When, in the nineteen-nineties, Jacques-Alain Miller proposed entry to the School through the Pass, I got started without a moment’s hesitation! Since then, I had in mind that I would never present myself for the Pass. Firstly I felt that I was too old! Lacan wanted the Pass to be a springboard to enable the young to bridge in a single step that which older people take years to cross. I had surpassed the age.
Next, because I felt that I was too neurotic! My entanglements with my father - that stubborn stage in my analysis - were so great that I was of the opinion that I would never escape them. I authorised myself to receive patients as an analyst despite this uncrossed obstacle. I knew it. I accepted it.
As well, no doubt, because I was too satisfied by a secret jouissance that I derived from this position of refusal towards the procedure of the Pass. The School impressed me, certain of its members are very brilliant and induce inhibition and aggressivity in me in return. No! Definitively no! I no longer wanted to present myself for the Pass.
But analysis caught me. Here is how... The following proceeds in three stages, and concludes with a dream.
The first stage. Juliette, my wife, interpreting an oft-repeated phrase: “I don’t want the Pass”, hit the nail on the head: “But it’s what you’ve been dreaming of!”
The second. By way of the analyst’s desire, this never ceases to remove me from the narration, from the signifying chain, from the transference. At the end of the funnel that I was sucked into more with each passing session, appears the drive that precipitated me to acknowledge the end.
In order to unfold the third stage, I must first provide the context. Ten years ago, in Buenos Aires, I was sharing an apartment with two AME of the School. During a meal, one of them teased me: “It’s the first time that I’ve had breakfast with a noble!”
Since then, in supervision with her, I told her of my decision to submit myself to the procedure of the Pass and confided in her my fears, in the case of a nomination, of having to face the brilliant members of the School; these members who awoke in me a certain aggressivity, in the vein of: “they believe in it”. I lowered my voice: “I call them the barons of psychoanalysis.” She burst out laughing, encouraged me to analyse it, and showed me out.
That night I dream.
I dream that I go to the house of a lady, baroness of her state, who has played an important role in my childhood. I am pedaling, because I am on my bicycle, and suddenly, for no apparent reason I feel restricted; so restricted that the bicycle stops. A Twingo arrives, which instead of passing by, stops beside me. A man gets out, seemingly drunk, and makes sweeping movements with his arms to the point that I only just avoid being hit as he swings them in all directions. I associate this man with a cousin, the same age as me, with whom I played a great deal as a child. He is also a baron.
I want to escape. I get on my bicycle and pedal furiously, but am once again stuck with this bicycle which inexplicably brakes. The man comes straight at me, ready to strike. He wants to throw himself at me, and instead of avoiding him and running away as prudence would advise, I clench my fist. At the moment that he swings at me, I throw a punch at his face and scream “NO” so loudly that I wake my wife, my daughter, and my son.
End of the dream; nightmare I should say, seeing that this dream woke me, along with my family. Surprise! The dream answers to my fears submitted a few hours earlier during supervision. The barons, I will smash their faces in.
First thing the next morning, I telephone Catherine Lazarus-Matet, secretary of the Commission for the Pass. What has happened? What to draw from this dream, from its signifiers which each make a chain with the pieces of my story?
Thus: “Twingo” is a signifier that comes directly from my father. He held throughout his career, a managerial position in an automobile company. This signifier Twingo condenses numerous meanings: that of twinning, of a brother to whom I remain inexplicably close despite very different interests; that of the English language, in which my mother dressed her secrets; that of my son who, at the time I had the dream, amused himself by counting the yellow Twingos that we passed on the road.
My bicycle inexplicably braking. I associate this braking with my position, always in the shadows in regard to the School, with analysis, with my clinical work as an analyst. As if I could only be in the second line of the School, engaged, but not entirely, with a certain reservation.
Then this terrible punch. It is this that bears witness to a radical change. Smashing someone’s face is not my style. My approach to the Other has always been soft, convivial, and in the belief that a dialogue is always possible. The punch, the “no” that I shouted, signals a radical mutation in my subjective position. The Pass, that is it, it is no longer a matter of taking shelter, it is a matter of facing up.
To be seated at the right hand of the father
My family history is a series of missed encounters with the father. He did not want children, he said as much to his wife. My birth was unexpected. At the hospital in a colonial town in Africa, nobody suspected that my mother was carrying twins, and once my brother was born, she was left alone, exhausted by the birth of the first twin. She had to manage unaided with the second. Thus I was born with the cord strangling me, my life saved only because a nurse miraculously happened to be passing by. I was the “miracle baby” along with everything that it entails to be a son to his mother, a son that finds himself delighted to occupy the place of the maternal phallus.
Ravishment in relation to the mother, failure in relation to the father. The price to pay for occupying the place of a darling son was the distance from a father that my mother said was jealous, angry, and who, every time I opened my mouth to say something, scolded or silenced me because he considered that children do not have the right to speech.
This start in life has shaped a fantasy that little by little has revealed itself to me as the following: I had to hollow out (לרוקן את התוך) the lack in the paternal Other and even simply the Other, such that he recognises me, desires me, invites me to sit at his right hand. I had to meet his supposed ideals: priesthood; wealth; fame.
Hollow out the lack in the Other! “The first object [that the child] offers to this parental desire [...], is his own loss - Does he want to lose me?”, said Lacan in Seminar XI. “The fantasy of his death, of his disappearance, is the first object that the subject has to put in play in this dialectic”. This is what I had unceasingly put into practice in my fantasy scenarios: flee the scene, which is to say eject myself, either in a soft way (efface myself, annul myself, disappear without a word) or in a harder way (blow myself up, burn myself out). More than once, I failed to balance my psychoanalysis, my work, my family. Each time, the analyst allowed me to see the phantasmic stakes of such a wish.
In the relentless pursuit of a benevolent father, I have met along the way a whole series, of which the common trait has been their status of priesthood (actual or past). I had noticed an infatuation on the part of my mother for one of her brothers-in-law; monk, university professor, and thinker. All these substitutive fathers condensed knowledge, action - the creation in Belgium of analytical institutions or universities - and the priesthood.
Struggling and exhausting myself to make myself welcome by the protective hand of a father, I finished by choosing an analyst for whom I have always had a massive transference because he embodies an overwhelming desire and beyond that, he has a way all of his own to dismount all the “barons” I suppose at his court.
With him, and for the first time, despite a lengthy prior analysis, the father that I had constructed was being breached. The battering he dealt to the figure of the father toppled him from his pedestal, but it was only a postponement; barely had he fallen, I installed my analyst on the father’s throne.
One of his interventions shook me considerably. Clinging to the hope of a benevolent gaze, of a welcoming word, of a privileged place, and complaining once again of my feeling of invalidity, of incompetence and of a flagrant lack of self-esteem, he threw in a statement, unthinkable for me: “Halleux, I think well of you!” He told me what I had been waiting for above all, and what I had dreaded the most. Touched to the bone, I fled in tears. If he, the greatest in my eyes, the loving father, idealised, the master of knowledge, tells me that he thinks well of me, my entire phantasmatic functioning is wiped out, broken down. How to continue to believe in an ideal father if this one here tells me that, in effect, I am at his right hand, recognised, loved. The place of the father was emptied, hollowed out. However, despite this daring intervention, I continued to give my analyst an overly-dense consistency, too massive, too smooth.
Taking account of the signifier itself
I decided to leave him, and take up with a new analyst, my last sprint to the finish. It took two years. A strange symptom emerged during this decisive final leg. The least association which brought me back to my father, to his function, to his image, even to his reality, precipitated a flood of tears. It is difficult to speak when words are substituted by tears, I could no longer say a word! It was paralysing.
Irritated by the tears which appeared from one session to the next, I asked my analyst the meaning of this symptom. Why these tears? Her response surprised me: “Tears,” she told me, “are very mysterious!” Put another way, the response offered no second signifier which might come back on the first - tears - to give it a meaning, and therefore allow me to take up again the infinite chain of associations. The response, which did not adjoin me again to the signifying chain, pressed me to acknowledge the signifier all alone.
So things are closing in. In this position of powerlessness particular to my fantasy, the analysis progressively brought me to see the empty place of the father, his non-existence, this fiction of the father, which I did not cease to suppose too consistent. In a position of powerlessness in my belief in the father, in dialogue, in harmony possible between men, I acknowledge an impossibility: no second signifier will ever explain my master signifiers.
My very numerous tears shed with my final analyst doubtlessly came from the time required to extract this object of jouissance which supported my phantasmic position. If the place of the father is empty, the very motor of my fantasy loses its object. A reduction occurs, first in my fantasy, then in my symptoms.
A new operator appears in my everyday life: my family, my conjugal life, l’Antenne 110, my patients, l’École de la Cause freudienne. In each of these domains, a resolute desire pushes me forward. It no longer suffices to dawdle,(למשוך זמן) to pussyfoot(ללכת על קצות האצבעות) around, to postpone the moment when finally I put myself forward, it is a matter of going there, to go without yielding to anything, like this beautiful dream tells me so precisely in English: Go twin, Twin-go!
Translated by James Snowden