My answer is disarming: it is ‘for nothing’. It is not a boutade. It is the beginning of a theory that sees not only one discourse running through society – for example, the idealistic discourse that argues for the conservation of the conquests of the soul. With Freud, a discourse emerges in our society – and, therefore, a social bond – that aims neither to whatever elevation of the soul, nor to any savings of accumulated goods. This is called psychoanalysis. It is the opposite of the discourse of the master, which demands the conforming of the subject to the value of the spirit and the parallel production of ever-greater goods. And it has nothing to do with the servile discourse of those who align themselves to the master: today psychotherapy, medicine always – the queen of philistine conformism of all times.
Freud’s intellectual operation is not easy to follow, because, through a first phase of looking for sense in the dream as in the lapsus, it ends up in the nonsense of the death drive and repetition. This nonsense grinds against the religious spirit that spills out from each of our pores, which is imposed by the master. The Freudian death drive, on the contrary, implies that, at some point in analysis, what you thought made sense (the cure, moral values, the Absolute Spirit) vanishes, becomes invisible. The One becomes undone. The whole becomes paralysed. The subject falls from the throne (but Lacan calls it étron, stronzo (1) ) of his phantom.
Does it mean, then, as you hold, that ‘no one can say: “this is ethics and this is not”, and most of all nobody should say it’? Dear Ettore, in my opinion, it means something more despairing: it means that even your relativism does not stand. It means that you are in the grip of the unconscious, which does not grant you a comfortable relativism. It means that, from now on, ethics no longer passes via the moral principles transmitted through society, but via a desire that before was ágraphos, and now, through analysis, has been inscribed and takes you where it wants, and… against your will. Jesus prophesised to Peter: ‘When you were young you dressed yourself and went where you wanted to; when you will be old an other will dress you and take you where it wants to.’ This is ethics. One can say it, a posteriori. Everyone who has truly undertaken an analysis can say it; but certainly not the dim among the Pharisees, nor the vile among the philistines.
By the way, thank you for having suggested the nice Pauline verb katakronéin to me. I would make it play with kataphronéin, in the sense of ‘regaining the senses’ after having passed through the alienation in the Other. I mean: I want to go back home as a stranger, and no master has to adjust me to his ‘good’, and no servant has to advise me about my own – not even if he has been authorised by the State.
I am sorry you consider my discourse authoritarian. My discourse is mine and I do not ask for it to be shared by many (although some do). You will concede that I can say what is my ethics. If I did not, I would deny the journey I have undertaken throughout my daily analytical work. My ethics, I would say, is not nihilistic: all is non-sense but something can be done. And as you yourself can witness – given that you have written an article on the Platonic and Aristotelian One with my encouragement – I do keep myself busy. I hope your article will not disappoint me. I hope it will be a majorly useless article, just to put to the test the metanoia of the intellect constructed in analysis.