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J - A
un vrai roman
J - A
A Political Variant of the Subject-of-Truth
What is to Live?
A Spectacular Health
A Reading of the Seminar From an Other to the other III
J - A
Freud, so to Speak
a Russian Gay Gentleman
ALAIN BADIOU / THOMAS SVOLOS
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Of What Is Sarkozy the Name?
Frédéric Taddéï interviews Alain Badiou, Collectif du 29 Mai National, Paris, February, 2008
translated by Jake Bellone
Frédéric Taddéï: You are also suspected of anti-Semitism. You have been criticized among other things of having organized a seminar on the word "Jew".
Alain Badiou: First of all, factually this is a lie pure and simple: I organized no seminar on the word Jew and secondly I would like to be a little serious here: the accusation of anti-Semitism in my eyes is an absolutely unsupportable defamation. This is not a word that one can wield like that, like “dogmatic”, “skeptic”, or etc. It’s a veritable insult and I must say that whoever targets me as an anti-Semite will be considered by me as someone who insults me.
FT: You just published a book which is titled: Of what is Sarkozy the name? (De quoi Sarkozy est-il le nom? - Nouvelles Éditions Ligne) This is not a question that you pose, this is not a book likewise on Nicolas Sarkozy. Therefore one can right away respond to the question. Of what, for you, is Sarkozy the name? He is the name of fear and war. So fear of what? And war against who?
AB: I think that it is the name of a society which in effect is afraid and which asks that someone protect it. I sense in this society the demand for a master protector who will be justly capable to also use violence against those who impart fear. This fear comes, in my opinion, from what France is today, after a long, glorious history, a middle power endowed with privileges and considerable riches but it is a middle power in a world which is dominated by emerging colossi like China or India or considerably stronger super-powers like the United States. As a result, the future of France seems uncertain. We don’t know where this country is going. France knows that it has a grand past but it doubts that it has a grand future. And that creates a sentiment of fear, a sentiment of re-closing, a demand for protection and Sarkozy is one of the names of protection. The vote for Sarkozy is a demand for protection.
I will talk about Ordinary Psychosis, which—while a vital concept in the work of the Lacanian orientation now—cannot be found in Lacan’s work itself. In fact, Ordinary Psychosis is a new concept, introduced by Jacques-Alain Miller on September 19, 1998. A description of a form of psychosis in many ways different from the “extraordinary” psychoses (schizophrenia, mania, melancholia, paranoia) the term “ordinary” describes psychoses that do not always present with a full elaboration of the what we used to call typical. It is rather often a psychosis where the structure is subtle much as it may resemble a neurosis, but one in which the treatment may not go well should the psychosis be missed.
What is the nature of the psychic structure of the untriggered psychosis or what was called the prepsychotic? Several years before the paper “On a Preliminary Question...”, Lacan tackles this question in his Seminar III, The Psychoses, where he comments on a case of Maurits Katan, an adolescent who develops psychosis. Prior to the triggering, this boy imitates an older friend, and this imaginary identification—akin to Hélène Deutsch’s “as if” phenomena forms an imaginary compensation for what is lacking in the symbolic. This early stage of psychosis—prior to the triggering—can be defined then in two ways: on a diachronic level, after the foreclosure of the Name-of-the-Father and prior to the encounter with the One-Father; but also in a more synchronic way, by the foreclosure of the Name-of-the-Father and an imaginary compensation for such a foreclosure. Thus, in a sense, we have a diagnostic alternative to psychosis and neurosis, namely an untriggered psychosis. For Lacan, the clinical consequences of this diagnosis of a psychotic structure without a triggered psychosis are important, for an analysis might certainly trigger an active psychosis in such a case. Such a patient should not be treated with the usual psychoanalysis. Furthermore, we have an implied therapeutic imperative—to work towards the avoidance of an encounter with the One-Father.
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