Contributors (Number 16)

Jacques André, a psychoanalyst and member of the Association Psychanalytique de France (APF, member of the IPA), teaches psychopathology at the University of Paris VII. He is editor of the series “Petite Bibliothèque de Psychanalyse” at Presses Universitaires de France (PUF), and is the author of the following books: La révolution fratricide. Essai de psychanalyse du lien so…

Little Gestures of Disappearance(1) Interpassivity and the Theory of Ritual

In this essay the concept of interpassivity is presented as a theoretical tool for understanding the ritual. This concept, interpassivity, was originally developed for the discourse of contemporary art--where it had a strategic value in criticizing the predominant notion of interactivity. For ritual theory, the concept of interpassivity can serve to clarify the idea that ritual came before myth; to point out the critical value of this key thesis of the so-called "ritualists" (Robertson Smith, Wellhausen, Freud, Wittgenstein) without succumbing to the anti-ritualist conclusions that can be drawn from it--as Mario Perniola has pointed out. With the help of the concept of interpassivity, we can show what it means to insist on this thesis, and we can, then, insist on it without ever regarding cultures that have only rituals, but no myths, as primitive.

Robert Pfaller
The Metaphysics of Suffering

The author critiques the long Western tradition of exalting physical and mental pain as privileged means towards learning the essential truths. This idealization of pain, sorrow, and asceticism in general, is an essential part of Western metaphysics, and as such it has influenced Western medicine and other fields, including psychoanalysis. Heidegger's critique of Western metaphysics can also be extended to our modern ideology of renunciation, to which the author opposes the acceptance of one's own radical historicity.

Gianni Vattimo
Masochism and Sexuality: An Interview with Jacque André

The author’s thesis differs from Freud’s theory of a primary non-sexual masochism and of a death drive with a biological nature. For the author, masochism certainly takes on an original position in the field of sexual drives, due to the fundamental anthropological situation which places the infant face to face with an adult who has a sexual unconscious and is, therefore, active in his relationship with him. A sexual masochistic drive results from the infant’s attempt to translate the adult messages that overwhelm him. Masochism is at the heart of the human sexual drive, insofar as it seeks tension without discharging it, and it subsists as such in adult sexuality as well (preliminary pleasure).

Jean Laplanche
Perverse Masochism and the Question of Quantity

The author challenges some of the traditional views regarding perverse masochism, drawing on a case of a male subject who had carried out perverse practices for much of his life only to eventually abandon them. While some conventional conceptions note common elements to perverse masochism, such as castration anxiety and rich fantasy, the author shows that it’s instead characterized by limited oneiric activity, the absence of anxiety, and suggests that the masochist not only does not fear castration, but even desires it. In contrast to Freud, for whom masochism would be the trace of the combination between Eros and the death drive, the author does not refer to the latter, speaking rather in terms of the constancy principle and constitutional elements. The author argues that perverse masochism could be considered as one tool (among others) for dealing with the excess quantity of drives that a subject is unable to manage through mental mechanisms.

Michel de M'Uzan
Freud and Masochism

Freud’s reflections on masochism are here reconsidered and situated within the general project of Freudian thought, described in terms of a metaphysical anthropology based on the Lustprinzip, the pleasure-desire principle. The author provides a detailed analysis of Freud’s “The economic problem of masochism”, and of moral masochism in particular, since this latter constitutes, to a much greater extent than the other forms of masochism, an apparently insurmountable problem for the Lustprinzip-based theory. In keeping with the more mature Freudian view, the author proposes setting aside the primacy of the Lustprinzip in favor of providing an opening for the crucial role of ethical experience, understood as a basic erotic relation to the other.

Sergio Benvenuto
Ethics and Perversion

This paper develops a structural analogy between the desire of the analyst and the perverse position reflected in the concept of apathy, in relation to the Sadean phantasy. This analogy provides the necessary framework for a further differentiation between ethics and perversion. In order to shed more light on this hypothesis-which constitutes the axis of the author's thesis-it must be made clear that the analytical relation is not perverse; on the contrary, it should be defined as being opposed to the perverse desire. But such opposition can be understood only from the moment in which both concepts become intertwined.

Rolando H. Karothy
Love and Marriage: Eyes Wide Shut

Summary: Kubrick’s film, Eyes Wide Shut, provides a vivid and clinically accurate portrayal of an obsessional neurotic. The author uses Lacanian theory to point out obsessional features, and concludes that blindness to desire ensures that an obsessional can gain indirect access to the object through the function of misrecognition.

Anna Shane
Fantasy Reloaded. On “The Matrix” Movies

There is something inherently stupid and naïve in taking the “philosophical” underpinning of The Matrix series seriously and discussing its implications: the Wachowski brothers are obviously NOT philosophers, but just two guys who superficially flirt with and exploit in a confused way some “postmodern” and New Age notions. The Matrix is one of those films which f…

Slavoj Zizek
“Matrix”, Stupidity and Metaphysics A Commentary on Zizek’s Commentary

The author points out how the projection of philosophical meanings in popular movies like "The Matrix" is inevitable: criticism is always projective. Along these lines, the author interprets "The Matrix" series as both a reflection of and a reaction to today's (partly) dominant philosophy, which wiews the human being as a machine. The confrontation with this mechanistic vision-Machine as Ultimate Truth-does, however, come with an ethics that exalts pure possibility-our Need for Multiple Lives. This modern ethics, "you'll never be what you'll become", also expresses itself aesthetically: everything is represented as different from what it appears to be.

Sergio Benvenuto
European Journal of Psychoanalysis