Psychoanalysis in Time – Time in Psychoanalysis


Let’s watch the initial scene of the well-known film Wild Strawberries, where it is possible to notice the absence of time in the unconscious system, unlike consciousness. The purpose of this paper is to look into some aspects of heterochrony, as a typically Freudian concept, paying particular attention to early Freudian thought. The underlying fil rouge is the relation between the functioning of mnestic systems and human temporalities as dynamic structures/processes which can be represented as reciprocal complementary images. We may say that individual memory, temporality and phantasy (phylogenetic memory) function as a self-referential three-fold structure capable of generating a world and providing it with meaning. Après coup is its main mechanism, which with its constant functioning, just like the flying shuttle in a loom, continuously “corrects” the weaving through a temporalspatial to-and-fro movement. After analyzing the differences between the three classical dimensions of time: past, present and future, in their relation with consciousness, memory and waiting, it is clear that, according to psychoanalysis, man lives in a multiplicity of temporalities, which intersect continuously and show us a reality where a time is inscribed into another time and the latter into yet another.

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European Journal of Psychoanalysis