The Political Urgency of a Forced Choice for Psychoanalysts

The Political Urgency of a Forced Choice for Psychoanalysts
Inma Guignard-Luz

“The choice is a forced choice: either our clinic will be ironic, i.e. grounded on the inexistence of the Other as defence against the real — or our clinic will be no more than a rehash of the psychiatric clinic.”[1]

And, I conclude, because I believe this, that if we, psychoanalysts, in an illusory arm wrestling contest, clambered onto the boat of contemporary psychiatry in order to obtain the title of Certified Expert on “Psychotherapies of Social Discontent,” we would be doomed to disappear amidst the evil in our capitalist market era: imposture.

First Moment: Jacques Lacan, The Other Side of Psychoanalysis: The antechamber to “Everyone is delusional.”

By introducing the logic of the “four discourses,” Lacan establishes the distinction between four fixed loci, and four identical mobile terms that, by changing place, configure the discourses, and therefore social relations [des liens sociaux] which are not equivalent.

Thus, there is a variability in symptomatic relations, which, rather than being dependant on the repressed signifier, come to depend on a variable locus that a lone signifier can occupy, at a given moment, in its articulation with other terms and registers.

Lacan never called into question that the unconscious is structured like a language; however, later on, by punctuating language as “an elucubration of knowledge on lalangue”,[2] he grants to every signifying articulation S1-S2 a value of a truth that is “scientifically” impossible to verify and that he does not hesitate to qualify as delusional.

To be continued…

Translation: Arunava Bannerjee

1. Jacques-Alain Miller,  “Ironic Clinic,” Psychoanalytical Notebooks, Issue 7. Available on-line:

2. Lacan, J., Encore, The Seminar of Jacques Lacan, Book XX, tr. B Fink, W.W. Norton, New York/London, 1975, p. 139, “knowledge's hare-brained lucubration (élucubration) about llanguage.”