A Slip of the Pen, by Frank Rollier


The unconscious is alive and well, and it can even emerge with the first email of the day!

Whilst preparing for a trip to Lausanne for a Knotting Seminar where I was to speak under the title “The Scandalous Unconscious” in preparation for the upcoming NLS Congress, my reflections began in an unexpected and stimulating way, thanks to an e-mail from the colleague who was in charge of organizing the day. He suggested that I should have “50 minutes” to present my work, and I answered “50 years seems to me sufficient”.

He drew my attention to this slip of the pen by expressing his fear of not having reserved the room for a sufficient length of time… Certainly I knew my deep attachment to Switzerland, but to keep an audience until 2067, well, even I could not believe it.

So in relating this manifestation of my unconscious to the public at the seminar, I proposed that this excess, this kind of phallic pretension, revealed that the denial of castration was, for me, relentless, and that the symptom was no doubt hard at work, day and night.

And, because we know that the refusal of castration is primarily a rejection of the Other’s castration, I proposed that we also read into this slip my wish that the Swiss working community would maintain its interest in psychoanalysis for half a century, thanks to the determined and indefatigable desire of the members of the ASREEP-NLS Society.

For the analysand, whose path is precisely the right one for the blundering unconscious, and for the one who claims to occupy the place of the analyst, the appearance of a dream, a slip of the tongue, a bungled action is like blessed bread – it is a little scandal that is welcome.

We greet these little blunders and give them a chance, waking something up just a little bit, enough to be analyzed – so long as the analyst himself is not asleep but grasps the object of enjoyment that pops up and makes itself known.

It is the act of the analyst that gives space to the scandalous unconscious and lets it ring out.

Translated by Janet Haney