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White Society Colloquium: F&%king old man! Noise and Silence in Analytic Talk

Date: Dec 14, 2016 8:00 pm
Speaker: Charles Lemert, PhD
Discussant: Suzanne Little, PhD



A familiar expletive introduces the idea that all human communication occurs against the interference of noises that, in effect, silence what is being said. Psychoanalytic talk is a special, even unique, case of the general nature of communication. In fact, it could well be said that talk in session is that unique human activity which is similar to, if not the same as, the space and time of the imaginary of the black hole at the beginning of cosmic time. Psychoanalytic talk, thus, is interior to the noise-laden silence of the treatment session -- an interior from which after some fifty-minutes the patient must return to an allegedly real world of tempting noises.


Charles Lemert, Ph.D., is University Professor and Andrus Professor of Social Theory Emeritus, Wesleyan University, and Senior Fellow in the Center for Comparative Research, Yale University. He also is a member of the Psychoanalysis and Culture Faculty in the Boston Graduate School of Psychoanalysis. Dr. Lemert is author or editor of a good many books, among them: Globalization: An Introduction to the End of the Known World (2015), Introduction to Contemporary Social Theory (2014, with Anthony Elliott), Why Niebuhr Matters (2013) and The Structural Lie (2011).

Suzanne Little, Ph.D., is Faculty, Fellow, Supervising Analyst, William Alanson White Institute, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and past President of the William Alanson White Psychoanalytic Society. She serves on the Editorial Board of Contemporary Psychoanalysis.
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