chapter  2
19 Pages

The phenomenology of fantasy

Psychoanalytic praxis is similar in that its aesthetic structure, like that of art an organizer of sensory experience, also struggles to remain concealed. As described by Edgar Levenson, the “inquiry into [the] private aesthetic structure” that is psychoanalysis is an inquiry into a “private myth,” one analogous to the “melodic line,” “the sequential patterning of events (notes),” that is “played out” in the life of the patient and manifested in treatment. Psychoanalysis is by nature highly creative and has much to do with the making of art and art’s concretizing of reality in imagining, in fantasies having bearing on the self. In fact, psychoanalysis is conditional upon the same paradox that is the very measure of the existence of art: In revealing, the work of art reveals itself as revelatory; in enlightening,

it is artistic process that is itself enlightened (see Garelli, 1966 , p. 9). So, too, in effecting change the analytic process displays the very conditions upon which therapeutic change depends. That is to say that in the interaction of analyst and analysand the myth or “melodic line” is unveiled as psychoanalysis’ own operative mode is unveiled as well. But how? Simply put, the myth becomes accessible, and only over time, as the analyst either resists the fantasy exhibited in the transference so as to correct the distortion of reality that fantasy implies or enters the fantasy to effect a change from within (see Levenson, 2005 , pp. 40-41) . I would posit that distinction as the most salient to make between the classical and post-classical (or relational) clinical perspectives. And I believe it is that differentiation that leads us to contemplate a post-Freudian understanding of the creative act. But before we explore creativity in that context, before we investigate what the notion of creativity as relational and non-sublimatory might look like, we need to delimit what we mean by fantasy; we need to inquire as to its origin and location and ask what the phenomenology of its structure is.