Studia Phaenomenologica: Romanian Journal for Phenomenology issue:special issue pages:269-281
Philosophical Concepts and Religious Metaphors location:Sibiu, Romania date:26-28 August, 2007
In this article I contend that although Michel Henry reproaches psychoanalysis to let the symbolic (representational) law rule over the unconscious (a prefiguration of real Life), his concept of auto-affection as a direct experience of Life comes close to the psychoanalyst Kristeva’s idea of eros, in that they both turn away from representational logic in their search for ‘true’, unmediated forms of subjectivity. In her development of the concept of eros or narcissism, Kristeva is strongly inspired by the neo-Platonist Plotinus. In his striving for unification with the One, man idealizes and identifies with the Plotinian One. Kristeva replaces this idealizing love inside man’s psyche and thus defines the narcissistic structure as an identification with something that is not yet the subject itself. Therefore this process takes place in a non-representational domain, beyond language, in what can be called the ‘consciousness of the flesh’. However, although Kristeva stresses the importance of the existence of a ‘bodily’ consciousness in order to be able to love, not everything is simply absorbed by this consciousness of the flesh: both Kristeva and Plotinus draw upon a kind of dualism between representational and non-representational, maybe not in the experience, but in their explanation of love.