Reminiscence 2

Reminiscence 2
Histeria and Paranoia II
The second half of the Harvey Forman Letter forward to the Group 136 Hysteria and Paranoia Seminar in May, 1995.



In that spirit (whether the meaning is meanly or kind-spirited I cannot yet say, at least not without your help…), „I’ll help purloin your thoughts…if you’ll help purloin mine…“ Or as Lacan says, on p. 274 of Seminar III (English translation, or possibly multilation, but so be it… :-):

„Persons – since this is what we are
interested in today – must
come from somewhere. They come first in a signifying, by which
I mean formal, manner. Speech is constituted for us by an _I_
and a _you_. These are two counterparts. Speech transforms
them, by giying them a certain appropriate relationship, but –
and this is what I want to insist upon – a distance that’s not symmetrical, a relationship that isn’t reciprocal. In fact, the _I_
is never there where it appears in the form of a particular signifier.
The _I_ is always there in the name of a presence that supports the discourse as a whole, whether in direct or indirect speech. The _I_
is the _I_ of him who is pronouncing the discourse. Undersneath everything that is said there is an _I_ who pronounces it. It’s within this enunciation that the _you_ appears.“


Unlike Derrida, who foregrounds the subverting of „presence“ as an over-riding metaphor (referent) — the via negativa –and in this the relationships of Derrida’s work to Lacan’s is like the relationship of buddhism’s sharp (if ultimately and deliberately „empty“) (s)word of cognitive dis-(sonance?)-criminating wisdom…to the interpenetrating and mutually multiplying stories of the hindu gods and goddesses, the personified inner beings of the — (y)our psyche…

Lacan foregrounds the presence — presencing — the making present by speaking it aloud, of something which (the something is, if only for a short while, we ourselves) our virtual reality, which we manifest as „real life“, while each temporary mood (or psychosis :-) lasts.


The performative act, the performing (always already forming) of our so-called (because called, and called out loud, and called again) (s)elves.As Herman Rappaport says (in BETWEEN THE SIGN AND THE GAZE, Cornell Univ. Press, 1994, p. 215):

„Surely, it is in the melody of the text, its chora , that thought is supported, carried forward, pushed to associative cescendos that coincide with the crashing of the waves. At one point Mrs. Ramsey says, reflecting on some lines of poetry recited by her husband, „The words (she was looking at the window) sounded as if they were floating like flowers on water out there, cut off from them all, as if no one had said them, but they had come into existence of themselves.“

Here, too, there is profound awareness that voice may fail us, though perhaps not wholly. For the words, the sounds, do come into existence of themselves. These words are homeless, restles, their existence saturated with loss, with what Lily and Mrs. Ramsey both understand as the alien habitat in which feminine consciousness finds little support, and yet they come into existence, they precipiate, for they are of the sea and its soundings, its melodious roar. It is this roar that fills the novel with the bass of being, as Irying Massey might put it, the soundings, tissue, or woof within which the textually sonorous interlacings establish themselves as homes for reverie and dream. It is in this sound-space, this timbre, that the novel replicates an analytic situation to the degree that these sounds allow the agents of voice to come to terms with their resistances, disappointments, repressions, and fears.“

Ah well, time to stop, if only for a moment. As Deleuze and Guattari say (in ANTI-OEDIPUS), „Desiring-machines only work when they break down.“


Harvey Forman


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