It is worthy of note that in this issue of The Letter all the articles have been the outcome of work in the cartels of the ISLP, thereby actualising the assurance of The Founding Act that what is written by members of the cartels will have ‘the repercussions it deserves’, and in the appropriate place.
In conjunction with one’s own personal analysis, Cormac Gallagher emphasises the role of the cartel as the field of central importance in the formation of the analyst. Firstly he sets out his interpretation of the way in which cartels are structured in order to further this crucial role of formation. Then he extrapolates from the record of the discussions on the Cartel Study Days, in Paris, of 1975. It shows the failure to implement the policy of the School as specified in the Founding Act, Adjunct and Preamble, and contextualises the difficulties which had arisen. Finally he gives a brief account of the status of the cartels to-day, which is one of absence, with the exception of the experiment of the ISLP. Guy Le Gaufey’s comment as quoted in the text that this paper is ‘one of the best, the most complete I’ve read on this topic…[and that] it could be considered as a sort of “founding” paper for the ISLP’, is entirely apt.
Patricia McCarthy raises the question of What is an author…a question for the cartels? She notes how this question arose out of her reading, in the cartel, of the seminar on L’Envers de la Psychanalyse and which then led to an investigation of the big Other and the One. The title of her paper is prompted by Foucault and she observes that Lacan followed the conclusion of Foucault in highlighting the importance of returning to Freud’s saying – dire – as a central element for our practice through its becoming transformative or ‘transdiscursive’ in its own way. The paper also discusses Lacan’s treatment of the big Other in his seminar From an Other to the other. McCarthy’s references are a delight in exposition of this very difficult topic and make essential reading for a serious engagement in the cartel. Her concluding remarks on how the poet John Montague overcame his speech impediment is perhaps a metaphor for those who are experiencing something of a similar inhibition in producing a writing.
Barry O’Donnell addresses the question of What might a School Be? He takes us on a historical journey starting with the four major philosophical Schools of the ancient Greek world, and discusses the ethos which obtained therein. He points to the difference between a teaching that is innovative and the work of a school tasked with responding to that teaching. He also refers to the lack of evidence that the schools had any system of assessment, certification or external validation – sadly not the case in our own time, with the State demand for certification and validation. The reference to Plato encouraging individuals to pursue their own paths of study, he reminds us, is a precursor to Lacan’s similar requirement that each member of the cartel will do likewise. His concluding remarks on the social bond and the role of the plus one give much food for thought.
The paper of Mary Cheyrou-Lagrèze: Through the Lenses of the Cartel… is the outcome of her work in a cartel which took the Four Discourses as its focus. She echoes Lacan’s warning against a too quick understanding of the text and uses a beautiful expression from Yeats to support her point. She draws attention to the need to avoid the ‘group necessity’ as being of utmost importance to the effective functioning of the cartel. She makes an important addendum to this perspective when suggesting the imperative to respect human subjectivity.