Singularities in Psychoanalysis

Singularities in Psychoanalysis

Singularities in Psychoanalysis: In the domestic landscape of the “internet of things,” one thing is clear: it is not so much the smart TV, the biometric wristwatch, or your car’s new AI that constitutes one in a series of internet objects.

You are the thing. You are the data that Big Data categorizes and sells back to you. Instagram is the hypermodern mirror stage.

Look at yourself online; online looks back at you; you buy yourself online.

Around the same time that social media began to escalate, popular culture found a new word, snowflake.

Special Snowflake Syndrome, Generation Snowflake, and eventually just snowflake, named the old problem of the One and the Many.

One day the world Woke and looked outside to see that it was snowing.

The snowflake meme, starting from the common idea that “no two snowflakes are alike,” collected various social connotations: unique, special, individual, but also fragile, easily triggered, too liberal, and then even the conservative alt-right.

The special snowflake must be kept in a language freezer, a safe space. As if the heat of jouissance produced by the speaking being, the collision of language and the body, could melt it in an instant.

Singularities in Psychoanalysis – “There is such a thing as One”

Psychoanalysis, which studies the One, the Many, the Other, and the Letter, has something to say about the contemporary online snowflakestorm.

We cannot call it special or even essential, because the word at stake is pursued in other disciplines that approach the real: physics, mathematics, art, writing.

Our word for this issue of The Lacanian Review, one that is vital for keeping the speaking body out of the freezer, is singularity.

You will notice that we have pluralized it too: singularities. Singularities are not unique, they are not individual, they are not exceptions, and they are certainly not special.

They have less to do with being something and more to do with something of the One.

So let’s open this volume with Lacan’s formulation, ‘There is such a thing as One’ (Yad’l’Un), to see if we can pass through the malaise of our special social syndromes.

Written by: Cyrus Saint Amand Poliakoff | Brooklyn, NY, USA

Psychoanalysts Madrid

2nd Part: COUPLES THERAPY & the invent of the couple


Couples Therapy: As we left it last time with the first part, we said that It can turn out that every time I enjoy something or someone, I enjoy it less.

Each next time, what I have enjoyed is less valuable. And my desire is more diminished.

Therefore, even if my desire is intense, this intensity does not give any permanent guarantee, either to me or to the other, because, as we see so often in Psychoanalysis sessions or in couples therapy, desire can be displaced or fade away or decreased with time.

Furthermore, desire is not just mine. The instinct is. It is supposed to be inscribed in my nature, to function automatically.

But this is not the case of desire. Desire depends on the circumstances, on the situation, and most of all on the Other to whom it is addressed.

My desire is linked to the desire of the Other in many ways.

My desire is linked to the desire of the Other in many ways. My desire can echo the Other’s desire.

Then, it is necessary that the Other desires so that I desire in return. Then I watch for the signs of his desire in order to desire.

This can mean to say kind of a twist-tongue, that I desire to desire what he desires, to confirm to me what he desires.

But this can also mean to say that I have to desire a different thing than the one he desires so that my desire is mine for me so that I am myself.

So that I do not vanish in his desire. This desire for the Other who solicits me, incites me, wants something from me that disturbs (dérange) me in my routine, I can also hate him, desire to exterminate him, to abhor his manifestations, obliterate his signs.

There is yet another way to find in the Other´s desire a compass for mine, it is that it poses an obstacle, a limit, a law, that prohibits desire. It is that he says this does not have to be desired. 

I know where the desire is. I know then that what is desirable is what makes me guilty, that to which one does not have a right, what is forbidden.

All of these possible impasses are played again, consciously or not, with this new couple in this new part, with the psychoanalyst in your sessions when you seek couples therapy, or because of any couples difficulties, you might be going through.

Of course, I would be able to give examples, but I am not going to give any.

It is you who give them because I think that everyone can find to be recognized in what I say here at one moment or another, on one side or another, but to recognize their neighbors, partners.

But yes, in these descriptions, even if they are allusive, one can recognize oneself as can others, precisely because desire is a bond, an ultra-sensible relation with the sign of the Other.

Desire passes from one to another

Because desire passes from one to another, is communicated, reversed. And it is also the mirror to the skylarks, that is to say, it is deceptive.

But there is also something else than desire.

There is jouissance and at this level, one cannot recognize oneself.

At this level, there is no human partner. At this level, one does not have a human partner who is either of the other sex or of the same sex.

There, there is a relentless demand (exigence) that in Freud’s terms is called the drive.

A demand that does not quench like thirst, which does not satisfy like hunger, an imperative, absolute demand, which cannot be expressed in words, but which is insatiable, always wants more, does not know limits or end of time.

This demand has no face, no head, it is acephalous.

Nor does it cling to the person of the other either, but only seeks self-fulfillment, to buckle its loop on itself by means of something that allows the body to enjoy (jouir) itself.

This something that the drive needs, and which without it there is anxiety, was recognized by Freud first in different pieces of the body but he also noticed that these body pieces of the body were also replaceable by lures, by semblants.

And what is this lure?

It is the small piece of fabric that the child begs for to fall asleep and which mysteriously calms him down, but it is also the most elaborate artistic object or the most recent technological object, and that is for each of us an essential partner.

But it is not human. It is inhuman or rather a-human and it does not lead you directly to the sexual partner, it is not at all the same as the sexual partner.

It is bizarre, no doubt, but that’s what Freud’s discovery and what we do again in psychoanalysis: it is that there is the side of desire and the side of jouissance and that these two sides do not fit naturally.

There is an abyss, a break between the two. Eroticism as they say is not all in one piece. It is divided.

Words taken from Jacque-Alain Miller

1st Part: COUPLES THERAPY & the invent of the couple