But, one might say, psychotherapy (or psychoanalysis) is a profession… And so? Legally, professions certainly did not need to be regulated by law 56, as they were perfectly regulated even before this law. The problem in Spaziozero (and imagine elsewhere!) is not only psychoanalytic, but more generally cultural. This is so because we do not manage to understand each other (and I am afraid not even when we are by ourselves) not only on the difference between very ungraspable concepts, such as those of psychoanalysis and psychotherapy, but, also, on much broader and politically essential matters, such as the relationship between rights and justice. On this last point, I have read some books this summer, and I can assure you that, from 1945 onwards, philosophers of rights have done nothing but trip up the kind of judicial positivism, that we, in Spaziozero, take as absolutely given and evident. Mais passons. I think I can speak of this elsewhere (that time in Milan when I spoke about responsibility was only the beginning). In conclusion, I shall return to your letter. ‘To fornicate with ministerial commissions’ is certainly not the aim of Spaziozero and, even less, my own. However, becoming clearer about what we must do, certainly is. The cowardice that in my open letter I said I fear was certainly not yours, nor that of someone else. The courage I believe we need, is certainly not that of placing ourselves on the same ground as the State, but that of not doing so. Whatever the lawyers thought or still think, rights are not simply a demonstration of the omnipotent will of the State (as Galli rightly reminds us, Hitler could think so but we cannot), because, if that were so, nothing anymore could distinguish rights from arbitrariness and tyranny. As Augustine knew – a big scandal for the lawyers – an unjust law is not at all a law. And if morals and ethics exist, it is because the law cannot know everything. If we have forgotten this, we have forgotten, also, what distinguishes Western tradition from Judaic and Muslim traditions, which make the law the direct manifestation of God’s will. But what happens when we make it the direct manifestation of the State’s will?
Now, as you say: ‘psychoanalysis, perhaps, will survive because it will be able to re-propose the novelty of its ethical discourse’. On this, I am in perfect agreement with you. Indeed, we must be vigilant never to forget the difference between ethics, morals and rights. If we do, we can call what we do whatever we like, but we will always remain prisoners of the same wrongdoings, and the same stupidity, that we believe must be opposed.
From Sciacchitano to Perrella
Milan, 4th September 1997
It is a pleasure to have a discussion with someone who raises intelligent questions. I shall try to explain to you my position on the question of the One, which, after all, is simple. As an interpretation of the lacanian not-whole, I propose von Neumann-Gödel-Bernays’ notion of ‘proper class’. The justification is that the not-whole, although a ‘larger’ universal than the commonly used universal – the holistic universe – lacks something. What does it lack? Just as a ‘proper class’, it lacks the possibility of being conceived as a whole and, therefore, as One.