8 de novembro de 2010

Clinical Study Days 5
"Reading the Unconscious"
presented by Lacanian Compass

Preparatory Bibliography #1

an except from "What is the Importance of Dreams in Psychoanalysis Today?"
by Elisa Alvarenga

First of all I’d like to thank Alicia Arenas, Maria Cristina Aguirre and Thomas Svolos for the invitation to participate in the preparation for the Clinical Study Days 5, through this videoseminar transmited to you in the United States. It’s a pleasure to work with you, at the same time so far away and so near, by means of modern technology. We will be able to work on a question that comes up with the development of technique and the urgent demands that arise with it. The question is not irrelevant: what’s the importance of dreams in psychoanalysis today? It’s even more relevant when we think that the treatment through words, what Anna O. called “talking cure,” is very widespread in the world nowadays, demanding efficiency and quick results. Can we forget the unconscious formations, or in other words, can we do without what we call in psychoanalysis the subject supposed to know? The question has been raised in the WAP if the formation of the analyst could be done through his practice, and the answer has been to return to Lacan’s formula: “There is no formation of the analyst, there are formations of the unconscious.” That means, I think, that analysis, and, consequently, the production of an analyst, passes through his unconscious formations, which are: dreams, forgetting, Freudien slips, symptoms, etc. So, we’ll dedicate this talk today to dreams as formations of the unconscious.

Let’s begin with the inaugural dream of psychoanalysis, the one Freud mentioned in his letter 137 to Fliess, on June 12th 1900, saying that maybe one day, in the house of Bellevue, where Freud had this dream, someone would put a sign with the words: “In this house, the 24th of July 1895, the secret of dreams was revealed to Dr. Sigmund Freud.” Lacan, in his Seminar, Book 2, situates this dream at the core of the fundamental discovery of psychoanalysis, that is, the discovery of the unconscious. Why would this dream, among so many others reported by Freud in The Interpretation of Dreams, have such a fundamental importance? Because, it’s a dream where we already have two aspects of the unconscious: on one hand, its connection to the signifier, to the signifying chain, which connects to the experiences of the subject Freud, his history and his suffering, and thus, his truth, and on the other hand, its connection to the letter, something that creates a hole in the meaning constructed by language, and then connects to what Freud has called the navel of the dream, the Unerkannt, which Lacan calls the impossible to recognize. This non-recognized is of the order of something that cannot be said, and belongs to what Freud called the Urverdrängung, the original repression, the proper hole of the symbolic, which represents its closing. It establishes the limit of the readable, on one hand, and also it’s the index of what doesn’t cease to not write itself. That’s where drive itself is opaque, as Lacan says. The dream figures in the Chapter II of The Interpretation of Dreams, called “The method of interpreting dreams: an analysis of a model dream.” It is a long text, and revolves around Freud, his patient here called Irma and three of his colleagues. The dream is an attempt to explain to himself the lack of success in the treatment of his patient, with references to a physical desease that lead to sexuality and death. Freud goes beyond the point of anguish of the dream after seeing the horrible infection in the throat of his patient, sign of a medical error, and continues to dream, until he ends up in the formula of trimethylamine. This formula appears then as a limit of the “ultimate real,” barely seen in the infected throat of Irma, and when it’s articulated in letters, it is already beyond the dramatic imaginary construction, composed by the intersubjective relations between Freud and his friends. It goes, as Lacan says, beyond the pleasure principle, when it reveals that there is no key-word of the dream except for the proper nature of the symbolic. The enigmatic nature of the formula points out a lack of meaning in the middle of all the supposed knowledge of the doctors present in the dream. . . .

This dream is thus a model of what a dream may represent for an analyst, or better, for an analysand, someone who is in the process of analysis. Not only in the end of analysis will we have such kind of dreams, that lead to a point of real, not interpretable. The limit of the interpretable in a psychoanalysis doesn’t appear only at the end. Reading the unconscious in dreams always leads to a limit, to the navel of the dream, a point where the signifier encounters a limit to name the object. The difference, at the end of analysis, is that this limit will be correlated to a satisfaction, once the subject has found a symptomatic residual that he can not reduce anymore. . . .

[from the paper by Elisa Alvarenga presented at the Lacanian Compass Video-Seminar on October 31. The paper will be published in its entirety in a future issue of Lacanian Compass.]

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