Saturday, October 04, 2008

Lacan, like Freud, believed that religion is a fetish or a distortion of the real desiring mechanisms that animate it

parodycenter Says: May 2, 2007 at 1:25 pm continued from the book:
perhaps for some Lacan was not a good Catholic, but one thing is indisputable - he was a Jesuit pupil. His knowledge of theology was discreet (more precisely, he never brought it to the foreground) but not superficial. His serious playing with the basic structures of the Catholic Tryad is only the most obvious confirmation of my viewpoint. Lacan was no theologist, but theological discourse was not alien to him. To the contrary. In his encounter with Joyce, Ulysses, this will become visible. The relation Father-Son will be placed here in its (not orthodox, but still triadic) frame. This is why I believe that for Lacan’s persona you can use Thomas’s EST RELATIO.

In other words, I believe he and Thomas share the same position. There are differences in nuances. The essence, however, is indisputable. The persona is the effect of a relationship - between $ and A and $ and a. Up until this point the structure of thinking is crypto-Thomasian. But Lacan goes one step further than Thomas. His speculative psychoanalytic triadology will in the end be transformed into a mystical apophatics. Someting ELSE, something entirely different will be introduced into the game. The sign o will simultaneously signify the place of death, and the Abgrund of Schwabic mystics - the place of birth. In the case of Theresa d’Anville this will mark the topos of her ultimate mystical experience. (to be continued)

larvalsubjects Says: May 2, 2007 at 1:38 pm
I find the passages from the book you cite interesting as this sort of fallacious reasoning comes up so often among religious readers of Lacan. I regularly teach Augustine and Thomas Aquinas in my philosophy classes. Philosophically I’m influenced by some aspects of Thomism. Does this mean that I share Thomas’ religious beliefs? No. Deleuze is influenced by Duns Scotus’ account of univocity. Does this mean he shares Scotus’ religious beliefs? Again no. Lacan studied theology extensively. He studied Zen buddhism extensively. He studied a number of things extensively.

Suppose a psychoanalyst studies Nazi ideology extensively and from this discovers some basic structures of how jouissance and group relations are organized. Does this mean the psychoanalyst now endorses Nazi ideology. It simply means that Nazi ideology is one formation of subjectivity that needs to be accounted for within the constraints of psychoanalytic theory. It should be fairly obvious that this is Lacan’s motivation in studying Christian theology. Lacan contended that every psychoanalyst should study theology. The reason for this is obvious, theology provides a good deal of insight into the nature of transference, the subject supposed to know, fantasies of completeness, the way in which the subject relates to the law, structures of desire borne of prohibition and so on. This doesn’t change the fact that Lacan, like Freud, believed that religion is a fetish or a distortion of the real desiring mechanisms that animate it. Some religiously minded people seem to have a tremendously difficult time distinguishing between understanding something and believing something to be true.

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