Beyond the Alien Will

After reading some early texts of Reza Negarestani on dark aspects of corruption, decay, and trauma that I found interesting, I thought it curious that he very suddenly shifted his focus to reason, rationalism, and cognition. Not one to speculate too highly in a wild analysis - unless it be taken as an invitation - for me it became one of many examples of certain “accelerationist” thinkers who had followed the trajectory of deconstruction (outlined by a lineage of thought that is essentially Nietzschean yet reaching a plateau in Deleuze and Guattari) to its limits and encountered trauma itself - most likely in the form of relativism, nihilism, and subjective destitution, or “desetre.” I had seen these figures one after another reach this crisis point in their work - and life - and turn to various aspects of structure and meaning. From an advanced analytic context this would be considered filling the void opened up by the the castration of the phallus, loss of index, undoing of the quilting point, or collapse of the Other. But can this place really be resolved by reaching for an external form of knowledge or procedure assumed without question. Rather is it only possible for each subject - individual at first, finally collective - to (re)construct this place from scratch in a form of DIY or bricolage. The key here would be that the subject would have to own up fully to the contingent nature and method of construction revealing the steps along the way so as not to fall into one more ideological apparatus or hidden foundation of the law.

I was pleased to see recently that Negarestani had returned to some of his earlier speculation on trauma by means of Ferenczi’s concept of the “alien will.” In contradistinction to Laplanche’s defense of Freud’s “general” theory of sexual trauma in the enigma of the encounter with the parent in contrast to the “special” theory of trauma in cases of specifically obvious abduction or seduction from the outside that Freud supposedly neglected, we could take Ferenczi’s alien will as a “general” theory of trauma by means of the “Alien” or “Other” in all its forms - the socio-cultural symbolic structure of institutional oppression, intrusion, and abuse perpetrated by the family, school, media and otherwise. It appears that this finally makes sense of Negarestani’s turn from trauma to reason: for him now critical reason would be the means by which we question this ubiquitous abuse of alien will that we have (mis)taken for normal and which even psychoanalysis has overlooked and collaborated in.

Now the question we are confronted with is that then why should we even think about our human misery, to even mention that we might have been abducted and molested by some alien will? Wouldn’t be better, less painful to just ignore these issues and live the life we thought was ours, the set of our conscious and examined choices and thoughts even if they weren’t? I don’t think Freud ever manages to answer this question coherently. His Schopenhaurian cosmic pessimism which is borderline a mystical whitewash over the conditions of the possibility of trauma does not allow him to even think about this question in earnest. In failing to answer this central question, Freud’s vision of psychoanalysis fails miserably. As long as, we do not justify why life should be lived exploitation-free, we have no justification for how we cure or console those who are living. Absent the former, the latter i.e. the psychoanalytical investigation can indeed be another form of exploitation and trauma, another method of becoming unwilled corpses.

I could not agree more with this sentiment which I have been critiquing within the field of medicine, psychiatry, and psychoanalysis during thirty years of research, teaching, and clinical practice. What I would like to make clear however is that the work of this approach already exists within the true lineage of Analysis - not just in Ferenczi but most especially in Reich, Lacan, and Guattari. The answer they have offered has been exactly the one Negarestani brings up in the name of critical reason: the triumph of the organizing life force - or libidinal economy of Orgone, Jouissance, and Desiring Production to name a few of this group’s central concepts concerning this revolution in psychic politics. The problem of course is that the majority of the field of psychoanalysis - not to mention psychology and psychiatry - has neglected this trajectory in the service of a conservative simplification and justification of ongoing trauma as business as usual. So I welcome Negarestani for joining the cause of critical reason to the true work of the Future Analyst - which is one reason why we have chosen to move further away from the “psy”professions to the term Analysis in our School+Clinic Analytica: to join the philosophical and scientific analysis initiated by the Western turn of modernity as far back as the Greeks to its completion in a revelation of the subject’s construction from his desire and commitment by means of a psycho- or auto- analysis of singularity.

What Is Libidinal Economy

Libidinal Economy was the product of a key moment in history - where many of us believe humanity took a wrong turn - toward post-modernism rather than trans-modernism or hyper-modernism. Along with Capitalism and Schizophrenia, Symbolic Exchange and Death, Living Currency, and a few other manuals for the new world, this pathway was mapped out. Paradoxically Lyotard would write the primary diagnosis of the Postmodern Condition a few years later and proceed to apologize for Libidinal Economy. Thus the contraction began.

As part of the historical record, this was definitely a - if not the - major influence on myself, John Cussans, Simon Thompson, Nick Land, and others in the 80s and 90s in London when we were developing Proto-Accelerationist theory and practice around such institutes and events as Analytica, CCRU, Orphan Drift, Cabinet Gallery, Virtual Futures, Bughouse, Cyberfeminism, Afrofuturism and related. The focus was - and is - on pragmatic machines of life rather than texts and archives: libidinal machines. DIY pragmatics and bricolage bridged punk to the internet for a moment. Read Semiotexte USA. (Who also published Lyotard’s first translation.) Most of us left the academy and dispersed around the world to become practicing artists, engineers, doctors, analysts, activists, teachers - in the liminal spaces of the free market outside institutional capitalism and communism.

It would seem that in the wake of the total stasis of culture, the time is ripe for a return to this moment. Certain millennial analysands confirm this. The key factor being Libido - or “lust for life.” Just as Lacan had recognized the impasse of Desire - Desire as lack, castration, compromise - and returned to the Drive. Heralded by the penultimate little text of Ecrits, On Freud’s Drive and the Desire of the Analyst, the 70s would be spent on the recovery of Drive and celebration of Jouissance not as symptom but as art of life, through a series of obscure seminars and institutional practices contributing to this lost moment. As I was told by one of Lacan’s last analysands, in the later days of his clinic Lacan was interested not in symptom or signification but in “how the analysand organizes his jouissance - with regard to work, play, family, sex, etc.” Sounds simple. But it resonates with Libidinal Economy and its aim.

Shattering the Mirror Stage

Usually we conflate the Other and the other. There are two moments in the formation of the psyche. The most foundational and important is with the other - usually accomplished in relation to the mother. This is the moment of primary narcissism and libidinal incorporation I have spoken of - and Lacan’s mirror stage. One thing we have to remember is that this all takes place in the first two or three years of life and so the paradox or cruel joke is that all that is most important about who we really are takes place before we are conscious. What I have come to discover in my work is that the mirror state is shattered for most - and increasingly in our times as I will elaborate in the future. The point is that Drive or Spirit which precedes and exceeds the embodied subject of life (and which Jung wanted to call the one Libido) must come to be incorporated in some way by the embodied subject as its “I.” Various losses and traumas regarding the child’s relation to the mother affect how well this can happen. In its absence phantasy is forged in all kinds of multiple and dissociated ways channeling the disembodied drives of primal psychic and atavistic information - and leading to aspects of schizophrenia, multiple personality, mania, melancholy, sociopathy, pathological narcissism and other coping strategies.

What is “shattering the mirror stage”: separation from the Mother makes room for God - divine and mad - and it pre-empts the Father in his cut: in-sanity, un-sanity, hyper-sanity circumventing the mother-as-object and father-as-phallus.

It now falls upon secondary narcissism or the ego to shore up this place. For me the ego is not the I. Rather the I is what might ideally be forged in the primary encounter with the other - though usually instead there remain a multiplicity of delusions - shards of the shattered mirror. The ego is the false self that get’s constructed for the demand of the Other in order to live with this confusing if not terrifying multiplicity - to receive a secondary love to shore up the absence of unconditional primary love. If the I has been formed as a first person singular place from which to steer amongst the flux of the real in the primary phase or can be later on, then the secondary phase can also be optimized as not the ego but rather a series of masks by which to perform and enjoy from the other to the Other. Nietzsche spoke of this and attempted to achieve it himself. To revisit his primordial libidinal drives proximal to Drive itself and forge this I at the center of chaos such that he could then perform the world as a series of masks. In the end he went mad but showed the way before hand. The one that really understood this and elaborated a theory and method of it was Pierre Klossowski - philosopher, artist, priest - in his work Nietzsche and the Vicious Circle among other others.

The difficulty of this achievement is too great for most, so they accept the Other’s judgement, castration, and punishment even if they complain about it. Victims seeking an index or identity today continue to decry the patriarchy more and more even as it exists less and less. In the case of the Other of child development - the proper function of the father is not so much the demand but the cut. This is why the cut of punishment if it is not unnecessary or vindictive is usually met with love by the child for setting boundary and containment where the libido remains dispersed and overwhelming. And yet there are forms of cut and containment much more refined than punishment. This is also the place where the sacred and profane can be refined by positive forms of ritual often inevitably “violent” in that they structure or destucure us in ways we do not expect. If we do not practice these actively then they will take place unconsciously as Bataille warns. The subject can be aided in his construction by a familial circle that has its own conscious logic like that of an ancient tribe. Here we still have much to learn from Levi-Strauss and other anthropologists regarding the psyche on earth - not to mention the thousands of tribes disappearing as we scramble to document them all. This is also the project Deleuze and Guattari began in extending their work of schizoanalysis. In this future each community, each family, each subject becomes a culture of their own.

So what am I saying - about anyone. Maybe something obvious and simple. Our mother could not love us enough and our father could not be strong enough. But I say “could not” because of their own history. Blame does not help here but an insight that leads to an act does. This is why it is necessary to go back in the kinship in order to map the story of understanding. Of course it is not easy to change the ever unconscious foundation. But for what ever inexplicable reason sometimes when we talk and listen in a certain way something deep happens. There is a moment when all feels different and something new can happen. These feelings of hope and excitement are often shut down by addictions or set back by everyday life and the old programs so hard to change. But that’s all we have. There is no miracle cure. Not even in psychoanalysis.

On Suicide (For Tony)

Anthony Bourdain lays on a couch and speaks to an Argentinian woman on his TV show. This is not his analyst but a stage prop. It could be that the over-eager desire to solve the problem and confirm the need to compromise on one’s desire in most therapists and analysts is what wisely kept him away from them but ultimately deprived him of the possibility of living on. Not that living on is necessary. This man already lived more life than most people ever will. Why pathologize him. Most people (whether analysands, friends, or colleagues) I talk to admired him as one of the few in the media with integrity.

Bourdain belongs in the casebook of confounding suicides: those who do not compromise on their desire and construct their symptom to the point of great success in the Symbolic. So why no satisfaction. David Foster Wallace, Mike Kelley, Robin Williams…. I believe these cases point out the failure of the identification with the sinthome - or symptom - prescribed by Zizek and many Lacanians. These great sinthomes, or “saint men,” Joyce, Dali, and Klossowski for example, retained their fantasmatic object in the form of a woman - Nora, Gala, and Roberte to be exact. Would their symbolic construction have been enough without this? Did they know something about love?

Bourdain and Kelley killed themselves at the moment of crisis with a woman. What is Asia Argento’s place in this knot? Or Bourdain’s previous wives? “We should be ashamed to pretend we know what we are talking about when we talk about love,” said Raymond Carver. And the way this dilemma plays out in the film “Birdman” reveals what happened to Bourdain. The choice of the “Desire for Recognition over the Recognition of Desire,” as I have called it, that haunts contemporary life. In the time of Facebook everyone will be famous for fifteen minutes - and then hang themselves. This is not narcissism but failed narcissism: the attempt to shore up the primary narcissism of incorporation with the secondary narcissism of ego identity. Hence the relevance of Bourdain and Spade’s relation to food and fashion. 

If one can reach the point of (re)movability of the sinthome then a subject can be “unsubscribed from the unconscious” - free from the Other and the other - which means free to relate other-wise. In this case of truly writing one’s symptom in the arena of the Symbolic there is an eradication of the Other and repeated loss of the object fantasy. But this analytic path is still strewn with dangers of subjective destitution and moments of madness, for which drugs and suicide appear to be quick solutions. Every time there is a true writing another piece of the fantasy disappears. 

This is not a public health crisis of untreated depression, but the further realization of Nietzsche, Heidegger, Durkheim, and Freud’s diagnosis of the cultural and technological production of malaise, and the impasse of humanity at a certain point of evolution.

From Savoir-Faire To Savoir-Vivre: Work Group-Play Group

All that has gone before us leads us to this point: Play.

Between the drive of the Id (It) and the Demand of the Superego (Over-I), we must form a desire. But as this desire is unconscious we know not who we are. We can agree to discover this. To join the special group of Analyst-Analysand in order to refine and sublime this desire by revisiting Id and Superego. What is left: an Ego. Better if we call it by its true name: the I. Where It was there I will be.

But if the analytic project is to go any further it must analyze itself. How will man change if we cannot count beyond 2 or 3. Surprisingly no groups – not even psychoanalytic groups – avail themselves of this practice. Freud and Jung built there work on the suspicion of the mass psychology of the group. Psychoanalysis is a theory and practice based on the unfinished individuation of the group. But very little has been achieved or written about the analytic group. Analysis in extension is a crucial idea but so far has accomplished little.

In order to make sense of this we will turn to the work of Wilfred Bion who undertook to develop a group analysis laboratory free from imposing previous theories. What he discovered was that underneath the overt goal of the “Work Group” was always an unconscious “Basic Assumption” Group. Those which he identified included the “Dependency” Group, the “Fight-Flight” Group, and the “Pairing” Group.

?. Group> Mode> Temporality> Relation> Awareness

E. Play> Desire> Timeless> Creativity> Free Associative

D. Work> Reason> Duration> Productivity> Cs

C. Pairing> Love> Future> Support> Unc

B. Fight> Hate> Present> Rebellion> Unc

A. Dependency> Fear> Past> Submission> Unc

It is my contention that these forms of group modalities follow a progressive individual and cultural development beginning with the infantile dependency group, following with the childish fight group and adolescent support group and finally finishing the adult work group which dominates modern neurotic society. What I am interested in is what is not in Bion’s findings: what lies beyond this: I call this the Analytic Group or the Play Group.

The Analytic Group

Whlie the basic assumption groups are dominated by the emotions of fear, hate, and love and the work group by reason, the analytic group operates through desire. While the basic assumption groups relate by submission, rebellion, and support and the work group by productivity, the analytic group relates through creativity, art, play. In terms of the experience of time the dependency group is conservatively stuck in the past, the fight group arrested in the eternal present emergency, and the pairing group always waiting for the future salvation. While the work group replaces this temporality with the experience of duration itself through work. Where however will this lead: to the timeless eternal of the analytic group. And here we can see where all of this is heading: toward Hegel’s unfolding of the Geist or Psyche through man. Yes just as Lacan had intuited, Psychoanalysis was the capstone practice of an ascent of man running from Plato to Hegel. The history of the West is the history of analysis. This is why Lacan calls Socrates the first analyst and why he framed his psychoanalysis as a non-dual dialectical enterprise which leads to three and beyond.

But the analytic group itself has not been able to move beyond two or three. Two in the practice of analysis between analyst and analysand. Three if you count the symbolic father or superego of the institution: schools, associations, licensures. This brings us to Sixties experiments of RD Laing at the Philadelphia Association, Felix Guattari at La Borde Clinic, and Fritz Perls at Esalen Institute, attempts to create group analytic spaces based on Freudian, Lacanian, Reichian and Existential Analysis.

D. Lacanian: Work Group = cartel work groups and production/invention

C. Jungian Pairing Group = messianic mystical mysterium coniunctionis

B. Reichian Fight Group = paranoia andrebellion

A. Freudian Dependent Group = conservative IPA structure

However the “Lacanian work group” points the way forward as the positions of Master, University, and Hysteric are exchanged for the position of the Analysand in passage to the position of Analyst. At which point the position of analyst and analysand are continued indefinitely in a new ethical and political group relation among sovereign beings. This takes analysis beyond the intention of the clinic into the extension of social transformation. This is in fact a “structureless group” in which there is no “tyranny” of master (or university or hysteric) for the existence of sovereignty which must remain is enfolded into each individual being and even more so into each encounter among beings, the relation between “sinthomes” forming a new political amorous group. This group has its foundations in Sade’s Society of Libertines, Fourier’s Phallanxes, Klossowski’s Living Currency, Bataille’s Headless Order, and Blanchot’s Unavowable Community. This is not a “commons” in which tyranny is smuggled in through the back door but a community with nothing in common.

Nietzschean Psychoanalysis Redux

The recent Nietzschean Psychoanalysis symposium at Analytica October 8 2016 continued a unique method of analysis in extension for the one hundred in person and online participants. There was no conference of papers in the university discourse of standard routine. Neither was there a master discourse with obligatory hysterical response from the audience. What’s left but an attempt at the discourse of the analyst - which includes of course first of all the position of the analysand. That is that each participant is invited to speak from the position of the analysand as Lacan practiced in his Seminar: association from one’s symptom - by way of psychic reality as Freud called it - to one’s sinthome: an attempt to transmit it to an audience of the Other by means of the symbolic. Collective exchange of position between analysand and analyst then ensues - first in the panel and then through further extension to the audience. This is called a “de-monstration,” and incorporates fragmented aspects of Lacan’s “Pass” procedure.

Regarding the recent symposium on Nietzschean Psychoanalysis  several presenters introduced a new concept: Nietzsche’s overcoming and transvaluation of all values was the first heroic psychoanalysis. Nietzsche’s analysis differs from Freud in that his posited analyst is not a doppleganger friend but a true alien or other - a future reader that will come to be as a result of his having done the analysis in the void by means of a kind of temporal moebius band. This is related to what Scott Von called the “Clinic of the Abyss” in the symposium. Pierre Klossowski tracks this process in Nietzsche and the Vicious Circle when he shows that Nietzsche’s “madness” was the willed or accepted result of having forged a new path from the drives to the symbolic without compromise from the therapeutic - from pulsion to phantasm to simulacrum. This “clinic of the abyss” is finally articulated from within the psychoanalytic tradition by Lacan’s late work when he speaks of the ends of analysis as a “desetre” or subjective destitution - something that goes beyond Freud’s “castration” and “everyday unhappiness.”

What Robert Hockett revealed in his stunning presentation of “Father Holes and Superman Wholes” through his own personal analysis was the concept of the doppleganger as a mode of “name of the father.” That is the discovery and use of a best friend during an (extended) adolescent period as “analyst” or “co-analyst.” Not only does this model of co-analyst which can be found in Lacan’s late work and Guattari’s extension of it replace the outdated and transferentially problematic model of the “subject supposed to know” but it actually was the original mode of Freud in his own analysis and that of his only real analysands - his colleagues rather than his patients. 

Daniel Coffeen in “Turning Analysis Inside Out” (another topology) similarly presented his own analysis beginning with an unofficial schizoanalysis by means of adolescent intellectual community and ending in the void of the father in the form of an existential analyst who refuses to accept the role of subject supposed to know but rather only accompanies him on the end of the journey he had always been on echoing back the truth of his absolute nihilism to the point of a joyful complexity in a flat universe. Fortuitously Irving Yalom, one of the last of the existential analysts and author of When Nietzsche Wept, was with us for this moment.

Michael Vannoy Adams spoke of “Niezsche, Jung and Jungian Analysis” in that Jungian analysis is in some sense the closest to a version of NIetzschean analysis that we have. This is true especially in that Jung himself went through a private journey of madness and self analysis after his split from Freud by means of a hidden occult writing and painting, rather than to appeal to another “Name of the Father” (after all who after Freud) and knowing what he would have received from his colleagues. Let us not forget the co-analysis that Jung engaged in with Otto Gross, Sabina Spielrein, and Freud himself (so well dramatized in The Dangerous Method) and the fact that he devoted 5 years of his private seminar with his students to Nietzsche and Zarathustra. 

In Jared Russel’s “Nietzsche and the Clinic” he made the case that Nietzsche’s clinic of the drives gives us a model for psychoanalysis that escapes the orthodoxy of ego psychology and adaptation as well as the overdetermined form of “relational” analysis that currently prevails. For the drives are inherently relational long before the inter-subjective or inter-personal is posited as a set of communicating egos. This echoes Lacan’s idea of the subject: there is no inter-subjectivity because the subject is already an inner experience of division and multiplicity and structural positions not an isolated and self-contained person.

Finally Yunus Tuncel reminded us that at the core of Nietzschean analysis is aggressivity: that which links him to Lacan, Hegel, Adler, and the Greeks. Nietzsche was above all influenced by the Greek philosophers - the first psychoanalysts according to Lacan - who used the agon: the contest of difference and struggle as a method of becoming precedes Hegel’s dialectical method by millennia. Perhaps it is a sinthomatic art of war which replaces the symptom of the master-slave dialectic of man’s psychic relations including its modern bourgeois neurotic form. In this case it is worth reading the foreclosed Adler and his predecessor Nietzsche to understand how to use aggressivity lest its continual re-emergence as death drive within a culture that hides and fears conflict, will, and aggression of any kind. 


Race(ism) and Psychoanalysis

Synopsis of a contribution to the Unbehagen conference of October 15 2016 by Dr Scott Von:

If you examine the philology of “race” you find that the concept was only created in the 17th century as a way of categorizing or creating a taxonomy of humans with an uncritical mixture of genetic and socio-cultural traits. It is and has remained a social construction since then used for various purposes. It is not only metaphorically but actually parallel to the creation of medical and psychiatric categories at a similar moment in time. We could refer to Foucault on this topic. The emergence of enlightenment science and knowledge came to replace the moral and religious paradigms of taxonomy that had preceded it. In terms of race, the accelerating juxtaposition of diverse cultures through travel inspired this knowledge inseparable from the politics of power involved in colonization. We could say that medical-psychiatric colonization provided the concomitant “internal colonization” of the bodies and minds of people from the same nation, culture, or tribe. 

What is it that psychoanalysis offers to this complex of social and psychiatric biopower and psychopower? The move to the singularity of the subject. Freud’s science of the soul, psychic reality, inner experience. The political project of psychoanalysis in extension is a move to replace identification with the discourse of analysis: that is a desire for absolute difference beyond the categories of identity. As long as categorical identities - racial, sexual, psychiatric, medical, or other wise - remain the focus of oppression and liberation, the very problem of such taxonomy, colonization, and judgement risk being solidified. Artaud declared the project: “to have done with the judgement of God.” To speak psychoanalytically this means that despite the death of God and fall of patriarchy, the function of the father or phallic indexing of meaning remains propped up by an endless series of invisibly repressed founding acts of judgement, exclusion, and hierarchy. Taking responsibility for one’s symptomatic condition and enacting it as a form of desire and expression supersedes the question of identity which is a form of ego-superego mirroring. To echo Lacan’s late declaration, identity is paranoid defense as relation to the Other. 

Rather than debate over definitions and judge others’ actions, I would hope to listen to the experiences of those who have experienced the negative and limiting effects of prejudice. Rather than race-ism or “implicit bias,” we would do better tospeak of an “ethics of prejudice.” To go from the singular to the general and develop a map of understanding based on a series of cases or experiences is scientific. To go from the general to the specific by applying this science or map to a singular case is prejudice. Nevertheless there is no way for a human or any animal for that matter to avoid a continual assimilation of experiential knowledge by which it comes to interpret and “pre-judge” the external other. This fact is clearly elucidated from ancient Buddhist psychology to Husserl’s phenomenology to Freud’s original “Project” and recent research in neuropsychology. What we can do is strive to continue to hold this previous experience in abeyance through an “evenly suspended attention” as Freud’s method attempts and remain open to surprise, difference, the new, the other at each moment. Not only does this allow the subject to practice an ethics of (non)prejudice as non-judgement but it makes life full of rich complexity and enjoyment - provided one is willing to let go of fear. I hope to see this project practiced at this conference and into the future of humanity.


The Cartel

The cartel is a small group that works together individually on a common theme in order to discover, create, teach, and learn something new. The “cartel” is a special analytic group that exists somewhere between a “work group” and a “play group.” Jacques Lacan started the use of this practice in his Freudian School of Paris in order to further the process of psychoanalysis in extension beyond the intensive consulting room into the social relation. It is an attempt to found an analytic group. 


A predecessor to the cartel is Bion’s creation of the work group beyond the neurotic social forms of the “dependency, fight, and pairing groups” that compose the developmental stages of the individual, family, and society of bourgeois modernity marked by the Freudian “Oedipus Complex” in its broadest sense and the Hegelian “master-slave” relation.  A method developed in parallel with the cartel was Guattari’s schizoanalytic group - which we now call an “assemblage” - in which the place of analysand and analyst circulate with the larger group.


While intensive analysis works on the question of 1 and 2 in subjectivity, the cartel works on the question of 3 and 4 - even if the cartel is expanded to 5 and 6 or more. Thus it works on the odd and the even and the addition of the +1 that alters all small groups and relations subject to countable numbers. The schizoanalytic assemblage on the other hand works with the large group which is beyond countability and moves toward the transfinite. The cartel is countable and the subjectivity of the cartel is accountable. 


The various Lacanian schools following this lineage have practiced and experimented in different ways with this method. A simple method is to find subjects who desire to come together to work on a common theme in singular ways for a set amount of time to create something. 3+1=4 may be considered an ideal number but 5+1=6 or perhaps higher is an extended form. The function of the +1 who occasional attends the group from outside may serve to understand aspects of odd and even number in groups, as well as adding a forced position of the analyst into the group to assist with the operation and dynamics of the cartel. This function of the +1 may however become an internal operator especially after having been understood from the forced method. 


The group may meet in person or in some combination of other methods including remote audio phone, video Skype, or written email formats. The group may meet weekly, monthly, or on a schedule suiting the group. The group may produce writings, lectures, performances, or other creations - either internally or to be transmitted to the school or public at large. 


In a broad sense the cartel acts as crucial bridge from psychoanalysis in intension to psychoanalysis in extension, from the subject of self analysis to the infinite generic subject. It also extends Bion’s analytic “work group” beyond the limited economy of production and reason to play, desire, and creativity - passing through the object, the phantasy, the symptom, and the void of subjective destitution, en route to a new relation other than that imagined by relational psychoanalysis. 


The cartel may also be created by means of “vectorization.” A vector has magnitude and direction and thus experiments with both aspects of desire in the group. Individuals may send in a number of topics they wish to work on in a cartel, and then a blind other may assemble the individuals into cartels of common themes occurring in the entires. Individuals can then add and subtract themselves from this assemblage. In this case desire is more “blind” and not subject to the mimesis of “desire as the desire of the other.” This and other methods help to prevent the cartel from becoming a technical reading group subject to the discourse of the university, a hierarchical group dominated by the discourse of the master, or a hysterical group of hearsay, relativism, and chaos. Rather the circulation of the discourse of the analyst is the aim. In its highest form the cartel aims even beyond the discourse of the analyst to the position of the analysand in which each takes responsibility for his desire in constructing, demonstrating, and transmitting it to the other. 


Ordinary Psychosis and Universal Madness

Ordinary Psychosis


There is a wise joke: “Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't after you.” 


Those who are psychically vulnerable can be most triggered or used by the symbolic effects of social reality. 


In fact it was in Joseph Heller’s Catch 22, a novel about war at the end of history, that this joke appeared.


And so if history is over and thus classical war then we need to find another war: cold war, spies, terrorist liberation armies, cointelpro (a portmanteau word worthy of the “psychotic”), and finally pure war.


As a case of psychoanalysis in extension I suggest a reading of Paul Virilio:


Pure War, Speed and Politics, Bunker Archeology, Insecurity of Territory, Popular Defense and Ecological Struggles, Information Bomb….


And then perhaps we can return to Lacan’s “On a Question Prior to Any Possible Treatment of Psychosis:”


“What I am asserting here is that, in relation to the drama of madness, reason is doing what it likes best, sua res agitur, because it is in man’s relation to the signifier that this drama is situated. The danger people mention of becoming as mad as the patient no more intimidates me than it did Freud. Like Freud, I hold that we must listen to the speaker, when what is at stake is a message that does not come from a subject beyond language, but from a speech beyond the subject.”


What is this question prior: to listen seriously to the message before or without diagnosing or naming the subject. Not only for the sake of actually helping a patient but for the sake of one’s own existence in the world to come, I suggest seriously listening to the messages of these “murderers, activists, racists, terrorists, ordinary psychotics, targeted individuals….”


Perhaps we are seeing here something like the emergence of Clerambault’s research: A subject foreclosed from “normal” social symbolic reality falls back on bio-cultural phylogenetic “automatisms” which then become secondarily interpreted as “delusions” of sense by the subject in relation to the Other.


Universal Madness


Jacques-Alain Miller states that “ordinary psychosis” is a malleable category that he invents and/or borrows from Lacan for others to make something out of: a kind of Rorschach. Thus one meaning that has been taken over by the Millerians is this desire to map the psychiatric categories onto psychoanalysis and make sense of the disappearance of good old fashioned neurosis - a desperate attempt by these fellows to somehow create a new diagnostic schema and treatment method that does any better than the psychiatric one. Lacan would have rolled over. 


In contradistinction to this I would say that it is in Lacan’s infinitely important “Preliminary Question on any Possible Treatment of Psychosis” that ordinary psychosis appears in its true state:


“The danger people mention of becoming as mad as the patient no more intimidates me than it did Freud. 


Like Freud, I hold that we must listen to the speaker, when what is at stake is a message that does not come from a subject beyond language, but from speech beyond the subject. For it is then that we will hear this speech, which Schreber picked up in the Other, when from Ahriman to Ormuzd, from the evil God to the absent God, it carries the summons in which the very law of signifiers is articulated: All nonsense cancels itself out!


Here we encounter anew (leaving to those who will concern themselves with me later the task of figuring out why I have left it in abeyance for ten years) what I said in my dialogue with Henri Ey: ‘not only can man’s being not be understood without madness, but it would not be man’s being if it did not bear madness within itself as the limit of this freedom.’”


This idea of listening to the beyond of madness which in itself validates the “psychotic subject” beyond any other methodology is echoed in Bataille’s work to which Lacan refers at the end of the essay, comparing it to Schreber’s message. This is a project of Lacan’s. An investigation. This is the preliminary question Lacan refers to.


To be fair Miller himself offers this reading too of Lacan’s project of ordinary psychosis as the truth of being human, but I would say that he slightly misunderstands the message of Lacan’s final work, which regards the writing of the Sinthome. In other words, is there a science of madness or just a cult? 


“It’s a perspective in accordance with ‘everyone is mad’, with ‘everyone is delusional in his own way’, and Lacan wrote this in 1978 – I commented this sentence in the last lessons of my Cours this year, ‘tout le monde est fou, c’est-à-dire, délirant’, ‘everyone is mad, that is to say, delusional’. It’s not the only point of view, but some level of the clinic is like this. You may not function as a psychoanalyst if you are not aware that what you know, your own world, is delusional – phantasmal we say, but phantasmal means delusional. To be an analyst is to know that your own world, your own phantasm, your own way of making sense, is delusional. That’s why you try to abandon it, just to perceive the proper delusion of your patient, the way he makes sense.”


To add to this I would say - partially for comical purposes - that we have three groups of Lacanians at present. The neurotics who emerged from Lacan’s first circle of psychiatrists and psychologists in his 50s teaching. The psychotics who took up Lacan’s militant cause in the 60s teaching as political philosophers. And those who followed his final teaching from the 70s: the topologists who see where poetics and mathematics converge in a general semiotics of the void. Ordinary Madness.


What Is the Occult

The foremost writer and thinker at the crossroads of psychoanalysis and the occult is and probably always will be Carl Jung. Which brings up the question of what is the “occult.” I would say that much of what goes under the name of the occult today is related more to “psychoanalysis and horror.” To the degree that this work touches on the occult it is in the area of the “oc-cultural": that which is covered by artists like Mike Kelley, Tony Oursler, Jim Shaw, David Lynch - surrealism and weird America. Although I love these artists and have been influenced by them in my own work, this idea of the occult is a recent - and perhaps third - version of the occult.


We had this discussion about the concept and term “occult” at our recent conference on “Psychoanalysis and the Occult” - which one can access here: The first main aspect of the occult explored by the early psychoanalysts in their practice - including Freud - was part of the burgeoning research on the paranormal and parapsychology - including telepathy, seances, hypnosis, etc - performed in a seriously scientific way. Eisenbud, Fodor, and Stevenson continued this work in psychoanalysis. It was “occult” because it was considered taboo, fringe and unacceptable in professional circles.


The second main dimension of the occult concerns the work on magick and mysticism being done by the theosophists, freemasons, Crowley, Steiner, and others in an equally scientific but still occult - in the sense of hidden - way. Both traditions drew from historical cultural forms of Eastern and Western psychic practice - such as buddhism, taoism, yoga, qabalah, gnosticism, alchemy, and anthropological research. Devereux and Roheim focused on this aspect of psychoanalysis and the occult. It was occult because it was other - non-Western, non-civilized.


Since there is a lot of confusion regarding what the “occult” is, and even negative connotations to the signifier, I wanted to provide some clarification. There are innumerable further references for those interested.

Authority Authorization Authorship

Most psychoanalytic institutes encourage if not demand obsessionality. A “free association” is composed more of hysteria - which is already an improvement from Lacan’s perspective - since he described analysis as a process of hystericization. Lack of proclaimed authority produces, not obsessional submission or hysterical revolt affixed to a master, but rather a kind of “wandering hysteria.” The hysteria takes the form of gossip, derailing, and mutual appreciation societies: public displays of back-patting with back-channeling and back-stabbing behind the scenes - “dangerous liaisons” for the Facebook generation. This leads to a “no-exit” situation which often provokes a return to authority in the form of a master and the cycle continues.


What is the solution to this symptom: a discourse theory. Lacan’s discourse theory of analysis in extension allows us to see how social relations and psychic politics - i.e. the micro politics of power - operate in symbolic form when there is no obvious authority. Lacan only fully developed one discourse set in his lifetime - that of the Master that has dominated humanity for millennia. Within this set he posited four discourses that circulate in relation to one another: Master, Hysteric, University, and Analyst. In the current climate that of the Master and Hysteric remain deadlocked while the University discourse grows. Out of this situation Lacan saw a new Capitalist discourse emerging that had more perverse and psychotic implications.


Lacan did not explicitly develop the discourse of the Analyst for the question of analysis in extension and the social link. Or I should say he did not spell it out. He did develop the discourse of the Analyst in extension by means of his knot work on links, locks, and bands which move beyond the binary Master-Slave dialectic and Master-Hysteric discourse and their continuation in Oedipal triangular dynamics. He also developed the discourse of the Analyst in extension by means of his school which was not an institute in the form that currently dominates the professional world nor a free association. 


The exit out of the Master-Hysteric deadlock and wandering hysteria, without moving into a University or Capitalist discourse, is through what I call the discourse or position of the Analysand - which I believe is what Lacan was developing and practicing in his Seminar and his School. The Hysteric exits the dialectic when he takes up the position of the Analysand in order to take responsibility for his desire. Free associating is not taking responsibility for one’s desire. Training as an Analyst is not taking responsibility for one’s desire. But it is a start. The Analysts of today who maintain the position of the Master who knows - or the position of a Hysterical confidante - toward a patient or client only maintain obsessional and/or hysterical neurosis. In opposition to this, the Analyst who is always already an Analysand only meets the other Analysand with his own symptom.


The “co-llective" college, school, or ecole of Analysands who read - and eventually write - together, which Lacan initiated, allows each to work on his symptom and entreats each to only speak from his symptom. Full disclosure of - and responsibility for - this symptom, fantasy, delirium, or trait from where one speaks binds the collective of radical difference with no resort to an implicit repressed imaginary ideology nor to an explicit bureaucracy of demands. Analysis in its intensive dyadic form and in its extensive group form - linked by means of small work group “cartels,” large group “demonstrations” or “passes,” and institutional analytic assemblies or “assemblages” - create not only a new Analytic school but a new form of subjective relation and social link. The subject is from the beginning - and forever - occupying the position of Analysand and Analyst alternately. There are no more doctors and patients, teachers and students - except as meta-positions occupying a very serious mathematics and poetics of game theory - or what Guattari called the ethico-aesthetic paradigm. This was Freud’s intention for psychoanalysis as a lay practice extended by Lacan’s invention of a new kind of subjective social praxis.


Here we find the solution to the enigma of psychoanalysis which Freud and Lacan ran up against over and over -  and which most psychoanalysts do not concern themselves with - of abandoning patriarchal authority without unconscious power resuming control - as Verhaeghe or Zizek insisted. Self-authorization in the form of authorship. To sign with one’s proper name. To state the axioms of one’s hypothesis, unfold the de-monstration, invite others to co-laborate on the co-rection of a new diagram of new signifiers for the purpose of ….


“It’s a perspective in accordance with ‘everyone is mad’, with ‘everyone is delusional in his own way’, and Lacan wrote this in 1978 – I commented this sentence in the last lessons of my Cours this year, ‘tout le monde est fou, c’est-à-dire, délirant’, ‘everyone is mad, that is to say, delusional’. It’s not the only point of view, but some level of the clinic is like this. You may not function as a psychoanalyst if you are not aware that what you know, your own world, is delusional – phantasmal we say, but phantasmal means delusional. To be an analyst is to know that your own world, your own phantasm, your own way of making sense, is delusional. That’s why you try to abandon it, just to perceive the proper delusion of your patient, the way he makes sense. That’s why I recommended the reading of Erasmus’s In Praise of Folly, the classical work where, in his own way, he says just that – everybody is delusional.” (Miller on Lacan)


The Historical Context of Lacan's Freudian School

Freud and Lacan’s intention was to take psychoanalysis out of the medical and therapeutic paradigm and into a new form of psychic transformation and social relation. Lacan’s school - if not Freud’s original coterie - existed for the production of analysis not for the production of analysts. In Lacan’s formation of the psychoanalytic school , the question of whether one wants to further one’s professional practice - for example as a doctor, teacher, artist, scientist, or otherwise - with their analytic work is unique to each person. The school does not require or provide degrees, licenses, or exams, which are relevant to the university or state of each member. It is concerned with the production of analysis in extension as a form of transmission and transformation of social relations by means of the analytic discourse, and thus it functions as a school, clinic. laboratory, and studio for the production of its members.


Lacan’s intention was to rescue Freud’s project - in intension and extension - and to extend it further into the future. If we are to follow Lacan we must do for him what he did for Freud. We must make a serious study of his work in order to understand its subjective truth - its concrete and pragmatic delirium - to interrogate it as he himself asked in order to evolve psychoanalysis and re-invent it again as proscribed. Intensively this means returning to the drive theory and the narcissistic object choice of desire over and against the domination of ego identity that the classical post-Freudians have chosen. Extensively this means returning to Freud’s suspicion of an international association and his original desire for a community of sovereign beings following their own unique path in training, practicing, researching, and teaching psychoanalysis. Paradoxically in Freud’s day this was closer to the way all medical and therapeutic professions had always been practiced - including medicine. Training was more by intensive apprenticeship then academic institute and authority was only bestowed on an opt-in basis by choosing to join an association or community to show one’s allegiance and experience - rather than the state defining and controlling practices and titles through uniformity.


This aim to extend psychoanalysis by which we follow Lacan’s following of Freud comprises several projects including reconnecting psychoanalysis to its roots in "Analysis" as invented by the Greeks at the turn of Western thought - in the passage from the presocratic philosopher-poets through the work of Heraclitus, Socrates, and Plato - steering between the hysterical equivocation of the sophists and the academic rigidity of the academy. This "symptom" or dilemma went underground during the resurgence of the discourse of the master in the Roman Catholic church before being re-opened in the enlightenment through the spread of reason and the augmentation of the discourse of the university into the population producing the divided subject of alienation on a large scale - finally to be diagnosed or named by Freud in the Twentieth Century as neurosis or the discourse of hysteria. Lacan perceived Freud's discovery and invention to be closing up under the general formation of a rigid body of theory and practice in psychoanalytic institutions rendering it no better than the inertial discourse of medicine or psychology. In the 1960s after being excommunicated from the analytic orthodoxy for a second time, Lacan created a new form of institute, association, or school for the production of analysis. Throughout the seventies Lacan shifted his focus further to experimental mathematics and poetics - the domain of a-signifying semiotics - where meaning is literally formed, created, or constructed - as a model for analytic practice and institutional transmission - even to bring together the school and clinic into one continuum from analysis in intension to analysis in extension.


Lacan invented or re-affirmed several important ideas of analytic operation. He removed entrance requirements, graduation exams, degrees, titles, and other bureaucratic and hierarchical procedures. He declared that the analyst authorizes himself by himself in relation to some others, thus restoring the stress on “auto-analysis:” a one split by two, or a two that splits the individual revealing the unconscious, an “une” revealed to be “un.” He placed himself in the continued position of the analysand by free-associating his seminar as a form of writing in situ or per-formance — even encouraging his listeners in the position of analysts to question him. He created the cartel as a form of collective work group to replace classes. He experimented with a form of research and transmission of analytic experience called the pass to replace case presentations and other graduation methods.  In his latest seminars he suggested increasingly that analysis was best performed as a form of writing - using topological diagrams and poetic invention almost exclusively. Despite all of this, before his death he dissolved his school declaring it unfit to carry on without him. We each must reinvent analysis for our selves - not just as a practice as Lacan stated but as an institution as he implied. 

The Late Lacan

Lacan’s school was a major breaking point in the institutionalization and infantilization of psychoanalysis. When Lacan was kicked out of the IPA he created his own school of another type - one with rigor and multiplicity. The workings of that school and those that have evolved in its aftermath have attempted to lay out a path beyond the binary “institute/no institute” toward a school of another kind - and what Lacan called analysis in extension. The operations of the cartel, the pass, the topology and poetics of the symptom, and other experiments in their success and failure deserve serious study. If there is a problem with the few analytic schools of this type that exist, it is that they do not honor multiplicity enough. Others attempt to answer to this - but at the expense of rigor.


What is needed - or hopefully desired - is a school that offers rigor without rigidity and multiplicity without relativity. And/or those subjects who have the courage not to cede on their desire and to follow the singular path of formation that they feel called to without submitting to the pressure to be recognized by the master or protected by the group. Lacan did not say the analyst CAN authorize himself, he said the analyst ONLY authorizes himself by himself (and a few others). He cannot be authorized by any authority be it state, institute, or university. And in this he followed Freud. So who are these “few others”: the same since Freud’s time - other analysands and analysts within a community and ethic of difference. The political position of the analyst follows that of Bataille’s sovereignty (not Schmitt’s): neither to take up the position of the master nor its hysterical critique but to walk another direction - transversally - toward one’s desire regardless of the consequences of meconnaissance.

Analysis in Intension and in Extension

The meaning of psychoanalysis in intension and extension takes on several forms. From the intensive work of the imaginary to the extensive work with the object in the real. From the spectacular hypnosis of the gaze to the concrete construction of letters, numbers, writing, drawing, and new signifiers of a rigorous type. From the intensive auto-analysis carried out in the consulting room to the extensive ecole, college, or school of de-monstration. From the cure to the transformation of the social link by means of a new discourse relation.


Freud’s invention was the practice of psychoanalysis and his intention was that it be carried out beyond the medical, therapeutic, and academic realm. Lacan said his invention was the object (a) - and his intention was that this object be carried out in extension - that is to extend psychoanalysis beyond the imaginary fantasy to a clinic of the real.


It is to this end that in the end Lacan took up the practice of science as mathesis and art as poesis. The work of the scientist in his laboratory and the artist in his studio is finally brought together in Lacan’s school - which models itself after the community of mathematicians who present or demonstrate their work as a form of writing - an axiomatic logic or necessary contingency - within a community of others. It is at this place where mathematics and science begins to become one with art. Conversely it is at the place where the artist brings forth his singular desire along with a metalanguage of transmission to a community of other artists who have some semblance of what is being expressed that art becomes science.


We could say that psychoanalysis is a process of bringing forth one’s symptom, delirium, or object along with a metalanguage enabling some form of transmission of the impossible to transmit. By means of this not only is a symptom refined and a savoir-faire achieved but it is shared for others to witness if not make use of. This follows Charles Peirce’s project of pragmatism. It is here where mathematic science and poetic art converge with a writing of the symptom through a speech act of de-monstration or per-formance. This is a per-formation or pere-formation in which the dead father is resurrected, the absent father is re-invented. Voltaire said: “If God did not exist it would be necessary to invent him.” Now we have no other choice than to do so. The myth of the Oedipus Complex, the myth of castration, the guilt over the killing of the king or primal father, only serves to hide the more devastating fact of his absence, a void. We a-void or avoid the void. Negative Phi equals the Empty Set. 

The Return to Freud

The impossibility of the void calls forth the necessary contingency of the phallus or the father but only in its transient, multiple, and constructible form. The absolute insistence of the drive ensures that the master will never suffice. Freud had a presentiment of this as he moved toward the future. Perhaps he realized that as much as a solution was sought in the knowledge of the master, the teacher, the doctor, there was something more insistent in the patient as subject - a will or drive or unconscious. Thus eventually in Freud interpretation was replaced by construction in analysis.


In Freud’s reading of Schreber he posed the idea that there was little difference between Schreber’s delirium and his own delirium of psychoanalysis and the Oedipus complex. Later he claimed that the difference was that his delirium became transmissible and useable by a community of others. This poses the situation that Lacan took up - that psychosis is a social and symbolic symptom rather than a medical or biological one. What appears more and more clear through the work of Freud and Lacan is that the knot of psychosis is one that is co-created by subject and Other - one that is created or maintained between patient and doctor. The more Flechsig insists on his interpretation the more Schreber forecloses the master signifier and by unfortunate result the symbolic in general. The psychotic foreclosure is a desperate attempt to maintain subjectivity in the face of the discourse of the master - one further along the continuum than the strategy of hysteria. What Lacan was able to see is that it was possible not to throw the baby out with the bathwater - not to throw the symbolic out with the master - when he stated that one could do without the name of the father if one knew how to use it. The names of the father became pluralized as an alternative. Finally psychic structure becomes not something fixed but something one passes through. Thus Lacan calls psychoanalysis first a process of hystericization, then later a process of psychoticization. The analysand passes through hysteria and psychosis in its encounter with void and loss. Subjective destitution remains an inevitable complement to the invention of a new writing of the symptom.


In his later papers on narcissism, sexual development, and the Oedipus Complex, Freud elucidates a preliminary theory of what Lacan would later call the divided subject. In elaborating the standard Oedipal path Freud first states that the narcissistic object choice of the opposite sex parent takes place at the same time or a little later than the identification with the same sex parent but later revises this to at the same time or a little later. In any case it is clear that the order is not clear between being and having. This reveals the paradoxical split of the chicken and egg between desire and identity. The ego psychologists chose to model their theory and practice around the primacy of ego identity as ideal and cure. Lacan returned to the question of drive and narcissistic object choice to elaborate a theory and practice of desire. He honored this impossible division of the subject of desire: how can one have without being, how can one be without having. Perhaps the answer lies in the famous phrase that Lacan repeats for psychoanalytic practice: style makes/is the man. It is in the way that the subject chooses and uses the object that he gains an identity: one that is not bestowed by the other nor a compromise to the other’s demands, but one that comes from the first person singular “I.” An autopoesis: Wo es war, soll ich warden. Not where the id was the ego will be, but where it was there I will be.


In the splitting of the ego the narcissistic object choice of the drive runs counter to the ego identification emerging from the demands from the Other. The return of the drive, of desire, renders fruitless the dreams of ego psychology. This psychoanalytic divided subject only brings to individuated completion the social project of Greek science resurrected by the enlightenment. The recognition of subjectivity honors something in you more than you: Freud’s politics of the unconscious, the drive, the subject, and finally of the real to which Lacan remained militantly committed.


The Art of the Symptom

Next month will be the final seminar of the year at Apres-Coup in the “Sexuality and the Social Link” series - a topic which we have worked on for the past two years. In this seminar I will trace a link through Freud’s early to late work and Lacan’s early to late work regarding the construction of sex, desire, gender, and the “Art of the Symptom.” We will then discuss this in relation to the future of psychoanalysis as practice and school. This will speak to recent topics of the “Trans” and the “Acephalic,” but from the core of psychoanalytic theory and practice. It’s free and open to the public. 


The Art of the Symptom & The Future of Analysis


Apres-Coup Psychoanalytic - May 11 2016


Dr Scott Von


Lacan's final work demonstrates the clinic of the real through a writing of the symptom: the poetics, mathematics, and art of the psychoanalytic act. We will explore how this rigorous - yet not rigid - writing operates, and the implications for sexuality and the social link.


Freud:  "The Schreber Case," "Constructions in Analysis," "Civilization and its Discontents.”


Lacan:  "Joyce the Symptom," Sem 23: “The Sinthome," Sem 24: "The Unknown…,” Sem 25: "The Moment to Conclude.”


Psychoanalysis and the Occult

Thee Psychoanalysis and the Occult symposium of Analytica took place on April 9 2016.  It was a unique event in content and form. This topicand its controversies were at the origin of psychoanalysis in the lineage form Mesmer to Charcot to Freud, the censoring of Freud’s research on telepathy from the Traumdeutung, and his early split with his “greatest student”  Carl Jung. Jung and Reich both wrote their last books on “UFO”s in the 50s and in the same decade Georges Devereux published a rare book on “Psychoanalysis and the Occult” exposing much material of psychoanalyst’s clinical experiences of paranormal phenomena with patients and otherwise including that of Freud. All of this - and the fact that occult simply means hidden - led me to say that “the occult is the unconscious of psychoanalysis.” Dave heard it as “the occult is the unconscious of the unconscious” - and this phrase too crossed my mind and so wanted to emerge.

Let me state that there have been innumerable “occult” events surrounding the Psychoanalysis and the Occult project since I began it several years ago. Some good and some bad. Or I should say beyond good and evil since part of the nature of esoteric work - whether in psychoanalysis, magick, or mysticism - is to move beyond this duality. Though we possess a recorded dossier of these facts in detail they will be published only at another time.

Initiating out of a dream, the Psychoanalysis and the Occult project at Analytica staged a series of events in London in 2014 and 2015, including “Psychic Psychotic Psychedelic at the October Gallery and Greenwich University Parapsychology Department, “Accelerationism” at Goldsmiths College -University of London, “The Symptom of Art (Pulsion, Phantasm, Simulacrum)” at the Cabinet Gallery and “God the Analyst” at Conway Hall. 

The Psychoanalysis and the Occult symposium recently held at NPAP was regarding “Case Material on Psychic Reality.” The panel and audience comprised a diversity of experts and amateurs from psychoanalysis, psychiatry, medicine, philosophy, art, poetry, and other specialties regarding the mutual nexus point of this event. 

From the beginning of its design the format was planned to be other than a conference of academic or clinical papers. There were two four hour seances: the common word for session in French psychoanalytic circles but which conveys a special occult practice in English. Each seance was composed of a series of orally delivered free-associative and/or inspired material interweaving personal experience and symptom with clinical practice and theory regarding the topic. These presentations moved fluidly into group discussion with panel and audience of an analysand-analyst nature. There were moments of eruption, conflict and spontaneous revelation that were transcended to achieve a unique energy for such a group. Make no mistake. This was not group therapy, suggestion, or exercise, but a process of each subject speaking from his desire, phantasm, or symptom to her theory and practice of life with specific regard to uncanny, unconscious, occult material - an attempt to share, transmit, and translate the impossible. Thus we attempted the movement from the “It” to “psychic reality” to contingent “reality” - from real to imaginary to symbolic by means of the discourse of analysis.

Zvi Lothane spoke of the milieux out of which psychoanalysis and modern occultism were born, the significance of the Schreber case for the foundations of psychoanalysis, psychosis, and the occult which remain unresolved today and was the subject of his extensive research, and the split paths of Freud and Jung and other relevant “occult” characters such as Sabina Spielrein and Otto Gross, which is the current subject of his research.

Richard Reichbart spoke of his journey from lawyer and activist working with Native Americans through his own psychic conflicts which led him unconsciously to Jules Eisenbud one of the foremost psychoanalysts to research paranormal phenomena. He also spoke of the impossibility of speaking of these subject even as institute president, and the censorship, denial, and politics regarding psychoanalysis and the occult.

Gerald Gargiulo spoke of a series of uncanny encounters from his personal life and woven through his practice that suggested some concept of trans-personality in space and time and how he had turned to quantum physics to attempt to answer these enigmas.

Jason Louv spoke of the science and practice of magick, mysticism, and psychoanalysis in their similarities and differences giving direct demonstrations from his own work. He also discussed the application of his own Reichian analysis to this work and the missing link in the matter-energy-mind-information continuum.

Scott Von finished with a discussion of how Lacan and Guattari moved beyond the occult, unconscious, or hidden by finding a mathematical model of the real able to account for such phenomena by means of topology, chaos and complexity theory. Freud’s initial move of exposing the “reality = the real” fallacy (phallacy) by means of the opening up of a second dimension of “psychic reality” and a third dimension of “drive” or “It” was simplified and taken from myth to science by Lacan, furthering Freud’s project on the sovereign subject of science beyond the mythic, archetypal, and transpersonal dimension which Jung reconnected to the analytic project. 

In the second seance Scott Von demonstrated a new map of psyche and subject and new techniques of analysis based on his research and practice regarding the “psychic core” which is able to explain etiology, pathology, optimization, and differentiation of psychic/psychotic/psychedelic states from neural/neurotic/“egotic” states from social/sociopathic (including “normotic”)/analytic states. 

Susannah Mileshina described her long term personal experiences with paranormal phenomena and magickal practice and their relationship to symptoms and cures in her own life. She then discussed how this led to her work in psychology, psychotherapy, and psychoanalysis with special regard for the institutional participation of schools and hospitals in perpetuating pathology and an alternative use of the practice of “expanded transference.”

Julie Von discussed her work with another kind of “hysterical clinic.” Working with women in a psychoanalytic and medical method with regard to gynecological, obstetric, and pediatric symptoms, she described psychic, intuitive, and shamanic methods deriving from matriarchal cultures that regard the “hyster" or womb as a psychic organ of a different type than the brain. She discussed the suppression of the feminine by means of ancient churches and modern medical technology and the importance of Freud and Lacan in opening a new place for the extension of a hysterical clinic beyond even the current psychoanalytic orthodoxy.

Ruth Rosenbaum discussed her own extensive personal experience, research, and clinical work regarding what she prefers to call “psi phenomena.” She spoke of psychoanalysts such as Ian Stevenson’s empirical research demonstrating the survival of personality beyond space and time and the relevance of desire, love, and “passion at a distance” regarding paranormal phenomena.

Dave Schweichler spoke of how his being called into the Psychoanalysis and the Occult project had reawakened an unconscious occult censorship of his own original desire and work in spiritual and psychic phenomena including his need to “bury” his interest in Jung under the absolute censorship at the Freudian institutes and associations he entered into. He called for a continued discussion of difference and a challenge for psychoanalysts themselves to move out of dogmatic churches and encounter the crossing of diverse but collaborative dialogues on clinical methods and experiences.

The day finished with an intense group discussion regarding shared experiences and difference. There was an air of “coming out of the closet.” Many spoke of a unique collective energy and safety to speak about anything despite disagreement. Many remarked that it was amazing that each seance went continuously for four hours with no break and virtually no one left and that although over one hundred people participated throughout the day, the room was full of those wanting to continue the event beyond closing time with the cleanup crew waiting patiently in the wings and participating.

There was a call to continue the form and content of the event which will certainly be the case. Thanks to all who participated.


Psychoanalysis and the Occult

Please join us in New York next month for this unique event. It has been over 50 years since this material has been presented in public, and it has already generated much interest and controversy. Rather than a conference of papers this symposium will include inspired presentations and group intensives from a broad range of participants covering everything from IPA members and institute presidents to radical Lacanians, Reichians, and Jungians to occult and paranormal scholars and practitioners. It is free and open to the public, but space is limited and first come first served. 


Psychoanalysis and the Occult: Case Material on Psychic Reality - Analytica

April 9, 9am-5pm - NPAP

The purpose of the “Psychoanalysis and the Occult” Project is to return to Freud’s work on the psychic domain - the work on “telepathy” originally left out of the Traumdeutung and his development of “psychic reality” emerging from his analysis of psychosis and the Schreber case - and to compare it with the work of Lacan, Jung, Reich, and others who sought to explore psychic causality and the occult from a logical perspective.

In the 1950s George Devereaux published a compilation of material on Psychoanalysis and the Occult. In this book he collates material from early psychoanalysts regarding occult, paranormal, and psychic phenomena surrounding the clinical practice of psychoanalysis. From the ample material included by Freud we can dispel the myth that Freud was not interested in the occult—rather he sought to approach it in a different way than Jung. Devereux’s book further points the question in the direction of anthropology, ethnography, and comparative psychiatry in general. 

The “Psychoanalysis and the Occult” Project was initiated at Analytica in 2014 which since that time has held a series of events internationally. In this installment we will explore the transpersonal case material of psychoanalysis in intension and extension - that is of practicing analytic (analysand-analyst) dyads as well as of institutional dynamics - in order to demonstrate the necessity of expanding the form of the psychoanalytic school, clinic, and association for the future of analysis. We are inviting those who have a particular interest in this domain to participate in this important topic.

Wild Analysis: Lacan's Intention

Psychoanaysis in Intension and Extension

Apres-Coup Members Conference

March 19 2016


Wild Analysis: Lacan's Intention and Extension

Scott Von


Throughout his career Lacan sought to extend the intention of the psychoanalytic clinic to a new form of social relation. His seminar and school were experiments in this direction. How can we maintain fidelity to Lacan's radical evolution of psychoanalysis.

Institutionalization and its Malaise

There have been recent attempts to de-institutionalize psychoanalysis in America even at the moment when it is becoming more institutionalized than ever.  An air of malaise  pervades: a large group of analysts commiserating over the fact that they had attached themselves to institutes that they know are more than problematic and not taken another path.. There are few if any who truly follow their own path or “formation” as a lay analyst and to confront the authority of institutes and the law. But why don’t more do this? 


Lacan’s school was a major breaking point in the institutionalization and infantilization of psychoanalysis. When Lacan was kicked out of the IPA he created his own school of another type - one with rigor and multiplicity (to a certain degree). The workings of that school and those that have evolved in its aftermath have attempted to lay out a path beyond the binary “institute/no institute” toward a school of another kind - and what Lacan called analysis in extension. The operations of the cartel, the pass, the topology and poetics of the symptom, and other experiments in their success and failure deserve serious study. If there is a problem with the few analytic schools of this type that exist, it is that they do not honor multiplicity enough. Unbehagen attempts to answer to this - but at the expense of rigor. It is not considered a place that can provide a formation (by those inside or outside of it) so it is made up of those from other institutes. 


What is needed - or hopefully desired - is a school that offers rigor without rigidity and multiplicity without relativity. And/or those subjects who have the courage not to cede on their desire and to follow the singular path of formation that they feel called to without submitting to the pressure to be recognized by the master or protected by the group. Lacan did not say the analyst CAN authorize himself, he said the analyst ONLY authorizes himself by himself (and a few others). He cannot be authorized by any authority be it state, institute, or university. And in this he followed Freud. So who are these “few others”: the same since Freud’s time - other analysands and analysts within a community and ethic of difference. The political position of the analyst follows that of Bataille’s sovereignty (not Schmitt’s): neither to take up the position of the master nor its hysterical critique but to walk another direction - transversally - toward one’s desire regardless of the consequences of meconnaissance.