The Theory of the Subject ($)

More from the 1986 article Lacan and the Ethics by John Rajchman. This article is full of good stuff.

Unlike "centering" theories of ourselves, the theory of the subject is thus a
theory about what divides us from ourselves and so from each other. It raises a new question: what sort of _lien social_ (ethical bond) can there be among decentered or divided subjects?

This is a great question. It is a question that has a central place for me and the other Lacanian analysts I know.

Rajchman elaborates on the sort of ethical position an analyst takes up within the transference and describes what the psychoanalytic relationship is not and what it aims to be.

Psychoanalysis turns the [analysand's transferential] demand for love or for recognition into the ethical space within which one discovers the source of this demand in one's fundamental division.

The psychoanalytic relationship is an ethical response the transference.

It is patterned neither on friendship, or a common good; nor on respect, or a mutual reverence for a principle. It is not a bond between our ideal or moral "centers." On the contrary, it is what allows us to see that what we take as "ideal" in ourselves and others is structured by the "decentering" our desire introduces in us (p. 45).

What psychoanalysis can do by showing the transference as the fantasy it is:

We have an imagined version of ourselves that is of an ideal or would be ideal if we could find the missing bit (i.e., the lost object).

We look for this missing bit in others, and sometimes we convince ourselves that we have found another person who is ideal for us because they have what we think would make our life ideal. This is the fantasy of becoming a whole rather than a divided subject.

The experience of psychoanalysis helps the analysand to see they have created a fantasy version of other people that will fill in the missing parts of the fantasy version of themselves. An experience of psychoanalysis transforms the fantasy from an impossible demand into an enjoyable fiction. This helps the analysand recognize their fantasy as something that is not real.

This is not a cure!

Even after a lengthy analysis, the analysand will still construct their fantasy. But the analysand will enjoy their fantasy as a fiction, a story they can tell themselves because it is fun.

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