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Instincts, Drives, and Affective Consciousness: A Lacanian Neuropsychoanalytic Perspective

Saturday, January 28, 2023, 9:00 AM until 12:00 PM
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Event Contact(s):
Monique Losson
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Please join us on Zoom for our Winter Workshop:Instincts, Drives, and Affective Consciousness:A Lacanian Neuropsychoanalytic Perspective presented by John Dall’Aglio
This presentation will consider the neuropsychoanalytic taxonomy of the drives from a Lacanian perspective. Rather than adopting the common Lacanian criticism of (homeostatic) instinct versus drive (and jouissance), Dall’Aglio proposes that this dichotomy is no longer scientifically tenable. From his Lacanian neuropsychoanalytic perspective, drive is the aberration of instinct, the formal structure of inherited instinctual systems that are derailed from their homeostatic course. Such aberration is not an accidental effect of external circumstances; this instinctual derailment is part and parcel of affective consciousness.
This talk will describe the neuroscientific and Lacanian arguments for understanding drive as the aberration of instinct. Such an immanent critique problematizes a straightforward interpretation of the neuropsychoanalytic thesis of the “conscious id.” Rather than seeing the upper brainstem as the fount of affective consciousness, in a Lacanian lens, the upper brainstem is a fount of jouissance – the paradoxical excess of tension outside the managerial capacities of the ego. The source of consciousness is paradoxically external to the self-reflective conscious ego.
Several theoretical and clinical implications follow from this position. First, Dall’Aglio will highlight the distinction between affect and jouissance. Then, he will discuss how language in the Lacanian sense of the symbolic register affect even at the most primitive levels of the upper brainstem. This abandons the commonplace cognitive-affective dichotomy and bears clinical implications for working with the motoric aspect of speech.