I had hiccups for three days. A friend at the cafe said more to me than he intended. I paraphrase: “It is not fun when hiccups come in the way of conversation.” This phrase meant more to me than it no doubt meant to him because it was true, the hiccups I had for several days were interrupting my ability to communicate. My first word association was an unfortunate one borrowed from “pop” psychology: hippocampus. It is the so-called locus of emotion. The word “hiccup” is also an onomatopoeia, that is, a sound which dictates the name for the word. I think these two things are important: they point to the possibility that I was attempting not only to interrupt communication, but, more than that, to interrupt meaningful communication.
And then today I remember that I had been obsessed with Lacan’s discussion in his 8th seminar on Aristophanes’ hiccups vis-a-vis Socrates. Lacan goes as far as to imply that the entire symposium might be understood if only we could understand why Aristophanes has hiccups. Indeed this, Lacan claimed, was his friend’s position, the position of Alexander Kojeve. So, why, then, this conversion symptom? Dolar points to the dimension of the voice and its power to turn the conversation, to move the conversation as if from a position of mastery.
Perhaps it may even be said that it moves conversation toward the question of cause, a cause which is inside of the ‘hiccup-er’ – his or her agalma. Indeed, my hiccups were the subject of much conversation by others. I just had to witness the conversation, and reveal the details to them. In attempting to find Socrates agalma, one, nonetheless, attempts to masquerade as having one oneself.