Nietzschean Psychoanalysis Redux

The recent Nietzschean Psychoanalysis symposium at Analytica October 8 2016 continued a unique method of analysis in extension for the one hundred in person and online participants. There was no conference of papers in the university discourse of standard routine. Neither was there a master discourse with obligatory hysterical response from the audience. What’s left but an attempt at the discourse of the analyst – which includes of course first of all the position of the analysand. That is that each participant is invited to speak from the position of the analysand as Lacan practiced in his Seminar: association from one’s symptom – by way of psychic reality as Freud called it – to one’s sinthome: an attempt to transmit it to an audience of the Other by means of the symbolic. Collective exchange of position between analysand and analyst then ensues – first in the panel and then through further extension to the audience. This is called a “de-monstration,” and incorporates fragmented aspects of Lacan’s “Pass” procedure.

Regarding the recent symposium on Nietzschean Psychoanalysis  several presenters introduced a new concept: Nietzsche’s overcoming and transvaluation of all values was the first heroic psychoanalysis. Nietzsche’s analysis differs from Freud in that his posited analyst is not a doppleganger friend but a true alien or other – a future reader that will come to be as a result of his having done the analysis in the void by means of a kind of temporal moebius band. This is related to what Scott Von called the “Clinic of the Abyss” in the symposium. Pierre Klossowski tracks this process in Nietzsche and the Vicious Circle when he shows that Nietzsche’s “madness” was the willed or accepted result of having forged a new path from the drives to the symbolic without compromise from the therapeutic – from pulsion to phantasm to simulacrum. This “clinic of the abyss” is finally articulated from within the psychoanalytic tradition by Lacan’s late work when he speaks of the ends of analysis as a “desetre” or subjective destitution – something that goes beyond Freud’s “castration” and “everyday unhappiness.”

What Robert Hockett revealed in his stunning presentation of “Father Holes and Superman Wholes” through his own personal analysis was the concept of the doppleganger as a mode of “name of the father.” That is the discovery and use of a best friend during an (extended) adolescent period as “analyst” or “co-analyst.” Not only does this model of co-analyst which can be found in Lacan’s late work and Guattari’s extension of it replace the outdated and transferentially problematic model of the “subject supposed to know” but it actually was the original mode of Freud in his own analysis and that of his only real analysands – his colleagues rather than his patients. 

Daniel Coffeen in “Turning Analysis Inside Out” (another topology) similarly presented his own analysis beginning with an unofficial schizoanalysis by means of adolescent intellectual community and ending in the void of the father in the form of an existential analyst who refuses to accept the role of subject supposed to know but rather only accompanies him on the end of the journey he had always been on echoing back the truth of his absolute nihilism to the point of a joyful complexity in a flat universe. Fortuitously Irving Yalom, one of the last of the existential analysts and author of When Nietzsche Wept, was with us for this moment.

Michael Vannoy Adams spoke of “Niezsche, Jung and Jungian Analysis” in that Jungian analysis is in some sense the closest to a version of NIetzschean analysis that we have. This is true especially in that Jung himself went through a private journey of madness and self analysis after his split from Freud by means of a hidden occult writing and painting, rather than to appeal to another “Name of the Father” (after all who after Freud) and knowing what he would have received from his colleagues. Let us not forget the co-analysis that Jung engaged in with Otto Gross, Sabina Spielrein, and Freud himself (so well dramatized in The Dangerous Method) and the fact that he devoted 5 years of his private seminar with his students to Nietzsche and Zarathustra. 

In Jared Russel’s “Nietzsche and the Clinic” he made the case that Nietzsche’s clinic of the drives gives us a model for psychoanalysis that escapes the orthodoxy of ego psychology and adaptation as well as the overdetermined form of “relational” analysis that currently prevails. For the drives are inherently relational long before the inter-subjective or inter-personal is posited as a set of communicating egos. This echoes Lacan’s idea of the subject: there is no inter-subjectivity because the subject is already an inner experience of division and multiplicity and structural positions not an isolated and self-contained person.

Finally Yunus Tuncel reminded us that at the core of Nietzschean analysis is aggressivity: that which links him to Lacan, Hegel, Adler, and the Greeks. Nietzsche was above all influenced by the Greek philosophers – the first psychoanalysts according to Lacan – who used the agon: the contest of difference and struggle as a method of becoming precedes Hegel’s dialectical method by millennia. Perhaps it is a sinthomatic art of war which replaces the symptom of the master-slave dialectic of man’s psychic relations including its modern bourgeois neurotic form. In this case it is worth reading the foreclosed Adler and his predecessor Nietzsche to understand how to use aggressivity lest its continual re-emergence as death drive within a culture that hides and fears conflict, will, and aggression of any kind.