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The problem is circumvented by the hypothesis of the ‘contactbarriers’ [Kontaktschranken] and of ‘facilitation’ [Bahnung] as a principle of resistance. Turning to Freud will help us to explain briefly what is at issue under these headings. ‘The Project’ establishes that ‘neuronal excitation [can be described] as quantity [Qn] in a state of flow’ (p. 47 The orientation of all nervous activity towards discharge is called the primary function. If the functioning of the nervous system is Psychoanalytic Concepts 29 characterized by the ‘trend to inertia’, when it is faced with what Freud calls the ‘exigencies of life’ or the ‘endogenous stimuli’ – which bring about ‘the major needs: hunger, respiration, sexuality’ – it must put up with [maintaining] a store of Qn sufficient to meet the demand for a specific action [an act by virtue of which the major needs can be appeased]’ (‘The Project’, p.

The progression of Freud’s descriptions shows a text (‘psychical writing’), whose origin (the ‘writing machine’ of the Mystic Writing Pad, which alone can have produced it) is apparently invented, not only on the model of, but also after the text. ’46 The initial definition of memory in the 1895 text is that of ‘the capacity for being permanently altered by single occurrences’. But the following difficulty arises: ‘on the one hand . . neurones are permanently different after an excitation from what they were before, while nevertheless it cannot be disputed that, in general, fresh excitations meet with the same conditions of reception as did the earlier ones’ (Project, p.

2 Rather, the redoubling implied in ‘two forces’, ‘two hands’, ‘two apparatuses’ and which has been at issue throughout Derrida’s essay, signals that the psyche is constituted by a multiplicity, of ‘layers’ or of ‘traces’. The ‘two’ points to the several: to affirm that ‘at least two hands are needed to write’ amounts to saying that ‘we must be several to write’ (p. 3 The essay does not however limit itself with speaking of multiplicity by means of the ‘two’, it also speaks of it in terms of ‘sociality’.

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