What follows is an edited version of a talk delivered on July 12, 2014, at the annual CFAR Conference. The theme this year was: “Sexuality: Phantasy, Discourse and Practice”. I participated in a panel on the general subject of “Sexuality and Phantasy”. My presentation was not prepared beforehand. This here is an edited transcription of a recording. As such, it tries, but fails in many ways, to capture the spontaneity and informality of what was said. But then, that’s the best I could do.
There you go.
I was wondering how to start today. I was considering the title of the panel, “Sexuality and Phantasy”, and struggled to think. What, if anything, could I add to the subject?
I realised this. I realised that whenever I find myself thinking about Sexuality, I find myself thinking of Descartes --you know, René Descartes, the philosopher.
Of course Descartes did not, as far as I know, write about sexuality as such --or about phantasy for that matter. But he did write about the mind-body problem.
This will be my starting point today.
This is a slightly edited transcription of a talk I delivered on April 5, 2014, at the “Workshop in preparation of the WAP Congress” of the London Society of the NLS. The theme of the congress is "A Real for the 21st Century". The Workshop, organised by Janet Haney, was structured around four entries from the upcoming English version of Scilicet. Each was presented by a member or friend of the London Society who participated in the process of translation and editing. My talk was in connection to “Shoah”, a paper by French psychoanalyst Philippe Benichou.
Dear friends and colleagues,
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak today here about some of the questions I found myself struggling with, while reading and translating “Shoah” by Philippe Benichou.
Benichou’s paper talks about the Shoah. You cannot wonder, Benichou writes, what a "real for the twenty-first century" could be, without mentioning that event beyond meaning, real, all too real, the Shoah.
I was captivated but also puzzled by the power of this depiction of the Shoah as an “event beyond meaning, real, all too real”.
I asked myself, what could this mean?
Attempting to formulate an answer, I found myself faced with further questions:
What is an event? What is history? What is a historical event?
And then: What is real in a historical event?
This is how I will begin.
It has been some time since I last posted something to this blog, but I guess you know how it is. Time --or rather, lack thereof-- has taken the upper hand recently.
I hope I will be able to post something soon, but in the meantime, this is just a short note about two lectures I will be giving in October and November, as part of Autumn 2012 Public Lectures Programme of CFAR.
_I was reading something on the BBC today, regarding the “decoding” by science of people’s “internal voices”. The article was about a new technique, whereby researchers are said to be able to reconstruct words, based on the brain waves of patients thinking of those words. I was reminded of an anecdote about Lacan, one of the most important post-Freudian psychoanalysts.
In 1975, during a lecture tour in the United States, Jacques Lacan spoke at MIT before an audience of mathematicians, linguists, and philosophers. Noam Chomsky, the already famous by then American linguist philosopher and activist, attending the lecture, asked Lacan a question on thought.
Lacan's reply was possibly not what Chomsky expected:
“We think we think with our brains”, Lacan said. “Personally, I think with my feet. That's the only way I really come into contact with anything, solid. I do occasionally think with my forehead, when I bang into something. But I've seen enough electroencephalograms to know there's not the slightest trace of a thought in the brain.”
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