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This Book contains articles that deal with the spiritual context of life, looking at psychoanalysis from a new angle. It includes an integrative model that places the psychoanalytical insights on the human psyche in a wider context of the evolutionary process. The author posits that the awakening of the spiritual impulse is an aspiration to higher consciousness, to subtler perception that is expressed in the spiritual impulse as the movement or action towards conscious evolution. It is a development of awareness to three things: to the absolute dimension, to the relative dimension, and to the fact that they are one.

e   x   c   e   r  p   t


Eppur si muove! —

nevertheless, it does move!

This short essay gives an initial outline of a broader

research project. The project was conducted in order to

re-examine some of the conclusions reached from viewing

psychoanalysis not as a form of scientific, philosophical, or

even psychological research, but as research that includes

the researching subject—meaning that psychoanalytic research

is inseparable from clinical work.

The purpose of such research is not merely to gather

information or knowledge, but to reveal elements relating

to truth and cause in a way that will influence and bring

about change, and transformation.

This concept is valid in relation to both praxis and, in a

different way, learning. Transformation is movement of the

psyche—in a specific direction.

With the opening of the Clinical Section in Paris in

1977, Lacan established the couch as the clinic. He said

that we have to “clinicize”—to lay the patient down. He

meant that the term “clinic” should lead us to reconsider

our own clinical work: the treatment we give, our transition

from the position of analysand to that of analyst, and the

way we relate to transference. Lacan used the opportunity

to assert that “Clinical psychoanalysis must consist not only

of analytic examination but also examination of the analysts”

(Lacan, 1977b).

I feel that it is too easy for us to forget what Lacan really

meant by allowing ourselves to be satisfied merely by the

more interesting intellectual and theoretical elements of


Sometimes even testimonies regarding the Pass process4

seem to be no more than a creative way of expressing analytic

insights, devoid of real effects. This is both stimulating

and worrying. A glance at working relationships within the

analytic institution, for example, can leave one wondering

in regard to the effect that psychoanalysis has on the analysts


At this point, I tend to believe that we fail to apply our

professional ethics in our personal lives. As soon as we get

up off the analyst’s armchair, we stop being ready to listen

freely and openly, to cast off our tendency towards narcissism

and to contemplate in a way that is free of ego.5

4 The Pass is the process invented by Lacan in which the analysant testifies to

the theoretical conclusions he derived from his own analysis.

5 The concept of the ego is used in psychoanalysis as the organizing structure

of the psyche. Both in psychoanalysis and in spiritual teachings the ego is

considered as an agency who is fixated in the narcissistic perception of the

There is a difference between curiosity about psychoanalytic

knowledge and studying it, because we have a sense

that our fate depends on there being new breakthroughs

in the field. When questions do start to be asked, genuine

answers are generally found, but the real answers can seem

too big for us to deal with because they require transition

from the known to the unknown and a change in our

ethical position. That is why we tend to bury the answers

in a sheath of knowledge—”Interesting, I’d like to look into

that.” That is how we make sure that we will always be students.

This course of action involves a lot of enjoyment,

identification with psychoanalysis as an ideal, and identification

with the ideals of psychoanalysis.

The critical question relates to the motive behind the

research—or the desire that empowers the research. The

individual that approaches psychoanalysis in order to

know also wants to know about himself and his place in

the world. I call such knowledge “living” or “erotic” knowledge—

the opposite of the knowledge of universities.

Whether or not a person admits it, there is a sense of dissatisfaction

with what already exists, a hunger for deeper

experience of being.

So psychoanalysis is really a kind of psychic motion.

Or, more precisely, psychoanalysis deals with the conflict

self and the world. In this book I use the word “I” to mark the psychoanalytic

concept (this is in fact the word that Freud uses—Das Ich), and the word

“ego,” to mark the narcissistic self.

between the dynamics of progress, regression, going round

in circles, or being stuck in one place—a dynamic of internal

and external events, of drives and representations,

occurring within the framework of time.

§ The libido

Such dynamics are based on Freud’s concept of libido.

Lacan’s initial definition of libido aided him in constructing

the “mirror stage,” the stage at which the ego becomes

fixated. Miller used Lacan’s scheme to illustrate the imaginary

connection that runs between a and a’,6 with the libido

in a circular motion, representing complete connection at

the level of enjoyment—the level of libidinal drive. His definition

is based on Freud’s essay “On Narcissism” (Freud,

1914c). The connection at the imaginary level interferes

most foully with the inter-subjective connection, blocking

it, making it fixed and repetitive (Miller, 1995–96).

The axis upon which the libido registers obstructs the

subject’s symbolic connection with the Other, even to the

point of disconnecting it. Enjoyment cuts off the genuine

connection with the Other. As Miller put it, in psychoanalysis

one has to overcome the libidinal connection in order

to facilitate a genuine connection with the Other. When

treatment is steered in the right way, enjoyment ultimately

6 ego and other

gives way, allowing for the motion itself to be transformed.

Lacan distinguished between two opposing types of


1. Libido in a repetitive cycle from the ego to the world

outside, in narcissistic terms—libido that can be


2. That which he termed “The libido of phallic auto-eroticism”—

fixated, stagnant libido.

“The imaginary function is what Freud formulated to

govern the investment of the object as a narcissistic object”

(Miller, 1995–96).

The permanent element of this circulation is phallic. In

distinguishing between the two opposing forms—transitory

and fixated—Lacan established the basis of what he

later called the model of enjoyment.

In The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis,

Lacan wrote:

“Everything that Freud spells out about the partial

drives shows us the movement that I outlined for you on

the blackboard last time, that circular movement of the

thrust that emerges through the erogenous rim only to

return to it as its target, after having encircled something

I call the objet a. I suggest—and punctilious examination

of this whole text is a test of the truth of what I propose—

that it is in this way that the subject attains what is, strictly

speaking, the dimension of the capital Other.

I suggest that there is a radical distinction between

loving oneself through the other—which, in the narcissistic

field of the object, allows no transcendence to the

object included—and the circularity of the drive, in which

the heterogeneity of the movement out and back shows a

gap in its interval” (Lacan, 1964, p. 194).

Lacan located the libido of Freud in that gap created by

the periodicity of the drive. In Lacan’s XIth seminar (1964),

he saw libido not as energy but as an organ, the substance

of the Real7: biological life, unlimited by life or death. The

libido represents life as something that cannot be annihilated,

the pure drive of life—beyond the genealogical chain

of sexual procreation. The libido, therefore, is a result of the

separation between biological sexuality and human sexuality—

as dictated by the symbolic order.

When Lacan began to teach, he thought that it would

suffice to contend that it is not the signifier that attracts the

libido but the image, the reflection. In time, he discarded

this explanation because he discovered that the signifier

itself is saturated with libido. He noted the material dimension

of language and then distinguished the split subject

as a non-libidinal effect of the signifier—a dead subject, an

effect of signifiers—from objet á as a loaded effect of the

7 The Real is one of the three orders through which Lacan described the structure

of the psyche. The other two are the Imaginary and the Symbolic. The

Real is different than reality. It is what is excluded from the symbolic net

language and culture. It is what one bumps into, about which one cannot say

anything, only talk around it. The Real is the traumatic.

signifier. The signifier therefore has both a fatal effect in

regard to the subject and a life-giving effect—enjoyment.

In this context, objet á is the symptom.

§ Fixation—the ego

The remarkable similarity between Buddhist teachings

and the way Freud and Lacan establish the ego as an object

was, for me, a novel and exciting revelation. According to

both views, the object is formed out of the building blocks

of identifications and is structured as a shield or screen to

protect from unmediated encounters with the bodily or

worldly Real.

The ego serves as a defense mechanism in the face of

the dynamic uncertainty of the subject of the unconscious,

its inherent otherness, and the sense of the uncanny that

accompanies such encounters. Because of the imaginary

fixation on the ego as our identity (Eastern wisdom refers

to such fixation as “attachment”), the ego resists movement

or change in desire. In analytic practice, the ego is considered

to be a source of resistance and fixation. Reinforcing

it merely serves to increase resistance. The attachment of

the ego is the personal, imaginary perspective, which puts

a stop to motion.

By undermining the attachment to the ego, psychoanalysis

tries to restore the movement of desire, of its dialectic,

to open up a free space in which the subject can dwell and

move more freely through life’s contingencies.

For Lacan as for Freud, the ego is not a subject but an

object, constructed out of fixated identifications. It is but a

structure formed by identification with the specular image

of the “mirror stage.” This is the place where the subject

becomes alienated from itself, becoming its fellow men.

In a structural sense, such alienation is similar to paranoia.

Therefore, the ego is an imaginary product, the locus of


Thus, Lacan was very much against the idea that psychoanalysis

should reinforce the ego. Since the ego is the

seat of our illusions, reinforcing it only serves to facilitate

further alienation and fixation of the subject.

The ego therefore constitutes the principal source of

resistance to analysis. Since it is essentially fixed in the

imaginary realm, it resists all subjective growth and change

and also the dialectic motion of desire. By undermining the

fixation of the ego, analysis attempts to restore the dialectic

of desire and to usher in the subject’s being.

Where does Lacan locate the ego in the make-up of the

psyche? In the XXth Seminar (1972-3), Lacan distinguished

between the two bodies that psychoanalysis relates to. One

is the body defined by language—what is said about it and

the way it is treated and touched. It is a sexual body in a

process of birth and death. The other is the organism—that

conglomeration of flesh imbued with inextinguishable life.

In this sense, language constitutes a kind of parasite on

the organism, constructing as it does the symbolic body.

We have two bodies—one mounted on the other and

two languages—one mounted on the other. Language is

mounted on the lalangue8. The process of recognition or

the revelation of this is a reverse process: from the body

to the organism. There is language and there is lalangue.

However, I believe that the kind of speech that comes

from the ego that Lacan refers to as “blah-blah” constitutes

a third type of speech. This third form of speech is the

talk of self-importance and knowledge that bestows false

authority—it acts as a screen that covers the living, pulsating

knowledge in the Real, which is connected with the

unknown (Lacan, 1972-3).

Perhaps for Lacan the ego was a hybrid creature, connecting

the organism—the body per se—with the symbolic

body, or connecting the speaking being [parlêtre] with the

subject when it is based on the pleasure principle.

I contend that in place of the non-existent sexual connection,

we tend to construct an imaginary sexual link with

our own ego, which becomes one of the principal obstacles

8 This is the name Lacan gave to the tonic language, a language that is constructed

from meaningless syllables like baby talk or like sounds that a

couple can exchange while making love.

to analysis. We are trapped in phallic enjoyment in regard

to our own self-image—our thoughts, moods, ideas, and

so forth. They seem to us highly unique and important,

whereas they are, in effect, the cause of our suffering. We

find such suffering so very hard to give up because it constructs

our “identity.”

Time after time we come across clear examples of this

phenomenon in our clinical work. However, apart from

it being critical to psychoanalytic training, how will the

analyst, when captivated by his own ego, be able to apply,

for example, free-floating attention? (free of self-image,

identifications, the known).

§ Horizontal and vertical movement

In psychoanalytic terms there are two forms of motion:

there is repetitive cyclic motion, the motion of drive around

the object causing enjoyment, and there is also the developing

form of vertical motion.

Thus, the subject can go from fixation and compulsive

repetitiveness to acting from free choice.

Ken Wilber (2001), an influential contemporary thinker

and expert on Eastern and Western knowledge, distinguishes

between the two functions offered by religion, but

the distinction he makes can also apply to various fields in

our culture—particularly psychoanalysis.

Wilber distinguishes between horizontal and vertical

movement. He refers to horizontal movement as “translation”—

motion that generates meanings, deepening

understanding, stories, interest, and interpretation. Horizontal

motion only serves to reaffirm and reinforce the I.

It cannot bring about a change in our level of awareness. It

cannot liberate us from the ego.

There is also vertical movement—the movement of

radical transformation and liberation. This kind of movement

is characteristic of a tiny fraction of the population.

Instead of reinforcing the fixated ego, it has the potential to

destroy it. It is about emptiness rather than fullness, as well

as revolution. Wilber refers to it as “transformation.” Vertical

motion puts the very process of translation in doubt,

shatters it. With translation, the I finds new ways of thinking

about the world. Transformation means changing the

world rather than translating it.

The process of translation gives legitimacy to the I and

its beliefs. Without translation there would be social chaos.

Individuals who cannot translate with a reasonable level

of integrity and precision—who are unable to construct a

world of significance—fall into psychosis. The world ceases

to be understood, and the boundaries between the world

and the I begin to disintegrate. This is not a breakthrough—

this is a crisis, disaster rather than transcendence.

While translation has a vital function, there is a point at

which it can no longer console and no new paradigms or

myths can allay the sense of distress. The only way out is

transformation—individually and collectively.

§ From the personal to the particular via the


Psychoanalytic treatment is a bit like starting out on

a journey and having to visit various places on the way—

starting from the personal, passing through the universal,

and arriving at the unique, the particular.

At the initial session with a new patient, my first question

is “What brings you here?” or “Why are you here?”

During the last session following nine years of treatment,

one of my patients asked me, with tears in her eyes,

“What have you brought me up for?” Her question came

as a surprise for me, like a retrospective interpretation,

shedding light on the entire nine-year process. It had a hairraising

effect, akin to her asking (like Jesus on the cross):

“My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?” Was that

what I had been doing in her analysis? Bringing her up?

In his essay “The Subversion of the Subject and the Dialectic

of Desire in the Freudian Unconscious,” Lacan said,

referring to his investigation of the unconscious, “to the

point at which it gives a reply that is not some sort of ravishment

or takedown, but is rather a ‘saying why’” (1966a,

p. 283). He refers to the cause.

I believe that the route along which analysis flows, runs

between the three questions, “What?” “What for?” and


Patients respond to the first question in personal

terms—their personal complaint, the story of their life,

their own personal pain and anxiety. Treatment revolves

around repetitive elements of their tale. From the repetition

arise the symptom, the complex, and a structural diagnosis.

The universal nature of his suffering—the structural

character (i.e., neurotic, psychotic, perverse, etc.)—comes

as an unpleasant surprise for the subject. The chaos of the

signifiers is reduced to a kind of formula. The personal has

to be taken through the universal prism, which changes the

position of the subjects and their narcissistic investment in

“being special.” That is the first step. The next is the recognition

of the enjoyment that is bound up with the subjects’

suffering and adhesion to their symptom.

The subjects assume responsibility for their position

regarding sexuation—their sexual preference—man or

woman (beyond biology and sex) and that special combination

of verbal enjoyment. These are the particular aspects

of their subjectivity.

Only through adopting the position of “I don’t know but

I want to know” can they “pass through” and grow from the

personal to the particular.

In this respect, drive belongs to the realm of universality.

Drive is the movement around the fallen object, freedom

from any object that can be perceived. Lacan defined the

essence of the drive as the trace of the Act. Once it used

to encircle our bodies, sealing off our empty erogenous

orifices, just as the breast blocked our mouths and voices

blocked our ears. Such partial organs are part of the totality

of the lamella, that part of the libido that is desexualized—

immortal, inextinguishable life.

Sexualization introduces death—the trace of an Act

rather than the Act itself. The movement of drive, the enjoyment

and satisfaction involved, are the movements of an

automaton. They belong to the realm of cyclic, horizontal

motion, and are not evolutionary.

Not so desire, which can never be satisfied. It has a metonymic

possibility—replacing one object with another.

There is also a dialectic faculty in Hegelian terms: generating

a new metaphor when it engages [tyché] with the Real.

The gist of philosophy, including Eastern philosophy,

has dealt with horizontal movement rather than with

evolution. Even in referring to movement—”Everything

flows” or “All is one”—it is the whole, the absolute, which

is being referred to. In psychoanalysis, the phallic dimension

constitutes a part of this totality. Like the movement

of a pendulum—creation and extinction—there is and then

there is not. The libido, too, has been characterized by the

movement of here/there, life/death, Fort/Da9. Even in the

Borromean context, which refers to four dimensions—

symbolic, imaginary, Real, and the object that connects

them—the connection is still cyclic: pincer grasped by

pincer, dimension gripped by dimension; a chain of signifiers.

In the past, vertical motion was the realm of the

religions, but they, too, failed to refer to the evolution of

consciousness, focusing instead on the development of


Although in the realms of science—quantum physics—

the border between matter and consciousness has been

rent asunder, to the best of my knowledge the subject of

research is not evolution—the new. There is a field, and

there are things that affect that field.

Psychoanalytic practice, however, deals with evolution—

personal, universal, and particular. This occurs through

praxis rather than theory. Analysis cannot be discussed

without discussing evolution—recognition of repetition,

the fall of the ideal, giving up enjoyment, and so on.

The next step is to stop trying to become: to recognize

the fact of partiality of the various passions and their limitations

and to break free of them—that is, liberation.

The various scientific theories regarding the expansion

9 Those are the words used by Freud’s grandson while playing with a reel in

a day that his mother was away, throwing it away and bringing it back. See

Freud’s article “Beyond the Pleasure Principle” 1920, p.100.

and contraction of the universe also have an evolutionary

element. This element exists in the anomalous, in the

“not everything.” Transition is the subject here—from the

phallic to the feminine, giving up enjoyment, inventing

knowledge, identification with the sinthome10.

What does psychoanalysis exist for if not to prevent

repetition? To liberate from fixation, to create a space for

desire to move in, to improve the representation of drive

with new metaphors? To fell the ideal? To leave identification


Lacan also referred to the Pass as a possibility for evolution

of knowledge through transmission.

§ The movement and training of the analyst

In referring to the training of psychoanalysts, Miller

(2002) talked about “formation”—training—and what lies

beyond training— “transformation.”

The question of training becomes more refined when

the objective is not only to accumulate knowledge but that

certain subjective conditions should emerge: transformation

of the subject’s being, or training for wisdom, like in

Zen—that is, subjective transformation without transmitting

any specialist knowledge.

10 Synthome—a structure which is created at the end of analysis with which

the subject can identify. It is constructed from a combination between the

word “symptפme” (symptom) and the word “saint homme” (holy man).

Training requires that the psyche mutate. Genuine training

transmits spirit and a path and is realized when the

individual develops a new character. In real training we are

always ready for surprises and the unknown—in the same

way that interpretation works as an Act that leads to change

in psychoanalysis. Study is not training. Miller’s concept, in

the wake of Lacan, says that proper training always starts

after study. It includes within it “ignoring what one already

knows” (Miller, 2002). Its aim is perfection.

In training—as in therapy—subjective transformation


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