After a festive night out spent drinking and smoking pot, a young man aged twenty-one attacked a passer-by with a knife. He doesn’t understand what happened. As the subject of the unconscious, he was not there and his passage to the act is not framed within any discourse. All this man wants is “to move on”. He did however mention to the expert that moments before the attack he had had “the feeling” that the stranger he struck had “disrespected” him.
What took place here was an experience of jouissance, an événement de corps that operates “as the presence of something else and as the absence of a perceptive and representational authority that could answer for it” . The effect of this enigmatic feeling is an unplugging and the answer is a re-plugging, or a treatment of the irruption of jouissance by means of a passage to the act. Four years after the incident, this young man was sentenced to two years of detention and a methodical psychotherapeutic treatment.
Since he has already been drunk or under the effects of cannabis on many occasions without passing to the act, the service responsible for the execution of his sentence, together with the psychotherapist, were convinced that the cause of his passage to the act and his dangerousness could be explained by substance abuse. Since the expert psychiatrist also tied the passage to the act to the alcohol and the drugs and concluded the patient was both dangerous and that there was a high risk he might reoffend, complete and controlled abstinence was ordered; something the convict neither understood nor, obviously, obeyed.
No trace –be it a single word- is to be found in this observation concerning the événement de corps: « I had the feeling he disrespected me ». No ear to detect this position that leans on the certainty of a malevolent other and of a symmetry in relationships that this patient experiences as non-differentiated from the other. No indication is given on the structure, on the moment of unplugging or the re-plugging that followed. The consequence of the forclosure of the question of jouissance is that this patient has, six years after the incident, a controlled, measured and monitored body, a methodical psychiatric treatment, the obligation to consult an addiction center, to undergo urine testing, this with prescriptions that have nothing to do with a clinical reading. Nobody realizes that the prejudice creates the conditions of a possible other événement de corps in relation with the experience, in the body, when he will once again cross paths with « disrespect ». This is something the psychoanalyst, used as an expert, should communicate to the authorities, but also to the patient in order to prevent the criminal from objecting or excepting himself from the jouissance of the Other by way of a passage to the act. This is how an unprejudiced analyst could go about in criminal court expertise.
Fortunately, this man has other means of suppléance, one of which is irony.