4 de junio de 2009

[Lacanian-Orientation-US] Reading "Hurly-Burly" Late into the Night

The London Society
of the New Lacanian School

Dear Colleagues,
Even though the majority of us are not Americans, I am forwarding our colleague Thomas Svolos’ enthusiastic review of a brand new journal, Hurly Burly, published by the NLS in English. He says it better than most of us could have and I thank him for providing us with this informative statement. I second his praise for this publication and add my congratulations to the editors.
Kind Regards
Natalie Wulfing

Dear American colleagues,

Like most of you, I receive many journals and books to read. I especially like journals, as they allow me to read transcripts of papers presented at meetings and events across the world, programs that I have been unable to attend, not the least of which is the Seminar of Jacques-Alain Miller that we are now able to read in English, thanks to the work of Lacanian Ink and other journals. This is important above all for us Lacanians, as our work in Schools and together in the World Congresses, is oriented around collaborative presentations and discussions on a theme that we work on, individually, at times in local meetings, at times in larger meetings.

Last night, I cracked open the first issue of Hurly-Burly, the new English-language journal of the New Lacanian School--and ended up staying up for hours late last night reading text after text. It came in at close to 250 pages, and its sheer size is matched by an ambitious program set out in the Editorial by Pierre-Gilles Gueguen, the Director of the Publication, to survey--from our psychoanalytic orientation--the world today: art, culture, politics, science, the mental health field, and, of course, psychoanalysis itself. This journal--Edited by Sophie Marret-Maleval--lives up to this ambition and exceeds it in what it has delivered in the texts in this first issue. Risking a bit of what could be called hyperbole, if it was not true, I will say that this is absolutely essential reading for anyone interested in psychoanalysis in the Lacanian orientation today. I will describe how you may get a copy, but first want to elaborate why I think this journal is so valuable.

It starts with a text by Denis Noble on genetics and biology, a text in which the Oxford biologist addresses--among other things--many of the fundamental misconceptions people have about genetics today and what that science will offer. The discovery of the chemistry of the genome by Watson and Crick led to what was often described as the central dogma of biology: namely that the genes code for proteins, that it is a one-way transmission of information. Many have extended this to further claim that the genes encode for proteins and the proteins are determinant for the cell and thus the organism. I think that it is fair to say that the central dogma has been, if not refuted, at least now known to have many exceptions. This refutation includes the remarkable work dating back to the 1920's done by Barbara McClintock, whose careful study--using not molecular genetics but old-fashioned naturalistic observation--of the coloration patterns of corn and their gene morphology led to her hypothesis of jumping genes and the further developments elsewhere in biology that demonstrate various ways in which the genetic code is manipulated by other genes and by protein molecule. The hypothesis that "information" flows in multiple directions was iconoclastic work for which McClintock eventually won the Nobel Prize. Well, while the central dogma is no longer a scientific truth (and Noble in this text proposes a valuable alternative systems approach to biology), it certainly persists as what we might refer to as a central ideologma. We hear often from colleagues in the mental health field and even at times in the complaints of patients a view that their suffering may be reduced to a genetic determination, a view that Noble carefully dissects in his text.

On a completely different level, the heart of the journal contains a series of texts on the Pass. One of Lacan's greatest contributions to the institution of psychoanalysis, the Pass simultaneously destroyed the guild-like hierarchy of training psychoanalysts and a certain politics of "expertise" supporting that structure. In creating his School, Lacan gave the privileged place to those analysands, those people who at the end of their analysis, were able to convey something about their experience of psychoanalysis to the School. Such analysands may not be the most "knowledgeable" or "experienced" analysts, but they are the ones who have taken the psychoanalytic experience to its endpoint, and in their successful transmission of their experience, they are named Analysts of the School, the greatest honor among Lacanian psychoanalysts. In English, we now having a growing literature on the Pass and some Testimonies of the Pass (see issues 2, 8, 10, 16, and 17 of Psychoanalytical Notebooks, and the Testimony of Mauricio Tarrab in issue 11 of Lacanian Compass), and here in Hurly-Burly, we have Miquel Bassol's presentation from the 2006 Rome Congress on "The Wager of the Pass" which elucidates the role of the Pass in the institution of psychoanalysis and the Testimonies of two of the most recent Analysts of the School, Antoni Vicens and Bernard Seynhaeve. Complementing these both very moving and very precise descriptions of analysis is the reading of the two Testimonies given by Esthela Solano-Suarez, herself a former Analyst of the School. This section of the issue is most valuable, for it is our evidence. For psychoanalysts, the evidence of our work is not to be found in a general knowledge, in randomly controlled trials and the academic discourse of today (itself very carefully scrutinized by François Leguil in his text on the clinic also to be found in this issue--see also Dominique Laurent's contribution for a thoughtful examination of the contemporary clinical use of "depression"), but in the singular evidence that an analysand might create in his or her analysis, about which these Testimonies provide the most clear "documentation." This section of the issue further develops the Anglophone literature on the Pass and will provide valuable texts for our work in the future.

As I indicated, the work of the Schools in collaboratively addressing a theme is a hallmark of our orientation. And, in this issue, we have two groups of texts associated with that. We have the texts of Alexandre Stevens, Jean-Louis Gault, and Anne Lysy-Stevens on Interpretation. This was the theme of the NLS Congress in April and is the upcoming theme of the Clinical Study Days to be held here in New York in October. Some of these texts we know well: we worked through the Stevens text here in Omaha, and the Lysy-Stevens text was a reading for one of our U.S. Video-Seminars. All these texts will become new reference texts as we address the theme of Interpretation in our teaching in the years ahead.

For the 2010 Congress of the WAP in Paris, we will be addressing the theme of "Semblants and Sinthomes." We now have an English translation of Jacques-Alain Miller's introduction of the theme from the 2008 Congress in Buenos Aires, which provides us some key landmarks as we start to prepare for that meeting. We also have, in this issue, a set of vignettes in Nassia Linardou-Blanchet's very clinically oriented paper that demonstrate in a very clear manner ways in which we might use the concept of semblant in our clinical work, a concept that is not used so often in the English language literature.

Last year, our London colleagues held a very important meeting in London, a political meeting of sorts, that was called "The Rally of the Impossible Professions." They brought together psychoanalysts and other mental health clinicians, and also educators and those who work in the criminal justice fields--people who are engaged in one of those professions first dubbed by Freud as impossible. I don't believe anyone from the United States attended the meeting, but we are now lucky to have a series of texts from that meeting available to us. One of the issues that the meeting addressed was that of evaluation, an imperative that many clinicians here in the US have to respond to in justifying their clinical work with particular cases and an imperative that universities and treatment institutions face in needing to justify what they do to an array of groups that accredit and regulate their actions. Michael Power of the London School of Economics addressed this issue in his book on The Audit Society, and the issue contains a text of his from the London meeting further developing his perspective. There are also texts that more directly focus on the issue of regulation and evaluation in the mental health field from our colleagues Véronique Voruz and Roger Litten, who have been working on these issues in the context of a struggle in Great Britain on mental health regulation, work that has been ongoing since the London Psy Forum in 2005. We also have Jacques-Alain Miller's perceptive summary comments from the end of the meeting.

We had the opportunity here in the United States to hear a lecture from Marie-Hélène Brousse on the discourse of the artist at our Clinical Study Days in Miami in 2007, and I look forward to reading her latest work on the topic (having finally run out of time last night, unable to read the whole issue)--as well as our own American colleague Josefina Ayerza's contribution on Cy Twombly and indeed all the other texts in the issue that I have not yet mentioned.

You can get a copy of Hurly-Burly through the internet bookstore of the École de la Cause freudienne, which is at http://www.ecf-echoppe.com/ The site is relatively easy to work through. They will ship to the US, and they use Ogone to take credit card information. I have never had a problem with the site, and I have always received my orders promptly. That said, the site is in French. Contact me if you wish to order and are having problems ordering this, and I will help you out. I hope that you will consider checking out this new publication.

Kindest regards,
Tom Svolos