NEW YORK CITY, february 9-11, 2018

Report on ‘Delights of the Ego’ – Clinical Study Days 11

On February 9th, over 70 participants convened in the winter cityscape of New York for the 11th annual Clinical Study Days presented by the Lacanian Compass, an associated group of the NLS. Guests traveled from Argentina, Brazil, Guatemala, France, Belgium, UK, Canada and from across the United States to explore the theme: ‘Delights of the Ego’. The program included 13 clinical case presentations, special guest presentations by Lilia Majoub, Marie-Hélène Brousse, Pierre-Gilles Guéguen, a public lecture at the New School by Marie-Hélène Brousse, and the first english-language Testimony of the Pass presented in the United States, which was delivered by Véronique Voruz.

Following Lacan’s proposition in his last teachings, what is at stake in the practice of psychoanalysis today is to find, case by case, the particular way a subject can find an exit from the trap of narcissism with his own resources—Imaginary, Symbolic, or Real—by organizing a link to the Other, in the era of the One all Alone. The clinical presentations, punctuated by Majoub, Brousse and Guéguen, charted the coordinates of the ego across the teachings of Freud, Lacan and Jacques-Alain Miller. The case presentations showed the work of the lacanian orientation in the US throughout settings ranging from applied psychoanalysis, private practice, psychiatric institutions and clinics. Participants endeavored to trace the effects of the analytic experience across the diagnostic spectrum, cultural settings and range of age.

Lilia Majoub, President of the New Lacanian School, set the stage for the three day conference, highlighting work under the transference of the School established between the NLS and the Lacanian Compass. She emphasized the role of cartels, the effects of knotting and the function of the body in building connections between the groups of the NLS, inviting all to the forthcoming Congress of the NLS in Paris. The Lacanian Compass wishes to thank Lilia Majoub for graciously traveling to New York to inaugurate the first Clinical Study Days for the Lacanian Compass as an official group of the NLS.

Marie-Hélène Brousse established an ambitious framework to investigate the phenomena of the ego in relation to the unconscious as imaginary and real. Brousse highlighted  ‘the contemporary sinthomal phenomena’ ‘an empire of the visible’ and the new topologies of the body as image amidst the ‘adoration of the consistency’ of the imaginary. In ‘Democracy without Fathers’ Brousse tasked politics with interpreting the universal ‘Us’ of group dynamics to produce de-massification and inconsistency which might return each one to his own solitude, a ‘wish for democracy’.

Pierre-Gilles Guéguen spoke of the birth of biopolitics, the mishaps of Post-Freudian Ego Psychology in America and the culture of mass narcissism. Guéguen marked the ego as the ‘source of misrecognition and the carrier of the death drive’ formulating the body as ‘a hole that recovers an image’. The unconscious, Guéguen reminded us is necessary for the social bond to exist.

A cartel presentation, ‘Supervision in the Analytical Process’ demonstrated the singular work of each member of a cartel formed in preparation for Clinical Study Days. Throughout the Clinical Study Days, members of the Lacanian Compass and the guest speakers of the NLS emphasized the role of the cartel as a foundation of the School.

Véronique Voruz offered the knowledge wrought from her analysis through the procedure of the Pass to transmit her analytic formation. Voruz spoke of the name of jouissance and the name of sinthome to account for what is left once the ‘fictions of being have fallen away in the registers of existence’. We thank Véronique for demonstrating the imaginary consistency of the fantasy, an image never seen that constructs an imaginary world of jouissance. Her testimony gave life to our study of the speaking body and the unconscious as imaginary. Voruz eloquently reminded us that ‘without psychoanalysis, only the worst remains’.

Maria Cristina Aguirre
Prepared by Cyrus Saint Amand Poliakoff