So, Galilei, Newton, Einstein Heisenberg, and co. So, the astrolabe, the pendular clock, the steam engine, and co. The Father declines, we hear – what a winsome equivocation. Since when? Shall we say 1633 (G.G. is convicted of heresy. Not so much because that year fire engines are used for the first time in England)? Or 1740 perhaps, the time when Moll Flanders gave way to Pamela Andrews?
Notably the more we speak of the decline of the father the more we hear strong voices denouncing “patriarchy” the definition of which has been loosened up to cover just about anything linked to the power of the father, a father not always easily differentiated from the power of the “man” and “white” too, a power which implicitly or explicitly is considered to be abusive or, at the very least unfair. And indeed, white or not, why is violence – see the prisons’ statistics, so disproportionally men’s predilection? The criticism of patriarchy, let us notice it, use identification as a campaigning concept – you, them, us!
With psychoanalysis we rather opt for “dis-identification”, and follow the direction of Lacan’s elaborations: the opacity of jouissance is the beginning and the end of the trouble for speaking beings, alone or as flocks. There is an intrinsic irresolution of jouissance, and an enjoying irresolution too. The problematic, for the psychoanalytic orientation, is to invent ways with this impossibility. Such ways imply to “defuse” the fantasy of The Other, of The law, of The order, etc. The solution to jouissance does not exist, which is a discomforting knowledge in the course of any analysis.
The signifier(s) of the Name(s)-of-the-Father has indeed experienced some loosening of the knotting which is the function of that odd signifier. The consequences are that the figures of the enjoying father are everywhere more apparent, as well as the figures of the spineless father (just good to be a provider), and those of the father ruling without legitimacy. The knot between S1 (imperative), S2 (knowledge), and I(A) (validation) is loosening up. The figure of the accrediting, regulating, moderating function has fissured if not gone to pieces.
Had Lacan nothing to say about the bourgeoisie? Is the psychoanalytic discourse really the other side of the ruling discourse? Do “woman”, “man”, “father”, “mother” make any difference in that discourse, or “age”, “gender”, and “race” for that matter? The capitalist discourse runs on “nothing is impossible”, “not even the sky is the limit”, on the hubris of maximisation of returns as a sign of election, as a sign of exception. “I am a chosen one”, I-me is the chosen one. Shall the analytic discourse content itself with “free speech”, “democracy”, and a number of significant remarks about the field of “mental health”? Greed (that gives its momentum to capitalism) is a race to being, a race to the finish, to the communion of having with being – and the exploitation of anything, anyone, anywhere, any time is the path to get there. Through the exploitation of exploitation, I run towards the ultimate goal: the ownership of being. I own being! I own I. In psychoanalysis we all are inventive losers vis-à-vis The jouissance. Can such an asceticism as a springboard for or a passage to innovations become a political force?
“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”
 Beckett S., Worstward Ho!, Calder Publications Ltd, London, 1984.
Picture : © Émilie Divet