7 December 2008

Dream Surgery

Filed under: Psychology, Reflections — ktismatics @ 3:11 pm

Here’s a fragment of a dream reported this morning by our daughter. She was conducting a project in biology class which required her to make an incision in the flesh. She couldn’t find the instrument required to perform the procedure, nor could she think of the name of this instrument. At last the name came to her: “scalpel.” As soon as she found the name she found the scalpel itself.

As I understand it, Lacan asserts that the unconscious consists of a loosely-structured array of signifiers floating free from what they signify. In the dreamstate both the signifier and the signified were inaccessible. The dream procedure consisted of retrieving first the signifier “scalpel” and then immediately suturing it to what it signifies. It’s paradoxical that the word-object pairing getting sutured together is an instrument for cutting and dividing.

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