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Vanier, A. (2010). Fear, Paranoia, and Politics. Psychoanal. Rev., 97(2):215-229.

(2010). Psychoanalytic Review, 97(2):215-229

Fear, Paranoia, and Politics

Alain Vanier, M.D.

I begin by addressing the concept of paranoia, the meaning of fear and its persecutory signification, and then try to see if it can allow us to understand certain collective phenomena that we can observe today.

Freud considered paranoia to be a defense mechanism against homosexuality. However, it is hard to understand why homosexuality would require such an elaborate defensive mechanism, since many people have no problems accepting it and living with it. We should not forget, in this context, that the social bond for Freud was constituted by the modification of the offspring who inherited this latent homosexuality. Freud's reference in this matter was President Schreber and his feminization, which President Schreber first rejected at the onset of his psychosis and later assumed once his delirium stabilized and he had found his role as God's wife.

Lacan, who came to psychoanalysis through his clinical work with psychoses and not through work with hysterics, as was the case with Freud, pointed out, in line with Freud and Freud's later work on narcissism, that what Freud calls homosexuality corresponds in psychosis to phenomena relating to the image of the body which—unlike in neurosis—are not articulated around the normative consequences of the Oedipus complex. The Oedipus complex is, in Lacan's point of view, one of Freud's dreams and, as with any dream, it deserves to be interpreted, that is, we should try to unveil the structure of the dream and find out what is really at stake: the separation from the jouissance of the primal Other, and the limiting of this primal jouissance.

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