Religion Magazine

On Foreclosure of the Name of the Father – 1

By Mba @mbartoloabela

We are living in a world restructured by “two discourses: the discourse of science and the discourse of capitalism. These are the two prevalent discourses of modernity which . . . destroy the traditional structure of human experience. The combined domination of these two discourses, each supporting the other, has grown to such an extent that this domination has managed to destroy, perhaps even break, this tradition in its deepest foundations . . . with the tremendous change in the symbolic order, whose corner-stone . . . [is], as Lacan says with extreme precision, the Name of the Father according to tradition” (Jacques-Alain Miller. [2012]. Keynote presentation, The Real in the 21st century).

The Nom-du-Pere, the “Name of the Father, this famous key function of Lacan’s first teaching . . . [is] recognised across the entire analytic field, whether Lacanian or not . . . the depreciation of the Name of the Father in the clinic introduces an unprecedented perspective, which Lacan expresses by saying: Everyone is mad, that is, delusional. This is not a joke, it translates the category of madness to all speaking beings . . . [to all] that which the so-called clinical structures have in common: neurosis, psychosis, perversion. And of course it shakes, undermines, the difference between neurosis and psychosis” (ibid.).

The real as nature “was the very guarantee of the symbolic order. The rhetorical agitation of the signifier in human speech was thus framed by a weft of signifiers fixed like the heavenly bodies. Nature . . . was defined by being ordered, that is, by the conjunction of the symbolic and the real. To such an extent that according to the most ancient tradition, all human order should imitate the natural order. And it is well known, for example, that the family as natural formation served as the model for putting human groupings in order and the Name of the Father was the key to the symbolised real” (ibid.).

“Nature was the name of the real when there was no disorder in the real . . . [But now] the real has broken free from nature . . . Capitalism and science have combined to make nature disappear. And what is left by the vanishing of nature is what we call the real, that is, a remainder, by structure, disordered. The real is touched on all sides by the advances of the binary capitalism-science, in a disordered way, randomly, without being able to recuperate any idea of harmony” (ibid.).

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