THE PANDEMIC versus a pandemic – Cartel Opening Statement

by Julia Evans on April 25, 2020

Opening statement by Julia Evans to Pandemic & being Lacanian Flash Cartel (from April until July 2020) on 25th April 2020. Members, Alexandra Spencer, Ganesh Anantharaman, Gözde Kilic, Josephine Rostron, Paul Melia, +1 Julia Evans

(More texts by Julia Evans here This text is also published at /authors a-z or authors by date. Related texts on Coronavirus  here)  

So, I wish to argue that there are two levels of pandemic – THE & a. These overlap the two levels I previously argued for trauma in February 2019[i].  

THE Pandemic 

THE Coronavirus is a unique example of the category, pandemic.  Science pretends that it is definable and the scientists define the one certain way of defining/defeating it. Éric Laurent commented on this (March 2020[ii]).   It thus becomes knowable – there are no gaps – and scientific processes derived from an imaginary world of pandemics can be transferred for use in this one.  It assumes the CV is containable, there are no unknowable beyonds. The virus is treated as THE enemy to be fought and hovers equally over everyone.  The fight in the UK is a national one, with prohibitions driven down from the national Government directly into our homes – who can or cannot enter. The other way to looking at THE CV, is from the question ‘why do we fail to prepare for disasters?[iii]’   It seems if it is beyond our experience we fail to notice it.  Our view of reality cannot be punctured. On 16th March 2020, I travelled to Paris for a booked appointment.  Nothing registered as unusual until I reached the building and there was no-one there.  On my return, everything registered as out of place.

A pandemic

In South Korea, CV is seen as the newest example of the category pandemic.  They have put procedures developed over the last few pandemics into place, and expect the next one to arrive in 2 or 3 years’ time.  They do use top-down total control methods but each virus is expected to arrive with unknowns, unknown in advance.  It is an appearance from the real which cannot be tabulated.  This point is made by Thomas Svolos[iv] & Jorge Assef[v].    

It seems to me that each virus sufferer produces different symptoms and it is not known why individual sufferers react differently to it – some die, others are hardly aware they have contracted it. Each individual’s response to their body being invaded, is unique to them.  I recommend Nelson Feldman’s account[vi] of his struggle which brought this phrase ‘going beyond death or a limit’ to mind.  So confronting something. 

So if a Lacanian’s job is cutting each individual from their imposed reality and enabling them to grasp life, pointing to the two levels of trauma, the body symptoms & subjective reactions to this pandemic – denial, fear of the world outside your dwelling space and fighting the unknowable invader in each body – can be constructed as part of the work.  One operates by cutting through the blanket imposition of social isolation, fear of contagion from the other, to produce a life beyond.

[i] Why is trauma urgent?[i] 4th February 2019 : Julia Evans : See here   An abbreviated copy is published by NLS Cartels   Available here

[ii] Éric Laurent in The Other that Does Not Exist and Its Scientific Committees : 23rd March 2020 : Éric Laurent  See here  Originally published in Lacan Quotidien 874, 19th March 2020, available here.   

[iii] Why we fail to prepare for disasters, Catastrophes such as coronavirus are all too predictable. What makes us do nothing in the face of danger? By Tim Harford, 15th April 2020, Financial Times

[iv] Life Over Death : 26th March 2020 : Thomas Svolos Published by The Lacanian Review Online as |COVID-19 / 2020 #18 : See here  

[v] See We shall build up again… : 31st March 2020 : Jorge Assef  or  here. Published at – : See here     

[vi] Encounter with the Coronavirus : we, analysts, are mortal : 10th May 2020 : Nelson Feldman  Notes and information here Published at  available here      

Further texts by cartel members

Coronavirus as Metaphor : 6th April 2020 : Gözde Kilic or here   

Related texts

Coronavirus  here   

Encounter with the Coronavirus : we, analysts, are mortal : 10th May 2020 : Nelson Feldman or here    

THE PANDEMIC versus a pandemic – Cartel Opening Statement by Julia Evans on 25th April 2020  or here    

Summoned! : 17th April 2020 : Jean-Daniel Matet or here     

Coronavirus as Metaphor : 6th April 2020 : Gözde Kilic or here   

We shall build up again… : 31st March 2020 : Jorge Assef  or  here

Life Over Death : 26th March 2020 : Thomas Svolos  or here  

The Other that Does Not Exist and Its Scientific Committees : 23rd March 2020 : Éric Laurent  or here   

Coronavirus and the Hole in the Big Other : 14th March 2020 : Thomas Svolos or here    

The Zombie Epidemic: Hypermodern Version of the Apocalypse : 25th September 2013: New York: Jorge Assef or here  

The case, from unease to the lie : February 2002 : Éric Laurent or here 

As quoted in  See Melancholia, the Pain of Existence and Moral Cowardice : October1988 : Éric Laurent or here 

Of the clinic here 

Case studies  here  


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Julia Evans

Practicing Lacanian Psychoanalyst, London


Further posts:

Some Lacanian history here

Lacanian Transmission here 

Politics   here   

Of the clinic here 

Translation Working Group here 

Use of power here   

By Sigmund Freud here 

Notes on texts by Sigmund Freud  here 

By Jacques Lacan here 

Notes on texts by Jacques Lacan here

By Julia Evans  here