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Stephen J. Costello – The Real of Religion and It’s Relation to Truth as Cause


THE LETTER 13 (Summer 1998) pages 69-81


There is nothing doctrinal about our office. We are answerable to no ultimate truth. We are neither for nor against any particular religion.


Introduction: Lacan and Religion 


Lacanian psychoanalysis has strong theological overtones. Witness Lacan’s concept of the ‘name-of-the-father’, his epistemological triumvirate of the Real, the Symbolic and the Imaginary orders which remind us of the Trinity. Indeed, in Desire and Its Interpretation2 he relates the Trinity to the Oedipus complex and its three moments. Clinically there are three structures – neurosis, psychosis and perversion. He describes his expulsion from the International Psychoanalytic Association as an ‘ex-communication’. He talks of the Other, and in The Formations of the Unconscious3 he instructs us to go out into the world ‘as apostles of my word, to introduce the question of the Unconscious to the people who have never heard it spoken of, words reminiscent of Christ’s injunction. He holds that in the beginning was the Word, which has echoes of St. John. There are innumerable other examples we could cite. Critics have pointed to the ‘high Priesthood’ of Lacanian psychoanalysis. Throughout, Lacan seems to be saying re: his position on religion: ‘It’s for me to know and you to find out’.

The Real of Religion and It’s Relation to Truth as Cause

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