Florencia F. C. Shanahan – What Kind of Love is This

THE LETTER 33 (Spring 2005) pages 91-97

“I am mad about love.” This is the phrase with which Mario localizes his suffering. Love drives him crazy, taking him, as he says “to the edge of danger”.

I first met him at the hospital where I was working when he was in his thirties. He had been hospitalized eight times in the previous ten years. He spoke to me saying that he wanted a “psychologist”, and that he had already had “five”. He said: “I need to develop the trust for talking; through psychoanalysis one can find what one wishes the most (…) I want to talk and, thanks to what you know, get to know which is the path I have to follow…”. I accepted his demand for talking, not without introducing certain limits from the beginning.

He referred to his father’s death as a “radical” change in his life. This father had a singular “authority”: organising Mario’s existence. He described the subjective experience with which this death confronted him as “being left dislocated from reality”; since when, he said, he “lost the helm, the pattern that stabilises every person”. His father’s death, which occurred ten years before, left what Mario referred to as “a hole”, which he attempts to cover, even today, with music, metaphysics and poetry.

His “reality” changed from that moment on, and what he calls “to go without a compass” expresses the loss of the coordinates that sustained his world. The “superior being” that guided him was not there anymore.

He described the corporal suffering associated with this loss: “strong, mixed emotions, sadness, honor; Sometimes I felt my head was a blender machine”.

This return in the body will become linked, by Mario, to the signifier “love”. …

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