This final post in the book forum is by Daniel Colucciello Barber.
“What if the heteronymous agency of the drive were seen from the perspective of Islamic eschatological ethics as having the structure of the ordeal?” (5) With this question Stefania Pandolfo elegantly adumbrates a central aim of her profound book, Knot of the Soul: the elaboration of a certain affinity or resonance—what she at one point calls a “family relationship”—“between the psychoanalytic and the Islamic traditions” with regard to illness. (11) The stakes, implications, and challenges of this resonance, as Pandolfo articulates it, might be observed by means of another question, which emerges out of the same problem space: What is the end of illness?
There is, of course, a double valence intrinsic to this question: on one hand, end invokes the practical question of a cessation of illness, of what might be imagined in terms of reaching health or well-being; on the other, end invokes the theoretical or even metaphysical question—can one think being as that which is well?—of a meaning, a sense or direction, in relation to illness. Such a metaphysical register is catalyzed by the fact that, at least on my reading, one of the proposed resonances between psychoanalytic and Islamic traditions is the reality of what might be called an Outside—a denomination I present only provisionally, since there is no presumption of a distinct third term in which the two traditions participate. This is to say that the encounter Pandolfo articulates between psychoanalysis and Islam does not proceed in terms of a logic of one and many, where the difference between these two traditions would be mediated in virtue of a point of reference that transcends each.