The body is an instrument we play when we speak

This morning, I was reading The Pinning of Someone Unplaceable by Dominique Holvoet in The Lacanian Review #9: Still Life? (pp. 81-86), and I read the following sentence that highlights something that Jacques-Alain Miller said in the text Habeas Corpus.

J.-A. Miller [said] "man, unlike the subject, has a body [that] this body is speaking [but] it is not the body doing the speaking of its own initiative, it is always man who speaks with his body." The body is thus the instrument of speech and in return speech affects this body "in the form of the phenomena of resonance and echo." (p. 83 -near the bottom of the page. Emphasis added by me.)

My Associations:

Perhaps it is because I've been very immersed in Chilly Gonzales interviews lately, but I've been thinking a lot about how being a musician and being a psychoanalyst can be compared. So, when I read the sentence above, it really (no pun intended) resonated with me.

Here is my reaction to the quoted text:

man [...] has a body.

Yes. (Miller seems to be using "man" in a universal way here, signifying all people, men, and women, humanity.)

This body is speaking [but] it is not the body doing the speaking of its own initiative

This is a body that can speak or can be made to speak. Making the body speak differs from breathing, digesting food, sleeping, etc. All that happens naturally (via instinct) speech is something that the body is made to do. Speech does not happen automatically. (In this way, I think speech is more related to the drive than to instinct.)

it is always man who speaks with his body

There is something that makes the body speak, that makes it produce what we call speech. Miller calls this thing "man" (again, a man in the universal embracing of all people sense of the word).

the body is thus the instrument

Musical instruments don't play themselves. The human body does not speak by itself. In both cases, instrument and body, someone (man) needs to "play them" to make them make sounds.

The musician needs to learn how to play an instrument; this takes time, dedicated practice, attention to detail, and subtle nuances. (For example, striking the key or strumming the string this way makes the note more or less sad.)

The body is the instrument we all must learn to play; we must all speak with our body, but some of us study to play/speak with the body. Psychoanalysis is one way that a person might seriously study how to play/speak with the body.

When one goes through an analysis, they become more attuned not only to their playing/speaking but also to the playing/speaking of others.

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