Because psychoanalysis has a language of its own that arises in a singular act of a particular subject Lacan later called speaking being. Psychoanalysis stands, in principio, if not de facto, in opposition to the universal achievements of humanity. There is no Nobel Prize for it, no certificates for achievements in the field. In short, psychoanalysis is always in crisis.
I take the decline of the father’s function as an example. For centuries, before Lacan called it the Name-of-the-Father, it served as a universal reference for priests and scientists alike to seek refuge from the mother’s, or the wife she incarnates, demand. The father has been summoned for millennia to consecrate law from St Paul to present judiciary. At the same time, the paternal function remains contingent and not for all, not every neighbour makes a singular use of it. Your neighbour, Monsieur Farage, is a barbarian and, ergo, for him, you too are a foreigner. One of you cannot manage without the father and the other cannot manage without the sacrum that summons jouissance to hatred. That’s why Lacan anticipated it would be religion, not psychoanalysis, that would triumph. Identifications can always triumph when submission to the One goes against the Other. And if it goes with the Other, then the submission to the universal father leads to a singular failure, which leaves room for a serendipity called psychoanalysis.
TThere is a paradox for me in this failure. How to show and transmit the subject’s absolutely singular experience of the real that does not know? How do the speaking beings find their mouthful of the unconscious if not, one by one, in the transmission of this failure in the experience of a crisis?
This year in the Lacanian School we heard myriads of testimonies of crises of the body, traumas, fractures, falls, collapses and loss. Before Freud it was Hazlitt, the literary genius of XIX century England, who captured a human crisis by noting that nothing attracts us more than “hankering after evil” – disasters, acts of terror, love turned into hatred, which for Lacan was its underside, its veil – in these Hazlitt found the source of endless satisfaction. Is it indeed submission to the absolute or what Freud isolated as helplessness? After hours of witness and victim testimonies on the radio about the 7/07 London terror a decade ago, the presenter concludes: “We have enjoyed this day of memory… no, ‘enjoy’ is not the word for it..” He stops speechless. “Enjoyment” was a miss where jouissance, not only in analysis, does not translate.