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Aulagnier, P. (2015). Birth of a Body, Origin of a History. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 96(5):1371-1401.

(2015). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 96(5):1371-1401

Birth of a Body, Origin of a History Language Translation

Piera Aulagnier


The traveller who roams the mythical world will be certain to come across soothsayers and, among them, a number of illustrious blind persons. The latter will tell him about the punishment awaiting anyone who, by fulfilling a prohibited desire, has dared to make knowable, manifest - to himself and to others - that which should have remained unknown, latent. But their divinitory power might suggest to the same traveller that true knowledge demands that we free ourselves from this screen constituted by the visible. Either we trust in the sensible world, believing that reality conforms to its appearance, or alternatively we refuse to allow ourselves to be trapped; and the best thing, then, is to eliminate the trap itself.

If we followed this advice literally, however, we would very soon realize that human reality, rather than mythical reality, can only be grasped by means of this sensory activity which serves as a selecter and a bridge of passage between psychic reality and those other spaces from which it draws its materials, beginning with its own somatic space.

Before discussing the function that the body will have as a mediator and an object of interest in the relations between two psyches and between the psyche and the world, let us consider the three forms of existence under which reality (and thus the body) presents itself to the human being, the fourth being given to us by the compromise that will necessarily result from it. I am employing the term reality here in its least theoretical sense and the most natural for human thought: for the subject, reality coincides with the totality of the phenomena of which existence is self-evident.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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