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"No Words to Say it? Exploratory Thoughts on Fierens’ ‘Equanimity’ of Speaking and...

The Letter, Issue 59/60, Summer/Autumn 2015, Pages 47 - 56


NO WORDS TO SAY IT? EXPLORATORY THOUGHTS ON FIERENS’ ‘EQUANIMITY’ OF SPEAKING AND ‘AUTISTIC’ POSITIONS IN THE PSYCHOANALYTIC DISCOURSE[1]

James O’Connor


In his Second Reading of Lacan’s L’Etourdit, Christian Fierens introduces the autistic discourse – equating it to that of the speaker ‘…What the speaker says or what the autistic does…’. Speech presents itself in the form of statements (énoncés), but also silences: ‘Look! I am silent. Look! He is silent. Silence being a potential statement. Yet Lacan speaks of Anxiety as that which remains unspoken while Freud introduced the return of the repressed: the very eruption of the soma - an encounter with the Real? – a consequence of repression – a silence! The psychoanalytic act (out), which Fierens insists the analyst ‘…must be doing…’. ‘…Abstinence has nothing to do with doing nothing…’


Keywords: differance; the roles of the analyst; autism.


L’Etourdit by Lacan we are advised, comes with a health warning, being reputedly unamenable to reading and indecipherable to scrutiny. L’Etourditles tours dit – the journey of – di, say(ing) and dit(said) - to stun, to make dizzy. It is indeed all that. A text which Gallagher’s 2014 translation suggests is not for interpretation. …‘ Interpretation is not absolute clarity ’.. he says. And for whom is interpretation? Not for the text, which has little regard for and is blind to commentary. The blind look of Tiresias is evoked. However he, beyond display and demonstration makes us divine the absence at stake within interpretation. That deprivation can lead to an alternative development presumably. It is consoling in this respect, to me specifically, if not to readers of L’Etourdit generally, that Tiresias received information and wisdom in various ways. Sometimes, like the oracles, he would receive visions and locutions. At other times he would listen for the songs of birds, or ask for descriptions of visions and also various pictures which appeared from time to time within the smoke of burnt offerings and then interpret these. So as Dylan might have intoned - the answers may very well be blowing in the wind.


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