Authority Authorization Authorship

Most psychoanalytic institutes encourage if not demand obsessionality. A “free association” is composed more of hysteria – which is already an improvement from Lacan’s perspective – since he described analysis as a process of hystericization. Lack of proclaimed authority produces, not obsessional submission or hysterical revolt affixed to a master, but rather a kind of “wandering hysteria.” The hysteria takes the form of gossip, derailing, and mutual appreciation societies: public displays of back-patting with back-channeling and back-stabbing behind the scenes – “dangerous liaisons” for the Facebook generation. This leads to a “no-exit” situation which often provokes a return to authority in the form of a master and the cycle continues.


What is the solution to this symptom: a discourse theory. Lacan’s discourse theory of analysis in extension allows us to see how social relations and psychic politics – i.e. the micro politics of power – operate in symbolic form when there is no obvious authority. Lacan only fully developed one discourse set in his lifetime – that of the Master that has dominated humanity for millennia. Within this set he posited four discourses that circulate in relation to one another: Master, Hysteric, University, and Analyst. In the current climate that of the Master and Hysteric remain deadlocked while the University discourse grows. Out of this situation Lacan saw a new Capitalist discourse emerging that had more perverse and psychotic implications.


Lacan did not explicitly develop the discourse of the Analyst for the question of analysis in extension and the social link. Or I should say he did not spell it out. He did develop the discourse of the Analyst in extension by means of his knot work on links, locks, and bands which move beyond the binary Master-Slave dialectic and Master-Hysteric discourse and their continuation in Oedipal triangular dynamics. He also developed the discourse of the Analyst in extension by means of his school which was not an institute in the form that currently dominates the professional world nor a free association. 


The exit out of the Master-Hysteric deadlock and wandering hysteria, without moving into a University or Capitalist discourse, is through what I call the discourse or position of the Analysand – which I believe is what Lacan was developing and practicing in his Seminar and his School. The Hysteric exits the dialectic when he takes up the position of the Analysand in order to take responsibility for his desire. Free associating is not taking responsibility for one’s desire. Training as an Analyst is not taking responsibility for one’s desire. But it is a start. The Analysts of today who maintain the position of the Master who knows – or the position of a Hysterical confidante – toward a patient or client only maintain obsessional and/or hysterical neurosis. In opposition to this, the Analyst who is always already an Analysand only meets the other Analysand with his own symptom.


The “co-llective” college, school, or ecole of Analysands who read – and eventually write – together, which Lacan initiated, allows each to work on his symptom and entreats each to only speak from his symptom. Full disclosure of – and responsibility for – this symptom, fantasy, delirium, or trait from where one speaks binds the collective of radical difference with no resort to an implicit repressed imaginary ideology nor to an explicit bureaucracy of demands. Analysis in its intensive dyadic form and in its extensive group form – linked by means of small work group “cartels,” large group “demonstrations” or “passes,” and institutional analytic assemblies or “assemblages” – create not only a new Analytic school but a new form of subjective relation and social link. The subject is from the beginning – and forever – occupying the position of Analysand and Analyst alternately. There are no more doctors and patients, teachers and students – except as meta-positions occupying a very serious mathematics and poetics of game theory – or what Guattari called the ethico-aesthetic paradigm. This was Freud’s intention for psychoanalysis as a lay practice extended by Lacan’s invention of a new kind of subjective social praxis.


Here we find the solution to the enigma of psychoanalysis which Freud and Lacan ran up against over and over –  and which most psychoanalysts do not concern themselves with – of abandoning patriarchal authority without unconscious power resuming control – as Verhaeghe or Zizek insisted. Self-authorization in the form of authorship. To sign with one’s proper name. To state the axioms of one’s hypothesis, unfold the de-monstration, invite others to co-laborate on the co-rection of a new diagram of new signifiers for the purpose of ….


“It’s a perspective in accordance with ‘everyone is mad’, with ‘everyone is delusional in his own way’, and Lacan wrote this in 1978 – I commented this sentence in the last lessons of my Cours this year, ‘tout le monde est fou, c’est-à-dire, délirant’, ‘everyone is mad, that is to say, delusional’. It’s not the only point of view, but some level of the clinic is like this. You may not function as a psychoanalyst if you are not aware that what you know, your own world, is delusional – phantasmal we say, but phantasmal means delusional. To be an analyst is to know that your own world, your own phantasm, your own way of making sense, is delusional. That’s why you try to abandon it, just to perceive the proper delusion of your patient, the way he makes sense. That’s why I recommended the reading of Erasmus’s In Praise of Folly, the classical work where, in his own way, he says just that – everybody is delusional.” (Miller on Lacan)