New Spring Semester for the Lacan Guided Reading Group

It is time for a new semester at the Lacan Guided Reading Group. Our spring semester will begin on the 5th of March (19:15) and, as was festively announced last week, will involve the reading of two chapters in Lacan’s Seminar XX: On Feminine Sexuality, the Limits of Love and Knowledge (Encore)  (1972-1973).

(Collage: Jorge Chamorro)

“The great question that has never been answered and which I have not yet been able to answer, despite my thirty years of research into the feminine soul, is ‘What does a woman want?’” (Freud)

Jacques Lacan (1901-1981) was a French psychiatrist who has been dubbed the most controversial psychoanalyst since Freud. Calling for a “return to Freud” in mid 20th century Europe, Lacan had re-conceptualized psychoanalysis in such ways that deeply impacted psychotherapy and philosophy up until this day. One of the major topics Lacan chose to penetrate in his teaching is the notion of sexual difference. Freud, in his account of sexual difference, argued that the whole range of human sexuality is solely determined on the basis of the phallus. Accordingly, he inferred that there is only one form of libido—masculine libido. Going beyond Freud’s rendition of feminine libido in his notion of “penis envy,” Lacan provided a subversive account of a singular form of feminine enjoyment in his teaching. He argued that, while masculine subjects only have access to phallic enjoyment (“enjoyment of the Idiot”), feminine subjects are “not-all” (pas-tout) subsumed by the phallus and have access to another form of enjoyment “beyond the phallus.” Lacan’s Seminar XX is devoted to the exploration of such an evasive mode of enjoyment that Freud found it impossible to know anything about. 

In the Lacan Guided Reading Group, we will trace Lacan’s train of thought concerning masculine and feminine enjoyment by reading two chapters from this seminar entitled: “God and Woman’s Jouissance” and “A Love Letter.” What is an enjoyment beyond the phallus? What is so mystifying about feminine enjoyment? And what is knowledge of sexual difference? 

Join us for the reading of Jacques Lacan’s Seminar XX: On Feminine Sexuality, the Limits of Love and Knowledge (Encore) (1972-1973).

Format:

The reading of Lacan is done together as a group and is facilitated by Leon Brenner. No prior reading is required before our gatherings. We read the text slowly, trying to delve into each paragraph, deciphering Lacan’s unique style and extracting very straightforward and non-metaphorical ideas. Other than learning about the psychoanalysis of Lacan, we will also be learning how to read Lacan—a challenge in itself. Make sure to come with a receptive and light-hearted mood—the goal is to enjoy this reading together (if we want to). Reading material will be distributed in each session.

Group sessions will be held every Tuesday, 19:00 – 20:30 (March 3, 12, 19 & 26; April 2, 9, 16 & 30; May 7, 14, 21 & 28; More to be announced).

Facilitator:

Leon Brenner is a teacher and a scholar specializing in the fields of Lacanian psychoanalysis, contemporary French philosophy and autism theory. Brenner has graduated with the highest honor a B.A and M.A in Psychology and Philosophy. His doctoral dissertation concerns the subject of autism in philosophy and is entitled, The Autistic Subject: On the Threshold of Language. Brenner has received two excellence awards as a junior university teacher: the University Rector excellence award, and the Deanship excellence award. He is currently engaged in several scholarly and artistic projects in Berlin and is a resident instructor at Stillpoint Spaces Berlin.

Address: 

The entrance to The Lab of Stillpoint Spaces Berlin is directly from the street Hobrechtstraße 66 – front building, ground floor (Vorderhaus, EG). We kindly ask you to arrive at least 15 minutes before the official beginning of the reading group. Please, do not ring on any of the doorbells, as our colleagues might be having counseling sessions.

I hope to see you all in our new semester.

Leon Brenner

 

Christmas Break for the Lacan Guided Reading Group in Berlin

The Lacan guided reading group will take a two week vacation in light of the holidays. We will see each other again on the 8th of January, as usual, at 19h – Stillpoint Spaces, Berlin. This January we will start working on our last topic for the current reading round – the love triangle between Socrates, Agathon, and Alcibiades.

In muslim theology one can find a truism that might clarify what would be at stake in our work to come (what we have associated with orthe doxa), it roughly goes like this: Whenever a man is alone with a woman, the devil is the third one present. For the sake of our discussion we will interpret it in the following way: Whenever a lover is alone with a beloved, the object is the third one present. This object, the object cause, will be the main focus of our discussion in the following weeks. It’s function in love, and in transference-love, will be our topic.

Happy holidays, and hope to see you soon.

Leon Brenner

Plato's_Symposium_-_Anselm_Feuerbach_-_Google_Cultural_Institute
Anselm Feuerbach (1869), Plato’s Symposium

Lacan Guided Reading Group \ Berlin

Dear readers,

I am happy to invite you to our new reading session starting Tuesday (29/05), 19:00, at our round table at Stillpoint Spaces, Berlin (66, Hobrechtstraße, 12047 Berlin). This time we are going to tackle a chapter from Lacan’s 11th seminar. This is exciting because the topic of “alienation and separation” is central in Lacan’s teaching (as well as fascinating), and also because we are going to read a seminar and not a printed paper for the first time. Seminar XI is one of the most “approachable” seminars provided by Lacan, and I hope we will enjoy reading it together.

Here is some information from the Facebook Event:

Link: https://www.facebook.com/events/2118414028437706/

Jacques Lacan was a French psychoanalyst who has been regarded to as the most controversial psychoanalyst since Freud. Teaching in Paris in the 20th century, his ideas had a significant impact on post-structuralism, critical theory, linguistics, French philosophy, film theory, and clinical psychoanalysis up until this day.

In 1964, Lacan introduces the concepts of alienation and separation, indicating a break with his previous mapping of the unconscious. Introduced in his seminar as logical operators, they provide a deeper understanding of Freud’s notion of sexuality and the drives. Incorporating some of his most fundamental concepts such as “lack”, “object petit a”, and “jouissance”, Lacan’s account of alienation and separation provides one of his most comprehensive elaborations of human subjectivity.

Join us for our guided reading group, in which we will read the 16th chapter in Lacan’s Seminar XI: The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis, entitled: “The Subject and the Other: Alienation”.

The Format:
The reading will be done together as a group, and will be guided by Leon Brenner. No reading is required (nor recommended) before our gatherings. We are going to read the text slowly, trying to delve into each paragraph, deciphering Lacan’s unique style, and extracting very straightforward and non-metaphorical ideas. Other than leaning about the psychoanalysis of Lacan, we will also be learning how to read and tackle Lacan. We will read the English version of the text, but people capable of reading Lacan’s French are encouraged to bring the original French version. Make sure to come with a receptive and light-hearted mood – the goal is to enjoy this reading together (if we want to).

Groups will be held on Tuesdays (May 29; June 5, 12, 19, 26; July 10, 17, 24, 31), 19:00 – 20:30. More dates may be added during the process.

Hope to see you at our round table.

Leon

IMG_4012.jpg