The Violence of Interpretation: From Pictogram to Statement

By Piera Aulagnier | Go to book overview

6

Concerning paranoia: primal scene and primary delusional thinking

On the horizon of paranoiac potentiality there rises what others see and hear as delusion. These considerations on paranoia, with which this book ends, will allow me to extend my reflection on the role of historical reality and on its action in the ‘sense-making’ that will be privileged by primary delusional thinking. I am not proposing a theory of paranoia, but showing how a ‘perceived hate’ marks the destiny of these subjects and becomes the pivot around which their theory concerning origins is developed. Like a wicked witch, this hate leans over their cradle from their entry into the world: the rest of their lives will be simply an unequal struggle against this evil spell that inexorably persecutes them.

In this chapter I shall confine myself to isolating the characteristics that mark the familial organisation that the subject encounters and the discourse that he hears; it is this organisation that makes the space in which the I comes about the space in which paranoia may come about. I shall not go further: paranoia and schizophrenia, like psychosis in general, offer no short cut to theory; a ‘summary’ of such cases invariably turns out to be impossible or amounts to little more than the monotonous repetition of a few only too familiar theoretical slogans.

At the moment when psychosis becomes manifest, one encounters the same question: what has transformed the necessary conditions into sufficient conditions for psychotic potentiality to be expressed in sound and fury, if only in the sound and fury of a silence that may be even more terrifying? An excess of one of these conditions, already in itself excessive? The particular moment in time when it takes place? I have no satisfactory answer to these questions. What I have said about the necessary presence of a referent on the stage of the real and what comes about if the subject finds himself dispossessed of it may offer an explanation of what triggers it off, but certainly not an exhaustive explanation. I am abandoning any attempt to answer this question until I have learned a little more of what psychotic discourse may have to teach me.

-177-

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