The COVID-19 virus has sent us involuntarily to our at-home dimension for an uncertain number of days and we want to go back to our in&out-home dimension, which allows our bodies to encounter other bodies in our lives, in our practice, in our Schools…

Mr. Mxyztplk was a supervillain in Metropolis and the only way that Superman had to get rid of him was to make him say or spell his name backwards, Klptzyxm, which made him involuntarily go back to his home dimension for a minimum of ninety days.

In our case except our real super-heroes like nurses, doctors, workers at supermarkets.., we are all in the same position of confinement, and from there we are trying to stay linked using what we can to continue with our social or analytical bonds.  We do not have any magic formula to go back to as so many people now call our new normal. Maybe the vaccine in the future will allow us to go back to our practice, our Schools, our loved ones with the presence of our bodies.

In the meantime, this new reality makes me interrogate fundamental postulates of the Lacanian orientation: an analysis can only be in the presence of the body of an analyst; the body must be present so that the meaningless interpretation can touch the body; enjoyment as an anchor (chevillée) to the body cannot be broached (entamée) in absentia.[1]

Maybe this pandemic allows a new approach to address questions about the presence of the body in an analysis within the logic of the logic of the not-all. The practice of online analytical sessions has been happening for many years ago and now is the only option if we want to continue our own analysis or our practice.

It is a matter in this new reality to find a possibility in the obstacle, to find a relation between the possible and the impossible. For instance, is it possible to use the dream in an online session, as in a face-to-face, to locate a real, to dress the reality of the one of jouissance, to be an instrument of awakening, to point out to that hole in the real?

Gil Caroz in his text  “Recalling Psychoanalysis”, published in LRO [2] reminds us that even if one of the principles of Lacanian psychoanalysis is the presence of the bodies of the analysand and the analyst at the analytical session “by adhering to these principles without fail, we transform them into standards.” And this is far from a Lacanian orientation.

In my first readings of Freud and years later, I was surprised to find Lacan citing the same Freud’s comment [2], saying that it does not appear to have ever attracted anyone’s attention; that Freud’s advice has not been followed and instead we have been taking the scaffolding for the building. Also, Lacan sees this comment as an authorization which Freud gives him to make use of supplementary relations so as to bring us closer to an unknown fact:

“…. I see no necessity to apologise for the imperfections of this or of any similar imagery. Analogies of this kind are only intended to assist us in our attempts to make the complications of mental functioning intelligible… We are justified, in my view, in giving free rein to our speculations so long as we retain the coolness of our judgement, and do not mistake the scaffolding for the building. And since our first approach to something unknown all that we need is the assistance of provisional ideas. I shall give preference in the first instance to hypotheses of the crudest and most concrete description.”

I see in this comment a position with much respect for the unknown, that invites and authorizes the possibility of new constructions and to ask new questions

Jacques-Alain Miller in Caracas in 1998 said that in the later Lacan the irreducible character of the real is approximation; it is the impossible or the real in the approximation; there is a gap between theory and practice, between theory and clinic. Still in 2020 there is this gap and we are finding a know-how to work around this hole using what we have for now, which can be online sessions. While our practice is confined, an online session approximates, links or evokes the presence of the bodies of the analyst and the analysand.

 

 

 


[1] Caroz, G., Recalling Psychoanalysis. Retrieved April, 2020 from http://www.thelacanianreviews.com/recalling-psychoanalysis/

[2] Ibid.

[3] Lacan, J. Seminar of Jacques Lacan, Book I, “Freud’s Papers on Techniques 1953-1954”, chapter VII Topic of the Imaginary, P. 75-76, Ed. J.-A. Miller, Transl. J. Forrester, Cambridge University Press, 1988.