Jacques Lacan nsIn hmolscience, Jacques Lacan (1901-1981) was a French psychoanalyst noted, in psychological thermodynamics, for his circa 1960s lectures and publications in commentary and discussion of Freud, psychology, entropy, and energy.

Lacan, in his works, dissected the Freudian theory, showing to what extent Freud’s logic rested on the view of man as an energy machine. [1]

Lacan also had ideas on the thermodynamics of psychology of his own, which he expressed in his circa 1968 lectures, extrapolating on the conservation of energy and entropy, albeit in a very obscure and riddled manner. Lacan speaks of entropy, for example, as a “loss of jouissance”, in some way connected to the pleasure principle or a loss of enjoyment. [6]

In one of his works, Lacan draws a parallel between entropic loss and the inevitable loss that occurs when one attempts to formalize knowledge, to transfer it from the implicit knowing how to the explicit knowing that by the process of writing. [2] Lacan notes that Freud made mention of entropy in his circa 1910 Wolfman. Freud’s mention of entropy is: [3]

“In examining conversion in psychic processes we must give consideration to the concept of entropy, which is in proportional opposition to the undoing of what has already taken place.”

On this basis, Lacan argues that Freud had a firm sense that entropy had something to do with his death instinct. [4]

Lacan also comments on the entropy views of Austrian psychologist Siegfried Bernfeld who in 1931, in association with physicist Sergei Feitelberg, published a research article entitled “The Principle of Entropy and the Death Instinct”, in the International Journal of Pshcyo-analysis, in which presented the results of their study where they attempted to measure a paradoxical pulsation of entropy within a living organism, specifically in the nervous system of a man. [5] Specifically, by comparing the brain temperature to the rectal temperature of a man, they thought to acquire evidence of paradoxical variations, i.e. variations not conforming to the principle of entropy as it functions in physics for inanimate systems. [4]

The following are representative quotes:

“Since Freud, the center of man is not where we thought it was; one has to go on from there.”
— Jacques Lacan (c.1950) (Ѻ)

1. (a) Fernández-Galiano, Luis. (2000). Fire and Memory: On Architecture and Energy (pg. 139). MIT Press (written: 1982).
(b) Prigogine, Ilya and Stengers, Isabelle. (1971). La Nouvelle Alliance: Metamorphose de la Science (The New Alliance: Metamorphosis of Science) (pg. 126-29). Paris: Gallimard.
2. Zizek, Slavoj. (2003). Jacques Lacan: Society, Politics, Ideology (pg. 118). Taylor & Francis.
3. Freud, Sigmund. (1919). The “Wolfman” and Other Cases (pg. 314). Penguin.
4. Lacan, Jacques and Miller, Jacques-Alain. (1991). The Ego in Freud’s Theory and in the Technique of Psychoanalysis, 1954-1955 (entropy, pgs. 77, 81, 83, 95, 114, 327, 334; Bernfeld and Feitelberg, pg. 115). W.W. Norton & Co.
5. (a) Bernfeld, Seigfried., Feitelberg, Sergei. (1931). "The Principle of Entropy and the Death Instinct" ("Der Entropiesatz und der Todestrieb"). Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 12:61-81.
(b) Kapp, R.O. (1931). “Comments on Bernfeld and Feitelberg's 'The Principle of Entropy and the Death Instinct”. J. Psycho-Anal., 12:82-86.
(c) Spring, W.J. (1934). “A Critical Consideration of Bernfeld and Feitelberg's Theory of Psychic Energy”. Psychoanal Q., 3:445-473.
6. (a) Clemens, Justin and Grigg, Russell. (2006). Jacques Lacan and the Other side of Psychoanalysis: Reflections on Seminar XVII (thermodynamics, pgs. 2, 140-41, 157, 160-61, 194, n.12, 198; entropy, pgs. 140-42, 157, 160-62, 173, 178, 199). Duke University Press.
(b) Jouissance – Wikipedia.

External links
Jacques Lacan – Wikipedia.

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