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Gargiulo, G.J. (1989). Authority, the Self, and Psychoanalytic Experience. Psychoanal. Rev., 76(2):149-161.

(1989). Psychoanalytic Review, 76(2):149-161

Authority, the Self, and Psychoanalytic Experience

Gerald J. Gargiulo

Desire itself is movement

Not in itself desirable;

Love is itself unmoving

Only the cause and end of movement,

Timeless and undesiring. …

T S. Eliot, Four Quartets

In this paper, I would like to discuss some of the issues implicit in the traditional philosophical categories of subject and object, and the psychoanalytic parallel: the self and the other. I will discuss the “self and the experience of autonomy, and the “other” and the experience of authority. These will be discussed in terms of two unifying references, namely, transference desire and relationship desire. I would like to suggest a broadening of psychoanalytic discourse to enable a better appreciation of the subject-object distinction. To do this we will first have to raise the core question: Is there a herme-neutics to human desire? Such a question entails more than is encompassed by the traditional Freudian postulate that there is a teleology to human instinctuality.

Paul Ricoeur (1981) in Hermeneutics and The Human Sciences states: “Hermeneutics is the theory of the operations of understanding in their relation to the interpretation of texts” (p. 43). Therefore, to speak of a hermeneutics of human desire is to employ an analogue, that is, human desire is approached as if it were a (complicated) literary text, perhaps best exemplified in the form of poetry.

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