I want to share with you what my thoughts are trying to capture of the phenomena that have taken place for four days in a body affected not by a signifier, which is generally considered by psychoanalysis as the sign of trauma/trace of jouissance on the body, but by a microorganism called coronavirus. This is what my friend, professor of infectious diseases, wrote to me by SMS. “Hi, just received a positive result. Stay at home for at least 10 days and your loved ones too. Avoid close contact with them. Call me if you are not ok. But in my opinion, you have no particular worries in your personal situation.”
There it is! It’s a tipping point that makes no sense (even though the virus has a name), in which the body is taken to task. Thought (like Napoleon’s subordinates) has only to follow. I must reorganize everything: my consultations, my meetings, etc.
First and foremost, it is the experience of a body unexpectedly/contingently going through a series of phenomena over which neither my thought nor my will has any control. If proof was needed to demonstrate that thought and the body are indeed two heterogeneous, disjointed, disharmonic consistencies, there it is. The first night of the infection was the occasion for the production of a dream: I was caught in the scenario exposed by Lacan regarding logical time and the assertion of anticipated certainty. Whatever the scenarios and the staging of the dream, I constantly came to the anticipated certainty of an act of extraction!
Of the body in question. Of the real in question. With fever, anosmia, no sense of taste, intense musculoskeletal pain, (fortunately) no cough or breathing difficulties, but the sensation of a flattened body, crushed by an invisible force, over which the psychic has no effect. It’s certainly a state in which the body is in control!
I am left with Lacan’s words from his conference in Louvain (1972). They are terribly strong words that bring relief, particularly when he talks about the question of death. He recalls that death is a belief that sustains us. “It supports you. If you didn’t believe it, could you bear the life you have?… If you did not firmly lean on this certainty that it would end, could you bear this story?” Obviously, I don’t intend to die yet.
Translated by Lynn Gaillard