When I proposed that the book written with Professor Bauman be entitled “The Return of the Pendulum” it was because those words, suggested in his mail of 08/23/2012, strongly caught my attention. Wise is he who can read between the lines of the social discourse not only what is happening in the present but also what is approaching. After years of dedicating himself to the analysis of the liquefaction of semblants, Bauman warned that the backlash of the solid would arrive in the form of the atrocious father. At that time, the Trump era could still not be imagined, much less the serious threat that looms over Brazil today.

Certain psychoanalysts, on the basis of very good arguments, had come to postulate that the era of “group psychology” belonged to the past and that social ties were now organized by a different logic based on transversal identifications. They were perhaps too confident that the horizontal reticular transmission of information and social links could give rise to a decentralized collectivity without the classic figure of the leader, or had perhaps forgotten that jouissance never accommodates itself to the pace of social transformations. An ideology is after all not indispensable in order to be racist: the dynamics of jouissance may suffice.

Colleagues in Brazil advise that the name of this person is not written on social networks, since a supposed algorithm on FB and Twitter reacts to this signifier, automatically generating bots that propagate his discourse, reinforcing his presence. I do not know if this is true, but just in case I will refer to him as the Thing (and not precisely “a mais linda do mundo” as in the song by the unforgettable Vinicius), the unnameable. The Thing returns, in the worst way in which the Father can come back just when we thought we had thrown him out the window. This is an error that results from thinking that what an analytical treatment sometimes achieves can be extrapolated to the collective experience.

Our World Association of Psychoanalysis does not require any particular political affiliation from its members. They are nevertheless expected to participate in a minimal consensus: the recognition that the ethics of the analytical discourse is incompatible with positions that attack the very heart of everything inseparable from the dignity of the speaking being: love, respect for semblants, the right to difference, to the symptom and to speech. At this crucial moment, the argument that voting for the Thing is not necessarily supporting his project but opposing “the others” is far more than a fallacious statement: it is an infamous position, unforgivable in any context. It is, therefore, one which our School – like no other psychoanalytic institution – could never admit. Clinical error is not always avoidable. Ethical abdication is inadmissible.


Translated by Florencia F.C. Shanahan