Messager 309 - 2011/2012
VERS TEL AVIV 22 / TOWARDS TEL AVIV 22
Xe Congrès NLS 16-17 juin 2012 / 10th NLS Congress 16-17 June 2012
20 janvier 2012
20 January 2012
Vers le Congrès de la NLS
"Lire un symptôme"
‘Reading a Symptom’
The aim of this rubric is to gather different commentaries, reflections or questions that emerge from chosen quotes, or from extracts of Freud’s or Lacan’s texts. By gathering different thoughts and voices, ‘Reflections’ will take us towards ‘Reading a Symptom’ and in the end to our meeting in Tel Aviv. ‘Reflections’ invites you to participate in this project.
(Lacan: Le Sinhtome, p. 151)
On Joyce’s sinthome
Lacan’s remarks evoke a certain relationship between Joyce’s unreadable texts and his ego. But how shall we understand this relationship? One of Lacan’s main thesis about Joyce is, that his work constitutes a specific ego or a specific symptom: the sinthome: Joyce the sinthome, which is also his ego (Lacan: Le Sinthome). Lacan’s idea about the sinthome and stabilisation seems to have as a consequence, that what a psychotic patient can attend from a psychoanalytical treatment is a certain stabilisation made by the treatment of the symptom. This seems to imply, that this symptom is a way treating a psychosis, but this symptom isdifferent from the Freudian symptom, which seems to dissolve.
Psychoanalysis for a neurosis begins at the very moment a patient has an appointment with a psychoanalyst and starts to complain about his symptoms. A large part of the analysis consists in a deciphering of the symptoms. This deciphering implies the Other, at which place the analyst is often situated. The neurotic believes there is a meaning connected to her symptoms, and this sense denounces the existence of the Other. The goal of an analysis of a neurotic subject is ofcourse not to cure her of her symptoms or to give meaning to her symptoms, but to work with the structure. However, some symptoms often disappear. At the end of the treatment, the analysis pretends to go through the phantasm, which has sustained certain symptoms and to reach drives, which are placed in the heart of the jouissance of the symptoms.
This is not the case for the psychotic subject, at least not for Joyce. Joyce himself arrived to prove something about the jouissance in his symptoms (read: sinthome), without a need of going through an analysis. Joyce is all alone with his sinthome: It does not direct itself to the Other, but to itself or to, what Lacan calls the One. It is not the Other, who plays an important role in the sinthome, but the One, who is all alone and outside the context and the discourse. Joyce has in this way cancelled his subscription of the unconsciousness, here meaning the unconsciousness as the scene of the Other. The One is alone and does not seek sense or meaning, S1, as the neurotic does, but breaks upmeaning. In this way, Joyce’s sinthome does not concern S1 or us: It is all alone in his - or in its – jouissance. Where does Joyce seek the Real connected to this jouissance? In the letters of his literature. His letters are not so much directed to the symbolic side, to the side of meaning, to the play of signifiers, literary narrativity or some important interpretations.
Hence, any attempt to interpret Finnegans Wake (FW) will sooner or later be confronted with the impossibility of understanding the Real of the text. This is stressed by the literal letter in FW or ”The letter! The litter!”, as the text itself names it. When the text tries to reduce the letter to a kind of litter or to the literal uninterpretable letters, as an index for the Real, the text becomes more unreadable than interpretable. Lacan has proposed to consider FW as a fundamental language, in so far as it says or will say nothing. It will say nothing: It talks not. There is no real mastersignifier to arrange it.
Joyce created an ego in language: This ego is assured by his work, which also guaranteed him immortality. This work was meant by Joyce to occupy the universities for at least 300 years and the single reader - in a kind of sleeplessness - for the rest of his life.
When Lacan in this context talks about Joyce, he does not say ‘le moi’, but the ego. One reason for this is that ‘le moi’ is constituted by the mirror, while Joyce’s ego is constituted as a replacement of the Name of the Father, which in neurosis sustains the relationship between the Real, the Symbolic and the Imaginary. Another, more ironic reason, is that Lacan by the use of the word ego shows the truth of, what the ego-psychology and the IPA-psychoanalysis search: a strong ego. Such an ego is nothing more than the ego assured by Joyce’s stabilised psychosis. Furthermore, we can note, that this ego assures the enigmas of Joyce’s text.
By his work Joyce creates an auto-prevention of his sickness. He prevents the outbreak of his psychosis. The delicate place of the mastersignifier inJoyce’s literature underlines this. The result is, that Joyce believed that he was the master in the city of signifiers.
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