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ICLO-NLS Opening Seminar "The Claims of Psychoanalysis"

When: Saturday 17th September 2022

Time: 10.30am

Venue: Carmelite Centre, Aungier Street, Dublin 2

In Person Event

Our guest speakers - Miles Link, PhD English Literature, Diana Gouveia, PhD Anthropology, and Joanne Conway, Psychoanalyst

“The Claims of Psychoanalysis”

“There is no doubt that art did not begin as art for art’s sake”

Sigmund Freud[1]

Freud’s singular and unprecedented desire founded the field of psychoanalysis and the unconscious, insofar as he invented the analyst. A brilliant theoretician and clinician, his passions encapsulated a diverse spectrum of interests, of which he made use of to interrogate the human condition.

His insatiable curiosity about what it means to be a speaking-being and to be one-among-many in civilisation, found resonance in his love of art and archaeology - which is said to have begun at an early age - giving the young Freud a glimpse into ancient civilisations. Developing and expanding into a lifelong passion, Freud collected Greek and Roman antiquities, favouring Egyptian sculptures as they epitomised an image of classical civilisation and pure aesthetic pleasure.

He collected literary works with an encyclopaedic interest including history, philosophy, anthropology, biography, fiction, poetry. In addition to drawing upon mythology, Freud studied hieroglyphs as a writing system[2] already distinguishing speech and language.

After his death, Freud’s invention of the unconscious was at danger of falling into obscurantism, led by theoretical and clinical misreading and distortion. It would be Lacan’s reinvention of the Freudian unconscious and its praxis, that not only rescued, reinvigorated and refined psychoanalysis, but enabled us to resituate it within contemporary society “revealing the malaise [of the society] in which we live.”[3] Yet another exceptional, brilliant theoretician and clinician, who drew upon his own passions and interests in formalising a rigour to psychoanalysis.

We can say that both Freud and Lacan, made use of an unquenchable curiosity and desire in diverse fields of interest from anthropology, art and literature, religion, mathematics, linguistics, mysticism and more. Each one’s body of work are saturated by these researches, these passions and threads, followed beyond the confines of the couch, but that nonetheless are woven into the very fabric of psychoanalysis itself. The praxis of psychoanalysis is inextricably marked by their singular desires and fields of research.

How may we think about these researches and what can we say about them in terms of its impact on the praxis of psychoanalysis and vice versa?

What interests or passions may it be possible for each of us to make use of today?

[1] Freud. Sigmund, “Totem & Taboo,” 1913, S.E. Vol XIII, p.90 [2] Freud. Sigmund, “The Claims of Psychoanalysis to Scientific Interest,” 1913, S.E. Vol XIII p. 177, “In fact the interpretation of dreams is completely analogous to the decipherment of an ancient pictographic script such as Egyptian hieroglyphs.” [3] Lacan. Jacques, “There Can be No Crisis of Psychoanalysis,” 1974, Panorama Interview


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