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The Chattering MindA Conceptual History of Everyday Talk$
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Samuel McCormick

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780226677637

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226677804.001.0001

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First and Final Words

First and Final Words

(p.240) Eight First and Final Words
The Chattering Mind

Samuel McCormick

University of Chicago Press

Chapter 8 begins by defining full speech as a retrospective mode of discourse whose primary function is to dislocate previous events from the continuum of past experience, typifying or figuring them as historical pronouncements of future events in which their potential to serve as defining moments in the speaker’s life will have been realized.But the historical truth that full speech promises to reveal about the subject’s cryptic past often remains shrouded in its linguistic counter-possibility: empty speech.In empty speech, the ego hooks on to the other, and both set off in search of something to fill the emptiness of their discourse. When this occurs, analytic experience becomes an ideological state apparatus and ordinary language use follows suit. Communication gives way to informatics, intersubjectivity to image management, and the ultimate prospect of therapeutic discourse—full speech—to a recursive play of egos, alter egos, and ideological objectives.To illustrate these displacements, chapter 8 concludes by returning, once more, to Lacan’s re-analysis of Freud’s 1895 dream, arguing that the communicative practice at the center of this dream is empty speech—a quasi-communicative practice characterized by illusions of intellectual depth, complexity, and resolve structured atop restless, almost robotic repetitions of patterned nonsense.

Keywords:   Jacques Lacan, Sigmund Freud, empty speech, full speech, intersubjectivity, retroaction, psychoanalytic anamnesis, resubjectivization, psychoanalysis, Irma's injection

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