Friday, October 2, 2020

Eunuchs in the Freudian Field

Among the responses to my article in Mediapart this past Sunday I found one written by someone who calls herself Moira. Here is a link to the website. And here is a link to my English version.

Anyway, Moira speaks for the opposition. She speaks for the mental and moral eunuchs who are still tilling the Freudian field in France. I suspect that the name is a pseudonym, but I have no way of knowing whether that is true.

In the interest of theoretical rigor I would point out that becoming a eunuch is an effective way to overcome one's castration anxiety.

I will quote some of her French, with my translations. It does not read like very well-written French, but I am not a leading authority on the point.

Her purpose is to dismiss and to disparage my article. In the process she manages to insult a series of other people who have left the Freudian field. In the terms of the French psycho world, this tells readers who wish to remain faithful cult followers to ignore my thoughts and the thoughts of the other prominent Freudians who left the field. In the comments section on Mediaparte, Jacques van Rillaer offers a list of those others who are of my ilk.

Anyway, the charming Moira opens by recommending that someone offer my article to Paris Match-- a popular magazine, roughly equivalent to old American magazines like Life or Look. Apparently, she means to be clever and insulting, but, why is she so snobbish and condescending to the people who read those magazines?

Naturally, she is especially torqued over my arguments regarding psychoanalysis and rape. As it happens, I outlined the argument in detail, beginning with the first time I heard about a woman being raped by her analyst in session. If she had read more carefully she would have noticed that I offered some theoretical justification for my point of view, beginning with Freud’s offhand remark that treatment for hysteria was: penis normalis dosim repetatur. You might think it was a clever joke, but at a time when hysterics in the Salpetriere were being raped by the resident physicians, I do not find it funny.

In Moira’s clotted French:

Enfin, bravo, le passage sur le viol est particulièrement crade. Se décider à enterrer toute la psychanalyse parce qu'une analyste se serait fait violer par son contrôleur, l'enchaînement des arguments par l'auteur relève d'un manque de logique à couper le souffle.

My translation:

Finally, bravo, the passage on rape is especially putrid. To decide to bury all of psychoanalysis because an analyst was raped by her supervisor, the series of arguments that followed showed a lack of logic that takes my breath away.

The arguments were clear. We hope that Moira overcomes her respiratory affliction.

Apparently, she missed the part about Freud’s quotation about the use of the penis to treat hysteria.

She continues:

Non, Freud utilise le déchiffrage des représentations inconscientes, c'est-à-dire refoulées, pour traiter le complexe sexuel de l'hystérique, c'est tout à fait autre chose quand même non ?

My translation:

No, Freud deciphered unconscious representations, that is, repressed, to treat the sexual complex of hysteria-- which is completely different, isn’t it?

Of course, we might want to distinguish the Freud of the Studies on Hysteria and the Freud of the case of Dora. Had she read more clearly she would have seen that I called psychoanalysis a sublimated rape. What I meant by that is quite simple: the psychoanalytic patient did not have the choice between accepting and rejecting Freud’s interpretations. Freud did not just decipher, he insisted that his deciphered version of the patient’s desire-- see the case of Dora-- was the absolute truth. He tried to force it on his patients. He tried to overcome their defenses. He wanted to break down their resistances. What does that sound like to you?

Moira is especially discommoded over the notion that I considered the psychoanalytic process to be infantilizing. I could certainly have been clearer about the point, but I would contend that telling people to speak whatever comes to mind, regardless, replicates the way small children talk. The smaller the child, the less filter. The smaller the child the more his speech fulfills the terms of the law of free association. Since patients are told that they are obliged to follow this law-- it’s a condition of treatment-- it can do nothing but infantilize. 

Moira writes, indignantly, about my assertion that on one occasion I felt obliged to offer a patient the option of having me tell him what to do.

Puis, l'auteur, qui critique l'"infantilisation" du dispositif analytique, se permet de dire quoi faire à son patient, le somme de s'excuser de son comportement... Ce n'est pas de l'infantilisation ça peut-être ? ("je lui dirai quoi faire s’il me promettait de faire exactement ce que je lui disais") !

My translation:

Then, the author, who criticizes the infantilization in analytic treatment, permits himself to tell his patient what to do, as a way of excusing his behavior…. Isn’t that infantilizing? (“I told him that I would tell him what to do if he would promise to do what I told him.”

One can offer an extended critique of what it means to tell someone what to do. But, one feels compelled to note that when you are teaching someone how to play a game, like chess or badminton, you must begin by telling him what to do. The issue has nothing to do with infantilizing, but with being a novice, learning how to play a game. 

Besides, the man in question was decompensating. He was stalking a woman. One does not know what a seasoned psycho analyst would do under the circumstances, but, in my defense, I offer the simple observation that he immediately ceased his stalking and recovered a measure of emotional stability.

If you honestly imagine that you can treat such a situation by offering up ten years of analysis, the better to teach him how badly he wanted to copulate with his mother… you are whistling in the wind. 

Moira concludes by quoting the French translation of the following text, to which she will take serious exception. I offer you the English version:

Evidently, a nation that is a world power is more likely to see problems in terms of competition than is a nation that is not. A nation that had won wars was more likely to value competition than was a nation that needed, above all, to recover the pride lost during World War II.

About that she has this to say:

Outre le fait que la fin du texte est épistémologiquement ni fait à faire (on a beau jeu de critiquer la rigueur de Lacan !), voilà, c'est exactement ce que Lacan disait du devenir de la psychanalyse dans l'American way of life : adapter le patient au monde, le faire devenir un winner du XXIème siècle. En effet les américains seraient "plus intéressés par le fait d’être efficaces, avoir du succès et être productifs" en étant "pragmatiques".

My translation:

Besides the fact that the sentence is epistemologically empty-- from someone who criticizes Lacan’s rigor-- the author shows exactly what Lacan believed that psychoanalysis would become in the American way of life-- a means of adapting the patient to the world, to make him a winner in the 21st century, to be successful and productive, by being pragmatic.

She continued:

"Efficaces", "pragmatiques", "productifs": de bon soldats du néolibéralisme. 

I translate:

Effective, pragmatic, productive-- to be neoliberalism’s good soldiers.

And she closes:

Ne réfléchissez pas, amis américains,  si vous voulez gagner la "guerre". Car la vie est une "compétition" n'est-ce pas ?

My translation:

Don’t think too much, my American friends, if you want to win the war. Life is a competition, don’t you think?

Evidently, this is becoming incoherent. For those who do not know French buzzwords, neoliberalism simply shows that one is very sophisticated. No one in my neighborhood uses the term. Considering that I was proposing that America is wedded to pragmatic and empirical thinking, her effort to reduce it to neoliberalism merely shows a serious lack of intellectual sophistication, and precious little understanding of intellectual history.

Of course, it is strange, and symptomatic, to deride America for wanting to win. Moira should know enough about recent history to know that it was not so much fun in France when the nation lost to the Third Reich, surrendered to the Third Reich and collaborated with the Third Reich. It does not make one want to deride the notion of winning.

Surely, she has seen the Marcel Ophuls film, the Sorrow and the Pity, which was banned in France for over a decade. And she might even have seen the television series called A French Village, currently available in America on Amazon Prime.

And one feels constrained to remark that her critique of my American attitude is precisely the bad attitude that has kept France from offering the newest and most effective treatments to autistic children. She should reconsider the point after she watches Sophie Robert’s film, The Wall.


Illuninati said...

Moira has a point. Dr. Schneiderman has made many strong arguments against Freudian psychology. The argument about rape culture is probably not among them. The argument may be correct but the issue is too emotionally charged to work well.

Giordano Bruno said...

The culture of torture, rape, violence, kidnapping, sadism, masochism, bondage, D/s, pedophilia, murder, perversion, and debauchery of every kind is deeply woven into the fabric of Freud and his university heirs.

The modern egghead is a direct descendant of these ideas and the various permutations and directions they have taken since Freud left this earth. Cure madness? Let's write gloriously about it instead. They adore madness, especially the right kinds of madness. They also worship violence, especially theatrical violence, but revolutionary violence is the best! The western intellectual has been in a war against decency since Rousseau, and the avant-garde has been extolling some form of nihilism or another for the better part of a century.

Rape is just par for the course among the possessed. One delicacy on a long menu. BTW, homosexual rape is one subject that doesn't get enough attention. Too bad M. Foucault is no longer with us to provide his direct testimony.

I don't care much about Freud; the feminists disposed of him. Freud is symbolic, like bombing Tokyo. An attack on Freud is also an attack on Marcuse, Lacan, Fanon, and the entire Frankfurt School that corrupts our universities and our culture. That is the mothership from which every destructive idea wandering the earth originates. Sink the mothership, reclaim Western Civilization.

Anonymous said...


"An attack on Freud is also an attack on Marcuse, Lacan, Fanon, and the entire Frankfurt School that corrupts our universities and our culture. That is the mothership from which every destructive idea wandering the earth originates. Sink the mothership, reclaim Western Civilization."

My intuition just asked me if you might be ubu with a new nic.
Not that it matters.
"Ithaca delenda est." ;0)

I have mentioned the Frankfurt School(aka The New School, in NYC) in multiple posts, but our host seems somewhat uninterested, despite his seeming to hold opinions (and values?) one might deem pro-western civ.

And so we hear from Frankfurt School alum, Willi Munzenberg:
“We must organize the intellectuals and use them to make Western civilization stink.”

Wiki - The "long march through the institutions" is a slogan coined by Communist student activist Rudi Dutschke around 1967 to describe his strategy for establishing the conditions for revolution: subverting society by infiltrating institutions such as the professions.

IMO, marxism targets and attacks the young.

They have limited potency and productive skills to exchange for monetary power.
As a result, despite the privilege of many young people, they are easily hooked via their Envy.

Their definition of "the rich", whom they plan to eat,is anyone who makes $100 dollars more per week than themselves.
God forbid you might strive to be "successful"( ie productive).

"A mind is a terrible thing to waste...TEACH ENVY"
- Brought to you by the pro- Marxist Ad Council.

- shoe