Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall:
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the King’s horses and all the King’s men
Couldn’t put Humpty Dumpty in his place again
—“That last line is much too long for the poetry,” she added, almost out loud, forgetting that Humpty Dumpty would hear her.
—“Don’t stand there chattering to yourself like that,” Humpty Dumpty said, looking at her for the first time, “but tell me your name and your business.”
—“My name is Alice but…”
—“It’s a stupid name enough!” Humpty Dumpty interrupted impatiently. “What does it mean?”
—“Must a name mean something?” Alice asked doubtfully.
—“Of course it must,” Humpty Dumpty said with a short laugh: “my name means the shape I am—and a good handsome shape it is, too. With a name like yours, you might be any shape, almost.”
—“Why do you sit out here all alone?” said Alice, not wishing to begin an argument.
—“Why, because there’s nobody with me!” cried Humpty Dumpty. “Did you think I didn’t know the answer to that? Ask another.”
—“Don’t you think you’d be safer down on the ground?” Alice went on, not with any idea of making another riddle, but simply in her good-natured anxiety for the queer creature. “That wall is so very narrow!”
—“What tremendously easy riddles you ask!” Humpty Dumpty growled out. “Of course I don’t think so! Why, if ever I did fall off—which there’s no chance of—but if I did.” Here he pursed his lips and looked so solemn and grand that Alice could hardly help laughing. “If I did fall,” he went on, “the King has promised me—with his very own mouth—to—to…”
—“To send all his horses and all his men,” Alice interrupted, rather unwisely.
The following is Jacques-Alain Miller’s Polemic: death to psys? published in French, in le Nouvel Âne 9, in the Fall of 2008.
“Psy” has become for the French a familiar personage. Not that one always knows precisely what distinguishes the psychoanalyst from the psychotherapist, the psychiatrist who administers medicine from the psychologist who doesn’t. In public opinion, the psy is primarily someone who listens to you.
It’s someone to confide in, to trust, before whom one can open oneself up freely. Someone who helps your interior suffering (or mystery) express itself and be put into words. Someone who receives you insofar as you are an outsider, an exception, worthy in and of yourself, not just anybody, not a number, not an example of your age or social class. In a world where each person knows how it feels to be disposable, the meeting with the psy remains a clearing, an intimate enclave; one could even say a spiritual oasis.
Before the amplitude of this phenomenon of society, the big institutions and the big enterprises have wanted to have their psys. But the public is not mistaken there; it knows full well when the psy is serving the master’s interests and when it’s at the service of he who is speaking to it.
This world is threatening to end. Oh well. Know that, in the depths of the State, obscure pharmacies are working flat out to develop an even more secret prototype, destined to shunt aside the bygone psys more and more: the psy which, in the name of professional autonomy, resists its hierarchy; the happy psy, only before its clientele by word of mouth; and the liberal psy, which need only be accountable to its analysand. Psys in the trash! Make way for techno-psy!
Techno-psy doesn’t, as a duty, need to accommodate each person in the singularity of his desire: what a waste of time! What an ugly profit margin! Furthermore, healing with words, that’s witchcraft! No, techno-psy doesn’t listen, it counts, it standardizes, it compares. It observes behaviors, it evaluates troubles, it repairs deficiencies. Zero autonomy: it obeys protocols, does what you tell it, gathers facts, delivers them to research teams. State apparatuses are there from the first steps of its formation, and it will remain at their mercy over time by periodical evaluations. The truth is that techno-psy isn’t a psy: it is an agent of total social control, itself under constant surveillance. I know: we would believe in science fiction. Even Stalin didn’t dare it. Still even stronger than the Stasi, which installed microcomputers where one plugs a technician directly into your brain. Yet it is to precisely this end that the decree of a conclave of functionaries from the Board of Health and from Superior Education is pushing, who in turn are pressing to have it signed by their ministers in Paris, in the mugginess of the month of August.
This beautiful project rests on a slight of hand. It is not enough to program the death of psy people: for when nothing’s left, it’s still necessary to rob it of its name. Techno-psy, I baptize you psychotherapist! From the moment the State Council has begun implementing the law on the title of psychotherapist, the masks will fall: by simple ministerial arrest, it will be the year 1 of the era of techno-psy.
One muses on Brecht: the government, unhappy about its populace, decides to dissolve it and elect another. Or on Lewis Carroll: “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.” “The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master—that’s all.”
The worst, however, isn’t sure. It would surprise me that Roselyne Bachelot or Valérie Pécresse want to attach their names to this infamy. Furthermore, there’s also this young woman who publicly testified her debt to psychoanalysis. Becoming the “queen of hearts” of this country, she won’t say: “Psychoanalysis? Off with its head!”