Kant as a Theoretician of Vampirism
In Quest of the Oulipo
Le Conte du Livre
translated by Tom Radigan
Love, in psychoanalysis, is transference.
The very concept of love, its question of expressions, in psychoanalysis, is directed by the concept and problematics of transference so that love seems to be only displacement a case of mistaken identity. Always, I love someone because I'm in love with somebody else. That's why, in analysis, love is slapped with a certain inauthenticity. It can seem that psychoanalysis cheapens love, that it proceeds to a degradation of love. To be in love is to get lost in a labyrinth. Love is labyrinthine. Through the paths of love you lose your way, you lose yourself.
Yet analysis follows the path of love. There is no analysis without transference. This was technical advice given by post-Freudian psychoanalysts, that the analyst abstain from any interpretation before transference is established.
The analyst's very practice emphasizes, exploits the automatic aspect of love. Regularly, in the analytic situation, this love called transference emerges. What psychoanalysis contributes to the problematic of love is precisely this notion of love's automatic aspect. To be loved, it is enough to be an analyst.
There is an aspect of contingency in love. Love depends on chance meetings. There is a tuché of love, to use Aristotle's term, a "chance encounter." But psychoanalysis emphasizes an element of necessity in love that is opposed to luck: the automaton of love. The great discoveries of psychoanalysis concerning love are from this register. Analysis allows a subject to close in on what makes him fall in love and what makes him desire. This is what Freud called "the condition of love" (Liebesbedingung).
Central to Freud's studies on the psychology of love is the determination, in almost mathematical formulas, of certain subjects' condition of love, for example, for a man to be able to desire only someone else's wife. This requirement can take different forms: to be able to desire only a married and faithful woman, or an unfaithful woman tending to carry on with "every x" who is a man. Thus come the effects of jealousy the subject suffers, which analysis reveals are part of the woman's charm itself, and a determinant of the unconscious status of her charm.
Liebe is a term which overlays both love and desire, although occasionally we see the conditions of love separated from those of sexual desire. This is how Freud isolates the type of man who cannot love where he desires and who cannot desire where he loves.
In the same chapter on the conditions of love there is space for the analysis of love at first sight. There, in an instant, a subject meets his condition of love as if this possibility has been suddenly intertwined with necessity. If Werther falls desperately in love with Charlotte, it's because he sees her at the moment when she is feeding a cluster of little children, an embodiment of maternal sustenance. The contingent encounter here creates the necessary conditions for the subject becoming enamored.
° La Lettre Mensuelle, Nº 109, Paris, May 1992. back to top
Art by Jiri George Dokoupil, Badende II, candle soot on canvas,114" X 118", 1991.
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