Category Archives: Love

Médée – ce qu’Euripide nous dit sur notre actualité

Médée, Euripide – Théâtre en Liberté, au Théâtre de la place des Martyrs

Souviens-tois que je suis Médée, c’est le titre que donne Isabelle Stengers à son texte sur Médée (Empêcheurs de penser en rond, 1993). J’étais invitée à débattre de la pièce qui se joue actuellement au Théâtre de la place des Martyrs par la troupe du Théâtre en Liberté, débat avec entre autre aussi Lambros Couloubaritsis, mon collègue en philosophie à l’ULB et Daniel Scahaise, le metteur en scène. Texte intemporel et universel s’il en est, rendu avec beaucoup de respect pour Euripide par les acteurs de la troupe. J’aimerais reprendre les deux points que j’ai proposés dans le débat de cet après-midi.

D’abord, la question de la barbarie. Médée est une “barbare”, ce qui veut dire qu’elle provient d’un  ailleurs qui ne connaît pas “les bienfaits de la civilisation grecque”, ce pays lointain de Colchide. Elle est aussi descendante des Titans, alors que la civilisation Grecque, personnifiée en son mari Jason, est fondatrice des lois, de la cité et de l’ordre moral que Zeus a pu faire régner du fait de sa victoire sur les Titans. Médée s’inscrit dans cette citée, dans ce nouvel ordre moral, dans sa vie conjugale avec Jason, à qui elle donne des enfants. Or, l’histoire est connue: Jason la répudie pour pouvoir se marier avec la fille de Créon, le roi de  Corinthe. Cette répudiation, que Stengers décrit comme “la plus grande humiliation que puisse connaître une femme”, provoque la panique au sens du Dieu Pan, maître de la “panique”: “D’un seul coup, tout bascule comme si ce qui faisait lien entre les humains se révélait soudain susceptible de faire émerger un collectif tout autre, d’engendrer ce que l’ordre social semblait, par nature, exclure” écrit Stengers en faisant référence à Jean-Pierre Dupuy (La panique, 1991). La répudiation signifie la rupture du contrat moral: “Elle a passé contrat avec l’humanité et le contrat a été rompu” (p. 11). De quoi s’agit-il, quel est le “contrat avec l’humanité”? Je propose que dans les termes les plus généraux et les plus fondamentaux, le contrat moral ou social est le suivant: en échange de l’amour, je suis prêt à abandonner (un peu de) ma jouissance. Que cela veut-il dire? Faire naître l’infans à l’humanité, au sein de la famille, c’est interférer dans la jouissance absolue, immédiate et totale de ce que l’enfant a ou aspire à avoir avec sa première ou sa principale figure d’attachement, en y mettant des limites: ces limites sont frustrantes par rapport au tout auquel l’enfant se croit attitré, mais sont dans le même mouvement l’opportunité d’une ouverture: l’intérêt porté jusque là exclusivement sur la mère, perd l’exclusive pour se porter en partie aussi sur la figure intervenante. De “qui suis-je pour ma mère?”, la question devient “qu’a-t-il celui-là pour pouvoir me faire concurrence, pour capter l’intérêt de ma mère?”, en d’autres termes, l’enfant s’intéresse au tiers intervenant: il accepte de quitter son monde d’absolu pour s’ouvrir à la tiercité, c’est-à-dire au lien social et à ses règles. Mais quitter ce paradis de l’espérance d’un assouvissement total ne se fait pas sans douleur: l’enfant doit être bercé d’amour et  tendrement séduit à ce renoncement. Pas tous les enfants, d’ailleurs, feront le pas (et ce serait alors, la voie de la psychose). Voilà le premier pacte social: en retour de l’amour (et de la sécurité), le sujet humain abandonne (en grande partie) son monde fantasmatique jouissif et accepte “le principe de réalité”. C’est aussi le pacte moral de ce qui fait lien (entre les hommes, dans la cité): la cité (la civilisation) prend soin de ces citoyens, les traite avec respect, considération, soin et équité, et en retour les sujets qui la composent ne s’autorisent pas à “lâcher le monstre intérieur, la barbarie intérieure”. Car le monde jouissif est un monde qui ne s’embarrasse pas de pitié ni de considération pour la vie: il faut prendre ce qui assouvit et éliminer ce qui l’en empêche. Ce qui se joue pour Médée comme pour l’actualité est donc ceci: sans amour et sans espoir d’amour (d’intégration, de valorisation, de prise en charge), le contrat social est considéré rompu, et “ce qui faisait lien entre les humains se révélait soudain susceptible de faire émerger un collectif tout autre, d’engendrer ce que l’ordre social semblait, par nature, exclure”, c’est-à-dire, la barbarie.

Il y a un deuxième point que j’aimerais soulever, celui de ce que le texte nous apprend sur les rapports homme-femme. Lacan a pu dire qu’une femme peut être pour un homme un symptôme alors qu’un homme peut être un véritable ravage pour une femme. C’est aussi ce que ma clinique semble, jusque là, m’enseigner. Médée, par excellence, rend tangible le ravage que peut être la répudiation du partenaire, rend tangible ce qu’est la répudiation de Jason pour Médée. Médée, par son infanticide, donne la mesure de ce à quoi elle a à faire. Comment le comprendre et comment comprendre cette phrase de Lacan? Le pacte du couple a une logique sur certains points ressemblant au pacte social: la jouissance est mise en jeu en échange de l’amour. L’idée fondamentale est que, pour ce qui est de la jouissance intime, il n’y a pas symétrie entre homme et femme: tant l’homme que la femme, jouissent du corps de la femme, c’est-à-dire que c’est la femme qui doit être séduite à se faire objet, à se prêter à ce jeu, pour qu’il puisse y avoir jouissance. Elle n’est pas victime car elle aussi en jouit, et qu’elle est, par ailleurs, protégée par le pacte, c’est-à-dire par le lien, par l’amour souvent. Cependant, quand il y a rupture du pacte, l’asymétrie se fait jour dans sa monstruosité: l’homme peut continuer le chemin, attristé, effondré, solitaire; or la femme ne se retrouve pas simplement esseulée, abandonnée, dépossédée, mais dans la mesure où elle a consenti à se faire objet, elle se retrouve seule à faire avec cette position extrêmement délicate et potentiellement mortifère de son statut d’objet. Elle avait consenti à cet exercice d’équilibre périlleux pour sa santé psychique car séduite par l’amour; or sans les balises de l’amour, elle se retrouve seule face au gouffre vertigineux de sa jouissance. Voilà donc pourquoi on peut parler de l’abandon comme de “la plus grande humiliation que puisse connaître une femme”, soit encore comme un ravage. Dans le mythe, Médée, séduite, a consenti à se faire utiliser: elle a consenti à abandonner son pays, à trahir les siens, à tuer son frère par amour: Jason, en la répudiant, en la déshabillant de son amour, la livre décharnée à une hantise sans fin par cette vaine abnégation.

Or, de toutes les peines qu’un humain peut infliger à un autre humain, l’humiliation est la plus féconde de violences à venir. Le sujet humilié ne pourrait donner la mesure de la violence à laquelle il a à faire en attaquant l’autre, trop facile, trop bref, ni en s’attaquant lui-même, trop peu incisif pour les autres. Tuer Jason pour Médée ne pourrait lui donner satisfaction: une fois mort, il ne souffre déjà plus; se tuer n’est pas non plus une option: les quelques pleurs passés, tout serait oublié. Non, l’humiliation ne connait sa mesure que dans la destruction, la dévastation de la scène même où se joue cette humiliation, la scène de la cité, la scène de la vie. C’est pourquoi Médée tue ses enfants, qui sont aussi ceux de Jason. L’humilié(e) dit en substance: je suis déjà mort(e) (psychiquement), mais je ne partirai pas sans avoir fait le ravage autour de moi: je peux tout donner (donner tout mon corps) pour détruire la scène même de l’humiliation.

C’est aussi ce qu’Euripide nous apprend sur notre actualité.

Landschap met springwegen – Pieter De Buysser

Wat kan ontsnappen aan het geschrevene, aan wat de geschiedenis voorschrijft? We staan niet enkel op de schouders van reuzen, zoals Thomas van Aquino, we moeten het ook met hun oude stof doen, met hun oude schriftrollen om een leven te schrijven, om de steeds dunnere doorgang te vinden tussen wat geschiedenis mogelijk maakt en wat die vooraf vastlegt, om aan de tijd een leven los te rukken dat misschien niet algeheel ontglipt,
Want als het stof van de vorige eeuw en haar allesverblindend enthousiasme voor bemeestering zal zijn gaan liggen – toen we even dachten dat de wereld van de mooie ideeën zou zegevieren in het triomf van de rede en van de wetenschap, en dat de goede wil van de groep zou zegevieren in zelfregulatie  (Let do and let pass, the world goes on by itself) – ook als we eventueel ontnuchterd zouden raken van die kale reis, dan nog blijft de verbijstering: welke revolutie, Pieter, welke revolutie, welke springweg bedenken uit wat enkel kan gemaakt worden van wat was?
Het geschiedene laat twee soorten sporen na. De eerste soort is die van de objecten. De erfenis verloopt over de dingen, de cultuurprodukten, de sedimenten die zich van ons lijfelijk bestaan hebben losgerukt en vanuit die autonomie doorwerken. In de wereld van de objecten staan, betekent onvermijdelijk dat we niet ontsnappen aan de waanzin van de magie die opereert vanuit die objecten, vanuit die opstapeling aan relikwieën. Het is gekheid, het is onrede, ongetwijfeld, maar het is nog steeds waanzin met een vorm, met een bespreekbare  want ‘uitwendige’ vorm. Taal werkt op dit niveau: de taalobjecten, de betekenaars, werken autonoom door. De tweede soort is die van het lijf. De erfenis verloopt over de lijfelijke inschrijving: het is de neiging tot transgressie. De geschiedenis raast door in het heimelijk vibrerende lijf van de man die zijn aandelen dankzij voorkennis op tijd kan verkopen, in het heimelijk vibrerende lijf van de vrouw die zich aan de drank overgeeft. Het drama hier is veel geweldiger, het is het drama van het noodlot: vaak is het pas als het einde onafwendbaar is, dat het volle besef komt dat het leven zich voorbij onszelf heeft afgespeeld, dat we het niet hebben bevat, dat het zich aan gene zijde heeft voltrokken… Deze waanzin is veel fundamenteler: het geledene heeft lijfelijke sporen geschreven, waarvan de vorm besloten ligt in het intieme van het singuliere genot. Het genot is zo de stomme razernij van de geschiedenis, dat wat in het lijf blijft woeden. Toch is het ook een vorm, en het is pas in de ontcijfering van die vorm dat de belofte van een springweg besloten ligt, maar die vorm heeft zich in het inwendige van de lichamelijke intimiteit ingeschreven en opereert stilzwijgend.
Zijn wij, mensen, dan veroordeeld, zoals Freuds’ demonische machine uit 1920 in Aan gene zijde van het lustprincipe? veroordeeld ons lijf tot strijdterrein voor onverleden oorlogen aan de geschiedenis uit te besteden, is onze levensadem veroordeeld tot verkankering?
Het orakel van Thebe bleek onafwendbaar voor Oedipus, en toch is een geslacht gesticht. Beschaving is de enige heil, maar daartoe moet het lijf zich eerst tot taal laten verleiden – daartoe moest het incestueuze genot zich eerst tot wet, tot stichtend verbod laten schrijven.
Dat is de onmogelijke taak die de jongen Zoltan – of is het zijn paard Abas? – op zich neemt. Want er is maar één manier om het genot van het lijf tot taal te verleiden, om woorden te ontfutselen aan de heimelijke vibrering van het weefsel binnenin. En die manier is: onbewogen, rotsvaste, gulle liefde, liefde zo groot en zo warm als een paardelijf, het paardelijf waaronder Francesca en Zoltan schuilen – en hun liefde, die Francesca even aan de tijd ontrukt.

Lanschap met springwegen” is het schitterende nieuwe stuk van Pieter De Buysser. Het is een feest voor de geest. Het haalt je triomferend uit elk nakende ontmoediging over de toestand van de wereld, uit elke neiging tot hopeloosheid. Iets is mogelijk!

paarden-andschap_artikel

 

La différence entre agressivité et violence dans la relation mère-bébé

Les relations mère-bébé sont un cas de figure idéal pour articuler la différence entre agressivité et violemce

*agressivité: ex. une mère qui dit à son enfant: “va te fair voir ailleurs!”, “disparais (hors de ma vue)!”. Puisque ce qu’elle dit correspond à une vérité inconsciente, le fait qu’elle le dise permet une baisse de tension chez elle. Non seulement ça, mais le bébé aura de toute façon senti cette composante de l’état de sa mère, qu’elle le dise ou non: puisqu’elle l’articule, il sera maintenant peut-être un peu blessé ou un peu fâché de ce que dit sa mère, mais lui aussi aura reçu une forme (motrice, articulatoire) précise qui lui permettra d’une façon ou d’une autre un exécutoire, une baisse de tension. 

*violence: ex. une mère qui n’en pense pas moins mais ne le dit pas et au contraire, puisqu’elle s’en culpabilise va surcompenser du côté du déni et de la transformation en son contraire: “je suis la meilleure des mères”, “je procure le meilleur soin”, “j’ai toujours fait pour le meilleur” etc. Ici il y a  accumulation de la tension (y compris corporelle) chez elle puisqu’elle ne donne aucune forme d’exécution à son sentiment agressif, mais aussi chez le bébé puisque celui sentira l’agressivité de la mère mais ne pourra lui donner aucune forme, aucune représentation – et donc aucune source non plus, et sera donc livré à lui même et s’en culpabilisira, il prendra sur lui, accroissant sa tension corporelle – ce qui est violence (définie comme une accumulation de tension sans exécutoire et qui donc va finir par s’attaquer aux structures – psychiques, physiologiques). 

Notons que pour moi – en ce moment de ma pensée – le premier cas de figure correspond au principe de plaisir, qui est selon Freud au service de la pulsion de mort (baisse maximale des tensions) alors que le deuxième cas de figure pou rmoi est l’au-delà du principe de plaisir, l’accumulation de tension corporelle correspondant pour moi avec la jouissance, le trop de vie, le a, la pulsion de vie. C’est un trop de vie car c’est un pas plus éloigné de la mort que le premier cas de figure.  Ce qu’un organisme veut, selon Freud, c’est de mourir en paix, selon sa propre idée: dans le deuxième cas de figure il reste plus à résoudre pour pouvoir mourir en paix que dans le premier, voilà pourquoi c’est de la pulsion de vie: le détour vers la mort est plus grand. Mais il ne faut pas être d’accord avec cette note pour trouver du sens à la distinction proposée.

The Circle; Our Betters; The Constant Wife, William Somerset Maugham

These three plays talk about love. They spare nothing or nobody, neither the men (stupid, hypocritical, quite unloving) nor the women (stupid also, strategic, idle). Utterly refreshing!

The Circle (1921)

17.03.2012

  • p. 71: “But you know men are very funny. Even when they are in love, they’re not in love all day long.”
  • p. 73: “One sacrifices one’s life for love and then one finds that love doesn’t last. The tragedy of love isn’t death or separation. One gets over them. The tragedy of love is indifference.”

 

Our Betters (1917)

17.03.2012

  • p. 103:  “My dear fellow, the degree of a nation’s civilization is marked by its disregard for the necessities of existence. You have gone so far as to waste money, but we have gone farther; we waste what is infinitely more precious, more transitory, more irreparable – we waste time.”
  • p. 129: “Pearl: “(…) As if anyone remembered an emotion when he no longer felt it!” Duchesse: “It’s true. I’ve been in love a dozen times, desperately, and when I’ve got over it and look back, though I remember I was in love, I can’t for the life of me remember my love.”

 

Ari: This last point is very well taken by WSM. Freud (1915) tells us in ‘The Unconscious’ that an experience is a complex of separable components, one of which is a representational component and the other one is an affective component. (This is  very much in line with the neurophysiological description of the ‘high road’ and the ‘low road’ of Joseph LeDoux.) The essential difference between both, Freud further tells us, is that the representational component leaves a ‘memory trace’ while the affect, being a mere ‘discharge process’, does not. I have proposed in my book (‘Des fantômes dans la voix’, 2007 – but probably others have proposed similar ideas) that the representational and the affective component essentially differ in the nature of their discharge or execution system. The representations have the voluntary striated muscles (the limbs, the articulation system etc.) as their execution system, the affects have the involuntary smooth muscles (delineating the inner body) as their execution system. The voluntary muscles system being so much finer organized than the smooth muscle system, this enables a finer inscription. This is why, while we can remember that we have felt a feeling, we can not remember the feeling, unless we live the feeling again – but then is it truly a memory?

 

The Constant Wife  (1927)

17.03.2012

This is a hilarious play, it is ferociously truthful.

  • p. 222. “Constance:”Now listen. If I think he’s awful we’ll just talk about the weather and the crops for a few minutes and then we’ll have an ominous pause and stare at him. That always makes a man feel a perfect fool and the moment a man feels a fool he gets up and goes.”. Mrs Culver: “Sometimes they don’t know how to, poor dears, and the earth will never open and swallow them up.”
  • p.  262: Constance: “My dear, any sensible man would rather play bridge at his club than with his wife, and he’d always rather play golf with a man than with a woman. A paid secretary is a far better helpmate than a loving spouse. When all is said and done, the modern wife is nothing but a parasite.”:
  • p. 287: John: “If you think what they call free love is fun you’re mistaken. Believe me, its the most overrated amusement that was ever invented.”
  • p. 289: Mrs Culver: “(…) Men were meant by nature to be wicked and delightful and deceive their wives, and women were meant to be virtuous, and forgiving and to suffer verbosely. (…)”

Cakes and ale, William Somerset Maugham (1930)

(novel inspired by the life of Thomas Hardy)

01-03.02.2012

  • p. 90-91: “We know of course that women are habitually constipated, but to represent them in fiction as being altogether devoid of a back passage seems to me really an excess of chivalry.”

Ari: I know nobody who is so deliciously politically incorrect as WSM.

Prose will save our souls, not poetry.

  • p. 93:  “I do not know if others are like myself, but I am conscious that I cannot contemplate beauty long. For me no poet made a falser statement than Keats when he wrote the first line of Endymion. When the thing of beauty has given me the magic of tis sensation my mind quickly wanders; I listen with incredulity to the persons who tell me that they can look with rapture for hours at a view or a picture. Beauty is an ecstasy, it is as simple as hunger. There is really nothing to be said about it. It is like the perfume of a rose: you can smell it and that is all: that is why the criticism of art, except in so far as it is unconcerned with beauty and therefore with art, is tiresome. All the critic can tell you with regard to Titian’s ‘Entombment of Christ’, perhaps of all the pictures in the world that which has most pure beauty, is to go and look at it. What else he has to say is history, or biography, or what not. But people add other qualities to  beauty – sublimity, human interest, tenderness, love – because beauty does not long content them. Beauty is perfect, and perfection [such is human nature] holds our attention but for a little while. The mathematician who after seeing Phèdre asked: ‘Qu’est-ce que ça prouve?‘ was not such a fool as he has been generally made out. No one has ever been able to explain why the Doric temple of Paestum is more beautiful than a glass of cold beer except by bringing in considerations that have nothing to do with beauty. Beauty is a blind alley. It is a mountain peak which once reached leads nowhere. That is why in the end we find more to entrance us in El Greco than in Titian, in the incomplete achievement of Shakespeare than in the consummate success of Racine. Too much has been written about beauty. That is why I have written a little more. Beauty is that which satisfies the aesthetic instinct. But who wants to be satisfied? It is only to the dullard that enough is as good as a feast. Let us face it: beauty is a bit of a bore.
  • p. 93: ‘From what I hear she was absolutely promiscuous.’ ‘You don’t understand,’ I said, ‘She was a very simple woman. Her instincts were healthy and ingenuous. She loved to make people happy. She loved love.’ ‘Do you call that love?’ ‘Well, then, the act of love. She was naturally affectionate. When she liked anyone it was quite natural for her to go to bed with him. She never thought twice about it. It was not vice, it wasn’t lasciviousness, it was her nature. She gave herself as naturally as the sun gives heat and she liked to give pleasure to others. It had no effect on her character, she remained sincere, unspoiled, and artless.’ Mrs Driffield looked as though she had taken a dose of castor oil and had just been trying to get the taste of it out of her mouth by sucking a lemon. (…) ‘She was like a clear, deep pole in a forest glade into which it’s heavenly to plunge, but it is neither less cool nor less crystalline because a tramp and a gipsy and a gamekeeper have plunged into it before you.’. Roy laughed again, and this time Mrs Driffield without concealment smiled thinly. ‘It’s comic to hear you so lyrical,’ said Roy. I stiffled a sigh. I have noticed that when I am most serious people are apt to laugh at me, and indeed when after a lapse of time I have read passages that I wrote from the fullness of my heart I have been tempted to laugh at myself. It must be that there is something naturally absurd in a sincere emotion, though why there should be I cannot imagine, unless it is that man, the ephemeral inhabitant of an insignificant planet, with all his pain and all his striving is but a jest in an eternal mind.”

Essays in love, Alain de Botton (1993)

15.01.2012

See my comments to some striking excerpts:

  • p. 68-69: “There is usually a Marxist moment in most relationships [the moment when it becomes clear that love is reciprocated] and the way it is resolved depends on the balance between self-love and self-hatred. If self-hatred gains the upper hand, then the one who has received love will declare that the beloved [on some excuse or other] is not good enough for them [not good enough by virtue of association with no-goods]. But if self-love gains the upper hand, both partners may accept that seeing their love reciprocated is not proof of how low the beloved is, but of how lovable they have themselves turned out to be.”
  •  p. 99: “Beauty was to be found in the area of oscillation between ugliness and classical perfection. A face that launches a thousand ships is not always architecturally formal: it can be as unstable as an object that is spinning between two colours and that gives rise to a third shade so long as it is moving. There is a certain tyranny about perfection, a certain exhaustion about it even, something that denies the viewer a role in its creation and that asserts itself with all the dogmatism of an unambiguous statement. True beauty cannot be measured because it is fluctuating, it has only a few angles from which it may be seen, and then not in all lights and at all times. It flirts dangerously with ugliness, it takes risks with itself, it does not side comfortably with mathematical rules of proportion, it draws its appeal from precisely those areas that will also lend themselves to ugliness. Beauty may need to take a calculated risk with ugliness.”
  •  p. 152-154: “1. Language flatters our indecisions with its stability. It allows us to hide under an illusory permanence and fixity while the world changes minute by minute. ‘No man steps into the same river twice’, said Heraclitus, pointing to the inevitable flux yet ignoring the fact that if the word for river does not change, then in an important sense, it is the same river we appear to have stepped into. I was a man in love with a woman, but how much of the mobility and inconstancy of my emotions could such words hope to carry? Was there room in them for all the infidelity, boredom, irritation, and indifference that often found themselves knitted together with this love? Could any words hope to accurately reflect the degree of ambivalence to which my emotions seemed fated? 2. I call myself a name, and the name stays with me throughout my life – the ‘I’ that I see in a picture of myself at the age of six and that I will perhaps see in a picture of myself at sixty will both be framed by the same letters, though time will have altered me almost unrecognizably. I call a tree a tree, though throughout the year, the tree changes. To rename the tree at every season would be too confusing, so language settles on the continuity, forgetting that in one season there are leaves that in another will be absent. 3. We hence proceed by abbreviation, we take the dominant feature [of a tree, of an emotional state] and label as the whole something that is only a part. Similarly, the story we tell of an event remains a segment of the totality the moment comprised; as soon as the moment is narrated, it loses its multiplicity and ambivalence in the name of abstracted meaning and authorial intent. The story embodies the poverty of the remembered moment.

Ari: This is what Freud calls the ‘primary process’, or probably what Lacan calls the ‘Imaginary’. During a psychoanalytic session it is often an ‘easy’  (but nonetheless important) intervention of the analyst to pay attention to these moments when the analysand uses this kind of ellipses or labels and to invite him or her to deconstruct the ellipses ‘back’ to the complexity of the experiences.

  • Chloe and I lived a love story stretching over an expanse of time during which my feelings moved so far across the emotional scale that to talk of being simply in love seems a brutal foreshortening of events. Pressed for time and eager to simplify, we are forced to narrate and remember things by ellipsis, or we would be overwhelmed by both our ambivalence and our instability. The present becomes degraded, first into history, then into nostalgia. […]

Ari: ‘psychotics’ have another position in language, language functions differently in the total mental system, and indeed ‘they’ are more easily “overwhelmed by both ambivalence and instability”.

  • 5. Perhaps we can forgive language its hypocrisy because it enables us to recall a weekend in Bath with one word, pleasant, hence creating a manageable order and identity. Yet at times one is brought face to face with the flux beneath the word, the water flowing beneath Heraclitus’ river – and one longs for the simplicity things assume when letters are the only guardians of their borders. I loved Chloe – how easy it sounds, like someone saying they love apple juice or Marcel Proust. And yet how much more complex the reality was, so complex that I struggle against saying anything conclusive of any one moment, for to say one thing is automatically to miss out on another – every assertions symbolizing the repression of a thousand counter-assertions.

see Bazan, A. (2012). From sensorimotor inhibition to Freudian repression. Frontiers in Psychology.

  •  p. 161: [We could perhaps define maturity – that ever-elusive goal – as the ability to give everyone what they deserve when they deserve it, to separate the emotions that belong and should be restricted to oneself from those that should at once be expressed to their initiators, rather than passed on to later and more innocent arrivals.]
  •  p. 194: “At the basis of all sulks lies a wrong that might have been addressed and disappeared at once, but that instead is taken by the injured partner and stored for later and more painful detonation. Delays in explanation give grievances a weight that they would lack if the matter had been addressed as soon as it had arisen. To display anger shortly after an offense occurs is the most generous thing one may do, for it saves the sulked from the burgeoning of guilt and the need to talk the sulker down from his or her battlement.”

Ari: This is major point both in life and in analysis: the ability to display anger and finding ways (forms) to do so. And very rightly so, it is a token of respect, and even of love, to ‘give’ the ‘honor’ of one’s anger to the other: it signals the fact that the other one is considered having the ability to receive the anger and it gives him or her the chance to reply. It is often more violent, both for oneself and for the other, to keep the anger for oneself. In fact, it is not seldom a sign of a far greater aggressiveness than would be the anger displayed. Only displayed anger opens a way to something beyond anger. Now, of course, not all situations are the same and there are inherent situational limits to displaying anger which one has to take into account.

  • p. 174: ,”The strength of the accusations we made, their sheer implausibility, showed that we argued not because we hated one another, but because we loved one another too much – or, to risk confusing things, because we hated loving one another to the extent we did. Our accusations were loaded with a complicated subtext, I hate you, because I love you. It amounted to a fundamental protest, I hate having no choice but to risk loving you like this. The pleasures of depending on someone pale next to the paralysing fears that such dependence involves. Our occasionally fierce and somewhat inexplicable arguments during our trip through Valencia were nothing but a necessary release of tension that came from realizing that each one had placed all their eggs in the other’s basket – and was helpless to aim for more sound household management.”
  •  p. 213: “I was labouring under the curse of fate, not an external one, but a  psycho-face: a fate from within. 6. In an age of science, psychoanalysis provided names for my demons. Though itself a science, it retained the dynamic [if not the substance] of superstition, the belief that the majority of life unfolds without adherence to rational control. In the stories of manias and unconscious motivations, compulsions and visitations, I recognized the world of Zeus and his colleagues, the Mediterranean transported to late-nineteenth-century Vienna, a secularized, sanitized view of much of the same picture. Completing the revolution of Galileo and Darwin, Freud returned man to the initial humbleness of the Greek forefathers, the acted-upon rather than the actors. The Freudian world was made of double-sided coins one of whose sides we could never see, a world where hate could hide great love and great love hate, where a man might try to love a woman, but unconsciously be doing everything to drive her into another’s arms. From within a scientific field that had for so long made the case for free will, Freud presented a return to a form of psychic determinism. It was an ironic twist to the history of science, Freudians questioned the dominance of the thinking ‘I’ from within science itself. ‘I think, therefore I am,’ had metamorphosed into Lacan’s ‘I am not where I think, and I think where I am not.’.”
  •  p. 217: “11. The essence of a curse is that the person labouring under it cannot know of its existence. It is a secret code within the individual writing itself over a lifetime, but unable to find rational, preemptive articulation. Oedipus is warned by the Oracle that he will kill his father and marry his mother – but conscious warnings serve no purpose, they alert only the thinking ‘I’, they cannot defuse the coded curse. Oedipus is cast out from home in order to avoid the Oracle’s prediction, but ends up marrying Jocasta nevertheless: his story is told form him, not by him. He knows the possible outcome, he knows the dangers, yet can change nothing: the curse defies the will. 12. But what curse did I labour under? Nothing other than an inability to form happy relationships, the greatest misfortune known in modern society. Exiled from the shaded grove of love, I would be compelled to wander the earth till the day of my death, unable to shake of my compulsion to make those I loved flee from me. I sought a name for this evil, and found it contained in the psychoanalytic description of repetition compulsion, defined as: ….an ungovernable process originating in the unconscious. As a result of its actions, the subject deliberately places himself in distressing situations, thereby repeating an old experience, but he does not recall this prototype; on the contrary, he has the strong impression that the situation is fully determine by the circumstances of the moment. (The Language of Psychoanalysis, J. Laplanche, J.B. Pontalis, Karnac Books, 1988). 13. The comforting aspect of psychoanalysis [if one can talk so optimistically] is the meaningful world it suggests we live in. No philosophy is further from the thought that it is all a tale told by an idiot signifying nothing [even to deny meaning is meaningful]. Yet the meaning is never light: the psycho-fatalist’s spell subtly replaced the words and then with the words In order that, thereby identifying a paralysing causal link. I did not simply love Chloe and then she left me. I loved Chloe in order that, she leave me. The painful tale of loving her appeared as a palimpsest, beneath which another story had been written. Buried deep in the unconscious, a pattern had been forged, in the early months ors years. The baby had driven away the mother, or the mother had left the baby, and now baby/man recreated the same scenario, different actors but the same plot, Chloe fitting into the clothes worn by another. Why had I even chosen her? It was not the shape of her smile or the liveliness of her mind. It was because the unconscious, the casting director of the inner drama, recognized in her a suitable character to fill the role in the mother/infant script, someone who would oblige the playwright by leaving the stage at just the right time with the requisite wreckage and pain. 14. Unlike the curses of the Greek gods, psycho-fatalism at least held out the promise it could be escaped. Where the id was, ego might be – if only ego had not been so crushed by pain, bruised, bleeding, punctured, unable to plan the day let alone the life.

 Ari: The compulsion to repeat is of course another major point of psychoanalysis. It is close to Lacan’s concept of ‘jouissance’. I will come back to it.