With hindsight, one can better perceive what was comical about the accusation made to Lacan – unless it was simply bad faith on the accusers’ part – for the guilty party here was Freud himself.
Freud’s earliest postulate was that symptoms, and the affects they generate, are formed by the unconscious; they are “unconscious formations,” as Lacan calls them. 1 When it came to articulating how to gain access to the unconscious, Freud invoked deciphering, not affect. The Interpretation of Dreams , Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious , and The Psychopathology of Everyday Life 2 are, in this regard, categorical. The royal road to the unconscious is the deciphering of dreams, not the various emotions ( émois ) dreams arouse. This was Freud’s way of signifying already that, as poignant as it may be for the analysand, affect was not his guiding light when it came to interpretation.