The Father Was a Gorilla. Psychoanalysis and the Animal Big Other
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When one closely reads Freud’s case studies one is tempted to say that the unconscious expresses itself through identification with animals. Animals are not just a pretext for symptoms but they seem to play a crucial role in the unconscious of Freud’s patients. A sample of this unconscious affinity with animals is provided by Ratman’s case, who, as Freud claims, “found a living likeness of himself in the rat". In the paper I consider general conditions of this curious difference between “being an animal” and “identifying with an animal” which seems to be disclosed in Ratman’s case. What exactly manifests itself in this curious identification with an animal? What makes the difference between “being an animal” and “identifying with an animal”? Is id an animal, or is id just an effect of id-entification with an animal?
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