Éric Laurent / Marie-Hélène Brousse – “Dreams do not speak for themselves”
“It is perfectly legitimate for someone to not expect anything from a dream … At first, there must be a subject who, on the contrary, decides not to be indifferent to the Freudian phenomenon”. – Jacques-Alain Miller
Eric Laurent – It’s an extraordinary formulation. Dreams do not speak for themselves. “It is legitimate that someone does not expect anything from a dream”. The neuropsychologist afflicted with a dream expects nothing from a dream. One just has to raise the amount of the “stuff” to stop the dream, that’s all. He waits until it stops [laughs]. “We must not be indifferent to the Freudian phenomenon” – it is a very subtle formulation. It is not exactly we must be under transference because we must first be in transference with the Freudian phenomenon to wait for its message to return in the inverted form in the dream, to get an idea of what we are there, how we are caught in that story. We must consent to it. Our practice is that people agree not to be indifferent to Freudian phenomena.
Marie-Hélène Brousse – It seems to me that there is, in the phenomenon of the dream, something that pushes, that goes to the transference. Historically first, because finally, since human societies, people tell their dreams in literature, texts, etc. So there is something that pushes to find an interlocutor. That’s why I think there is an address. It often happens that people who are not in analysis tell their dreams in the morning: “Oh, you know, it’s crazy, I dreamed of that! I think that there is something in the dream that historically has a tendency against experimental science, the neuro.
É. Laurent – We can fully support that something of the dream goes to the transference. It is the aspect of the transferential unconscious or the transferential dream. But, the phrase “it is legitimate that the subject expects nothing from a dream” goes rather to the idea that there could be a break between the dream and the transference. Dreams don’t necessarily push towards transference. All civilizations have known the dream, and many have used the dream to interpret what is going on, what is wrong, what is symptomatic. In Greek mantic, dreams served to define treatment. In the temples dedicated to Aesculapius, the method consisted of making people sleep in reserved places to get benefit from a dream. They were put in condition, by appropriate rituals and prayers. Then they slept and the first thing they had to say in the morning was the dream that the god had sent. This dream defined the treatment established by the priest-doctor. There, we have the dream as a message that allows operating on the symptom.
This supposes a god, hence Lacan’s sentence: “It is important to remember that the dream offers no mystical experience.” We, precisely, we cut off the bridges with the gods, the ancient gods and then those of Christianity. The Freudian dream silenced the infinite spaces. The message is self-supporting. Science has taken a step further: it silenced completely. The dream is reduced to an incongruous effect of chance, produced by the reworking of neural circuits when the brain processes the information of the day. This arises in an incongruous entirety which has no interest. This point of view makes possible to obtain the silence effect and to operate the break between the dream and the transference to a supposed knowledge.
We need to reconnect the subjects with their dreams. And besides, when a subject enters into analysis, from the moment when there is the transference that starts, we have all these phenomena, for example, that of someone who says “you know, me, I never dream, but it’s weird, last night I had a dream! And bang, it begins. [laughs] The transference reconnection allows engaging an address. Then, the subject begins to reconnect with his unconscious, which allows him to know where he is about his relationship between desire and jouissance.
Excerpt from the discussion of the evening of the World Association of Psychoanalysis
held in Paris on January 28, 2019 (to be published in the next issue of The Cause of Desire).
Translated by Lorena Hojman Davis