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My discourse proceeds, in the following way: each term is sustained only in its topological relation with the others, and the subject of the cogito is treated in exactly the same way.
 
Jacques Lacan (LX:100)


LX:88 | A Dream of a Kind of Criticism

I can’t help but dream about a kind of criticism that would try not to judge but to bring an oeuvre, a book, a sentence, an idea to life; it would light fires, watch the grass grow, listen to the wind, and catch the sea foam in the breeze and scatter it. It would multiply not judgments but signs of existence; it would summon them, drag them from their sleep. Perhaps it would invent them sometimes - all the better. All the better. Criticism that hands down sentences sends me to sleep; I’d like a criticism of scintillating leaps of the imagination. It would not be sovereign or dressed in red. It would bear the lightning of possible storms. (323)


Source

Foucault, Michel.  Ethics: Subjectivity and Truth.  Ed. Paul Rabinow. The New Press, 1994. 


See Also

Lexicon Entries

 The Suicide

Works and Days

 

Documents

  pdf The Socratic Method: What it is and how to use it in the Classroom (22 KB)  


Notes


LX:87 | The Analyst as Artist

A fine painter can be thought of as looking at “the same thing” other people look at, seeing something different, and making it visible to us: The painter reveals - renders perceptible - something we had not seen before. In the case of van Gogh, it might be the humanity in an old pair of shoes, in the case of Monet, it might be the shimmering colors in a garden under the influence of the hot summer sun. A photographer does something similar with light and textures: She uses films, filters, shutter speeds, and aperture settings to bring out something that is there - already there, waiting to be seen, as it were - but that is not seen without her help. A novice musician strives to play the notes written on the sheet music at more or less the correct speed, but the accomplished musician subtly brings out, by varying speed and stress, the multiple melodies or voices implicitly there in the very same notes.

That might be one fruitful way of thinking about what we as therapists do as well: We bring out something that is there - already there, waiting to be heard - but that is not heard without our help. As one of my analysands once put it, his desire was like a murmur, a heart murmur so faint no one had ever heard it before, not even him, until he began his analysis. (46)


Source

Fink, Bruce. Fundamentals of Psychoanalytic Technique: A Lacanian Approach for Practitioners.  W.W. Norton & Company 2007. 


See Also

Lexicon Entries

 The Shamans and Sorcerers. The Psychoanalysts. The Artists.

Works and Days

 

Documents

 


Notes

See About


LX:86 | Encouraging an Investment in the Desire to Know

It would seem that the analyst by repeatedly asking “why?” becomes associated, in certain cases, with a desire to know why. Lacan1 suggested that our general attitude in life is a will not to know: not to know what ails us, not to know why we do what we do, not to know what we secretly seem to enjoy, not to know why we enjoy what we enjoy, and so on. A strong motive, a considerable investment, is required for us to overcome that will not to know, and one of the trickiest tasks for the analyst is to find a way to inspire in his analysands such an investment. Perhaps it is at least in part the analyst’s will to know, as demonstrated in his continual questions, that inspires a desire to know in his analysands; it is his persistent asking of questions that allows him to become the cause of the analysand’s wondering, the cause of the analysand’s desire to know why.2 (35)


[1] Lacan, Jacques. The Seminar of Jacques Lacan Book XX: On Feminine Sexuality: The Limits of Love and Knowledge (Encore 1972-1973). Trans. Bruce Fink. Ed. Jacques-Alain Miller. W.W. Norton & Company, Inc. 1998. Pp. 1.

[2] As I have indicated elsewhere, it is the point at which the analysand formulates broad questions of her own about the why and wherefore of her direction in life that marks the end of the preliminary face-to-face meetings; in other words, this is the point at which the analyst should consider moving the analysand to the couch.
The analyst must, of course, be careful not to ask so many questions as to begin to direct what can and cannot be talked about in sessions. The general topics addressed and direction of sessions should be left up to the analysand, except when she is obviously avoiding important work.


Source

Fink, Bruce. Fundamentals of Psychoanalytic Technique: A Lacanian Approach for Practitioners.  W.W. Norton & Company 2007. 


See Also

Lexicon Entries

Efficacious Transference

Works and Days

 

Documents

 


Notes

See About


LX:85 | White

I've worked out of a series of no's. No to exquisite light, no to apparent compositions, no to the seduction of poses or narrative. And all these no's force me to the "yes." I have a white background. I have the person I'm interested in and the thing that happens between us.


Source

Avedon, Richard.  "Avedon: Roar of an Aging Lion."  Van Ripper, Frank. The Washington Post 21 Nov. 2002. 


See Also

Lexicon Entries

A Desire To Obtain Absolute Difference
Anxiety as a Signal
Desire Proper to the Analyst
Discourse
Efficacious Transference
Freedom and Self-Emergence
Introduction to the Thing
More Than I Know
Relations of Power
Silent Relationship with the Other
Sublimation
The Analytical Relation
The Notion of Liberation
The Shamans and Sorcerers. The Psychoanalysts. The Artists.
The Place I Have Come To

Works and Days

Parrhesia and the Portrait
Monday September 26 2011

Documents

 


Notes

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LX:84 | Pursuit of the Examined Life

Perhaps the most persuasive reason not to embark on an examined life comes from the feeling that it must already be too late. There seems little point in beginning to scrutinise one’s ethical assumptions when others - more schooled and erudite that we, those privileged scholars who have none of our practical commitments - have studied for epochs and already contributed more than we will ever be able even to assimilate. This accumulation of knowledge, rather than being a cause for joy and an incentive to the development of our own mental life, functions simply as a depressant and a reason to abdicate independent thought. It seems neither necessary nor possible to add anything to the density of what has already been said.

This is a stance with which Plato, and the Socrates through whom he articulated his thoughts, was in the strongest disagreement.1 Few philosophers have had more minimal views of what is required to pursue a thinking life than Plato did. For a start, it was not necessary to disengage from ordinary commitments. Philosophising could go on alongside shopping, working, bathing, loving; it was no alternative to an active life but its necessary complement. This point was emphasised by Plato’s decision to develop Socrates’ thoughts within dialogues set in quasi-novelistic contexts. The central tenets of Western philosophy are thus shown to unfold naturally during conversations between a man who didn’t wash his cloak too frequently and some of his friends, as they strolled to the harbour and visited the gymnasium. The dialogues are strewn with banter and gossip unexpected in philosophical treatises, but because such static is part of existence, philosophy, its illuminator, has a duty not to shy from it.


[1] Plato articulated almost all his thoughts through the historical figure of the philosopher Socrates, whom he had known as a young man in Athens.  Here, when I refer to Socrates, I am talking exclusively of the Socrates found in Plato’s dialogues. 


Source

De Botton, Alain. Introduction.  The Essential Plato.  1999. ix-x. 


See Also

Lexicon Entries

For in Many Ways Human Nature is in Bondage; The Notion of Liberation

Works and Days

 

Documents

 


Notes

 See About


LX:83 | Stultitia

The practice of the self involves reading, for one could not draw everything from one’s own stock or arm oneself by oneself with the principles of reason that are indispensable for self-conduct: guide or example, the help of others is necessary. But reading and writing must not be dissociated; one ought to “have alternate recourse” to these two pursuits and “blend one with the other.” If too much writing is exhausting (Seneca is thinking of the demands of style), excessive reading has a scattering effect: “In reading of many books is distraction.”1 By going constantly from book to book, without ever stopping, without returning to the hive now and then with one’s supply of nectar - hence without taking notes or constituting a treasure store of reading - one is liable to retain nothing, to spread oneself across different thoughts, and to forget oneself. Writing, as a way of gathering in the reading that was done and of collecting one’s thoughts about it, is an exercise of reason that counters the great deficiency of stultitia, which endless reading may favor. Stultitia is defined by mental agitation, distraction, change of opinions and wishes, and consequently weakness in the face of all the events that may occur; it is also characterized by the fact that it turns the mind toward the future, makes it interested in novel ideas, and prevents it from providing a fixed point for itself in the possession of an acquired truth.2 (211-12)


[1] Seneca, Lettres, vol. 1 (1945), bk. 1, let. 2, §3, p. 6 {vol. 1, let. 2, §3, p. 7}.
[2] Ibid., vol. 2 (1947), bk. 5, let. 52, §§1-2, pp. 41-42 {vol. 1, let. 52, p. 345}. 


Source

Foucault, Michel.  Ethics: Subjectivity and Truth.  Ed. Paul Rabinow. The New Press, 1994 


See Also

Lexicon Entries

Hupomnēmata
The Individual Myth

Works and Days

It's Hard To Say 

Documents

 


Notes

See Aretaic for the Vox CPE


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