Since last week I’ve been haunted by a discussion with a friend that I had over lunch about his hostility towards Freud. Mind you, I’ve never been an orthodox Freudian. In particular we discussed Freud’s theory of fetishes. He led me to reflect on why I value Freud and where I diverge. I’ve never bought into the gender stuff or Oedipus in Freud. What’s left? The mobility of desire: desire is not programmed, but rather anything can be eroticized. We all have our shine on the nose, our fix. As he said, there are as many genders or orientations as there are people. The entire world becomes a signifying system, a referential system, in terms of our loves and attachments. The Birds. Alice. It’s all kink; perhaps most of all when it doesn’t look like kink. There’s the theory of the repressed. Our desire, our wishes, our betrayals of ourself always return in some form. Poe’s Telltale Heart. We never escape the truth of our desire. Then, there’s Freud’s respect for the singularity of subjects, for sinthome, for the bizarreness of associative systems as against Jungian archetypes. There is no dream dictionary, only Borgesian encyclopedias created by the aleatory encounters and wanderings of a life. There’s no hermeneutics in Freud because ultimately the unconscious is a singular nonsense, a life, this life, that person’s life. It is a creation of meaning, not an expression of meanings. The unconscious forges, it doesn’t express. And finally, there’s Freud’s Humean Spinozism. We are the fabric of our desire. I’m grateful for that discussion.
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