FREUD AND SECRECY: ALLEGORY, AESTHETIC AND SILENCE IN PSYCHOANALYTIC THEORY
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The thesis seeks to explore one of the most singular features of Freudian thought, his radical position in the history of the ideas about language. One of my chief claims is that the Freudian endeavour is not oriented towards a conclusive theory of language as such, but of the conditions of its destruction, its exhaustion, its silence. The obscure centre of Freud's work, the passion for the shattering of language, manifests itself both as an affirmation and as a dissipation of the sense of speech, which cast some light upon the cardinal role of the notion of secrecy, not only in his comprension of language, but also in his conception of subjectivity. Thus, secrecy can be conceived as a fundamental feature of different facets of his writings. The first facet exhibits psychoanalysis as the inheritor of the progressive emergence of silence in the core of modern thought. I argue that the logic of secrecy which appears in Freud's early writings enacts the historical emergence of secrecy which pervaded different discourses of the nineteenth century. This singular logic had its origin at the confluence of the exalted discourses which enthrowned observation and experience in the positivistic conception of knowledge bred by the Enlightenment, the obscure cults of magnetism and the speculative conceptions of subjectivity which emerged from the crisis of the Enlightenment, with the rising of Romanticism and its powerful effects on the Western culture. The second facet exhibits the logic of secrecy as expressed by the acts of language. Secrecy introduces an inner discord in the meaning of signs: it reveals the obsolescence of the referential notion of truth. Allegory emerges from this discord as a privileged aesthetic and theoretical expression. Freud's theoretical creativity canceled the significance of the referential, discursive notion of truth with the violent implications of the notion of primary thought processes and a conception of primal experiences of pleasure and pain irreducible to the narrow margins of rationality. The radical dissipation of the conventional foundations of semantic truth brought into focus an aesthetic -Baroque~ conception of subjectivity. This vision pervades Freud's notion of psychical processes, and engendered a constellation of forms of theoretical expression: psychical processes were apprehended by allegorical figures: the fold, rhythm, movement, displacement involving paradoxical temporalities which offered a contrasting landscape of thought processes that informed desire and aroused anxiety; Freud created thus a theoretical chiaroscuro. A third facet involves two further Freudian notions: sexuality and pain. One of them, sexuality, is almost too notorious in Freud's work; the other, pain, was permanently and explicitly displaced, silenced, excluded. or even emphatically avoided in Freud's writings, and yet it is an notion inherent in his conception of subjectivity. Freud's subversion of the modem notion of experience might be thought of as founded upon his conception of the experience of pain as a constitution~ dimension of subjectivity, as its unspeakable, unapproachable, secret centre.
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