Guide Lacan and Narration: The Psychoanalytic Difference in Narrative Theory

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Whose narrative, then, and with regard to what? In the Freudian model, the dream gives expression to prior, unconscious dream thoughts Freud [] Such brain activity during sleep may be random or part of some adaptive process associated with that of sleep itself; the inception of dream mentation is just a by-product in this account.

Cognitive models of dreaming have more to say about the functioning of such sense-making processes, however. Narrative logic, here, is not a given; instead, cognitive accounts foreground the creativity of dreams—their status, that is, not just as narratives but as fictions. Such approaches conceive the motive forces of dreaming as continuous with those of waking thought, whether the emphasis falls upon imaginative world-making States or on the articulation of emotion Hartmann b.

In most cultures, the role of dreams has been spiritual or visionary. This anthropological perspective is borne out in classical and biblical sources: Homer makes reference to the Greek personifications of dreams, the Oneiroi, in the Iliad 2. Such fusions of experiential and symbolic concepts of dreaming are less surprising than they may seem, since it is only a materialist worldview in which what exists simply is that enforces this dichotomy. From a religious perspective, reality itself is charged with meaning, and dreams fit within the implied model of experience as itself a discursive medium.

Dreams have had a pervasive influence upon art and literature throughout history, and upon film from the very beginnings of its emergence as a narrative medium. Three examples will suffice here. The most prominent literary manifestation of the influence of dreams is the tradition of dream poetry in the Middle Ages following Le Roman de la Rose.

But dreams also functioned here as a motivational device for allegory, as in Piers Plowman and Pearl. In the dream vision tradition, dreams are more than a representational resource; they become a basis for understanding fictional narrative—to the extent that The Divine Comedy , for example, is read as a dream vision despite not being formally framed as a dream. The influence of dreams may be discerned not only in foregrounded cinematic techniques such as montage, but also in early negotiations of the grammar of editing within the scene, the continuity of which we have now thoroughly naturalized.

Indeed, the question now may well be whether the conventions of filmic narrative have in turn begun to influence the form of our dreams. Dream logic appealed to Breton, Dali and others as a key to narrative creativity, to the primacy of the play of thought over social, moral and intellectual convention Breton Such appropriations of the formal qualities of dreams in art and literature correspond to a very widespread assumption about dreams themselves: that they require or invite interpretation. This assumption also cuts across any distinction between experiential and framed communicative models of dreaming, because it is a corollary of the recognition that the dream is not empirical fact.

This calls into question the narratological consensus that equates mental representations with the non-discursive story level of narrative.

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More specifically, dream narratives are fictions—if we exclude possibilities such as literal foresight or a dream corresponding directly to a memory. The latter possibility seems substantial, but clinical evidence argues against it, even in the strong case of repetitive post-traumatic dreams, which consistently manifest a creative element Hartmann a.

Discourse and psychoanalysis: translating concepts into "fragmenting" methodology

Dream interpretation, then, undertakes to motivate this fictive narration. Such a view of dream narration is suggestive for our understanding of narrative creativity in general. The Freudian unconscious offered a royal road to dream interpretation, providing as it did for an expressive intentionality beyond the conscious frame of reference of the dreaming dreamer. The dream itself is for Freud a transformative articulation of prior unconscious dream thoughts Freud [] This process of articulation—the dream-work—is a kind of negotiation between the unconscious and the constraints of, on the one hand, the censorship of consciousness and, on the other hand, the affordances of the perceptual medium of dreams Freud [] : IV—V, ch.

Of the four dream-work mechanisms that Freud identifies, two—condensation and displacement—bear mainly upon the symbolic potency of the manifest dream and do not directly bear upon its narrative form, although it should be noted that displacement, taken under the rubric of metonymy, has been accorded a central place in appropriations of the Freudian model to literary narrative e.

In this respect it is important to note that secondary revision, often invoked in relation to the narrative report of a dream, is for Freud a part of the dream-work itself; its secondariness bears upon the relation between the manifest dream and the primary latent dream thoughts Freud [] : V, — For Jung, by contrast, the dream itself is a natural phenomenon in which consciousness attempts to find meaning Marozza : —98; Jung — This move dissociates a psychoanalytic perspective from the specific agency of the Freudian unconscious so unappealing to scientific accounts of dreaming, but it also jettisons much of the suggestiveness, from a narratological point of view, of the dream-work.

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The general drift of post-Freudian thought, however, has been towards an emphasis upon the creative function of the dream-work Marozza , and to that extent there is some congruence between psychoanalytical and scientific approaches to dreaming. In the activation-synthesis model, dreams arise in the first place as a result of neuronal activity that occurs during REM and non-REM sleep, and which probably has like sleep itself an adaptive function.

The focus of cognitive approaches to dreaming is this sense-making effort in itself, without reference to either a Freudian unconscious or to the neurobiological activation of dreaming. A cognitive perspective clarifies the relation between narration and experience in dreaming by distinguishing between volitional and non-volitional parts of dream mentation in terms of receptive consciousness and associational patterns; a double-mindedness, but not of the Cartesian homunculus variety States : These special conditions granted, the emphasis of cognitive accounts falls on the continuity between dreaming and waking thought, rather than on its cognitive deficiencies 4 ; the bizarreness of dreams is a reflection of the absence of the constraints upon thought characteristic of waking imagination States The foregoing has shown that narration is a relevant concept for dreams and that dream research affords some provocative insights into the process of narration, narrative sense and its connective logic, and the medium of narration in a cognitive context.

It remains to draw out some of the implications for narratology that follow. Most obviously, dream research problematizes conventional models of narrative creativity. The standard communication model of narrative, or any model predicated upon a view of narrative as the transmission of a prior conception, cannot accommodate the case of dreams. The recursive process of elaboration in dreams, on the other hand, is suggestive as a model for the genesis of fictional narrative in general: it implies that narrative emerges from the particularization of emotions or ideological concerns, or values and the representational elaboration of those interests.

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Unlike the communication model, this account does not posit a pre-narrative meaning which the act of narration communicates, but rather takes narration itself to be the generative principle for meaning it bears as narrative. The view that our cognitive-perceptual faculties are themselves the medium of narration in dreams disallows recent efforts to redeem the story-discourse distinction by claiming that story is conceptual and discourse is material Shen The cognitive-perceptual medium of dreams also bears upon new media narratology and the representational status of simulations and virtual worlds.

Only the latter involves narrative creativity and hence, properly speaking, interactive narrative. The relation between simulation and narrative, or between worlds and narratives in general, illustrates the tension between systemic and narrative modes of understanding. Here, too, the case of dreams is significant. Dreams test the limits of narrative cognition, not as a struggle between sense and nonsense so much as between two incompatible kinds of sense—one sequential, the other systemic.

This is not a problem confined to dreaming: temporal processes on all scales, across the range of disciplines, are generally better modelled in terms of the behaviour of complex systems than the sequential logic of narrative the case of evolution by natural selection is a representative example.

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Yet as the form of our dreams also makes clear, narrative is not a mode of sense-making that we can shed or outgrow; it is a non-negotiable part of our cognitive heritage, and so it is only by being brought into relation with narrative that systemic phenomena become intelligible and acquire human meaning. A proper scepticism about narrative must therefore take the form of self-reflexive lucidity rather than abstinence. Freud b - ironically and precisely because of "the inclination to believe which the hypnotized displays towards the hypnotizer and which besides hypnosis has the only parallel in real life in the relation of the child towards the beloved parents" Freud b: With this in mind one may try to justify the advancement of the hypnotic mode of interpretation as an effort to circumvent the Oedipus complex which has its core in the primal scene, that is to do away with the notorious reductiveness of the Oedipal model.

In effect, in the paper from which we have been quoting Freud does not seem to diverge from the commonsensical view according to which it is essential to the mental health of the child to believe the parents, in particular the tales they tell about where children come from.

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On the other hand, it is the child's sexual curiosity which fosters trauma and neurosis, giving rise to infantile sexual theories to which the scientific attitude can be traced back. As Freud's paper suggests, this is the main difference between transference and hypnosis, which are otherwise practically indistinguishable. The irony of the matter is that this attitude depends vitally on a misreading - unfortunately in the conventionally psychoanalytic and not in the advanced poststructuralist sense of the term.

The Oedipal child misreads the primal scene interpreting the parental coitus as an act of violence, i.

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Only thus a child can do away with his exotopy which gives rise to anxiety and even satisfy his desire by way of a sublimation: forsooth he is perfectly capable of violence, whereas an access to sexuality is denied to him. In concluding that the beyond of the pleasure principle is the drive for mastery a: , Derrida acts exactly as the psychoanalytic child.

http://visaka.parablu.com/what-is-the-best-smartphone-tracking-software-galaxy-a8.php And this due to the fact that Freud's technique of which Derrida becomes a victim has a neat counterpart in the technique of Christie's Great Criminal Norton : just as in the case of the latter, Freud achieves his aims by an indirect suggestion, i. Significantly, for his part, Hastings was also on the verge of succumbing to the same strategy , And yet, contrary to Poirot , it was precisely his trusting nature which in the last resort saved him from completely falling prey to it. As a reward his writing becomes writing without resistance, that is a writing truly subversive of the scientific claims, be it of psychoanalytic or any other methodology.

Given his proneness to megalomania, it is only natural to hear from Poirot that Hastings was bound to become a criminal were it not for the Great Detective: "You responded. You made up your mind to do murder. But fortunately, Hastings, you had a friend whose brain still functioned.

And not only his brain! In a generally accepted view, exactly the "functioning of the brain" is the logocentric Law of this Genre. That is, if the point of an analytic detective story is the deductive solution of a mystery, how does the writer keep that solution from exhausting the reader's interest in the story?

Irwin : The poststructuralist answer to this is a Cretan one: "As Johnson sees it, taking a position on the numerical structure of the tale means, for Lacan and Derrida, taking a numerical position, Or put another way, In analyzing an act of analysis, self-conscious thought turns back upon itself to find that it cannot coincide with itself. This insight about the nature of thought is at least as old in our tradition as the philosophies of Zeno and Parmenides and as new as Goedel's proof It is this paradoxical insight that if one considers the act of thinking and the content of thought as two distinguishable things - as it seems one must in dealing with self-consciousness Which is to say that there will always be one more step needed in order to make the act of thinking and the content of thought coincide" 7, It remains to show that even the privileged poststructuralist example, Poe's story, happens to be at odds with this analytic stance.

Which explains why the two most influential, if not the only readers of Poe - Lacan and Derrida fail to misread him. In Poirot's idiom, it is the functioning of the brain that matters. And yet the crucial thing is that "it is not only his brain" that still functioned. Or to be more correct the functioning of the famous little gray cells has nothing at all to do with the true essence of the genre.

Whereas the Great Detective dispenses of his eloquence defending an armchair, it is the innocent Hastings who is , once again, closer to the truth. Witness his repeated attempts to seduce Poirot into emulating an ordinary sleuth who goes on his knees etc. However it is the same innocence which hinders him as well as the reader to consciously perceive that this acting is always underway.