Towards a New Definition?
In his article “Descartes and the Post-Traumatic Subject,” Slavoj Žižek
develops a very insightful critique of the current neurobiological and
neuro-psychoanalytic approach of trauma. He challenges the way in
which these approaches tend to substitute for the Feudian and Lacanian
definitions of psychic wounds.
Žižek’s critique may be summarized in the following terms: while developing
its own critique of psychoanalysis, namely of Freud and Lacan,
neurobiologists would not have been aware of the fact that Lacan, precisely,
has already said what they thought he hasn’t said. They would
thus be ventriloquized by Lacan at the very moment when they thought
they were talking from another point of view than that of Lacanian
Why is that? How is it possible to repeat Lacan without knowing it?
According to Žižek, contemporary approaches to trauma would remain
unaware—out of disavowal or of desire—of Lacan’s most fundamental
statement: trauma has always already occured. A specific trauma, such or
such empirical shock, may happen only because a more profound and
originary trauma, understood as the Real or as the “transcendental” trauma,
has always already occured. Trauma had always already happened.
Already always already. Lacan had already said always already.
approach of trauma would only be a confirmation, and not a destitution,
of the always already. It would be a mere repetition of what has already
occured and been said.
To state that trauma has already occurred means that it cannot occur
by chance, that every empirical accident or shock impairs an already or
a previously wounded subject. There is an obvious rejection of chance in
Freud and Lacan. Beyond the always already principle. Something that
Lacan had never said, to the extent that I wanted to give a chance to a
thought which would definitely escape the always already’s authority,
which would give a chance to chance.
“Before I focus on the notion of chance, I want to state that the possibility
of such a beyond is opened (this is the central thesis of my book)
by current neurobiology and its redefinition of both the unconscious
(named neural unconscious or neural psyche) and the trauma, consequently
the post-traumatic subjectivity.” Neurobiology and neuropsychoanalysis
challenge the Freudian conception of the psychic accident
understood as a meeting point between two meanings of the event: the
event conceived of as an internal immanent determination (Erlebnis) and
an encounter that occurs from outside (Ereignis). In order for an accident
to become properly a psychic event, it has to trigger the subject’s psychic
history and determinism. The “Ereignis” has to unite with the “Erlebnis.”
The most obvious example of such a definition of the psychic event is the
example, often taken by Freud, of the war wound. When a soldier, on the
front, gets traumatized by a wound, or fear of the wound, it appears that
the current real conflict he is involved in is a repetition of an internal conflict.
Shock is always a reminder of a previous shock. Freud would then
have then considered PTSD as the expression of the always already character
of the conflict or trauma.
Neurobiologists admit on the contrary that severe trauma 1) is fundamentally
an “Ereignis,” that is something which happens by mere chance
from the outside; 2) it thus dismantles the Ereignis/Erlebnis distinction
to the extent that it severs the subject from her reserves of memory and
from the presence of the past. After severe brain damage, which always
produces a series of disconnections and holes within the neural network,
a new subject emerges with no reference to the past or to her previous
identity. A neural disconnection does not trigger any previous conflict.
Instead, the post-traumatized subject disconnects the structure of the always
already. The post-traumatized subject is the never more of the always
Nastavite čitati na http://openhumanitiespress.org/books/download/Cohen_2012_Telemorphosis.pdf