Making Reservations…

Posted on October 13, 2017 in Uncategorized

…or at the very least, being resistant to getting anywhere. Although ostensibly about resistance in psychoanalysis, the many items in Rebecca Comay’s article will be instantly recognizable to any number of human activities, even, the attempt to do ANYTHING sometimes it seems. And of course from analysis’ perspective, even extensively quoting from the article(s) can be a form of resistance, all circulating around a central vibrant void with its own quixotic demand/drive which requires an infinity of interpretation–a necessity (or impossibility) which can only be engaged if there is the ding an sich somewhere around a corner or an horizon; perhaps language itself is the carrier of the virus:

 It’s about the breakdown or atomization of time. Unmodified by intervening history, removed from circulation, the past intrudes as a static, isolated remnant; unconscious repetition takes the place of conscious memory, and the present evaporates from view. Or, which might amount to the same, it’s the present that impinges: everything is happening here and now, as if there were nothing and no one outside the room, no time outside the session, only the infinitely dilating now, a moment of pure immediacy inoculated from every context, untrammelled by antecedent or aftermath, expanding infinitely to fill all time. Above all resistance is the breakdown in language when the chain of associations comes to a halt, or never gets off the ground, when nothing comes to mind, when speech fails to spark, when despite or because of your best efforts the whole thing sputters and stalls and goes off the rails; or when, fleeing silence, you fill the air by telling stories or by concocting theories about language’s own inevitable failure. It’s always tempting to think of resistance as a failure of productivity: the work gets interrupted because the analysand goes on strike, stops talking, stops generating material (strange industrial language) for analysis. But resistance can also take the form of a crisis of overproduction: there can be an endless proliferation of material that keeps forestalling any possible resolution; every interpretation generates new material to work through, new dreams demanding interpretation, new symptoms to consider, including the vicissitudes of resistance itself. Either way: the analysis gets mired down in a search for resolution that is either preempted or kept dangling forever out of reach.

Rebecca Comay, Resistance  and Repetition:Freud and Hegel
research in phenomenology 45 (2015) 237-266, also on