Report on the ICLO-NLS Seminar

Report on the ICLO-NLS Seminar with Laure Naveau

Dublin, 8th February 2014

  The final clinical conversation of the ICLO-NLS calendar 2013-14 with  members of the WAP entitled “The Names of the Real in the 21st Century”  took place in St.Vincent’s Hospital Fairview on February 8th on the  topic ‘A Clinic of Love Disorder’ with Laure Naveau, AME of the ECF, and WAP. Laure Naveau is a psychoanalyst in Paris where she teaches at the  Clinical Section of Paris- Ile de France. The theme of Laure’s presentation concerned the impact that the discourses  of capitalism and of science exert upon subjectivity – upon us as  lovers. Laure put forward the question of whether there is a kind of  capitalistic way of loving which has invaded the way in which people  love today. This question is not sentimental one. It neither harks back  to a former time of loving, nor does it long for an idealised future for loving. Psychoanalysis is discourse which formalises the fact we can  speak about love in order to say that it doesn’t work out. Citing the work of the sociologist Zygmunt Bauman in his book Liquid Love: On the frailty of Human Bonds 1 Laure commented on how Bauman interprets the sexes’ new modes of partnership  in terms of consumerism and the market. Continuing from Freud, Bauman  speaks of a complex interrelationship between Eros and Thanatos in the  era of the capitalist’s discourse. This speaks of what is at stake in  love. Love relations have become liquid in the sense that the number of  love relations one has and their rapid obsolescence has taken centre  stage in the market place of love. We live in a culture of consumption, a buy now discard later model in which everything has become disposable,  including people. This is marked, Bauman suggests, by a morbid –  suicidal – inclination, and according to the current model of  consumerism (ingestion-digestion, excretion), desire has become  identical to consumption, processing, and waste. Laure asks if love “has now become an act of political resistance, a social struggle against  capitalism’s incitement to selfishness, with its push to solitary  enjoyment, and immediate satisfaction?” In this way we could say that  the modern era is one of disposability – especially when it comes to  partners. A consumerist way of loving is characterised by an attempt to insure  against risk at all cost, in a sense to get the ‘best’ deal, to ‘be in  love’ without ‘falling in love’. This risk-free sales pitch is  seductive, but in love there is always a risk which cannot be insured  against. Analytic discourse, as J-A Miller states, “flatly refutes this mass subjective  rectification, for it gets its power – precisely – from being  demassifying”. In this view, Jacques-Alain Miller contends that  “psychoanalysis accompanies the subject in his protests against the  discontents of civilisation,” 2in his solitude, there where only the One all alone exists. And though  analytic discourse promises nothing of happiness for the subject Lacan  indicates that the analytic discourse does in fact promise something new in love, a “novelty”. This signifies that, since we are speaking beings, speaking beings affected  by a language, which puts a lack to work, and since the always risky  encounter between words and bodies constitutes our real without law,  harmony does not exist in the human world. The “something new in love”  that the analytic discourse promises is something made with what we call transference. The love encounter which demonstrates “a certain courage  with respect to this fatal destiny” 3, that of the non-relation between the sexes, comes to answer the real of this impasse. When one begins to speak about love there is always a real in play and the  real that comes from the experience of psychoanalysis sets itself  against globalisation and human fascination for things that do not  speak. It is a real which escapes the universal of the modern discourse  of the master, which, combined with that of capitalism, does not want to know about the affairs of love. In opposition to this, the real of the  analyst’s discourse, is a real which allows subjects to assume their  absolute difference, their incomparability, and assume the mark that  makes us what we are and with which we may each face up to our destinies as speaking beings by subverting it, by introducing the dimension of contingency into it,  contingency which is precisely the property of love. Lacan, in his  seminar Encore put forward that courage in love has to do with what he called the contingency of the encounter – an encounter, with their symptoms, their solitude and everything that  constitutes their own exile from the relation that, between the sexes,  does not exist. For Lacan, he does not say that love is a disguise for sexual  relationships, but the well know aphorism ‘Il n’y a pas de rapport  sexuel’, that the sexual rapport does not exist but love can be what  comes to replace that non-relationship. Love is thus not a contract  between two narcissists, but something more. It’s a construction that  compels the participants to go beyond narcissism. In love the other  tries to approach “the being of the other’, beyond narcissism. Love is  what makes up for a failure of the relation between the sexes, but it is also a sign that one is changing in discourses and that one has the  courage to discover. Laure expresses that “consenting to this inexpressible real that does not  change, that escapes the symbolic and that repeats, ceasing to ignore  it, and having subverted the dimension of pathos attached to it, is a  pass in the sense in which Lacan understands the pass in one’s analysis as the resolution of an impasse.” It is a question of chancing this real beyond the text of the fantasy. For Laure, the process involved in chancing the real, [in making a chance  of the real – faire du reel hasard], is not disillusionment, but responsibility. “It is thus not a question  of leaving the table of love and chance”, says Eric Laurent, “but of  knowing if one loves or if one hates, and of being consistent with the  decision one makes to continue playing with the Other (to continue to  bet [parier] with the Other), expending one’s energy [se depenser] without keeping count. And so, love will be able to meet you there”.4 Laure concluded her seminar by sharing a fragment of a clinical case. The  case was of a woman who has entered analysis in order to untangle the  knots of her love life and the misunderstanding that has been  established with the man of her life. Via the case Laure brought to life some of the elements that she spoke about in her seminar. On behalf of  ICLO-NLS we would like to thank Laure for returning to Dublin to be with us and for her captivating and enriching transmission.  

Ian Davis

  1  Bauman, Z., Liquid Love: On the Frailty of Human Bonds, Polity Press, 2003, p. 10. 2 Miller, J.-A., “Parler avec son corp”, Mental, n° 27-28, p. 129-131. 3  Lacan, J., “Television” trans. Hollier, Krauss, Michelson, Television: A Challenge to the Psychoanalytic Establishment, Norton, 1990, p. 30

4 Laurent E., Faire du destin hasard, Tresses, n° 3, Bulletin de l’ACF-Aquitania, September 1999
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