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The Uncanny, the Double, dad Ding…

As a consequence, we comprehend that the whole issue of stigmatization revolves around the Uncanny”1 problematic. The uncanny, ο xsenos”(ξένος, the one who frightens us) becomes the double”2 so that we project to the body of this other and to the group in which it belongs, our horrible, dark and unbearable side that has been repressed3 or isolated. It is the kakon”(κακόν) of the subject, the extime object of the subject, das Ding, the most intimate and most external of the subject at the same time.4 People regard as uncanny everything related to death. The basic truth that all men are mortal, is not of general acceptance and our unconscious has indeed very little space for the idea of our own mortality,” as Freud5 underlines.6

The Monstrous Double.

The concept of the uncanny as a double” is something I’ve been thinking about a lot as of late (see links below for more on that).

What I find so interesting about double is that it is something that creates such an interesting experience when we encounter it. That experiences (I think) goes something like this:

  1. We see/hear/read the double.
  2. We feel revolted by the couple, we hate it.
  3. But even as we are revolted and filled with hate we (unconsciously?) recognize that the double is something that is very much like us.

In short - The double is something that we hate because it reminds us of our own repressed desires.

Ergo, the double is a monster, but it is a monster that might be useful to us if we can change our understand of it and our relationship to it.


Putting this thought in a slightly different way - The double is something that that is a monster because it is haunted by the ghosts of our repressed desires.

When I read the quoted text above, it made me think of the collection of text I’ve labeled Monsterology here, and an episode of the InForm:Podcast on the Weird and the Eerie in psychoanalysis.

  1. Freud, S., (1919). The Uncanny” in The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, Vol. 15, English Translation Strachey (1925), London, 2001, Vintage Books. pp. 219-256.

  2. As above. This phrase seems to be an echo from Nietzsche (e.g. from the last part of Also sprach Zarathustra). In Chapter III of Beyond the Pleasure Principle (1920 g), Standard Edition, Vol. 18, 22, Freud writes a similar phrase the perpetual recurrence of the same thing” between inverted commas.

  3. As above. The uncanny unheimlich is that class of the frightening which leads back to what is known of old and long familiar heimlich. (..) The unheimlich is what was once heimlisch, familiar, the prefix un” is the token of repression”.

  4. Lacan, J De la psychose paranoïaque dans ses rapports avec la personnalité, Paris, Seuil, 1975, p. 302 ; J. Lacan, Presentation on Psychical Causality”, in Ecrits, Seuil, 1966, p. 123.

  5. Freud, S., (1919). Op. cit.

  6. All of the text above and the reference s in it came from:

    Argyris Tsakos, Stigmatization, in The Lacanian Review Online, posted 4/21/30 at 6:51am, accessed on 4/22/20 at 10:01am.

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