If Lacan, like Aristotle, attributes the highest pleasure to theoria, for the psychoanalyst it is parapraxes
, jokes, dreams, and symptoms that constitute our modern "theoretical" pleasure, the enjoyment of unconscious thought.
He imagines that there is a subtending "Real" of human experience (invested in the unconscious) that cannot be directly expressed through the logic of Western sciences and philosophies, nor the rhetoric of religions, nor the discourses of societal compacts--something that can only be expressed in metaphors couched in the form of symptoms, parapraxes
, dreams, flashes of wit, and the like.
The unconscious that I am concerned with is the "dynamic" Freudian-Lacanian unconscious: the psychical system composed of ideas that have been repressed (most commonly, childhood wishes), which subsequently return to consciousness in disguised form, as compromise-formations such as dreams, parapraxes
, and symptoms (Freud, 2001 , 2001a ; Laplanche and Pontalis, 1973: 474).
Another perspective comes from Freud, arguably one of the principal theorists and innovators of translation, who deemed that translation encompassed: 'dreams; generalised hysterical, obsessive and phobic symptomatology; parapraxes
; fetishes; the choice of suicidal means; and the analyst's interpretations' (Mahony, 2001: p 837).
Freud also, of course, collected his patient's cases, memories, dreams and 'parapraxes
' (slips of the tongue, mistakes, mislayings, failures of action).
It comprehends erotic life's subversion of language through puns, accidental portmanteaus and parapraxes
; its axes of language are condensation and displacement.
As will become clear, regressions into various forms of unfree activity, for example, in the forms of dreams, parapraxes
, and neuroses--that is, the very modes of activity that we associate with the life of the unconscious-are, for Hegel, always possible.
Psychoanalysis treats these parapraxes
as revealing because they are considered intentional, in fact, over-determined, providing access to the unconscious.
At this point, we need to introduce the psychoanalytic view on slips of the tongue; these 'linguistic errors' are considered to be acte manque and because an English equivalent was more than vital, the word 'parapraxes
' (failed acts) was created.