Steven Reisner: Stop Saying Donald Trump is Mentally Ill

“Sigmund Freud had a word for those whose unique gifts permit them to bend reality to their will: artists. According to Freud, the artist “allows his erotic and ambitious wishes full play in the life of fantasy. He finds the way back to reality, however, from this world of fantasy by making use of special gifts to mold his fantasies into truths of a new kind.” Trump has to be understood, then, as a reality artist, one who is adept at the strategies that turn his biggest whoppers into reality. It is reminiscent of Charles Foster Kane, in Orson Welles’ classic film, who, when informed by the war reporter he dispatched to Cuba that there was no war to be found but only delightful girls and beautiful scenery worthy of prose poems, famously replied, “Dear Wheeler, you provide the prose po...Read More

11 Questions to Vanessa Sinclair

“The basic idea is that in order to become a psychoanalyst, one needs three components: one must undergo one’s own analysis, one must see analysands while being supervised by an analyst, and one must study psychoanalysis, take didactics, classes, attend lectures, etc. It’s a field in which there is lifelong learning, and if you are passionate about it, that seems obvious. So these training institutes offer these three components in a formal, organized way, but they aren’t actually necessary. Most people who tread the path towards becoming a psychoanalyst already have a clinical degree, whether it is a PhD, PsyD, LCSW, MD, at least in this country. Other places are more open about training what are called lay-analysts or psychoanalysts that may come from a non-clinical background. The...Read More

Lucas Ballestin: Hipster Politics

Lucas Ballestín analyzes the politics of the hipster, looking to dispel assumptions and use psychoanalytic intuition to explore new ways of thinking the much-hated figure as a response to contemporary political and social conditions. Click here to read the essay published in HKRB

Claire-Madeline Culkin and Ray O’Neill: Double, Double, Toil and Trouble – Narcissism, Mourning & Sexuality

“All names carry ghosts of the pasts and desires in the present. For each of our namings there is a dopplegänger, a double from whom that name has been stolen/inherited, be it an actual person or a desired personal identity” – Ray O’Neill Click here to read a review of the event by Sola Agustsson in Hyperallergenic

Esther Sperber: The Shadow Of Zaha Hadid – Lilith Magazine

“…But alongside my admiration, and slight envy of Zaha Hadid, I hear a small ugly voice whispering in my head. This voice says, “she was too big for life and so she died.” It is true, I admit, that she defied so many social norms, being ambitious, creative and successful, and choosing not to marry or have children. This, the ‎Trump-like-misogynist voice in my head says, was too much; the universe could not maintain this kind of female presence. I hate this voice and can’t believe it resides within me. How is it possible that after years of thinking, lecturing and writing about women in architecture, questioning the current gender roles, a voice like this still persist and haunts me from within my own mind?” Click here to read more

A/cephalic Discontents: Group Psychology, The Absence of Myth, and The Knot of Acephale

Scott Jenkins’ Notes on A/cephalic Discontents: Session I: There is a kind of nudity in anonymity, at least as much as there is a mask. The particular pleasure of the discussion: despite its intimacy, nobody in the room was familiar, on terms other than the texts, with more than a handful of others. ◊◊ In addition to those who begin at the beginning, and those who begin at “In the Beginning…”, there was also a royal figure according to whom you begin at the beginning, and go on til you come to the end, then stop. You can stop it with a cut or a plug. Or a question, which is neither, but is how the first session of acephalic discontents concluded at the place where, really, it begins. The question, from A: What is the strategy of acephale? Why Bataille’s project of acephale, the figur...Read More

Guilherme Massara Rocha: The Secret of Her Eyes – Necessity and Contingency in a Fragment of a Psychoanalytic Treatment

When we lose the eye as the phallus that guarantees the consistency of the visual, the blindness that ensues is not simply a non-signifying darkness, but rather an ‘undifferentiated palate of images.’ The event of an ocular castration gives way to a seething imaginary without the security of a local iconography, and in the desperate attempt to arrest this imaginary deluge a ‘volcanic hunger’ is invoked for the final form of the dead body. In facing the faceless terror of a treacherous cadaver that violently sees me, a transformation can begin to unfold whereby the punishing gaze of the absolute other gives way to the voice of an other who asks ‘what do you want?’, and finally to a desire that neither sees nor is seen, that is free to touch the limit of the visual in a place where nobody is...Read More

Freud as a Thinker of the Political Body: Fear and Distress as Political Affects – Vladimir Safatle in Conversation with Marcus Coelen

“For Freud distress is a prerequisite for social emancipation, not an experience of resignation or vulnerability, a demand for care by proto-parental figures, or a continued political experience of exploitation of fear. What we have in Freud the affirmation of distress as an ontological insecurity with the political function of reducing demand for an authority based on the phantasmagoric constitution of sovereign power. All political action is initially the action of a landslide and only distressed people are able to act politically. Freud shows us how a truly emancipatory politics is based on the affective circulation of experiences of distress, not on building fantasies to defend ourselves against it. In this sense, politics can be thought as a practice that allows distress to appe...Read More

Institute No Institute

Becoming a psychoanalyst is founded upon a subjective transformation that occurs in a personal analysis. It cannot be measured or predicted, yet it is the necessary factor that allows one to conduct analytic treatment. Neither the analyst alone nor a group of independent observers can determine its occurrence, but somehow together they may. That something so difficult to determine lies at the heart of professional transmission has troubled the field of psychoanalysis from its inception. Institutes, schools, and broader communities of psychoanalysts have struggled to harness this transformation to formal models of training. They have invariably encountered obstacles in the structures of authority and the exercise of power. While training outside institutions is not explicitly subject to the...Read More

Jamieson Webster: “Sick Bodies, Hysterical Pregnancies, ISIS Wives”

“Conversion is linked to combustible effects, to desires and fears that remain hidden, unspoken, but ripe, a demand that takes place through the body. This is certainly the situation with the original “conversion hysterics” of psychoanalysis. “I have a sounding board in my abdomen…if anything happens, it starts up my old pain,” said a woman to Breur in Studies in Hysteria (1895, p. 204). Some thirty-odd pages later, Freud takes over, as he would do, this hysteric’s imagery as his own, laying down the foundation for the existence of “unconscious ideas” and the “splitting” of the mind on the basis of her words. Freud writes, “the lively affects into which they are thrown by relatively trivial causes become more intelligible if we reflect that the ‘split-off’ mind acts like a sounding-b...Read More

Tracy Morgan: “To Disembark”

“The denouement of a ten-year psychoanalytic treatment brings to mind the story of Jane Eyre.  I was seven years deep into my analysis when I began to have the feeling that, like Jane’s blinded Mr. Rochester, my analyst had lost sight of me. From the precise moment I met Jane, and I can still see her seated in a dark room surrounded by a family not her own, she became a dear companion.  Reading this novel in childhood, I was unable to set it down.  As I walked to school, took a bath, ate dinner, I read.  So intent was I on absorbing Bronte’s words, I parted with them only to sleep.  Such was their elixir-like power over a seven year old me. Jane, “a motherless woman,” eventually makes her way as a governess. Late in the novel, and after much hesitation, she accepts the hand of her em...Read More

Interview with Patricia Gherovici: “The Unconscious is the Last Activist”

PATRICIA GHEROVICI: I was first a writer before I became an analyst. I was working as a journalist while I was a student and I did a lot of journalistic writing. There was a continuation of that early career in my practice of analysis. Indeed, the process of analysis could be seen as a process of writing, with the difference that the writing is made by the analysand. A successful analysis works like writing. In some cases, certain novelists use writing as an analysis. When an analysis functions successfully, something similar to what is at stake in writing has to have been produced, and in that sense they are perhaps an extension of each other. There is something that has to do with writing, inscription, and editing that takes place in analysis. They are parallel processes. CASSANDRA SELTM...Read More

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