Paul Verhaeghe – The Crucial Problems – The End of the Treatment, Transmission and the Institutionalisation

THE LETTER 09 (Spring 1997) pages 117-127

We have had an inspiring day with many different approaches to a complex subject. I have been asked to formulate the closing remarks, and of course this always entails the danger of what Freud called ‘secondary elaboration’, that is, the smoothing out of all difficulties. In order to avoid that danger, I want to keep the problem open on the point which I consider to be the most difficult one, namely the end of the treatment and the transmission of psychoanalysis. Moreover, I intend to demonstrate that the maintenance of this opening is indeed crucial.

In this respect, Seminar XII occupies a special place. From a conceptual point of view, it follows directly on the content of Seminar XI, that is, the introduction of the Real as a category; this introduction adds a new dimension to Lacan’s theory, thus necessitating a nachtragliche re-elaboration of this theory. For Lacan, the crucial problems concern identification, the transference and demand, and the relations between those three, which he will approach from a topological point of view. It is this introduction of the Real that will rework the division between Being and Knowing.

Nevertheless, if we overstress the conceptual content of the seminar, we may loose sight of the institutional framework in which it took place. Let us not forget that the previous year saw Lacan thrown out of the IPA, and that he founded his own school in 1964 (EFP). From the twelfth seminar onwards, a number of lessons will be given for a restricted audience, that is, for the privileged ones. In itself, this is already an illustration of the central problem, namely the end of the treatment and the transmission of psychoanalysis.  …

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