Teacher of Bad Film 2: Pedagogy

Otto Gross – pedagogy as Nebenzimmererotik: a rival cure for mimetic ailments.  

The reconstruction of the American soul: an interview with Professor Lance Duerfahrd (part 1)

(For the “Prologue” to this post please see Teacher of Bad Film 1.)

I’ll state this: pedagogy does not make room for the unconscious.

Otto Gross refers in a 1913 text to the asexuality of pedagogy, by which he means the exclusion of the bourgeois child from experience, from “Erleben”: from experiencing but also from undergoing, from living.  Gross traces the anti-experiential bias to the original bourgeois divisions, to the insistence on separate (homo-)sexual identities.  As the sexual roles between husband and wife (exclusive and coerced) are strictly regimented, the child’s role is that of a third party, the being on the side, split off from Erleben.  Thus banned from the parental bedroom, in all the senses you wish that to mean, it condemns the child to a substitute, a represented life, a Nebenzimmererotik: the eros of the adjoining room.  The child is to remain the eternal spectator, never participating, meaning never creating.  Education is to continue the isolation of the child by taking over the principle of fragmentation of the family: “Beziehungslosigkeit zum Kind, insofern das Kind am Erleben nicht teilnehmen darf (Nebenzimmererotik), sofern er erzogen werden soll (die geltenden pädagogischen Grundsätze streben zur Asexualität).”   Prevailing pedagogical principles stipulate asexuality: there is to be no experience in education.  Representation and education, insofar as both exclude the lived happening in favor of an image, are no longer separate and are meant to cement the child’s identity.(1)

Both film viewing and psychoanalysis have a rival in education.  If we feel we know what a film review is describing, it’s because we were taught how, by reading, to agree (or to recognize but recognizing means agreeing).  If education teaches us how to forget what we went through, it’s because pedagogy cannot deal with – in the sense of acknowledge, or consci

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Teacher of Bad Film 1: Prologue

The experiences of cinema and psychoanalysis. Wartime. The mechanical ear of the analyst. Bion dreaming, buffalo running.

For a film goer to talk about a film they just saw – to truly talk about it: to account for their own experience of a film could be as difficult, or more, as talking in a psychoanalytic session.

Insofar as having an experience means communicating it to others – to oneself, included – can the film goer who, for a reason to be determined, wants to talk about it use an analyst to work him through a film or does he need to be taught how to recount an experience?

“Is there an analyst the filmgoer can see, a class they can take?” means: are analysis – itself, like film-going, a mimetic activity – and pedagogy – too overwhelmed or taken by the conscious and the normative – in a position not to see art as a rival human expression that can or must be spoken away? At their most dogmatic, both propose to cure the mimetic rival. At their most receptive, are they able to not bypass the question of art?

The French director Bruno Dumont says that cinema viewing is about confrontation and identification: it confronts us with ourselves – even though we seem to be taking in a spectacle – because we fill in what we think we, objectively, see. This strikes me as a complex argument but evident, once we allow ourselves to think it through, and, above all, imagine and remember. Our desires, frights, misunderstandings, personal taboos and disgusts construct our experience in the darkened room. I find I look for something in, rather than watch, a film. Our past errors, personal ghosts, hopes and contradictions – our blindness make up what we see. We short-circuit and panic, we pretend we saw something else and later claim we all saw the same film. We see what we interpret – or what we have to see. Cine

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German-English translation problems

In his paper on Alfred Lorenzer [1], Tobias Vollstedt uses the expression “scenical comprehension” to translate the German “szenisches Verstehen“. I feel that this translation might lead to misunderstandings, for two reasons:

1) The word “scenical” in English is closely connected with associations of pittoresque landscapes etc. The German association of “putting on stage” is only vaguely addressed by the word “scenical”, the meaning “drawing attention to sth.” not at all. (The same applies to “scenic understanding”, a term which has also been used to translate “szenisches Verstehen“.) Lire la suite ... >>>

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The Other Scene

The Other Scene

We are very happy to announce the first issue of the internet journal The Other Scene.

The aim of The Other Scene is to publish papers on psychoanalysis and on the different applications of psychoanalysis in a variety of intellectual and artistic pursuits such as literature, film and other arts, sociology and political theory, philosophy and pedagogy: anywhere it can be seen as relevant.

Obviously, psychoanalysis started as a therapeutic practice and it still has its foundation in this practice. However, as Freud pointed out already in 1926: “The use of analysis for the treatment of the neuroses is only one of its applications; the future will perhaps show that it is not the most important one .” (“The question of lay analysis.” SE, 20: 179-250.) Lire la suite ... >>>

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Psychothérapies sans risques

(Le texte qui suit a originellement paru dans le mensuel luxembourgeois Forum, n° 320, juillet 2012.)

Sans RisquesUn nouveau spectre hante le Luxembourg. Après les médecins fripons et les enseignants fainéants, voici donc le fléau des psychothérapeutes dangereux.

Ce danger est-il récent ? S’est-il renforcé progressivement au cours des dernières décennies ? Y a-t-il eu des blessés ? Des morts ? Des personnes se sont-elles plaintes auprès de la police ? Des jugements ont-ils été émis contre des malversations ou des fautes professionnelles ? Et quelqu’un a-t-il relevé ces faits, dressé des listes, établi des statistiques ?

Assurément, il n’est pas difficile de se sentir pris de vertige, à feuilleter les rubriques ‘psychologues’ ou ‘psychothérapeutes’ des pages jaunes nationales. Un minimum d’ordre et d’information n’y apporteraient certainement pas de préjudice. Pourtant, en regardant par-delà les frontières nationales, un éventail psychothérapeutique autrement plus impressionnant s’ouvre devant les yeux des curieux.

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I was in one of your dreams? The Jeff Nichols film TAKE SHELTER

I was in one of your dreams?
Can you deal with that?

  A brilliant recent exploration of the nature of dreams, and their paradoxical (non-) place in our living environment is Jeff Nichols’s film Take Shelter (2012). In it a married construction supervisor named Curtis has nightmarish dreams of storms, or of a fantastic catastrophe, and of people attacking him.  These dreams tell of lurking dangers in the present and of a coming ecological reckoning.  The dreamer reacts by two contradictory sets of actions: one, he prepares for the imminent danger, and tears himself away from those who threaten him in his dreams, digs a hole in the ground, builds up his storm shelter.  And, two, in the same responsive manner, consults a number of health professionals to confirm his possible paranoid schizophrenia and his greatest fear: to be put away, to be removed from his family, like his own mother was.  The brilliance of the film comes from that uncomfortable co-existence of mutually exclusive elements. 

 Curtis to his family doctor: A couple of days ago I had a dream that my dog attacked me and it took the whole day for the pain in my arm to go away.


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The wish to sleep and the wish to wake up and the capacity to dream?

Psychoanalysis is likened to voodoo, and seen as deriving from dreaming. The fright of the reader of psychoanalytical texts.  Also: Masud Khan and the why of art.

I am not a psychoanalyst, nor am I seeing one.  But I read psychoanalytical texts, and must ask myself why. 

I mean I try to read mostly narratives of the analytical encounter and the analyst’s subsequent attempt to extract or abstract a number of still theoretical formulations that could be useful to him, and then to others.  But I prefer it if the texts have an emotional significance, meaning that they are, at the end, tragically useless beyond what they describe.  Freud’s “Dora” is a great narrative but is contested because the patient, at the end, does not return.  A writer of such texts is, I believe, later bound to put their name to an unhappy, uncertain ending – to a text written over by the absent patient. That adds, in a way, to the drama of the texts.

 But it’s even more unclear to me what a reader of psychoanalytical texts does, or is.

In psychoanalysis, I am attracted to the notion of saying anything that comes to my mind insofar as I am unable to do so – as Freud says “we not only want to hear from him what he knows and is holding from others, but he shall also tell us, what he does

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J. Edgar – sharp dressed man

During an evening out at the club, J. Edgar Hoover suddenly urges his friend and lover Clyde Tolson to leave in a hurry. They just came from a movie that was of important symbolic value:  Hollywood had eventually shifted from the sympathetic gangster hero to the heroic police officer. Hoover feels so gratified by what he considers to be a public recognition of his work that during the ride home, he holds his lover’s hand. The gesture has a slight scent of provocation since his mother, Anne, sitting in front of the car, could not but notice. And she would pay him back for this daring move soon enough.

That evening though, nothing seemed to stop J. Edgar. At first, at least. After dropping his mother off, he and Clyde continue to their club, where they get to sit at a table with three beautiful, admiring actresses. Here we see the new hero of the Bureau of Investigation, inspiring comic strips and now movies,  bragging about some incredibly important secrets he cannot reveal. Young, radiating, gorgeous Hoover seems overspilling with power, wits and overall success. Until one of the actresses, trying to get beyond sitting and listening, first invites and then urges him to dance. At this point J. Edgar loses it.

Agitated, distressed, not far from panic

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Freud and his patients – Freud et ses patients

Un certain Freud
Au sujet de Les patients de Freud : destins
de Mikkel Borch-Jacobsen
Sciences Humaines Éditions, 2011

J’ai lu ce livre de Borch-Jacobsen avec beaucoup d’intérêt, ayant moi-même étudié ce sujet aussi bien par intérêt personnel que par intérêt professionnel. Je fais des cours pour des étudiants universitaires et je viens d’écrire un livre, Ferenczi, la psychanalyse autrement, où j’ai approché de près le matériel qui sert aussi à Borch-Jacobsen. J’ai trouvé son livre d’autant plus passionnant qu’il n’y a pas beaucoup de livres en français à ce sujet. Faut-il dire que la France présente un paysage assez désolant en termes d’éditions psychanalytiques. Malgré toutes les apparences en sens contraire, la France devient de plus en plus paroissiale dans le paysage mondial des publications. Celui qui n’y lit pas l’anglais, reste un chercheur aveugle. Il n’y a aucun espoir que soient traduits en français des livres comme Unorthodox Freud : the View from the Couch, de Beate Lohser et Peter M. Newton, publié à New York et Londres, qui présente un vaste panorama des patients de Freud et de leur destin, ou Unfree Associations : inside psychoanalytic institutes, de Douglas Kirsner, publié à Londres, qui présente un vaste panorama de comment sont conduites les discussions dans les milieux psychanalytiques. Il est donc d’autant plus précieux que des chercheurs internationaux comme Borch-Jacobsen publient d’abord en français avant de publier en anglais.

Je dois avouer que je n’ai pas lu Le livre noir de la psychanalyse, car j’ai trouvé au bout de quelques pages que c’était très mal écrit. Je fuis systématiquement tous les livres mal écrits, y compris la malheureuse édition des Œuvres complètes de Freud en français, qui prétend présenter comme méthode et rigueur ce qui au fond n’est qu’incompétence traductive. Il faut avoir présent à l’esprit que Laplanche s’était donné le français de Chateaubriand comme modèle à respecter pour ces Œuvres complètes. Le résultat final en est l’opposé.

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