Most clinical institutions in Vienna operate primarily in service of the Austrian healthcare system, placing psychoanalysis and the diverse psychotherapy methods in the same category. Whilst providing their services for little to almost no costs, the institution aims for the quick elimination of the symptom, the reduction of stress, suffering and pain as if this all could be set as a guaranteed assurance.

In the “nest of the institution”, only the good, the marvelous eggs are worthy of sharing. It’s the promise of the perfect egg, an egg with no cracks, the happy egg with no colored spots, no irregularities. Order as an imperative.

Meanwhile, in the following passages of a well-known children’s rhyme, the order has already collapsed:

“[…] Three geese in a flock
One flew East
One flew West
And one flew over the cuckoo’s nest.”

While the geese have left their flock to continue individually, the cuckoo surprisingly has built its own nest. Let’s imagine one of these individualistic geese was once thrown out of its nest precisely by this cuckoo who forced a necessary crack in the bird’s egg — a starting point.

A crack from which the goose could emerge to find its very own singularity.

If the Lacanian orientation emphasizes an ethics that aims for desire, then it’s also a necessity to focus on the singularity of the subject, on the desire of each subject individually. Claiming the analytical experience will ultimately lead to happiness would be a betrayal of the subject. And Lacan goes even further: by stating that the analyst should never put himself into the service of this “bourgeois dream”.[1]

Nowadays this dream has emerged from the service of goods to the politically supported service of self-optimization. The analytical discourse is completely absent in this scenario. The way society approaches psychoanalysis today reflects the current discourse of our time. Happiness as an ongoing pleasure in constant self-optimization: Be mindful! Work on yourself! Set boundaries! Drink enough water and be healthy! Those are not claims of a small group, but rather a global phenomenon. In psychoanalysis, these requests often get articulated as the wish to get “reassembled”, to get assistance in the process of replacing one’s original peculiarities with a socially adjusted version of oneself.

If the analyst is confronted with the demand for happiness one has to get a glimpse of how to, according to Lacan, “approach these things differently, how far we are from any formulation of a discipline of happiness”.[2]

This is why the analyst must claim his role as the cuckoo!

The role of the crazy one, the one who disturbs the order. And he does it with persistence. He refuses to offer flawless eggs, but rather cracks them open. One after another. If the cuckoo once has occupied the nest of the obedient goose, he aims to unseal the immaculate eggshell. Just like the analyst poses his questions to open up the hard-boiled surface of the person who addressed the analyst in the first place.

By cracking these eggshells, both the goose and the subject are enabled “to put himself into a position such that things mysteriously and almost miraculously work themselves out right […] to grasp them right”.[3] The emphasis here lies on the act of grasping. The subject is not a passive entity but rather has to make room for himself within the egg, maybe even break free from it. It has to take its chance. The subject needs to confront these cracks and work with them instead of denying them. Facing this discomfort may ultimately be the liberation for the goose, as well as for the subject.

[1] Lacan, J. The Ethics of Psychoanalysis: The Seminar of Jacques Lacan, Book VII (1959-1960). Edited by J.-A. Miller. Translated by Dennis Porter. London: Routledge, 1992, 303.
[2] Ibid., 292.
[3] Ibid., 293.