Friday, April 16, 2010

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

I’ve spent the last couple of days reading a nearly impenetrable article on Lacanian psychoanalysis. You know, for fun. Because I like nothing better than an intellectual challenge, except maybe reruns of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, chocolate, music, sex and…well, I like lots of things more than an intellectual challenge, but while my mind was drifting along it happened to snag on Lacan and by golly I had an elite education that I’m still paying for and I was going to nail this sucker to the wall.

I am not a systematic learner. I skim and dip. I nibble. I can grasp some things quickly but superficially, particularly if I stay with secondary, pre-digested sources. I’m not a deep thinker, but I can be clever. I like shiny things. There’s nothing shinier than a mirror, and Lacan has a mirror. Plus I get to look at myself – my favorite subject.

But fuck it, I don’t understand this stuff. When you desire, you desire the other’s desire, which is their lack (something blah blah about castration). Oh, that should be the Other, not the other. The other is an object and the Other is a subject. I think. If you’re a pervert you deny desire and if you’re a neurotic you flee desire. Something like that. The pervert refuses to desire but torments the other (not the Other) by discovering his desire and refusing to fulfill it. The neurotic just freaks out at the uncertainty of what the Other might desire, and I guess bites his nails and plays Dungeons and Dragons.

I think it’s possible that French philosophers are full of shit, and they would be willing to discuss the metonymy of shit and its role in the current political structure as the shifting location of meaning. Then they would go out and smoke a lot of cigarettes, drink very strong coffee and sleep with undergraduates.


  1. Yes, and it would all sound poetry and wise when argued in French. LOL

  2. As far as I'm concerned any psychotherapeutic approach that begins with castration theories and subsequent desires and drives is too focused on male ego and therefore applies to only a small portion of the neurotics in this world. And, it's unlikely that such an approach would produce healthy results in the "patient"...sigh....but hey, you gave a shot, that's more than I would do....I stick with reading Jung.

  3. Laume: Yes, the French language is so suave.

    Terri: I guess some women have tried to reclaim Freudian theory, although I'm not sure how. I think if you strip away the focus on lack, the emotional event signified by this thing Freud called castration could be more simply described as a dawning recognition of sexual difference and how that ties into individuation. I don't know how far Lacan wandered off the Freudian rails. The paper was by a disciple and not by him. There were some seriously stupid things said in it that showed a one-dimensional understanding of homosexuality, gay rights, and transvestism. What to expect when Freud's ideal was to transform neurotic misery into ordinary misery. What an outlook.

  4. Grief this sounds like prety hard going, not exactly bedtime reading, I admire you Alice.