Editorial    
Chantal Duchêne-González, 1 April 2019
 
Sameness and Otherness

We are happy to present the seventh edition of Psychoanalysis.Today, which we have entitled Sameness and Otherness.
 
Two scholarly terms that, in ordinary language, could be translated as the same and the different, underlying themes within humans that, in Freudian theory, constitute their foundations - pairing the same with narcissism and the different with the Oedipal. These are contrary notions that go beyond psychoanalysis and anthropology (see: Françoise Héritier's works on “the identical and the different") and move into the sociopolitical field. As such, the 21stcentury can be viewed through the lens of the explosion of identity movements and nationalist movements motivated by antagonistic drives. Consider the following: “... one sole people, one sole leader, one sole thought, a movement towards the One for whom history has, at each occasion, confirmed the power of destruction.” [1] and “'I should like to eat this', or 'I should like to spit it out',” and regarding transference, “'I should like to take this into myself and to keep that out...  The original pleasure‑ego,” as mentioned above, “wants to introject into itself everything that is good and to eject from itself everything that is bad.’” [2] This is a victory for Narcissus, who keeps love for the self and expels hate towards the other.  Thus, there is no awareness of the alterity of others if there has been no conception of internal otherness, a subject found in the impossibility of confronting the ambivalence linked to the primary dependency. 
 
“Je est un autre” - “I am someone else,” as Rimbaud said. “Unknown to himself”: it is with these words that Octavio Paz described the poet Fernando Pessoa, who resorted to using numerous pseudonyms for his works and his life: he is an other. This other within the self, created throughout life's experiences by different identificatory links, can be referred to by different names: the unconscious, the otherness of self, and the other within the self. The different or the other thus requires a back and forth from within to without, a psychic endeavor inherent to any analysis, in order to become familiar with and tame the other that each person carries within themselves, this otherness as well as our foreignness in the world. 
 
The private and the other are at the heart of analysis, as the recently deceased Edmundo Gómez Mango describes with finesse:

 

"Confide in a stranger to try to understand that which, though familiar, remains foreign and unrecognized. ...While with the analyst, the patient remains foreign, and their inability to embrace the privacy of others is a testament to it. This immobile voyager stays behind while the other goes away... a voyage that takes place in the absence of desire for the original as well as the foreign: a double-destination topic of language in analysis. ... A voyage towards the foreign; through the foreignness of the language itself, that of, fundamentally, the child who speaks without yet knowing it or hearing itself, ignorant of their own words; the radical otherness of a language inhabits and becomes the basis for our own inner worlds."  [3]

 Let us retain the metaphor of the voyage to enlarge our understanding. Through thought, we journey to different continents and towards different approaches to the theme of Sameness and Otherness.
 
Faithful to the Freudian first and second topic, Catherine Chabert reaffirms that the difference between the sexes is the most important principle of psychoanalysis. If the analyst does not account for the dynamics of transference, and also regression and afterwardsness, they risk losing the distinction between difference and alterity and reducing the other to ‘that which is not me’, while also erasing the sexual component of the Psyche. 
 
This is a fundamental point for Thomas Munday, who emphasizes the non-existence of the difference in sexes in virtual spaces. The cyberworld fills a void, allows for all types of fantasy, and engenders the Self, but brings about neither a meeting with the Other nor with loss. Sexuality is replaced by pornography.
 
For Silvana Rea, it is essential to be aware of the experience of being in the modern world to consider today's psychoanalysis. We cannot access the patient's otherness if we do not feel the other within ourselves. In her interview with Marina Bilenky, she notes how Freud conceptualizes the death drive when speaking of the “narcissism of small differences.”  [4]
 
Jhuma Basak shows us how a schizo-paranoic break in society can lead a minority patient to feel the effects of violence of the ‘hateful’ other, up to the point of self-annihilation. 
 
Esin Egit associates the notions of the same and the different with the concept of cultural identity and alterity/foreignness while detaching from cultural ethnocentrism and focusing firstly on fantasy.
 
To Eyal Rozmarin, the alterity within each of us is the foreignness that inhabits us. The collective unconscious could be an enormous otherness that destabilizes the sense that we have of our identity and the familiarity we keep with ourselves. 
 
Zac de Filc speaks about his work with narcissistic patients. The author explores the ideas of the same and the different through the lens of transference between the analyst and the patient. 
 
Neville Symington focuses on the fact that interactions with others change a person: encounters which, each time, introduce something new.
 
The very object of our interest is the diversity of the approaches of all these texts: similarities and differences in analytic therapy. In light of this, we wish to arouse interest in our readers so that they may then deepen their own understanding and add to the field. It also seems important to attract attention to Catherine Chabert's position, which questions the pertinence of the new orientations of psychoanalysis in the view of contemporary treatment. Do these new directions not lead us to forget the origins and deep roots of thought and the analytic method?  Psychoanalysis must not lose sight of its foundations: infantile sexuality, a source of violent internal conflicts.

Enjoy your reading of this edition.
 
[1]  Jacques André, 'L’empire du même', Mères et filles, la menace de l’identique, Paris, Puf, 2003, p.12.  

[2] Sigmund Freud, (1925), 'La négation ', OCFX VII, p. 168-169, Paris, Puf, 1992.
[3] Edmundo Gómez Mango, 'L’intime pensée',  'L’intime et l’étranger', Nouvelle Revue de Psychanalyse, n° 40, automne 1989.
[4] Sigmund Freud, (1930), 'Le malaise dans la culture', OCF XVIII, Paris, Puf, 1994, p.300.

Translated from the French by Benji Muskal