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Where is the Real Tiger?

by Jacek Madry -

Let me put an idea to you. Is there such a thing as a good and a bad illusion that we can foster or share? The show is about to begin; the congress stage is set, lights are working perfectly and there… we’re off. And then, there is the first thing that sticks in my mind, the question of categorization: good and bad illusions. Which is which? Is the illusion that helps us digest reality and eventually accept it, ie. making its way for it, and for us to see things as they are, necessary? It would certainly seem so. Are bad illusions those who lead us astray into the dark pit? If so, are they illusions or delusions? The word illusion has a Latin core, ludere, to play. What are we playing at here, in Cannes? Did we get sucked into thinking that we can see ourselves as movie stars, as actors? But then if so, who do we pretend to be here, in this town of pretense, Luis Vuitton and Gucci shops? Is this a bad dream, to have a congress in a place like this, so out of touch with itself? But then again, what is a good illusion? Isn’t it the way we play with reality, project our own subjectivity, entertain our thoughts, turn things in our heads, so they show their different angles, shapes and faces? Isn’t this what psychoanalysis is all about? But then, there’s a tiger in this town that creeps up and lurks, asking the question: is this a congress or a show. And then listening to a lecture I find myself wondering: is the tiger in the room really a tiger or is it just the stripes on the carpet; but if so, then, where is the real tiger?

From Cannes, 2023, 36th Annual Conference of the European Psychoanalytical Federation

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