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Review

Se Faire Voir with Jung and the Ethics of Psychoanalysis

School of Social and Behavioural Sciences, The University of Queensland, St Lucia, QLD 4072, Australia
Soc. Sci. 2017, 6(1), 16; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci6010016
Received: 1 December 2016 / Revised: 8 February 2017 / Accepted: 10 February 2017 / Published: 16 February 2017

Abstract

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This article is an important addition to my previous work of integrating Jungian and Lacanian psychoanalysis (see Complexes Tickling the $ubject). A main focus of this article is to use Zizek’s interpretation of Lacan’s writing on desire and drive in relation to my Heideggerian interpretation of Jung. As a result, this article is an important contribution to the literature because it shows the importance of the transcendent function; complexes and the Rosarium Philosophorum to elucidate the ethics of desire and drive. This article shows how Heidegger’s work in Being and Time and his interpretation of Nietzsche is important to detail the process of Lacanian psychoanalysis. Nietzsche’s books; Human All Too Human and The Gay Science will also be discussed as well as Sartre’s Being and Nothingness and Zizek’s writing on the cunning of reason; Kantian ethics; beyond the pleasure principle; Kierkegaard; Sisyphus; anxiety; Hitchcock; Gelassenheit; the Gospel of Matthew and error as a fundamental passage to truth.

1. Introduction

Before beginning my discussion on desire I would like to refer the reader to my earlier work on Jung’s transcendent function [1,2] and Jung’s work on complexes [3,4] and the Rosarium Philosophorum [4]. This earlier work of mine provides an extensive engagement with Jung’s own writing so the reader should refer to these publications to become familiar with these Jungian ideas if they have not already done so. My earlier work also engages with the secondary literature on these Jungian ideas so the reader is also directed to these earlier publications to understand my work in connection with the publications of other Jungian authors. Unfortunately the space of this article does not give me the luxury to repeat a detailed discussion of these ideas and relies on the reader doing some background reading of my earlier work. Finally, I would also like to make it clear why I am integrating Jungian and Lacanian ideas. I refer the reader to my article Complexes Tickling the $ubject where I combine Heidegger, Jung, Lacan and Hegel into a semiotic square to illustrate in a diagram how a new perspective or meaning can be produced by highlighting the different ways these four thinkers describe the same phenomena. Just like looking at an object from different positions (or intentionality—see Husserl’s work on adumbration) can show something another position couldn’t show, in this article I take a different position in relation to the object of study (Jung) which is created from a variety of Zizek’s and Lacan’s ideas to show a new perspective on Jungian psychology.

2. Desire

One way Zizek explains desire is by referring to objet petit a. For example, “the object a is always, by definition, perceived in a distorted way, because outside this distortion, ‘in itself’, it does not exist, since it is nothing but the embodiment, the materialization of this very distortion, of this surplus of confusion and perturbation introduced by desire into so-called “objective reality”. The object a is “objectively” nothing, though, viewed from a certain perspective, it assumes the shape of “something” ([5], p. 12). Zizek adds “Desire ‘takes off’ when ‘something’ (its object-cause) embodies, gives positive existence to its ‘nothing’, to its void. This ‘something’ is the anamorphic object, a pure semblance that we can perceive clearly only by ‘looking awry’” ([5], p. 12). To elucidate the meaning of this it is important to integrate it with my work from Complexes Tickling the $ubject [6]. The objet petit a is perceived in a distorted way because it covers “the void in the symbolic order and the analysand will experience this void as obstructive, unready to hand and ‘not-being-at-home’ if this void has not been discovered” ([6], p. 5). This distortion is introduced by desire because “Desire ‘takes off’ when ‘something’ (its object-cause) embodies, gives positive existence to its ‘nothing’, to its void”. This is important because it highlights the role desire plays in removing the obstructiveness of a complex (Jung) or in other words, the role desire plays in traversing the fantasy (Lacan). Both of these elements of psychoanalysis allow the analysand to discover “the possibilities missing from the readiness to hand the analysand shifts from desire to drive through an experience of the barred subject as an answer of the Real” ([6], p. 4). This article outlines the intricacies of desire and drive in connection to the cunning of reason, Kantian ethics, beyond the pleasure principle, Kierkegaard, Sisyphus, anxiety, Hitchcock, Gelassenheit, the Gospel of Matthew and error as a fundamental passage to truth. This will elucidate how the analysand removes the obstructiveness of a complex1/objet petit a by “reaching absolute knowledge ($A) where the analysand is barred from the imaginary object petit a (a) and ‘makes myself seen’ as the Thing as a void in the symbolic (barred subject $ as an answer of the Real)” ([6], p. 4).

3. The Cunning of Reason

In this section I focus on the cunning of reason and show why “One must be duped in one’s desire, though it is ultimately impossible, in order that something real comes about” ([7], p. 41). The analysand must be duped by their desire for objet petit a for the transcendent function to remove the obstructiveness of a complex from being in the world. This is one way the woodcuts of the Rosarium Philosophorum can be apprehended [4]. The journey through the 10 woodcuts depicts an analysand’s journey of being duped in their desire for objet petit a until discovering it is impossible “in order that something real comes about”. Woodcut six (death) represents the analysand discovering the impossibility of their desire ([6], p. 14) and woodcuts 7–10 represent the analysand discovering new possibilities for being in the world in response to traversing the fantasy/complex of their impossible desire.
When Zizek explains “the Hegelian notion of the ‘cunning of reason’” he says “The subject engages in a certain activity with the purpose of achieving a well-defined goal; in this he fails since the final result of his actions is a different, totally unintended state of things that, however, would not have been brought about had the subject aimed directly at it” ([5], p. 77). This further clarifies why desire is important to understand Jung’s transcendent function. The analysand needs to be duped in their desire so the “cunning of reason” can bring about the “totally unintended state of things”. The analysand needs to be duped in their desire to go beyond an imaginary relationship to the other, to a symbolic and Real relationship to the Other to arrive at “the totally unintended state of things” of traversing the fantasy of an obstructive complex by circulating around the impossibility of symbolising the desire/lack in the Other through the drive. In other words, this is when the analysand goes beyond an imaginary relationship to the other, to a symbolic and Real relationship to the Other. This is also when the analysand arrives at “the totally unintended state of things” by discovering the possibility of the impossibility of their desire through the desire of the Other [6] and this is how we should understand Lacan when he says “the desire of man is the desire of the Other” ([8], p. 170) and link it to Hegel’s “cunning of reason”.
This explains why the analysand experiences the obstructiveness of a complex/fantasy when the possibility of the impossibility of a desire has not been discovered [6]. The analysand experiences being in the world as obstructive because the analysand has not been faithful to being duped in their desire because “In Hegelian terms, we could say that the Reason of History” has not yet “used them as involuntary means of realizing its aim” ([5], p. 78). The analysand reaches the “moment” [1] of “the Reason of History” through Jung’s transcendent function by discovering the impossibility of a desire and this unconceals the barred subject $ of the analysand. When this happens the analysand no longer experiences the obstructiveness of a complex because the fantasy of the possibility of an impossible desire has been traversed by discovering its impossibility and this is a discovery of “the Reason of History”. Zizek puts this in other words by saying “It is also against this background that we should approach the classic Lacanian definition of communication, by which the speaker receives from the other his own message in its true, inverted form. It is in the ‘essential by-products’ of his activity, in its unintended results, that his message’s true, effective meaning is returned to the subject” ([5], p. 78). What this means is that the analysand receives the meaning of their desire “in its true, inverted form” as an “essential by-product” when the analysand is duped by “the cunning of reason” which results in discovering the possibility of the impossibility of their desire. This is important as it allows the obstructiveness of a complex/fantasy to be removed because the truth of the barred subject $ of the analysand has been discovered through “the Reason of History”.
Being duped in one’s desire is important because “Even if the object of desire is an illusory lure, there is a real in this illusion: the object of desire in its positive nature is vain, but not the place it occupies” ([7], p. 339). Arriving at this place is the aim of Jung’s transcendent function and this is achieved by discovering the possibility of the impossibility of a desire. When this happens the analysand removes the obstructiveness of a complex/fantasy to unconceal “the place of the Real, which is why there is more truth in unconditional fidelity to one’s desire than in a resigned insight into the vanity of one’s striving” ([7], p. 339). Fantasy covers the lack/desire of the Other because the analysand remains at an imaginary relationship to the other. As a result, the analysand misrecognises his or her place within the symbolic order because the place barred subject ($) has not been unconcealed by discovering the possibility of the impossibility of a desire. This is what Lacan means when he says there is a “function of misrecognition that characterizes the ego in all the defensive structures so forcefully articulated by Anna Freud” ([9], p. 80). In other words, the analysand stays at an imaginary relationship to the other to defend the ego from discovering the possibility of the impossibility of a desire. Being duped in one’s desire allows the analysand to go beyond an imaginary relationship to the other to discover the lack/desire of the Other or in Lacan’s words, beyond this imaginary relationship of the ego “language restores to it, in the universal, its function as subject” ([9], p. 76). This is achieved when the analysand has discovered the possibility of the impossibility of their desire. If the analysand does not go beyond an imaginary relationship to the other, they will experience the obstructiveness of a complex/objet petit a [6] because their fantasy conceals the Real of the lack/desire of the Other. This provides another perspective to support Lacan when Zizek says “we should remain faithful to the Western ‘Oedipal’ tradition: of course every object of desire is an illusory lure; of course the full jouissance of incest is not only prohibited, but in itself impossible; nevertheless, Lacan’s les non-dupes errent must still be asserted” ([10], p. 133). This journey of being duped by desire through Jung’s transcendent function is necessary to uncover the barred subject $ because “there is no Self that precedes the Spirit’s ‘self- alienation’: the very process of alienation generates the ‘Self’ from which Spirit is alienated and to which it then returns, it constitutes itself through its ‘return-to-itself’” ([11], p. 231).

4. Desire and Duty

Zizek also highlights the duty of being duped by desire by the cunning of reason by referring to Lacan’s article “Kant with Sade”. Zizek argues “what does Lacan’s ‘Kant with Sade’ effectively mean? the focus of Lacan’s interest rather resides in the paradoxical reversal by means of which desire itself (i.e., acting upon one’s desire, not conceding it) can no longer be grounded in any ‘pathological’ interests or motivations and thus meets the criteria of the Kantian ethical act, so that ‘following one’s desire’ overlaps with ‘doing one’s duty’” ([12], p. 342). This highlights the ethical dimension of “following one’s desire” where it overlaps with “doing one’s duty” as a categorical imperative and “thus meets the criteria of the Kantian ethical act”.
Lacan outlines his ethics of desire in the seminar The Ethics of Psychoanalysis [13] by saying “And it is because we know better than those who went before how to recognize the nature of desire, which is at the heart of this experience, that a reconsideration of ethics is possible, that a form of ethical judgment is possible, of a kind that gives this question the force of a Last Judgment: Have you acted in conformity with the desire that is in you?” ([13], p. 314). Zizek summarises this by saying “This is Lacan’s maxim of the ethics of psychoanalysis: ‘the only thing of which one can be guilty is of having given ground relative to one’s desire [d’avoir cédé sur son désir]” ([7], p. 328).
What needs to be highlighted here is that acting “in conformity with the desire that is in you” and then discovering the possibility of the impossibility of this desire through the lack/desire of the Other “is that Lacanian ethics is not an ethics of hedonism: whatever ‘do not concede your desire’ means, it does not mean the unrestrained rule of what Freud called ‘the pleasure principle’, the functioning of the psychic apparatus that aims at achieving pleasure. For Lacan, hedonism is in fact the model of postponing desire” ([7], p. 328). To be ethical and follow the duty of desire is to go ‘beyond the pleasure principle’ by discovering the possibility of the impossibility of a desire to reveal the truth and jouissance of the barred subject $ of the analysand. This is how the analysand traverses the fantasy or removes the obstructiveness of a complex by discovering the displeasure of the possibility of the impossibility of a desire. If the analysand sticks to hedonism they will postpone acting in conformity with their desire. This will occur because going ‘beyond the pleasure principle’ is required for the analysand to be authentic and discover the barred subject $ through the possibility of the impossibility of a desire.
Zizek also highlights that “Even (Western) Buddhism is not immune to this trap: the Dalai Lama himself wrote. ‘The purpose of life is to be happy’” ([7], p. 329). Zizek supplements this by saying “not true for psychoanalysis, one should add” ([7], p. 329). Zizek then explains Kant’s relationship to psychoanalysis when he says “In Kant’s description, ethical duty functions as a foreign traumatic intruder that, from without, disturbs the subject’s homeostatic balance, its unbearable pressure forcing the subject to act ‘beyond the pleasure principle’, ignoring the pursuit of pleasures” ([7], p. 329). This is important to link to the ethics of desire/psychoanalysis because “For Lacan, exactly the same description holds for desire, which is why enjoyment is not something that comes naturally to the subject, as a realization of his or her own inner potential, but is the content of a traumatic superego injunction” ([7], p. 329). What this means is that Kant’s ethics is compatible with the ethics of psychoanalysis. Both recognise the duty or categorical imperative to go “beyond the pleasure principle” to act “in conformity with the desire that is in you”. This unveils the truth of the barred subject $ to traverse the fantasy or remove the obstructiveness of a complex by discovering the displeasure (joussiance) of the possibility of the impossibility of a desire. This compatibility between Kant and Lacan is clear when Zizek says “the Lacanian ethics of desire, of this fiat desiderium, pereat mundus, can be detected even in Kant who, according to Lacan, was the first to formulate an ethics of desire that ignores pathological considerations” ([14], p. 69).
Outlining all of this is important because “Lacan insists that the most dangerous form of betrayal is not a direct yielding to our ‘pathological’ impulses but, rather, a reference to some kind of Good, as when I shirk my duty with the excuse that I might thereby impair the Good (my own or the common) the moment I invoke ‘circumstances’ or ‘unfavourable consequences’ as an excuse, I am on my way to perdition” ([14], p. 68). What this means is that a Lacanian definition of psychopathology involves not acting “in conformity with the desire that is in you” and remaining within the boundaries of the ego/pleasure principle. When the analysand shirks from the duty of being duped in their desire, a fantasy cannot be traversed and this will result in experiencing the obstinacy of an obstructive complex until the analysand is resolute to experience the displeasure (jouissance) of discovering the possibility of the impossibility of a desire. Zizek highlights some pathological ways of staying within the boundaries of the pleasure principle to avoid acting “in conformity with the desire that is in you” when he says “Reasons on account of which I compromise my desire can be very convincing and well-founded, even honourable; I can invoke anything, up to and including ecological damage. The artifice of looking for excuses is boundless” ([14], p. 68). Alternatively, psychoanalytic treatment involves not compromising the analysand’s desire and Zizek highlights that Lacan shows the ethical importance of this by saying “Desire and Kantian ethical rigour coincide here in their disregard for the ‘demands of reality’: neither of them acknowledges the excuse of circumstances or unfavourable consequences, which is why Lacan ultimately identifies them (‘the moral law, looked at more closely, is simply desire in its pure state’)” ([14], p. 69). If the analysand does not follow this ethic of psychoanalysis by compromising their desire the “Superego is the revenge that capitalizes upon our guilt—that is to say, the price we pay for the guilt we contract by betraying our desire in the name of the Good” ([14], p. 69). This is Zizek’s way of saying what I have also said where “Dasein can possess a guilty mood because Dasein may have fallen prey to a complex and obstructed its openness and freedom to listen to the call of conscience” ([2], p. 89). When my work is combined with Zizek’s in this way it shows the relationship between Jung’s transcendent function and Lacanian psychoanalysis. In other words, “we pay for the guilt we contract by betraying our desire in the name of the Good” ([14], p. 69) because “Dasein has not valued art higher than truth. By valuing truth higher than art, Dasein denies the transcendent function and hinders the essence of life by not retrieving the meaning of a guilty mood or possibilities missing from the readiness to hand to remove the obstructiveness of a complex from being in the world” ([15], p. 52).
Finally, Zizek again clarifies the relationship between Kantian ethics and psychoanalytic ethics by explaining that “Kant’s philosophy as the crucial antecedent of psychoanalytic ethics. According to the standard critique, the limitation of the Kantian universalist ethic of the ‘categorical imperative’ (the unconditional injunction to do our duty) resides in its formal indeterminacy: moral Law does not tell me what my duty is, it merely tells me that I should accomplish my duty, and so leaves the space open for empty voluntarism (whatever I decide to be my duty is my duty). However, far from being a limitation, this very feature brings us to the core of Kantian ethical autonomy: it is not possible to derive the concrete norms that I must follow in my specific situation from the moral Law itself—which means that the subject himself must assume responsibility for the translation of the abstract injunction of the moral Law into a series of concrete obligations” ([16], p. 225). This clarifies that both Kantian and psychoanalytic ethics involve a “‘categorical imperative’ (the unconditional injunction to do our duty)” and this imperative/duty is formally indeterminate. In contrast to seeing this as a limitation of Kant’s ethics, Zizek highlights that this indeterminacy is essential for it to be a universal ethic because it leaves the space open for the subject’s (analysand’s) desire to determine the duty to be followed. This is important because this will dupe the analysand “in order that something real comes about” (Real can be substituted for ethical here) to reveal the unique barred subject $.

5. The Ethics of Psychoanalysis

What all of this amounts to is that the analysand must adhere to the “ethics of psychoanalysis” [13] to remove a complex (Jung) or traverse the fantasy (Lacan). Zizek describes this by saying “Lacan accomplishes the passage from theoretical to practical anti-humanism, that is, to an ethics that goes beyond the dimension of what Nietzsche called the ‘human, all too human,’ and confronts the inhuman core of humanity” ([16], p. 166).
Since Zizek did not include an important quote from Nietzsche when he mentions Nietzsche’s book Human All Too Human, I will include it here for him:
“A drive and impulse rules and masters it like a command; a will and desire awakens to go off, anywhere, at any cost; a vehement dangerous curiosity for an undiscovered world flames and flickers in all its senses. ‘Better to die than to go on living here’—thus responds the imperious voice and temptation: and this ‘here’, this ‘at home’ is everything it had hitherto loved!”.
([17], p. 7)
This quote comes from the preface of Nietzsche’s book, Human All Too Human, where he describes a “free spirit”. This is important because the analysand must embody this “free spirit” or hysteric [18] to go beyond the “human, all too human” dimension of an imaginary relationship to the other to a symbolic and Real relationship to the Other to remove the obstructiveness of a complex or fantasy. The analysand experiences “the inhuman core of humanity” through an experience of the sublime which “is ‘beyond the pleasure principle’, it is a paradoxical pleasure procured by displeasure itself (the exact definition—one of the Lacanian definitions—of enjoyment [jouissance])” ([19], p. 202). The ethics of Jungian and Lacanian psychoanalysis involves a shift from an imaginary relationship to the other to a symbolic and Real relationship to the Other which involves a shift from the pleasure principle to “beyond the pleasure principle”. This shift is necessary for the analysand to traverse the fantasy of the imaginary pleasure of the possibility of a desire and to remove the obstructiveness of a complex through an experience of Real pleasure procured by displeasure (jouissance). This pleasure procured by displeasure is Real and comes from the pleasure of removing the obstructiveness of a complex/fantasy even though this means the displeasure of the loss of the possibility of a desire due to discovering the barred subject $.
It is important to consider this in the light of what Zizek shows when quoting the Bible “But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own, (Matthew 6:30–4)” ([10], p. 512). Zizek quotes this part of the Bible because he uses it to explain that “Lacan often refers to these lines in order to denigrate healing as the primary goal of psychoanalytic treatment: health comes par sure roit-in addition or in excess, and by itself: as an unintended bonus” ([10], p. 512). I as a Matthew also advocate these words from the Gospel of Matthew because it allows what I have said previously to be better understood. It is important to follow the categorical imperative/duty to act “in conformity with the desire that is in you” even if this leads to the displeasure (jouissance) of discovering the possibility of the impossibility of that desire. It is important to not aim at health/pleasure which does not go “beyond the pleasure principle” but to act “in conformity with the desire that is in you” as this will allow the analysand to discover the authentic truth of the barred subject $ so an inauthentic imaginary fantasy can be traversed to remove the obstructiveness of a complex. In other words, “do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself” from the Gospel of Matthew means “One must be duped in one’s desire, though it is ultimately impossible, in order that something real comes about” ([7], p. 41) and this is what is required for Jung’s transcendent function to be successful [6].
Jung’s transcendent function directs the analysand away from the pleasure principle and “health” “Insofar as health concerns the organism and its homeostasis, not Truth, its status is pathological in the Kantian sense” ([10], p. 512). Zizek contrasts deontology with utilitarianism here by saying “Lacan’s motto can also be expressed in terms of focusing on ethical duty and ignoring utilitarian concerns: do your duty, and happiness and the Good will take care of themselves” ([10], p. 513). This adds to understanding Jung’s transcendent function which involves the resoluteness of “the heroic stance of ‘Take care of the truth, and the healing will take care of itself’: confront the Truth, risk everything, ignore the consequences, and health will come par sur croit...In short: confront the Real, and reality will take care of itself. Do not compromise your desire, and your needs and demands will be provided for” ([10], p. 513). Truth is reached at stage 3 of Jung’s transcendent function [2] and reaching this point first requires the analysand to not compromise their desire. The analysand needs to act “in conformity with the desire that is in you” as their duty to go beyond an imaginary relationship to the other to encounter the void of the barred subject $ by discovering the possibility of the impossibility of their desire as the Truth of the analysand. This is when the analysand discovers “the possibilities missing from the readiness to hand and the authentic meaning of the complex, so the complex can be assimilated into Dasein’s understanding of being in the world” ([2], p. 90). Additionally, confronting Truth and risking “everything, ignore the consequences, and health will come par sur croit” can be appreciated as being compatible with my Heideggerian interpretation of Jung by comparing it with “the unconcealment of the primordial truth can be appropriated through resolutely encountering, discovering and retrieving missing possibilities from the readiness to hand and the meaning of a complex [3]. This allows the obstructiveness of a complex to be removed from being in the world and this provides Dasein the understanding to authentically to care for being in the world” ([2], p. 90). In other words, the analysand can authentically care for being in the world by doing their “duty, and happiness and the Good will take care of themselves”. Importantly what this shows is that a Heideggerian interpretation of Jung is consistent with Zizek’s interpretation of Lacan (cf. Complexes Tickling the $ubject [6]) where both involve relying “on some kind of Cunning of Reason which will help the patient achieve health without directly looking for it” ([10], p. 513). My future work will look at this in more detail with the “negation of negation” which is “a shift of perspective which turns failure into true success” ([10], p. 520).

6. Immortality, Kierkegaard and the Ethics of Desire

Another way to highlight the ethics of following the categorical imperative/duty to act “in conformity with the desire that is in you” is that “Even if the object of desire is an illusory lure, there is a Real in this illusion: the object of desire in its positive nature is vain, but not the place it occupies, the place of the Real, which is why there is more truth in unconditional fidelity to one’s desire than in resigned insight into the vanity of one’s striving” ([7], p. 339). What this highlights is that the analysand must be duped by their desire although it is an illusion and “is ultimately impossible, in order that something real comes about” ([7], p. 339). This is an imperative because “for Lacan, desire is indestructible (eternal, absolute) insofar as it is impossible—it is indestructible not because it is a permanent unchangeable substance impervious to all pressures, but precisely because it is thoroughly non-substantial: a barely perceptible scintillation of an X that erases itself before it even fully comes to be” [20]. Desire is the analysand’s imaginary relationship to the Real and because the Real is non-substantial and “a barely perceptible scintillation of an X that erases itself before it even fully comes to be” the analysand acts ethically by following the duty/imperative of their desire so the possibility of the impossibility of their desire can be discovered, otherwise the Real “is forever doomed to return, to continue to haunt us” [20] as the obstructiveness of a complex. In other words, Jung’s transcendent function requires the analysand to discover the barred subject $ where “the subject (of desire) is not substance—not a thing which persists in time, but an entirely non-substantial evental entity which disappears even before it appears, which appears in/through its very disappearance, as the result of its very failure to be” [20]. The transcendent function requires this because the analysand will misrecognise the Truth of the meaning of their Being which will be experienced as an obstructive complex “forever doomed to return, to continue to haunt us” if the analysand does not discover the non-substantial barred subject $ of the Real. This is achieved in stage 3 of my Heideggerian interpretation of Jung’s transcendent function as “the moment” and involves a non-substatinal Real “temporality—the temporality of something that never is but always only will have been” [20]. This temporality is experienced when the analysand discovers the possibility of the impossibility of their desire which discloses their freedom from the obstructiveness of a complex. The analysand’s freedom is determined by the fate of the impossibility of their desire and “is an inexplicable, ‘irrational’, unaccountable ‘fact of reason’” ([10], p. 265).
This is a good way to transition to Zizek’s analysis of the meaning of immortality in Kierkegaard’s philosophy. Following the categorical imperative/duty to act “in conformity with the desire that is in you” determines the ethics of psychoanalysis because “as Kierkegaard put it, the true trauma is not our mortality, but our immortality: it is easy to accept that we are just a speck of dust in the infinite universe; what is much more difficult to accept is that we really are immortal free beings who, as such, cannot escape the terrible responsibility of their freedom” ([10], p. 266). What this highlights is that thinking “that we are just a speck of dust in the infinite universe” is a way of not going ‘beyond the pleasure principle’ which leaves the barred subject $ undiscovered “forever doomed to return, to continue to haunt us” [20] as the obstructiveness of a complex. Being unethical means to not accept “that we really are immortal free beings who, as such, cannot escape the terrible responsibility of their freedom” and that is why psychoanalysis attempts to guide the analysand to resolutely take “responsibility of their freedom” by acting in conformity with the ethics of their desire.
Zizek explains that Kierkegaard’s notion of “’sickness unto death’ proper is to be opposed to the standard despair of the individual torn between the certainty that death is the end, that there is no Beyond of eternal life, and his unquenchable desire to believe that death is not final, that there is another life with its promise of eternal bliss. The true ‘sickness unto death’ rather involves the opposite paradox of the subject who knows that death is not the end, that he has an immortal soul,, but who cannot face the exorbitant demands that follow from this fact (the necessity of abandoning vain aesthetic pleasures and working for his salvation) and so desperately wants to believe that death is the end, that there is no divine unconditional demand exerting its pressure upon him” ([21], p. 90). This is another way of describing Nietzsche’s “greatest burden” which I wrote about in The Gay Science and the Rosarium Philosophorum [4] and Retrieving and Projecting Jung’s Transcendent Function with Complexes and the Rosarium Philosophorum [2]. Jung’s transcendent function involves the analysand understanding “that death is not the end, that he has an immortal soul” and to resolutely take “responsibility of their freedom” by acting in conformity with the ethics of their desire to prevent the Real from “forever doomed to return, to continue to haunt” the analysand as the obstructiveness of a complex. The analysand misrecognises the Truth of the meaning of their Being (the barred subject $) and are not able to remove the obstructiveness of a complex if they “desperately want to believe that there is nothing beyond death, to be relieved of the unbearable pressure of the divine injunction” ([21], p. 90). This is another way of saying that a complex arises “when Dasein’s understanding of existence is inauthentically narrow and dogmatically averse to the authentic meaning of the call of conscience which discloses the truth of Being” ([3], p. 967). Ultimately, this inauthentic understanding of trying to be “relieved of the unbearable pressure” to act “in conformity with the desire that is in you” ([13], p. 314) “culminates in complexes alienating Dasein from the truth and meaning of Being which results in Dasein falling prey once again as Dasein’s world becomes conspicuously and obstinately obstructive” ([3], p. 967). Finally, my earlier writing also argues that “By inauthentically understanding the experience of a complex Dasein does so by turning away from it in falling; in this turning-away, the ‘not-at-home’ gets ‘dimmed down’” ([3], p. 972) and this is a “sickness unto death” where “the individual who desperately wants to die, to disappear forever” to avoid “the terrible responsibility of their freedom” ([21], p. 90) which involves traversing the fantasy of their desire to discover the Real Truth and displeasure of the barred subject $2.

7. Drive’s ‘Eternal Return of the Same’

I have already linked Nietzsche to Lacan and Zizek a number of times in this article as well as in my article Method in the Madness: Hysteria and the Will to Power [18]. In this section, I continue to highlight the relationship between Nietzsche (who is central to my Heideggerian interpretation of Jung) and Lacan. The legitimacy of my integration of Nietzsche with Lacan is clearly reinforced by Zizek when he says “Does not Nietzsche’s famous ‘Drunken Song’ from the Fourth Part of Zarathustra (The world is deep,/And deeper than the day could read/Deep its woe -,/Joy—deeper still than grief can be:/Woe says: Hence Go!/But joys all want eternity -,/—Want deep, profound eternity?) express perfectly the excessive pleasure-in-pain at which late Lacan aims in his rehabilitation of drive? This Nietzschean “eternity” is to be opposed to being-towards-death: it is the eternity of drive against the finitude of desire. The “Yes!” of the ‘eternal return of the same’ thus aims at the same thing as Lacan’s Encore! (“More!”—Nietzsche himself says in the preceding paragraph that “the name of/this song/is ‘Once more’), which is to be read (also) as an evocation of the proverbial woman’s ‘More!’ during the sexual act—it stands for more of the same, for the full acceptance of the pain itself as inherent to the excess of pleasure which is jouissance” ([21], p. 30).
One thing Zizek is implicitly highlighting here is that the joy of the Nietzschean “eternity” through the excessive pleasure in pain of the drive occurs when the possibility of the impossibility of a desire is discovered. The Nietzschean “eternity” is experienced when the Truth of the barred subject $ is discovered through a retrieval of the possibility of the impossibility of a desire [2,6]. In other words, drive and Nietzsche’s “eternity” are the eternal recurrence of the same which “makes the Will to Power and Jung’s transcendent function what it is it by securing life’s enhancement by ‘eternally’ removing the obstructiveness of a complex in the constancy and permanency of truth. The eternal recurrence of the Will to Power is achieved in ‘the Moment’ at the gateway of the story of Zarathustra where the avenue that leads back symbolises the past where Dasein is guilty for falling prey and the complex is projected. This is in contrast to the avenue leading forward which symbolises the future that removes the obstructiveness of a complex from being in the world” ([15], p. 70). When the analysand retrieves the missing possibility from the readiness to hand which is the impossibility of a desire, the finitude of desire shifts to the eternity of the drive which unconceals the Truth of the barred subject $ to eternally “inscribe, encircle the void place of the subject through the failure of his symbolization” ([19], p. 173). The “Yes!” of the eternal return of the same is the “Yes” to discover the eternal possibility of the impossibility of a desire or the Truth of unconcealing the “Encore!” (More!) of being eternally barred ($) from an impossible desire. This is when the analysand authentically accepts and loves their fate and this is something Nietzsche appears to have achieved when in The Gay Science [22] he says:
“I want to learn more and more how to see what is necessary in things as what is beautiful in them—thus I will be one of those who make things beautiful. Amor fati: let that be my love from now on! I do not want to wage war against ugliness. I do not want to accuse; I do not even want to accuse the accusers. Let looking away be my only negation! And, all in all and on the whole: some day I want only to be a Yes-sayer!”.
([22], p. 157)
This “moment” is one of “the full acceptance of the pain itself as inherent to the excess of pleasure which is jouissance” because the analysand has traversed the fantasy of their desire to remove the obstructiveness of a complex with Jung’s transcendent function. This is another way of elucidating Zizek when he says “In this precise sense, the ‘eternal return of the same’ stands for the moment when the subject ‘traverses the fantasy’” ([21], p. 31) and this statement substantiates all of my work which shows the compatibility of Nietzsche and Jung [2], Lacan and Nietzsche [18] and now Lacan and Jung [6].
This explains how the Real of the drive can return in dreams if the analysand has not traversed the fantasy of their desire. Zizek highlights this phenomenon by describing the “very common dream experience that of ‘immobile movement’ in which, despite your frenzied activity, you remain in some way blocked, immobile, stuck in a fixed point, Where, through your very movement itself, you seem ‘not to move’. You are constantly repeating the same gesture, and even though the act is accomplished again and again, its effect is canceled out” ([23], p. 16). This example highlights that because an analysand has not discovered the possibility of the impossibility of a desire through the transcendent function, drive returns as a symptom of the Real in the analysand’s dream and will be “forever doomed to return, to continue to haunt us” [20] as the obstructiveness of a complex, until the analysand has been ethical by following the categorical imperative/duty to act “in conformity with the desire that is in you”.
Zizek also uses the example of Sisyphus to articulate the phenomena of the drive by saying “The ‘rock of Sisyphus’ is directly relevant to our theme: With hands and feet he tried to roll it up to the top of the hill, but always, just before he could roll it over on to the other side, its weight would be too much for him, and the pitiless stone would come thundering down again on to the plain” ([23], p. 16). The example of Sisyphus is important because it describes the journey of the analysand who follows the categorical imperative of psychoanalysis to act “in conformity with the desire that is in you”. The example of Sisyhus demonstrates the relationship between desire and the possibility of the impossibility of a desire. Sisyhus desires to roll the stone up to the top of the hill “but always, just before he could roll it over on to the other side, its weight would be too much for him, and the pitiless stone would come thundering down again on to the plain” ([23], p. 16), thus highlighting the imaginary fantasy or complex of Sisyphus. Sisyphus traverses the fantasy to remove the obstructiveness of a complex by discovering the “actual goal of Sisyphus’ activity is the path itself, the circular movement that consists in pushing the rock uphill and letting it roll back down” ([23], p. 16). This is when the barred subject $ emerges because the possibility of the ‘eternal’ impossibility of a desire has been discovered which is “the basic framework of a drive, with its pulsation and its circular movement. The true aim of a drive is not its stated goal: it is nothing more than “the return into the circuit of the drive” ([23], p. 16; [24], p. 178).
Another example of a fantasy/complex that has not been traversed is found in Mariah Carey’s song “We Belong Together” and many other songs similar to it. When one listens to or reads the lyrics of this song it becomes clear that a fantasy/complex has not been traversed because the possibility of the impossibility of a desire has not been discovered. Although the lyrics in this song demonstrate acting “in conformity with the desire that is in you”, for example “I need you, Need you back in my life, baby”, it is also clear that desire has not shifted to drive (“When you left I lost a part of me, It’s still so hard to believe, Come back baby, please, Cause we belong together”). These lyrics highlight that the possibility of the impossibility of a desire (reuniting will never occur) has not been discovered which is required for traversing the fantasy and removing the obstructiveness of a complex (compare the lyrics to the song “I’m His Girl” by New York band Friends for the antithesis to Mariah Carey’s song).
Finally before moving onto the next section I will relate this to other parts of Zizek’s work when he says “it is not just that the subject must not ‘give way as to his drive’; the status of the drive itself is inherently ethical” ([25], p. 272). Drive is ethical when the analysand has discovered the possibility of the impossibility of a desire because this removes the conflict with the other because complexes “are either the cause or the effect of a conflict” ([26], p. 98). Drive is ethical because it removes the conflict and obstructiveness of a complex/fantasy by going beyond an imaginary relationship to the other to discover the lack/desire of the Other or in Lacan’s words, beyond this imaginary relationship of the ego “language restores to it, in the universal, its function as subject” ([9], p. 76). Drive is ethical because it unconceals the Real of the barred subject $ which opens the space/freedom of the desire/lack of the Other. In other words, drive encircles “again and again the site of the lost Thing, to mark it in its very impossibility—as exemplified by the embodiment of the drive in its zero degree, in its most elementary, the tombstone which just marks the site of the dead” ([25], p. 272). Desire needs to be replaced by a “tombstone which just marks the site of the dead” with Jung’s transcendent function so this desire is not “forever doomed to return, to continue to haunt us” as the obstructiveness of a complex (angst, conscience, guilt). This is achieved when the analysand has discovered the possibility of the impossibility of their desire through the desire of the Other. The lyrics of ‘We Belong Together’ demonstrate that this has not been achieved and the void of the Real/freedom of the desire of the Other has not been introduced into symbolic reality (the other does not desire to reunite). If the analysand does not go beyond an imaginary relationship to the other, they will experience the conflict and obstructiveness of a complex/objet petit a because their fantasy conceals the Real and the freedom of the lack/desire of the Other.
Finally, this is another way to elucidate the fantasy/complex of narcissism where “narcissistic personalities may act under the illusion that by asserting their subjectivity and the objectivity of another consciousness, the other consciousness provides the narcissist a feeling of uninhibited freedom for their subjective desires and wishes, which acts to provide tranquillity from the perpetual struggle of their ambiguous subject-object being. Unfortunately, this understanding is inauthentic because another consciousness possesses its own subjectivity and is not an object as the narcissist may like to believe. As a result, while narcissist personalities may choose to objectify another consciousness without subjectivity to escape the struggle of the truth of existence that accompanies ambiguity, they will live in a world of bad faith, inequality and nihilism that arises without the reciprocal recognition of the true meaning of existence” ([27], p. 253).

8. Shifting from Desire to Drive

Describing the analysand’s shift from desire to drive is imperative to understand the aim of Jungian and Lacanian psychoanalysis. This shift is important because it provides the analysand some satisfaction which desire cannot provide, but “With regard to satisfaction, this does not mean that, in contrast to desire which is constitutively non-satisfied, the drive achieves satisfaction by way of reaching the object which eludes desire. True, in contrast to desire, the drive is by definition satisfied, but this is because, in it, satisfaction is achieved in the repeated failure to reach the object, in repeatedly circling around the object” ([10], p. 496). The satisfaction that Zizek is describing comes from the analysand removing the conflict and obstructiveness of a complex by discovering the Truth of the barred subject $ through a retrieval of the possibility of the impossibility of a desire [6]. The analysand achieves some satisfaction through the drive because the analysand’s imaginary fantasy has been traversed and with this the analysand authentically cares for their being in the world because they no longer encounter the obstructiveness of angst, guilt or the call of conscience from a complex [3]. However it is important to acknowledge that before this can be reached the analysand must go ‘beyond the pleasure principle’ to discover the possibility of the impossibility of their desire through the drive and “drive equals jouissance, since jouissance is, at its most elementary, ‘pleasure in pain’, that is, a perverted pleasure provided by the very painful experience of repeatedly missing one’s goal” ([28], p. 297). This is satisfying because instead of infinitely striving for an impossible desire which will result in the symptom of the obstructiveness of a complex, the analysand can remove this obstructiveness by discovering the possibility that their desire is impossible by encountering the Real/freedom of the desire of the Other. Zizek uses the drive to illustrate the ontological meaning of intercourse by describing “the well-known vulgar joke about a fool having intercourse for the first time, the girl has to tell him exactly what to do: ‘See this hole between my legs? Put it in here. Now push it deep. Now pull it out. Push it in, pull it out, push it in, pull it out...’’ Now wait a minute,’ the fool interrupts her, ‘make up your mind! In or out?’ What the fool misses is precisely the structure of a drive which gets its satisfaction from the indecision itself, from repeated oscillation” ([29], p. 64). This example highlights that the fool having intercourse for the first time has not shifted from desire to drive with the transcendent function whereas the girl understands the satisfaction “from repeated oscillation” of the drive.
Removing a complex/traversing a fantasy through Jung’s transcendent function can be better understood by making a distinction “between a lack and a hole: a lack is spatial, designating a void within a space, while a hole is more radical, it designates the point at which this spatial order itself breaks down (as in the ‘black hole’ in physics)’” ([16], p. 327). Jung’s transcendent function involves this shift between a lack and a hole. This is important because the cause of the analysand’s complex/fantasy comes from a lack and for the complex/fantasy to be removed/traversed a hole must be discovered so the analysand’s “spatial order itself breaks down”. The difference between lack and hole is the same “difference between desire and drive: desire is grounded in its constitutive lack, while the drive circulates around a hole, a gap in the order of being” ([16], p. 327). The aim of Jung’s transcendent function is to discover the barred subject $ of the analysand which is a “gap in the order of being” and this requires a shift in understanding space physically to understanding space ontologically because “the circular movement” of the drive obeys the weird logic of the curved space in which the shortest distance between two points is not a straight line, but a curve: the drive ‘knows’ that the quickest way to realize its aim is to circulate around its goal-object” ([16], p. 327).
The analysand’s relationship to anxiety is another important aspect to take into consideration to understand Jung’s transcendent function. Zizek explains anxiety by highlighting that Jacques-Alain “Miller recently proposed a Benjaminian distinction between ‘constituted anxiety’ and ‘constituent anxiety’: which is crucial with regard to the shift from desire to drive” ([16], p. 327) and so is also crucial to Jung’s transcendent function. Jung’s transcendent function involves this shift between constituted and constituent anxiety. Zizek says “the first designates the standard notion of the terrifying and fascinating abyss of anxiety which haunts us, its infernal circle which threatens to draw us in, the second stands for the ‘pure’ confrontation with the objet petit a as constituted in its very loss” ([16], p. 327). In other words, constituted anxiety is the analysand’s imaginary relationship to the other, whereas constituent anxiety is the analysand Real relationship to the lack/desire of the Other. The shift between these forms of anxiety is the shift between the analysand’s fantasy/complex of the possibility of a desire to traversing the fantasy/complex by discovering the possibility of the impossibility of a desire through the drive. Zizek supports this by saying “the difference which separates constituted from constituent anxiety concerns the status of the object with regard to fantasy. In a case of constituted anxiety, the object dwells within the confines of a fantasy, while we get only the constituent anxiety when the subject ‘traverses the fantasy’ and confronts the void, the gap, filled up by the fantasmatic object” ([16], p. 327). This is another way of saying that the experience of constituted anxiety occurs when the analysand has not discovered the possibility of the impossibility of desire whereas constituent anxiety is experienced when the analysand discovers this impossibility through the void/gap of the lack/desire of the Other.
Jung’s transcendent function starts in stage 1 with “an object which is originally lost, which coincides with its own loss, which emerges as lost” and finishes with “the object of the drive, the ‘object’ is directly the loss itself-in the shift from desire to drive, we pass from the lost object to loss itself as an object” ([10], p. 369). Stage 1 involves the analysand acting in conformity with their desire which is experienced as “an object which is originally lost”. The transcendent function is successful when the analysand discovers that the desire which provokes constituted anxiety and is thought to be possible of attaining in stage 1 is discovered as impossible in stage 3 [2,6]. This shift can even be found in Jean Paul Sartre’s writing on “the instant” as a change in a “fundamental project”:
“A beginning which is given as the end of a prior project-such must be the instant. It will exist therefore only if we are a beginning and an end to ourselves within the unity of a single act. Now it is precisely this which is produced in the case of a radical modification of our fundamental project By the free choice of this modification, in fact, we temporalize a project which we are, and we make known to ourselves by a future the being which we have chosen; thus the pure present belongs to the new temporalization as a beginning, and it receives from the future which has just arisen its own nature as a beginning”.
([30], p. 466)
The “instant” is when the analysand end’s one “project” and begins another by passing “from the lost object to loss itself as an object” to experience the drive and constituent anxiety from an encounter with the barred subject $ through the void/gap of the lack/desire of the Other. Jung’s transcendent function which occurs through a shift from desire to drive involves the “instant” and “thus becomes simultaneously the final and the initial terms for the respective projects” ([30], p. 631). In other words, this is the analysand’s relationship to “the objet a in its fantasmatic and post fantasmatic status” ([10], p. 639). The analysand experiences “satisfaction of the drives” because they no longer experience the conflict and obstructiveness of a complex (angst, conscience, guilt) because they have discovered the possibility of the impossibility of a desire. The obstructiveness of a complex and “the real of a symptom bears witness to some deadlock in the process of symbolization” ([31], p. 110). This deadlock comes from the possibility of the impossibility of a desire and therefore retrieving the missing possibility of the impossibility of a desire to remove the obstructiveness of a complex is “the moment the traumatic kernel at its root is integrated into the symbolic order, the symptom dissolves by itself” ([31], p. 110). This is the ultimate aim of Jung’s transcendent function [6] where the impasse of the obstructiveness of a complex encounters a “‘turn of the screw’, the reversal of impasse into passe, of the negativity of desire into the positivity of drive: we ‘change gear’, as it were, from desire to drive when we become aware of how our libido realizes its aim (finds satisfaction) in the very circular movement of its repeated failure to attain its goal” ([31], p. 114). This is the satisfaction of the “moment” or “instant” when the analysand discovers the missing possibility of the impossibility of a desire through the drive which is “the end of a prior project” and the beginning of a new project/desire.
For example Zizek cites Adorno to highlight that “it is impossible to find a single definition of society; it is always a matter of a multitude of definitions” ([7], p. 38). This is an example to demonstrate the complex/fantasy of an impossible desire to provide “a single definition of society”. This can be applied to Jung’s transcendent function which would begin with the analysand’s experience of the obstructiveness of their complex/fantasy where it “would seem to block any knowledge of society ‘in itself’, so that whoever presupposes society as a ‘thing in itself’ can only approach it by way of a multitude of partial, relative conceptions that are incapable of grasping it” ([7], p. 38). The analysand shifts from concealing the impossibility of their desire to “find a single definition of society” to unconceal its impossibility by discovering “this very contradiction becomes the answer: the different definitions of society do not function as an obstacle, but are inherent to the ‘thing itself’” ([7], p. 38). This is when the analysand removes the obstructiveness of a complex/fantasy and “the fundamental antagonism which constitutes the very thing that one wants to comprehend” ([7], p. 38) by discovering their desire as impossible. Zizek shows this can also be found in “the fundamental wager of the Hegelian strategy: ‘inappropriateness as such’ (in our case, that of opposing definitions) ‘gives away the secret’ [l’inappropriation comme telle fait tomber le secret’]—whatever presents itself initially as an obstacle becomes, in the dialectical turn, the very proof that we have made contact with the truth” ([7], p. 38).

9. Drive and the Desire of the Other

Jung’s transcendent function removes the obstructiveness of a complex/fantasy when the analysand discovers the possibility of the impossibility of their desire and “Lacan’s point is that I can fully assume the gap that constitutes my desire only via the confrontation with the enigma of the Other’s desire” ([31], p. 168). The importance of being “duped in one’s desire, though it is ultimately impossible, in order that something real comes about” is supported by recognising that “the ‘lost object’ which sets the subject’s desire in motion is ultimately the subject herself” ([31], p. 164) and the barred subject $ is unconcealed by discovering the possibility of the impossibility of desire through the desire of the Other. Discovering the possibility of the impossibility of a desire “is the true significance of Lacan’s claim that the inscription of the subject in the symbolic order comes about through a necessary “castration”, “the function of the cut” ([24], p. 206; [32], p. 70) which is a cut/bar to the analysand’s desire.
It is an important ethical duty for the analysand to follow their desire through the cunning of reason since the duty/imperative of desire leads to drive because “the Other’s desire confronts me with the opacity of the impossible Real that resists symbolization” ([31], p. 168). This inability to symbolise the Real of the Other’s desire is the movement of the drive which unconceals the barred subject $ through the cut of castration. Charles Freeland says “The subject ‘as such’ is thus what emerges from the ‘disappearance’ and subsumption of the subject. The subject emerges as submitted to the governance of a rule” ([32], p. 68). What this means is that the imperative of desire leads to drive when the analysand discovers the Truth of the barred subject which is “submitted to the governance of a rule” through the desire of the Other. This is supported by Zizek who says “Lacan asserts that there is a subject only in so far as there is a lack in the Other, only in so far as the structure is `non-all’, inconsistent” ([31], p. 144). As a result, this highlights the ethical nature of following one’s desire. Acting in conformity with desire is necessary to open up the space of the lack/desire of the Other through the drive (transcendent function) to discover the Truth and authenticity of the barred subject “submitted to the governance of a rule”. This also explains how discovering the barred subject $ involves going beyond an imaginary relationship to the other by attempting to symbolise the lack/desire of the Other until the impossibility of symbolising the lack/desire of the Other is discovered through the Real. When the impossibility of symbolising the lack/desire of the Other involves the master signifier, the analysand’s symbolic reality disintegrates and this is the event/instant of experiencing the barred subject $ through the Real.
My Heideggerian interpretation of Jung’s transcendent function is also compatible with “the reversal that defines the end of psychoanalytic cure” ([14], p. 72). Zizek describes this reversal by saying “At the outset of the cure is transference: the transferential relationship is in force as soon as the analyst appears in the guise of the subject supposed to know—to know the truth about the analysand’s desire. When, in the course of the psychoanalysis, the analysand complains that he doesn’t know what he wants, all his moaning and groaning is addressed to the analyst, with the implicit supposition that the analyst does know” ([14], p. 72). This is the start of Jung’s transcendent function where “The patient would like to know what it is all for and how to gain relief. In the intensity of the emotional disturbance itself lies the value, the energy which he should have at his disposal in order to remedy the state of reduced adaptation” ([33], p. 289). In this situation the analyst should guide the analysand to act “in conformity with the desire that is in you” to “discover regions of being in the world which are conspicuously experienced as obstructive, unready to hand and ‘not-being-at-home’” [2,6]. This allows the analysand to experience the obstructiveness of their desire so their complex/fantasy can be removed/traversed by “being submitted to the governance of a rule” [32] of the lack/desire of the Other. At the outset of psychoanalysis is transference where the analysand has not discovered/retrieved the possibility of the impossibility of their desire and so is experienced as the conflict and obstructiveness of a complex. This is because the analysand has not gone beyond an imaginary relationship to the other which means that “The end of the psychoanalysis, the dissolution of transference, occurs when this ‘epistemological’ incapacity shifts into ‘ontological’ impossibility” ([12], p. 66). In other words, “the end of the psychoanalysis” takes place through the transcendent function where the analysand discovers that what they thought was an ‘‘epistemological ‘incapacity’” of discovering the possibility to satisfy their desire is actually an “ontological impossibility” of the Truth of the meaning of their Being as a barred subject $. This highlights “the reversal that defines the end of psychoanalytic cure” where the transcendent function occurs through “the dissolution of transference” when the analysand discovers the possibility of the impossibility of their desire. This is the “instant” or “moment when the arrow of the question that the analysand pointed at the analyst turns back towards the analysand himself” ([12], p. 66) and grants the analysand “insight of their ‘ownmost self thrown into its individuation’” ([34], p. 311) through the unification of opposites (conscious/unconscious, desire of the analysand/desire of the Other) [1]. This “same reversal of the direction of the arrow defines drive” ([12], p. 66) and this explains how Jung’s transcendent function can also able to be described as “the shift from desire to drive”.

10. Se Faire Voir—‘Making Oneself Seen’

The journey through the 10 woodcuts of the Rosarium Philosophorum, which I have shown is the journey of the transcendent function [2] also involves “a parallax shift at work here: from illusion as mere illusion to the real in illusion” ([11], p. 72). This shift takes place when the analysand goes beyond and the illusion/fantasy connected to an imaginary relationship to the other, to a symbolic and Real relationship to the Other through the Will to Power and Eternal Recurrence of the Same [6,18]. This shift from imaginary to symbolic and Real is the shift from the possibility of a desire to the impossibility of a desire and therefore “This parallax shift is, in Lacanese, the shift from desire to drive” ([11], p. 72).
Lacan explains in “Seminar XI, that the essential feature of the scopic drive consists in ‘making oneself seen [se faire voir]’” ([7], p. 162). Making oneself seen is also the ultimate aim of Jung’s transcendent function and this is what Jung is referring to when he says ‘‘growth of personality is synonymous with an increase of self-consciousness’’ ([35], p. 184). Se faire voir is a growth of personality and increase of self-consciousness because the analysand has gone beyond an imaginary relationship to the other to reveal the Truth/authenticity of the barred subject $ by discovering/retrieving the possibility of the impossibility of their desire. This explains that the analysand experiences the obstructiveness of a complex when they have not “made oneself seen” because the fantasy of desire covers the void/cut of the barred subject $ when the analysand remains at an imaginary relationship to the other. This also highlights that because “there is a subject only in so far as there is a lack in the Other” ([31], p. 144), the analysand “makes oneself seen” as a barred subject $ to increase self-consciousness by discovering the impossibility of a desire through the desire/lack in the Other. When the analysand discovers the impossibility of a desire through the desire/lack in the Other a shift takes place from “desire to see” to “making oneself visible to the Other’s gaze” ([25], p. xxxii) which unconceals the barred subject “submitted to the governance of a rule”3.
Zizek illustrates this further by highlighting that “Hitchcock’s Rear Window is often quoted as an exemplary staging of the scopic drive” ([7], p. 162). Rear window is important for elucidating Jung’s transcendent function because “Throughout most of the film, it is the logic of desire that predominates: this desire is fascinated, propelled, by its object-cause, the dark window opposite the courtyard that gazes back at the subject” ([7], p. 162). The logic of desire takes place at the start of the transcendent function when the analysand has not gone beyond an imaginary relationship to the other and has not discovered the possibility of the impossibility of their desire/fantasy. This is when the analysand visits the analyst because their “desire to see” results in the obstructiveness of a complex (angst, conscience, guilt). What is important for stage 3 of the transcendent function in Rear Window is to ask “When, in the course of the film, does ‘the arrow come back toward the subject’?” ([7], p. 162). This can be found when Zizek answers “At the moment, of course, when the murderer in the house opposite Stewart’s rear window returns the gaze and catches him red-handed in his act of voyeurism: at this precise moment when James Stewart does not ‘see himself seeing himself’, but makes himself seen to the object of his seeing, that is, to that stain that attracted his gaze in the dark room across the courtyard, we pass from the register of desire into that of drive” ([7], p. 163).
When this occurs James Stewart experiences the obstructiveness of his complex/fantasy which involves the desire and fascination to engage in the “act of voyeurism”. This is when the barred subject $ of Stewart obstructively shows itself through an unconscious encounter with the possibility of the impossibility of his desire. Stewart experiences the barred subject as an obstructive complex because he has not gone beyond an imaginary relationship to the other to discover the desire/lack in the other. Removing this obstructiveness and traversing his fantasy to engage in voyeurism requires Stewart to discover the barred subject $ by making the possibility of the impossibility of his desire conscious through the desire/lack in the Other because “Lacan asserts that there is a subject only in so far as there is a lack in the Other” ([31], p. 144).
In other words, Jung’s transcendent function shifts the analysand from this imaginary relationship to the other as an “inquisitive attitude of a voyeur” to “change the gear into drive the moment we make ourselves seen to this stain in the picture, to this impervious foreign body in it, to this point that attracted our gaze” ([7], p. 163). This again highlights the ethics of desire where desire leads the analysand to discover the desire/lack in the Other. This is when the analysand “makes oneself seen” as a barred subject $ by discovering the possibility of the impossibility of a desire to increase self-consciousness by “changing gear” into drive. As a result, Jung’s transcendent function starts with “I cannot see the point in the other from which I’m gazed at, the only thing that remains for me to do is to make myself visible to that point” ([7], p. 163). This takes place by retrieving the missing possibilities from the readiness to hand [2,6] (the possibility of the impossibility of a desire) by going beyond an imaginary relationship to the other to discover the barred subject $ through the space of the desire/lack in the Other.
Lastly, it is important to illustrate “another feature of the final scene of Rear Window that stages in its purest this transmutation of desire into drive: the desperate defence of Jefferies, who attempts to stop the murderer’s advance by letting off his flashbulbs” ([7], p. 163). This part of Rear Window is important because it highlights that the analysand may be inauthentic by defending themselves from the castration/cut/jouissance of the drive. This occurs when the analysand does not go beyond an imaginary relationship to the other to discover the possibility of the impossibility of a desire because the analysand wants to remain protected/shielded (◊) from the truth and jouissance of the barred subject with their complex/fantasy ($◊a). In other words, “Jefferies endeavours frantically to blur the other’s gaze” by “letting off his flashbulbs” but this is pathological because it is “a defence against drive, against ‘making oneself seen” ([7], p. 163) as a barred subject $ through the lack/desire of the Other. What is required is for the analysand to ‘make oneself seen’ as a barred subject $ is what finally happens to Jefferies “when the murderer throws him through the window is precisely the inversion that defines drive: by falling through the window, Jefferies in a radical sense falls into his own picture, into the field of his own visibility. In Lacanian terms, he changes into a stain in his own picture, he makes himself seen in it, that is, within the space defined as his own field of vision” ([7], p. 163).

11. Error and Truth

Throughout this paper I have been emphasizing that Jung’s transcendent function is successful through a shift from desire to drive, from possible to impossible and this shift can also be described as one from error to truth. Zizek frequently highlights the necessity of error for truth to emerge. For example “It is quite literally the error itself that creates, that opens, the (still) empty space of truth” ([23], p. 84). It is important here to link this to the analysand being duped in their desire “though it is ultimately impossible, in order that something real comes about and truth emerging from error is undoubtedly the ‘cunning of reason’ at work, but the true problem consists in giving a precise characterization of what ‘cunning of reason’ means” ([23], p. 84).
Zizek explains “The ‘cunning of reason’ only occurs after the fact; we can only grasp it retroactively, when the subject recognizes that the true results of his act were different from his goal” ([23], p. 86). This provides some justification to begin the transcendent function with the analysand projecting possibilities to retrieve the meaning of the guilty (burdensome) mood from falling prey to a complex [2]. The analysand needs to retrieve their desire which is experienced as an obstructive complex so ‘the cunning of reason’ can retroactively show “the true results of his act were different from his goal” ([23], p. 86). The analysand experiences their desire as a conflict and obstructive complex because they have not discovered the possibility of the impossibility of their desire and this constitutes the error “that creates, that opens, the (still) empty space of truth”. The analysand “makes oneself seen” and experiences the Truth of the barred $ubject through the drive when the analysand has traversed/removed the error of their fantasy/complex by discovering the possibility of the impossibility of their desire. This is how “the cunning of reason” dupes the analysand with desire and how “the subject recognizes that the true results of his act were different from his goal”. What is important to highlight here is the faith and belief in “the cunning of reason” and this belief in the journey of being “duped in one’s desire, though it is ultimately impossible, in order that something real comes about” is required because “It is a priori impossible to act with the knowledge of the true goal, the signification, of one’s act” and “In other words, we can only act blind” ([23], p. 86). What Zizek calls “act” here is equivalent to Jung’s transcendent function and “For Hegel, the act is fundamentally tragic; it never attains its goal” ([23], p. 88). In other words, the analysand reaches the “act” at the end of psychoanalytic treatment by discovering the possibility of the impossibility of their desire and recognising “that, through the very failure of his act, he has realized a different end” ([23], p. 88) providing the analysand a “reconciliation” with the barred subject $.
This justifies why Jung’s transcendent function should begin with the error or fantasy of a complex because “truth emerges out of failure, in which failure makes itself an immanent constituent of truth” ([23], p. 89). Traversing the fantasy or removing the obstructiveness of a complex is another way of describing “the dissolution of the unconscious in transference” ([7], p. 89) which occurs when the analysand discovers the possibility of the impossibility of their desire through the lack/desire of the Other. As a result, Jung’s transcendent function is successful when the analysand takes the journey of ‘the cunning of reason’ to achieve “‘dis—alienation’—the ‘reconciliation’ of the subject with the alienated substance changes nothing besides the subject’s perspective” ([23], p. 91). The analysand’s perspective changes by discovering the possibility of the impossibility of a desire through the lack/desire of the Other and this allows the obstructiveness of complex to be removed because this changes “the mode in which reality is symbolized” ([23], p. 91). It is clear that Zizek is implicitly talking about my Heideggerian interpretation of complexes when he says “The entire Hegelian operation can be reduced to the retrospective recognition that the obstacle was not an obstacle, that what had seemed to Fichte to be an ‘obstacle’ to the movement of subjectification was in fact its necessary condition” ([23], p. 91). This is another way of “saying the same thing differently” which is important for the thematic amplification of Jung, Lacan, Heidegger, Hegel and Zizek and this is compatible with synonymy which is “The principle by which performance vocabulary is enriched” ([36], p. 36). Pietropaolo explains “From classical antiquity on, the compositional use of synonymy for the purpose of enlarging a theme, for rhetorical as well as artistic reasons, was articulated as the trope synonymia, namely the restatement of ideas with the introduction of gradual variations. For centuries, synonymy was the chief rhetorical base for thematic amplification” ([36], p. 36).
Jung’s transcendent function allows the analysand to retrospectively recognise that the obstacle of the obstructiveness of a complex is not an obstacle and is necessary for the analysand to traverse their imaginary fantasy to discover the Truth of the barred subject $. The analysand discovers the Truth and freedom of the barred subject $ through the Real and freedom of the desire/lack in the Other and this explains why the obstructiveness of a complex highlights the analysand’s error in perspective. When the analysand changes perspective to discover the possibility of the impossibility of their desire through the desire/lack in the Other “The un-dialecticizable remainder that seemed to block the full realization of the subject reveals itself to be its objectual correlate” ([23], p. 91). When the analysand reaches this “moment” or “instant” at stage 3 of Jung’s transcendent function [2], the analysand retroactively recognises the meaning of their complex/fantasy and why they were obstructed in their desire by an “un-dialecticizable remainder that seemed to block the full realization of the subject”. This is possible because the analysand has discovered “that the non-integrated object is only the realization of the void, the empty space of the subject” ([23], p. 91) by going beyond an imaginary relationship to the other to change perspective from the error of a complex/fantasy to the Truth of the barred subject $.

12. A Pole and a Jew

In a number of Zizek’s books he uses “the following quite Hegelian Witz that provides an excellent example of the way in which the truth can emerge from misunderstanding, how truth is the same thing as the path to itself. A Pole and a Jew are sitting in the same carriage in a train. Something is bothering the Pole and he keeps fidgeting in his seat. Finally, he can’t hold it in any longer and blurts out: “Tell me how it is that you Jews are able to get so rich by bleeding people down to their last cent?” The Jew answers: “Okay, I’ll tell you, but I won’t do it for free. Give me five zlotys.” After pocketing the coins, he begins: “First, you have to take a dead fish, cut off its head, and pour its guts into a glass of water. Then, when the moon is full, you bury this glass in a graveyard.” “And,” the Pole asks greedily, “if I do that I’ll be rich?” “Not so fast,” the Jew replies; “there is more to it, but if you want to hear the rest you’ll need to give me five more zlotys.” The money is exchanged and the Jew continues his story, soon asks for more money, up until the Pole finally explodes: “‘You cheat! You think I’m not on to you? There’s no secret, you just want to take all my money!’ The Jew calmly replies: ‘There you go, now you understand how the Jews...’” ([23], p. 105).
I have included this Witz in this paper because it is useful to think about Jung’s transcendent function and the way it involves truth emerging from “misunderstanding” or error. First this story illustrates the beginning of the transcendent function where “the Pole can’t stop looking over at the Jew means that he is already in the process of transferring onto the Jew; for him the Jew embodies the subject who supposedly knows (the secret of how to extract every last cent from people)” ([23], p. 105). This is a way of illuminating stage 1 of Jung’s transcendent function where the possibility of the impossibility of the Pole’s desire is yet to be discovered. This is the start of Jung’s transcendent function where “The patient would like to know what it is all for and how to gain relief. In the intensity of the emotional disturbance itself lies the value, the energy which he should have at his disposal in order to remedy the state of reduced adaptation” ([33], p. 289). In this situation the analyst should guide the analysand to act “in conformity with the desire that is in you” to “discover regions of being in the world which are conspicuously experienced as obstructive, unready to hand and ‘not-being-at-home’” [2]. This allows the analysand to experience the obstructiveness of their desire so their complex/fantasy (“the secret of how to extract every last cent from people”) can be removed/traversed by “being submitted to the governance of a rule” [32] of the lack/desire of the Other.
The transcendent function “takes place in the gap between the moment in which the Pole gets angry and the Jew gives his final answer” ([23], p. 106). This is the “moment” or “instant” when the Pole removes the obstructiveness of a complex/fantasy by discovering the possibility of the impossibility of a desire through the lack/desire of the Other. Zizek explains “The mistake lies in the Pole’s perspective; he was waiting for the Jew’s secret to be revealed at the end of the story. He thought that the story the Jew was telling was just a path toward the final secret. His fixation on the hidden Secret, the final point of the narrative chain, blinded him as to the true secret” ([23], p. 106). This highlights how a desire can blind the analysand “to the true secret” of the possibility of the impossibility of that desire. The Pole’s complex/fantasy is that he is waiting to be explicitly told a secret by the Jew. This is the Pole’s desire and “the conclusion of this little story corresponds perfectly to the final moment of analysis, the exit from the transfer and the traversal of the phantasy” ([23], p. 106) (the transcendent function). The obstructiveness of his complex is removed and the transcendent function occurs as “The Pole’s explosion of anger marks the point where he-exits the transfer, where he realizes that ‘there is no secret’ and thus the Jew ceases to be the ‘subject who supposedly knows’” ([23], p. 106). This is when the transcendent function shifts the Pole from an imaginary (desire) to Real (drive) relationship to the Jew by discovering the possibility of the impossibility of his desire/complex/fantasy. In other words, instead of desiring to be told a secret by the Jew and the Jew being experienced as an conflict and obstruction to this desire, the Pole accomplishes the transcendent function by discovering “there is no secret” to remove the obstructiveness of his complex/fantasy by unconcealing the lack/desire of the Other.
Zizek also highlights that the Pole is financially committed to his desire and this also has implications for the prerequisites for Jung’s transcendent function to take place because “this story is also a perfect illustration of the unique and irreplaceable role of money in the analytical process. If the Pole was not paying the Jew for his story, he would not reach the level of anger necessary for him to exit from the transfer” ([23], p. 106). This highlights the importance of paying the analyst for the transcendent function to occur but it is also important to note that the analysand’s commitment to their desire as a “‘categorical imperative’ (the unconditional injunction to do our duty)” is what will ultimately push the analysand to go “beyond the pleasure principle” to traverse the fantasy/remove a complex. Finally, another example of the transcendent function can also be found in a “much more famous, story. I am talking, of course, about the Witz of the entrance to the Law in Chapter IX of Kafka’s The Trial” ([23], p. 106). This can be connected to Hegel where “In these two cases, the logic of the final twist is strictly Hegelian, functioning similarly to what Hegel called the ‘sublation of the bad infinity’” ([23], p. 107). In other words, stage 1 of Jung’s transcendent function involves the analysand confronting the obstructiveness of their complex/fantasy which is experienced as “an inaccessible, transcendental, substantial truth, a forbidden secret that is infinitely deferred” ([23], p. 107). Stage 3 of the transcendent function “occurs when the subject recognizes that the impossibility of appropriating the Heart of the Other is a positive condition for the definition of his own status as subject. This twist constitutes a radical change in perspective” ([23], p. 108).

13. Social and Moral Law

Jung’s transcendent function can also be better understood by contrasting “social laws and the moral Law in a variety of different ways” ([23], p. 158). Zizek explains “Social laws structure the conditions of social reality, the Law contains the Real of an unconditional imperative that is unconcerned with the limits of the possible (‘you can because you must!’). Social laws appease, they make the homeostasis of cohabitation possible, while the Law disrupts, constantly unsettling social equilibrium. Social laws prohibit, the Law inflicts. Social laws represent the external pressure of society upon an individual, while the Law is extimate, it is what is ‘in us that is more than us,’ a foreign body at the very heart of the subject” ([23], p. 158). The transcendent function requires the analysand to act in conformity with the Law of their desire which “contains the Real of an unconditional imperative that is unconcerned with the limits of the possible (‘you can because you must!’)”. This is in contrast to with staying with the familiarity and everydayness [1] of social laws which “are a means of freeing oneself from the unbearable pressure of the moral imperative by ‘externalizing’ it. Once the Law has been externalized, you can take your distance from it, and its worrisome power to disturb your inner equilibrium is tamed”. In other words, we have social “laws not because they rein in our ‘unlimited egotism,’ but rather to save ourselves from the impasse of the Law” ([23], p. 158). Social laws are a problem because they encourage complexes and avoid the analysand acting in “conformity with their desire” which is required to traverse a fantasy/remove a complex with the transcendent function. The only way for social laws to evade the pathology of avoiding “the impasse of the Law” is to advocate that each individual act “in conformity with the desire that is in you” and this would make social laws equivalent to the ethics of psychoanalysis where “The object little a is the form of the Law in its role as the cause of desire” ([23], p. 159).
This is ethical because if one does not act “in conformity with the desire that is in you” the superego is “forever doomed to return, to continue to haunt us” with “an impossible imperative that makes the subject guilty” ([23], p. 160). Zizek explains “The superego’s injunction has no use for excuses—no invocation of our limited capacities can release us; ‘you can because you must!’ (Kant)” ([23], p. 160) and the only way to be released from this injunction is to act “in conformity with the desire that is in you” until the possibility of impossibility of the desire is discovered through the lack/desire of the Other. Consequently, this again highlights the connection between Kantian and psychoanalytic ethics where “The greatness of Kantian ethics is thus to have formulated for the first time the ‘beyond of the pleasure principle’” ([7], p. 121). Zizek explains “Kant’s categorical imperative is a superegotistical law which goes against the subject’s well-being. Or, more precisely, it is totally indifferent to his well-being” ([7], p. 121) and this is necessary for the analysand to traverse their fantasy/remove their complex which exists when the analysand remains within the pleasure principle of an imaginary relationship to the other. Antigone is a model for ‘going beyond the pleasure principle’ because she act’s in conformity with her desire which is unconsciously “the Other’s (Thing’s) injunction call” ([7], p. 320). Jung’s transcendent function occurs when Antigone is “for a brief, passing moment of, precisely, decision—directly is the Thing, thus excluding herself from the community regulated by the intermediate agency of symbolic regulations” ([7], p. 320).

14. Heidegger

This penultimate section utilises Zizek’s writing on Heidegger to show how Gelessenheit is related to drive and Jung’s transcendent function. This becomes clear when Zizek says “For anyone minimally versed in Freud and Lacan, Heidegger’s reading of Anaximander’s ‘disorder’ cannot but evoke the Freudian drive: his formulation renders perfectly the ‘stuckness’, the fixation, of the drive on a certain impossible point around which it circulates” ([16], p. 147). The most significant part of Zizek’s writing on Heidegger is when he says “What if there is stricto sensu no world, no disclosure of being, prior to this ‘stuckness’? What if there is no Gelassenheit which is disturbed by the excess of willing? What if it is this very excess or stuckness which opens up the space for Gelassenheit? Put another way: in order for a human being to withdraw from full immersion in its environment into the inner peace of Gelassenheit, this immersion has first to be broken by way of the excessive ‘stuckness’ of the drive” ([16], p. 148). To really appreciate this aspect of Zizek’s writing it is important to detail what Gelassenheit is in Heidegger’s philosophy. Bret Davis explains “Gelassenheit, generally translated as ‘releasement’, is a key word of Heidegger’s later thought. Indeed, it names nothing less than the fundamental attunement (Grundstimmung) with which he says human beings are to authentically relate to other beings and to being itself. It contrasts with the fundamental attunement—or rather dis-attunement—of the will” ([37], p. 168). However it is important to clarify this bit of Davis’s writing with Zizek by noting it is essential to “perceive the will not just as an irreducible obstacle, but as a positive condition of Gelassenheit” ([10], p. 887). This again emphasizes why acting “in conformity with the desire that is in you” is categorical imperative/duty of psychoanalysis because it allows the analysand to “to withdraw from full immersion in its environment into the inner peace of Gelassenheit”. In other words, it is important to perceive the experience of the conflict and obstructiveness of a complex “not just as an irreducible obstacle, but as a positive condition of Gelassenheit”.
This is another reason why the transcendent function should begin with retrieving the “regions of being in the world which are conspicuously experienced as obstructive, unready to hand and ‘not-being-at-home’” ([6], p. 4). The error or fantasy of the obstructiveness of a complex is “a positive condition of Gelassenheit” because “truth emerges out of failure, in which failure makes itself an immanent constituent of truth” ([23], p. 89). The analysand reaches Gelassenheit by applying “the great Hegelian motto concerning the internalizing of the external obstacle” ([10], p. 502) and this is achieved by recognising “in this threatening excess of negativity the core of the subject itself” ([10], p. 503). This is when the analysand “encounters itself, its own core, outside itself” ([10], p. 502) and Gelassenheit takes place from this experience through “a radical ‘step back’, a returning (Rückkehr) to enter into (Einkehr) a more originary relation to being and to beings” ([37], p. 169). This radical step back of Gelassenheit to return to “a more originary relation to being and to beings” occurs when the analysand removes the obstructiveness of a complex and traverses their fantasy by discovering the possibility of the impossibility of their desire through the drive. This is when the analysand recognises “the true results of his act were different from his goal” ([23], p. 86) which “brings us to the Freudian drive, whose true aim is not its goal (object), but the repeated attempt to reach it (for example, what brings satisfaction in the oral drive is not its object [milk], but the repeated act of sucking)” ([10], p. 376). In other words, when the analysand discovers the failure of desire by unconcealing the possibility of the impossibility of their desire “We can thus conceive curvature, its circular movement, as ontologically secondary, as a way of turning the failure of desire into success” ([10], p. 376) because this failure reveals the barred subject which allows the analysand to traverse their fantasy and “brings satisfaction” by removing the obstructiveness of a complex from being in the world.
This is when the analysand achieves Gelassenheit through a releasement of their fantasy or complex by discovering the possibility of the impossibility of their desire. This releasement provides the analysand “a profound existential or religious experience of letting go, being let, and letting be” ([37], p. 169) because the analysand has gone beyond an imaginary to a symbolic and Real relationship to the lack/desire of the Other. Davis explains “Letting things be is not simply a matter of passively leaving them alone or abandoning them. We should note that in German lassen is used as a modal auxiliary not only in the sense of passively letting something happen or allowing someone to do something, but also in the sense of having something done (for example, having one’s car repaired). Moreover, sicheinlassen auf etwas, literally ‘to let oneself into something’, means ‘to get involved or to engage oneself in something’” ([37], p. 179). This is important as this reinforces Zizek when he says “Lacan focuses on what Buddhism perceives as the Fall (the fixation on a particular feature which starts to matter more than anything and thus derails the cosmic balance). Lacan’s point is a much more precise one: only the ‘getting stuck,’ the fixation on a particular feature, opens up the space for the possible withdrawal into eternal inner peace” ([20], p. 117). For the analysand to reach Gelassenheit they must “get involved or to engage oneself in something” which is to “get stuck” on acting “in conformity with the desire that is in you” until the possibility of the impossibility of the desire is discovered and this is what “opens up the space for the possible withdrawal into eternal inner peace” through an unconcealment of the barred subject $. In other words, passively avoiding an engagement with desire is inauthentic and “a defence against drive, against ‘making oneself seen’” ([7], p. 163) and the experience of jouissance. Alternatively, for the obstructiveness of a complex to be removed from being in the world the analysand must go beyond an imaginary relationship to a symbolic and Real relationship to the Other to “attentively lets beings be themselves” ([37], p. 179) by revealing the space/void of the lack/desire of the Other. This is what it means to ‘let be’ and “engage oneself with beings” and this is why Zizek says “it is so important to completely differentiate the pass from ‘resignation’, from ‘giving up’” ([23], p. 117).
As a result, Jung’s transcendent function involves “The transition out of willing into Gelassenheit” ([37], p. 169) and it is important to recognise that a releasement from willing is “not carelessness, but the highest form of care” ([38], p. 101). Letting beings be allows the analysand to engage in an authentic relationship with others that is not distorted and obstructed by an imaginary fantasy or complex. When the analysand follows their duty to act “in conformity with the desire that is in you” to discover the possibility of the impossibility of their desire through an encounter with the lack/desire of the other, the analysand lets the other be. This is because the analysand has traversed their fantasy and removed their complex and “A grip is loosened, a contraction of the fingers slackens. Apprehension turns into ease and poise. The eye too is relieved, namely from staring at the same object. Man ceases to possess, and the thing is freed into its own being. It is seen for what it is, not for its usefulness” ([38], p. 101). This is only achieved when the analysand takes the path of Jung’s transcendent function by getting “stuck” “involved or to engage oneself” with their desire “and only after choosing ‘stuckness’ can we withdraw from it into nirvana” ([20], p. 118)4. In other words, desire or “artwork can prepare releasement, as can poetry, technology and thought. When the peasant shoes are ‘let loose,’ or released from, their usefulness and reliability, their truth-thingness occurs. Releasement is the attitude that makes possible truth’s coming into presence. Thus, for Heidegger, releasement manifests the thing’s way to be” ([38], p. 103). This releasement takes place when the analysand discovers the possibility of the impossibility of their desire through the lack/desire of the Other and this allows the analysand to traverse their fantasy and remove the obstructiveness of their complex by bringing the truth and jouissance of the barred subject $ into presence.
Finally, the paradox of Gelassenheit and the transcendent function involves firstly engaging oneself with desire to ultimately disengage oneself with this desire. Zizek describes this paradox by saying “the gesture constitutive of subjectivity, is not that of autonomously ‘doing something’ but, rather, that of the primordial substitution, of withdrawing and letting another do it for me, in my place” ([21], p. 119). This is what happens at stage 3 of Jung’s transcendent function where the analysand discovers the possibility of the impossibility of their desire by encountering the lack/desire of the Other. Zizek explains “This is ‘an encounter with an Other at its purest, with the abyss of Otherness not covered up or facilitated by imaginary identifications which make the Other someone ‘like us,’ someone we can emphatically ‘understand’” [20]. This is the ‘gesture constitutive of subjectivity’ because this is when the analysand discovers themselves as a barred subject $ and this provides a Real/authentic enlightenment so an inauthentic pleasurable fantasy can be withdrawn to remove the obstructiveness of a complex. Although the analysand discovers the impossibility of their desire, “the basic operation of the drive is to find enjoyment in the very failure to reach full enjoyment” ([20], p. 207) and this happens because the obstructiveness of their complex has been removed through an ‘act’ of Gelassenheit. Finally, “it would be more appropriate to posit a negativity/impossibility that precedes the very distinction between drive and desire” ([20], p. 208) and the negativity/impossibility of the analysand’s desire is the apriori Real identity of the barred subject $ that psychoanalysis aims to uncover. Zizek explains “drive and desire as the two modes of coping with this ontological impasse” ([20], p. 208) where desire leaves this impossibility undiscovered whereas drive authentically goes ‘beyond the pleasure principle’ to discover the Real identity of barred subject $.

15. Digging Holes in Reality and the Apriori Barred Subject

In this final section I focus on explaining how the analysand goes beyond an imaginary relationship to the other to a symbolic and Real relationship to the Other. I also highlight the apriori nature of the barred subject $ and the implications of this for understanding Jung’s transcendent function. Zizek argues “We have reality in front of our eyes well before language, and what language does, in its most fundamental gesture, is the very opposite of designating reality: as Lacan put it, it digs a hole in reality, opening up the visible/present reality to the dimension of the immaterial/unseen. When I see you, I just see you—but by naming you I indicate the abyss in you beyond what I see” [20]. This is what it means to go beyond an imaginary relationship to the other. The analysand experiences the conflict and obstructiveness of a complex when they have not engaged in a symbolic relationship with the Other with language (discovering possibilities see [2,6]) which “digs a hole in reality, opening up the visible/present reality to the dimension of the immaterial/unseen”. The analysand will experience the obstructiveness of a complex if they do not open the “visible/present reality to the dimension of the immaterial/unseen” because they remain at an imaginary relationship to the other and possibilities remain undiscovered.
Next it is important to “make the crucial distinction between ‘symbolic signification’ and the very place it occupies, the empty space that is filled by signification The Symbolic is above all a space, a space that was initially empty, but that gradually came to be filled by a tangle of ‘symbolic significations’. The crucial feature of the Lacanian conception of the symbolic is this logical priority, the fact that the (empty) space predates the elements that come to fill it. Before it could become a tangle of ‘symbols’ carrying any kind of ‘signification’, the Symbolic was a differential network structured around an empty, traumatizing space. Lacan designated this as the space of das Ding, the ‘sacred’ space of impossible jouissance. Using Heidegger’s vase as an example, Lacan showed how das Ding is above all an empty space surrounded by signifying articulation” ([23], p. 116). This crucial part of Zizek’s writing explains why the analysand needs to go beyond an imaginary relationship to the other to a symbolic and Real relationship to the Other with Jung’s transcendent function. The analysand needs to go beyond an imaginary relationship to the other to remove the obstructiveness of a complex. This occurs by digging a hole in reality and “opening up the visible/present reality to the dimension of the immaterial/unseen” with a symbolic relationship to the Other and this allows the analysand to encounter “empty, traumatizing space” “of das Ding, the ‘sacred’ space of impossible jouissance” when the analysand discovers/retrieves the possibility of the impossibility of their desire [2,6]. This empty, traumatic space of jouissance is the apriori barred subject $ of the analysand which is a “negativity/impossibility that precedes the very distinction between drive and desire” ([20], p. 208). The apriori negativity/impossibility of the barred subject is determined by the fate of the impossibility of the analysand’s desire and “is an inexplicable, ‘irrational’, unaccountable ‘fact of reason’” ([10], p. 265). The apriori barred subject $ of the analysand needs to be uncovered so the analysand can traverse their fantasy and remove the obstructiveness of their desire/complex through the drive/transcendent function/Gelassenheit. This is “the display of amor fati, the act of freely assuming what is necessary anyway” ([29], p. 17) which is also “the final moment of the analytical process, the pass, as the experience of the positive character of the loss” ([23], p. 116) because the analysand is no longer duped by their desire or obstructed by their complex. In conclusion, the analysand traverses their fantasy and removes the obstructiveness of their complex with Jung’s transcendent function by experiencing a “moment” or “instant” of the empty, traumatic space of jouissance which is “the end of a prior project” ([30], p. 466) and the beginning of a new project/desire. This is when the analysand establishes a Real relationship to the Other (beyond imaginary and symbolic experiences) by authentically and fatefully “making oneself seen” as an apriori barred subject $ by discovering the “eternal” possibility of the impossibility of a desire.

Conflicts of Interest

The author declares no conflict of interest

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  • 1Removing the obstructiveness of a complex does not mean to not transform the complex into a source of energy or vitality. To not use the complex as a source of energy or vitality for change and transformation is to have an inauthentic understanding of the meaning of the experience of a complex. Removing the obstructiveness of a complex comes from the change and transformation of using the complex as a source of energy and vitality which comes from an authentic understanding of the meaning of the experience of a complex (see [3]).
  • 2An analysand’s experience of “not-at-home” from the obstructiveness of a complex occurs because they have not gone beyond an imaginary relationship to the barred subject ($).
  • 3Se faire voir means to shift from “not-at-home” to being “at-home” in the world because the analysand removes the conflict and obstructiveness of a complex by unconcealing the barred subject “submitted to the governance of a rule”. The analysand experiences the barred subject as an obstructiveness before ‘making oneself seen’ and this obstructiveness indicates the analysand has not gone beyond an imaginary relationship to the barred subject ($) by discovering the possibility of the impossibility of their desire.
  • 4As a result, nirvana involves an experience of Se faire voir.

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Gildersleeve, M. Se Faire Voir with Jung and the Ethics of Psychoanalysis. Soc. Sci. 2017, 6, 16. https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci6010016

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Gildersleeve M. Se Faire Voir with Jung and the Ethics of Psychoanalysis. Social Sciences. 2017; 6(1):16. https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci6010016

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Gildersleeve, Matthew. 2017. "Se Faire Voir with Jung and the Ethics of Psychoanalysis" Social Sciences 6, no. 1: 16. https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci6010016

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