Klaus Ebner

Lebenslauf: Dr. Klaus Ebner

Geboren 1971 in Hall in Tirol.
Studium der Medizin und der Philosophie in Innsbruck, Wien und Paris.
Diplomarbeit über „Die strukturale Psychoanalyse Hermann Langs“.
(Institut für Philosophie Wien, Betreuer: A.o. Prof. Dr. Helmuth Vetter)
Derzeit Arbeit an der Dissertation unter dem (Arbeits-)Titel „Zur Frage nach einer Ethik der Psychoanalyse. Im Spannungsfeld zwischen Lacan, Butler und Foucault“.


Gemeinsam mit Mag. Berthold Molden (Historiker) für den Tagungsband zum Kongress: Leitha und Lethe. Symbolische Räume und Zeiten in der Kultur Österreich-Ungarns. Hg. v.: Amália Kerekes, Alexandra Millner, Wolfgang Müller-Funk, Peter Plener, Bela Rasky. Tübingen: Francke 2003:
„Mythos und Identität als Vektoren im symbolischen Raum
Psychoanalytisch-historische Reflexionen über die Urbarmachung der Vergangenheit“ (Erscheinungstermin: Herbst 2003)

Gemeinsam mit Univ. Prof. Dr. August Ruhs (Univ.-Klinik für Tiefenpsychologie) für das Jahrbuch für klinische Psychoanalyse. Hg. v.: André Michels, Peter Müller, Achim Perner, Claus-Dieter Rath, Edition diskord, Tübingen: Bd. 5: Melancholie und Depression: „Melancholie oder Das Subjekt unter Anlage“
(Erscheinungstermin: Herbst 2003)

Rezensionen (für das Journal Phänomenologie):

Mikkel Borch-Jacbosen: Lacan, der absolute Herr und Meister (April 2000)

Hermann Lang: Die strukturale Psychoanalyse / Das Gespräch als Therapie (November 2000)

Sammelrezension: Michael Turnheim:
Freud und der Rest
Versammlung und Zerstreuung
Das Andere im Gleichen (Dezember 2001)

Wolfram Bergande: Lacans Psychoanalyse und die Dekonstruktion (Mai 2003)

Elisabeth Roudinesco: Wozu Psychoanalyse? (Mai 2003)

Vortrag für den 27. jährlichen IAPL Kongress von 26-31. Mai 2003 in Leeds

“The reversing game”: The interpretation of Foucault and Lacan of the picture “Las Meniñas”:

I remember, that I had the words of Maria Do Carmos in mind: The key of the painting lies in the figure in the back, it is a reversing-game.

(Antonio Tabucchi)

The famous painting “Las Meninas” of Diego the Silva Velázquez seems to serve as a very good example of what “Writing aesthetics” can mean. There is an enormous flood of literature concerning almost every little detail, person or angle (not to mention the perspective or the vanishing point) of the painting. It has been measured and examined with x-rays. The secret (if there is any) nevertheless seems to be untouched. This might proof the old saying that the painting is a “puzzle without solution”.
The picture itself can be seen in Madrid in the Museo del Prado, it is 3.10 m long and 2.76 m high, and has been finished 1656, for years before Velázquez death.
The picture shows Velazquez himself in the midst of a courtly scene, while he himself is painting a picture. “Las Meninas“ therefore is the picture of the production of picture: But the composition, one has to admit, is tricky:
The painter can be seen among several persons of the court, in the centre is the then five year old princess of Spain Dona Margarita (who later becomes the empress of Austria, her mortal remains are in Vienna, in the famous “Kapuzinergruft”), she surrounded by her maids and other persons of the court.
In the background among the vague representations of other paintings (the scene took place in the private gallery of the court) is a mirror, in which the royal couple King Philip the IV. and his wife Marianna is reflected. In the right corner in the back of the painting, leaning in the door (it is unclear if the person is coming or going) is José Nieto Velázquez, no relative of the painter but in possession of the same military rank, being a marshal of the court, like the painter himself. But the clue of the picture, the question what is represented on the front of the canvas, which turns the back on us, remains hidden. In a famous guidebook of the history of arts, concerning “Las Meninas”, the following can be read . “As famous as it might has become, as enigmatic it remained, one knows very well who, but hardly what is represented”, Therefore the painting is a cause of permanent irritation that brings a whole string of contradictory interpretations with it.
These interpretations reach from the expression that with “Las Meninas“ Velázquez tried to express the “theology of painting”, a saying by the Italian painter Luca Giordano, to the simple idea that this enigmatic painting in reality was nothing more than an simple “family snapshot” in which Velázquez succeeded do sneak in, as the art historian Carl Justi reports in an anecdote.
But beside this amusing idea, that this enigmatic painting could have such trivial or accidental background, it seems that the there is also some philosophic idea expressed in the composition – of which Velázquez might have not been (fully) aware – which by art historians could not be decoded.
The art historian Svetlana Alpers even states that a picture like “Las Meninas“ “has become under the category art history literally incomprehensible”. So the question is, what a philosophical or even a psychoanalytical reading of this painting can bring to the fore. I will at first focus on the philosophic interpretation given by Foucault, which I afterwards want to associate with Lacan’s conception of psychoanalysis. What I am trying to show is, that there is an intimate link between the epistemological change Foucault saw anticipated in “Las Meninas“ and the fact that two centuries later psychoanalysis as field of knowledge could be constituted.
So I start with a resume of Foucault’s interpretation and afterward pass on to Lacan’s more psychoanalytic point of view.


Foucault opened his famous book “Les mots et les choses” , (in English: “The Order of things”) published in 1966, with a detailed and quite literary description and interpretation of “Las Meninas“. As for Foucault this picture serves as an extraordinary example of the functioning of representation in the Classical age – an era following the renaissance and leading to the modern age (dating approximately from the midst of the 17th century to the beginning of the 19th) – I want to sum up briefly the theoretical framework of his conception of the structural conditions of knowledge in the Classical age. According to Foucault the scientific effort of the Classical age was to establish a complete and well organized representation of the order of things on an universal table, which would yield with perfect certainty the order of the world. The order of things is represented in the order and combination of signs given on the table ”on which knowledge is displayed in a system” (OT, 75) The core responsibility of sciences was the systematisation and classification of the prefigured world. This was enabled through the correct arrangement of signs. The functioning of the Classical episteme therefore depended on the undoubted conviction that with the help of the right medium of representation being could be entirely revealed: “The essential problem of the classical thought lay in the relations between name and order. (…) How to establish a system of signs, that would be transparent to the continuity of being” (OT, 260)
In the Classical age great importance was attached to the side of the signified and little or none on the sign or the act of signification. According to Foucault there was no theory of signification or theory of signs in the Classical age, as we understand it. Meaning therefore “cannot be anything more than the totality of the signs arranged in their progression; it will be given in the complete table of signs”(OT, 66). This conviction was combined with an ontology expressing “that being is offered to representation without interruption” (OT, 206). To resume: the idea of the Classical episteme was, that by means of an articulated system of signs a complete, stable and true representation of the already pre-given world could be generated.
Now the major point in Foucault’s characterisation of the implicit structure of knowledge in the Classical age is, that man himself as an actively positing subject, as a knowledge and significance not only gathering, but generating subject, was neglected. The effort of man was only to combine and to arrange the signs in their correct manner, to construct an universal method of analysis and to adopt a correct system of distribution of knowledge on the surface of the table. But he did not fill himself the signs with meaning. Man was a receiver, not a creator. In the classical age, man was not the maker, which was naturally god, he was there to clarify a prefigured order. Foucault recapitulates: “In Classical thought, the personage for whom the representation exists, and who represents himself within it, (…) he who ties together all the interlacing threads of the representation in the form of a picture or a table – he is never to be found in that table itself” (OT, 308). The important role which human beings play in the constitution of the field of science was, according to Foucault, not known before the beginning of the 19th century. This realization is circumscribed by Foucault in the very famous statement, that before the end of the 18th century man did not exist.
Foucault underlines this discovery in an interview, given in 1966, when he admits, that what stroke him most during the research for his book was that, “man did not exist inside the classical knowledge. What has existed on this place where we now discover man, was the inherent power of discourse, to represent at a verbal order the order of things” .
The moment exactly when this strong and unquestioned relation between words an things will breaks, will be the moment of the birth of man. But man cannot enter the Classical picture without the whole scheme undergoing a radical transformation. The self-understanding of man will be forever changed.

Now this is the theoretical backdrop for Foucault’s reading of “Las Meninas“. The painting serves for Foucault to thematize the structure of knowledge in the Classical age. It illustrates what can and what cannot be represented in a picture, that gives itself as a spectacle of representation, at a certain point of time in the history of man.
According to Foucault the exemplary value of this picture is, that it shows all the ways how representation is organized in the Classical age and on account of the conflicts and the inconsistencies inherent the composition, already provides hints of how this instabilities will presage the appearance of man.
In the arrangement of this picture all the functions of representation are represented: which are: the painter, who undertakes the representation; the model(s), that is, what shell be represented and last but not least the light as the source of visibility making any kind representation possible.
So everything seems to be there to make the picture the perfect illustration of representation. But at same time these elements are fractured: The painter can only be seen because he is pausing. He has taken a few steps away from the picture he is drawing and taking a look at his model (or/and the spectator) The moment he resumes drawing, he will disappear behind the canvas and become again invisible to us.
The status of the model is even more problematic: Because the front of the canvas cannot be seen it remains open to speculation what the painter is painting, respectively on what or on whom his eyes are fixed. It is impossible to definitely tell, who occupies the model’s place.
The light in which picture is bathed, which renders all representations visible comes from a place outside the picture. We see the illumination but not its source. The source remains excluded.
Foucault contrasts these more or less problematic elements with the mirror in the back of the painting, reflecting the royal couple. The mirror reveals the persons in front of (and naturally outside) the painting and serves to represent the subject the painter is painting on the returned canvas: namely a portrait of King Philip the IV. and his wife Marianna. For Foucault this mirror is the only element of the picture we can trust. (But can we ever trust a mirror?): “Among all this elements intended to provide representations, while impending them, (…) this is the only one which fulfils its function in all honesty and enables to see what it is supposed to show.” (OT, 7) So it seems, with the help of the mirror self-reference can be retained. Showing the persons the painter is looking at, the mirror provides “a metathesis of visibility” (ibid.).
So even considered from a critical point of view this picture as a spectacle of representation turned out perfectly well. Never the less there is something missed. Foucault explains this in the following way: The real centre of the picture is indicated by a virtual line formed by the gaze of the little princess and the gaze of reflected portrait of the royal couple who cross on a place on this side (outside) of the picture: the supposed place of the royal couple. This centre is, as Foucault puts it, “symbolically sovereign” (OT, 15), for one reason because it is occupied by the royal couple and for a second even more important reason for the triple function it fulfils in the picture. “For in it there occurs an exact superimposition of the model’s gaze as it is being painted, as the spectator’s as he contemplates the painting, and of the painter’s as he is composing his picture [not the one on the canvas concealed but „Las Meninas“ itself]. This three observing functions come together in a point exterior to the picture” (OT, 15). This is an ideal point, but at the same time it is the most real point of the picture, as this point constitutes the whole representation. This inconsistency can reveal the contradictory structure of the Classical episteme. It is Foucault’s main point that for the age of Velázquez this point – assembling the actively representation undertaking subject and the persons the painter is looking at – had necessarily to be exterior of the picture. For the following reasons: The unifying subject who posits representation and makes them an object for himself, was yet not discovered and the sovereign as the centre of attention represents the scene for himself but is not identified with the spectator role. But with a brilliant stroke Velazquez dispersed this point in three separate figures visible in the picture. “That reality [the mentioned elusion] is projected within the picture – projected and diffracted in three forms which correspond to the three functions of that ideal and real point. They are: on the left the painter with the palette on his hand, to the right the visitor, one foot on the step, ready to enter the room, (…) and lastly, in the centre, the reflection of the king and the queen, richly dressed, motionless, in the attitude of patient models” (OT, 15).
So what we can see is the result of representation, the functions of representation already in action, but the price paid for this success is that the activity of representation, the unified temporal unfolding of the functions of representation cannot be represented on the table. “But in the midst of this dispersion, (…) indicated compellingly from all sides, is an essential void: the necessary disappearance of that which is its foundation” (OT, 16). Only with “the trick” of splitting up this function and by eluding the organizing subject “representation, freed finally from the relation that was impending it, can offer itself as representation in its pure form” (ibid.). The participation of man as an important, constituent factor of the organization of any kind of representation is the point of neglect of the Classical age. The tension and instability expressed in this picture, therefore results from the imbalance of the perfect visibility of all the functions of representation and the profound invisibility of showing them being accomplished.
But with this tension inherent in the composition the birth of man as the representation enabling subject is already announced, who like in a supersaturated solution is prepared to fall out. Foucault even states that the picture is ”pure representation of that essential absence” (ibid.). On this ambiguous place of the sovereign which is the not representable centre of the painting, simultaneously place of the object (the royal couple as topic of the portrait) and place of the subject (the place of Velázquez while he was working on his self-portrait), on this vacant space, man will enter the table of knowledge and will change the table in a fundamental way. Exactly on this unidentifiable position man as object of knowledge and investigation and subject of the same knowledge and organizer of this investigation will on the moment of an archaeological break emerge: “enslaved sovereign, observed spectator, he appears in the belonging of the king, which was assigned to him in advance by Las Meninas, but from which his real presence has for a long time been excluded” (OT, 312).
When this elusion became obvious in the 19th century this will be a major break in the history of man. Classical discourse will no longer appear as a perfectable medium whose elements represent the elements of the world, on the contrary the functioning of representation and the relation between the signifier and the signified will be called into question. The unspoken naturalness of the Classical age will been torn and all the question tormenting the modern man will be opened up: What is language? What is a sign? Under what rules and for whom can a system of references exist? Is everything significant, and, if not, what is, and for whom, and in accordance to which rules? What relation is there between language and being?
But this fragmentation of the Classical table, was not restricted only to questions concerning the organization of science, but also deeply affected the status of man as sexual being. With de Sade, states Foucault, “the end of Classical discourse and thought” (OT, 211) is attained. From now on “violence, life and death, desire and sexuality” (ibid.) will extend under the surface of representation. Desire and sexuality were no more regulated in any kind of prefigured form as human nature was no more embedded in the general order of nature. This situation is opening up an expanse of a completely new form of (self-)experience, described by Foucault as the experience of transgression. The disturbing element of desire came to light. Sexuality became an object of major interest and investigation.
This leads already to the field of psychoanalysis, where I want to pass over now, calling into question the fact of human desire in a new way.
I will now try to associate and parallelise Lacan’s conception of psychoanalysis with the archaeological analysis given by Foucault and try to point out Lacan’s discussion of „Las Meninas“ in his seminars “l’objet de la psychanalyse” (1966) and “L’acte psychoanalytique” (1968) .


In the “Order of things” psychoanalysis was still, unlike the so called human sciences, deeply despised by Foucault, alongside with ethnology one of the respected sciences, for psychoanalysis does not directly question the nature of man, but “designates the conditions of possibility of all knowledge about man” (OT, 375). In those sciences, what remains unthought or unconscious in the other sciences can be brought to the light.
So the question is: Does psychoanalysis come up to this assessment? What was Lacan’s contribution to the decipherment of the unthought foundation of the so called self-transparent cogito, preferred subject of investigation of the human sciences?
According to Lacan psychoanalysis is a conjectural science, which means a formalised science (this reflects the impact of structuralism, of linguistics and mathematics in Lacan’s work) concerning subjects who inhabit a symbolic order. The relation is mutual: The subject is part of and marked by the symbolic order, which is again the interest of investigation. And as in a way the self-understanding of man is connected to the specific arrangement of the symbolic order, every time something completely new comes to the light in field of knowledge the whole scheme has to undergo a radical transformation, which consequently has effects on the subjects of knowledge. This idea is expressed by Lacan in his “Ecrits” in the following way: “Even with the slightest change of the relation between the human being and the signifier – for example the procedures of exegesis – the course of history is altered, because the hawser [the whole structure] of his being [les amarres des son être] is modified.” (E, 527) Foucault’s archaeological analysis of the shift from the Classical age to modern age is, I think, a very good example for such a modification.
The further characteristic of psychoanalysis as a science is, that ,like every other science, it is associated with a special object. For psychoanalysis, according to Lacan, this object is the famous object little a (objet petit a), the object of the cause of desire (l’objet cause du désir). This object has in the history of science not been discovered before; Lacan claims it to be his invention. This object is responsible for the specific structure of the psychoanalytic field, because it is closely linked with the division of the subject, associated again with the fact of the unconscious, a dimension only introduced by psychoanalysis. The object a is a kind of remainder of the division of the speaking subject; it is a left-over caused by the introduction of the symbolic in the real.
My thesis is that the possibility of the invention of this object is a long-term consequence of the epistemological transformation that ,according to Foucault, has taken place on the verge of the 19th century. I will try to outline that this object could only be detected after man had fallen out of the frame of the Classical knowledge in which he was embedded. So it might not be pure temporal coincidence that during Lacan’s 1966 Seminar titled “L´objet de la psychanalyse” (falling in the same year as the publication of “The order of things”), in which he is dealing with the scientific status of psychoanalysis and the object attached to it, that the picture “Las Meninas“ is discussed.
For both – Foucault and Lacan – in history a certain “turning point”, “une coupure dans l’histoire” had taken place, which forever changed the self-understanding of man. Something completely knew could pass into the symbolic order, which was not perceptible before. Lacan explains in his Seminar “The four fundamental principles of psychoanalysis” , held two years ago, that in painting something like object a is always at stake, because the exemplary position of the painter in history lies in the fact, “that he represents the source for something that is able to pass into the real and that from now on can be taken on lease” (ibid., 128). So the question is, what precisely with “Las Meninas“ – standing on the verge of an era of mankind and already introducing a new one – could pass into “the real” and transform the symbolic scheme attached to it. What is it, that can from now on be taken on lease?
I would say that, according to Lacan with “Las Meninas“: a blink could be cast on “object a”.
In his "Ecrits" these objects are summarized by the following characteristic: “What all these objects have in common is: they do not have any specular image, in other words otherness [altérité]” (E, 818). In the scopic field this object, indicating desire, so Lacan’s point, is the regard, for, according to Lacan, “the object a in the field of visibility is the regard” .
For Lacan, like for Foucault, the composition of the tableau contains an illusion. For Lacan the tableau is not a simple representation but a “representative of representation” “representant de la representation” . The painting pushes the illusion of realism to its extreme, where it is turning into the realism of illusion. The illusion and tension expressed in the picture lies in the structural impossibility (a consequence of the theory of the unconscious and the division of the subject) that a representation can ever be complete, that a total representative of the representation without a residuum can ever be given. There is always something lost. The function of the regard corresponds with the impossibility of a representation of representation without a residuum, because it is fracturing the idea of a self-reflexive cogito, expressed in the mirage of the “I see me seeing myself”. As everyone can find out for himself, this is even harder than clapping with one hand. The mirage of the possibility of a self-reflexive representation without loss, called into question by “Las Meninas” is the point of interest of Lacan. As a consequence he is focusing on what is subtracted from the field of representation, what is scotomising the scopic field (“le champ scopique”) and becomes the ascopic, not representable object (“objet ascopique”) of desire (objet a).
As the instability of regards expressed in the composition of the picture refuses an immediate identification, a first problematization of the specific function of the regard in the domain of vision is enabled. The fact that the front of the huge canvas represented in the painting is hidden from our eyes, prevents the “gazes from ever being discoverable or definitely established” (OT, 5). Because we can only see the reversed side of the canvas, as already Foucault stated in his interpretation, “we do not know who we are, or what we are doing. Seen or seeing?” (ibid.). In Lacan’s terms a solution through an imaginary identification is fractured. The painting does not render a fixed point of identification. This is the reason why a first glance of the function of object a became possible, for one of these objects in the field of visibility which cannot be fixed is exactly the regard. A dialectic between the regard and the eye is opened up – forever carrying the from Foucault mentioned traces of uncertainty. There is no relation of reciprocity or coincidence between them but of deception and bait, a bitter insight, which is expressed for example in the lovers complaint: “You never look at me from the place I see you. On reverse is that what I see, never what I want to see”. In this gap, in this interval according to Lacan, in this “chute de regard”, a flash on the function of object a can be taken. Through the splitting between the eye and the regard drive can manifest itself in the scopic field and the domain of vision is subjugated and adjusted to the field of desire. Therefore this object is the privileged object of a combat inherent in the history of painting. To sum up briefly: The exemplary value of “Las Meninas” for Lacan lies in the fact that the composition of the tableau serves as problematization of the structural limits of representation and helps to illustrate the function the regard in Lacan’s conception of psychoanalysis, as one of the elements infiltrating the believe in a self-reflexive an neutral form of representation.
But the possibility to bring the latent effectiveness of this object to the light is part of a general transformation, linked to the beforehand described epistemological turning-point. With this change the structural architecture of the order of the world, a long time effective in the history of man, organized by a hierarchy of goods converging in the supreme good, which was god, became questionable. Object a as the cause of desire, no longer absorbed by an absolute, transcendental object or signifier, could be detached from its metaphysical background, still effective in the classical age. This object no longer superimposed by a transcendental function (god / the supreme good “le Souverain Bien”) was now removed from its long transcendental shadow. It was very well hidden in the correspondence of the macrocosmic and the microcosmic order of the world, perfectly reflecting each other, in a pre-established harmony between knowledge and being. It could not be detached as long as nature and human nature were conceived as complementary functions. Only with the interruption of this bond and the fall of the supreme object (this is compared by Lacan with Nietzsche’s famous expression of “the death of god”) the problematization of the identification with a prehistoric symbolic foundation and the detachment of the individual cause of desire – independent of any kind of transcendental background – became possible. From now man was no longer embedded in nature the way he was before and on no “big other”, no transcendental authority could any longer guarantee for the consistency of the subject. Simultaneously man became responsible for himself and any kind of symbolic identification was limited to a certain historical background. Identification was no longer bound to a metaphysical source prior to history. In other words: Symbolic systems and the identifications linked to them became historically contingent. With this change man could get hold of his own roots – the roots of his history, thought and desire – and provide a foundation that is free from any kind of prehistorical, metaphysical bond. “The religious man”, says Lacan, “places the burden of cause on god – and as a consequence blocks his own access to truth. Subsequently he is also bound to lay the cause of his desire in the hands of god. This exactly is the core of his sacrifice” (E, 872). As long as “man is folded and grounded in the reality of a prefigured other (d’un autre préférmé), an other who creates man according to his own image”, the function of object a remained invisible. The “break in history” took place in the moment “this partner [the big other/god] is substituted by the function of object a”. Separated from the symbolic other, who can no longer guarantee for my existence “my subjective position as being, has to be found in object a” . This object has to become the cause of subjective engagement, also as the core of an ethics of psychoanalysis, that can no longer be an ethics of identification (neither imaginary, nor symbolically). Psychoanalysis is not desire for identification but “desire for the absolute difference” . The bon-mot of Lacan that it is impossible to analyse a true catholic illustrates this realization: as long as a subject is embedded in a fundamental symbolic identification, which cannot be transgressed, the individual cause of desire cannot be brought to the light, symbolic identification forms the rock, where analysis finds its limit. But it is also Lacan’s conviction that the era of subject-founding symbolic systems is over and “the crossing of the plane of identification is possible”. The ethics of psychoanalysis shifts from the recognition of symbolic identification to the encounter with the object of desire.
This is exactly what Lacan finds captured in “Las Meninas”. Therefore he compares it with a crucial moment during psychoanalysis. As Velázquez is frozen in the moment of a break, his regard is indicating the little object of desire, the brilliant image (l’image brillante) of princess Margaret, – the preferred model of Velázquez – standing in front of the painter. This moment marks the introduction of the drive in the field of vision, corresponding to the appearance “of the central object, the little girl, the girl as phallus”. Whenever the occurrence of the object a comes to the fore, a turning point in analysis is achieved, for this involves a change in the subjective position of the analysand and a corresponding change in the position of the analyst. The end of the symbolic identification with the analyst, who is now no longer “the subject supposed to know”, that he has been all along in transference, implies the encounter with object a.
In his Seminar “L’act psychoanalytique” from 1968, Lacan returns to the interpretation of “Las Meninas“, to illustrate his own theory, and compares the situation of the picture with the final point of an analysis: “When the analyst questions himself in a particular case, if he is in the same position as Velázquez is in the painting of “Las Meninas“, he, the analyst, has already been in this moment and on this point of the history of the subject. This will have an advantage, he will know what transference has been about” . It is the moment, when he will know what the analysand had transferred into him, of what kind of precious element the analysand had supposed him to be in possession of. This is simultaneously the moment when this object is dissociated from the analyst, and brought to the light as the analysand’s own personal cause of desire, with what he can do now, what he wants to do.
So Lacan closes his sessions on “Las Meninas“ with the following question: “Is this painting not made for us, as analysts, who know that it is here the point of the encounter at the end of an analysis, that we ask ourselves how this dialectic shift of object a takes place, when it is in object a, that the term and the encounter where the analysand has to recognize himself is incarnated?
Who has to deliver it? Us or he?”
I think it is the correct position of the analyst in refusing the solution of imaginary and symbolically identification, the way “Las Meninas” is fracturing imaginary identification but bringing on the dialectic of interpretations, who can push the analysand to this point of encounter. The rest is up to the analysand, who can make out of object a whatever he wants and leave the analytic couch, as Nieto, the guy on the back of the painting is leaving the gallery, after he has seen what is represented on the returned canvas…
it's a man's world
Vortrag zum 26. jährlichen IAPL Kongress von 3-8. Juni, 2002 in Rotterdam

“It`s a man’s, man’s world, but it would mean nothing without a woman or a girl” – Freud’s and Lacan’s approaches on the case of Dora.

It may sound odd to use this line of the old James Brown song as kind of title for my exposé, but it crossed my mind during the preparation of this paper and I dared to use it because it seems in its way to express, very well the more or less latent or expressed androcentrisme inherent in the interpretations of the case of Dora by both, Freud and Lacan. As odd as the above quoted song title of James Brown itself may it appear to grapple anew within the scope of this conference with a case description, which has been documented at the turn of the last century. This might strike even more odd, when as a main guide to this revisitation Lacan’s interpretation of the case shall be used, whose is known to be expelled from the international psychoanalytic association as a consequence of his unusual treatment of Freud’s theory.
But the reopening of the discussion of an old patient of Freud is also an opportunity to confront the interpretations of the two psychoanalysts and put the corrections and reinterpretations of Lacan to the test. All the more as the case of Dora, among others, is often used by Lacan as an example to which the latest theoretical background is applied to. So this renewed treatment of the analysis of Dora shell also serve as a criterion which helps to measure Lacan’s proclaimed “Return to Freud” and to prove the validity of Lacan`s thesis.
After a short résumé of Dora’s case I want to give a summary of the interpretation of Freud, which afterwards shall be contrasted by the explanation that Lacan gives the case. By doing so I hope that the different theoretical approach of the two psychoanalysts can be outlined. I would like to conclude my exposé with an brief outlook on the development in the later work of Lacan, where a different light is shed on the case.
Dora, at the time of her analysis with Freud, which all in all did not go on for more than three months, was an 18 year old girl who suffered from a number of symptoms, which could be classified as hysterical, among the most important were: periodical aphonie, nervous cough and dyspnoe, temporal paralysis of the right leg, and an appendicitis superimposed by hysterical symptoms (which occurred with the magical delay of 9 months after an unsuccessful marriage proposal). Dora’s symptoms are developed against the social backdrop of a marital hypocrisy of an upper class couple in Vienna whose main actors consist of Dora’s father, her mother, who is standing completely in the background and devoting herself to the housework (Freud is diagnosing an “ordinary psychosis of the women of the house”), Dora herself, her one and a half year older brother and finally Mr and Mrs K, who are described as friends of the family. Doras father who is characterized as financially very well-off, is considered to be in another field as rather not so well-off, which means sexually impotent, the fatal consequence of an premarital adventure followed by a luetic infection. A fact which Dora didn’t miss, as it is very well expressed in the word “vermögend” with all its ambivalence in the German language, that she used for his description. A fact however which also did not hinder Doras father to have over years an affair with Mrs K. and to expose Dora more or less unprotected to the advances of Mr K.. The occasion of Dora’s transmission to Freud was the discovery of a farewell letter written by her in a (more or less) suicidal or parasuicidal state of mind, in which she describes the whole unbearableness of her situation and lets her accusations against her father and his contact with Mrs K. run wild. The latter again brought Dora to Freud with the plea of normalisation of his daughter, in order to continue his affair with Mrs K., a relationship described by him as deep friendship.
Freud now did not believe for a minute this incredible story his father told him and intervened in several ways. At first he disclosed Dora’s participation in the maintenance of the conditions she now suffers from and complains, which none the less she had supported for many years. This support yet turned into bitter reproach only after the second marital proposal of Mr K. (the famous scene by the lake). Further Freud reveals in laborious interpretations and explanations the sexual meaning of Dora’s dreams and symptoms. With the technique developed in “The Interpretation of dreams” the words are attributed to their sexual nucleus; a cemetery (in German Friedhof) reminds of the vaginal vestibule (in German Vorhof), a jewellery box signifies the female genital, a deep forest is an unconscious allusion to the pubic hair. In the same manner the sexual connotations of Dora’s Symptoms are outlined: Her nervous cough is related to a fantasy of oral sexual satisfaction, which Dora imagines as a substitute of the normal sexual satisfaction of the impotent man (Freud thinks fellatio, Lacan corrects with cunnilingus), the more or less simulated appendicitis is linked to an unconscious wish of pregnancy, the paralysis of the right leg as a symbolisation of the lapse (in German Fehltritt) which would have caused the latter.
But Freud, blinded by his prejudices, explains the cause of Dora’s sexual fantasies as well as her unfriendly reaction to the attempts of Mr K. to seduce her, with a deep but suppressed love for this man, which would lie beneath her superficial and very well understandable disgust for Mr K.; an interpretation which Dora repeatedly denied. So Freud, in spite of all his radical unmasking of the double standards of the family and his exposure of the sexual roots of Dora’s symptoms, remained in the conception of Dora’s emotions and his interpretation of her relationship to Mr K. far too bound to the conventions of his time to correctly grasp the true object of Dora’s desire, which finally caused the breaking-off of the analysis from Dora’s side. For Freud during the 3 month course of his analysis remained Mr K. the main object of Dora’s unconscious desire and her unconscious love, against all the opposing declarations of the latter. In this manner the feelings of disgust Dora felt by the attempt of Mr. K to kiss her were attributed to a hysterical reversal of affects and her undertakings to inform her parents about the harassments of Mr K., especially his second marital proposal, a fact which the latter perfectly denied, were considered and classified by Freud as “pathological search for revenge”. In general Freud proves to be rather surprised by the very strong demand of Dora to reveal the truth behind her father’s hypocrisy: “A normal young lady, one should think, can deal with such things alone” , writes Freud. But by overemphasizing the well hidden love of Dora for Mr K. an other relationship, namely to his wife, Mrs K. gets underexposed. The also existing strong homosexual tendency of Dora to Mrs K., her admiration for the “delightful white body” of hers (an admiration which found an echo in the devotion Dora’s for the Sistine Madonna in Dresden, recalled in an association to a dream), as well as the mystery of her position in relation to Dora’s father, which puzzled Dora, were not or at least not sufficiently or not timely recognized by Freud. This relationship of Dora to Mrs K. which secretly underlies the whole story, in which Mrs K. not only plays the role of the jealously pursued rival of the father but is also object of an intimate interest of Dora, a fact that the keenly sensed Freud did not completely miss, was unrolled in its plain importance in a footnote which Freud added in 1923 to his case study: “The more I come into a temporal distance from the end of this analysis, the more it appears to me that probably my technical mistake lied in the following neglect: I missed on time to guess and to inform the patient that her homosexual love for Mrs K. has been the strongest impulse of all her unconscious emotional life” . But in his conclusion of the case in 1905 Freud’s thesis, that the accusations of Dora against her father and Mr K. were nothing but a reaction to her deception that the latter had not proceeded in his advances which could have very well lead with a little greater persistency to a marriage, at least in Freud’s estimation – a marriage as unhappy as any other, so Lacan’s rather dry comment concerning that matter, remained unaltered.
After this short summary of Freuds presentation I would like to turn to Lacan`s consideration of the case. Dora is a frequent guest in Lacan’s Seminars over the years, yet a first written commentary of the case can be found in his article “Intervention sur le transfert” dating from 1951. There the process of Dora’s analysis is described as a dialectical development in which the shifts of the subjective position of Dora take place and simultaneously her relationship to the surrounding objects is changing. A development which nevertheless cannot come to an end concerning the decisive determination of her relationship to Mrs K.. Lacan compares the starting point of Doras position with the figure of the “beautiful mind” in Hegel’s “Phenomenology of the mind”, “who does not recognise his very own raison d’être in the disorder that he denounces in the world” . Freud therefore allows Dora in his first intervention to realize, “that she has done more than merely contribute to the great disorder of her father’s world, the damage to which forms the object of her protest, but that she was in fact the mainspring of it and that he was unable to accept her complacency” .
Furthermore Lacan tries to decipher the system of identifications which allowed Dora
in this “mélange à quatre” to keep a fragile equilibrium. According to the complex interpretation of Lacan, Mrs K. occupies two neuralgic points in Dora’s live: on the one hand she represents the object of desire of her father, which lies beyond the demand for love that Dora claims. Therefore the question which for Dora lies in the person of Mrs K. is: “What does my father love in Mrs K. ?” With the person of Mrs K. the circle of demands (which culminates in the unconditional demand for love) is transgressed to what beyond the realm of demands is truly desired. This dubious object of desire – desire that according to the slogan of Lacan is always the desire of the other – is represented in this constellation by Mrs K.. Lacan states: “Mrs K. presents something that her [Dora’s] father can love beyond herself. To what Dora is attached is exactly that what is loved by her father in another person in so far as she does not know what it is” . So Mrs K. is not only the object of desire but also carries the object in the desire, the not presentable object which causes the desire. That’s why she can become the object of the sublime admiration of Dora (one just has to think of the before mentioned surely not accidental association of the Sistine Madonna) and can be treated as an object, which is elevated in the status of the dignity of the thing, so the definition of sublimation from Lacan, which transcends the regulations of the pleasure principle and is for example courted in the medieval love. She marks for Dora the element which simultaneously transgresses and maintains the exchange of woman, therefore the idolatry of Dora for Mrs K. is deduced by Lacan from his interpretation of the general functioning of social structures which he considered at that time as fundamental for every society, – a very questionable concept which shall be a point of discussion later on: “As well as for every woman and for reasons which are fundamental at the most basic level of all social exchanges (which are exactly the same which Dora formulates in the grief of her revolt) the problem of her condition is to fundamentally accept herself as object of male desire, and that is where the mystery for Dora lies, which motivates her idolatry of Mrs K” .
The second, more general value, which for Dora is incarnated in Mrs K., lies in her perfect femininity, a status described by Lacan in the following way: “It is insofar as Mrs K. incarnates the feminine function per se, that for Dora she becomes the representation of what she projects as being the question”. In another place Lacan reformulates the hysterical question as: “What does it mean, being a woman ?”. The virulence of the question that Dora is raising, at least in the lacanian interpretation, concerns what it means (as a woman) to be (to accept one self to be) the object of desire of the other (as man). After the lacanian definition the hysterical subject resolves the problem of desire by creating a desire that cannot be satisfied (désir insatisfait). (An example very often used by Lacan to describe this desire for an unsatisfied desire is the situation of the beautiful butcher’s wife, also a former patient of Freud, who wants to keep her dissatisfied longing for caviar, a wish which her husband is very well willing to give way and she nevertheless renounces) The important question of the Hysteric lies therefore to find out what the other is desiring, where his desire lies to place him or herself on the ever fading point of this desire, which he or she wishes to keep alive by refusing to accomplish it. That’s why Dora for Lacan is an exemplary case where “one can very well see the development of desire at the most purest state”, because Mrs K. is not only the object of her fathers desire but also, due to the supposed impotency of the latter, this desire has to carry traces of dissatisfaction forever.
What does Mr K. stand in for, what roll is he playing in Dora’s arrangements ? In Lacan’s interpretation he is used as a possibility for Dora to get access to the circulation of desire turning around Mrs K.. When in Mrs K. the question, which for Dora becomes so ardent, is incarnated, Mr K. represents one way of posing the question. When Mrs. K is the true object of Dora’s desire, so serves (in the treacherous assumption as some also desiring Mrs K.) Mr K. as a point of identification of her ego, who can stabilize the situation for a certain time. In addition
he introduces in this quartet the masculine element, as he, in contrast to Dora’s father, is not considered to be impotent. He serves as the middleman of her desire, as a bridge leading to Mrs K., a supplementary ego, (placed on the imaginary axis on a’ which signifies the specular image of one self), by whose means Dora tries to support her troubled situation. The relationship to Mr K. is interpreted from Lacan by the function filled of the specular image, “where the subject situates his sense so as to recognize himself, where for the first time he situates his ego, this external point of imaginary identification, is, for Dora, placed in Mr K. It is insofar as she is Mr K that all her symptoms adopt their definitive sense.“
This construction collapses in very characteristic moment, which assigns Dora again to the unbearable position of the starting point and causes her neurotic decompensation, which leads her to Freud. The moment in which the chain is torn and the situation escalates, is when Mr K. in his second marital proposal speaks the treacherous words : “Sie wissen, ich habe nichts an meiner Frau. You know, my wife means nothing to me”, an expression replied by Dora with a box round the ears and immediate flight. Exactly with these words Dora is separated from her connection to Mrs K., which she tried to establish trough her relationship with Mr K.. Contrary to the supposed relief – nothing would stand in the way for a marriage now – this confession is experienced by Dora as a rupture breaking down her supplementary construction and throwing her out of the game. In a longer quotation of Lacan the moment of decompensation is clearly outlined: “Dora can very well admit that her father loves in her and with her someone/something that is beyond, Mrs K., but in order for Mr K. to rest tolerable he has to occupy the exact inverse and equilibrant function. Namely that Dora is loved by him beyond his wife, but insofar his wife still means something to him. […] Dora can not tolerate that he is interested in no one but her: At once the whole situation is messed up. When Mr K. is interested in no one but her, her father is interested in no one but Mrs K. and from now she can no longer tolerate him” . Exactly with this moment Dora is separated from the field beyond the demands which is the field of desire and gift and is put back to the status of an pure object of exchange in a silent agreement of her father with Mr K., so that the latter tolerates the affair of Dora’s father with his wife; and Dora again starts with all her vehemence to claim for the unconditioned love of her father and to express her demands in the form of massive reproaches. The point of departure is reached again, the circle is closed. Dora was part in a process which had lead her from demand to desire, from exchange to gift, back to an object of a deal between men that no longer is supported by any love or gift (at least from her father’s side) in a situation which she does not unjustly denounce.
The case of Dora presents itself as a first occasion for Lacan to critique Freud in his position as a analyst. Freud, states Lacan, has intervened too much with his prejudices, his images resident in his ego, as that a happy end of the cure would have become possible. Freud’s insistence to bring Dora to the confession of her hidden love for Mr K. has stirred up the counter transference so much, that the end of the analysis was just a question of time. This insistence was also the reason why he failed to recognize in time the true object of Dora’s desire and his interventions have not been completely free of suggestion and a great part of Dora’s unconsciousness could not be brought to light.
Freud deserted the position of neutrality intended for the analyst and contaminated the empty screen or the plain mirror – to use a more lacanian metaphoric for the position of the analyst – with his own prejudices and conveniences. To quote Lacan: “It is absolutely obvious that Freud brings into play his ego, the conception he himself has what girls are made for – a girl is made to love boys. If something isn’t right, if something torments her, something repressed, in Freud’s eyes it can only be this: she loves Mr K. And perhaps, by the same token, she loves Freud a little” .
How far then can the analysis of Dora be considered as an improvement of her situation ? The disentanglement achieved by Freud allowed at one hand a more or less permanent reduction of her symptoms and strengthened on the other hand Dora so far that she could achieve the entire disclosure of the situation and the confession of the actual circumstances by all participants, as Freud reveals in his epilogue: “To the woman she says: I know you are having an affaire with my papa, and she did not deny. The man she gets to confess the contested scene by the lake and brought this justifying news to her father” . So she can bring the situation at least for her (if not for Freud) to a satisfying end. Lacan resumes: “In this moment she brings all the others to recognize the truth, of which she knows perfectly well that although according to the facts, is not the entire truth[…] Therefore the interruption of the dialectic process
disclosed the analysis with an apparent recoil, but the recovery can only be maintained with an affirmation of the ego (moi), which can be considered as progress”. A quite satisfying end for an analysis will confirm Lacan 19 years later, when he is dealing one more time with the case of Dora in his seminar “L’envers de la psychanalyse” : “This truth which Freud preciously helps her to attain – and that is the reason why she is attached to him – she will have enough satisfaction to bring everybody to recognize it. What have been the true rapports of her father and Mrs K. as well as hers to Mr K., all the episodes that the others wanted to conceal, of which she makes herself the representative, all that imposes that for her this was enough to close her analysis with dignity, even when Freud was not all to content with her issue concerning her destiny as a woman” .
Lacan’s interpretation is, compared to Freud’s, less based on the analysis of intrapsychic processes, the interpretation of dreams and the bringing into the open the latent sexuality, as in the explanation of the position held by each participant in a social field, which is determined by certain structural laws. Therefore the focus of attention is much more drawn to the interpersonal than to the pure intrapersonal processes. This is, according to me, more conclusive than the sometimes a little forced or truncated interpretations of Freud. Especially the moment of decompensation, when the fatal words “my wife doesn’t mean a thing to me” are pronounced, becomes more distinct in Lacans structural approach than in Freud’s explanation. (Who attributes Dora’s reaction to an narcissistic insult caused by the fact that Dora knew that he had said the same word to a governess, with whom she did not want to be placed on the same level.)
Yet the interpretation of the case, as it is presented in the 1950’s, by Lacan is not unproblematic, because it is focused on the pivotal position held by the phallus, which is in the centre of all gifts, related to which the “to have” and the “to be” is unequal for the two sexes. And it is also based upon the doubtful assumption that a structural system of exchange of women is underlying every society in which the phallus figures as the only possible symbol of desire: “The desire aims at the phallus insofar as he has to be received as a gift. […] And insofar as he is raised to the dignity of a gift, he allows to enter the subject in the dialectic of exchange, which will normalise all his positions, up to and inclusive the essential interdictions which found the general movement of exchange” . The phallus therefore is considered as a transcendental object of an impossible gift, which inaugurates the system and delivers the only access to it, which causes, “that the female subject can enter in the symbolic order only through the gift of the phallus”. A little later Lacan becomes even more explicit: “We can see here by what is justified, structurally speaking, the androcentrisme, which marks in the schematism of Lévis-Strauss the elementary structures of paternity. […] It’s a fact that the women are exchanged between the masculine lines. There they enter by an exchange of the phallus which they receive symbolically and in exchange they give a child which will play the role of a substitute, a compensation for that phallus and by which they introduce in the symbolic, patrocentric genealogy, by itself sterile, the element of fecundity. It is by the intermediate rapport to the phallus that they enter in the chain of symbolic exchange, that they can install themselves in this system, and that they can take their place and their value” . The phallus is the general draft by which all exchanges are measured. That is why the position of the woman in this system is always more difficult, because they have to be introduced to this system by something they do not possess by themselves (the phallus) and which only can be obtained from others (the father, the husband, the lover) and in which they only can survive through masquerade. Therefore the equilibrium of Dora is more fragile and tends earlier to collapse than the one of the others, when the access is refused in the very moment her father deprives her of the gift of love and her naked value of exchange is drastically revealed to her, which nevertheless unmasks the real position which is reserved for her in this androcentric conception of Lacan (who is broadly influenced by Lévis-Strauss at that time). Dora’s revolt against this agreement under men appears only to be to self-evident. But by doing so, does she not also take a stand against the overly androcentric interpretation Lacan has given to her case , who undoubtedly takes over the concept of Lévis-Strauss. Are not in the specific constellation of the case, which in my views lies beyond the typical exception which proves the rule, in fact, the women who keep the circle of desire alive and the man on their toes by trying to fit in the game ? Finally it is the “delicious white body” of Mrs K. who shines in a phallic glory and Dora who makes her father pretty nervous with her desire for knowledge, while on the masculine side only an impotent lover and the figure of a ridiculous cuckold can be found.
But the above mentioned structural-anthropological schedule of Lacan is not the last word from him on Dora’s case. As before indicated Lacan revisited the case during his seminar “L’envers de la psychanalyse” during 1969/70 and reinterpreted it since his development of the theory of the four discourses, as an example of the effects of the discourse of the hysteric. The position of the hysteric is described as one (of four) global patterns of social interactions. The hysteric is characterised by his interaction to produce knowledge in the other and therefore stands at the foundation of science itself and also on the very beginning of psychoanalysis (which would not, without the peculiarity and curiosity of Freud’s patients, have come into being). “It may be conceived that the hysteric person is the divided subject, to put it differently the unconsciousness in duty, who places the master on the foot of the wall, to produce a knowledge” , says Lacan in “Radiophonie”. But the hysteric subject also is the one who denounces the discourse of the master and questions the position of the father in extent as he / she refuses to subordinate. He / she reveals the truth that the master tries to conceal (that he is also subordinated to the effects of speech and a divided subject as well, with all its consequences) and that he is in need for the slave to do the work from which he tears his profit. The hysteric’s discourse names the price of the master’s discourse by showing him by which precious little object (object small a, object which causes the desire in the lacanian algebra) he is deprived too (that the hysteric wants to be). “What is important for him [for the hysteric person] is that the other, understood as man, knows to what precious object she becomes in the context of his discourse” . So the hysteric’s discourse is still attached to the master’s discourse (and is not the opposite of it, where only the discourse of the analyst comes to be), at the same time breaking the master’s spell and supporting him, as a master that can be ruled. Still the position of the master remains disillusioned: “She [the hysteric person] nevertheless unmasks the function of the master with which she rests in solidarity, by bringing out what there is of the master in what is called the (figure of) the One with a big O (l’Un avec un grand U), of which she substrates herself as the cause of his desire. That’s the true function of what we have called long ago the idealized father” . The question of the father therefore is the point where Lacan radically departs from Freud. While Freud goes on by restoring, protecting, idealizing the father, Lacan turns (after participating this direction for a while) to question and to deconstruct this position (which does not mean that he extinguishes the father). Finally it is exactly the truth which Freud by establishing the myth of Oedipus as the central myth of psychoanalysis wanted to disguise which all hysterics and first and foremost Dora wants the world to know: That he the master / the father is castrated too. So now, in the 1970’s the pivotal point of interpretation has been changed a 180 degrees: It is no longer the hysteric’s desire which is judged from the Oedipus complex, but the Oedipus complex is conceived as a product, as an answer to the effect of the discourse of the hysteric. (The myth itself is understood as a neurotic production with a hysterical inclination concerning the version of Sophocles and its more obsessive inclination concerning Freud’s version in Totem and Taboo (the picture of the not castrated father figure, who has free access to the enjoyment of all the women). The myth of Oedipus, states Lacan, is Freud’s dream and continues: “and like any other dream he is in need to be interpreted”. Lacan’s way of interpreting this dream is by proceeding from myth to structure, from the believe in origins to a logic of the supplement, where the Oedipus complex, the phallic delight, the position of the father are decentralized and represent possible solutions among others. So the last glimpse shed of Lacan on Dora, with which I also want to conclude, is a picture of her second dream, where while all the others a departed for her fathers funeral, and she finds herself alone in her room reading in a great dictionary. A scene commented on by Lacan: “Dora finds easily a substitute for her father in a big book, the dictionary, the one where one can be instructed of what concerns sexuality. She marks very well here, what counts for her, even beyond the death of her father, is that he produces knowledge. And not any kind of knowledge, but knowledge about truth” . Maybe this picture also can be read as metaphor for the unremitting work of Lacan to produce psychoanalytic knowledge beyond the myth of the father and the myth of androcentrisme in general, in a time of the decline of “the name of the father”, whom he refused to save and maybe in a time also of the decline of psychoanalysis itself, which he wanted to save.
Einleitung zur Diplomarbeit: „Die strukturale Psychoanalyse Hermann Langs“
Eingereicht: Wien, Jänner 2001, Betreuer: A.o. Prof. Dr. Helmuth Vetter

Die Psychoanalyse soll auf den Boden einer universalen Sprachphilosophie gestellt werden. In diesem Sinn versucht Hermann Lang in seiner Arbeit "Die Sprache und das Unbewußte" im Anschluss an Jacques Lacan die Psychoanalyse grundzulegen. Als neu gewonnenes Fundament der Psychoanalyse soll eine radikal konzipierte Sprachanalyse dienen, aus der heraus Theorie und Praxis der Psychoanalyse ihre Legitimation erfahren. Einzig aus dem Wesen der Sprache sollen das Wirken und die Heilungsmöglichkeiten der Psychoanalyse erklärt werden können. Erst in Hinblick auf dieses radikale Sprachverstehen gewinnen wieder zentrale Begriffe der Psychoanalyse - jenseits einer Kontamination mit biologischen Lehen - wie Unbewusstsein, Begehren, Trieb, Affektivität, Verdrängung, Verwerfung, Phallus, Ödipus-Komplex usw. ihre neue Bestimmung und ihren spezifischen Sinn. Damit es gelingen kann, das Feld der Sprache für das Feld der Freud' schen Erfahrung urbar zu machen, muss Sprache aber in einer radikal anderen Art und Weise gedacht werden, als dies in konventionellen Sprach- und Sprechtheorien der Fall ist, die Sprache darin begrenzt sehen, ein einfaches Mittel des Informationsaustausches oder Verständigungsmedium einer letztlich sprachunabhängigen Tätigkeit des menschlichen Geistes zu sein. Gezeigt zu haben, in welcher Form Sprache verstanden werden muss, um der psychoanalytischen Erfahrung gerecht werden zu können, und welche Absetzung vom traditionellen Sprachverständnis dies bedingt, ist hiermit ein Hauptverdienst Hermann Langs.
Gleichzeitig geht diese Konzeptionierung einer radikalen Sprachphilosophie, die der Psychoanalyse Rechnung trägt, mit einer Revision der gängigen Auffassungen des Subjekts oder Bewusstseins einher, die sich mit dem homogenen oder autonomen Status des Selbstbewusstseins zufrieden gaben, und sich in einer bekömmlichen Welt der Selbstidentität eingenistet haben, in der das Ich noch der Herr im eigenen Hause ist, dem die Realitätsanpassung problemlos gelingt, und in der die Selbstentfremdung - wenn überhaupt - ein passagerer Zustand ist. Hier zeigte gerade Hermann Lang, welche Unruhe und Verwirrung die Lehren der Psychoanalyse - wenn man sie ernst nimmt - in jeder bequemen Reflexionsphilosophie, die am Ende des Aufklärungs- oder Bildungsweges wieder bei sich selber ankommen möchte, anzustiften geeignet sind.
So ist es Ziel des ersten Teiles dieser Arbeit, Hermann Langs radikales Sprachverstehen nachzuzeichnen, das er im Anschluss an Jacques Lacan aber auch Martin Heidegger entwickelt, um sein Psychoanalyseverständnis etablieren zu können. Erst in der Abklärung des ursprünglichen und grundlegenden Bezuges des Menschen zur Sprache kann diese sprachanalytische Reformulierung psychoanalytischer Begriffe und psychoanalytischen Wirkens geleistet werden. Sprache ist dabei als das Subjekt sowie das Bewusstsein überschreitende Struktur gedacht, die als konstitutiv für die sprechenden Subjekte angesehen wird in dem Sinn, dass sie deren zwischenmenschlichen Bezüge, genauso wie deren Identität, Geschichtlichkeit, Weltoffenheit etc. erst formiert. Damit ist auch die Frage nach dem Verhältnis von Sprache und sprechendem Subjekt in völlig neuer Form gestellt. Dies darzustellen ist das Thema des ersten Kapitels dieser Arbeit. Sprache, genauso wie das Unbewusste - beide als symbolische Formen vorausgesetzt - werden von Hermann Lang als dem Bewusstsein vorgelagert gedacht und zwingen somit dem Ich ihr Gesetz auf, - und nicht umgekehrt. Dieser Interferenz der unbewussten Intentionen in die Sprachspiele des Bewusstseins entspricht auf der Ebene des Subjekts dessen Teilung in Subjekt der Aussage und Subjekt des Ausgesagten; - wobei letzteres den vom Unbewussten denunzierten Sinn des ersteren enthält, in dem das Ich sich als geteiltes, entmündigtes und von der unbewussten Sprachwirkung durchzogenes, wiederzuerkennen hat.
Sprache ist somit in einem, den Rahmen - und sei es auch transzendentaler Subjektivität - sprengenden Ansatz gedacht, in dem der Mensch sich - jenseits seiner einzelnen Sprechakte - bestimmt sieht von einer transzendenten und bewusstlosen Region des "Es spricht".
In dieser Überschreitung des transzendentalphilosophischen Ansatzes der Sprache, den Hermann Lang in einer Orientierung an Martin Heidegger und Jacques Lacan entwickelt - den Berührungsstellen dieser sonst so heterogenen Denker in der Konzeption ihrer Sprachphilosophie wird in einem Exkurs ein wenig nachgegangen -, trägt die Sprache die Bedingung des Menschen in sich und nicht der Mensch die Bedingung der Sprache. In diesem Konzept von Sprache, das die Entwürfe der klassischen Sprachtheorien weit hinter sich zurücklässt, wird die Sprache zur Bezugsmitte des Seienden und das Unbewusste zur Bezugsmitte des Subjekts, das sich von dort her als geteiltes und exzentrisches empfängt. Die Konsequenzen dieser radikalen Heteronomie, die nicht zurückgenommen werden kann - nicht ohne, dass wie Lacan sich ausdrückt, aus allem was aus Freuds Entdeckung folgert grober Unsinn wird - im Lichte von Hermann Langs Sprachentwurf darzustellen, beschließt das erste Kapitel.
Als nächstes gilt es näher darzustellen, in welchem Verhältnis Sprache und Denken zueinander stehen, damit die Erscheinungen des Unbewussten in der Sprache Platz finden können. Punkt für Punkt werden die Veränderungen dargestellt, die Hermann Lang an dem Sprachverständnis, wie es von Aristoteles bis zu Humboldt ja selbst noch bis zu Saussure leitend war, anbringt, um schließlich zu seinem eigenen Sprachkonzept zu gelangen. Die Sprache wird in dieser Konzeption als unbewusste formale Struktur á la Saussure gedacht, die mikroskopisch betrachtet aus phonematischen Oppositionen aufgebaut ist. Das Wort ist nicht als Hülse einer ihm vorgelagerten sprachlosen Geistestätigkeit verstanden, sondern wird zur Artikulation des Denkens selbst, und - hier endet die Bezugnahme auf Saussure und geht auf Lacan über - die einfache, wenn auch arbiträre Zuordnung von Wort und Bedeutung wird aufgekündigt zugunsten einer Polyvalenz an Bedeutung. Das Wort ist nicht sekundär für nur eine - ihm eng umschriebene - Bedeutung verantwortlich, sondern wird als ein ganzes Bündel an Bedeutungen verstanden, die es in seiner schöpferischen Potenz selbst hervorbringen kann. Das Verhältnis von Signifikant und Signifikat - wie Saussure es denkt - ist damit auf den Kopf gestellt worden. Damit kann das Wort dem Phänomen der Überdeterminiertheit, so wie Freud sie beschreibt, gerecht werden. Anstatt einfaches Zeichen für eine simple äußere Realität zu sein, sehen wir hier, wie das Wort - will sagen der Signifikant - diese erst hervorbringt. Nach diesen mehr formalen Aspekten geht es im nächsten Abschnitt um die inhaltliche Kennzeichnung des empfindlichsten und zentralsten Punkts der psychoanalytischen Erfahrung, nämlich der Entdeckung des Unbewussten. Hier ist es Hermann Langs Hauptpointe, dass nicht nur die Sprache eine unbewusste Struktur besitzt – eine Tatsache die dem "gesunden Menschenverstand" vielleicht gerade noch einleuchtet - sondern auch das Unbewusste die Struktur einer Sprache hat. Dies ist die eindringlichste Folge der strukturalen Psychoanalyse. Das Unbewusste ist also einzig aus Sprache aufgebaut gedacht, und zwar als Sprache, die in ihrer Struktur und Funktionsweise nicht anders ist als die des Bewusstseins, nur eben dass dieses davon nichts weiß - oder vielmehr nichts davon wissen will. Damit ist das Unbewusste jedem romantischen oder mystischen Flor, genauso wie der Vorstellung eines gefährlichen, weil unbändigbar wüsten Trieblebens entkleidet - aus deren Gründen es einmal befeiert, einmal verdammt worden ist. Gleichzeitig ist es aus den Tiefen der Seele zu einem beinah öffentlichen, intersubjektiven Forum emporgehoben worden, das eben nur auf einer verdrängten, aber prinzipiell zugänglichen Bühne spielt. Das Unbewusste, das ist die Rede des Andern, heißt es bei Lacan. Nur aus eben diesem Grund kann es auch verständlich gemacht werden wie eine Psychoanalyse, die mit keinem anderen Material als der Sprache arbeitet, möglich sein soll. Nur weil das zu entbergende Verdrängte schon sprachlich verfasst ist, kann es im sprachlichen Prozess - der die Psychoanalyse ist - auch wieder aufgedeckt werden. In der Folge werden die sogenannten Bildungen des Unbewussten - Traum, Witz, Versprecher und Symptom - wie sie Hermann Lang in Anlehnung an Jacques Lacan systematisiert hat, erläutert. Im Zuge dieser Phänomene, die das Unbewusste in seiner Beziehung zur Sprache (und zum Begehren) beleuchten, könnten man etwas aphoristischer über die Psychoanalyse zusammenfassen, dass sie zwei Wahrheiten beinhält: Die eine ist, wie Hermann Lang selbst anführt, dass die Wahrheit niemals ihrer Rechte verlustig geht, die andere ist, dass niemand jemals wirklich lügen kann. Was einmal verdrängt, und damit aus dem Bewusstsein verlagert wurde, verzinst sich um sein vielfaches im Unbewussten, wird zur entlarvenden Fehlleistung oder zum Leiden am Symptom. Das Verzeichnis des symbolischen Registers des Unbewussten ist, was das betrifft, unerbittlich. Und Verdrängte oder verleugnete Wahrheiten werden zu grausamen Wiedergängern der Seele.
Der Bezug auf die Geschichtlichkeit ist damit schon angesprochen. Die Grenzen und Möglichkeiten unbewusster Geschichtlichkeit - genauso wie deren Einschränkungen - werden im nächsten Kapitel daher zur Diskussion gestellt. Dass die Geschichte des Subjekts nichts mit dem Prozess einer autonomen Wahl oder einem Akt einer bewussten Entscheidungsfähigkeit zu tun hat, ist nach dem zuvor Erarbeiteten klar; vielmehr findet sich in Hermann Langs Geschichtsverständnis das Subjekt von Strukturen überlagert, die vor ihm da waren und in denen es sich nun zurechtfinden muss. Der Kompass, der dem Subjekt dazu zur Verfügung steht, liegt natürlich auch im Unbewussten vergraben - dort findet es ihn am Ende seines Bildungs- oder Aufklärungsprozesses auch wieder, was nicht bedeutet, dass es Kontrolle über ihn hätte.
In diesem Kapitel wird auch erstmals von Hermann Lang die Spanne des Symbolischen bis an ihrer Grenze ausgereizt, an der Hermann Lang meiner Meinung nach zu Einseitigkeiten gezwungen wird, die dem Denken Lacans nicht mehr gerecht werden.
Das nächste Kapitel handelt von der Subversion der natürlichen Ordnung durch die symbolische; es wird ersichtlich, wie sich das bisschen Natürliche das sich im Menschen noch vorfindet, im Kontext dieses strukturalen Ansatzes in das Material der Signifikanten verwandelt, in eine symbolische, repräsentative Form gepresst sieht, die dem biologischen oder instinkthaften Sein seine Konsistenz und Orientierung verleiht. Gleichzeitig kann die strukturale Analyse an dieser Stelle den Ablauf eines Instinktschemas in eine (inter-) subjektive Geschichte überschreiben, in der die Sättigung eines Triebziels und die Stillung eines Bedürfnisses zu einer Gabe aus Liebe und zu einer Forderung nach Anwesenheit werden.
Das Subjekt aber - einmal gefangen in den Netzen der symbolischen Ordnung - kommt aus diesen nicht mehr heraus; hat es einmal den Schritt von der Unmittelbarkeit zur Repräsentation getan, so ist der Rückweg zu einer, wie auch immer gedachten natürlichen Ordnung versperrt. Diesem Akt der Distanzierung entspricht ein inauguraler Verlust, mit dem wir eine Dialektik des Besonderen und des Allgemeinen anbrechen sehen, die noch weiter zu verfolgen sein wird; - geht es doch für das Subjekt darum, einen Teil des Verzichts, jenes "Pfund Fleisch" von dem Freud in Anlehnung an Shakespeare spricht - den die Sprachlichkeit und die Kastration erforderten - zurückzuerobern. Bevor die Konsequenzen dieses Verzichts nachgezeichnet werden - mitsamt den Supplementen durch die, das um einen Teil seiner Vollständigkeit betrogen geglaubte Subjekt, sich zu entschädigen trachtet - gehen wir abschließend noch einmal auf Hermann Langs Konzept der symbolischen Ordnung ein. In einem mehr formalen Teil wird beleuchtet, in welchem Verhältnis Sprache und symbolischer Ordnung bei Hermann Lang zueinander stehen und wie er seinen Begriff der "symbolische Form", sowohl von der bei Lévi-Strauss, als auch von der bei Ernst Cassirers vorkommenden, unterschieden wissen will. Dann sollen in einer mehr inhaltlichen Charakterisierung die Aufgaben, die bei Hermann Lang der symbolischen Funktion in der menschlichen Welt zukommen, präzisiert werden. Diese sind: Das Aufbrechen einer unerträglichen Fülle oder Leere zu einem medialen, sprachlichen Weltbezug hin, der den Freiraum des Denkens und Planens gewährt. Die Garantie der sozialen Stabilität über das die Einzelsubjekte transzendierende und zu einem sozialen Band einende Symbolische, dem es gelingt, das Kraftfeld der imaginären Beziehungen ein wenig zu entschärfen, indem es diesen den immer prekären (symbolischen) Frieden bringt. Schließlich unserer kognitiven und perzeptiven Struktur zu ihrer Festigkeit zu verhelfen, indem die Sprache die Dinge benennt und ihnen so eine gewisse temporäre und intersubjektive Dauerhaftigkeit verleiht. Ebenfalls nicht zu vergessen ist, dass es erst über interne Symbolisierungen möglich wird, den (symbolischen) Andern auch in seiner Abwesenheit präsent und stabil zu halten. Wie sehr sich der Zusammenhalt unsere kognitive wie soziale Welt dieser symbolischen Ordnung verdankt, ist zu ermessen anhand des Kraters, den deren Zusammenbruch während der Psychose in der deliranten Welt eines Subjekts hinterlässt. Einige der hier erwähnten Leistungen beleuchten im Sinne eines Negativbildes in der Psychose deren Aufgabe und Funktion beim Gesunden. Zudem zeigt Hermann Lang in welcher "Schwebe" zwischen Haben und Nicht-Haben oder Sein und Nicht-Sein der ontologische Status des Menschen nach der Markierung durch die symbolische Ordnung belassen wird. Dies hat nachhaltige Konsequenzen für das Thema des letzten Unterabschnitts, in dem es um die Konzipierung des Begehrens bei Hermann Lang geht, das sozusagen das Perpetuum mobile der metonymisch/metaphorischen Bewegung der Signifikanten am Leben erhält, sowie die Beleuchtung des prekären und stets fragwürdigen Status den das Genießen in dieser durch und durch sprachlichen Welt besitzt. Für das Begehren gilt, dass es gerade die Sprache selbst ist, die jenen unbefriedigten - von der Sprache unbefriedigbaren - Rest zurücklässt, der ihren signifikanten Wirkungen stets entkommt und deswegen jenes unerbittliche Drängen des Begehrens aus der Taufe hebt, das nach immer weiteren und immer anderem strebt. Damit ist jene Luke, in der sonst nur Angst machenden Fülle einer totalen (und totalitären) Befriedigung erzeugt, durch die hindurch die Offenheit der menschlichen Welt eindringen kann. Nur der Psychotiker kennt jene, sich jenseits der Limitierung durch Kastration ansiedelnde Fülle, die seine Suche und sein Begehren verstopft.
Für das Genießen gilt eher Umgekehrtes, es ist dort wo das Begehren sistiert. Im Vergleich zum Begehren, das wie ein Wiesel - beinah körperlos - die Signifikanten durcheilt, erscheint das Genießen eher wie eine träge, amorphe Masse, die hartnäckig an bestimmten Signifikanten klebt, die es nicht in Fluss des Begehrens frei geben will. Als Plätze für das Genießen in der "normalen" - nicht psychotischen - Welt sind reserviert: Jener Bereich der durch die phallische Bedeutung abgezirkelt ist, bzw. jene Regionen zu denen die Allgemeinheit der Sprache keinen Zugang hat, in denen das Besondere wiederkehrt und fixiert ist, das auf keine andere Bedeutung und an kein anderes Subjekt mehr verweist - und vor dem jede Sinngebung kapituliert. Mit dieser Thematisierung des Genießens - und mit ihm jener Regionen jenseits des Sinns und jenseits des Verstehen-Könnens - in denen vielleicht das sich wieder artikuliert, was Freud unter dem Todestrieb zusammengefasst hat, ist zugleich einer der Momente angesprochen, in denen - meiner Meinung nach - Hermann Lang in der Diskussion psychoanalytischer Phänomene hinter Jacques Lacan zurückbleibt.
Als letzten Punkt werden noch auf einige Aspekte der Ethik der Psychoanalyse Bezug genommen. Im Lichte der strukturalen Konzeptionen Hermann Langs und Jacques Lacans gilt es zu zeigen, dass am Ende der Analyse weder eine Sinnfülle, noch eine abschließende Selbsterkenntnis auftaucht - und schon gar nicht ein autonomes Ich zu stehen kommt, sondern dass ganz im Gegenteil der Analysand mit der eigenen Kastration konfrontiert wird. Es ist dies eine Möglichkeit, dass im Verlauf der Kur sich die Spur dessen abzuzeichnen beginnt, was - am Rande der Bedürfnisse - der Grund des Begehrens ist, wenn sich die Kontur des - um es mit der Lacan' schen Algebra zu sagen - Objekts klein a abzeichnet. Dieses verleiht der "Nichtigkeit des Begehrens" - das ja bekanntlich immer Begehren nach anderen und Begehren des Anderen ist - ein wenig Stoff. Mit diesen Ausblick endet der erste Teil.
Im zweiten Hauptteil dieser Arbeit, geht es um die Frage nach den Psychosen, sowie sie Hermann Lang und Jacques Lacan in Verbindung zur Theorie der symbolischen Ordnung gestellt sehen.
Hermann Lang postuliert eine Läsion in der symbolischen Funktion als Basisstörung der diversen Auffälligkeiten, die in einer floriden Psychose zur Schau gestellt werden können. Im Keim handelt es sich also um eine Symbolisierungsdefizienz, die den Krankheitserscheinungen - die sich von einzelnen Sprachmanierismen bis zur völligen Desorganisation der symbolischen Welt des Subjekts erstrecken können - zugrunde liegt. Einmal werden die Symptome als direkte Folge dieser Läsion betrachtet - wie etwa die Unfähigkeit Metaphern zu bilden oder Witze zu verstehen -, ein andermal als Moment einer Restitution gesehen, wie etwa im Falle eines Zwanges oder eines Wahns. Um die These Hermann Langs beglaubigen zu können, werden Fall- und Phänomenbeispiele aus seinen unterschiedlichen Arbeiten zu diesem Thema - allen voran seiner medizinischen Habilitationsschrift - dargestellt. Im nächsten Kapitel wird Hermann Langs Reformulierung des Ödipuskomplexes behandelt, die vor allem auf zwei Dinge abzielt: Erstens, den Vater frühzeitig - über das immer schon mitgesetzte Begehren der Mutter - ins Spiel zu bringen. Zweitens den Zeitpunkt zu dem der Vater auf den Plan tritt in Vergleich zu Freud nach vor zu verlagern, um auch das Verhältnis zum Vater in die früher in die als präödipal geltenden Stadien fallenden Störungen, in denen dieser zuvor weitgehend im Hintergrund stand - die einzig in der Beziehung zur Mutter verrechnet wurden - einbeziehen zu können. Der Rolle des Vaters im Verhältnis zur Mutter im ödipalen Spiel wird dadurch eine andere Bewertung gegeben. War im klassischen Konzept der Vater eher der Rivale, der den Nachkömmling aus dem paradiesischen Schoß der Mutter zu verjagen trachtete und die Keule - oder besser Klinge - der Kastrationsdrohung schwang, so tritt er in Hermann Langs strukturalem Konzept eher umgekehrt als Beschützer auf, der das Kind vor einer es vereinnahmenden Mutter bewahrt. Seine Aufgabe ist letztlich die Artikulierung eines Verbotes - genauer des Inzestverbots -, das eine narzisstisch-dyadische Verschmelzung mit der Mutter zu verhindern hat. Diese würde nämlich - wie sich am Fehlgehen dieser Triangulierung in der psychotischen Struktur zeigt - die Entwicklung einer eigenen (symbolischen) Identität verunmöglichen.
Weil diese Funktion des Vaters als Stellvertreter der Allgemeinheit eines Gesetzes im Konzept der strukturalen Psychoanalyse so wichtig ist, wurde ihr ein eigenes Kapitel gewidmet. Es soll geklärt werden, was es mit dem berühmten "Namen des Vaters" und seiner Verbindung zur Instauration der symbolischen Ordnung auf sich hat. Um dieses Konzept bei Hermann Lang plausibel zu machen, wird auf Ausführungen Jacques Lacans zurückgegriffen, der diesen Terminus in die Psychoanalyse eingeführt hat. Es geht sehr verkürzt gesagt darum, dass es Aufgabe des Vaters ist - oder wer immer in seinem Namen spricht, dies kann auch die Mutter sein - die Trennung zwischen Mutter und Kind zu markieren und eine erstes Verbot, das zugleich eine erste, fixe Bedeutung darstellt - im Lacan' schen Sinn ein Stepppunkt – zu artikulieren, nämlich das Verbot das Genießen auf die Mutter zu richten. Dieser Akt richtet die Welt des werdenden Subjekts völlig neu aus: Erstens wird dadurch die Bedeutung des Phallus eingeführt, die von nun an die Zielvorgabe seines Genießen bestimmt. Zweitens ist durch dieses Verbot eine erste fixe Bedeutung gesetzt, die für das Subjekt eine grundlegende Orientierung in der Welt erzeugt. Drittens ist es für das Kind erst nach diesem Verzicht möglich, sich vollständig in die Ordnung der Sprache einzufügen, die an es herangetragen wird. Erst nach diesem Schritt kann das werdende Subjekt vollständig in jene ersten Formen der Symbolisierung - wie sie Sigmund Freud zum Beispiel in jenem berühmten "Fort-Da-Spiels" seines Enkels mit der Spule erblickt hat -, die am Rand einer totalen Fülle oder totalen Leere auftauchen, eingebettet werden. Diese primitiven Symbolisierungen tragen aber schon, wie Hermann Lang mit Nachdruck festhält, bereits im Keim die ganze Ambiguität der symbolischen Struktur - im Sinne einer anwesenden Abwesenheit und abwesenden Anwesenheit - in sich. Das beinah alles umspanede Netzwerk des Symbolischen finden sich in ihnen strukturell vollständig vorgeprägt.
Nachdem die Wichtigkeit dieser Triangulierung im theoretischen Kontext Hermann Langs ausgewiesen wurde, beschäftigen sich die letzten beiden Kapitel genauer mit dem Fehlgehen jener symbolischen Drittposition, das zu einer Persistenz der imaginären dualen Achse führt.
Im Kapitel über die gescheiterte Triade werden Konstellationen beschrieben, die einer solchen Triangulierung im Wege stehen - sie verunmöglichen können -, wie sie Hermann Lang in seiner medizinischen Habilitationsschrift dargestellt hat. Des Weiteren wird der Frage nachgegangen, wie sich das Verhältnis zu anderen Subjekten gestalten muss, wenn dieser Überstieg in eine symbolische Bezugnahme nie geleistet wurde. In diesem Zusammenhang wird genauer die Bedeutung des Unterschieds des imaginären im Verhältnis zum symbolischen Vater zu erkennen sein, spiegelt der Psychotiker doch genau das Fehlen des letzteren in seiner Struktur wieder. Im Kontext dieser imaginären Supplementierung der psychotischen Identität streift Hermann Lang auch die Frage nach der (latenten) Homosexualität, die immer wieder - auch von Freud - als Auslöser psychotischer Krisen verantwortlich gemacht wurde und die in seinem strukturalen Ansatz eine ausgewogenere Interpretation erfährt. Außerdem soll noch beschrieben werden, wie Hermann Lang seine postulierte Sprach- und Symbolpathologie genetisch in der dualen Sozialisationspathologie schizophrener Patienten zu motivieren versucht.
Im allerletzten Kapitel dieses Abschnitts schließlich soll der psychotischen Mechanismus - wie ihn die Psychoanalyse versteht - ein wenig beleuchtet werden. In ihm werden wir die Kontur des berühmten Lacan' schen Ausspruchs, dass "was nicht ans Tageslicht des Symbolischen gedrungen ist, im Realen erscheint", in seiner Verwendung bei Hermann Lang wieder auftauchen sehen. Es stellt sich nämlich heraus, dass das einstmals in der dyadischen Sozialisierung Verworfene, nämlich die symbolische Drittposition des Namens des Vaters, nun in eben diesen Realen - z.B. in Form einer Halluzination - wieder ins Leben des Subjekts tritt und den Beginn der Psychose einleitet. In Gestalt eines symbolischen (großen) Andern - sei es in Form eines Lehrers, Analytikers, oder sei es im Bereich erster sexueller Erfahrungen - wird etwas an das Subjekt herangetragen, von dem es überhaupt nichts weiß und zu dem es sich in keiner Weise verhalten kann. Diesem im Realen wiederauftauchenden Verworfenen kann das psychotische Subjekt insofern nichts entgegensetzen, als ein Ruf von einer Stelle aus erfolgt, die in seiner symbolischen Landkarte leer geblieben ist; dennoch kann die Welt des Psychotikers dadurch in ihren Grundfesten erschüttert werden. Die Wirkungen für das Subjekt sind deswegen so fatal und die Veränderungen die es erleidet so bizarr, als - im Unterschied zum Mechanismus der Verdrängung in der Neurose, der ja immer schon im symbolischen Bereich spielt - in der Psychose mitten im Verweisungszusammenhang der symbolisierten Bedeutungen etwas unsymbolisiertes, radikal isoliertes aufbricht, das nie Eingang in das symbolischen Register gefunden hat. Dieses ist es, was in der Epiphanie des Realen der halluzinatorischen Erscheinung glänzt oder in der Aura unerhörter, absoluter und unerklärlichen Bestimmtheit der Wahnbewusstheit das Subjekt anspricht. Weil der Namen des Vaters - Grundpfeiler der symbolischen Ordnung - auch im Unbewussten des psychotischen Subjekts fehlt, beginnt mit dem Wiederauftauchen dieses Verworfenen der kaskadenartige Zerfall seiner Welt, in der alle Bedeutungen, aus Ermangelung an oben erwähnten Stepppunkt, ihrer völligen Auflösung entgegen gehen, bis sich rund um das Loch des verworfenen Signifikanten ein Wahn kristallisiert, der dem (psychotischen) Subjekt wieder ein wenig Orientierung verschafft. Gleichzeitig stellt dies auch den Endpunkt einer megalomanen dyadischen Sozialisation dar, auf die sich die Welt reduziert hat, wenn zum Beispiel der Gerichtspräsident Schreber, um zur Frau zu werden, die den Männern fehlt, sich zum Weib Gottes absorbiert sieht. Mit einigen therapeutischen Ausblicken und Interventionsmöglichkeiten bei psychotischen Patienten, wie sie Hermann Lang vorschlägt, schließt der zweiten Hauptteil dieser Arbeit.
Im dritten und letzten Teil werden einige anthropologische Spekulationen angestellt, indem wir Hermann Langs zunehmender Hinwendung zu anthropologischen Fragestellungen - insbesondere zum Thema der Angst und des Umgangs mit ihr - folgen. Angst wird betrachtet als paradoxes, doppelgesichtiges Phänomen, das sowohl hilft, wie einschränkt. Grundsätzlich unterscheidet Hermann Lang eine primäre diffuse Angst von einer sekundären, konkretisierten Form, die schon einer Verarbeitung der ersteren entspricht. Die diffuse und unerträgliche Angst wird in der Dialektik der Abwehrformen, sozusagen in ihre innerweltlichen Erscheinungen umgegossen - seien es Phobie, Somatisierung oder Zwang. Nur der Psychotiker kennt in manchen Augenblicken ihre primäre Form in Reinzustand, wenn er völlig außerhalb seiner Lebensbezüge geraten, in den namenlosen Schlund dieser Angst starrt, die in letzter Konsequenz Angst vor der Bewusstheit des Nichts und der Bewusstheit des Todes ist; - über welche beiden, sie nur mühsam verschleiernd, das symbolische Gewebe der innerweltlichen Verweisungszusammenhänge gewebt ist, die das Subjekt in einer täuschenden Sicherheit vernähen.
Die Formen der Abwehrdialektik darzustellen, welche die Ängste - von Viktor von Gelbsattel als "Gestalten des Nichts" bezeichnet - in eine konkrete innerweltliche Prägung verarbeiten, beschließt unsere Arbeit über Hermann Lang.
Im Nachwort wird dann noch ein wenig dem Verhältnis von Hermann Lang zu Jacques Lacan nachgegangen und die Unterschiede in der methodologischen Selbstbestimmung der beiden Denker herausgearbeitet. So können wir sehen, dass in der Bearbeitung des Freud' schen Feldes Jacques Lacan mehr den antihermeneutischen, radikaler strukturalistischen Weg vorschlägt, Hermann Lang in Verbindung zur medizinischen Praxis mehr den moderateren hermeneutischen, manchmal gar anthropologischen Weg geht. Des Weiteren wird nochmals auf die Schwierigkeiten für Theorie und Praxis der Psychoanalyse hingewiesen, die sich – meiner Meinung nach – daraus ergeben, dass Hermann Lang als Fundament der Psychoanalyse einzig das Symbolische heranzieht, ohne die Grenzen dieses als streng immanent gedachten Systems näher zu bestimmen.
Dennoch ist zu konstatieren, dass auch Hermann Lang niemals hinter den Schlummer zurückgeht, aus dem Freud - der von sich selbst behauptete an den Schlaf der Welt gerührt zu haben, - mit der Entdeckung der Psychoanalyse das unabhängige Ich oder das reflexive Selbstbewusstsein geweckt hat, deren philosophische Konsequenzen Lacan schließlich gezogen hat, und in den es viele Bestrebungen moderner Reflexionsphilosophie - in einem Rückgang auf das cartesianische Cogito oder die Dialektik Hegels - wieder zu versenken trachten, um die Aufbrüche des Unbewussten ungeschehen zu machen. Eine Beruhigung auf Zeit könnten man sagen, da wie Hermann Lang selbst feststellte, gerade Freuds Entdeckung diese Wahrheit ist, dass die Wahrheit niemals ihrer Rechte verlustig geht...