Boundaries: 21st January 2012: Julia Evans

by Julia Evans on January 21, 2012

[Edited May 2nd 2012]

So to continue:

Last time, (November 2011) I was arguing for three forms of differentiation between individuals and groups following Freud’s question[i] of how they develop.

Level 1 is Freud’s ‘Primal Horde’ [ii] . There is no differentiation possible between the members. Everyone is equally driven from a central point.  This produces jealousy as others may be getting more than you. Members either accept passively or resist – usually competitively or aggressively in that they feel equally persecuted by the central point. [Comment during the presentation: This could be Das Ding giving complete satisfaction. 2nd comment: the fading of subjectivity would occur under these conditions. JE further comments: if subjectivity is present, there will be little or no access to it. It will be submerged – no differentiation is possible.  This may be where Lacan’s use of ‘defenestration’ comes from.]

Quote: The movement is from being defined from the top-down and in relation to one another within the group, to being defined in relation to an ideal in place in a group.  So in order to become Man, there has to be a driving out from the first level.  I am not convinced that it is separation from their father, as Freud states, which is at stake, but being trapped within a space with a central control point.  Freud reckons in order to move on, the centre has to be destroyed. [3rd comment: From Freud, endnote ii, this central point has to be killed before there is movement from this position.]

Level 2 is Freud’s ‘totemic clan’ (op. cit.) which is held together by identification to an ideal. So to become Man, or part of a grouping known as Man, then identification to an ideal takes place. This ideal [4th comment: or Knowledge,] replaces the central point as reference. [Comment: The logical goal of the death drive is nothingness. So in putting a totality in place, the drive continues to nothingness.]

Level 3 involves moving from identification with an ideal, say Man, to being a Man.  So there is a loss of certainty or of the knowledge of what is Man. The Man becomes a man. The ideal is flawed.

There are 3 positions with respect to the object: no object (See Freud’s comments on Spring Awakening’ [iii] ), identification to the object and individuation or identification to an object. Identification to the object has two positions: Either you have the certainty of possessing the object or you are driven by it and your subjectivity fades to nothingness.  [iv]

Pierre Naveau in his text [v], available on Lacanianworks refers to the transgression of two kind of law: the transgression of the law of pleasure and the transgression of the law of the prohibition of jouissance.  If you transgress the first law, your subjectivity fades, goes towards nothingness, and transgression of the second, produces uniformity and an illusion of being in control.

For groups which have separated from receipt or imposition into possession of the object, then the object remains the object and not an object [Comment: or imago].  It is. And love of the object and hate of the object are both possibilities.

Lacan’s comments on Melchior in Wedekind’s play are interesting, in this respect (See Spring Awakening: September 1st 1974: Jacques Lacan or here) . Melchior refused to become Man so faded into nothingness and committed suicide. Antoni Vicens in his talk to the Irish Circle of the New Lacanian School on 5th December 2011, stated in this new clinic, which is emerging, suicide is a solution to the emptiness.  This I have found in my clinic, as well.  It is part of the clinic in the 21st century.

Relationships are different in the three areas. Freud describes being at level 1 as ‘they were equally persecuted by the primal( father), and feared him equally.’[vi]  So this level is motored by intrusion and fear. The limits of your position are imposed. You appear trapped. See previous posts on Sadeian experimenters[vii].

Level 2 is competition and conflict between group members.  Are they a good exemplar of the ideal or can disapproval be stuffed into them? Or are they on the outside of the group?

Level 3 is held together by a network of relationships of trust between real, alive human-beings. The human-being’s body has to be present or there is a tendency to retreat to level 2.

This for me is summed up  as follows:

Quoted from ‘Trust no one with your money is the tragic legacy of the crisis’ by Satyajit Das,, Financial Times, January 18th 2012 and available here.

‘The first casualty of war is said to be the truth but, in financial crises, it is trust that dies.  While the after-effects of the recent crisis are constantly debated, this deeper issue remains unaddressed.

Paul Seabright, a professor at the Toulouse School of Economics, has identified traits that underpin social systems such as money:

the capacity to weigh up the costs and benefits of trusting others and

the instinct to return favours in kind or seek revenge when trust is betrayed.

When it is working well, the system enables strangers to safely deal with each other. But this fragile system, on which the global economy depends, is now at risk of failing.

Money, a mechanism of exchange and a store of value, galvanised modern economies. Debasement of currencies through quantitive easing and artificially low interest rates undermine these functions.’

Why do I bring this to your attention?

At level 1, behaviour is driven, there is no capacity to weigh any relationship of exchange up, and other people do not exist, except possibly as objects. An example of level 1 in operating is given in China article. [viii]

At level 2, tit-for-tat is in place or ‘an eye for an eye’ etc. This gives rise to envy, riots [ix]and much else.

At level 3, trust is in place, so the network of relationships gives individuals their place.

It is almost impossible to restore trust once it is blown. So disturbed and suffering human-BEINGS, return favours in kind or seek revenge.  Ecce, the riots & much else…

Allow me to deviate, for a moment. I have elsewhere commented on the form of knowledge employed in these three levels [x].  Savoir, savoir-faire & savoir-y-faire.  The person’s position relative to these different forms of knowledge is similar to the three groupings. A savoir is imposed using top-down control, a savoir-faire is a knowledge into which you have been inducted – such as medicine and a savoir-y-faire is a process or act.  So the subject moves from being a cult-follower to implementing a knowledge to finding a way through.  These forms of knowledge operate in very different environments.

Recalcati [xi] interrogates the concept of ‘nothingness’ in his article. Quote follows:

We are dealing with a new statute of nothingness. We are not dealing—as in Lacan’s classical doctrine —with nothingness as the object tending to the opening of the Other’s desire, with nothingness as the separating object, but with another nothingness, nothingness as pure nothingization of the subject, of nothingness as annihilation, nirvanic de-vitalization of the subject.

In Lacanian terms, we could argue that this “other nothingness” is not related to the Other—as in the classical doctrine—but to the Thing.’

JE’s first interpretation: This is at level 1, when there is no relation to the or an object.

Recalcati continued: This new classification of nothingness also constitutes the logical principle of the capitalist discourse articulated by Lacan in 1972.[xii] In this discourse “everything is consumed,” on one hand the lack of the subject is constantly recycled and covered by the consumption of the object, and on the other hand the lack of the subject is endlessly kept alive by way of the continuous offering of new objects of consumption.

JE:  So there is a relation to ideals or objects of consumption which cover the lack.

Recalcati continued: So that the recycling of the lost object leads to a progressive absorption of the lack in the demand. The age of the capitalist discourse is our age, working as background and determining the apparition of new forms of the symptom that manifest the pathological drift of the accentuation of the convulsive and infinite character of the demand.


Cont: Anorexia and bulimia make evident the transformation of the subjective lack into a pseudo de- objectivized lack, into an anatomized emptiness: pure real emptiness unrelated to desire.


Cont: To Freud the clinic of neurosis arises from the conflict between the pleasure principle and the principle of reality, between the drive’s demand and the limits enforced by the program of Civilization. In this sense the Freudian clinic of neurosis fundamentally entails the dimension of the internal conflict of the subject.’ End quote.

My reading of this Recalcati text is that it is working clinically through the levels of Russell’s paradox.  It is impossible for gaps not to exist. If the gaps do not exist, as in level 1, then a pure real emptiness, unrelated to desire, comes into place.  Or the gap, is covered by relationship to an object, as in mobile phone or Branded fashion probably in level 2.

I have not left much room for the riots.  I have many eye-witness accounts in my computer,which I hope to post sometime… I make sense of them as follows: firstly, a balck man was shot dead in a deprived area by the police who were following him. This immediately makes that estate, and probably other deprived housing areas in north London, a no-go area. More generalised rioting follows with the main targets being mobile phone shops and other electronic ‘toys’. The next morning, the scene returns to normal, except for the fire-damage.

I think the rioters are, as in Wedekind’s play ‘Spring Awakening’, outside any network of relationships. ‘Someone has not taught them social rules’. So they are either pure emptiness caught in a certainty which persecutes them (Level 1) or their gaps have been covered with the promise of the latest ‘bling’ (Level 2). Relationships, except of revenge and envy are not in place. So the context in which they live gives them certainty either that they are nothing or that if they only have the latest i-phone they will be complete. The riots started when the certainty was punctured. The Police became unfair persecutory as Freud tells us. This produces a need to get your own back.  Relationships are not in place. Among the posts in August is a description of project where other human beings and a network of relationships are put in place. [xiii]This is far from what happened last summer, when following the shooting dead of a black man, whether or not this was justified, the police went out in force. This subverts the traditional English ‘community’ approach to policing.


I notice that in January I make the following note, at the end, which in view of the revelations of the various Murdoch enquiries, is worth repeating:

Criticism of Cameron: Cameron works for the Good. So he is working at either level 1 or 2 and imposing an ‘ideal citizen’ onto the UK. He is in control of solutions. The various Murdoch enquiries seem to me to state loudly and clearly that whatever Murdoch thought, went or you lost your favourable media coverage. If you work from a position of being in control of certainty and laying down THE law then relationships which rely on trust will not exist. It is the end of 30 years of politicians ruling through the media and the fight is on for what political processes will be put in place.

[i] ‘There must (therefore) be the possibility of transforming group psychology into individual psychology’  Sigmund Freud: Group Psychology, Chapter X, The group and the primal horde, p156 pfl

[ii] Freud’s Group Psychology: Chapter X: The group and the primal horde, p156 pfl

[iii] See Freud’s comments on Wedekind’s ‘Spring Awakening’ 1907 on February 13, 1907, available here, where he states ‘FREUD remarks, concerning the concept of autoerotism, that Havelock Ellis uses this term when only one person is involved (thus, for instance, also in relation to hysterical symptoms), whereas Freud uses it when there is no object; for example, those who masturbate with images [Bilderonanisten]would not be considered autoerotic.’

[iv] A LW WG member has made a comment quoting Freud in 1895. Comment: Anxiety neurosis is related to the way libido reached the psychical system. I think this is probably to Freud’s Letter of 20th October 1895 [p129 of ‘The origins of psychoanalysis: Sigmund Freud’s letters: Letters, drafts and Notes to Wilhelm Fliess (1887-1902): Basic Books: 1954]. Quote: … and it was possible to see from the details of neurosis all the way to the very conditioning of consciousness. Everything fell into place, the cogs meshed, the thing really seemed to be a machine which in a moment would run of itself. (Footnote: The following refers to the Project: letters of 23rd, 25th September & 5th October, 1895) The three systems of neurones, the “free” and “bound” states of quantity, the primary and secondary processes, the main trend and the compromise trend of the nervous system, the two biological rules of attention and defence, the indications of quality, reality, and thought, the state of the psycho-sexual group, the sexual determination of repression, and finally the factors determining consciousness as a perceptual function – the whole thing held together, and still does.

[v] Fantasy and the Limits of Enjoyment: ‘The Mother-Daughter Relationship’: Thread and Needle by Pierre Naveau on January 8, 2004

[vi] We have seen that with an army and a Church this contrivance is the illusion that the leader loves all of the individuals equally and justly. But this is simply an idealistic remodelling of the state of affairs in the primal horde, where all of the sons knew that they were equally persecuted by the primal father, and feared him equally. Freud: Group Psychology: op. cit.

[vii] For example: The Government as Sadeian experimenter by Julia Evans on August 17, 2011 available here

[viii] Available here: Sadeian power in use: By having its hand on Asia’s water tap, China is therefore acquiring tremendous leverage over its neighbours’ behaviour… by Julia Evans on August 31, 2011 or here

[ix] For example:

Principles based in trust and relationships versus Sadeian absolute control by Julia Evans on August 14, 2011 or here

What works – tackling out-of-limits destruction and violence by Julia Evans on August 14, 2011 or here

… the existence of a “completely ignored underclass” who have developed a “perverse morality”. by Julia Evans on August 13, 2011 or here

To limit or not to limit: to be or not to be, that is the question by Julia Evans on August 11, 2011 or here

[x] Psychotherapy is imposed: Psycho-analysis© works: Psychoanalysis operates by Julia Evans on December 15, 2010 or here

[xi] Details of availability of this article: The Empty Subject: Un-Triggered Psychoses in the New Forms of the Symptom: 1999: Massimo Recalcati or here

[xii]Lacan, J., “Del discorso psicoanalitico,” Milano, 05/12/1972, in Lacan in Italia, Milano: La Salamandra, 1978. Details of the English translation available here, On Psychoanalytic Discourse (Milan): 12th May 1972: Jacques Lacan, or here

[xiii] See either: Principles based in trust and relationships versus Sadeian absolute control by Julia Evans on August 14, 2011 or here

What works – tackling out-of-limits destruction and violence by Julia Evans on August 14, 2011 or here