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Robert Rauschenberg
Port of Entry [Anagram (A Pun)]

Psychoanalysis, Civilization, and the Environment After Lacan

This seminar asks and grapples with the question of what part, if any, psychoanalysis can play in inducing societal transformation at this most crucial moment in the inextricably intertwined histories of humanity and of the Earth. Although there is an argument to be made that psychoanalysis - and perhaps especially Lacanian psychoanalysis - or the act of the analyst, is only practicable in the clinic, we will push toward a conceptualization of the act in constraining “true societal speech.”

Scientists tell us that we have only a decade or so to implement changes sufficient to prevent planetary collapse by the end of this century. We face excessive human population growth, hatred and blame in many manifestations across society, violent inequalities, little ability to speak with and listen to one another across ideological divides, and a manifold set of environmental forms of destruction far exceeding the threat of climate crisis.


What is the influence of hegemonic societal structures and institutions in the direction of public discourse? What place is played by jouissance here, and the refusal versus the traversal of castration? Contemporary society has little vision of limits and of an aesthetically rich life delimited by a navigation of the void, of lack in being and lack in the Other. A deadly and compulsive, societal repetition of consumption of the lure determines the desires that drive our dominant ideologies. What would be needed to substantively and substantially move society toward a serenity guided by the “secret that there is no secret,” that “absence is the abiding presence” (Adler, a founding text of LSP)?


This seminar will be highly interactive. All participants will be expected to engage and speak actively and proactively. In addition to a rigorous attention to theory, we will speak directly of experiences that bring to life both our theoretical elaborations and aspects of a psychoanalytically grounded praxis of societal transformation.


Readings will be selected from the following:

Lacan’s Seminar XVII, The Other Side of Psychoanalysis

Jacques Lacan: Between Psychoanalysis and Politics,

Edited by Samo Tomšic and Andreja Zevnik (2016)

Selected essays Lacan, Discourse, Event: New Psychoanalytic Approaches to Textual Indeterminacy  Edited by Ian Parker and David Pavón-Cuéllar (2014)

Lacan and the Environment Edited by Clint Burnham and Paul Kingsbury (2021)

Hilda Fernandez-Alvarez's (2021) "Reloading malaise: Cyborgic enjoyments and new social bonding"

"Writing Begins Where Psychoanalysis Ends," Serge André

Christopher Bollas's "Civilization and the Discontented," a lecture to be found at The text of the lecture is forthcoming in print.

Selected writings of the instructor, TBD


Faculty: Joseph Scalia III, Psya.D.

Date and Time: The second Friday of the month, Noon - 1:30 Mountain Time, September 2021 through April 2022

Location: Online via Zoom

Tuition: $500 or LSP tuition

Contact: Joseph Scalia III, Psya.D. at

Joseph Scalia III, Psya.D. is a psychoanalyst in private practice in Livingston, Montana, and an environmental activist and critic. He received his doctorate from the Boston Graduate School of Psychoanalysis, the Psychoanalysis, Society and Culture track. Dr. Scalia treats adults, children, and adolescents, having at first incorporated Modern Psychoanalytic and object relations schools of thought, culminating in five years of supervision and study with Christopher Bollas. 


He then immersed himself in Lacanian psychoanalysis, for over a decade at the École Freudienne du Québec, before joining the Lacanian School in San Francisco in 2019. Scalia is the author of Intimate Violence: Attacks Upon Psychic Interiority, and editor of The Vitality of Objects: Exploring the Work of Christopher Bollas. Most recently, his writing efforts have been directed to contemporary environmental ethics and practice. Essays conceptualizing the intertwined stakes of ecological integrity and the imperiled human quest can be found in Mountain Journal, CounterPunch, and Outside Bozeman; interviews can be found on Wilderness Podcast, Rendering Unconscious, and Green Root Podcast. Dr. Scalia is former director of Northern Rockies Psychoanalytic Institute, former president of Montana Wilderness Association, and current president of the Gallatin Yellowstone Wilderness Alliance.