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We are still too attentive to their differences and to the limitations that the prejudices of their times impose upon their successors even more than upon themselves. Thus Marx is relegated to economics and the absurd theory of the THE PLACING OF F R E U D 33 reflex consciousness; Nietzsche is drawn toward biologism and a perspectivism incapable of expressing itself without contradiction; Freud is restricted to psychiatry and decked out with a simplistic pansexualism. If we go back to the intention they had in common, we find in it the decision to look upon the whole of consciousness primarily as "false" consciousness.

An inter­ pretation of symbols that extricated their philosophical meaning would not be something superadded to them. Such an interpreta­ tion is required by the semantic structure of symbols, by the latent speculation of myths, and finally by the fact that each symbol belongs to a meaningful totality which furnishes the first schema of the system. Though we do not yet know what privileged place the symbols and myths of evil have within the empire of symbolism, we will here try to pose the problem in its full generality by asking the question: 1 1.

The underlying reason for initially posing the problem in the above way is to bring into the open the crisis of language that today makes us oscillate between demystification and restoration of mean­ ing. To my mind, an introduction to the psychoanalysis of culture has had to proceed in this roundabout way. In the next chapter we will try to probe deeper into these prolegomena and relate the crisis of language to an ascesis of reflection whose first movement is to let itself be dispossessed of the origin of meaning.

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