The London Society
From LQ 115
14th December 2011
The child who comes
GIVING BACK A HORIZON
After having made "bretonnisants" of us at the end of the seventies, revealing to us that we were a "sentimental crowd", now Souchon - in his latest song - speaks to us of children. Souchon, of course, it is a simple song; he could be accused of being in the spirit of the time. I do not think so: He rather finds names for this spirit of the time [air du temps]: these times are suffocating for children. J.-A. Miller thus indicated it, in his intervention of March 19th, by stating: "When the Other suffocates the subject, it is a question of working with the child to take a step away from the Other, so that the child can get his breath." (1)
Souchon's song poses a strong binary that allows for the aforementioned breathing: There is the day, there is the night. The title in itself is Lacanian. Day and night, Lacan speaks of it, in fact, in February 1956 in his Seminar on the psychoses. Having visibly not convinced his audience in the previous lesson when he talked about "the peace of the evening", he went back to what day and night are, in order to demonstrate that "reality is at the outset marked by symbolic nihilation [néantisation]". In fact, he adds, "day and night are very early on signifying codes, not experiences". There is day and night is the articulation that connotes presence and absence.
What does the song say? By day, it is school: "All the teacher has in his head will be put into mine (…) after a while one gets bored (…) Keep quiet, tidy up, do homework"; by night it is the dreams where "one throws oneself into the void and it is me who decides". It is interesting to note that what is of the order of decision is ranged on the side of the dream. Freud had also noticed, during the analysis of Dora, that a dream is the equivalent of a decision, and - in relation to repetitive dreams - that a decision is maintained until it is executed. In passing, one sees that Freud distinguished the level of realization of desire from that of the concrete consequences a subject can draw from it. But already, a dream can help a subject to find a horizon, precisely that of desire. This is how allowing a child to breathe can be understood.
Sacha has repeated at school. But he was also obliged to be twice as careful in a life in which he tries to find some tranquility. His parents divorced, and the true children that are the parents tear themselves apart a bit, a lot, passionately: the 'not at all'(2) will come, but it is slow. He is gloomy, closed and sad, not being able to speak.
He whispers: "I am not at ease. A little bit anyway, during the school breaks. Even at night I am not at ease. Even on holidays: one always has to do something.
- So who is at ease then?
- JP (the mother's new partner), but I do not like him. The girls too are at ease, even when they cheat. It is better if they are not seen doing it. I am in love with Marie, but she? When we play, I touch her, she wants me…
- What is the name of the game?
- "Wolf family…" Sacha bursts into tears. The session could not be continued.
The next session he comes back very anguished. He had a nightmare: "Sorts of people bleeding. Wounds. It flows and it wakes me up." A rather long silence installs itself. How to take the thing?
- "Someone has been wounded…
- Yes because one does not love him, or because he has done something bad or because it is a mission. It's like 9/11: people got themselves killed. The character in the nightmare is lit up and it is dark around him. There are woods. (His speech revives).
- What age is he?
- More like my father… I remember when I was four or five years old. I had fallen on the gravel, into the brambles and the nettles. I bled a lot. Daddy had already gone into the woods. I tried to join him."
He then makes a list -like citations of feats of arms or summons to appear- of incredible accidents which left traces on his body. Then he adds: "Only once I nearly died, drowning; and there I was scared."
At the next appointment his smile is back, because he has had a dream which he is looking forward to telling me: "I could have all the toys. If I wanted to, several at the same time, I could do everything I wanted. I did not pay for them and so I could give them to someone. "
Freed from the sad reality -speech liberated- memories, formations of the unconscious, can thus emerge. The style of the dream is remarkable: the whole potential realization of the decision –that objects circulate once again- even though nothing is executed. Yet everything becomes possible. That the dream is equivalent to the realization of a desire means, in my opinion, that it allows Sacha the realization of a renewed desiring position.
(1) Jacques-Alain Miller, The Child and Knowledge, in Psychoanalytical Notebooks 24, 2012
(2) Reference to the game that consists in picking petals off a daisy: "He/She loves me a little, a lot, passionately, madly, not at all" [TN]
(3) The Dream Haunting the Mogul. Gustave Moreau. In 1881 (picture attached)
Translated by Francine Danniau