 1905, together with the classic distinction between its components: source, object and aim (Freud, 1905d: 135-6; GW V: 34). In 1915, the pressure ( rn i a d da afut e me tFe d 1 1 c 1 2 G X 2 4 From my a g)s d e s o r l n (ru , 9 5 : 2 ; W : 1 -5). D h e point of view, the fact that this pressure is added only later, gives us a wrong idea, because i i e a t te o p se Rg tf m te v r b g n g o Fe d t s x cy h p o i . i l t h r o h ey e i i n n f ru s p yh a a ta w r,h i ao rn se ey h r, v ns mu hs ta h sc o n li l ok te d yc e fD a g i v rw ee e e o c o h t e u e d frn d n mi t n : f k erg, r g n su s s i e t e o n i s Af t t Er u g s mme, u ni te f e ao eb a e Q at i tv a F k rn. t te ed n minations, Freud tries to get hold of an important somatic a t e Wi h s e o o h and sexual factor that has to be psychically processed ta i te i h ts h l d and i o b

Lecture at the Vienna Symposium : T eS a d l f e . sc o n l io S x a Df rn e h c n a o S x P yh a a s f e u l i e c s, ys f e May 2004.

abreacted in order to avoid a psychopathological development. His later definition of the drive repeats this dichotomy, because it situates the drive on the border between the psychic and the somatic and even more so d f e tedi s me s r o ei s h r e a a a ue f n v ted ma dma eu o temi fr ok (ru , 9 5 : 6 , d e 1 1 )T e e h e n d pn h n o w rFe d 1 0 d 1 8 a d d 9 5. h s d ideas appear for the first time in tenw r (8 5 w eeFe dtl a o th h E tuf 1 9 ) h r ru a s b u te k endogenous excitations as something that the organism needs to discharge, but he has to acknowledge that a full discharge is impossible. This impossibility has everything to do with the need for a certain tension, in order to stay alive. The original trend to inertia and tension zero, says Freud, is therefore abandoned and replaced by a tendency to keep the tension as low and as constant as possible (Freud, S. 1978 [1950a [1895]]: 297). In his later terminology, this comes down to the prevalence of the principle of constancy over the pleasure principle. This contradiction in the drive the necessity and at the same time, the impossibility of a full discharge i wto t n d u t ru mo t a i d c v ry s i u a y o b Fe d h s s b s i oe c s concerning human sexuality. Hence the ever-present dualism in his further theories on the drive. For the time being, let us say that in this early period, he discovers the presence of an arousal at the basis of both normal development and psychopathology. This arousal has to be abreacted as fully as possible, and such an abreaction equals satisfaction, with orgasm as the most salient example. His early publications clearly indicate that he considers a rise in tension as unpleasurable, and in case the abreaction is made impossible even pathological. During his clinical work, it becomes obvious that there is always a neurotic conflict to be found at the basis of this impossibility. At that point, Freud introduces another causal factor, namely society. The huge frequency of conflicts in neurosis and the fact that so many people suffer from an unsatisfactory sexual life is caused by the restrictive sexual morality of the society of his time (Freud, 1908d). This explanation will be one of the most propagated Freudian themes, in spite of the fact that it is neither originally Freudian nor that central in his theory. On the contrary even: I want to stress again that the first basic Freudian idea in this field concerns a contradiction in the drive itself. As early as 1896, in a draft to Fliess he discards the thesis that unpleasure has o l t d wt e tra i l n e ;n ta o ta, ew i s myo io tee n o o i x n ln u c s i e d fh th re : I y h e fe s t n p i hr nn mu t ea i e e d n s uc frh rl s o u p a uei s x a l Fe d s b n n p n e t o re o te e a e f n l s r n e u li (ru , d e e f e S., 1978 [1892-99]: 222). This idea disappeared in the post-Freudian era. Especially during the sexual revolution of the seventies, society and education were blamed as the sole sources of sexual frustration and unsatisfaction, and this more often than not, in the n meo Fe d a f ru As I said earlier, the first official appearance of the drive concept dates from 1905, a da tes met , eaei rd c dt afs v ri o ted as I h ri n th a i w r n o u e o i t es n fh u lm.n i D e me t r o i s A h n l g n h s d ste s x a di i rl i t c r i specific somatic b a d n e e t i h e u l r e n e t n o et n u ue v ao a zones that are activated during the development of the child, with the oral and the anal zone as the most prominent examples. The most well-k o nsa d l Fe d n w c n a i ru n s theory on sexuality originates from these ideas. Not only is he describing sexuality in children, on top of that, the specific forms of this infantile sexuality are perverse, as it uses other bodily zones besides the genital region. Let us not forget that in the early 20th century, oral and anal sexuality were still considered as highly aberrant, even by the early Freud (Freud, S., 1905d: 169). This will bring him to the idea of human polymorph perversity. Although this might seem quite important for the theme of this conference, we will not go any further into it. There is yet another Freudian discovery that I consider

moe i otn,e pe s d b te i a o n h u g,t n l e i E gs b r mp r t x rse y h d a e f A l n n r s td n n lh y e a a i n ct T es x a di saegatdo t oh rmoeoin l r e o n e s a a lc. h e u l r e r rf i i v e no te, r r i di s r e d ga v that are strictly necessary for the survival of the individual. It seems as if the sexual drive colonizes the basic somatic needs, thus turning them into something different. The main example is the oral need for sucking food that reappears in every form of oral sexuality (Freud, S., 1905d: 181-82; GW V: 82). The same reasoning can be made for the anal function and the anal drive (Freud, S., 1905d: 185; GW V: 86). In both cases, a basic somatic function and its accompanying pleasure and object are taken over by something completely different. Even that different that the new function can be diametrically opposed to the original one, meaning survival. From a Lacanian point of view, we meet here with the transition from need to desire; moreover, it is very important to acknowledge another transition, because here, the dimension of the object and hence of the Other is introduced as well. Usually, it is said that infantile sexuality is strictly auto-erotic; from my point of view, this is a wrong reading of Freud and of infantile sexuality. We will return to this introduction of the other when we discuss the development of the gender identity. T e i a o n h u g,i otn a i i i to s f t rn e te h d e f A l n n mp r t s t s s o ot o e d r h e a , significance of the underlying process. It is here that Freud grounds his first dualistic drive theory, introducing at the same time a basic opposition. At first sight, it seems as if the evolution from oral need to oral drive is nothing but a further evolution, a kind of extension of a bodily function. In 1910, this is changed into an opposition. On the one hand, Freud describes the sexual drives as such, on the other hand the drives of self-pe ev t n( e s ra u g te e) Fe d S, 9 0 2 4 G VI 9 -8).2 rs rai l t h l n s i (ru , .1 1 i 1 ; W I: 7 o S be t rb : I Indeed, the rosy picture of the sexual drives continuing the self-preservative ones is contradicted by clinical practice. A vital need such as eating, drinking, defecating, speaking, seeing can become impossible because of the sexual component that is grafted upon it. The hysterical conversion symptoms are exemplary in this respect, because time and again, they make a certain somatic function impossible. This can go very far, just think of the anorectic patient who starves herself until death. T e fr e e o t n i Fe d te r i s c ta te di s frs l h ut r v l i n ru h oy s u h h t h r e o e h uo s v f preservation become more or less synonymous with the ego-drives, still in opposition to the sexual drive as such. The introduction in 1915 of the concept of narcissism shatters this opposition, because the ego in itself can function as a sexual object, thus lifting the opposition between ego and sexual drives. It will take Freud another five years to reformulate his original discovery, i.e. the inner conflict in the drive. His n w fr l i i e s i d sL s r z s (9 0 ) r g u h f a te r o e omu t n n J n e s e u t i i 1 2 g bi s s i i lh oy n ao t pn p n s n the opposition between life and death drive, Eros and Thanatos. These ideas will cause less scandal, mainly because they will never be fully understood nor accepted. As we will see, in a certain way, this retakes his initial discovery about the necessity and the impossibility of a full discharge. Before going into that, I want to focus on what could be interpreted as a kind of paradox. At the start of his theory, Freud stresses the idea of component drives, meaning that there is no such a thing as a general, let alone a genital drive. The
In itself, this opposition is not new, it is already present in a certain classic Greek tradition, with their difference between the organikos and the phusis (Assoun, 1997, a, b). The first one concerns the instrumental functioning of the body, the second covers the principle of growth and generation. In this tradition, the organikos is imbued with phusis even to that extent that the latter can take over. This is exactly what Freud discovers during his clinical practice. Notice that this opposition i a a a i en l n , ed n n e s c t a di rs a t i od roe p i tec nlth ts s g i n n ra o e w o e d o i y n t e t i s n re t x ln h o f ta i n t t e s rn a i c at work within sexuality.

oedipal structure tries to bundle these partial drives under the phallic flag, but in one way or another, this bundling never succeeds fully and the partial drives remain operational. His last theory on Eros and Thanatos seems to discard completely this idea of the partial character, and instead of that, we meet with two massive drives which are, moreover, usually combined in their appearance. In a beautiful paper that comments this evolution in Freud, S.Andr (1984) summarises this paradox as follows. In 1905, Freud studies the drive through perversion, which makes him discover the component drives. In 1920 he studies the drive through love and hate, which leads him to the opposition between Eros and Thanatos. In between, he discovered human narcissism and was confronted with the transference love, and that explains this shift, says Andr. In a certain way, his is right, of course, but as we will see, the theory on Eros and Thanatos can be read in a different way, combining them with the component drives and accentuating much more the aspect of identity development. Identity is always an effect of love and hate, more particularly an effect of identification and separation. L t sc meb c n w t Fe d d as a ds eh w tefs o p s eu o a k o o ru u lm n e o h i t p o ition is s i r handled in this final theory. In his ontological vision, the aim of life is to return to the original happy state of tension zero. This leads Freud to a strange and even frightening conclusion: the point zero of total discharge is nothing but death and og s a p t motfrs a o s d ah T i i ls ta te p a ue ra m s l ei a t e r oe h d w e t. h mpe h t h l s r s i e principle operates in the service of Thanatos with its propensity towards disintegration. Diametrically opposed, Freud postulates the existence of the life drive, Eros, always directed towards fusion and tension enhancement. In order to find the c r s o d goin l tt, ru h dt rfroAio h n s my o teoin l or p n i r i s e Fe d a o ee t r tp a e t n h r i e n ga a s h ga unity of two people, divided later on by the intervention of some divine instance. In this respect, satisfaction equals a rise in tension and this is both new and paradoxical. As a consequence, what he called previously the drives of self-preservation have to be included now in the Thanatos-drive, because what has to be preserved or returned to is this original state of satisfaction, i.e. tension zero. As this sounds very paradoxical, Freud corrects himself and via an additional reasoning, he succeeds in shifting the self-preservation drive to the life or Eros drive (Freud, S., 1920g: 38-40; GW XIII: 43). In the meantime, his theory becomes rather blurred, mainly because while reading his complicated reasoning, we tend to forget about the basic theme of ti b o : J n e sd sL s r z s. ru i s u gn wt te v r n t n o h o k e s i e u t i i Fe d s t g lg i h ey oi f s t pn p r i h o pleasure and satisfaction, and the main revision of his drive theory has everything to do with this revision. The consequences of this new dualism are far-reaching. Besides a completely new theory of the drives, it necessitates important changes in the theory of the ego as well and it destroys the idea that human life is exclusively ordered by the pleasure pi ie Id e , fh ton wdi s is rs h t u s me wti ie te e r c l n e d o te w e r e , iEo ta s b u d i n t l h l np. v t h sf i f e h n i e u l r e T ee o n a c g s x a di . h g -drives are finished so far as self-preservation is n v concerned (Freud, S., 1920g: 52-55). Moreover, in a later paper (1924c), Freud speaks about the deadly narcissistic dimension of the Ego. And how does this lifeenhancing element of Eros work? The example of sexual activity shows the way: its effect is not only the discharge of tension through orgasm, it also adds new quantities of excitation, in other words: sexuality increases tn i tru h te e e va e s n ho g h s n w i l o t d frn e Fe d S, 9 0 : 5 i e c s (ru , .1 2 g 5 ) f e Thus, Freud does not only rediscover his initial opposition within the drive, he e e h st e l g ii oas u trl p o i n I h rj t h h da e d v n a o n re tn a t t c a o p si .n i Po c e a l a y r u t o s e r

postulated a zero hypothesis: the organism aims for a zero level of tension. In reality, this was never the case; it had to be content with keeping the level of tension constant and preferably as low as possible. This ambiguity is now solved in the 1920 paper: the pleasure principle is rebaptised as the Nirvana principle and strives for point zero, but it is countered by another force, beyond the pleasure principle, that time and again succeeds in heightening the arousal. At this opposite end of the spectrum, we find Eros maintaining and enhancing tension in the service of life. Obviously, this arise in tension is searched for as well and experienced as another kind of pleasure. At this crossroads, Freud encountered serious trouble with his understanding of satisfaction. Inevitably, he had to question his previous conceptions i telh o h a ta d c v r ta,oo i tee s r r ciple, the ultimate n h i t f i c l i o ey h tflwn h p a ue pi g s u s l g l n form of pleasure is nothing but death. No surprise then, that he ends this reasoning wt tepo h t s tme th mi t etes rn -p i frrs i e t ai s i h rp ei t e n:T i g b h t t g o to f h n sg t n h c a s h ai n e v i o (Freud, S., 1920g: 63). He will never make the required development himself. In 1924 (Freud, S., 1924c), he tries to introduce a further clarification that only succeeded in bringing greater obscurity. In summary, we can say that Freud has discovered here a second kind of pleasure, a pleasure that goes beyond the common sense of his first theory, because it is a pleasure that might include pain. Even more so: the pleasure principle in its original formulation contains an inherent failure. Freud was forced to acknowledge the striving for another kind of enjoyment and the accompanying rise in tension as a goal of the drive as well, besides the classic goal, i.e. the total discharge o tep ai p a ue Moe v rFe d n wdi te r pe u p s stooin l fh h l l s r. ro e, ru e r e h oy rs p o e w r i l e c s v ga opposite states to which the organism wants to return, each with its typical form of satisfaction: Eros strives for fusion, its pleasure concerns the raising of tension. Thanatos strives for disintegration, pleasure is situated at the level of zero tension: sleep, even death. To conclude our selective summar o Fe d di te r, ec u s yta te y f ru r e h oy w o l a h th s v d mo tmp r n po l c n en te rn nc mb ai wt teq e t nw a s i ot t rb m o c rs h D a g i o i t n i h u so h t a e n o h i s tfco i T eoino ti rn i i c r i s maiz n s a di a t b aia t n s h r i fh D a g lsn et n o t o e , n t s o e s i . g s e a c h abreacted as fully as possible, although an internal conflict seems to hinder this process. Translated into the Eros and Thanatos theory, we can say that the rise in tension is caused by the Eros drive (identified by Freud with love) with its tendency towards fusion and becoming the One. Thanatos (identified by Freud with hate), on the other hand, with its tendency towards separation, causes a decline in tension. To Fe d s rr e b t tee h n e n a dtea ra t nc nb e p r n e a ru upi , oh h n a c me t n h be co a e x ei c d s s s i e pleasurable, inspite of their opposite character. In all this, it seems as if the object is the least important element of the whole drive economy. In our second part, we will pe e t d frn ra i o Fe d b a dl g b s do L c n te r.nti rs n a i e te d g f ru , y n a e a e n a a h oy I h f e n r s s reading, the dimension of the Other is central. The introduction of the Other will p r tu t c mb e Fe d fs a d l tdi te r (at ldi s a d emi s o o i n ru i t n a s r s r e h oy p ra r e n v i v Eros/Thanatos) with the (gender) identity development. As we will see, the latter is more or less a development of drive regulation as well. In spite of the classic interpretation, the dimension of the Other is very much present i Fe d te r, n ti e e i h nw r f m 1 9 . o Fe d tes rn n ru h oy a d h v n n i E tuf r s s s o 8 5 F r ru ,h t t g ai point of human development is an original experience of unpleasure, called pain ( c mez)ta i te c n e u n e o a i en l e d w o e pooy e ae h r h t s h o s q e c f n n ra n e , h s rtt s r S t p hunger and thirst. Freud understands this pain as an accumulation of tension. It is not

so difficult to understand this arousal as the effect of the component drives. The infa t ra t n t ti u p a ua l su t n i pooy i la d po i s te n e co o h n l s rb i ai s rtt c n rv e h s i s e e t o pa d foundation for all subsequent intersubjective relationships: the helpless baby turns to teoh r ycy g T eoh rss p o e t tk c r o tep ci a t n h t h te b ri . h te i u p s d o a e ae fh s e i co s ta n f c i will relieve the inner tension (Freud, 1950a (1895), pp. 317-321; 1926d, pp. 169-172). Such an intervention will always consist of a combination of words and acts, indicating to the child that the Other has understood the demand and tries to respond to it. The importance of this primary interaction cannot be overestimated, because it forms the foundation for every subsequent relation. First, an original somatic tension caused by the component drives becomes indissolubly linked to the Other, meaning that the partial drive receives an intersubjective dimension right from the very beginning. Even more so: the Other is ascribed the responsibility for the relieve of my tension. Second, in the beginning the subject-to-be has to take the passive stance, he or she is totally dependent on the Other. Third, we meet here with the primary anxiety of every subject, meaning: separation anxiety. The absence of the Other or the lack of his response is unbearable. Accordingly, we find here the primary longing as well, i.e. to be one with the Other. As we will see, every one of these points will be reversed into its opposite during the further subject formation. The Oedipal period results in the subject taking the responsibility for the lack of the Other. Even before that, the striving for an active position will already be obvious, and the anxiety for separation is normally replaced by a desire for autonomy. The only remaining constancy is that the reactions of the Other determine the identity of the subject-to-be. We will focus on this last point. Originally, there is no psychic identity present whatsoever. The infant functions as an organism, automatically driven by its needs and the component drives. In the psychoanalytical tradition, this is the period of auto-erotism, before the development of the ego. In the official Freudian theory, it is only at the time of narcissism that the ego is developed, although he is not very clear in this respect. It is much more interesting to look at an almost forgotten part of Freudian theory, that gives us a better understanding of identity development through the interactions between subject and other. In this respect, Freud (1920g: 26-28; 1925h) talks about the r l g te a E o, n e e a o th c lfc gtee tra w r The pi e o,h r l g a d v n b u te e a i h x n l ol ma e l n e d. developmental process starts with an interaction between this primal Ego and the outer world, resulting in the Ego making a differentiation of three different aspects in this external world: that which produces pleasure, that which produces unpleasure and that which leaves the primal Ego indifferent. Note that we have to do here with satisfaction, and hence with the rise and fall in the level of tension. Freud more or less describes this process in biological or even ethological terms: the primitive organism-in-process, the cell, literally takes in parts of the external world. Whatever it finds pleasurable, stays inside; whatever produces an unpleasurable feeling, is sent back out. This means that the experience of tension and relieve of tension results in identity development as such, and that this identity is entirely coming from the outside. The primitive ego-in-process confronts the external world and literally incorporates parts of it. The unpleasurable part is spat out as fast as possible again, so that initially the external world and the bad not-I are synonymous. Conversely, the pleasurable part remains inside, meaning that the primary ego and pleasure are synonymous, which Freud calls the primitive pleasure-ego. These processes of

incorporation and expulsion are the precursors of the later intellectual function of j g n,nw i c ni t n(e h n )ses t frn op rt n( e ,h i u me ti h h o fmai B j u g i raz o i roai s ti s d c r o a c o y s mi a dn g t ni tes ce s roe p lo ( o ti i n t n N t ta n ) n e ai s h u c so t x u i ,h s o mi ) oe h t e o sn n s e. for Freud, confirmation is on the side of Eros and fusion, while negation is the effect o ted ahdi tn e c tw rss p rt na dd i e rt n(ru , 9 5 : fh e t r e e d n y o ad e aai n in gai Fe d 1 2 h vs o st o 239). The entire process is directed by the experience of pleasure or unpleasure, that is by the rise and fall of arousal. In human development, the literal incorporation and expulsion will be soon enough replaced by the incorporation and expulsion of perceptual images. It is at the point where images are linked to words that what is quintessentially human about the interaction begins. This major developmental step means that from that point onwards, we are no longer dealing with an exchange between an organism and an external world, but with an exchange between subject and Other. In concrete terms: tet n i nf m temoh r be s t temoh ro g e T i i w yfr a a h r si r h a t o o te ra to h s te tn u . h s h o L c n s the Other, with a capital, indicates both the concrete other and the totality of what the other says to the child. The use of words and images introduces other mechanisms while the process of identity formation remains the same. Instead of the literal incorporation of the p a ua l us e, en w h v identification with certain signifiers of the Other. l s rb o td w o a e e e i Is a o te l rl x u i o te u p a ua l us e,we now have the n t d f h i a e p lo f h n l s rb o td e t e sn e e i repression of what yields unpleasure (Freud, 1915c, 135ff). Iw tr n w t L c n ii v r e s t e d reFe d te r wt h f e un o o a a ,ts ey a y o n os ru h oy i i s h s mio s g . r f s mmai d L c n te r rn a flw .nteb g n g r r t e Bi l u r a ey r e , a a h oy u s s oo s I h e i i , s s l nn the infant experiences the arousal coming from the component drives as something e tra i i tdi a a e e b tel tr a. h i a tsn t b t rg l e x n l n c e n L c n s y h e e T e n n i o a l o e u t e , da t f e a these drives, or even to experience them as belonging to its own body as a whole. It is only through the moh r ra t nta tec i g i p yh ay ce s oi o n te e co h th hd a s sc i l a c s t t w s i l n cl s b d , e a s ii temoh r h pe e t tec i wt a i g o w a i o y b c u e ts h te w o rs ns h hd i n ma e f h tti . l h s3 Lacan illustrates this didactically with what is known as the single mirror construction from the optica (see figure 1). By means of an ingenious construction with a convex mirror, a real bouquet of flowers and a real vase underneath, the image of the vase is projected around the flowers (Lacan, 1966: 673). Fig 1 Here, the flowers stand for the component drives, and the vase for the container ta i tec i b d a attl i w i te fn t n T eo ta e p r n h ts h hd o y s oat n h h h y u co . h pi l x ei t : ls i y c i c me shows how through the reflection process, the mirror causes the flowers/the partial drives to appear to be clothed by the containing surface of the vase/the body, to be literally in corporated (corpus means body in Latin). From a psychoanalytical point of view, this means that it is the mother who presents the child with the image that builds its primal identity. Such an image is never neutral, because the mother needs t i epe tec i ao s la di ti i epeai , e o nd s ea dp si o n rrth hd ru a n n h n rrtt n h r w e i n o i n t ls , s t o r t o towards the partial drives will play a central role. Anyhow, the foundational layer of identity boils down to the image presented by the Other that the child takes in or rfs st tk i F r ru (9 3 )o ,h e oi i tefs i tn eteb d eu e o a e n o Fe d 1 2 b to te g s n h i tn a c h o y . r s s surface to which psychological contents are added later.

Recently, this thesis has been empirically endorsed by Fonagy et alii (2002).

This has far reaching consequences: the most intimate part of o re e ,o r us l s u v o n b d ,sh n e t u b teO h r A c ri t L c n teu c n c u i w o y i a d d o s y h te. cod g o a a ,h n o si s s n o structured like a language, and in this respect, obviously, the body functions as the first sheet of paper upon which the Other writes its message. The first Other, usually temoh ri e t i tei a t b d tru hd ma da dd s ethe desire of h te,n s n h n n o y ho g e n n e i v s f s r the Other, that is to say and in the meantime the infant acquires a consciousness of h v gab d o i n a n wt i n d s e(a a , . 9 1[ ai n o y f so l g i t o e i L c n J 1 9 1960-61]: 255). t w ,o hs w r Consequently, the subject acquires a hysterical body image, that is to say, one that is signified by the signifiers of the Other. A p c lr sima s e ti a p c o L c n te r i fi e s t s e ua a t y e m,h s e t f a a h oy s a l a y o i s s r y recognize in everyday life. At the societal level, it is always the Other (in the form of fashion, medicine, gender roles, art, health care, etc.) who not only determines the look and form of the body, but in particular how it enjoys (its movements, food, drink, eroticism). On a micro level, the parents, i.e. the first and the second Other, explicitly c lo tefr o tes b cs o y b t i tr o l k a de j me tA s c , a frh om fh u j t b d , oh n ems f o s n n y n. s u h l e o o 4 this body image forms the basic layer of identity. The next step in the formation of the subject is the introduction of language, which is explained by Lacan in his double mirror construction (Lacan, 1966: 674). Speech presents an Ego-Ideal for the subject in combination with a lack. This lack is a structural one: the symbolic order is never able to cover the Real entirely. Basically, the processes remain the same as the one described by Freud: identification and repression. The introduction of the lack, however, adds a different dimension. Or, more correctly: it adds the dimension of difference. The signifiers presented by the O h r on t n ao fr ne tn i o tes b csrpe e ttec n t co te d o o l lw o a x s n fh u j t e rs nai o s u t n y l e o e v r i o i w d ni, th s met ,h ypo i ap sil fr h s b c t ft o n i t a te a s e t y i te rv e me d o s iy o te u j to bi t e distance itself from the Other. We will have to return to this idea of a lack and a distance later in our reasoning, when we focus on Thanatos and separation. Before going into that, let us summarize what we have. Identity comes from the O h ra a a s e t ter be u g,h di i u ee p r n e b the infant te, s n n w ro h Ti rg n te r e mp l x ei c d y e v s e in its own body. The mechanism is an identification with the image presented by the other. Identification and identity do have an interesting etymology in this respect, as te g b c t teL t e t s, a i i ni l s. h y o a k o h ai i ni me n g d ta e s Wea q i our identity n d t a n e cn cu e r by trying to be identical with the Other. Freud recognises here the work of Eros with its propensity for fusion, i.e. for becoming One. At the very same time, identity formation comes down to a process of drive regulation as well, because it is the basic way of coping with the arousal caused by the partial drives.5 This leads us to a number of new questions. How is it possible for the subject to become something of his own, to make a choice, if everything is coming from the Other? The answer to this question has to do with separation and Thanatos, explaining how the most loved

In order to stress the fact that this identity comes from the Other, Lacan uses the concept of alienation instead of identification (Lacan, 1994 [1964]).; see Verhaeghe, 1998b). 5 This aspect of regulation culminates in a special identification with the Other, i.e. the Ueber-Ich. But even before this particular formation, it can be said that every identification with the Other amounts to a drive regulation. Lacan expresses this by a pun concerning the acquisition of the very first identity d r gtemio s g :t j itr efc h s y,ste r/ emo me (ob mye , ui h r r t e i u l oy f t e a s i h m emat n r a s ba e, t r i -m e s l t f t b l g t mye , o b ma tro mye (a a , .1 9 (9 9 o e n o sl t e s o f e f s l) L c n J 9 1 1 6 -70): 178). The combination f between identity development and drive regulation is empirically demonstrated by the recent attachment theory, which moreover resumes largely the idea of mirroring as well (Fonagy, P., Gergely, G., Jurist, E. & Target, M., 2002). For a larger study on the freudo-lacanian theory on identity formation, see Verhaeghe 2004.

object is at the same time also the most hated one. Second, how do we develop a gender identity? In this respect, the answer has to do with the lack of the Other, i.e. with castration. In its attempts to cope with the tension of the drive, the child appeals to the first Other. The mother interprets this appeal as a demand, based on her own stance towards her own partial drives, and in this way she formulates an answer that contains her own desire. As a result, the child identifies itself with the image pe e tdb ti O h rta i t s y ii ni swt teO h r d s e i od ro rs ne y h te,h ts o a ,td te i h te e i ,n re t s e f i h s r rc i a a s e t i o n ao s l A s l e a l te c i cy g i e e e n n w r o t w ru a v s . i e x mp : h hd ri s mp e ls n interpreted by the first Other as a demand for food and, as a consequence, the child not only has to eat but, based on this interpretation, it is obliged to interpret its own arousal as caused by a lack of food. With this interpretation, the first Other expresses her own desire to which the child has to submit itself if it is to receive an answer to its own drive. Compared to the primary interaction where the other received the responsibility for answering the need of the child, we meet here again with a striking reversal. In order to get an answer to its own lack, the child has to model itself a c ri t teO h r d s e imu td ni wt i Fo ta mo n o w rs cod g o h te e i :t s i t i t rm h t me t n ad , n s r e f h . y the subject receives the responsibility for answering the desire of the Other, and the d frn eb te ntes b csa dteO h r d s eb c me b r d ed s e i e c ew e h u j t n h te e i e o s l r :t e i f e e s r ue h r o tes b c ited s eo teO h r fh u j t h e i fh te e s r . The subject wants the (m)other all to itself, to be sure of getting/giving a complete answer to (a). Such a complete answer is impossible, there is always a rma d r n an c si fr nn oe: te rn e p din . Moreover, e i e a d e e sy o a E c r h D a g k e s r i 6 n t vg teo d a c i d c v r ta temoh r d s ed e n t n g e o tote h e i l hd i o es h th p l s te e i o s o o l o s u t h s r y child itself, but also towards a third figure. In combination with language acquisition, this triangular situation introduces the dimension of difference, that is the difference between the child, the mother and the father, opening up with a possibility of choice between several presented possibilities. Who am I, in relation to the desire of the first Other, in relation to the desire of the second Other, and which position do I take between those two? For Lacan, the distinguishing element in all this is the symbolic phallus.7 The mother turns to the father for something the child itself is unable to give. Hence, a third point is set up between the mother and the child. The assumption will

Encore (g i , eteo L c n 2 t s mi r L c n J (9 5[9 2 a a )h i f a a 0h e n (a a , .1 7 1 7 -73]) refers to the structural n t l s a necessity for the endless repetition in the field of love and sexuality. This is his reading of the failure of Fe d p a uepi ie ru l s r r c l s e np. 7 This has to be understood within the larger Lacanian theory on the Oedipus in neurosis. For Lacan, the oedipal structure functions as a metaphor. The first signifier to be signified to the child concerns the desire of the mother, being her reaction to the arousal experienced by the child. In order to answer this desire, the child wants to identify itself totally with the desire of the mother. It experiences its own answer as a failure, because the absence or presence of the (m)other remains enigmatic. At the same time, its own drive impulses remain unresolved as well. This is where the name-of-the-father enters the game as an answer to the enigmatic desire of the mother. The introduction of the name-of-thefather puts an end to the situation in which the child has to answer the desire of the mother and vice versa, meaning that the confrontation with its unresolved drive impulses becomes eminent again. The oedipal mastery comes down to symbolizing these impulses through the phallic signifier. The result is that the child is introduced into the dialectics of desire. For Lacan, the accent is on the fact that the phallus, being a signifier, depends on an interpretation by the subject. If the phallus is interpreted in a symbolic way, the creation of an own desire becomes possible. In case the subject remains stuck wti a i g ayp si ,t ira t i h v go b i e p au .L c n J 1 6 : 5 -558; i n n ma i r o i n iwl e c wt a i r e g t h ls (a a , . 9 6 5 7 h n t o l h n n h l , 685-696).

b ta ti O h r a tef a a s e t tei e r ei tn i . o tec i, e h th te h s i,h i l n w ro h n ri n e s n F rh hd s t n n s o l j t h th o sttss from clear. And the very same lack of clarity lingers u w a ti i c n t e ifar s st i u o i tea u s T i o e pe s n leh t o nrayh ss meh gT a n n h d l. h k f x rsi s i T a w me e l a o ti !h t t n o k l n g y o i . h mo n tio ti ri mu t ed f e , ebu hu a a s u g t ! T e me th s meh g o s b ei d w rs p g i t t s n t n n an impossibility. The sole ti t e ref m ti i ta a s meh gt d h g o meg r h s h ti h s o ti o o n o s t n with sexual difference, and is supposed to answer our desire for an answer coming f m teO h rT ec ne th t ru g e ti ia rd a a isn i :i i te r h te. h o tn ta Fe d i s h s s a i l s t a e s h o v s c i v t real penis. Lacan abstracts it and coins it the phallus. The real penis can leave us with the illusion that desire, even the drive, can be satisfied. The phallus, in contrast, is a signifier and in that sense only an indicator of the dreamt-of unreachable end point of desire, the signifier for what would finally resolve the lack. The father is only supposed to possess this phallus, nothing more. The fact that something involving gender difference is used as an indicator for what would fulfil desire has very specific consequences T ec i tri t te . h hd un g o h ls n father by way of the mother means that the originally genderless mother/child interaction is characterized from this moment on by sexual difference and by the difference between two generations. This means, too, that gender identity is a secondary construction, based on another, previously non-genital relationship. As a result, the component drives gain a phallic interpretation and the child interprets the pregenital in phallo-sexual terms. This reworking means that the original separation a x t ic a g di oc s ai a x t Gv nFe d c n enwt tera p n , n i ys h n e n a t t n n i y i e t ro e . e ru o c r i h e l e i s h s he understands castration anxiety literally. With Lacan, the idea acquires a different meaning beyond the anatomic Freudian reading. Imaginary castration anxiety involves an anxiety about being unable to satisfy the phallic desire of the Other and hence, being left or even rejected by this Other because of this inability. The latter rc i stog n e rl e v ri s tema i ari ta h d e n s f e e e w e d r e td es n :h v a o n s f d h t e o s uf a t i ciently have the (imaginary) phallus; the woman is afraid that she insufficiently is the imaginary phallus (Lacan, 1994 (1956-57). This leads to the characteristic masculine u n s b o o R c rs-hysteria, and in a more restricted, sexual sense, to G i e s o k f e od n Va r.nw me , ee c u trh s Wol -hysteria, eventually accompanied i a I o n w n o ne te Mi g s r d with excesses in plastic surgery. S c s ai uhc t tn a r o -anxiety functions as a secondary or signal anxiety, because it is, in itself, already a defensive processing of the underlying primary anxiety (Verhaeghe, 2001: 9-17). Through this Oedipal processing, the original anxiety acquires another meaning. It no longer concerns separation anxiety as such, but rather an anxiety about being reduced to the passive position and falling back into the earlier situation of total dependence on the Other. This can be read in Freud as well: in his final and most powerful conceptualisation of castration, Freud explicitly describes anxiety about being in the passive position as the foundation of castration anxiety, and this for both the boy and the girl (Freud, S., 1937c: 250-253). Taking the active stance in the sexual exchange is just a more specific illustration of the need for an autonomous position towards the Other. The initial anxiety for separation turns here into its opposite, i.e. the desire for autonomy and independence, not only in matters of drive economy but also in matters of identity. As we have explained, the two go together. This shift from passive to active, from fusion to autonomy is at the same time a shift from Eros to Thanatos. This shift has to be nuanced: Freud teaches us that life a dd ahdi o eaei ami dw y( r b sh n Fe d S, 9 3 : 0 -5; n e t r e p rt n v x e a i mi u g, ru , .1 3 a 1 4 Te c GW XV: 111-2). The pre-oedipal prevalence of dependency and fusion has to give way to a post-oedipal focus on autonomy and separation, but the two remain


operative in a combined way. These mechanisms are at work both in the field of eroticism as in the field of identity. To be reduced to the mere object of enjoyment of the Other is unbearable, both for man and for woman, turning eventually the erotic encounter into a battle (who enforces an orgasm to whom?). To be reduced to a (gender)identity prescribed by the Other gives us a fake feeling and every subject wants to put forward his of her own particularity. To conclude: identity development and drive regulation are two sides of the same process that takes place through the interaction with the Other. The driving force of tec mp n n di si te rn oin h o o e t r e s h D a g, r i v g ating in certain bodily zones that cause a rise in tension asking for a form of abreaction. This is the first conflict, basically on a somatic level. The intervention of the Other is asked for by the subject, thus shifting the responsibility for the answer to the drive back and forth between subject and O h r A ti p i , h rn i tre i o li , a i ta te c nlts te. t h o t te D a g s un d n id me n g h t h o f i s n t bo n i c installed on the interpersonal level. The Eros drive explains the longing of every subject to become One with the Other, by identifying with the desire of this Other and thus receiving an answer to the own lack at the same time. Satisfaction in this respect equals tension. The accompanying risk is that the subject ceases to exist on its own, as it disappears into a fusion with the Other. That is where the Thanatos drive is set into motion, explaining the tendency in the subject towards autonomy and separation from the very same Other. The resulting satisfaction is of an opposite nature, as the abreaction destroys every tension and throws the subject back on its own. T i i tec n a o s x at w aeo le t tk o r ia c sf m teo e h s h sa d l f e u l : e r bg d o a e u d tn e r h n s i y i s o who we love. In more extreme terms: we love to hate the other, or we hate to love the other.

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