Extract from : PLACE : (Psychoanalysis Los Angeles California Extension)
1- Three Untenable Professions
Freud listed three professions as ‘untenable’, that of the educator, the politician, and the psychoanalyst . Nonetheless, he also noted there are always candidates looking to fill these positions. They are even positions that are reputed to be advantageous; that is not to say, that neither the governor, nor the educator, nor the psychoanalyst would have the slightest idea of what it is to govern, educate, or psychoanalyze. No doubt, they end up having just a bit of an idea – as the current governor of CA shows – but these ‘intuitions’ are rarely developed.
Here, the 2008 of PLACE cartel aims to ask: What is it to educate? govern ? or psychoanalyze ?
Does one have to have a “conception of Man” to educate, govern, or psychoanalyze? Do these ideas of education vary according to the ideas that one can have of the ‘essence’ of Man ? Or is this ‘conception of Man’, with a tighter grip, actually a defense against something more important: a certain anxiety that one is seized with when attempting to educate, govern, or psychoanalyze? Is the goal of education to make and complete the individual? Or does one more or less always end up educating oneself to the extent that one can ? At what point does the formation of a school and education naturally introduce clinical and therapeutic questions? If an educator, just as a therapist, is someone who thinks they are there to help others, how is this perspective guided by a conception of Man ? No doubt, a certain amount of education is necessary for humans to support being around each other, but what is lost in such attempts to educate through socialization?
What is the difference in this regard of governing/educating to analyzing? Does the analyst, unlike the therapist, attempt to teach anything or do good for anyone? Does psychoanalysis fall back into psychotherapy the moment it acquires a conception of Man ? What does a conception of Man, whether spiritual, behavioral, genetic, etc., serve to trivialize the moment it is taken as a given ?
Initial probe: the moment the recognition of desire is misrecognized as a desire to be recognized as a type of ego – the educated man, the good citizen, sports hero, artist, balanced kid, etc. – the problem of desire is assimilated to what deviates from the norm: the uneducated man, uncivilized, unathletic, unartistic, unbalanced, etc. What is artificial – or in-human – in such descriptive typologies is obvious. For example, today it can not be determined whether the yearly augmentations of mental syndromes found in the DSM-X (the psychotherapist’s Diagnostic Statistics Manual) are the result of the discovery of more mental disorders (biological or cultural), or the result of an increasingly abusive conception of Man.
In relation to governing and educating, the profession of analysis is new, and the analysts have very well realized the difficulty of their position. So much so, that many fall back onto the position of the educator and governor in improvising forms of psychotherapeutic counseling. In fact, like the current governor of California, this pirouette does not prohibit certain improvisations from achieving effects, even if those involved would have little idea of what it is they are doing or if these effects are towards a progress. What is this generalized, ” I do not know how any of this works …” or ignorance, which the modern educator, governor, and analyst is engaged ?
II – The Discourse of Science: From Conception of Man to Place of the Subject
Our cartel would like to situate these questions in theory and practice, while extending the question to that of the scientist – which Freud never attempted, but was accomplished in Lacan’s reading of Freud.
What is the anxiety of the scientist? What is it when at the beginning of 2008 both Cloned Beef and the movie Legends arrive on the market place? What is it that the scientist, in the wake of a certain ignorance of the effects of their theory, must at strategic points be restricted by ethical committees ? But with a second take, might these anticipatory scenes of destruction and horror themselves be a way of defending against a certain anxiety? Is this anxiety a way that the scientist recognizes, beyond his/her knowledge and its possible horrific effects, that there is is something real in what s/he is working on ?
What is this real ? How does the anxiety and ignorance of a real confront the educator, governor, psychoanalyst, and scientist – not simply as what works or achieves itself in the successful “conception of Man”, but in what does not work with such conceptions ?
Our first cartel seeks to put the Lacanian notion of the real to the test, while developing its ramifications for those involved in education, government, science and psychoanalysis. We will conclude by showing how it has become possible with Lacanian analysis not to confuse a Place of the Subject with a Conception of Man.