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  • reshuffling the tiles > 04/12/06

    Have been playing a bit of Mah Jong today and the program I used was slightly different from what I’m used to. Whenever you get stuck - and if you know Mah Jong that’s easy - there is the option to reshuffle the tiles! Thus the morale of the game is that whenever you get stuck, reshuffle the tiles, break out of locked positions! The name of the game will change.

    But, having thought about the proposition above for a day, it needs modification. The question of where the reshuffling of the tiles takes place matters: at the level of the ego or at the unconscious, at a social level or that of the speaking body? Most people today will probably interpret the proposition as a structural reshuffle at the social level and, considering the present impact of CBT, cognitive behaviour therapy, on contemporary life, a rebuild of the brain, the harbinger of our cognitive faculties.

    Apart from being an interpretation that favours simple, cosmetic solutions, it is politically conservative as its primary objective is social adaption at a low cost and, personally, it reduces the subject to a conditioned being not very different from Pavlov’s dogs. It is in my view a fraud, the symptom is clinically removed or altered but the cause lives on and, as psychoanalysis has shown, the repressed always returns.

    The fight between CBT and psychoanalysis, between the two ways of interpreting the reshuffling of the tiles, has been vivid over the years. Read, for instance, Jacques-Alain Miller here at lacan.com

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