Unknown Matter, detail
Psychoanalysis and the Plague
“Normally, strange things circulate discreetly below our streets. But a crisis will suffice for them to rise up, as if swollen by flood waters, pushing aside manhole covers, invading the cellars, then spreading through the towns. It always comes as a surprise when the nocturnal erupts into broad daylight. What it reveals is an underground existence, an inner resistance that has never been broken. This lurking force infiltrates the lines of tension within the society it threatens. Suddenly it magnifies them: using the means, the circuitry already in place, but reemploying them in the source of an anxiety that comes from afar, unanticipated. It breaks through barriers, flooding the social channels and opening new pathways that, once the flow of its passage has subsided, will leave behind a different landscape and a different order.”
-Michel de Certeau
Trump elected President, a novel virus, the emergence of QAnon, an insurrection at the Capitol: all experienced as surprises, even though they shouldn’t be, each irruption representing only an intensification, acceleration or crystallization of elements long in place, even if graspable only in retrospect. While the historian, de Certeau maintains, can “never be sure” about what he is seeing in the moment, the analyst sees the hand of repression, repetition, and fantasy clearly and has no need to defer: the anxiety and effects may appear unanticipated, but the circuitry is always already there, driving social phenomena.
This seminar proposes to take up the questions of just what is that is “already in place” with respect to what has been happening in the world in as much as the savoir of psychoanalysis is uniquely able to elucidate the outbreaks plaguing the social in their diachronic, synchronic and logical-temporal aspects.
Each meeting will consist of a presentation of work followed by discussion, allowing for the possibility that the format may mutate to allow participants/analysts to hold open new pathways for the subject—and to take account of pathways opened by the plague, welcome or not.
Faculty: Jon Bathori, Benjamin Davidson and Jimena Martí Haik.
Date & time: Wednesdays from 5:00 - 7:00 pm PST on January 12th, January 26th, February 9th, February 23rd, and March 9th
Location: Online via Zoom.
Fee: free of charge.
Jon Bathori is a psychoanalyst in private practice in Palo Alto. He is a Faculty Member of L.S.P and an Adjunct Clinical Faculty of The Wright Institute.
Benjamin Davidson, Ph.D. Dr. Davidson is a faculty member and Research Analyst of the Lacanian School, and an Associate Dean of Students at Stanford University, where he has led seminars on Lacanian and Freudian analysis since 2010. He maintains a private practice in Palo Alto and San Francisco, and is a co-editor and frequent contributor to the European Journal of Psychoanalysis.
Jimena Martí Haik has a degree in Latin American Literature by Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City and holds a Masters degree in Psychoanalytic Theory. She is pursuing her doctoral degree in 17, Instituto de Estudios Críticos. She trained as an analyst in Mexico City and has a private practice.