Congress 2020 on The Ethics of Psychoanalysis
Freud’s use of topography may have been a precursor to Lacan’s development of the topology of surfaces and knots.
This movement, from two-dimensional space to three and four dimensions which is the space where the structure of the psyche is elaborated, has not been accepted by some psychoanalysts as being necessary for the clinic.
Is topology then a superfluous adjunct to our practice?
Or, is it perhaps part of a ‘new ethics of psychoanalysis’, and, if so, ought we not engage with this saying, to facilitate innovation in thinking?
The Ethics of Psychoanalysis – yes, it is a seminar of Lacan’s – but, more importantly, it is the preoccupation that suffuses the whole of his teaching.
In the closing session of Les non-dupes errent (11th June 1974) he reminds us that for the first time in history – thanks to Freud’s discovery – ‘it is possible for you to err, to refuse to love your unconscious’, because ‘you know what it is: a knowledge that pisses you off’.
In the opening session of Encore (21st November 1972), we are told that the cri du cœur of man and of woman, stronger in some than in others, is ‘I don’t want to know anything about it’. This condition is a necessity il ne cesse pas de s’écrire, it is the fact of repression. ‘We know that not wanting to know (or concealment) is an integral part of the truth’, Christian Fierens notes.
How do we handle this form of knowing in ourselves and others? The ethical question surely.
How do we proceed with a practice founded on not-knowing, on bearing being duped?
Do psychoanalysts have to engage with the work of Freud and the ethic of practice which can be found there? Do psychoanalysts have to respond to the questions raised by Lacan regarding the ethics of psychoanalysis?
In the ‘Founding Act’ [21 June 1964] Lacan speaks of “a work… to be accomplished – which, in the field Freud has opened up, restores the cutting ploughshare of its truth – which brings the original praxis that he instituted under the name of psychoanalysis back to the duty that is incumbent on it in our world – which, by an assiduous criticism, exposes the deviations and compromises that deaden its progress by degrading its use”. What duty for the psychoanalysts today to work the ploughshare?