Picture This

Picture This

Date: Wednesday, April 9, 1997 2:02:25 PM

From: Leslie

Subj: #1

To: Earl

Earl, ok, as much as I try to stop thinking about Lacan (I mean in
general) I can’t help it so when I was reading The Psychotherapy of
Hysteria and the case studies this occured to me: on page 280 of Studies on
Hysteria, in the bottom paragraph, the italicized sentence reads

„The patient
is, as it were, getting rid of it[the picture/memory] by turning it into
words“.

This sentence and paragraph in general discuss the process by which the patient/hysteric remembers in the form of pictures, and the patient translates this picture into words on the one hand so that it is accessable to the analyst, and on the other hand to release the memory with which the picture is associated.

Then Freud explains that there is a clearing of „the patient’s field of vision“ so that other pictures/memories have a space. What I can’t help thinking about is the necessity of the complete verbalization of the picture in order for the memory to be released and the picture to disappear.

No part of the picture can remain untranslated, otherwise the patient will not be freed from the memory. This seems to point to the necessity of an alienation from the picture by the translation of it into language if the acquisition of language is seen as an event which alienates the subject from the Real and from itself, and if language is seen as the language of the Other, part of the Symbolic and therefore alien to the subject. It is not even as if the patient is required to see this memory-picture from a distance, but that the patient is required to not see that picture any more at all – for the picture to not exits at all, instead of possiblly occupying a space where it becomes clearer and more readable and therefore separate from a distance.

When the picture becomes words, the meaning is alienated/separated from the subject (because of a use of language) and the memory can be given up


– I think this is what I’m trying to say.ok, I also just wanted to mention the disturbing instance in Emmy Von N.’s case when she complains of having memory lapses and only vague memories of the most important times in her life (p. 61 footnote, p. 84,
Studies on Hysteria). Freud admits that „my energy must have carried me too far“ but he does not explain the cause to the patient and he doesn’t seem to be too worried about the manner in which his method of therapy can be seen as taking memory away, by not only releasing memory but destroying memory – wich makes me think of yr Patricia [Rosanne, earl] Arquette reference, how she took the trauma that had occured and made it hers, including the memory of the trauma (but redefining that memory) – and this releasing/destroying of the memory leaves the patient with no options, its either traumatic memory or lack of memory.ok, thats all for now

from Leslie