From Freud to Kafka: The Paradoxical Foundation of the Life-and-Death Instinct

From Freud to Kafka: The Paradoxical Foundation of the Life-and-Death Instinct

by Philippe Refabert

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Overview

From Freud to Kafka: The Paradoxical Foundation of the Life-and-Death Instinct by Philippe Refabert

This book takes the reader on a captivating journey leading from an erroneous founding assumption inherited from Freud, to the proposal of a principle better suited to allowing the psychoanalyst to accompany the patient out of his impasse. The founding assumption of the book, already questioned by many analysts among whom Sandor Ferenczi figures as a brilliant forerunner, was the author’s starting point in re-examining the basic precepts of psychoanalysis.

Reading Kafka made the author conclude that this masterful revealer describes borderline situations, so familiar to him, better than anyone. An avid reader of Freud, Kafka suggests that the human capacity to bear a paradoxical position between life and death is not given the child naturally, at birth. Kafka seems to say that giving life is easy, but that giving it the necessary support in the form of the trace of death is more problematic. Moreover, when the child is deprived of this trace, he faces the void and, in a panic, must use emergency measures to construct a substitute for the necessary trace of death; and he can only do so by sacrificing his sexuality, his ability to feel, his initiative or his judgment. When the conditions necessary for primal repression are not provided to the child by others, he creates them himself at great cost. What he gives himself is not life, but life-death, and he pays the price for doing so. When primal repression is destroyed—something which can happen at any age—we speak of “soul murder”. At the very instant when it occurs, a new Subject comes into existence, a Subject who pushes back the threat of destruction. The new Subject constructs otherness out of an object or out of a part of himself, a part he sacrifices in order to recover the primal repression destroyed by the trauma.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781782201298
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Publication date: 06/28/2014
Pages: 142
Product dimensions: 9.00(w) x 5.90(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Philippe Réfabert obtained his medical degree in 1962 and after working as on-staff doctor in psychiatric hospitals between 1962 and 1966 set up private practice as a psychoanalyst in 1967. Between 1963 and 1973 he was a member of the Paris Psychoanalytic Society, and subsequently became a member of the College of Psychoanalysts and the “Fédération des Ateliers de Psychanalyse”. He served as President of the latter between 1991 and 1992. Philippe Réfabert is also a prolific author, known for his work on the first years of the psychoanalytic movement, and particularly on Freud’s relationship with Fliess, Jung, and Ferenczi. He has led seminars and published articles on psychoanalytic practice, epistemology, analytic commitment, memory and forgetting, and analytic procedure. He is currently leading a workshop on the theme of "Giving Time", and preparing a book on this primal paradoxical endowment. In this endeavor, he makes use of his clinical experience, and of the light and shadow found in the works of poets like Fernando Pessoa and Paul Celan.

Table of Contents

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
ABOUT THE AUTHOR

PART I

CHAPTER ONE
A misunderstanding between Freud and the man from the country

CHAPTER TWO
Oedipus’ answer to Freud’s enigma

CHAPTER THREE
A presumed paradoxical endowment

CHAPTER FOUR
Sketches of the paradoxical system in Freud’s work

CHAPTER FIVE
A transitional psychic matrix

CHAPTER SIX
An origin between absorption and expulsion

CHAPTER SEVEN
Destruction of the paradoxical system: murder of the other in the self

PART II
CHAPTER EIGHT
Failure of the paradoxical system (1): before the Law

CHAPTER NINE
Failure of the paradoxical system (2): The Silence of the Sirens and Josephine the Singer

CHAPTER TEN
Absorption—expulsion: The Vulture

CHAPTER ELEVEN
The vicarious system of the man-from-the-country

CHAPTER TWELVE
The paradox of the birth of the artist: The Judgment

CHAPTER THIRTEEN
The resolution of a misunderstanding

APPENDIX
Schreber’s transsexuality as catastrophic healing and method of survival after the destruction of the
paradoxical system

REFERENCES
INDEX

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