A work in progress report of ‘Trauma and Urgency’ cartel, 2018–2019

by Julia Evans on July 17, 2019

A previous version of this text was presented at the final meeting of a New Lacanian School cartel on ‘Trauma & Urgent’ on Wednesday 17th July 2019. Members: Amelia Mangani, Bruno de Florence, Greg Hynds, Henrik Lynggaard  & Owen Hewitson. +1: Julia Evans   

In my text on Trauma[i], two levels of trauma[ii]are defined: ‘Really Symbolic -RS’ & ‘Symbolically Real -SR’. This is an attempt to travel further. Freud (Dora[iii]1905) states that these two levels are ‘soldered’ onto each other. Lacan adds in 1951[iv], ‘this discourse must proceed according to the laws of a gravitation, peculiar to it, which is called truth. For ‘truth’ is the name of that ideal movement which discourse introduces into reality.’ So meaning which is always subjectively different is lent from one level to the other.

Lacan (1951[v]) introduces some ‘urgent remarks’ on our responsibilities. ‘… to put in place the conditions where truth is recognised’ & further in 1956[vi]describes those operating without truth as ‘farcical characters [who] operate, defend theses, talk only nonsense.’

I argue that Jacques Lacan stages this welding when giving a paper in Baltimore[vii](1966) with ‘inmixing’ in its title.

The term inmixing is developed in Seminar III[viii]: 11th April 1956 ‘…the inmixing of subjects. It’s characteristic of the intersubjective dimension that you have a subject in the real capable of using the signifier as such, that is, to speak, not so as to inform you, but precisely so as to lure you. This possibility is what is distinctive about the existence of the signifier. But this isn’t all. As soon as there is a subject and use of the signifier, use of the between-I [l’entre-je] is possible, that is to say, of the interposed subject.’

Lacan also stages the SR’s gift circulation in Baltimore as is described in Seminar IV : 23rd January 1957[ix]: No greater gift, no greater sign of love is possible, than the gift of what one does not have. … the dimension of the gift only exists with the introduction of the law, with the fact that the gift …  is something that circulates. The gift you give is always the gift you have received. But between two subjects, this cycle of gifts always comes from elsewhere, for what establishes the love relation is that this gift is given, we might say, for nothing. … In other words, it is insofar as a subject gives something gratuitously, and insofar as behind what he gives, there is all that he lacks; … what makes it a gift is that the subject sacrifices something beyond what he has.

There are 3 accounts of events in Baltimore : i) the published version with an edited discussion[x] ii) Lacan’s text by itself[xi] & iii) an account by Cynthia L. Haven (2017)[xii].

I will now outline how Lacan’s actions cut and thereby introduce truth, the RS, into the proceedings, using material published by Haven in 2017. Some question of its accuracy after more than 50 years has to be raised.

Lacan cuts from two perspectives : a) presenting an absolute universal truth vs subjective difference b) the circulation of a gift – a sign of love

– The organisers, René Girard & John Hopkin University want to establish reputations by discovering basic structural patterns, meta narratives, in all human phenomena.

JL refuses by putting the process of the conference up for question – by not pre-circulating his paper, by only appearing at the venue for his paper & insisting on mixing with students and practitioners, Quote ‘The idea of the unifying unity of the human condition has always had on me the effect of a scandalous lie.[xiii]’ At the end of his talk, he mentions ‘Enjoy Coca Cola’ bringing a universal system of regulating subjects’ jouissance into question.

– Further JL writes out his paper in English, frustrating all the offers of help, early in the morning it is given. ‘I remarked to myself that exactly all that I could see, except for some trees in the distance, was the result of thoughts, actively thinking thoughts, where the function played by the subjects was not completely obvious.[xiv]’ So he wrote from the position of a faded subject, with certainty and exact meaning not in place. He is referencing a more subjective transmission than the rigid protocol he has been given.

– JL challenges both Derrida[xv] & Wilden[xvi] within a one to one relationship which operates as a cut. Derrida at an evening reception where JL states that his prior discovery of the subject has upset Derrida & they must meet up. (They never do) Wilden tries to get JL to obey the conference rules & speak in French. He also thinks he is writing JL’s text. JL reassures him & sends him away thinking he has won.  Lacan uses a heavily French accented English from a freshly prepared text. Wilden explodes after Lacan’s presentation which Lacan is reported as enjoying. This and other attacks have been edited from the book. Lacan’s cuts are productive – Derrida’s paper at the conference end gives him fame and Wilden produces a book in 1968. Rather than as Harden alleges the Parisian underlayer going unrecognised with its rivalries, tensions, and tectonic shifts, Lacan puts this on display in USA.  The underside welded to conference process is visible.

– JL was seen as the celebrity among the leading French intellectuals with superstar status. This was important for the organisers. So, an exchange took place. JL gave them what he did not consider he had, prestige, by appearing. However, he plays with his supposed status by giving the sponsor, the Ford Foundation, a bear hug to the horror of the organisers. The reduction of universal to personal. A further example of this is the laundering of his silk underwear. This is brought to the foreground. Instead of giving to the hotel to launder, JL gives to Wilden. The organisers are made aware of that which is normally unseen with the silk denoting celebrity status. In so doing JL was bringing attention to that which is hidden and necessary.

– Lacan’s transmission in English although the event was bilingual. Lacan in his first paragraph outlines the difference between understandable presentation and his form of transmission. Harden excoriates his choice as his English was difficult. JL explains it is a choice between a common other and Other. Although he is in this common other, his Frenchness is welded into him and can be heard. “So, the message in language is different[xvii]”, what is welded onto to it can be heard.

– There are two processes of promulgation of the conference in place – the heavily edited one in the book and Lacan running up a $900 phone bill telling colleagues in Paris about it. So there exists the standard account & the account registered in speech between two subjects.

JL introduces subjectivity into the account to the bafflement of the organisers.

In the video[xviii]‘« Rencontre » Un conte sur l’autisme’ a distinction is made between offering a gift to the one who does not speak and acting alongside. Lacan was acting alongside empty speech in Baltimore.

 

[i]Why is trauma urgent? By Julia Evans on 20th February 2019.Published: http://quatreplusone.com/index.php/n10/Available here

[ii] See Trauma in Reverse : 27th April 2002 (New York) : Éric Laurent or here  A version of this paper was read at the conference Trauma and Its Aftermath: Eight Case Studies and the Lacanian Orientation.

[iii] Fragment of an analysis of a case of hysteria (‘Dora’) : 1901 [1905] : Sigmund Freud : SE VII p7-114. Available from www.Freud2Lacan.com or here : see SE VII p16 or pfl p45

[iv] Intervention on the Transference (Paris): Seminar on ‘Dora’ – 1950-1951: October 16th 1951: Jacques Lacan or here : P62 of Jacqueline Rose’s translation

[v] ibid.

 

[vi]Seminar III : 11th April 1956  : P193 of Russell Grigg’s translation : See Seminar III: The Psychoses: 1955-1956: from 16th November 1955: Jacques Lacan or here

[vii]  Of Structure as an inmixing of an Otherness prerequisite to Any Subject Whatever: 21st October 1966 (Baltimore) : Jacques Lacan or here

This is Jacques Lacan’s contribution to an international symposium entitled “The Languages of Criticism and the Sciences of Man,”. The sessions were convened under the auspices of the Johns Hopkins Humanities Center, in Baltimore, during the week of October 18-21, 1966.

[viii]Jacques Lacan uses inmixing in Seminar III : Seminar III : 11th April 1956 : See Seminar III: The Psychoses: 1955-1956: from 16th November 1955: Jacques Lacan or here : p193 of Russell Grigg’s translation :

What we have encountered in this symptomatology always implies what I indicated to you last year in relation to the dream of Irma’s injection – the inmixing [Footnote 5] of subjects.

It’s characteristic of the intersubjective dimension that you have a subject in the real capable of using the signifier as such, that is, to speak, not so as to inform you, but precisely so as to lure you. This possibility is what is distinctive about the existence of the signifier. But this isn’t all. As soon as there is a subject and use of the signifier, use of the between-I [l’entre-je] is possible, that is to say, of the interposed subject. This inmixing of subjects is one of the most obvious elements in the dream of Irma’s injection. Recall the three practitioners called in one by one by Freud, who wants to know what it is that’s in Irma’s throat. And these three farcical characters operate, defend theses, talk only nonsense. They are the between-I’s, who play an essential role here.

Footnote 5 : “immixtion;” term used by Damourette and Pichon for the semantically different ways the subject’s participation in an event or action can be described by a verb alone or by one of the verbs “faire,” “voir,” or “laisser” plus an infinitive: e.g., “operer,” “faire operer,” “voir operer,” and “laisser operer.” See Essai de grammaire de la langue francoise 5:791-817.

[ix] For details of Earl’s Court translation, see Seminar IV : The Object Relation & Freudian Structures 1956-1957 : begins 21st November 1956 : Jacques Lacan or here

[x]‘The Languages of Criticism and the Sciences of Man : the Structuralist Controversy’ edited by Richard Macksey and Eugenio Donato : The Johns Hopkins Press Baltimore and London: 1970. See Of Structure as an inmixing of an Otherness prerequisite to Any Subject Whatever: 21st October 1966 (Baltimore) : Jacques Lacanor here for availability

[xi] Text, without the subsequent discussion, is available here, published by École lacanienne de la psychanalyse.

[xii] The French Invasion, Essay by Cynthia L. Haven — Published on 11th December 2017 –   http://quarterlyconversation.com/the-french-invasion

[xiii] Of Structure as an inmixing of an Otherness prerequisite to Any Subject Whatever: 21st October 1966 (Baltimore) : Jacques Lacan or here

[xiv] Ibid.

[xv] See Structure, Sign, and Play in the Discourse of the Human Sciences & Discussion: 21st October 1966: Jacques Derrida or here

[xvi] ‘The Language of the Self – The function of language in Psychoanalysis by Jacques Lacan’ : 1968 : Anthony Wilden or here

[xvii] Of Structure as an inmixing of an Otherness prerequisite to Any Subject Whatever: 21st October 1966 (Baltimore) : Jacques Lacan or here

[xviii] Circulated byPIPOL 9 < www.europsychanalyse.eu> Subject: Pipol 9 – « Rencontre » Un conte sur l’autisme Date: 11 July 2019 at 19:02:11 BST,  Towards ‘The Unconscious and the Brain, nothing in common’, Brussels, July 2019, « Rencontre » Un conte sur l’autisme. Vidéo-conté basé sur l’album illustré sur l’autisme “Encuentro” de Sámar Ahmad Jimeno et Gracia Viscasillas. Rencontre entre deux filles: l´une silencieuse (AUTISME) et l´autre avec voix (SOCIÉTÉ). Narrateur: Valentina Gil Édition: Leonardo Gil et Sámar Ahmad Jimeno

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2_xBHTW30Ec&feature=youtu.be

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7th December 2018 : To request a copy of any text whose weblink does not work, contact Julia Evans: je.lacanian@icloud.com : For fuller details, see Notice : Availability of texts from LacanianWorks by Julia Evans or here

 

Julia Evans

Practicing Lacanian Psychoanalyst in Earl’s Court, London

 

 Further posts:

Some Lacanian history here

Of the clinic here

Trauma here

Groups & Cartels here

Lacanian Transmission here

Use of power here

By Sigmund Freud here

Notes on texts by Sigmund Freud here

By Jacques Lacan here

Notes on texts by Jacques Lacan here