The first time?
 
Leopold Nosek
 
 Perhaps the best novel ever written about the Shoah, The last of the just, by the Frenchman AndrĂ© Schwarz-Bart, begins with a phrase in tune with the reality: “Our eyes register the light of dead stars...” It is from this saga that accompanies a Jewish family from the Middle Ages that I take the interrogation I will recall here: when does a saga begin, after all? How do we mark time? How do we define our commemorative dates?
 
Our spirit is organized by the peculiar channel of laziness. An insistent obsession  – repetition – makes it suffer while simultaneously protecting it. In fact, the spirit needs this repetition, given the impossibility of inventing a pertinent response for each new situation. Our spirit, as it were, is tranquillized by tradition and habit. However, reality is not condescending with this laziness, and repetition may also oppress it.
 
Humor is one of the ways in which the spirit punishes stereotypical responses. The idea we have of time is stereotyped: we commemorate birthdays, we accumulate ephemerides. Through laziness we resort to analogies: mimicking the body, we divide time up into birth, maturity and death. We may choose a biblical theogony and scatalogically organize it as creation, revelation and redemption. (Not infrequently this progression impregnates our clinical practice when we are distracted...) We may raise our eyes to the sky and think of time as an eternal repetition of days and nights shaded by the variation of the light in seasons of the year.
 
The clock with hands, which always return to their starting point, reproduces this feeling. To avoid fractures and frustrations, it is possible to resort to the digital clock, whose infinite unfolding confirms our  naivety. While the old hourglass once again brings us face to face with complexity: time almost stagnant in the beginning, becomes a desperate vortex as the final grains swirl away. As analysts, we also deal routinely with the coexistence of synchronies and diachronies, in events containing vestiges of the archaic, syntheses elaborated in the form of symptoms, desires that hallucinate the future etc.
 
As such, when will our first time have been? And the first time of what? An international journal? An electronic journal? Does anyone record the data of any personal "first time" of any kind? Of the first clinical act? of the first divan? And the clinic? Will it obey the laws of temporal succession? And will the possibility of repetition in fact exist? In this case, would our perplexity be tranquilized? We have had international journals since Freud, and all, naturally, have suffered the injunctions of history. However, irrespective of their different exiles, the psychoanalytical scenes have always pursued international dialogue. We are heirs to this vocation.
 
How will it exist, our project, which is born amidst globalization and the revolution of real time information? Will the electronic media, with which we are still relatively unfamiliar, transform the content of the dialogue? What challenges will its use present us? How to negotiate these times in which we witness the dispersion of schools, in which paradigms and utopias are questioned? Will we know how to renew our paths, our traditions?
 
We cannot know beforehand, but it is worth trying. Accepting the challenge posed by the spirit of the times is, I believe, an effort that will be decisive for our possibilities of survival and development.