The Letter No57 (Autumn 2014) pages 29-40
The historical attempts of psychoanalysis to remedy its sense of fragility by forging a pseudo-solidity alongside psychiatry, psychology and anthropology have led to a deviation of its aims and an inhibition of its efﬁciency. Michel Foucault has argued that psychoanalysis, and psychoanalysts outside Lacan, has not had the courage to think of itself and to exercise itself as a form of spiritual exercise – as understood from ancient times, where only a transformation of the subject can permit his access to the truth. Psychoanalysts need to rediscover a sense of fragility which refuses to offer guarantees, renounces psychiatric and even early Lacanian clinical categories, abstains from classifying analysers and in particular from describing their sexual behaviour as perverse. Freud’s ﬁnal arrival in Moses and Monotheism, at Geistigkeit (spirituality) as opposed to psychology and religion is an illuminating guide to what is truly at stake in the Freudian ﬁeld.
Key words: fragility, Michel Foucault, clinical categories, the diverse, spirituality.
Easy to break, to falsify, to damage, to destroy, with a weak composition and a lack of solidity, fragility could scarcely be said to have a good press. There is however no paradox in devoting the remarks which follow to a eulogy of the fragility of the analyst and that of analysis itself. All the more so because analysis has acquired, in the course of time, what could be designated as a false or pseudo-solidity, due to an excessive weight, which, far from suiting it, inhibits its efﬁciency or even deviates its aims. This excess is composed of three different strands. 1) While Sigmund Freud expected from his alliance with Carl Jung that psychoanalysis would conquer psychiatry, nothing of the kind took place since, on the contrary, it is psychiatry which has ceaselessly informed (in the sense of giving a certain form to) the treatment of problems encountered in analysis: ‘psychopathology’ is the name of this teratological combination of two incompatible methods. 2) While Freud knew the risk to psychoanalysis if it were to fall into the hands of priests, a far too distant, fearful and ﬁnally rigid relationship with respect to religion returned to analysis in the form of a psychoanalytic religiosity: ‘psychoanalytic ethics’ is the…