Skip to main content

Against the Disembraining Machine. What is Psychoanalysis (Still) Capable of?

Abstract

With the intensification of the practices of social networks and the phobia of the internal world, operationalist thinking ends up presenting itself as a (false) universal and automatic response to the human need for meaning and sharing. What can psychoanalysis do in the face of such a hypothesis? What concepts does it have at its disposal to think about the psychic impoverishment and hatred that seem to crystallize the pain of thinking that characterizes our times?

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  • Badiou, A. (2001). “À l’écoute de Jacques Lacan,” Les chemins de la connaissance—Les nuits de France culture, [Listening to Jacques Lacan, “Paths of knowledge—French culture nights”] April 5th 2001 podcast: https://www.franceculture.fr/emissions/les-nuits-de-france-culture/les-chemins-de-la-connaissance-a-lecoute-de-jacques-lacan-45-avec-alain-badiou-1ere-diffusion.

  • Baudrillard, J. (1994). La haine, ultime réaction vitale. Le Magazine Littéraire [Hatred, the ultimate vital reaction. Literary Magazine], 323, 01/07/1994, pp. 20–24.

  • Bion, W. R. (1962). Learning from experience. New York: Jason Aronson (new edition). 1994.

  • Bion, W. R. (1976). Emotional turbulence. In W. R. Bion (Ed.), Clinical seminars and other works. (pp. 295–305). London: Karnac Books. 1994.

  • Bion, W. R. (1978). São Paulo seminars. In W. R. Bion (Ed.), Clinical seminars and other works. (pp. 141–238). London: Karnac Books. 1994.

  • Bion, W. R. (1979). Making the best of a bad job. In W. R. Bion (Ed.), Clinical seminars and other works. (pp. 321–332). London: Karnac Books. 1994.

  • Bion, W. R. (1980). Bion in New York and São Paulo, and three Tavistock seminars. (pp. 321–332). London: The Harris Meltzer Trust. 2018.

  • Bollas, C. (2018). Meaning and melancholia: Life in the age of bewilderment. London: Routledge.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Civitarese, G. (2011). L’in/conscient comme fonction psychanalytique de la personnalité. Revue française de psychanalyse. [The un/conscious as a psychoanalytic function of personality. French Journal of Psychoanalysis], 75(3), 839–842.

  • Civitarese, G. (2018). Rapport au 78e Congrès des psychanalystes de langue Française, Gênes, mai 2018: Traduire l’expérience: Le concept de transformation dans Bion et la théorie post-Bionienne du champ analytique. [Report to the 78th Congress of French-language psychoanalysts, Genoa, May 2018: Translating experience: The concept of transformation in Bion and post-Bionian theory of the analytical field.]

  • Deleuze, G. (1981). Spinoza: Passions tristes et passions joyeuses [Spinoza: Sad passions and joyous passions], March 31st, 1981, at Paris VIII university. In la Voix de Gilles Deleuze, online podcast: http://www2.univ-paris8.fr/deleuze/article.php3?id_article=44.

  • Ferro, A. (2014). Les viscères de l’âme. Alphabet des émotions et narrativité. [The viscera of the Soul. Alphabet of emotions and narrative]. Paris: Ithaque. 2019.

  • Freud, S. (1907). Delusions and dreams in Jensen’s Gradiva. Standard Edition, Vol. 9, (pp. 7–96). London: Hogarth.

  • Freud, S. (1915a). Thoughts for the times on war and death. Standard Edition, Vol. 14, (pp. 273–300). London: Hogarth.

  • Freud, S. (1915b). The unconscious. Standard Edition, Vol. 14, (pp. 159–215). London: Hogarth.

  • Freud, S. (1920). Beyond the pleasure principle. Standard Edition, Vol. 18, (pp. 1–64). London: Hogarth.

  • Freud, S. (1923). The ego and the id. Standard Edition, Vol. 19, (pp. 1–66). London: Hogarth.

  • Green, A. (1993). Le travail du négatif. Paris: Minuit [The work of the negative, London: Free Association. 2011]

  • Green, A. (2008). “Le travail du négatif” [The work of the negative], unpublished lecture, held at Lyon, on May 24th, 2008 (to be published in French by Les Editions d’Ithaque in Feb. 2022).

  • Hugo, V. (1840). Faits et croyances. In Œuvres complètes: Océan (p. 215) [Facts and beliefs. In complete works: Ocean]. Paris: Robert Laffont. 2002.

  • Jarry, A. (1896). Ubu Roi [King Ubu]. [Play]. S. Fineberg (Trans.). Paris: Théâtre de l'Œuvre.

  • Jensen, W. (1902). Gradiva. Vienna: Neue Freie Presse.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kafka, F. (1915). Die Verwandlung [The metamorphosis]. Leipzig: Kurt Wolf Verlag.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Klimt, G. (1905–1909). The tree of life. [Painting]. Vienna: Museum of Applied Arts.

  • Khar, B. (1996). Donald Woods Winnicott. A biographical portrait. London: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kohut, H. (1971). The analysis of the self. A systematic approach to the psychoanalytic treatment of narcissistic personality disorders. New York: International Universities Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Lacan, J. (1971–1972). … Ou pire. Le séminaire, livre XIX. Paris: Seuil. 2011.

  • Lacan, J. (1975). Encore. Paris: Seuil.

    Google Scholar 

  • Le Goff, J. P. (1998). Mai 68. L’héritage impossible. Paris: La Découverte. Republished: La La Découverte—Poche Essais. 2006.

  • Levine, H. B., & Staal, A. de (Eds.). (2021). Psychoanalysis and covidian life. Common distress, individual experience. Oxfordshire, UK: Phoenix Publishing House Ltd.

    Google Scholar 

  • Marty, P., M’Uzan, M. de, & David, C. (1963). L’investigation psychosomatique. Sept observations cliniques [Psychosomatic investigation. Seven clinical cases]. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France. 2003 (Expanded Edition).

  • Marty, P. (1976). Les mouvements individuels de vie et de mort: Essai d’économie psychosomatique [Individual movements of life and death. An essay on psychosomatic economy]. Paris: Payot & Rivages. 1998.

  • Marty, P. (1980). L’Ordre psychosomatique [The psychosomatic order]. Paris: Payot & Rivages 1998.

  • Marty, P. (1990). La psychosomatique de l’adulte [Adult psychosomatics]. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France.

    Google Scholar 

  • Miller, I. S. (2020). Spinoza’s announcement of psychological practice. American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 80(3), 259–280.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Naumann, F. (1915). Mitteleuropa [Middleeurope]. Berlin: Georg Reimer.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Ogden, T. (2005). This art of psychoanalysis. Dreaming undreamt dreams and interrupted cries. London: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  • Spinoza, B. (1677). Ethics. (E. Curley, Trans.). London: Penguin Classics. 1994.

  • Staal, A. de (2021). Contre la machine à décerveler. Que peut (encore) la psychanalyse ? Lettres de la Société de Psychanalyse Freudienne, 44, June, 2021. Paris, France. In French. A different version of this text has first been published in Portuguese in Percurso, 62/2019, XXXI, São Paulo, Brazil.

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Ana de Staal.

Additional information

Publisher's Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

*A version of this paper was published in French in Lettres de la Société de Psychanalyse Freudienne, 44, June 2021, Paris, France. A different version of this text has first been published in Portuguese in Percurso 62/2019, XXXI, São Paulo, Brazil.

Ana de Staal is a psychoanalyst, member of the Freudian Psychoanalysis Society (SPF), and psychosomatist. Having studied philosophy and dramaturgy, with master’s degrees from the University of Sorbonne Paris III and the University of Paris VIII, she is a specialist in theatrical aesthetics and publishes psychoanalytic material in France.

Address correspondence to: Ana de Staal, rue Alphonse Daudet, 75014 Paris, France Email: anadestaal@icloud.com

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

de Staal, A. Against the Disembraining Machine. What is Psychoanalysis (Still) Capable of?. Am J Psychoanal 81, 431–443 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1057/s11231-021-09325-8

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1057/s11231-021-09325-8

Keywords

  • operational thinking
  • psychoanalytic function of the personality
  • hatred: social networks
  • subjectivation
  • subjecticide