Sergio Benvenuto is a researcher in psychology and philosophy at the National Research Council (CNR) in Italy, and a contributor to cultural journals such as Differentia (New York), aut aut (Milan), Lettre Internationale (French, German, Spanish, Hungarian and Italian editions), Transeuropéennes (Paris), Anamorphosis (San Francisco). He has translated into Italian Jacques Lacan’s Sémina…
A Conversation of Sergio Benvenuto with René Girard In collaboration with Maurizio Meloni
The Author shows the indebtedness and differences of René Girard's work with respect to psychoanalysis, in particular the thought of Freud and of Lacan. This essay aims to construct a more effective form of theoretical communication between the principal intuitions of Girard's work and the contemporary human sciences.
Girard has said that breaking free from the domination of mimetic desire and its mechanisms of victimization requires something like a "conversion experience." But he also dismissed "the great oriental religions" as cultivating "a kind of living death" and criticized "historical Christianity" and especially the Epistle to the Hebrews for masking the mécanisme victimaire by interpreting the death of Jesus on the cross as simply another form of the kind of sacrifice that he thinks authentic Christianity saw through and exposed as contrary to the true will of God.
On the 20th of March 2002, the Freudian psychoanalyst Johannes Cremerius, whose life and scholarly contributions had a great historical importance, sadly passed away in the Rhineland where he was born in 1918, and from whence his family originated. It was a place, as he liked to recall, where the Germanic races and the Romans had lived in peace for centuries, and in fact his own existence was, for various reasons, Italo-Germanic, such that he defined Italy as his "second fatherland".
In this conversation the late psychoanalyst Johannes Cremerius presents his autobiographical memories, including his escape to Italy to avoid conscription, a dramatic shipwreck while attempting to reach London and the beginnings of his psychoanalytical practice in a Germany finally free of Nazism. . He illustrates various features of his psychoanalytical methodology and practice and comments on aspects of psychoanalytical theory, as well as his approach to Freud which is often daringly critical. Cremerius attacks the compromises, exclusiveness and corruption of psychoanalytical societies and makes an impassioned defense of the importance of upholding the essential values of human life and the Enlightenment as a fundamentally impossible task which nevertheless is inherently worth undertaking.
In this interview Francisco Varela traces the history of the development of consciousness studies and discusses the developments in contemporary cognitive neurosciences that have allowed consciousness to become an object of scientific study. From the experimental side, advances in non-invasive brain-imaging techniques make possible original research on neural correlates during cognitive tasks. But a non-reductionist science of cognition must take into account not only the brain, but also the fact that experience happens in the entire organism (embodiment), that itself is situated or "coupled" with the world. The notions of emergence and reciprocal causality are keys for conceptualizing this embodied, situated subject of experience. Finally, phenomenological reduction is seen as a necessary partner in scientific research, providing "first-person" accounts of experience that are correlated to the "third-person", or experimental data, which constitutes the neurophenomenology research program.
This paper discusses the notion of the self or identity as central to the unfolding of F. Varela's work. From the fundamental concept of autopoiesis to the neurophenomenology program, the view of identity as non- fixed, always virtual, acts as a guiding thread in his elaboration of a non-dualistic vision of mind and experience. The Buddhist notion of sunyata, or emptiness, elucidates this notion of the "selfless self", and underlies the evolution of Varela's work toward an embodied-enactive conception of mind.
This paper shows possible convergences between psychoanalysis and neuroscience, above all on the field of personality and human subjectivity, where the author considers possible to build a bridge, with great advantages for both. In the exemple of Korsakoff's syndrome, a very disturbing alteration of personality, the paper shows how reconsidering the cognitive defect from apsychoanalytical point of view. Korsakoff's syndrome has important emotional effects and may not be considered a simple deficit of the machinery of memory. The author sees in patients'reactions great analogies with the four principal characteristics which Freud described as "the system Unconscious".
The article delineates the link between Lacanian psychoanalysis and recent research in the neurosciences. Thinking of this link as a mode of rapprochement means recalling to psychoanalysis its main object: neither psychic development, nor gender formation, but rather the fantasy attempting to resolve the enigma of sexual difference. Only by returning to this object can psychoanalysis regain its position as a legitimate troublemaker in the nature/nurture debate.
When Lou Andreas Salomé and Sigmund Freud met in the 1910s, they had a common interest: narcissism. They gave two different interpretations of the myth and demonstrated two different understandings of narcissism. If for Freud (primary) narcissism creates conditions for self-identification and differentiation of psychic structures, for Salomé narcissism is based on the re-appropriation of the object up to self-annihilating expansion. In terms of narcissistic aggressivity, she is closer to Lacanian ideas than to Freudian ones. Her concept of narcissism is not only connected with adventures with her brothers and her perception of the mirror in childhood, but also with her own future image of femme-fatale.
Among the various post-Jungian schools is that founded by Mario Trevi, one of the pioneers of analytical psychology in Italy and follower of Ernst Bernhard, who introduced Jungian psychoanalysis in Italy. Mario Trevi approaches Jungian theory, however, placing the accent on its epistemological and hermeneutic aspects, thus eliminating the entire "deadwood" produced during the course of the development of Jungian thought.
This chapter, taken from Aldo Carotenuto's book Jung e la cultura italiana (Jung and Italian Culture), reproduces a conversation with Federico Fellini, in which Fellini describes his introduction to Jungian thought and to some of Jung's writings, but above all his strange encounter with Ernst Bernhard, the founder of analytical psychology in Italy, and the productive relationship which was subsequently created between the two of them.
We publish here the translations of three letters published by the German journal Lettre International (Berlin), as commentaries on the paper by Sergio Benvenuto, "Die Analyse ist vorbei. Nanni Moretti's neuer Film"(Lettre International, 55, Winter 2001, pp. 1-10). The English version of this paper - "The son's room' or: Analysis is over - "was published in the Journal of European Psychoanalysis, n. 12-13, pp. 163-172. "The Son's Room", or the Crisis in Psychoanalytic Criticism Joachim Kuchenhoff
(Paris, France: Odile Jacob, 2001)
(New York, NY: Other Press, 2001)