Difference between revisions of "Time"

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Lacan offers an interesting analysis of hesitation. Logical time is divided into three "moments".
 
  
  1. the instant of seeing
+
[[time]] (<ref>[[French]]: ''[[temps]]'')
  2. the time for understanding
 
  3. the moment of concluding
 
  
Lacan illustrates this with a story of three prisoners. The prison governor shows them three green discs and two red ones. Then he puts a green disc on each prisoner's back. Each can see the disc on the other two prisoners' backs. The first one to deduce the colour of the disc on his own back will be granted his freedom.
+
One of the most distinctive features of [[Lacanian psychoanalysis]] is [[Lacan]]'s approach to questions of [[time]].  
  
The correct deduction appears to depend on the hesitation of the group. "If I had a red disk, then each of the other prisoners would not hesitate to deduce immediately that he was green. Since neither has done so, I must also have a green disk."
+
Broadly speaking, [[Lacan]]'s approach is characterised by two important innovations: the concept of [[logical time]], and the stress on [[retroaction]] and [[anticipation]].
  
Delay, doubt, hesitation, procrastination, the ability to make nothing happen (ungeschehenmachen) - these characteristic features of decision-making are grounded by Lacan in the phenomenology of obsessional neurosis.
+
== Logical time ==
  
For a detailed discussion, see John Forrester, The Seductions of Psychoanalysis: Freud, Lacan and Derrida (Cambridge 1990), Chapter 8.  The prisoner story can be found on p178 ff.  
+
In his paper entitled '[[Logical time]]' .<ref>1945</ref>, [[Lacan]] undermines the pretensions of [[logic]] to [[timelessness]] and [[eternity]] by showing how certain logical calculations include an inescapable reference to a [[temporality]].
==time==
 
time (temps)          One of the most distinctive features of Lacanian psycho-
 
  
analysis is Lacan's approach to questions of time. Broadly speaking, Lacan's
+
However, the kind of [[temporality]] involved is not specificiable by reference to the clock, but is itself the product of certain logical articulations.  
  
approach is characterised by two important innovations: the concept of logical
+
This distinction between [[logical time]] and [[chronological time]] underpins [[Lacan]]'s whole [[theory of temporality]].
  
time, and the stress on retroaction and anticipation.
+
The fact that [[logical time]] is not [[objective]] does not mean that it is simply a question of [[subjective]] [[feeling]]; on the contrary, as the adjective '[[logical]]' indicates, it is a precise [[dialectical]] [[structure]] which may be formulated rigorously in [[mathematical]] [[terms]].  
  
 +
In the 1945 paper, [[Lacan]] argues that [[logical time]] has a [[tripartite]] [[structure]], the three moments of which are:
  
 +
# the instant of [[seeing]];
  
 +
# the time for [[understanding]];
  
 +
# the moment of concluding.
  
    e Logical time        In his paper entitled 'Logical time' (1945), Lacan under-
+
By means of a sophism, the problem of the [[three prisoners]], [[Lacan]] shows how these three moments are constructed not in terms of objective chronometric units but in terms of an [[intersubjective]] [[logic]] based on a tension between waiting and haste, between [[hesitation]] and u[[rgency]].
  
    mines the pretensions of logic to timelessness and eternity by showing how
+
[[Logical time]] is thus "the [[intersubjective]] [[time]] that [[structure]]s [[human]] [[action]]."<ref>{{E}} p.75</ref>
  
    certain logical calculations include an inescapable reference to a temporality.
+
[[Lacan]]'s notion of [[logical time]] is not just an exercise in logic; it also has practical consequences for psychoanalytic treatment.  
  
    However, the kind of temporality involved is not specificiable by reference to
+
The most famous of these consequences, historically speaking, has been [[Lacan]]'s use of [[sessions of variable duration]] ([[French]]: sÈances scandÈes</ref>, which was regarded by the [[International Psycho-Analytical Association]] ([[IPA]]) as sufficient grounds for excluding him from membership.
  
    the clock, but is itself the product of certain logical articulations. This
+
However, to focus exclusively on this particular [[practice]] is to miss various other interesting clinical dimensions of the theory of [[logical time]], such as the way in which [[Lacan]]'s concept of "[[the time for understanding]]" can throw light on the [[Freud]]ian concept of [[working-through]].<ref>See Forrester, 1990: ch. 8.</ref>
  
    distinction between logical time and chronological time underpins Lacan's
+
[[Lacan]]'s concept of [[logical time]] anticipates his incursions into [[Saussure]]an [[linguistics]], which is based on the distinction between the [[diachronic]] (or temporal) and the [[synchronic]] (atemporal) aspects of [[language]].
  
    whole theory of temporality.
+
Hence [[Lacan]]'s increasing stress, beginning in the 1950s, on [[synchronic]] or [[timeless]] [[structure]]s rather than on [[developmental]] '[[stages]]'.  
  
      The fact that logical time is not objective does not mean that it is simply a
+
Thus when [[Lacan]] uses the term '[[time]]', it is usually to be understood not as a fleeting [[diachronic]] moment but as a [[structure]], a relatively [[stable]] [[synchronic]] [[state]].
  
question of subjective feeling;          on the contrary,   as the adjective 'logical'
+
Similarly, when he speaks of "the three [[times]] of the [[Oedipus complex]]," the ordering is one of [[logical]] priority rather than of a [[chronological]] sequence.
  
    indicates, it is a precise dialectical structure which may be formulated rigor-
+
[[Change]] is not seen as a gradual or smooth move along a continuum, but as an abrupt shift from one discrete [[structure]] to another.
  
ously in mathematical terms. In the 1945 paper, Lacan argues that logical time
+
[[Lacan]]'s emphasis on [[synchronic]] or [[timeless]] [[structure]]s can be seen as an attempt to explore [[Freud]]'s statement about the non-[[existence]] of [[time]] in the [[unconscious]].  
  
    has a tripartite structure, the three moments of which are: (i) the instant of
+
However, [[Lacan]] modifies this with his proposal, in 1964, that the [[unconscious]] be characterised in terms of a [[temporal]] movement of opening and closing.<ref>{{S11}} p.143, 204</ref>
  
seeing; (ii) the time for understanding; (iii) the moment of concluding. By
+
==Retroaction and anticipation==
 +
Other forms of [[psychoanalysis]], such as [[ego-psychology]] are based on a linear concept of [[time]] (as can be seen, for example, in their stress on a linear sequence of [[development]]al [[stage]]s through which the [[child]] [[naturally]] passes; see [[development]]).
  
    means of a sophism (the problem of the three prisoners) Lacan shows how
+
[[Lacan]], however, completely abandons such a linear notion of [[time]], since in the [[psyche]] [[time]] can equally well act in reverse, by [[retroaction]] and [[anticipation]].
  
    these three moments are constructed not in terms of objective chronometric
+
=== Retroaction===
 +
[[French]]: ''[[après coup]]''
  
    units but in terms of an intersubjective logic based on            a tension between
+
[[Lacan]]'s term ''[[après coup]]'' is the term used by [[French]] [[analysts]] to translate [[Freud]]'s [[Nachtr‰glichkeit]] ('[[deferred action]]')
  
waiting and haste, between hesitation and urgency. Logical time is thus 'the
+
These terms refer to the way that, in the [[psyche]], [[present]] [[event]]s affect [[past]] events a posteriori, since the [[past]] [[exist]]s in the [[psyche]] only as a set of [[memories]] which are constantly being re[[work]]ed and [[reinterpreted]] in the light of [[present]] experience.  
  
intersubjective time that structures human action' (E, 75).
+
What concerns [[psychoanalysis]] is not the real [[past]] sequence of events in themselves, but the way that these events [[exist]] now in [[memory]] and the way that the [[patient]] reports them.  
  
      Lacan's notion of logical time is not just an exercise in logic; it also has
+
Thus when [[Lacan]] argues that the [[aim]] of [[psychoanalytic treatment]] is 'the complete reconstitution of the [[subject]]'s [[history]],"<ref>{{S1}} p.12</ref>, he makes it clear that what he means by the term "[[history]]" is not simply a real sequence of [[past]] events, but "the present synthesis of the past."<ref>{{S1}} p.36</ref>
  
practical consequences for psychoanalytic treatment. The most famous of
+
<blockquote>"[[History]] is not the past. [[History]] is the [[past]] inso far as it is [[historicised]] in the [[present]]."<ref>{{S1}} p.12</ref></blockquote>
  
    these consequences, historically speaking, has been Lacan's use of sessions
+
Hence the [[pregenital]] [[stage]]s are not to be seen as real events chronologically prior to the [[genital]] [[stage]], but as forms of [[demand]] which are [[project]]ed [[retroactively]] onto the [[past]].<ref>{{E}} p.197</ref>
  
    of variable duration (Fr. sÈances scandÈes), which            was regarded by the
+
[[Lacan]] also shows how [[discourse]] is [[structure]]d by [[retroaction]]; only when the last [[word]] of the [[sentence]] is uttered do the initial [[word]]s acquire their [[full]] [[meaning]] (see [[punctuation]]).<ref>{{E}} p.303</ref>
  
    International Psycho-Analytical Association (IPA)    as sufficient grounds for
+
==Anticipation==
  
excluding him from membership. However,             to focus exclusively      on this
+
If [[retroaction]] refers to the way the [[present]] affects the [[past]], [[anticipation]] refers to the way the [[future]] affects the [[present]].
  
particular practice is to miss various other interesting clinical dimensions of
+
Like [[retroaction]], [[anticipation]] marks the [[structure]] of [[speech]]; the first [[word]]s of a [[sentence]] are ordered in [[anticipation]] of the [[word]]s to come.<ref>{{E}}, 303</ref>
  
    the theory of logical time, such as the way in which Lacan's concept of 'the
+
In the [[mirror stage]], the [[ego]] is [[construct]]ed on the basis of the [[anticipation]] of an imagined [[future]] [[wholeness]] which never, in fact, arrives.
  
    time for understanding' can throw light on the Freudian concept of working-
+
The [[structure]] of [[anticipation]] is best illustrated [[linguistically]] by the future-perfect tense.<ref>{{E}}, 306</ref>
  
through. (See Forrester, 1990: ch. 8.)
+
[[Anticipation]] also plays an important role in the [[tripartite]] [[structure]] of [[logical time]]; the moment of concluding "is arrived at in haste, in [[anticipation]] of [[future]] [[certainty]]."<ref>{{Ec}} p.209</ref>
  
      Lacan's concept of logical time anticipates his incursions into Saussurean
 
  
linguistics, which is based            on the distinction between the diachronic (or
+
The notion of time in psychoanalysis intersects several other concepts such as repetition, regression, fixation, and rhythm, though Freud also discussed the idea of time directly.
  
temporal) and the synchronic (atemporal) aspects of language. Hence Lacan's
+
He began by emphasizing the [[atemporality]] of [[unconscious]] [[processes]]:
  
increasing stress, beginning in the 1950s, on synchronic or timelesS STRUCTURES
+
The [[unconscious]] ignores [[time]], and he suggested that the origin of the representation of [[time]] could be found in the discontinuous relation the [[preconscious]]-[[conscious]] [[system]] maintained with the [[external]] [[world]], the [[time]] dimension then being associated with acts of [[consciousness]].
  
    rather than on developmental 'stages'. Thus when Lacan uses the term 'time',
+
==Hesitation==
 +
[[Lacan]] offers an interesting analysis of [[hesitation]].  
  
    it is usually to be understood not as a fleeting diachronic moment but as a
+
[[Logic]]al time]] is divided into three "[[moment]]s".
  
    structure, a relatively stable synchronic state. Similarly, when he speaks of 'the
+
# [[the instant of seeing]]
 +
# [[the time for understanding]]
 +
# [[the moment of concluding]]
  
    three times of the Oedipus complex', the ordering is one of logical priority
 
  
    rather than of a chronological sequence. Change is not seen as a gradual or
+
==Three Prisoners==
 +
[[Lacan]] illustrates this with a story of [[three prisoners]].  
  
    smooth move along a continuum, but as an abrupt shift from one discrete
+
The prison governor shows them three green discs and two red ones.
  
    structure to another.
+
Then he puts a green disc on each prisoner's back.  
  
      Lacan's emphasis on synchronic or timeless structures can be seen as an
+
Each can see the disc on the other two prisoners' backs.
  
    attempt to explore Freud's statement about the non-existence of time in the
+
The first one to deduce the colour of the disc on his own back will be granted his freedom.
  
    unconscious. However, Lacan modifies this with his proposal, in 1964, that the
+
The correct deduction appears to depend on the hesitation of the group.  
  
    unconscious be characterised in terms of a temporal movement of opening and
+
"If I had a red disk, then each of the other prisoners would not hesitate to deduce immediately that he was green. Since neither has done so, I must also have a green disk."
  
    closing (Sll, 143, 204).
+
==Pathology==
 +
Delay, doubt, hesitation, procrastination, the ability to make nothing happen .<ref>ungeschehenmachen</ref> - these characteristic features of decision-making are grounded by Lacan in the phenomenology of obsessional neurosis.
  
 
+
For a detailed discussion, see John Forrester, The Seductions of Psychoanalysis: Freud, Lacan and Derrida .<ref>Cambridge 1990</ref>, Chapter 8. The prisoner story can be found on p178 ff.  
 
 
 
 
 
 
    e    Retroaction and anticipation        Other forms of psychoanalysis, such as
 
 
 
ego-psychology are based on a linear concept of time (as can be seen, for
 
 
 
    example, in their stress on a linear sequence of developmental stages through
 
 
 
    which the childaaturally passes; see DEVELOPMENT). Lacan, however, comple-
 
 
 
    tely abandons such a linear notion of time, since in the psyche time can equally
 
 
 
    well act in reverse, by retroaction and anticipation.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
    e    Retroactiom(Fr. aprËs coup)      Lacan's term aprËs coup is the term used
 
 
 
    by French analyts to translate Freud's Nachtr‰glichkeit (which the Standard
 
 
 
    Edition renders 'deferred action'). These terms refer to the way that, in the
 
 
 
    psyche, presentevents affect past events a posteriori, since the past exists in
 
 
 
    the psyche only as a set of memories which are constantly being reworked and
 
 
 
    reinterpreted in the light of present experience. What concerns psychoanalysis
 
 
 
    is not the real past sequence of events in themselves, but the way that these
 
 
 
    events exist now in memory and the way that the patient reports them. Thus
 
 
 
    when Lacan argues that the aim of psychoanalytic treatment is 'the complete
 
 
 
    reconstitution ofthe subject's history' (Sl, 12), he makes it clear that what he
 
 
 
    means by the term 'history' is not simply a real sequence of past events, but
 
 
 
    'the present synthesis of the past' (Sl, 36). 'History is not the past. History is
 
 
 
    the past in    so far as it is historicised in the present' (Sl, 12). Hence the
 
 
 
    pregenital stages are not to be seen as real events chronologically prior to
 
 
 
    the genital stage, but as forms of DEMAND which are projected retroactively
 
 
 
    onto the past (E, 197). Lacan also shows how discourse is structured by
 
 
 
    retroaction; only when the last word of the sentence is uttered do the initial
 
 
 
    words acquire their full meaning (E, 303) (see PUNCTUATION).
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
    ï Anticipation        If retroaction refers to the way the present affects the past,
 
 
 
    anticipation refers to the way the future affects the present. Like retroaction,
 
 
 
    anticipation marks the structure of speech; the first words of a sentence are
 
 
 
    ordered in anticipation of the words to come (E, 303). In the mirror stage, the
 
 
 
    ego is constructed    on the basis of the anticipation of an imagined future
 
 
 
    wholeness (which never, in fact, arrives). The structure of anticipation is
 
 
 
    best illustrated linguistically by the future-perfect tense (E, 306). Anticipation
 
 
 
    also plays    an important role in the tripartite structure of logical time; the
 
 
 
    moment of concluding' is arrived        at in haste, in anticipation of future
 
 
 
certainty (Ec, 209).
 
==def==
 
 
 
Time
 
The notion of time in psychoanalysis intersects several other concepts such as repetition, regression, fixation, and rhythm, though Freud also discussed the idea of time directly. He began by emphasizing the atemporality of unconscious processes: The unconscious ignores time, and he suggested that the origin of the representation of time could be found in the discontinuous relation the preconscious-conscious system maintained with the external world, the time dimension then being associated with acts of consciousness. He related the
 
  
 
[[Category:Psychoanalysis]]
 
[[Category:Psychoanalysis]]

Revision as of 16:45, 1 July 2006

time (Cite error: Closing </ref> missing for <ref> tag, Lacan undermines the pretensions of logic to timelessness and eternity by showing how certain logical calculations include an inescapable reference to a temporality.

However, the kind of temporality involved is not specificiable by reference to the clock, but is itself the product of certain logical articulations.

This distinction between logical time and chronological time underpins Lacan's whole theory of temporality.

The fact that logical time is not objective does not mean that it is simply a question of subjective feeling; on the contrary, as the adjective 'logical' indicates, it is a precise dialectical structure which may be formulated rigorously in mathematical terms.

In the 1945 paper, Lacan argues that logical time has a tripartite structure, the three moments of which are:

  1. the instant of seeing;
  1. the time for understanding;
  1. the moment of concluding.

By means of a sophism, the problem of the three prisoners, Lacan shows how these three moments are constructed not in terms of objective chronometric units but in terms of an intersubjective logic based on a tension between waiting and haste, between hesitation and urgency.

Logical time is thus "the intersubjective time that structures human action."[1]

Lacan's notion of logical time is not just an exercise in logic; it also has practical consequences for psychoanalytic treatment.

The most famous of these consequences, historically speaking, has been Lacan's use of sessions of variable duration (French: sÈances scandÈes</ref>, which was regarded by the International Psycho-Analytical Association (IPA) as sufficient grounds for excluding him from membership.

However, to focus exclusively on this particular practice is to miss various other interesting clinical dimensions of the theory of logical time, such as the way in which Lacan's concept of "the time for understanding" can throw light on the Freudian concept of working-through.[2]

Lacan's concept of logical time anticipates his incursions into Saussurean linguistics, which is based on the distinction between the diachronic (or temporal) and the synchronic (atemporal) aspects of language.

Hence Lacan's increasing stress, beginning in the 1950s, on synchronic or timeless structures rather than on developmental 'stages'.

Thus when Lacan uses the term 'time', it is usually to be understood not as a fleeting diachronic moment but as a structure, a relatively stable synchronic state.

Similarly, when he speaks of "the three times of the Oedipus complex," the ordering is one of logical priority rather than of a chronological sequence.

Change is not seen as a gradual or smooth move along a continuum, but as an abrupt shift from one discrete structure to another.

Lacan's emphasis on synchronic or timeless structures can be seen as an attempt to explore Freud's statement about the non-existence of time in the unconscious.

However, Lacan modifies this with his proposal, in 1964, that the unconscious be characterised in terms of a temporal movement of opening and closing.[3]

Retroaction and anticipation

Other forms of psychoanalysis, such as ego-psychology are based on a linear concept of time (as can be seen, for example, in their stress on a linear sequence of developmental stages through which the child naturally passes; see development).

Lacan, however, completely abandons such a linear notion of time, since in the psyche time can equally well act in reverse, by retroaction and anticipation.

Retroaction

French: après coup

Lacan's term après coup is the term used by French analysts to translate Freud's Nachtr‰glichkeit ('deferred action')

These terms refer to the way that, in the psyche, present events affect past events a posteriori, since the past exists in the psyche only as a set of memories which are constantly being reworked and reinterpreted in the light of present experience.

What concerns psychoanalysis is not the real past sequence of events in themselves, but the way that these events exist now in memory and the way that the patient reports them.

Thus when Lacan argues that the aim of psychoanalytic treatment is 'the complete reconstitution of the subject's history,"[4], he makes it clear that what he means by the term "history" is not simply a real sequence of past events, but "the present synthesis of the past."[5]

"History is not the past. History is the past inso far as it is historicised in the present."[6]

Hence the pregenital stages are not to be seen as real events chronologically prior to the genital stage, but as forms of demand which are projected retroactively onto the past.[7]

Lacan also shows how discourse is structured by retroaction; only when the last word of the sentence is uttered do the initial words acquire their full meaning (see punctuation).[8]

Anticipation

If retroaction refers to the way the present affects the past, anticipation refers to the way the future affects the present.

Like retroaction, anticipation marks the structure of speech; the first words of a sentence are ordered in anticipation of the words to come.[9]

In the mirror stage, the ego is constructed on the basis of the anticipation of an imagined future wholeness which never, in fact, arrives.

The structure of anticipation is best illustrated linguistically by the future-perfect tense.[10]

Anticipation also plays an important role in the tripartite structure of logical time; the moment of concluding "is arrived at in haste, in anticipation of future certainty."[11]


The notion of time in psychoanalysis intersects several other concepts such as repetition, regression, fixation, and rhythm, though Freud also discussed the idea of time directly.

He began by emphasizing the atemporality of unconscious processes:

The unconscious ignores time, and he suggested that the origin of the representation of time could be found in the discontinuous relation the preconscious-conscious system maintained with the external world, the time dimension then being associated with acts of consciousness.

Hesitation

Lacan offers an interesting analysis of hesitation.

Logical time]] is divided into three "moments".

  1. the instant of seeing
  2. the time for understanding
  3. the moment of concluding


Three Prisoners

Lacan illustrates this with a story of three prisoners.

The prison governor shows them three green discs and two red ones.

Then he puts a green disc on each prisoner's back.

Each can see the disc on the other two prisoners' backs.

The first one to deduce the colour of the disc on his own back will be granted his freedom.

The correct deduction appears to depend on the hesitation of the group.

"If I had a red disk, then each of the other prisoners would not hesitate to deduce immediately that he was green. Since neither has done so, I must also have a green disk."

Pathology

Delay, doubt, hesitation, procrastination, the ability to make nothing happen .[12] - these characteristic features of decision-making are grounded by Lacan in the phenomenology of obsessional neurosis.

For a detailed discussion, see John Forrester, The Seductions of Psychoanalysis: Freud, Lacan and Derrida .[13], Chapter 8. The prisoner story can be found on p178 ff.

  1. Lacan, Jacques. Écrits: A Selection. Trans. Alan Sheridan. London: Tavistock Publications, 1977. p.75
  2. See Forrester, 1990: ch. 8.
  3. Lacan, Jacques. The Seminar. Book XI. The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis, 1964. Trans. Alan Sheridan. London: Hogarth Press and Institute of Psycho-Analysis, 1977. p.143, 204
  4. Lacan, Jacques. The Seminar. Book I. Freud's Papers on Technique, 1953-54. Trans. John Forrester. New York: Nortion; Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988. p.12
  5. Lacan, Jacques. The Seminar. Book I. Freud's Papers on Technique, 1953-54. Trans. John Forrester. New York: Nortion; Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988. p.36
  6. Lacan, Jacques. The Seminar. Book I. Freud's Papers on Technique, 1953-54. Trans. John Forrester. New York: Nortion; Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988. p.12
  7. Lacan, Jacques. Écrits: A Selection. Trans. Alan Sheridan. London: Tavistock Publications, 1977. p.197
  8. Lacan, Jacques. Écrits: A Selection. Trans. Alan Sheridan. London: Tavistock Publications, 1977. p.303
  9. Lacan, Jacques. Écrits: A Selection. Trans. Alan Sheridan. London: Tavistock Publications, 1977., 303
  10. Lacan, Jacques. Écrits: A Selection. Trans. Alan Sheridan. London: Tavistock Publications, 1977., 306
  11. Lacan, Jacques. Écrits. Paris: Seuil, 1966. p.209
  12. ungeschehenmachen
  13. Cambridge 1990