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Issue 54: Editorial

The Letter, Issue 54, Autumn 2013, Pages v - ix


The publication of Cormac Gallagher's translation of Guy Le Gaufey's acclaimed book Lacan's Notall: Logical Consistency, Clinical Consequences in four segments, reaches completion in the current issue of The Letter with the appearance of the third chapter, Some Clinical Consequences of the Logical Difference between the Sexes. The sequencing and timing of the appearance of the four segments was again decided by the teaching and research interests of members of ISLP who were drawn to study different areas of the book at different times. Many made do with earlier proofs, particularly of chapter two Towards a Critical Reading of the Formulae of Sexuation which are now well thumbed and dog-eared, such was the excitement in 2006 when we were introduced to Le Gaufey's reading of the formulae. This middle chapter was finally published in 2008 in the first issue (Issue 39) of a re-defined journal The Letter Irish Journal for Lacanian Psychoanalysis, with chapter one appearing in 2010 (Issue 45) and a scholion in 2011 (issue 47).

Regarding chapter two, this served as the primary text for my own teaching over an eight year period in the School of Psychotherapy at St Vincent's University Hospital where, I observed, that its subject matter captivated many. We now bring you chapter three, which has a wide-ranging content not fully captured in the title Clinical Consequences... In the early sections, Le Gaufey forever ties down where, in the Three Essays, Freud with the use of the remarkable word 'solders', essentially allows for an originating absence of rapport between the sexes. 'The sexual instinct and the sexual object are merely soldered together', Freud says, thereby refuting a whole tradition where 'every deviation with respect to a 'properly' soldered Trieb and Objekt - genital maturity, so called - 'allowed the new concept of "perversion" to be thought out with the musty smell of unhealthy pathology'

According to Le Gaufey, Lacan continued the fight against this pathologising trend with his now famous dictum 'there is no sexual rapport', a dictum that was painstakingly arrived at by means of an unrelenting interrogation of the square of opposition - a centuries-old touchstone of classical logic based on the sovereignty of the universal. For all our sakes, the formulae of sexuation is the outcome of this interrogation to which, in this chapter three, he hauls us back to again confront the quality of absence at the heart of the particular negative - Lacan's neologistic notall - and how it shares 'no space' with the universal, now diminished and towable sly by means of a symbolic value.

A highlight of the chapter is Le Gaufey's critique - tempered by the conclusions of Lacan's formulae - of the clinical vignette. 'Born in the crucible' of the minimal particular - where it is but an instance of a universal, conforming to a preconceived construct, a categorization already in place - the clinical vignette is correctly 'diagnosed' as serving 'a collectivity engaged in acquiring professional mastery' where, by its 'imperious logic' it predisposes it to miss out on some of Lacan's fundamental intuitions regarding the sexes and the standing of analytic knowledge in the clinic of that name' It demands a consensus within a group (an 'irenism' which postures as peace-loving) which becomes 'reversed into a warlike passion when it is a matter of considering a paradigm foreign to it'.

By contrast, a clinic based on the maximal particular - some but notall - is, for any of us more difficult to articulate. Le Gaufey attempts this on the very last page of his chapter three as follows. Quoting Lacan's definition of the analyst's desire to obtain "absolute difference", he states 'we try to allow thought (editor's italics), which is only able to produce relations (again, editor's italics) to hand over to the tongue so that it may be able to outline edge..not a frontier, constituted by a lack of neighbourhood which alters its relational capacity, its aptitude for entering into relationship'. Le Gaufey's text is challenging and requires an engagement with the thought of the logicians - Peirce, Benjamin, Quine, Blanché to name a few - but how else can we make our own of texts such as this, unless we familiarise ourselves with the proper fields of knowledge that inform them?

The title of Jacques Laberge's paper CMJOYCIRENSFW - a portmanteau word - fuses the beginning, Chamber Music (CM) and the end, Finnegans Wake (FW) of Joyce, the singing writer or the writersinger's immense literary song. This paper was first presented at the Joyce-Lacan Symposium in Dublin Castle before an international audience of psychoanalysts in 2005. Laberge's thesis is that, through serial identifications with Ibsen, Wagner and finally, the tenor John Sullivan - who told Joyce he was banned from singing in some important opera houses - Joyce could become the artist, God-like yet banned himself, in likeness with Sullivan. These identifications being secondary to lack of identification through meaning', served as a 'repairing sinthome".

This is a fascinating paper that touches on many facets of Joyce’s work. Taking Ulysses, each chapter, as we know, representing an organ of the body, Laberge judges the grand over-arching sublimatory schema of the book as descriptive of bodily fragmentation. Within each chapter, an organ comes to be annihilated, which ‘cannot (then) be joined to the next organ that will be high- lighted in the next chapter’. Joyce valued the voice of the singer above any instrument. Faithful to the theme of music, the Sirens episode it particularly privileged by Laberge as its organ is the ear. In this chapter 11, the orchestra of sounds brought into being by the Sirens of the Ormond Hotel, Bronzelydia and Minagold, through the clashing of Homer’s metals of bronze and gold, is riveting.

Joyce’s insistence, throughout his work, on the transposition from ‘sight to sound’ as the ‘true essence of art’ was informed in part by his insight that ‘you hear more in dreams than you think, more than you remember’. Laberge’s conclusion - that Joyce ‘the singer invades the writing’ thereby ‘radicalising the expulsion of meaning' - gives much food for thought and justifies the inexhaustible preoccupation with this genius of the word and of sound as word. Finally, with all the largely negative things written about his father, John Stan- islaus, the fact that it was by means of singing that James kept faith with the ‘musical voice’ of his father strikes a very poignant note.

Tom Dalzell’s paper Delusional Ideas of God and The Devil was first presented at All Hallow’s College in June 2011 to an audience of mainly religious. Dalzell is highly regarded within our group as the author of Freud’s Schreber between Psychiatry and Psychoanalysis: On Subjective Disposition to Psychosis and he returns to Schreber to delineate how, for Freud, the duality between God and the devil was reflective of Schreber's father complex. He also examines Freud’s 1923 account of the case of Haitzmann, a seventeenth cen- tury painter suffering from a devil neurosis, and asserts that, in both this case and that of Schreber, a feminine attitude towards the father was in evidence. Dalzell’s scholarly account of how differing religious traditions interpret ideas of God and the devil is revelatory, particularly the view within Christian theol- ogy that God can be understood as ‘loving and punishing, like Freud’s God and the devil, a God who, for Luther at least, must first be the God of love'.

This paper remains faithful to the oedipal ‘letters patent’ of psychoanalysis where Freud’s oedipal father and Lacan’s non/nom du père would have had a resonance with a religious audience where belief in God as Father is a constant. Nonetheless, Dalzell rightly emphasises that analysts and ministers of religion listen differently to patients who are suffering from delusions. He cautions us to put ourselves in the position of a little other i(o), a position that is reminiscent of Lacan’s ‘we are brothers and sisters to our patients’ and that has to be further informed analytically.

Gustavo Cetlin works in Centro Mineiros de Toxicomania, the first public institution in Brazil to offer psychoanalytic treatment to patients with alcohol and drug addiction and is co-ordinator of the Centre’s research and teaching programme – Nucleo de Ensino e Pesquisa. In his paper, Case by Case: Approaching the Subject of Drug Abuse in Times of Over-Consumption, he elegantly describes how such over-consumption in all its expressions is an exercise of repeating beyond the limits of pleasure' - pleasure as defined by Freud in Beyond the Pleasure Principle. He delineates how society with its ‘just do it’ philosophy ultimately leaves the subject in the lurch.

In Ireland, we are certainly not immune from the world-wide reach of addiction where its ravages are felt in every small town. The insistence of addiction as ‘a modern practice’ updates the debate promoted by Cetlin ‘between the biological and subjectivity or the instinct and the drive’. By attempting to return to a biological organization that matches an instinct to a single object, Cetlin proposes that the addict wants to be part of pure nature, wants to retreat from being a subject marked by language to a state of silence. By somehow making the Other reachable, psychoanalytic treatment is then the attempt to ‘force the impossibility of a natural condition’. The ‘somehow’ that Cetlin outlines is in three moments: Rebuilding the Other, Diagnosis – based, not on psychiatric diagnosis but on the subject’s form of relating to the Other - and Act. Can this be attempted as explicitly delineated by Cetlin? When we consider the stan- dard treatments for bulimia, anorexia nervosa and other addictions within our own mental health settings – where even a psychoanalytic hypothesis such as Cetlin outlines is woefully absent - can we yet say?

Olivia Fox’s Can I Say Who I Am is perhaps a model for the subtlety required to address the in-between nature of the subject we encounter in analy- sis. This paper comes of her participation in one of ISLP’s cartels where she presented it at the Inter-Cartel Study Day in June 2103. In light of the ‘saying’ and the ‘said’ introduced by Lacan in the late sixties and early seventies, and in L’Etourdit in particular, Fox’s stated aim is to re-examine ‘empty’ and 'full speech;, furst introduced by Lacan in 1953 in The Function and Field of Speech and Language.. By means of thoughtful and measured quotation and enquiry, she breathes a freshness into these terms and goes on to remind us of viii

the theoretical distinctions wrought by Lacan at this time between speech and language. There are undoubted similarities between the opposed terms full and empty speech and the saying and the said, but they are not equivalent, nor does the author make any such claim. A whole questioning of a logical tradition that excludes the subject has been undertaken by Lacan in the intervening years, making for more work to be done in order to evaluate the differences.

Patricia McCarthy

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