Marta Serra Frediani – The brain in question!


I only saw them twice, following a demand from her, when she discovered that he was spending huge amounts of money on phone sex hotlines

They had gone through some terrible years after he had had a very serious accident. The traumatic cerebro-cephalic injury had brought him to the brink of death; then, a long coma and, finally, relearning almost everything: eating, walking, talking, reading, even the names of the children, also his entire history… these were five, long years.

When he had recovered almost entirely, they came for a consultation after she discovered his cellular phone bill, which revealed his secret jouissance. At the interview, she asked a question that, at the time, served as a lifeline: Could this sexual practice be a result, a consequence of the accident? He did not say anything, but his silence seemed to uphold his wife’s belief.

Somehow, for both, to locate the cause of this new drama in the injured brain offered the possibility of eluding something totally different: the subject’s responsibility.

In the second interview, that hope, situated in the organic damage, had been shattered. She searched for telephone bills prior to the accident and found identical expenses. With this new discovery, his mode of jouissance stood out as one of the few things that remained unscathed after the accident. It perdured unmodified, immutable; it did not require any reeducation.

We do not know where the drive lies, maybe that’s why Lacan made an echo of it, an echo in the body, from the fact that it has a saying. Only when one is willing to address those desires that reverberate in the human organism, it is possible to have an analytic experience. Undoubtedly, we have a body – and this is a singular and fundamental possession, given that it constitutes our only consistency – but we are not a body. Our being is made by a contingent lalangue to which we are born and by the circumlocutions we apply to it.

Good and bad encounters occur – even accidents. Obviously, one cannot be held responsible for this, but one is responsible with what one does with it. For that reason, the analytic experience is not concerned with the subject’s brain as such, but rather its ethical position.

At one point in the second interview, she threw out a question: “Why did I never question my own sexual dissatisfaction in my relationship with him?” and she responded almost immediately, “As soon as I became a mother… I forgot I was also a woman”. So for her, it was no longer his fault, but her own responsibility.

The unconscious, Lacan said, is the memory of what is forgotten. I don’t know where science will locate the memory of the forgotten in the brain, but no matter what they do, psychoanalysts will continue to allow the subject to speak.

Translated by Polina Agapaki

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