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venerdì 2 giugno 2017
Lo Schema Omega per spiegare Lacan
Fundamental to the Project is the notion of Q – energy within the system. Between Q and Q in the external world are Q-screens, which are impermeable to Q. Two kinds of contact-barrier are then hypothesised: those which are permeable (), offering no resistance to the passage of Q; and those which are impermeable (), and therefore capable of holding back the passage of Q. Facilitation is then defined as altering of the thresholds of permeability of these contact barriers. I can represent this as follows: The -system is that which is reached by exogenous stimulation and through which the discharge of Q takes place; and the -complex is that which is reached by endogenous excitation. “-complex” because this is a system of complexification of distribution of Q across contact-barriers with varying thresholds of facilitation. The Pleasure Principle argues that the distribution of Q across this -complex follows a principle of constancy, through the facilitation of distribution and discharge via
this model, Freud then adds an -system which conducts the periodicity of stimulation arising at the Q-screen back to the -complex as a path of facilitation:
Thus, on the one hand there are memory traces – specific configurations of – complexification; and on the other there are (let us say) complex waveforms which are the periodic correlates of these memory traces. This distinction between and can be read onto the distinction between thing-presentation and word-presentation, insofar as the latter is taken as being an indication of quality. They are entangled with each other, however, in the sense that each implies the presence of the other, even if a particular pattern of – complexification is only a memory trace and cannot be repeated.
In his letter to Fleiss of the 6th December 1896, Freud postulated a process of stratification in which W [Wahrnehmungen (perceptions)] are neurones in which perceptions originate , to which consciousness attaches, but which in themselves retain no trace of what has happened; Wz [Wahrnehmungszeichen (indication of perception)] is the first registration of perceptions, arranged according to associations by simultaneity (; Ub [Unbewusstsein (unconsciousness)] is the second registration arranged according to the process of complexification ); and Vb [Vorbewusstsein (preconsciousness)] the third transcription, attached to word-presentation.
What am I to ‘do’ with this third transcription? Freud comments that “the cathexes proceeding from this Vb become conscious according to certain rules; and this secondary thought consciousness is subsequent in time and is probably linked to the hallucinatory activation of word presentations, so that the neurones of consciousness would once again be perceptual neurones and in themselves without memory”. Just as perception leads through indication of perception to produce facilitating effects on the -complex, so the “subsequent in time” would indicate that the preconsciousness leads back through the system to produce effects of attention – a kind of echo. The important point here, however, is that whereas thing-presentations remain anchored in the -complex, the -system acts as a support for word-presentations, and ultimately for consciousness.
This whole system therefore acts as a kind of complex recursive structure which itself acts as a substrate to consciousness…. I want to propose a secondary stratification (the one described by Freud being taken as primary) by invoking the Lacanian reading of the project and introducing the effects of as the particular orienting of the subject’s relation to the lack of the Unconscious through the effects of the signifier. Introducing raises the whole issue of transference, the drive functioning and objet petit a, to which I will return in order to address the discourses. This secondary stratification can be understood as organisations of the -system itself becoming the support for ‘higher’ systems of signification.
This produces the following further step in the topologising of the Project:
The dotted line is there because the -system does not affect the -complex in ways which are not mediated by the -system. There is no direct relationship possible, therefore, between and . The secondary stratification takes place on the other axis of  to .
Why this topology? Because it is the structure of the ‘quadripod’ which Lacan describes in Savoir (p57-58 – Feb 3rd 1972 Seminar) and which determines the “fundamental topology from which any function of speech derives”.
 These organisations of word-presentation would be through the effects of metaphor and metonymy – condensation and displacement – the structural characteristics of which are taken up later in To ‘contain’: signifiers, signified and thirdness.
The popular understanding of Freud’s project is as it appears at the beginning of the text – as a kind of biologistically deterministic psychology:
“The intention is to furnish a psychology that shall be a natural science: that is, to represent psychical processes as quantitatively determinate states of specifiable material particles, thus making those processes perspicuous and free from contradiction”. 
But what is this Natural Science about? Is it a fair criticism of this line of reasoning that the attractiveness of the Project is because it lends itself to deterministic formulations of organisation? I think not, and this reading of “natural science” is itself a mis-take. Things are not always as they seem.
The Project was only one amongst many in a series of working drafts that Freud composed over a period of two years. Furthermore, the 1895 Project is the one draft that he disowned as an “aberration”. The draft that is believed to have inspired Chapter Seven of The Interpretation of Dreams, on the other hand, was based on Freud’s January 1896 revision of the Project. In this 1896 version, the systems and were assigned radically different functions:
“The nerve-paths which start from terminal organs do not conduct quantity but their particular qualitative characteristic peculiar to them; they add nothing to the amount [of quantity] in the -neurones, but merely put these neurones into a state of excitation…. In my new scheme I insert [these] [perceptual] neurones between the -neurones and the -neurones, so that transfers its quality to , and now transfers neither quality nor quantity to , but merely excites – that is, indicates the direction to be taken by the free energy.”
Thus, not only do energies from the external world have absolutely no quantitative effect on the nervous system, so that all quantitative excitations are endogenous. Freud was developing his fundamental psychoanalytical model using a model, which was almost directly antithetical to the passive hydraulic reflex model so often attributed to him. Freud did not conceive of mental life as being in any way reducible to neurophysiological principles when he was constructing his first psychological theories. Rather, Freud took the view that powerful unconscious mental processes, which were constituted by a closed causal system that enabled him to conceptualise mental life independently of its physical substrate, determine conscious events. So “natural science” referred to something rather more radical – a being in relation to the unknowable – in this case the unconscious. He was to clarify this some 43 years later:
“Now it would look as though this dispute between psychoanalysis and philosophy is concerned only with a trifling matter of definition – the question whether the name ‘psychical’ should be applied to one or another sequence of phenomena. In fact, however, this step has become of the highest significance. Whereas the psychology of consciousness never went beyond the broken sequences which were obviously dependent on something else, the other view, which held that the psychical is unconscious in itself, enabled psychology to take its place as a natural science like any other. The processes with which it is concerned are in themselves just as unknowable as those dealt with by other sciences…..” 
So here we have a causally closed system with its own endogenous dynamics being affected qualitatively by processes which are not wholly conscious. What happens if I use this as a way of defining organisation? Clearly there is a ‘body’ problem , but if the psychical topology of the Project is defined independently of its physical substrate, why not? It would mean that I had to construct a theory of organisation which was based on a theory of the unconscious, of objet petit a, of transference and of the drive.
 Project for a Scientific Psychology (1950 ) pp 283-397 Vol 1 Standard Edition. Page 295 (my emphasis)
 I am drawing here from a book by Mark Solms and Michael Saling: “A Moment of Transition. Two Neuroscientific Articles by Sigmund Freud” translated and edited by Solms and Saling. Karnac 1990.
 p388 SEI
 SEXXIII p158 Physical Qualities. (1940)
 The immediate ‘solution’ to this ‘body’ problem is through the use of the coral reef metaphor. In other words, what I take to be the incarnate form of the organization is the side-effect of the pacts with desire supported by the organization-as-ecosystem. This ecosystem is governed by its own laws, and has an organization which I will argue reflects an economy of discourses. But this ‘body’ is not without its effects, introducing considerations of the relation of Structure and Function to Organisation.
How am I to understand what an organisation is? Whatever my notion is will inform the way in which I approach the question of intervention. One way of approaching the distinctiveness of a Lacanian reading of Freud is through his reading of the Project . This is in itself a major project. My intention in what follows is to sketch out an approach to the Project, and show the main lines of argument, which might lead to a topologising of organisation.
One of the points of difference between a Kleinian and Lacanian reading of Freud is over the nature and primacy of phantasy. Klein formulates phantasy under the maternal metaphor, bypassing the whole problematic of the subject’s relation to the Freudian object and to primary anxiety (and therefore primary phantasy), and shifting the emphasis to the symbolic formations which arise to contain/defend against the secondary anxieties (and phantasies) associated with defending the (prior) response to primary anxiety. The Lacanians seek to re-open the Freudian problematic of primary anxiety through a consideration of the axiomatic structuring through which the subject constitutes his or her being-in-relation-to-desire (manque à être) .
This Freudian problematic can also be formulated in terms of the relation between Freud’s Structure and Function, in which Structure refers to that minimal set of relations (Maturana’s identity determining closure), the conservation of which Freud describes as the Pleasure Principle; and Function, referring to that which goes beyond this Principle – the behaviours of individuals that are constituted in relation to desire.
In these terms, if I approach Structure through Function, as happens with the Kleinian interpretations of symbolic functioning, then the Functioning takes place within the frame of the maternal metaphor. In the Kleinian argument therefore, this maternal metaphor is taken as being constitutive of Structure . In contrast, the Lacanian argument approaches Function through Structure, with this structuring being constitutive of the subject’s being. Equivalently, I propose that Structure is constitutive of organisation qua Organization; and the particular relations to desire ‘on offer’ to individuals through the forms of support Organisation gives are like an ecosystem of possible psychical ‘niches’ on which primary anxiety may rest . Thus I am equating Structure and fundamental phantasy, implying that there is a way of reading Organisation as a support for individuals’ structuring of their relation to desire. In these terms “resistance” can be theorised as conservation of identity; and questions of the ‘good’ of the organisation can only be answered through questioning the dynamic properties of Functioning in relation to Structure.
So the Project offers a way into Freud’s oeuvre which offers promise as a way of approaching this Structure/Functioning. But is this just metaphoric thinking? In the next blog I look more closely at the Freudian Project.
 Project for a Scientific Psychology (1950 ) pp 283-397 Vol 1 Standard Edition.
 See the critique of “The Unconscious at work” in “The dilemmas of ignorance“, where this problematic was raised.
 This is paralleled in the way primary task is invoked in Open Systems thinking in such a way as to suggest that Structure and Organisation follow logically from a determination of primary task. In practice, there is always a logically prior framework of structuring assumptions, which remains privileged.
 It is this sense that gives rise to the ‘coral reef’ metaphor of organizations, which, in their incarnate form, can be understood as the accumulated detritus of individuals’ efforts at seeking support for their identity.
 The ‘step-by-step’ schema of progressively raised ‘strategy ceilings’ is a way of theorising four formations of this Structure/Functioning in which more and more of the support for identity is put into question.