Preamble

The ten or so papers the reader will find on this website were never meant for publication but for seminars between 1988 and 1996. These seminars took place at the Centre for Freudian Analysis and Research and in the London Circle of the European School of Psychoanalysis. In fact, I never wrote a paper for publication. The writing was done merely to guide me through a seminar. They were rewritten but at a time when many more of Lacan’s Seminars had been published by Editions du Seuil. I couldn’t resist making modifications in the original papers. I still recognise the original paper in the rewriting. I am aware the reader won’t be able to do that.

The papers I am publishing in this very modern way, the internet way, do not represent the present state of teaching in the School or the past state between 1988 and 1996. I was a member of the European School of Psychoanalysis from 1992 to 2002. The latter School became a latent organisation replaced by the New Lacanian School of Psychoanalysis of which I have been a member since 2002. This is not an official website of the School, and the papers only reveal my own relation to the teaching of Lacan. They are being published because enough people have requested me to do so over a number of years, and I have neglected to undertake it till now.

I am reminded that some people think, maybe many, as follows: ‘. . . Marxism and Freudianism are Judeo-Christian heresies, offering heretical versions of the doctrines of the Fall and Salvation and of the Pauline Two Natures of the human.’[1] The original tradition is the Judeo-Christian one which is structured by the Oedipus. This structure makes Freudianism a little weak. By weak I mean that by transmitting the Father’s message through the Oedipus it banishes the heterogeneous elements from the field of the Other. Some people see that as a strength. I am not sure how it affects Marxism.

Heresy presupposes that meaning is unstable. Orthodoxy maintains its power by stabilising meaning. The points at which meaning is stabilised Lacan called points de capition, translated by Russell Grigg as quilting points. They are points in the signifying chain at which a signifier manages to pin a meaning. Given the tradition which is being transmitted, this meaning is phallic. An original heresy destabilises meaning, and orthodoxy then seeks to restabilise it. Heresy eventually becomes the new orthodoxy. Heretics are rereaders differing about meaning on the inside of faith, and tend to be fundamentalist.[2]

The first collection of papers appearing on this website represents the period of Lacan’s ‘return to Freud’ which we can read as ‘return to the Oedipus’. Jung is aligning himself with the Father in his Preface to the German translation of Ulysses where he declares the novel to be an example of the schizophrenic mind. Joyce was able to understand Jung’s position: ‘People want to put me out of the church to which I don’t belong. I have nothing to do with psychoanalysis.’[3]  Jung could not use the One signifier to arrange all of Joyce’s signifiers. Like the famous goal post the quilting points had been moved causing structural changes. I assume that the Preface was never published. Any practice built on the Judeo-Christian tradition lends itself to a universalising tendency by which I mean a movement that brooks no heterogeneous elements. Joyce does not have to be put out of the Church. That is, he was always outside the Oedipus. The effect of the evacuation of heterogeneous elements is segregation. Jung must have experienced it himself. But then Jung went on to build another Church, whilst Joyce wrote Finnegans Wake. Joyce was a heretic. The common measure between Freud and Jung is that neither of them is a heretic. The One signifier emerges at the end of Moses and Monotheism with the murder of God. This murder allows the Father to triumph in the work of Freud.

In a paper called by Lacan ‘Lituraterre‘ there is no need to send Joyce to consult Freud or Jung. The mental structure of Joyce is the best outcome one can expect from an analysis at its end.[4]  Lacan, late in life, towards the end of his career, had to face a choice: Freud or Joyce. In ‘Lituraterre’ he chose Joyce. In the literature of Joyce there is a rature of the Father. He is erased, and Joyce is looking for him. Lacan calls this rature foreclosure which cuts our links with ancient bonds. A particular subject has a duty to become a heretic, according to Lacan, who says of himself that he is a heretic like Joyce.[5] Cunningham too thinks that heretic reading and heretic writing- of all kinds, sacred or secular- are not only inevitable, but are to be tolerated as important, even essential, to the business of reading texts, sacred or not.[6]

There is a good way and a bad way to heresy, says Lacan. The good way bodes us to recognize the nature of the sinthome. The Church in Rome also thinks that there is a good way and a bad one, according to Valentine Cunningham. The bad way is called formal heresy based on an act of bad faith: one falls into heresy out of pride, desire for power and money, doing it willingly and consciously.[7]  This style of heretic is a non-dupe. In material heresy the subject falls into heresy accidentally due to erroneous judgement, to imperfect understanding of dogmas, let’s say of quilting points. The subject becomes a heretic by an error, by a mistake, by naivety. To become a dupe of the sinthome is a material heresy. I think the Church considers material heresy bad but not as bad as the formal kind.

About the present collection of papers I have to ask myself the question whether the seeds of heresy have been planted if not the heresy itself. The subject has a duty to become a heretic. It can’t be based on drive alone, for drive is meaningless. Heresy comes about in the field of meaning. The speaking being’s faire y savoir entertains itself with three rings of string plus the sinthome.

Richard Klein, Finsbury Park, London.

 

 



[1] Figures of Heresy, edited by Andrew Dix and Jonathan Taylor, ‘Introduction: The Necessity of Heresy’ (by Valentine Cunningham), Sussex Academic Press, 2006, p. 12.

[2] Ibid., pp. 3,4.

[3] Richard Ellmann, James Joyce, Oxford University Press, revised edition, 1982, p. 628.

[4] Lacan, ‘Lituraterre’ (1971), Autres écrits, Editions du Seuil, Paris, 2001, p. 11.

[5] Lacan, Le Séminaire, livre XXIII, Le sinthome (1975-6), Editions du Seuil, Paris, 2005, p. 15.

[6] Cunningham, op. cit., p. 2.

[7] Ibid., p. 2.

Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>