Totem and Taboo, A Clinical Myth

By Alain Vanier

This article rereads Totem and Taboo as an obsessional way to save the father. This myth of the foundation of “social organization” is oriented around the figure of the father, an essentially neurotic arrangement that the Freudian myths give an account of. In a final interpretation of the paternal myths, Lacan will come to separate the Father-of-the-Name from the Name-of-the-Father: preceding the Name-of-the-Father is the Father-of-the-Name, he who names. The accent is thus displaced from the statement to the enunciation, to the act of saying, to this hole in the real that nomination forms. We can thus come back to Freud: in the beginning, one does not find a deficit from thinking, but rather that there is the act that conditions the very possibility of thinking.


  • myth
  • father
  • obsessional neurosis
  • Oedipus complex
  • parricide
Go to the article on