The President on the couch

Image: João Nitsche


To my astonishment, he said, “I came here because I'm living a… a… a… you know, Dr. they say that age compromises the performance of human beings. In my case it's different, I do push-ups, I have the profile of an athlete and always have... but then we end up with this problem of... of..."


In this story few people will believe. But I can assure you that one of these days, this week, I received a strange message. Private number. It was urgent. He also said that patriotic destiny knocked at my door. The president of Brazil wanted an analysis session and my schedule was supposed to be closed for the day of his arrival. The advisor in charge of the consultation details made it very clear: closing the street was up to them!

May my colleagues not listen to what I have just said, as I found such an unpredictable contact strange. Because I? And why would the president then come looking for the “talking cure”, he who demonstrates so much comfort in the use of his fecal metaphors? To begin with, many analysts, much more perceptive than I am, have been saying in the newspapers that the president's diagnosis is unequivocal: perversion! And the common sense of analysts never tires of repeating that these people, the perverts, rarely come to visit us.

For my part, I don't give myself such liberties to publicly psychoanalyze anyone who doesn't lie down on the couch. I really think that the thing would not work if not around, in this furniture consecrated by Sigmund Freud. Although the advisor did not give me the option of refusing – it was a summons! – I told myself that I would accept the mission.

Well, he arrived. We quickly put the official pomp aside and I watched carefully as the man opened up. To my astonishment, he said, “I came here because I'm living a… a… a… you know, Dr. they say that age compromises the performance of human beings. In my case it's different, I do push-ups, I have the profile of an athlete and always have... but then we end up with this problem of... of..." As the word did not come naturally in his mouth, and noticing that nothing he said seemed to have a meaning. objective end, the whole body seemed to shout in a loud voice: “this is what it is Dr, grandpa's kite doesn't go up anymore, ok? But grandpa is going to do what the fuck?!”.

In my heart I thought: the president is suffering from a serious “joyment crisis”. According to him, the words were still a bit truncated, the suffering caused by not “appearing” with his genital organ so many times exalted by him was unbearable. An evil that contaminated his whole life, he said. And that now it was only on social networks on the internet, from those “leftist idiots”. Already stripped of his black jacket embroidered with the insignia “Vultures of Hell”, that man whose expression carried dejection and weariness looked me in the face. Without my asking, he said the jacket was a gift received from supporters of his latest “motociata”.

In the next instant, without hesitation, the analyzing president went straight to the couch, lay down and asked where to start. He was in a hurry and said: “Let's go soon. Stick in the machine! Let's get this over with, okay?" I then said that we could begin, but that first I should enlighten him about the fundamental rule of Freudian psychoanalysis, the so-called “rule of free association”. In it, the patient must say everything that crosses his mind, without criticism and censorship, even if apparently it is of no importance. Under no circumstances should it be disrespected. At that moment he looked sideways with an ironic smile, he thought I was making fun of him. Not being exactly my job, I almost guessed his thoughts: “it is not possible that Dr. here, don't know the reputation of being insubordinate that I'm so proud of… hahaha”.

Even so, even if the sacred gesture that consists of establishing the fundamental rule was tainted right from the start, I said that this was serious, and for the thing to work, “free association” should be properly practiced by him, between us. He accepted and, something that impressed me a lot, he changed his face in a fraction of seconds. With an air of deep sadness, the president sang: “Everything is blue, adam and Eve, in paradise / Everything is blue, without sin and without judgment…” I soon recognized the success of Baby do Brasil, but what really stuck in my mind was the particularity of the sound of the president's voice flooding the signifier “blue”. I kept that word with me and asked what that song meant. He said it was the latest music, a big hit from the barracks days.

Would the president speak of his youth? I noticed that he was always waiting for a prompt response, just as one salutes in front of a superior, but I just asked him to continue. At that time he came out of the deep and dark waters where he had dived, laughed and said: “hahaha you are all the same, right? this is the time to talk more about it… hahaha” After the mocking gesture, with which in my opinion he had fun and laughed a little exaggeratedly, the sad countenance reappeared on his face saying that in the days of the barracks it was like this, he had everything, nothing “failed” him.

Failed or missing? Failed act, I thought... And he continued: "it was the dictatorship, it was the dictatorship, it was the dictatorship..." The man lying in front of me seemed to seek a paternal complicity in the analyst by repeating these words. But I am not going to go into detail about what happens inside the “dark continent” of the transference relationship, these things of the psychoanalytic craft. Already the repetition of his words, that raw material of the psychoanalyst, even more so collected in the presidential skin, was screaming in my ears: “it was the dictatorship, it was the dictatorship, it was the dictatorship”. I asked what that was, the dictatorship (by breaking down the word, I felt that we, the president and I, had caught its true meaning!)

Suddenly, uncomfortable silence filled the room. If I tell you, no one will believe it: in an impressive 15 minutes we reached the crucial point, we were completely surrendered to the spectacle of the irruption of the unconscious! It was she, the tough one! And despite the fictional embellishment that this clinical narrative may now have, it was the purest truth that was established in that room. The hard saying. There was the image of the irretrievably lost (Freudian) object of our president.

When the analysand's speech stalled, I told him that there would be more things in that bottom of the trunk and that we needed to move forward. I asked him what he felt, and that man, used to such precarious words, said in a haphazard way, as if thrown into a spit, was able to say from the bottom of his soul, in the clearest possible way, that now in his chest there was only “pain”. , “saudade”, “impotence”.

When I wanted to interrupt him, get up from the armchair and indicate that he would come back another day, he changed the tearful tone of his voice. He went on to say that the business “sucked”, but this time, reborn from the ashes (from tears), the bitterness in his usual speech was there again. Well, here with me I thought: well, if it “blew”, where would the question be? The time was not for joking, so I kept the association that insisted on my thoughts, the “melou dictatorship”, the “melou dictatorship”.

Without worrying about the seriousness of what he would say next, not so much because of his belief in the ethical imperatives of the clinic, far from it, but perhaps because he already knew that in a few hours the plot would be in the newspapers, the president revealed that the purchase of the 35 thousand blue pills (Viagra) by the Armed Forces had gone bad.

I no longer recognized that public figure, seeing him desperate and unarmed of the persecutory and conspiratorial feelings that were his own. Dual personality? I even thought about it, but I didn't let myself be carried away by the seduction of the diagnosis. On the contrary, at that moment I almost did not contain my satisfaction, since from the beginning I realized that there was something more in that “blue”. He repeated “at the time of the dictatorship, the dictatorship, the dictatorship… everything was blue… things went sour…”

I asked what he would do with so many blue pills. And with a certain excitement – ​​I confess –, I amended the classic and so fearful question of the devil from the short story “The amorous devil”, by Jacques Cazotte: che vuoi (what do you want), president? He said: “I'm here because I don't want to fail, I can't fail… I always figured this thing was always taken for granted. You need to help me". Without blinking, I replied to the president: “that thing that you are looking for so much, the imaginary phallus that does not fail, the power incarnated in the indomitable genital organ, you can only lack”.

More than anyone else, the president should know that there is always another pose behind whoever poses. Or else, as we psychoanalysts know very well, that omnipotence is the favorite mask of impotence. I like to think that in a psychoanalytical journey, the process that consists of losing one's pose – and re-doing it from somewhere else – is the specialty of the house! “There is no cure for your illness, President”, I told him with a very well-disguised smile, watching attentively through the window curtains the mounted and highly armed presidential guard. “And I say more, president, what you are looking for, that guarantee, maybe it doesn’t even exist”.

He stood up and looked at me deeply, dismay in his eyes. I bet he was thinking about the lost cargo of the dreamed blue pill. This time he didn't give any sign that he was going to get away with another one of his well-worn bravados, like the one that says "I'm unbroken!" He was downcast and, as if he was using up his last cartridge there, whispering to me, he said: "Doctor, here's the thing: we'll manage, we can pay".

Despite a last thread of hope still sustaining the search for consolation, the dismay was irreducible. Deep down he knew that there, in the office of an unknown psychoanalyst, there was nothing else to do. The analyst's speechless expression was the very fault that sanctified his defeat. He left without saying goodbye, turning his back as if I no longer existed. For the president and his team, the mission also failed, I couldn't finally fix that “kite” that wouldn't get up.

*Joao Paulo Ayub Fonseca is a psychoanalyst and doctor in social sciences from Unicamp. author of Introduction to Michel Foucault's analytics of power (intermediate).

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