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Moss, D. (1992). On a Regressive Feature of Applied Psychoanalysis: From Freud's “Leonardo” to Chasseguet-Smirgel's Creativity and Perversion. Am. Imago, 49(1):63-79.

(1992). American Imago, 49(1):63-79

On a Regressive Feature of Applied Psychoanalysis: From Freud's “Leonardo” to Chasseguet-Smirgel's Creativity and Perversion

Donald Moss

In many cases the distinction between essential and inessential, between authentic and inauthentic, lies with the arbitrariness of definition, without in the least implying the relativity of truth. The reason for this situation lies in language. Language uses the term “authentic” in a floating manner. The word also wavers according to its weightiness, in the same way as occasional expressions. The interest in the authenticity of a concept enters into the judgement about this concept. Whatever is authentic in this concept also becomes so only under the perspective of something that is different from it. It is never pure in the concept itself.

—T. W. Adorno, The Jargon of Authenticity (123)

We readily, if roughly, divide the terrain covered by psychoanalytic theory into two parts; the clinical and the applied. This division seems natural. That is, it seems an act of taxonomical common sense—objects immediately present to perception put where they belong.

The objects of the applied side of the division form a particularly motley ensemble. Though they are all somehow “cultural,” no internal quality binds them. “Culture” is not explicitly conceptualized. Rather, its character is left to emerge inferentially, through a formative act of subtraction.

This formative act is simple and direct. The overtly “clinical” is bracketed out from the overall psychoanalytic field. The remainder is “cultural” and constitutes the province of applied analysis.

The

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