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Ruti, M. (2008). The Fall of Fantasies: A Lacanian Reading of Lack. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 56(2):483-508.

(2008). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 56(2):483-508

The Fall of Fantasies: A Lacanian Reading of Lack

Mari Ruti

The purpose of this article is to explain to a non-Lacanian audience the broad philosophical foundations of Lacanian theory, particularly the relationship that Lacan draws between the human subject's ontological lack and his or her creative capacities. In an effort to explain Lacan's distaste for psychoanalytic approaches aimed at strengthening the ego, the article outlines the manner in which Lacan connects ego-driven fantasies to the constriction of the subject's psychic world. Lacan suggests that narcissistic fantasies are misleadingly seductive because they—in occluding the internal rifts and antagonisms of the subject's being—alleviate his or her anxieties about the contingent basis of existence. However, the illusory sense of plenitude and self-presence that such fantasies provide prevents the subject from effectively discerning the “truth” of his or her desire, thereby holding him or her captive in socially conventional psychic paradigms. In consequence, it is only the fall of the subject's most cherished fantasies that empowers him or her to pursue a degree of subjective singularity. The article also considers the clinical implications of Lacan's theory of lack, including the ways in which the analyst's lack enhances the patient's capacity to claim an increasingly autonomous and multidimensional mode of encountering the world.

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