作者: 施琪嘉 / 4828次阅读 时间: 2010年6月18日


N‚stor A. Braunstein

There are some writers, only a fistful, who are also teachers.They are never surpassed, never left behind. They compel us to return to their words again and again, and their teaching transforms us; we are never the same again. To read what they wrote is an unforgettable event, it becomes part of our biography. This happens when we read the greco-latin Plato or Virgil, and the sages of the judeo-christian scriptures, it happens to Western readers when we first discover the texts of Oriental cultures such as those by Confucius or Lao Tse. My goal is to show why we must include among the seekers of truth, those of the psychoanalytic doctrine, Freud and Lacan, so today's conference will begin with Freud and end with Lacan and_ Chuang Tzu.
After his death, one can no longer ask an author any questions, he is no longer there to answer them. We are left only with a memorial: his written word, safely kept between the covers of his books. But not all is paper: we also have the words of his disciples, the commentaries made about his life and his writings, the repercussions of their work on our lives and the world we live in. These author-teachers die but their ghosts remain amongst us, they haunt us and form us by modelling our thoughts. They are our refence points. No Chinese can live as if Confucius had never existed, and no Westerner, as if Pythagoras or Jesus had never been born. They form a horizon of subjectivity that lies beyond the belief we might have in their teachings or even in their historical existence which might be real or attributed to them by posterity. Sometimes, only the tradition survives, as in the case of Homer, Buddha, Jesus, and even Socrates, from whom not even one line of writing has reached us.
Let us go further in our reflections. These teachers help to form us, it is true, but since they can no longer answer our questions or respond to our objections, we also give them shape when we read their texts, when we translate them into our language, and into our time. We model them when we interpret them, when we comment on their thoughts, when we relate them to other authors and discourses unknown to them either because they came from different traditions, or because these other authors, by whose new light we read them, lived in a different epoch from their own. Chuang Tzu can be read through Suzuki and through Freud, and these two, in turn, can be read in the light of Buddha or Aristotle; all of them now coexist in our world, making them contemporaries, our contemporaries. The frontiers of time and space that separated them from us in our panorama of thought are abolished. Diachrony and heterogeneity are fused in the synchrony of our reflection.
I have entitled this conference "The Readings of Freud"; I have given it this heading quite intentionally despite its innocent appearance. You will be able to say when I am through, if it was well or ill intentioned.
Freud died in 1939, but he lives on in his followers. We, his readers, give him birth again and again. An author and a teacher never turns to ashes when his writing remains on its paper support, or, in these times, in digitalized information bytes. No one dies who can give life to a new idea.
I will enlarge upon the hidden meaning in my title which is presented to you with a mask of innocence of which I declare myself innocent. I wish to call your attention to two grammatical details: the plural and the genitive. The Readings: in plural. Of Freud: the genitive. I, being ignorant of your grammar (after writing this I shall try to obtain counsel), make use of the grammar of Western languages where the genitive is ambiguous. In our language "of" is used in "subjective" and "objective" forms. The subject that lived in Viena from 1860 onwards and was called Sigmund read many books. These readings are his, they are the readings "of" Freud. He also wrote... and his books are the objects we read: our readings "of" Freud. Our readings employ a different object from his. But the language, with great wisdom, keeps the ambiguity: they are all "readings of Freud".
What did Freud read? What were his readings? Those of a lively spirit, awake, avid for the knowledge enjoyed in Europe towards the end of the XIX century, those that correspond to our image of a erudite for whom, according to Terence's maxim nothing human could be alien to him. He read the classics. He read Shakespeare in German, and when he found it pertinent, turned to the original English version. ((He never learned Hebrew to read the Bible and to the displeasure, and even horror, of other Jews, he read it in German)). He never learned any Oriental language in spite of his fascination with all archaeological discoveries and undeciphered hieroglyphs. We know he treasured Chinese antiques. He was well read in philosophy, and did not hide his predilection for Schopenhauer and his Oriental influence, over Hegel's logic of enlightenment, which he found obscure. He was aware of the latest developments in the science of life, to which he had long thought of dedicating himself before he realized that the science of the soul was his real calling, and yet he never separated the two. To enter into the knowledge of the laberynths of the human being he became an expert in mythology, esthetics, anthropology, linguistics (philology, as it was called in his times), and the history of religions, as well as the most diverse systems of thought. He became a laboratory investigator who applied the hypothetic-deductive method and tried to apply this positive knowledge to gain entrance into the mysteries of the "mind", even though, there being no German word for mind, it did not form part of his "mental" concept. He tried, with his knowledge of medicine, histology and thermal dynamics to give an explanation to what he dared call the "apparatus of the soul" (seelisches). He tried, but he failed, and the results of his attempt were buried, bypassing the printing press, in his friend Fliess' desk drawer. He had reached a dead end and could not find any answers, either in his own field or in the "experimental psychology" of his time centered as it was, on the research of consciousness. He wanted to find an explanation to the suffering of people seeking help from doctors for "illnesses of the head", or of "nerves" for which the supposed "knowers" of the functioning of the brain or the nervous system had no answer, and therefore did not know what to do with these "patients".
Yes, Freud read many books but, was there a way to read what had never been written: the suffering inherent to life, inherent in our relations with other people, in a stigmatized body, "documents" of something unknown to the sufferer as well as to those around him? It is here that Freud's discoveries begin: this particular writing needed a translation to allow its meaning to be understood, since it is an inscription that is lived by men and women in the intimacy of their flesh, in their countless failures, in the incomprehension by others of what they themselves do not understand. A deciphering of the hieroglyphic of a dream to its dreamer, a reading of our own inexplicable actions, a probing into what makes us laugh at a joke beyond our conscious knowledge, in other words, a reading of what the subject does not know, of the unknown, of the unconscious, the word he used to name his discovery. The readings of Freud_the books that he read, yes_ but for the first time in history, someone learns by "reading" what he hears his patients say. Freud offered this answer to the suffering victims who came to him for help: "your suffering is the consequence of a certain knowledge that you lack; talk to me, and from what you tell me, we will be able, between us, to read what, for the moment, we don't know." To psychoanalyze is, in a way, to learn to read an unpublished text written in a language for which there are no dictionaries since it is each subject's own.
Freud learned to read his patients' suffering but first he had to learn to read his own self, understand and cure his own neurosis. His most important work, not very easy to see since it is fragmented in many different books, was the merciless analysis to which he subjected his own life, a continuous source for the findings that marked his intellectual biography. The biographical facts of Freud's life are important, but only those that relate to his work. He himself once said: "my life makes sense only from the perspective of psychoanalysis", and we can see that he was not referring to the events in his life but to the "discovery of the unconscious", particularly what he was able to glean from his own self.
Many biographies have been written on Freud, some better, some worse, but I would dare say that he is the most and the best known figure in world history. Not only are we able to follow his footsteps during the 83 years of his life, but we also know of even the minor details in the lives of all his ancestors, his close family and his descendants. He worked and he psychoanalyzed and many of his analysands left written testimony of what he did and said in his consulting room. He delved into his memory and his dreams as no one else had done before, and he wrote volumes about them, including the many associations that came to his mind. He let us see his most hidden desires, his ambitions and his failures, his transgressive impulses and his deadlocks on his way to truth. The most minute investigation has revealed to us all of his secrets with maybe a few exceptions that he decided to keep to himself. Beyond even the wishes of his legatees to censure and even hide certain facts of his life and of his correspondence (many thousands of letters!) what Freud told us happens to each human being -that truth, repressed, returns- happened to his own person. To read Freud is also to read his life, to read it as an open book, exposed to the gaze and the interpretation of each one of his readers. Freud's life is the object of multiple "readings of Freud".
A genitive, but also a plural. I do not say "reading" but "readings"; Freud wrote his psychoanalytic texts without pause for 45 years (1893-1939). Each one of his pages was a commentary and an addition to every one of the previous ones. He constantly changed his conceptions which became more complex with his increased knowledge, he discovered errors and corrected them, his clinical experience and the objections of his students and of his foes led him to modify the initial points of departure of his thought which were always kept open for eventual rectifications.
How then are we to read what we see organized in chronological order in the 23 volumes? A chronological reading is inadequate, because a concept is not what is stated in its birth certificate, but what it ends up being after a long life in which each new theoretic idea brings about a change in its status. All Freudian concepts: traumatism, unconscious, transference, drive, repression, resistance, etc., all of these, a long list indeed, have gone through a number of changes during the long Freudian journey. "To know" a concept is to know of its vicissitudes through time, and be able to correlate it to the status of the theory as a whole in that same period of time.
If reading from beginning to end is sterile, so is a reading begun backwards because one would have to guess what Freud is referring to and what is the logic behind any corrections made.
There is also no first word or concept from which all the rest can be understood, so it is equally useless to attempt a thematic reading.
What must we do then? To start wherever one wishes, to reread what we have already read taking as a fresh point of departure every new text that comes into our hands, that is, we must not limit ourselves to one but to many readings of Freud. Each one of these readings will enrich us with new facets which may previously have gone unnoticed. Chronology will not give us a chronicle, a succession of theoretical and conceptual happenings in time but a spatialized map of the ever changing meaning of each one of the psychoanalytic words. Our readings of Freud must be multiple in order to stress the distinction between the different layers of meaning.
This is a basic principle of clinical psychoanalysis: all signification is produced in the present moment which acts retroactively on all previous ones. Time does not begin in the past, move towards the present, and then on to an eventual future, but just the opposite. The origin is not a fixed and immutable point, it varies with each new event: what happened depends on what is happening now, on what it has become. Freud called this paradoxical organization of time, opposed to historicism and geneticism proper to Western thought of the nineteenth century: Nachtr„glichkeit (retroactivity).
Let us now dwell on another sense of the plural: each reader during his lifetime does and, given the Nachtr„glichkeit, redoes several readings. But reading Freud is not the same as reading what is written by an author who deals, for example, with astronomy, with botanics or with geography. Since Freud's themes are subjectivity, dreams, personal history, the suffering in our lives, the reasons for our general unhappiness, madness and the precariousness of reason, the origins of religion, law and the State, civilization and its discontents, the subsistence of memory and the causes of forgetfulness, illusion and belief, in other words, human life itself, each reader is shaken in the very grounds of his/her own being. No one can remain indifferent to these texts since it is the reader himself who is the subject of Freud's discourse, the referent of his word. Therefore, each one does his own reading of Freud. An indefinite number of readers doing an indefinite, varied and disorderly number of readings of an author who, in appearance is always himself, and yet is never the same. Each reader is questioned by the Freudian text and ends up by drawing his own map and leaving the mark of his reaction to this digging in the soul which goes by the name of psychoanalysis.
After all we have said, it becomes obvious that the readings of Freud are infinite, kaleidoscopic, impossible to determine. This is not a Freudian prerogative; the fundamental texts of any civilization share this characteristic, with the exception of texts dedicated to the chronicling of events, or those whose themes deal with the formal sciences (logic and mathematics), or with the natural sciences (the different branches of physics). These leave no place for interpretation and the search for multiple connotation. Scriptures, works of artistic creation, texts on a knowledge that hopes to guide the lives of subjects, all of these are embraced in a discipline which is called "social science" and which I prefer to call "science of the sign", and they all require multiple readers and readings, they are never quite assimilated and they refuse a definite interpretation. They also refuse the attempt of institutions, schools or churches that pretend to establish, once and for all, the meaning of the foundational text, be it that of Confucius, of the Evangelists, of Nietzsche or of Freud. In other words, these are texts exposed to dissemination, open-ended texts.
The reader is invoked and provoked by the written text to speak of a truth that strives to make its way to the light. His responsibility does not consist in passively learning or repeating by heart what he has read. There is a certain ethics to reading, there is an unyielding compromise that is at stake concerning the text: although it is always the same, it must always be something different.
In Freud's case we face the ethics of the disenchantment that guided his pen. The subject is called upon to challenge the sweet certitudes of social conventions in which he tries to find a comfortable niche . Reading Freud is a work of tearing away, of renting the ideological plate that is promised us in the discourse of fairy tales and of what he, at the time called the eiapopeia von Himmel, the "lullaby of Heaven". In the introduction to the Complete Works of Chuang Tzu, Burton Watson tells us: "In essence, all the philosophers in old China, pointed towards the same problem: How can man live in a world dominated by suffering, chaos and the absurd?" Twenty-five centuries have passed and the problem continues being the same... or even worse.
Freud's is not the discourse of nannies, the comforting discourse of well-being, or a prescription on how to obtain happiness and interior peace. It is an alarming discourse that confronts us with the impossibility which lies at the bottom of man's heart, and which is the founding element of civilization and its discontents, and which leaves us no illusion about its surmountability. Freud, it must be said, is a thinker that is against the notion of progress, proper, in his time, to capitalism, the notion of reaching happiness through an increase in knowledge, which he considers an illusion. However, a latent optimism lies beneath his most pessimistic statements: the denouncing of illusions has its function: it is necessary to recognize this basic life force, the death drive, and establish dams to stop its overflowing, to pursue acts which will link it to the erotic drive and thereby, after having recognized its sovereign power, displace its tendency towards destruction.
We must, therefore, read Freud in the same way that we read all other teachers of truth. It is not an option but a duty for whoever wishes to take an active part in life on this earth. We must read him directly and not through those who say they have read him, but filter his concepts through a heavy ideological curtain of prejudices and suspicious intentions to appropriate him for a school of thought that is not his own.
We should read him in German if possible, and if not, we must exercise a careful control over the translation and the possible hidden or explicit intention of laying down, in a dogmatic way, the meaning of his words. A "second-hand" reading, unfortunately the most usual, is not acceptable. ((The translator has a supreme responsibility; he must take the Freudian idea, expressed in an incomparable style in German, and translate it into his reader's own language without forcing Freud into the established canons proper to the discourse of the new language. To translate Freud (and this is valid for all authors) is to modify the target language in such a way that it is able to accept and give a place to the novelty of his discovery.
Spanish, as much as Chinese or Norwegian, must be transgressed so that they can receive the weight of these new concepts: the translator's job is not merely to achieve an acceptable version of the text but to transform his own language and enable it to subsume the new words and the new concepts that can express new forms of approximation to the truth. Reading Freud untranslated and reading him after translation are two different readings of Freud. This does not necessarily mean that there is a loss. On the contrary, the intent and sometimes even the failure, of doing a translation often allows a better understanding of the original.)) Translating Freud and reading him in a language not his own, is always a challenge. I am extremely eager to learn of the problems and the enrichment that emerge from the translation of Freud into Chinese. For example, does the Chinese have words for: "psyche", "soul", "mind" and "spirit", and do they hold the same meanings?
I have already said that the readings of Freud are infinite, and now I would like to add that each language into which the original is translated, spawns an indefinite number of readers and therefore an indefinite number of new readings. This said, I will take the risk, not without a certain tremor, of incurring in a flagrant contradiction, of risking your reasonable mistrust in the coherence of my discourse and, against everything I said previously, I will now state that the readings of Freud, those done in his time and more than sixty years after his death are not only not infinite but they can be counted on the fingers of one hand. In effect, all readers, of all times, and in all languages, have produced a total of four readings, only four, and I can (we can, if you agree with me) name them and define them and restrict the infinite interpretations of his works into four groups. Allow me a simile: a botanist does not remain nonplussed by the infinite number of plants he may find in a forest, he simply introduces the concept of classification and reduces this immense variety to a few categories where the innumerable single plants may be included. This allows us to go from chaos to order.
I have said four and only four readings. Now I will name them and show that between them they "produce" Freud, that is to say, they modify and construct their object until it has become what it is now, at the dawning of this 21st century. With this I do not wish to imply that there is a lack of readings or readers that pick up elements from each one of the four and construct variable mixtures with pages taken from here and there. But essentially they are four: a) a biological reading; b) a psychological reading; c) a sociological reading, and d) a reading grounded on language.
I should say that each one of these readings is contingent, -it might never have taken place-, but each one is possible and therefore coherent in its internal logic, and they are all find shelter in the faithful quoting of certain Freudian statements. They are all valid, all are enriching. Some show aspects that could have passed by unnoticed, others find and make use of the fracture lines and contradictions inherent in the text which allow for the different interpretations. In other words, besides being contingent and possible, these reading have been and still are necessary. They could not, not have been made. However, I must add that "Freud" as an object is not equal to the sum of the readings and that they do not permit the exercise of an eclecticism under the false argument that "each one has its share of truth, and between them, they hold the the whole truth". Contradiction is a fuel, an inflammable substance for thought; it can invite us to the development of an argumentative logic but not to a mechanical joining of the contradictory statements. My idea for this lecture is to stress this complexity in the "Freud object" through the heterogeneity of the readings that have taken place. So just as I do not accept eclecticism, I do not accept a dogmatism which would negate these contradictions to confirm the ideas of a previously arrived at construction. A supposed neutrality is also impossible, since each one of these readings implies a different way of understanding the unconscious and therefore, a different way of understanding the goals and the means of psychoanalytic practice. It is not merely a more or less unimportant "theoretical" question; what is at stake here is the way of understanding and therefore of conducting, psychoanalysis. Thus, clinical practice, the ways of transmission and the institutions dedicated to the training of analysts are organized starting from the reading of Freud.


I cannot offer you, today, a complete seminar on psychoanalysis, much less four, to explain how the set of Freudian concepts in each one of these four readings is organized, so I will limit myself to showing you what characterizes, in general terms, each reading, beginning with the biological one.
Three paths lead us to a biological reading of Freud. The first is the result of an error in the translation of Freud into English which results in a true perversion of his thought, even though, we must admit, it was a translation which met with Freud's own approval, versed as he was in that language and supervisor of the translation done by John Riviere, as well as the one by James and Alix Strachey. Where Freud had practically created a new concept by defining in a very original way the term Trieb: drive (pulsion, in French), the translators opted for the word instinct in spite of the fact that Freud had at his disposal, and used when he thought necessary, the German word Instinkt to refer to the stable and inherited biological disposition that establishes in a universal way the necessary behavior for the preservation of life and the reproduction of the members of a certain species. Without being able in this short space of time to develop a complete thesis on the differences, I will say that "drive", a key concept of psychoanalysis, is everything that "instinct" is not. If we accept this misleading translation of the term "drive" as "instinct", it would appear that psychoanalysis is a science of the instinctual life, of the regulation of inherited behavior, of that which is common to all the members of the human species, a sort of human ethology, instead of being a path towards the knowledge of what is singular in each man and in each woman, of what particularizes each one and cannot be reduced to any generality. The notion of instinct as the nuclear concept of psychoanalysis has given place to works such as Melanie Klein's who holds that there is a rich "instinctual" (instead of "driving") life in the newborn baby, before, and independently from, any ulterior experience with his family and the social surroundings, and that this instinctual activity manifests itself in aggressive, defensive and retaliatory fantasies in relation to the objects in the baby's world. It is supposed that these innate fantasies could be clarified and interpreted by the conceptual apparatus of the psychoanalyst who discovers such a congenital fantasmatic life in the child's play. Fortunately, most of the psychoanalytic authors writing in English today, have noted this error in the standard translation and have preferred to use the correct word (etymologically as well as conceptually) which is drive.
The second path taken by a biological reading makes use of a botanical metaphor which is the idea of maturity. The human organism grows and matures, passing through stages of lesser to greater development and, just as the nerve fibers in time become myelinized, so the instinctual dispositions perfect themselves and, like fruit in a tree, begin to ripen, with the "superior" structures (usually understood as the brain) taking control over the "inferior" structures. Somewhere along the way of this preestablished dynamics of growth, certain stages of underdevelopment, or a regression to previous phases could be retained resulting in pathological conditions. Treatment of these "diseases" would be directed towards an overcoming of these developmental standstills that would ideally end in a "genital phase" of the libido. The belief in a preestablished order is transformed into a prescript, a set of prescriptions about what should be considered "right", in the sense of "development", and what should be considered "wrong": childish, pregenital, immature.
The third path by which one arrives at a biological reading of Freud is also related to a question of translation. As I have already mentioned, the word "mind" does not exist in German (nor in French). Freud speaks more or less indistinctly, of "psyche" and of "soul", less and always in a critical sense of "spirit". In other contexts we find "thought", "understanding" and "consciousness" to refer to the cognitive aspects of psychic activity. All these terms can be translated into English as "mind". This translation is not innocent, since the word mind necessarily carries with it what we call the "mind-body" problem, and the different answers that this "problem" (a false problem for psychoanalysis) has received through history: dualism, materialistic monism, idealistic monism, reductionism, parallelism, emergentism, interactionism, etc. Psychoanalysis will have nothing to do with this ballet, this pas de deux which is classical in philosophy. But, given the success in the academic media of today, of those who pretend that "mental" functioning will eventually be explained by the knowledge we might acquire on brain activity, and that we may dream of a time when the "mental" will be reduced simply to the "neurobiological", one could conceivably see Freud, explorer of the "mind", as a not very sophisticated forerunner of the discoveries that in his lifetime had not yet been made but which, one is assured, will sooner or later be made about the correlation between "mind" and "brain". Thus, a well-known book of the last decade, by Frank Sulloway, bore the title: Freud, Biologist of the Mind. To be absolutely clear, for reasons that are fundamentally linguistic, neither Freud nor Lacan ever used the idea of "mind" and what in Freud would be closest to this notion is what he called "apparatus of the soul", an apparatus for which he designed different topologies insisting that it had a virtual spatiality not linked to any area in the brain since Freudian anatomy was an anatomy linked to the representation of the linguistic signifiers of the different parts of the body. The erogenous Freudian body is independent of the innervations and the areas of the brain that could be involved in the functioning of the different organs, sensorial, motor and endoceptive. Freudian anatomy is closer to dressmakers than to biologists. A hand, for instance, is fashioned by the subjective imaginary and not by the real of its innervations or the projections on the brain by said innervations. The Freudian body is linked to an economy of jouissance, it does not respond to a homeostatic functioning of the "organism".


The second reading is "psychological". At bottom, it is not very different from the biological one, specially as it still keeps the idea of "maturity". It admits, and this is already an advantage in relation to the previous reading, that the child does not grow according to the laws of an interior dynamics but in relation to the world and particularly, with the "objects" of this world among which other human beings have a dominant place. This gives rise to an "object-relation theory". The "adaptation" to the social environment, mainly the family, resorts to progressively advanced mechanisms, "defense mechanisms", that enable the subject to cope with anxiety. These processes are psychological and are put into motion by the ego. The seminal work on this psychological viewpoint was an influential book titled "The Ego and its Defense Mechanisms" (1936), written by Freud's daughter and heiress, Anna Freud, and received with admiration by her father. With this book the path to "ego psychology" was opened, a psychology that met with phenomenal success in the United States, the country in which the psychoanalysts fleeing from Europe before the Second World War found shelter. The idea of an evolutionary mechanism of adaptation and the criteria of social success as proof of the usefulness of psychoanalysis were well received by the establishment and by the upholders of the specific "American way of life". To obtain this goal of adaptation it is necessary for the psychoanalyst in his practice to present himself before the subject as someone with a strong ego, capable of commanding a rational dictatorship over the wild motions of the Id, the drives, ("instincts", according to the official translation of the time), and ignoring the destructive death drive. The treatment functions as a process of overcoming resistances, and needing in its final phase, the "identification of the analysand with the analyst". The analyst, instead of working with his patient reclining on the couch acts like a coach, training the subject for life, and showing him the most convenient ways to achieve his ends. His ends, or those imposed by the ideals of his society?
This "ego psychology", which occupied a preponderant place in the '50s, was harshly criticized by those who wished the idea of a fundamental unconscious, such as can be gleaned from all of Freud's work, to be kept alive. They are the ones who recognize themselves as psychoanalysts when they admit, as did the founder himself towards the end of his life, that "the ego is a resisting, repelling and repressive agency" ([1932]1933, New Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis, 31st Lecture). The contradiction in relation to the function of the ego between Freud and his presumed heirs and successors was flagrant. For him the ego was a slave serving three demanding masters: the drives that come from the Id, the commands voiced by the superego and the constraints imposed by an exterior reality. In contrast, for the "ego psychologists", the ego was an autonomous "instance" that controlled the inner as well as the exterior world.
But "ego psychology" did not have the last word in the psychological reading of Freud. In the 60's one began to hear that the patient should not be considered only in the light of one of his parts but as a whole; as a unified entity that included the ego, the id and the superego in an organization whose job was to deal with its relationship to the world and which was given the name of "self". And this is how Freud, who from the moment of his discovery of the unconscious, had always stressed that the human being is a radically divided being, a being lacking in unity, Freud, who had made evident the inherent dissociation of human existence, was disavowed, "misread" by the promotion of an idea which from the very beginning he had rejected: the idea of a "psychic personality" or a "self". It was precisely against this idea that he had founded all of his teaching.
The proponents of this "psychology of the self" (Kohut, Kernberg, etc.) have no qualms in saying that they are the upholders of a "new paradigm" in psychoanalysis and that their proposals have made Freudian concepts obsolete. They maintain that this promotion of the self allows them to face the problems derived from new pathological conditions with success. These conditions have substituted the old categories of neurosis, perversion and psychosis, and are now designated as "personality disorders" covering "borderline" patients, those with "narcissistic disorders", "eating disorders",etc. A new pathology fit for contemporary life.


The third reading is what we call "sociological". This reading emphasizes the role played by culture and the conflictive integration of the individual to the expectations and roles that society commands him to fulfill. For these authors, the spark for development is ignited by life in society, and the main function of any given society is the integration of all individuals into its web. They must acquire a clear identity and, to do this, it is necessary that they be given security about their proper place. They must have knowledge of the reigning patterns in their culture and a sufficient degree of self-esteem. This reading is the one that finds the least support in Freud's written work since very few texts support this view of psychoanalysis. In spite of this, some psychoanalysts have undertaken the initiative and this has given place to two types of discourse: a "rightist" sociological reading, and a "leftist" one.
The first of these readings, is also called "culturalist". In its adaptive and non-questioning sociology, the ruling patterns do not come under discussion, they are simply "facts"; they are there. The person must adapt himself to the social world, and to be able to do this, he must make the modes of behavior that are predominant in his cultural time and space, his own. This "social adaptation" requires the integration of the individual to what society and culture demand, ignoring the fact that these entities are not homogenous but are marked by conflicts between the privileged and the needy, and that the values upheld by society are those of its dominant sectors. Thus, "culturalism" gives rise to a "rightist" sociological reading (Sullivan, Kardiner, Fromm -in spite of his numerous "leftist" quotes, specially from the young Marx).
For a "leftist" sociological reading and discourse, psychoanalysis brings to light the dominion of the ruling classes in the hierarchical organization of social reality, and objects to the process by which the individual is subdued in almost all aspects of his life. For the adherents to this reading, whose prominent historical model is found in the work of Wilhelm Reich, the theoretical undertaking consists in linking Freud's thought with Marx's, an undertaking to which very few Marxists and very few psychoanalysts condescended. Freud himself made few and ambiguous references to the project of ending the discontents in civilization by abolishing economic privilege, and never took the communist project very seriously. He maintained that even if it were possible to end social inequality, the threatening death drive would continue on its way and once the capitalists had disappeared, new enemies would have to be found. From this viewpoint, the psychoanalyst is not the rampart, but an opponent of the reigning values, someone who knows what the world is like, what it should be like, and what should be done to change it.
Paradoxically, the coincidence in the position of the psychoanalyst in the sociological discourse of the right and of the left makes both positions akin. The psychoanalyst acts as a master that abrogates the right to conduct the subject who is "his" object, towards the"worthy" values, the "appropriate" virtues, etc. of which he himself is convinced. To be pro or against the established social order makes no difference in regard to the fundamental fact which is to ask the subject to identify with the values of his/her psychoanalyst. If the analyst does not keep his desire hidden, this desire will manifest itself as a demand made of the subject to yield his own desire. If the analysand becomes what the analyst wishes him to become, he would be giving proof of his love for the analyst, and he can expect to be loved in return. The psychoanalyst who, in his function as psychoanalyst, takes sides either in favor of, or against, the social order, stops being a psychoanalyst and assumes the place of the master.


Lastly, we come to the reading of Freud grounded on language, linked to Jacques Lacan's (France, 1901-1981) teaching. Let me make this clear: I do not mean a linguistic reading insofar as linguistics is a science that deals with the languages spoken by men, and this science affords no possible reading of Freud. Lacan develops his concepts by going in the opposite direction from the one followed by linguists. When I say grounded on language I wish to stress that it is the relationship that the subject has with language which occupies the lead place in this reflection and what guides the practice and the theory of the psychoanalyst. Grounded on language is the syntagma by which I try to render into English the meaning of the French words langagier / langagiere. As far as I know, these French words are impossible to translate into any other language. Psychoanalysis does not deal with language in itself but with the relationship of the speaking subject to language. Psychoanalysis does not deal with the psyche, the soul, the spirit, the mind, the understanding, consciousness or even the unconscious, but with the process by which a human body, body in its biological sense, but specially the erogenous body, is included in the system which is language and in the unconscious and conscious knowledge of the Other.
Women and men are subjected, subordinated, to a symbolic network which is already in place prior to their birth. The subject exists from the moment in which he/she grasps an imaginary representation of him/herself and of his/her relationship to others. Lacan's first discovery in the psychoanalytic field was related to the relevance of the mirror-stage in the constitution of the subject. This mirror-stage takes place sometime between the 6th and 18th month in the life of children and is marked by the recognition of their own image in the mirror. It is the Other, beginning with the mother, who sanctions and leads the child to his identification as a member of his family and culture. He/she receives a proper name and an attribution of sex. From the very beginning, he/she will be an object for demographic politics, he/she will speak his/her mother language, will obey the law ruling his/her society and will expect that the satisfaction of his/her needs be recognized and granted by the Other.
In the process of becoming a subject he/she will necessarily encounter failure and suffering. When confronted with these painful aspects of human life he/she will ask for some kind of help or relief. He/she might seek this help from any of these four sources: a) the magician or shaman: b) the priest or man of God; c) the doctor or man of science, and, d) the psychoanalyst or man of the word. I will only make a few remarks about the latter and I'll phrase them from the perspective of the reading of Freud grounded on language. The psychoanalytic experience unfolds totally in the field of speech. The fundamental rule of psychoanalysis is the command given to the analysand to say, only to say, everything that comes into his mind. The rule for the analyst is that of listening with a freely floating attention to what the patient has to say. The analyst has no other means of intervention except through speech. In the course of the sessions, the unconscious will be revealed as a discourse never heard before. This is where we can understand Lacan's formula: "The unconscious is structured as a language".
As we reach the end of this lecture I would like to stress this relationship of a reading grounded on language with the texts written by Freud. All of them: the interpretation of dreams, parapraxes and jokes, the analysis of neurotic and psychotic suffering, sexual theory and the relevance of the Oedipus complex -Freud's discovery-, etc., deal with language. The psychoanalytic practice never deals with "instincts", "brain processes", "behavior" (adapted or not) or "learning". The concern is with the the ways in which a subject might open himself to the innermost, repressed nucleus of his being. What was unknown, the unconscious, must become accessible to the subject in order to change his relationship with his desire and his possibility of attaining the goals of his drives.
So, while the four readings which we have proposed as covering the totality of the Freudian readings are all legitimate and all of them make use of literal statements made by Sigmund Freud, I am convinced that it is only the reading grounded on language, enriched by the conceptual developments of Lacan, which permits the organization of all that transpires in the concrete experience of the psychoanalytic cure, native soil and testing ground of all Freudian hypothesis. Allow me to point out which are the fundamental ideas of the Lacanian discourse that compose an original formulation amidst the readings of Freud: a) the mirror-stage, b) the statement of "the unconscious being structured as a language", c) the notion of the subject as constituted in his relationship to the Other, d) the distinction and the dialectical opposition between desire and jouissance, and e) the distinction of three different registries of human experience: the imaginary, the symbolic and the real.
This could be the moment to begin another lecture entitled "The Readings of Lacan" but we will limit ourselves to remembering the immense admiration, almost veneration, which Lacan held for Eastern thought in general, and for Chinese
philosophers and language in particular. It would not be superfluous to evoke here that, during the years of the Second World War, he dedicated himself passionately to the study of Chinese and that he often used this knowledge to illustrate psychoanalytic concepts. Also worth mentioning is his affinity and familiarity with the thought of old Chinese masters: Confucius, Mencius, Lao Tse and Chuang Tzu.
I shall quote a rather long text which, among my different readings, comes closest to the Lacanian concept of the psychoanalyst as someone who occupies for the analysand, the place of the "supposed knowledge subject" allowing in this way for transference to take place; transference being the most important and indispensable mechanism of the psychoanalytic cure. The text quoted is by Chuang Tzu in Burton Watson's translation. I think Jacques Lacan would have probably made few modifications to the beginning of Book VI entitled "The Great and Venerable Teacher":
"He who knows what it is that Heaven does, and knows what it is that man does, has reached the peak. Knowing what it is that Heaven does, he lives with Heaven. Knowing what it is that man does, he uses the knowledge of what he knows to help out the knowledge of what he doesn't know, and lives out the years that Heaven gave him without being cut off midway - this is the perfection of knowledge.
"However, there is a difficulty. Knowledge must wait for something before it can be applicable, and that which it waits for is never certain. How, then, can I know that what I call Heaven is not really man and what I call man is not really Heaven? There must first be a True Man before there can be true knowledge. (my italics)
"What do I mean by a True Man? The True Man of ancient times did not rebel against want, did not grow proud in plenty, and did not plan his affairs. A man like this could commit an error and not regret it, could meet with success and not make a show. A man like this could climb the high places and not be frightened, could enter the water and not get wet, could enter the fire and not get burnt. His knowledge was able to climb all the way up to the Way like this.
"The True Man of ancient times slept without dreaming and walked without care; he ate without savoring and his breath came from deep inside. The True Man breaths with his heels; the mass of men breath with their throats. Crushed and bound down, they gasp out their words as though they were retching. Deep in their passions and desires, they are shallow in the workings of Heaven.
"The True Man of ancient times knew nothing of loving life, knew nothing of hating death. He emerged without delight; he went back in without a fuss. He came briskly, he went briskly and that was all. He didn't forget where he began; he didn't try to find out where he would end. He received something and took pleasure in it; he forgot about it and handed it back again. This is what I call not using the mind to repel the Way, not using man to help out Heaven. This is what I call the True Man...
"His bounty enriches ten thousand ages but he has no love for men. Therefore he who delights in bringing success to things is not a sage; he who has affections is not benevolent; he who looks for the right time is not a worthy man; he who cannot encompass both profit and loss is not a gentleman; he who thinks of conduct and fame and misleads himself is not a man of breeding; and he who destroys himself and is without truth is not a user of men... Those... who slaved in the service of other men, took joy in bringing other men joy, but could not find joy in any joy of their own..."
footnote by Burton Watson: "according to legend, these were men who either tried to reform the conduct of others or made a show of guarding their own integrity. All either were killed or committed suicide."

If Freud ever invented something in his life, we can name it: the psychoanalyst. An uncommon object, someone who, man or woman, becomes an object to permit the unfolding of the unconscious knowledge in the subject who asks for assistance, someone who ceases being a subject and who renounces all of the presumed privileges of the imaginary so that truth may emerge. Someone who knows he does not know and yet allows the analysand to imbue him with a certain knowledge. This incorrect attribution makes the psychoanalyst "the subject supposed to know" or, as Juan David Nasio puts it, allows the analysand to find a "supposed knowledge made subject". In Chuang Tzu's words, it is necessary to create an originary, fundamental figure: that of a True Man ("subject supposed to know" for Lacan), someone who never existed, a purely mythical entity, but one that allows the subject who wants to know to have a prop on the way to the way. And what does he find at the end of the way? He discovers that the "subject supposed to know" was in reality, a mirage; that there never was, either in the beginning or now, a knowledge made flesh in a subject.Therefore life becomes possible only when one is able to go beyond the illusions and the idealizations that make us lose the way.
«多拉的梦:谁的声音――斯翠彻的、弗洛依德的或多拉的?-C. Edward Robins, Ph. D 精神分析


施琪嘉 教授