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Sarah McAuley – Psychoanalysis – Who Needs It


THE LETTER 12 (Spring 1998) pages 48-50


Indeed, in times like these, who needs Psychoanalysis? As we approach the close of the twentieth century, the human subject with a discourse of his own is in grave danger of extinction. We are indeed witnessing the death throes of ‘The Century of the Individual’: perhaps Marx will have the last laugh yet. Swept along on the wave of the ‘Information Age’, saturated by the mass media and made redundant by technology, we are becoming more hysterical and narcissistic. Entranced by the lure of the image, our lives are becoming increasingly externalised in the ‘Society of the Spectacle’, played out in passive vicarious experiences and virtual realities. This has led to a depletion of inner psychic reality, and what Anna O so aptly named, ‘our private theatre’. We know too much and understand too little. A creeping emptiness lies at the heart of modern life as we live much of our emotional lives by proxy.


For Kristeva, modern man is losing his soul, but he does not know it, for the psychical apparatus is what registers representations and their meaningful representations for the subject. But of course, the society that shapes modern individuals does not leave them stranded; neurochemistry and a panoply of therapies are readily available to repair the wounds of our amputated subjectivity.

Psychoanalysis – Who Needs It

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