Charles Melman – Returning to Schreber – 15th December 1994

THE LETTER 25 (Summer 2002) pages 1-16

Giving a commentary on this formula of Lacan according to which ‘the unconscious is the social1, implies accepting at first a curious decentering, since to postulate that the Oedipus complex is the organiser of subjectivity, and therefore of desire, is equivalent to privileging the family stage as being where the destiny of the subject is played out, is determined. It is no doubt one of the reasons why the psychoanalysts, in a more or less, intuitive way, consider that the field of their responsibility comes to a halt at the boundary of family organization and that they do not have to make any pronouncement, to become engaged, when they are challenged by the social field. This is also what one sees on the part of neurotics who make of the family scene this permanent and ineradicable locus of passions, of complaints, of grievances, of unpardonable sins, which obviously give to our family lives a very curious tint. You have to chose: either family life is really very good and, in that case, the results are not very good, precisely as regards the determination for a subject of his desire since the aforesaid desire is only supported by shocks, by accidents, even traumas; or indeed – and it is much more frequent – family life is bad and it gives rise to this type of historicizing and consequences which is scarcely any more satisfying.

No doubt Freud should be singularly thanked for having put the accent on this prevalence of family organization in subjective determination even though he, for his part, because of his history, because…

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