The Rabble

Lacan, in a television interview with Jacques-Alain Miller, claimed, in reference to Freud, that psychoanalysis is not for the rabble. By this he could have meant one of two things, or perhaps both: first, that psychoanalysis is not to be practiced by the rabble, that is, in their capacity as analysts, or / and; second, that psychoanalysis is not to be practiced for the rabble, that is, for their collective benefit or elevation.
I want to highlight the fact that Lacan apologized at least twice for agreeing with this judgment. It was an apology to an audience who did not in any way indicate their disagreement, it was a supposed audience or perhaps an anticipated audience. It was an apology said as a solution to the modicum of desire which has not been confirmed; in other words, Lacan went against his desire to say something else. This is an important point. Perhaps at some level the rabble are precisely what is at stake in analytic discourse. This is my hypothesis: the rabble are best suited to become analysts, yet, because they are best suited to become analysts they are what is least hopeful about it.
This explains at least why Lacan went on to state that the problem with the rabble becoming incorporated into analytic discourse has to do with there not being any “hope” for them. In other words, they are without “hope,” which means, among other things, without the appropriate desire. This is the problem: analysts must have hope, but they must also be among the rabble. The rabble are in the position of being the trash of political society. Recall Hegel’s definition: “a rabble is created only when there is joined to poverty a disposition of mind, an inner indignation against the rich, against society, against the government, etc.” In other words, the rabble are what Marx referred to as the “disintegrated mass,” those “thrown hither and thither,” they are those who take from society but never give – what better model could there be for an analyst?
But they do not have any hope. In place of hope, there are hysterical moments of upheaval. In place of political action, there are riots, and disorganized tactical insurrections against this or that place of power. So afraid are they of power that they refuse to allow themselves to be made in its image, they refuse to be located as the trash that they in fact are – and so they seek to become the trash that they are not. The analyst, though, accepts himself as trash without getting off on it – that is, the analyst does not desire the anxiety that arises from being reduced to trash, and neither does he desire to become the model of a future society, but rather, precisely, he desires that he should come to know that which remains a mystery within the core of speech: the unconscious. He desires to know what place he occupies in the discourse of which he is implicate

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