The Desire to Know the Master Analysis — Işık Barış Fidaner

What would be a desire to know the master analysis? This phrase is a four-headed chimera that I constructed out of Lacan’s four discourses. It’s an imaginary monster that does not exist but we can still think its non-existence term by term.

First of all, as Lacan assures us, there is no “desire to know” [1]; instead, there is only a “horror of knowing” that is also called the “passion for ignorance”. It’s true that desire and knowledge are closely related, they may even feed and grow each other sometimes, but they do this in opposite directions. Desire and knowledge cannot be synthesized into a single entity, because “desire” designates the hysteria discourse and “knowledge” designates the University discourse. Thus desire and knowledge signify the discursive exchange between $ and S2, subject and knowledge, without the possibility of integrating them into one “desire to know”. These two elements are like the students and the academics in a university which will never be united; the two groups that must be kept symbolically separate for the education to work and for the campus life to continue. The “desire to know” which supports the ideal of science as the pursuit of pure curiosity is just a chimera that covers over this double movement of students plus academics.

What about the “master analysis”? This phrase signifies an analysis that will be the key to the whole universe, like the “theory of everything” that physicists dream about, or the “dialectic materialism” that was supposed to reveal the deepest secrets of nature and society to the militants of the communist cause. The “master analysis” is the ultimate scientistic promise. It’s definitely an inexistent imaginary monster.

Just as there is no “desire to know” as a purely scientific curiosity that disregards private interests, so there is no “master analysis” that would fully satisfy such a pure curiosity. The case of “master analysis” is similar to the case of “desire to know”: Mastery and analysis are closely related, they may even feed and grow each other sometimes, but they do this in opposite directions. Mastery and analysis cannot be synthesized into a single entity, because “master” designates the Master’s discourse and “analysis” designates the analytic discourse. Thus mastery and analysis signify the discursive exchange between S1 and objet a, signifier and jouissance, without the possibility of integrating them into a “master analysis”.

forces

Finally, let us play a little game. Let us fabricate another imaginary monster, the psychoanalytic theory of everything, by matching the four discourses (hysteria, University, Master’s, analytic) to the four fundamental forces of the universe (electromagnetism, gravity, strong nuclear force, weak nuclear force):

The desire of the hysteric conveys a certain electromagnetism that occasionally shakes the stability of the symbolic order; whereas the knowledge of the university carries a certain gravity that holds the symbolic order together. These two forces keep a certain mediation and chemical balance between themselves.

The master’s intervention is a strong nuclear force that can make or break a symbolic order. When the master directly intervenes, the chemical balance between the electromagnetism of hysteria and the gravity of the university collapses. The analyst’s intervention is a weak nuclear force that modifies the extimate conditions of the strong nuclear force of the master. The analyst only has indirect effects, but (s)he can make or break the master.

Işık Barış Fidaner is a computer scientist with a PhD from Boğaziçi University, İstanbul. Admin of Yersiz Şeyler, Editor of Žižekian Analysis, Curator of Görce Writings. Twitter: @BarisFidaner

Notes:

[1] See “Curiosity and the Passion of Ignorance”

Image source.

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