There is at least one thing Freud’s Inhibitions, symptoms and anxiety establishes clearly, and that is that “id” and “superego” are engaged in a merciless battle. Between the two, however, in this fight, the place of the ego is not easy to define. In a word, Freud’s inquiry into or demonstration about the nature of the concept of ego can be open to criticism, and this mostly because Freud himself has a strikingly ambiguous manner of dealing with a notion he introduced himself to form his second topology. Readers of Inhibitions, symptoms and anxiety may remember how Section V ended on a rather disparaging portrait of the ego, pointing out the inability of the said ego “to carry out its office of mediator.”
This paper looks at structure and subject, and tackles what do we know of Oedipus’ desire. It also advances the proposition that the idea of ‘structure and subject’ can be said to represent a short history of psychonalytical thinking in itself.
We all know what psychoanalysis is about ; a simple formula sums it up quite well : « Conscious Stroke Unconscious ». It all started towards the end of the XIXth Century and definitely acquired a « scientific » status in 1900 with the publication of Freud’s Die Traumdeutung. That this, however, was only the beginning of a very long « analysis » is also well known: the original formula–a structure in fact–, because of the radical change in our conception of human desire it implied, received various and sometimes contradictory interpretations, and the debate is still going on today. One of these interpretations, the latest I think, can be found in the works of Jacques Lacan. In this paper, I would like to clarify two particular notions–illustrations–which Lacan used to present his own reading of Freud’s model, a representation in fact which amounts to a development of psychoanalytical theory along what I take to be very freudian lines : the object and the law.
The first idea, the first words that occur to me when asked to express my appreciation for Almodovar’s movie is a plain exclamation about the beauty of the heroine : « Quelle est belle ! » And since one of the rules of psychoanalysis is to let one’s associations run freely, this outburst of admiration leads me to wonder whether Almodovar hasn’t caught me in his trap, inciting me torecognize that it is much better to be a woman than a man, which leaves me with the only comment I could think of : that I was considering the young lady as an object of admiration and desire therefore probably not identifying with her.