Hidden “structure”

  ”Back to Freud!”
  was the slogan put forward by the most influential French psychoanalyst, Jacques Lacan (1901-1981), and it was on this basis that he founded the French School of Psychoanalysis ——The structuralist psychoanalytic school, thus pushing the psychoanalysis initiated by Freud to the postmodern stage. Lacan’s influence is not limited to psychology, but also penetrated into many fields such as philosophy, literature, linguistics, etc., and its influence has increased over time, so that some people have evaluated it as “the most important after Descartes”. French thinker, the most original and broad-minded European thinker since Nietzsche and Freud”.
  Born into a wealthy businessman family in Paris, Lacan was precocious and eager to learn, and teachers were even afraid to teach him in secondary schools. At the age of 18, he was admitted to the Paris Medical School. At the age of 25, he specialized in psychiatry. At the age of 31, he completed his doctoral dissertation “Paranoia Psychosis and Its Relationship with Character”. significant impact. In 1936, he presented his famous paper “Mirror Stage” at the Fourteenth Annual Meeting of the International Psychoanalytic Society, which proposed a theory about the initial stage of the subject’s psychological development and established Lacan’s role in psychoanalysis. status. After that, he continued his teaching and scholarly exploration as the most famous psychoanalyst in Paris, receiving a large number of patients every day. In 1953 Lacan and others formed the French Psychoanalytic Society, which for a long time was not recognized by the International Psychoanalytic Society due to the heretical nature of his views. In September of the same year, he published a long report on “The Role and Field of Speech and Language in Psychoanalysis” (the famous “Rome Report”) at the University of Rome, marking the birth of the “Lacan School”. In this manifesto, he put forward the slogan “Back to Freud”, sharply criticized various popular views in orthodox psychoanalysis, and systematically put forward the basic views of “structuralist psychoanalysis school”. Beginning in the 1950s, Lacan organized seminars in personal form, taught by himself, which lasted for 30 years and had a huge impact. During the second half of his life, he founded the Freud Institute in Paris, which became the center for the dissemination of his ideas, while his ideas continued to develop and gradually turn towards postmodernism, the creativity of which remained until the moment of his death. Throughout Lacan’s life, his most important contribution was to achieve the Frenchization of Freudian theory, and to lay the philosophical foundation for the discipline for the first time in the history of psychoanalysis.
  In the French intellectual world in the middle of the last century, there was an “exciting and somewhat wild” atmosphere of the times. A group of humanistic intellectuals lived a few blocks away from Paris. Among them were Sartre, Camus, Lévi-Strauss, Althusser, Derrida, Simon Beauvoir, Merleau-Ponty, Joyce, etc. Lacan had frequent contacts with them. This is an era when ideas are galloping, and it can be said that a considerable part of the world’s humanities and academics in the second half of the 20th century was shaped by them. Lacan was also very prolific during this period, writing a large number of classics. In 1955, in his seminar, he analyzed the novel The Wiretap by the American writer Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849), which was typical of the structuralist analysis of texts. Although Lacan’s work has always been known for its obscurity, this analytical text is interesting, sharp and profound in its liveliness.
  The novel The Whistleblower Case is a well-conceived detective story. The queen received a secret letter, and the king came back suddenly. In her haste, the queen had to put the letter upside down on the table, hoping that this would not cause suspicion. Just then the minister came, he found the letter and sensed the panic of the queen, so he exchanged the secret letter with another letter that looked similar. Because the king was present, the queen could only watch it helplessly. A letter was stolen. Afterwards, the queen ordered the sheriff to retrieve the letter, and the sheriff searched the minister’s house carefully, but found nothing, so he had to turn to the amateur detective, Durbin. After reasoning, Dubin determined that the minister would definitely hide the letter in the open place, so he visited the minister’s residence alone, and sure enough, the secret letter was disguised and casually inserted into a bag hanging on the mantelpiece. He visited again the next day, cleverly distracting the minister’s attention, taking the secret letter, and placing a similar letter in its place.
  Lacan points out that the story reveals a “structural replay”. There are two similar scenes here. There are three subjects watching in the middle of each scene. For the convenience of explanation, we draw a schematic diagram (see the figure below).
  As shown, subject I sees nothing; subject II sees what subject I does not see, and sees that the person is being deceived by a hidden secret; and subject III sees what the first two want to hide , and successfully get what you want. Lacan uses a vivid metaphor to illustrate the roles of the above three in the structure, comparing the first two to “ostriches”: “The second participant thought he had invisibility because the first buried his head in the It fell into the sand, but the second participant let the third participant pluck its feathers from behind.” This is very similar to the Chinese idiom “Mantises catch cicadas, and the oriole is behind.”
  Lacan sees the “stolen letter” in the novel as a “pure signifier”, that is, an unconscious metaphor. Because the word “letter” has the meaning of “letter” and “text” in both English and French, the “letter” in the novel is a metaphor for the unconscious structure in language. “Faith” as a dynamic “signifier” slides continuously on the meaning chain of its “pointed”, and automatically repeats the same movement track in the two scenes, and the subject is unconscious during the process of repetition. In the whole story, the content of the letter itself is not important, whether it is a love letter or a conspiracy letter, a whistleblower letter or a help letter, but what is important is its restrictive effect on the subject. Lacan points out, “It is precisely the letter and its changing hands that constrain the roles and appearances of these subjects. If it is ‘on hold’, they will suffer the pain of breaking their trust. Because to pass through the shadow of the letter, they become For to possess the letter, the meaning of the letter possesses them.” From the above Hegelian speculation, we see the profoundness of Lacan’s thought: on the surface it seems that the subject dominates the language ( “Letter”), but in fact the subject is dominated by language, the “signifier chain” of language symbols determines the subject’s fate and actions, and the structure of “signifier” actually comes from the subject’s unconscious. From this, we can see that Lacan made a structuralist play on Freud’s theory of the unconscious: in Freud, the domination of the subject in the unconscious field is a blind impulse; in Lacan, the domination is a Some kind of deeply structured “signifier chain”.
  The process of ownership and concealment of the “letter” in the story has been escaping itself and constantly becoming the focus of the reader’s attention. At the beginning of the story, the brooding storyteller forms a space with Doberman and his silent study, when a sudden visit from the sheriff to inform the queen of the theft of the letter disrupts the dreary air in the room, and the signifier of the “been”. The ownership and concealment of plagiarized letters” began to emerge. Here Lacan makes a detailed analysis of the words. The English word “ownership” is “ownership”, and its root “own” in Old English and Old German means possession and lack. Therefore, possession means lack and lack. The “letter” in the novel seems to belong to the queen, but it has been escaping ownership, being deformed or inverted. Who wrote the letter? We only know the “Duke S” from the side; what is the content of the letter? We don’t know; will the king find the letter? All are unanswered questions. Lacan focuses on the drifting, transfer process and signifier function of letters, and he begins to extend from here: Letters are like works, their original meaning is not known, and there is no fixed signifier, it can only be a fluid energy. refer to. The work circulates among readers, and that alone constitutes the meaning of its existence. Lacan has always believed that this process of seemingly reasserting ownership implies that its ownership is open: it can be dismembered, stolen, destroyed, placed in the abyss, in short, can be “sowed” again and again (to borrow Derrida’s terminology). ).
  In the analysis of the storyline, Lacan borrows Freud’s theory many times. Lacan regards the stolen letter as a manifestation of the queen’s “castration anxiety”, and the pursuit of the letter has turned into a desire for “other things”. And when Durbin walked into the minister’s office, “the stolen letter was like a woman’s body covering the whole space”, so Durbin’s search also had a hint of “sex”. It is difficult to say that the above connotation is Poe’s original intention, but the purpose of Lacan’s analysis here is not to pursue the original intention of the author’s creation, nor even to search for the author’s author through the text like ordinary psychoanalytic literary critics. Creating the subconscious, his analysis of The Wiretight Case was rather an attempt to expound his own theories on structuralist psychoanalysis.
  Lacan’s interpretation of the text “The Case of Confession” has become a classic theory of structuralist text analysis. Since its inception, it has aroused strong and lasting repercussions in the Western intellectual and literary theoretical circles. Derrida, Barbara ·Johnson, Holland, Davis and others have put forward further explanations of Lacan’s reading strategy. Lacan’s discussion on the fluidity of “signifier” in language and its indeterminate relationship with “signified”, as well as on the restrictive effect of unconscious structure in language on the subject, includes the sources of deconstruction and feminism. Therefore, he deserves to be a pioneering thinker in the transition period from structuralism to deconstructionism. When we read a literary work, can we dig and interpret the “structure” deep in the text along the lines of Lacan? Readers may wish to try it.

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