Vanishing figure and the loss of the analyst

Text in pdf : Clémence Ortega Douville – Vanishing figure and the loss of the analyst

There is no gain of a reality if not the loss of a symbol, to substitute a reality back to a symbolic place. The turn may depend on the analyst’s knowledge that they are the figure of loss : the patient will never gain the analyst’s love, but the image of their loss. The analyst, in a sense, makes the loss present, holds it to give it a symbolic value. The symbolic is then forged by the presence, in the world of the subject, of the analyst (in a large sense of an authority in their imagination).

Somehow, they can’t devore what they have already lost. Hence the choice here of the sensorimotor as the ground for any theory of the mind, so for the analyst to be that function of a loss that is someone else’s and never fully reached by words.

The interest in situating the analyst in this place is not to see what it does but what it is. The analyst is the place of something that is missed in both ways : something that has been lost in history, and something that we failed seeing and recognising. Therefore, the place of the analyst is always virtual : neither imaginary nor symbolic, but somewhere in the hole, where language ever stops.

It is then to occupy the place of a missing person, that implies for the position of the analyst that they accept the dissolution of identity – any identity – on their side. The person the patient looks for, is never there where the analyst is sit, but somewhere else that is a seat left vacant. They are the room for something missing and then, they can’t afford to be anyone. In the situation of analysis, both patient and analyst are concerned by this fall of identity, this dismembered genealogy – a family without members. The sense of being without is maybe why some would say psychoanalysis wouldn’t have been born if Freud had not been jewish.

As a person missing, the analysts would be any possible one instead, that is on the patient’s charge and duty. The posture of the one who apparently conducts the cure won’t resolve anything. Once they assume that they would solve that person presenting as patient, they would alienate the patient against them, for the very reason they don’t want to be solved : they want their loss back. The analysts can at most prove the ‘patient’ that there is no way out over the loss, but only in relation to it, that is the common object of the analytic situation.

Then and there, the vanishing object of desire can only be the figure of the analyst, for itself doesn’t exist but in the illusion that it would stand in the body of a person, sitting in front of a subject. However, this is a fiction, like any situation born in convention. The end of the cure is as a consequence, maybe, only a new form of this same convention that led the person to trust another person. The analyst is the vanishing figure of an omnipresence that is lost : the child’s parents in adulthood, the neverending love of the adolescent, the surrounding presence of the world at the end of one’s long days.

Yet where the person identified as patient seeks in the person sitting in front of them, the presence of something lost, the analyst cannot afford to be someone, for they are not seen. They are, as philosopher Gilles Deleuze said, the invisible that can only be seen. Beyond what you see, there is something else that the subject seeks deeply in their heart. There is an object, that is made common, between the person of the subject and the person of the analyst. And this object is a loss, known from long and unchanging – but not recognised in the structures of the laws, in their bones.

One should accept that to give the unchanging to someone else, you would be up to disappear and thus be not seen, to make the presence of this loss more visible and clear and in the end, more palpable to the lover’s eye.

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