I was into Lacan from 1975 to 1979 and then became disgusted with the dogmatic exclusive use of his thought, to the point that I moved from Sydney to Paris in 1980 to get away from that form of provincial Lacanianism. We all have to live in some province or other, or even in several. But the province where we live should not be declared to be the world.
My attitude to Lacan is the same as to any other thinker. As heuristic he is potentially useful, as dogmatic he is dangerous.Lacan had a heuristic relation to his own thought, he constantly transformed his ideas, and his analytic practice was something else, probably even more transformative.
This is why I will accept no dogma of the three or the four. Latour’s 16 is a useful heuristic reminder that stopping short is simply a temporary expedient, a provional halting point, and not a definitive discovery.
Lacan was an experimenter, but he was also a school builder as his choice of Miller over Guattari exemplifies quite well. He may have dissolved his own school, He did not dissolve Miller’s ministry, nor the money it brought him.
There is no way around it. Every analysis is a falsification, not a verification. If you are in the verification game you are not doing analysis or philosophy. My philosophers are my traumas, that I am trying to cure myself from unsuccessfully. I dismiss noone!
However, I do dismiss arguments. And Lacan on the four is dismissable as theology if it is advanced as an argument and not as a heuristic suggestion.
Lacan is totally wrong in his views on the imaginary, as the dual relation is not universal, it is a dualistic overcoding of the imaginative functioning. One must not reify this model.
“The” is a marker of monist reification, so any time I see “theImaginary”, etc I am suspicious. I do not accept the idea of “the Symbolic” as I see no reason to posit an originary monism. This is a later simplification, both theoretical and psychic.
The imagination is not natively binary but pluralist. Images are not inherently dual. James Hillman, the post-Jungian analyst, is a good antidote to Lacan here. There is no reason to believe that images are always and everywhere reducible to dual relations.
If one claims that “the Symbolic” in Lacan is not reified but is merely rhetorical (in my terms heuristic) then I am happy. But then one must be careful not to re-validate the monism potentially contained in the expression. The existence of signs are not enough to establish a separate instance totalisable under the term “the Symbolic”. This is the fallacy of misplaced concreteness.
There is no reason to believe that all images are reducible to dual relations.There are many regimes of images, and the dual is just one regime among many others. If we had to play the head-shrinking game of speaking in terms of the imaginary and the symbolic, I’d say that the dual regime is a contamination of the imaginary by the symbolic.
If one wants an example of images that are not necessarily subject to dualist relations one has only to take any dream where you do not impose by force a dualist grid on it.
Any insistence that such a dualism necessarily exists in the duality of consciousness of an image amounts to smuggling in the presupposition of duality by the use of the notion of an encounter between consciousness and image. Far from being self-evident, this is an unjustified posit. It can easily be falsified by citing those thinkers who get along quite well without having to presuppose it (Bergson, Deleuze, Hillman).
Note, I am not defending Deleuze’s particular premise here, I am merely defending its conceptual coherence. Also its speculative utility in specific domains: cinema (Deleuze) and psyche (Deleeuze, Hillman).