Archive for January, 2010


January 12, 2010


The field of the drive: making oneself.. . seen, heard, sucked, shitted’

The myth of the lamella

Everything Freud spells out about the partial drives shows us the movement that I outlined for you on the blackboard last time, that circular movement of the thrust that emerges through the erogenous rim only to return to it as its target, after having encircled something I call the objet a. I suggest
— and a punctilious examination of this whole text is a test of the truth of what I propose—that it is in this way that the subject attains what is, strictly speaking, the dimension of the capital Other.


I suggest that there is a radical distinction between loving oneself through the other—which, in the narcissistic field of the object, allows no transcendence to the object included—and the circularity of the drive, in which the heterogeneity of the movement out and back shows a gap in its interval. What have seeing and being seen in common? Let us take the Schaulust, the scopic drive. Freud certainly makes a distinction between to look at an alien object, an object in the strict sense, and beschaut werden, being looked at by an alien person.


This is because an object and a person are not the same. At the end of the circle, let us say that they lose touch—or that the dotted line eludes us to some extent. Indeed, in order to link them together, it is at the base—where origin and point converge—that Freud must bring them together and try to forge a union between them—precisely at the point of return. He brings them together by saying that the root of the scopic drive is to be found entirely in the subject, in the fact that the subject sees himself.


But, because he is Freud, he does not fall into error here. It is not seeing oneself in the mirror, it is SeThst ciii Sexualglied beschauen—he looks at himself, I would say, in his sexual member. But, be careful! That’s not right either. Because this statement is identified with its opposite—which is curious enough, and I am surprised that nobody has noticed the humorous side of it. This gives—Sexualglied von eigener Person beschaut werden. In a way, just as the number two delights at being odd, the sex, or widdler, delights at being looked at. Who has ever really grasped the truly subject-making (subjectivable) character of such a sentiment?


In fact, the articulation of the loop formed by the outward and return movement of the drive is obtained very well by changing only one of the terms in Freud’s statement. I do not change eigenes Objekt, the object in the strict sense, which is in fact what the subject is reduced to and I do not change von
fremder Person, the other, of course, nor beschaut, but in place of werden I put machen—what is involved in the drive is making oneself seen (sefaire voir). The activity of the drive is concentrated
in this making oneself (sefaire), and it is by relating it to the field of the other drives that we may be able to throw some light upon it.

事實上,要清楚表達欲望驅力,這種向外延伸及回轉的動作,所形成的圈套,我想改用佛洛伊德陳述的一個術語。我保留「客體」這個嚴謹的術語,因為主體最後會成為客體;我也保留「人」及「它者」,我只用「使成為」 代替「成為」 ,因為欲望驅力牽涉到自己被觀看的問題。欲望驅力的活動,專注於這個「使自己成為」。當我們將它跟它者的欲望驅力併攏來看,我們就能真相大白。

Unfortunately, I must move fairly quickly, and not only am I cutting short, but I am filling in the gaps that Freud, surprisingly, left in his enumeration of the drives. After making oneself seen, I will introduce another, making oneself heard, of which Freud says nothing. I must, very quickly, point out to you the difference between making oneself heard and making oneself seen. In the field of the unconscious, the ears are the only orifice that cannot be closed. Whereas making oneself seen is indicated by an arrow that really comes back towards the subject, making oneself heard .goes towards the other. The reason for this is a structural one—it was important that I should nmention it in passing.


Let us turn to the oral drive. What is it? One speaks of phantasies of devouring, of being gobbled up. Indeed, everyone knows that this, verging on all the resonances of masochism, is the altrified term of the oral drive. But why do we not get a definite answer? Since we refer to the infant and the breast,
and since suckling is sucking, let us say that the oral drive is getting sucked, it is the vampire.


Indeed, this throws some light on that singular object —which I am trying to unstick in your minds from the food metaphor —the breast. The breast is also something superimposed, who sucks what?—the organism of the mother. Thus we see clearly enough, at this level, the nature of the subject’s claim to something that is separated from him, but belongs to him and which he needs to complete himself.


At the level of the anal drive—you can now relax a bit—things don’t seem to work out like that at all. And yet, Se faire cider has a meaning! When one says here, on sefait rudenwnt c/zier, one has the emmerdeur éternel in mind.’ It is quite wrong simply to identify the celebrated scybala with the function given it in the metabolism of obsessional neurosis. It is quite wrong to separate it from what it represents, a gift, as it happens, and from the relation it has with soiling, purification, catharsis. It is
wrong not to see that it is from here that the function of oblativity emerges. In short, the object, here, is not very far from the domain that is called that of the soul.


What does this brief survey tell us? Does it not seem that the drive, in this turning inside out represented by its pocket, invaginating through the erogenous zone, is given the task of seeking something that, each time, responds in the Other? I will not go over the series again. Let us say that at the level of the Schaulust, it is the gaze. I point this out only to deal later with the effects on the Other of this movement of appeal.




January 11, 2010


From Love to Libido

The narcissistic field’
Sexual difference’

It is there, then, that Freud intends to set up the bases of love. It is only with activity/passivity that the sexual relation really comes into play.


Now, is the activity/passivity relation identical with the sexual relation? I would ask you to refer to a passage in the Wolf-Man, for example, or to various others scattered throughout the Five Psycho-analyses. There Freud explains in short that the polar reference activity/passivity is there in order to name, to cover, to metaphorize that which remains unfathomable in sexual difference. Nowhere does he ever say that, psychologically, the masculine/feminine relation is apprehensible
otherwise than by the representative of the activity/passivity opposition. As such, the masculine/feminine opposition is never attained.


This is sufficient indication of the importance of what is repeated here, in the form of a verb particularly appropriate in expressing what is at issue—this passivity/activity opposition is poured, molded, injected. It is an arteriography, and even the masculine/feminine relations do no exhaust it.
Of course, it is well known that the activity/passivity opposition may account for many things in the domain of love. But what we are dealing with here is precisely this injection, one might say, of sado-masochism, which is not at all to be understood, as far as its properly sexual realization is concerned, as ready money.


Certainly, all the intervals of desire come into play in the sexual relation. What value has my desire for you? the eternal question that is posed in the dialogue of lovers. But the supposed value, for example, of feminine masochism, as it is called, should be subjected, parenthetically, to serious scrutiny. It belongs to a dialogue that may be defined, in many respects, as a masculine phantasy.


There is every reason to believe that to sustain this phantasy would be an act of complicity on our part. In order not to deliver ourselves up completely to the results of Anglo-Saxon research, which is not worth very much on this subject, even if there is a certain amount of consent on the part of women in it, which means nothing—we analysts will confine ourselves, more legitimately, to the women in our own group. It is quite striking to see that the representatives of this sex in the analytic circle are particularly disposed to maintain the fundamental belief in feminine masochism. It may be that there is a veil here, concerning the interests of the sex, that should not be lifted too quickly. In any case, this is an excursion from our subject, but an excursion profoundly linked to it, as you will see, for we shall have to come back to a consideration of this link.


However, at this level, we can learn nothing from the field of love, that is to say, from the framework of narcissism, which, as Freud shows quite clearly in this article, is made up of the insertion of the autoerotisch in the organized interests of the ego. Within this framework, there may well be a representation of the objects of the external world, choice and discernment, the possibility of knowledge, in short the whole field with which classical psychology concerned itself is included in it. But nothing—and that is why all psychology of the affections has, up to Freud, failed —nothing represents in it the Other, the radical Other, the Other as such.


This representation of the Other is lacking, specifically, between the two opposed worlds that sexuality designates for us in the masculine and the feminine. Carrying things as far as they will go, one might even say that the masculine ideal and the feminine ideal are represented in the psyche by something
other than this activity/passivity opposition of which I spoke earlier. Strictly speaking, they spring from a term that I have not introduced, but of which one female psycho-analyst has pin-pointed the feminine sexual attitude—the term masquerade.


Masquerade is not that which comes into play in the display necessary, at the level of the animals, to coupling, and in any case display is usually to be seen on the side of the male. Masquerade has another meaning in the human domain, and that is precisely to play not at the imaginary, but at the symbolic,


It is on this basis that it now remains to us to show that sexuality as such comes into play, exercises its proper activity, through the mediation—paradoxical as that may seem—of the partial drives.




January 11, 2010


The subject and the Other.

Today I intend—this does not mean that I will have the time to do so—to take you from love, at the threshold of which I left things last time, to the libido.


I will say at the outset what will be the burden of this elucidation by saying that the libido is not something fleeting or fluid, it cannot be divided up, or accumulated, like magnetism, in the centres of focusing offered it by the subject. The libido is to be conceived as an organ, in both senses of the term, as organ-part of the organism and as organ-instrument.


I apologize if, as someone remarked last time, there are some obscurities along the way I take you. I believe that obscurity is characteristic of our field. Let us not forget that it is usual to represent the unconscious as a cellar, even as a cave, by way of allusion to Plato’s cave. But it is not a good comparison. The unconscious is much more like the bladder, and this bladder can be seen only if one places a little light inside it. Why should one be surprised if it sometimes takes a little time for the light
to come on?


In the subject who, alternately, reveals himself and conceals himself by means of the pulsation of the unconscious, we apprehend only partial drives. The ganze Sexualstrebung, the representation of the totality of the sexual drive, is not to be found there, Freud tells us. Following Freud, I will lead you
along the path of this conclusion, and I would state quite clearly that everything I have learnt from my experience accords with it. I cannot expect everybody here to agree with it fully, since some of you do not have this experience, but your presence here is evidence of a certain trust in what we shall call—in the role in which I am in relation to you, that of the Other—good faith. This good faith is no doubt always a precarious assumption—for where, in the end, does this relation of the subject to the Other end?


What I, Lacan, following the traces of the Freudian excavation, am telling you is that the subject as such is uncertain because he is divided by language. Through the effects of speech, the subject always realizes himself more in the Other, but he is already pursuing there more than half of himself. He will simply find his desire ever more divided, pulverized, in the circumscribable metonymy of speech. The effects of language are always mixed with the fact, which is the basis of the analytic experience, that the subject is subject only from being subjected to the field of the Other, the subject proceeds from his synchronic subjection in the field of the Other.


That is why he must get out, get himself out, and in the getting-himself-out, in the end, he will know that the real Other has, just as much as himself, to get himself Out, to pull himself free. It is here that the need for good faith becomes imperative, a good faith based on the certainty that the same implication of difficulty in relation to the ways of desire is also in the Other.


The truth, in this sense, is that which runs after truth—and that is where I am running, where I am taking you, like Actaeon’s hounds, after me. When I find the goddess’s hiding place, I will no doubt be changed into a stag, and you can devour me, but we still have a little way to go yet.


Did I perhaps represent Freud to you last time as some such figure as Abraham, Isaac and Jacob? In his Le Salutpourlesjujfs, Leon Bloy depicts them as three equally old men who are there, according to one of the forms of Israel’s vocation, squatting around some piece of canvas on the ground, engrossed in that eternal occupation of dealing in second-hand goods. They are sorting out the various objects on the canvas. Some things they put on one side, others on the other. On one side, Freud puts the partial drives and on the other love. He says— They’re not the same.

上一次,我不是將佛洛伊德,比喻為像是阿伯拉罕、以撒克、及約伯,等先知的人物?在Le Salutpourlesjujfs 這本書中,里昂、布洛伊將他們那描述為三位年紀差不多的老人,依照以色列的職業種類,蹲坐在地上的帆布上,專注於買賣二手貨品的常年行業。他們將各種物品分門別類排列在帆布上。有些東西放在一邊,還有一些放在另一邊。在一邊,佛洛伊德放置的是部份客體,在另一邊,放置的是愛。他們並不相同。

The drives necessitate us in the sexual order—they come from the heart. To our great surprise, he tells us that love, on the other hand, comes from belly ,from the world of yum-yum. It may come as a surprise, but it elucidates for us something fundamental to analytic experience, namely, that the genital
drive, if it exists, is not at all articulated like the other drives —in spite of the love-hate ambivalence. In his premises, and in his own texts, Freud completely contradicts himself when he tells us that ambivalence may be regarded as one of the characteristics of the reversal of the Verkehrung of the drive.


But when he examines it, he tells us quite clearly that ambivalence and reversion are not at all the same thing. If, therefore, the genital drive does not exist, then it can get f. . . formed somewhere else, on the other side from the one in which the drive is to be found, on the left of my schema on the blackboard. You will have noticed already that it is on the right, in the field of the Other, that the genital drive has to find its form.


Well! This is precisely borne out by what we learn in the analytic experience, namely, that the genital drive is subjected to the circulation of the Oedipus complex, to the elementary and other structures of kinship. This is what is designated as the field of culture—somewhat inadequately, because this field is
supposed to be based on a no man’s land in which genitality as such subsists, whereas it is in fact dissolved, not re-assembled, for the ganze Sexualsirebung is nowhere apprehensible in the subject.
Yet because it is nowhere, it is nevertheless diffused, and it is this that Freud is trying to convey to us in this article.


Everything he says about love tends to emphasise the fact that, in order to conceive of love, we must necessarily refer to another sort of structure than that of the drive. He divides this structure into three, three levels—the level of real, the level of the economic and the level of the biological.


To these levels correspond three oppositions. To the level of the real corresponds the that-which-interests/that-which is- indifferent opposition. To the level of the economic, that which-
gives-pleasure/that-which-displeases. It is only at the level of the biological that the activity/passivity opposition presents itself; in its own form, the only valid one in its grammatical sense, the loving/being loved position.


We are invited by Freud to consider that love, in its essence, can be judged only as a sexual passion of thegesamt Ich. Now, in Freud, gesamt Ich is a hapax, to be understood in the sense suggested in his account of the pleasure principle. The gesam: Ich is the field that I have invited you to regard as a surface and a fairly limited surface so that the blackboard is able to represent it, and so that everything may be included in it on paper. I am referring to the network that is represented by arcs, lines linking points of convergence, of which the closed circle marks whatever is to be preserved in tensional homeostasis, in lower tension, in necessary diversion, in diffusion of excitement into innumerable channels—whenever it might be too intense in any one of them.


The filtering from stimulation to discharge is the apparatus, the dome, to be circumscribed on a sphere, in which is defined at first what he calls the stage of the Real-Ich. And it is to this that, later in his discourse, he attributes the qualification autoerotisch.


Analysts have concluded from this that—as it must be situated somewhere in what is called development, and since what Freud says is gospel—the infant must regard everything around him as indifferent. One wonders how things can go on, in a field of observers for whom articles of faith have such overwhelming value in relation to observation. For, after all, if there is one thing that cannot be said about the infant it is that he shows no interest in what enters his field of perception.


There can be no doubt that there are objects deriving from the earliest period of the neo-natal phase. Autoerotisch can in no way mean a lack of interest in them. If you read Freud on this, you will see that the second stage, the economic stage, consists precisely in that the second Ich—the second in a de jure sense, the second in logical sequence—is the Lust-Ich, which he calls purifiziert, the purified Lust-Ich, which is established in the field exterior to the dome in which I designate the first Real-Ich of
Freud’s explanation.


The autoerotisch consists in the fact—and Freud himself stresses this—that there would be no emergence of objects if there were no objects of use to me. This is the criterion of the emergence and distribution of objects. Here, then, is constituted the Lust-Ich, and also the field of the Unlust, of the object as remainder, as alien. The object that one needs to know, and with good reason, is that which is
defined in the field of Unlust, whereas the objects of the field of the Lust-Ich are lovable. The hassen, with its profound link with knowledge, is the other field.


At this level, there is no trace of drive functions, except those that are not true drives, and which Freud calls in his text the Ichtriebe. The level of the Ich is not that of the drive, and it is there—I would ask you to read the text very attentively—that Freud grounds love. Everything that is defined in this way at the level of the Ich assumes sexual value, passes from the Er/witungstrieb, from preservation, to the Sexualtrieb, only in terms of the appropriation of each of these fields, its seizure, by one of the partial drives. Freud says quite clearly that Vorhangung des Wesentlichen, to bring out the essential here, it is purely passive, in non-drive, way that the subject records the ãusseren Reize, that which comes from the external world. Its activity comes only durch seine eigene Triebe, from its own drives. It is a question here of the diversity of the partial drives. In this way, we are brought to the third level that he introduces, that of activity/passivity.2


Before noting the consequences of this, I would simply like to draw your attention to the classic character of this conception of love. Is there any need to stress that se vouloir son bien, to wish
oneself one’s own well being, is exactly the equivalent of what is traditionally called the physical theory of love, St Thomas’s velle bonum alicui, which, for us, on account of the function of
narcissism has exactly the same value. I have long stressed the specious character of this supposed altruism, which is pleased to preserve whose well being?—of him who, precisely, is necessary to us.




January 8, 2010


Partial Object and its Circuit

Let us now follow Freud when he talks to us about Schaulust, seeing, being seen. Is it the same thing? How can it even be sustained that it can be that, except by inscribing it in terms of signifiers? Or is there, then, some other mystery? There is a quite different one, and, in order to introduce you to it, I have only to point out that Schaulust is manifested in perversion. I stress that the drive is not perversion. What constitutes the enigmatic character of Freud’s presentation derives precisely from the fact that he wishes to give us a radical structure—in which the subject is not yet placed. On the contrary, what
defines perversion is precisely the way in which the subject is placed in it.


We must read Freud’s text very attentively here. The value of Freud’s texts on this matter, in which he is breaking new ground, is that like a good archaeologist, he leaves the work of the dig in place—so that, even if it is incomplete, we are able to discover what the excavated objects mean. When Mr
Fenichel passes by the same ground, he does as one used to do, he gathers everything up, puts it in his pockets and in glass cases, without any kind of order, or at least in a completely arbitrary order, so that nothing can be found again.


What occurs in voyeurism? At the moment of the act of the voyeur, where is the subject, where is the object? I have told you that the subject is not there in the sense of seeing, at the level of the scopic drive. He is there as pervert and he is situated only at the culmination of the loop. As for the object—this is
what my topology on the blackboard cannot show you, but can allow you to admit—the loop turns around itself; it is a missile, and it is with it, in perversion, that the target is reached.


The object, here, is the gaze—the gaze that is the subject, which attains it, which hits the bull’s eye in target-shooting. I have only to remind you what I said of Sartre’s analysis. Although this analysis brings out the agency of the gaze, it is not at the level of the other whose gaze surprises the subject looking
through the keyhole. It is that the other surprises him, the subject, as entirely hidden gaze.


You grasp here the ambiguity of what is at issue when we speak of the scopic drive. The gaze is this object lost and suddenly refound in the conflagration of shame, by the introduction of the other. Up to that point, what is the subject trying to see? What he is trying to see, make no mistake, is the object as
absence. What the voyeur is looking for and finds is merely a shadow, a shadow behind the curtain. There he will phantasize any magic of presence, the most graceful of girls, for example, even if on the other side there is only a hairy athlete. What he is looking for is not, as one says, the phallus—but precisely its absence, hence the pre-eminence of certain forms as objects of his search.


What one looks at is what cannot be seen. If, thanks to tic’ introduction of the other, the structure of the drive appears, it is really completed only in its reversed form, in its return form, which is the true active drive. In exhibitionism what is intended by the subject is what is realized in the other. The true aim of desire is the other, as constrained, beyond his involvement in the scene. It is not only the victim who is concerned in exhibitionism, it is the victim as referred to some other who is looking at him.


Thus in this text, we have the key, the nodus, of what has been so much an obstacle to the understanding of masochism. Freud articulated in the most categorical way that at the outset of the sado-masochistic drive, pain has nothing to do with it. It is a question of a Herrschaft, of Bewdltigung, violence done to what?—to something that is so unspeakable that Freud arrives at the conclusion, and at the same time recoils from it, that its first model, in accordance with everything I have told you, is
to be found in a violence that the subject commits, with a view to mastery, upon himself.

因此,在這個本文,我們找到關鍵,一直以來阻礙我們了解受虐狂的關鍵點。佛洛伊德條分縷析地表達,剛開始時,虐待狂與受虐狂的驅力,跟痛苦沒有絲毫沒有關係,而是跟對於某個東西施加的暴力有關。這個東西無法言喻,佛洛伊德在結論時,已經抵達,而又退縮。這個東西,我一直在告訴你們。 我們能夠找它的第一個模式,在主體為了控制自己,對於自己所從事的暴力。

He recoils from it. And with good reason. The ascetic who flagellates himself does it for a third party. Now, this is not what he is trying to convey. He wishes only to designate the return, the insertion on one’s own body, of the departure and the end of the drive.


At what moment, says Freud, do we see the possibility of pain introduced into the sado-masochistic drive?—the possibility of pain undergone by him who has become, at that moment, the subject of the drive. It is, he tells us, at the moment when the loop is closed, when it is from one pole to the other that there has been a reversal, when the other has come into play, when the subject has taken himself as the end, the terminus of the drive.


At this moment, pain comes into play in so far as the subject experiences it from the other. He will become, will be able to become, in his theoretical deduction, a sadistic subject, in so far as the completed loop of the drive will have brought into play the action of the other. What is at issue in the drive is finally revealed here—the course of the drive is the only form of transgression that is permitted to the subject in relation to the pleasure principle.


The subject will realize that his desire is merely a vain detour with the aim of catching the jouissance of the other—in so far as the other intervenes, he will realize that there is a jouissance beyond the pleasure principle.


The forcing of the pleasure principle by the effect of the partial drive—it is by this that we may conceive that the partial, ambiguous drives are installed at the limit of an Erhaltungstrieb, of the maintenance of a homeostasis, of its capture by the veiled face that is that of sexuality.


It is in so far as the drive is evidence of the forcing of the pleasure principle that it provides us with evidence that beyond the Real-Ich, another reality intervenes, and we shall see by what return it is this other reality, in the last resort, that has given to this Real-Ich its structure and diversification.




January 6, 2010


Partial Object and its Circuit
Freud now introduces us to the drive by one of the most traditional ways, using at every moment the resources of the language, and not hesitating to base himself on something that belongs only to certain linguistic systems., the three voices, active, passive and reflexive. But this is merely an envelope. We must see that this signifying reversion is something other, something other than what it dresses in. What is fundamental at the level of each drive is the movement outwards and back in which it is structured.


It is remarkable that Freud can designate these two poles simply by using something that is the verb. Beschauen und beschaut werden, to see and to be seen, qualen and gequalt werden, to torment and to be tormented. This is because, from the outset, Freud takes it as understood that no part of this distance
covered can be separated from its outwards-and-back movement, from its fundamental reversion, from the circular character of the path of the drive.


Similarly, it is remarkable that, in order to illustrate the dimension of this Verkehrung, he should choose Schaulust, the pleasure of seeing, and what he cannot designate other than by the combination of two terms in sado-masochism. When he speaks of these two drives, and especially of masochism, he is careful to observe that there are not two stages in these drives, but three. One must distinguish the return into the circuit of the drive of that which appears—but also does not appear—in a third stage. Namely, the appearance of em neues Subjekt, to be understood as follows—not in the sense that there is already one, namely the subject of the drive, but in that what is new is the appearance of a subject. This subject, which is properly the other, appears in so far as the drive has been able to show its
circular course. It is only with its appearance at the level of the other that what there is of the function of the drive may be realized.


It is to this that I would now like to draw your attention. You see here, on the blackboard, a circuit formed by the curve of this rising and redescending arrow that crosses, Drang as it is in its origin, the surface constituted by what I defined last time as the rim, which is regarded in the theory as the source, the Quelle, that is to say, the so-called erogenous zone in the drive. The tension is always loop-shaped and cannot be separated from its return to the erogenous zone.


Here we can clear up the mystery of the zielgelzemmt, of that form that the drive may assume, in attaining its satisfaction without attaining its aim—in so far as it would be defined by a biological function, by the realization of reproductive coupling. For the partial drive does not lie there. What is it?


Let us still suspend the answer, but let us concentrate on this term but, and on the two meanings it may present. In order to differentiate them, I have chosen to notate them here in a language in which they are particularly expressive, English. When you entrust someone with a mission, the aim is not what
he brings back, but the itinerary he must take. The aim is the way taken. The French word but may be translated by another word in English, goal. In archery, the goal is not the but either, it is not the bird you shoot, it is having scored a hit and thereby attained your but.


If the drive may be satisfied without attaining what, from the point of view of a biological totalization of function, would be the satisfaction of its end of reproduction, it is because it is a partial drive, and its aim is simply this return into circuit. This theory is present in Freud. He tells us somewhere that
the ideal model for auto-eroticism would be a single mouth kissing itself—a brilliant, even dazzling metaphor, in this respect so typical of everything he writes, and which requires only to be completed by a question. In the drive, is not this mouth what might be called a mouth in the form of an arrow?—a
mouth sewn up, in which, in analysis, we see indicating as clearly as possible, in certain silences, the pure agency of the oral drive, closing upon its own satisfaction.


In any case, what makes us distinguish this satisfaction from the mere auto-eroticism of the erogenous zone is the object that we confuse all too often with that upon which the drive closes —this object, which is in fact simply the presence of a hollow, a void, which can be occupied, Freud tells us, by any object, and whose agency we know only in the form of the lost object, the petit a. The objet petit a is not the origin of the oral drive. It is not introduced as the original food, it is introduced from the fact that no food will ever satisfy the oral drive, except by circumventing the eternally lacking object.


The question now confronting us is this—where is this circuit plugged in and, to begin with, is it spiral in form, that is to say, is the circuit of the oral drive continued by the anal drive, which would then be the following stage? Is it a case of dialectical progress being produced out of opposition? Even for
people who are used to us, it is already to carry the question rather far, in the name of some kind of mystery of development, to regard the thing as already acquired, inscribed in the organism.


This conception seems to be sustained by the fact that as far as the emergence of sexuality in a so-called completed form is concerned, we are certainly dealing with an organic process. But there is no reason to extend this fact to the relation between the other partial drives. There is no relation of production between one of the partial drives and the next.


The passage from the oral drive to the anal drive can be produced not by a process of maturation, but by the intervention of something that does not belong to the field of the drive—by the intervention, the overthrow, of the demand of the Other. If we introduce the other drives with which the series may be formed, and the number of which is fairly short, it is quite clear that you would find it very difficult indeed to situate in relation to the drives that I have just named, in a historical succession, the Schaulust, or scopic drive, or even what I will later distinguish as the invocatory drive (la pulsion invocante),
and to establish between them the slightest relation of deduction or genesis.

從口腔驅力到肛門驅力的歷程,不一定要經過長大成年的過程,而是要經過驅力以外的某件東西的介入,換言之,經過大它者所要求的介入跟翻轉。即使我介紹過其它數目不多的驅力,例如,我剛剛提到的視覺驅力 或我後來又揭露的祈求驅力,因為它們跟這一系列的形成有關,顯而易見,你們將會發現,要從它們衍生的過程,找到彼此關係的位置,或在彼此之間,建立演變或起源的絲毫關係,確實都不是一件很容易的事情。

There is no natural metamorphosis of the oral drive into the anal drive. Whatever appearances may emerge to the contrary from the play of the symbol constituted, in other contexts, by the supposed anal object, namely, the faeces, in relation to the phallus in its negative effect, we can in no sense— experience shows us — consider that there is a continuity between the anal phase and the phallic phase, that there is a relation of natural metamorphosis.


We must consider the drive under the heading of the kon- stante Kcraft that sustains it as a stationary tension. Let us take a look at the metaphors that Freud gives us to express these outlets. Take Schub, for example, which he immediately translates by the image that it bears in his mind, that of a spindle of
lava, a material emission from the deflagration of energy that has occurred there in various successive stages, which complete, one after another, that form of return journey. Do we not see in the Freudian metaphor the embodiment of this fundamental structure—something that emerges from a rim, which redoubles its enclosed structure, following a course that returns, and of which nothing else ensures the consistency except the object, as something that must be circumvented.


This articulation leads us to make of the manifestation of the drive the mode of a headless subject, for everything is articulated in it in terms of tension, and has no relation to the subject other than one of topological community. I have been able to articulate the unconscious for you as being situated in
the gaps that the distribution of the signifying investments sets up in the subject, and which figure in the algorithm in the form of a losange [a], which I place at the centre of any relation of the unconscious between reality and the subject. Well! It is in so far as something in the apparatus of the body is structured in the same way, it is because of the topological unity of the gaps in play, that the drive assumes its role in the functioning of the unconscious.




January 5, 2010




When I read in the Psychoanalytic Quarterly an article like the one by Mr Edward Glover, entitled Freudian or Neo-Freudian, directed entirely against the constructions of Mr Alexander, I sense a sordid smell of stuffiness, at the sight of a construction like that of Mr Alexander being counter-attacked in the name of obsolete criteria. Good Heavens, I did not hesitate to attack it myself in the most categorical way fourteen years ago, at the 1950 Congress of Psychiatry, but, it is the construction of a man of great talent and when I see at what level this construction is discussed, I can pay myself the complement that through all the misadventures that my discourse encounters, here and certainly elsewhere, one can say that this discourse provides an obstacle to the experience of analysis being served up to you in a completely cretinous way.


At this point, I will resume my discourse on the drive. I was led to approach it after positing that the transference is what manifests in experience the enacting of the reality of the unconscious, in so far as that reality is sexuality. I find that I must pause here and ask myself what this very affirmation involves. If we are sure that sexuality is present in action in the transference, it is in so far as at certain moments it is manifested in the open in the form of love. That is what it is about. Does love represent the summit, the culminating point, the indisputable factor, that makes sexuality present for us in the here and now
of the transference?


Freud’s text, not, certainly, any specific text, but the central import of those writings that deal with the drives and their vicissitudes, rejects such a view in the clearest possible way. It was this text that I began to approach last time, when I was trying to make you feel in what a problematic form, bristling
with questions, the introduction of the drive presents. I hope that many of you will have been able to refer to this text in the meantime, whether you are able to read it in German, which seems to me eminently desirable, or whether, as second best, you will be able to read it, always more or less improperly translated, in the two other languages of culture, English or French—I certainly give the worst marks to the French translation, but I will not waste time pointing out the veritable
falsifications with which it swarms.


Even on a first reading, you would have been able to see that this article falls entirely into two parts—first, the deconstruction of the drive; secondly, the examination of das Lieben, the act of love. We shall now approach this second point.


Freud says quite specifically that love can in no way be regarded as the representative of what he puts in question in the terms die ganze Sexualstrebung, that, is to say, the tendency, the forms, the convergence of the striving of the sexual, in so far as it culminates in an apprehensible whole, that would sum up its essence and function.

佛洛伊德相當明確地說,愛絲毫不能被認為是代表die ganze Sexualstrebung,換言之,他質疑的性的追求的傾向、形式、跟匯聚,因為愛的高潮要從整體來理解,這才能概括愛的本質與功能。

ICommt aber auf damit nicht zulier, that’s not at all how it happens, he cries, when answering this far-reaching suggestion. We analysts have rendered it by all sorts of misleading formulae. The whole point of the article is to show us that with regard to the biological finality of sexuality, namely, reproduction, the drives, as they present themselves in the process of psychical reality, are partial drives.


In their structure, in the tension they establish, the drives are linked to an economic factor. This economic factor depends on the conditions in which the function of the pleasure principle is exercised at a level that I will take up again, at the right time, in the term Real-Ich. Let me say at once that we can conceptualize the Real-Ich as the central nervous system in so far as it functions, not as a system of relations, but as a system intended to ensure a certain homeostasis of the internal tensions.


It is because of the reality of the homeostatic system that sexuality comes into play only in the form of partial drives. The drive is precisely that montage by which sexuality participates in the psychical life, in a way that must conform to the gap-like structure that is the structure of the unconscious.


Let us place ourselves at the two extremes of the analytic experience. The primal repressed is a signifier, and we can always regard what is built on this as constituting the symptom qua a scaffolding of signifiers. Repressed and symptom are homogeneous, and reducible to the functions of signifiers. Although their structure is built up step by step like any edifice, it is nevertheless, in the end, inscribable in synchronic terms.


At the other extreme, there is interpretation. Interpretation concerns the factor of a special temporal structure that I have tried to define in the term metonymy. As it draws to its end, interpretation is directed towards desire, with which, in a certain sense, it is identical. Desire, in fact, is interpretation itself. In between, there is sexuality. If sexuality, in the form of the partial drives, had not manifested itself as dominating the whole economy of this interval, our experience would be reduced to a mantic, to which the neutral term psychical energy would then have been appropriate, but in which it would miss what constitutes in it the presence, the Dasein, of sexuality.


The legibility of sex in the interpretation of the unconscious mechanisms is always retroactive. It would merely be of the nature of interpretation if, each moment of the history, we could be certain only that the partial drives intervened effectively in time and place. And not, as one tended to believe at the beginning of the analytic experience, in an erratic form. That infantile sexuality is not a wandering block of ice snatched from the great ice-bank of adult sexuality, intervening as an attraction over an immature subject—this was proved at once in analysis and with what, later, might seem a surprising significance.


In Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality, Freud was able to posit sexuality as essentially polymorphous aberrant. The spell of a supposed infantile innocence was broken. Because it was
imposed so early, I would almost say too early, this sexuality made us pass too quickly over an examination of what it essentially represents. That is to say that, with regard to the agency of sexuality, all subjects are equal, from the child to the adult —that they deal only with that part of sexuality that passes into the networks of the constitution of the subject, into the networks of the signifier—that sexuality is realized only through the operation of the drives in so far as they are partial drives, partial
with regard to the biological finality of sexuality.


The integration of sexuality into the dialectic of desire passes through the bringing into play of what, in the body, deserves to be designated by the term apparatus—if you understand by this that with which the body, with regard to sexuality, may fit itself up (s’appareiller) as opposed to that with which bodies may be paired off (s’apparier).


If all is confusion in the discussion of the sexual drives it is because one does not see that the drive represents no doubt, but merely represents, and partially at that, the curve of fulfillment of sexuality in the living being. Is it surprising that its final term should be death, when the presence of sex in the living being is bound up with death?


Today I have copied out on the blackboard a fragment of Heracitus, which I found in the monumental work in which Diels has gathered together for us the scattered remains of the pre-Socratic period. To the bow (Bids), he writes, and this emerges for us as one of his lessons in wisdom which, before all
the circuit of scientific elaboration, went straight to the target, to the bow is given the name of life and its work is death.


What the drive integrates at the outset in its very existence is a dialectic of the bow, I would even say of archery. In this way we can situate its place in the psychical economy.




January 4, 2010


Deconstruction of Drive

I have left the question of the source till last. If we wished at all costs to introduce vital regulation into the function of the drive, one would certainly say that examining the source is the right way to go about it.


Why? Why are the so-called erogenous zones recognized only in those points that are differentiated for us by their rimlike structure? Why does one speak of the mouth and not of the oesophagus, or the stomach? They participate just as much in the oral function. But at the erogenous level we speak of the mouth, of the lips and the teeth, of what Homer calls the enclosure of the teeth.


The same goes for the anal drive. It is not enough to say that a certain vital function is integrated in a function of exchange with the world—excrement. There are other excremental functions, and there are other elements that participate in them other than the rim of the anus, which is however, specifically
what, for us too, is defined as the source and departure of a certain drive.


Let me say that if there is anything resembling a drive it is a montage.


It is not a montage conceived in a perspective referring to finality. This perspective is the one that is established in modern theories of instinct, in which the presentation of an image derived from montage is quite striking. Such a montage, for example, is the specific form that will make the hen in the farmyard run to ground if you place within a few yards of her the cardboard outline of a falcon, that is to say, something that sets off a more or less appropriate reaction, and where the trick is to show us that it is not necessarily an appropriate one. I am not speaking of this sort of montage.


The montage of the drive is a montage which, first, is presented as having neither head nor tail—in the sense in which one speaks of montage in a surrealist collage. If we bring together the paradoxes that we just defined at the level of .Drang, at that of the object, at that of the aim of the drive, I think that the
resulting image would show the working of a dynamo connected up to a gas-tap, a peacock’s feather emerges, and tickles the belly of a pretty woman, who is just lying there looking beautiful. Indeed, the thing begins to become interesting from this very fact, that the drive defines, according to Freud, all the
forms of which one may reverse such a mechanism. This does not mean that one turns the dynamo upside-down—one unrolls its wires, it is they that become the peacock’s feather, the gas-tap goes into the lady’s mouth, and the bird’s rump emerges in the middle.


This is what he shows as a developed example. Read this text of Freud’s between now and next time, and you will see that it constantly jumps, without transition, between the most heterogeneous images. All this occurs only by means of grammatical references, the artifice of which you will find easy to grasp next time.


Incidentally, how can one say, just like that, as Freud goes on to do, that exhibitionism is the contrary of voyeurism, or that masochism is the contrary of sadism? He posits this simply for grammatical reasons, for reasons concerning the inversion of the subject and the object, as if the grammatical object and subject were real functions. It is easy to show that this is not the case, and we have only to refer to our structure of language for this deduction to become impossible. But what, by means of this game, he conveys to us about the essence of the drive is what, next time, I will define for you as the trace of the act.




January 2, 2010


Deconstruction of Drive

At the other end of the chain, Freud refers to Befriedigung, satisfaction, which he writes out in full, but in inverted commas. What does he mean by satisfaction of the drive? Well, that’s simple enough, you’ll say. The satisfaction of the drive is reaching one’s Ziel, one’s aim. The wild animal emerges from its hole querens quem devoret, and when he has found what he has to eat, he is satisfied, he digests it. The very fact that a similar image may be invoked shows that one allows it to resonate in harmony with
mythology, with, strictly speaking, the drive.


One objection immediately springs to mind —it is rather odd that nobody should have noticed it, all the time it has been there, an enigma, which, like all Freud’s enigmas, was sustained as a wager to the end of his life without Freud deigning to offer any further explanation—he probably left the work to those
who could do it. You will remember that the third of the four fundamental vicissitudes of the drive that Freud posits at the outset—it is curious that there are four vicissitudes as there are four elements of the drive—is sublimation. Well, in this article, Freud tells us repeatedly that sublimation is also satisfaction of the drive, whereas it is zielgehemmt, inhibited as to its aim—it does not attain it. Sublimation is nonetheless satisfaction of the drive, without repression.


In other words —for the moment, I am not fucking, I am talking to you. Well! I can have exactly the same satisfaction as if I were fucking. That’s what it means. Indeed, it raises the question of whether in fact I am not fucking at this moment. Between these two terms—drive and satisfaction—there is set up an extreme antinomy that reminds us that the use of the function of the drive has for me no other purpose than to put in question what is meant by satisfaction.


All those here who are psycho-analysts must now feel to what extent I am introducing here the most essential level of accommodation. It is clear that those with whom we deal, the patients, are not satisfied, as one says, with what they are. And yet, we know that everything they are, everything they experience, even their symptoms, involves satisfaction. They satisfy something that no doubt runs counter to that with which they might be satisfied, or rather, perhaps, they give satisfaction to something. They are not content with their state, but all the same, being in a state that gives so little content, they are content. The whole question boils down to the following—what is contented here?


On the whole, and as a first approximation, I would say that to which they give satisfaction by the ways of displeasure is nevertheless—and this is commonly accepted—the law of pleasure. Let us say that, for this sort of satisfaction, they give themselves too much trouble. Up to a point, it is this too much
trouble that is the sole justification of our intervention. One cannot say, then, that the aim is not attained where satisfaction is concerned. It is.


This is not a definitive ethical position. But, at a certain level, this is how we analysts approach the problem—though we know a little more than others about what is normal and abnormal. We know that the forms of arrangement that exist between what works well and what works badly constitute a continuous series. What we have before us in analysis is a system in which everything turns out all right, and which attains its own sort of satisfaction. If we interfere in this, it is in so far as we think that there are other ways, shorter ones for example. In any case, if I refer to the drive, it is in so far as it is at the level of the drive that the state of satisfaction is to be rectified.


This satisfaction is paradoxical. When we look at it more closely, we see that something new comes into play—the category of the impossible. In the foundations of the Freudian conceptions, this category is an absolutely radical one. The path of the subject—to use the term in relation to which, alone,
satisfaction may be situated—the path of the subject passes between the two walls of the impossible.


This function of the impossible is not to be approached without prudence, like any function that is presented in a negative form. I would simply like to suggest to you that the best way of approaching these notions is not to take them by negation. This method would bring us here to the question of the possible, and the impossible is not necessarily the contrary of the possible, or, since the opposite of the possible is certainly the real, we would be led to define the real as the impossible.


Personally, I see nothing against this, especially as, in Freud, it is in this form that the real, namely, the obstacle to the pleasure principle, appears. The real is the impact with the obstacle; it is the fact that things do not turn out all right straight away, as the hand that is held out to external objects wishes. But I think this is a quite illusory and limited view of Freud’s thought on this point. The real is distinguished, as I said last time, by its separation from the field of the pleasure principle, by its desexualization, by the fact that its economy, later, admits something new, which is precisely the impossible.


But the impossible is also present in the other field, as an essential element. The pleasure principle is even characterized by the fact that the impossible is so present in it that it is never recognized in it as such. The idea that the function of the pleasure principle is to satisfy itself by hallucination is there
to illustrate this—it is only an illustration. By snatching at its object, the drive learns in a sense that this is precisely not the way it will be satisfied. For if one distinguishes, at the outset of the dialectic of the drive, not from Bedilrfnis, need from the pressure of the drive—it is precisely because no object of any Not, need, can satisfy the drive.


Even when you stuff the mouth—the mouth that opens in the register of the drive—it is not the food that satisfies it, it is, as one says, the pleasure of the mouth. That is why, in analytic experience, the oral drive is encountered at the final term, in a situation in which it does no more than order the menu. This
is done no doubt with the mouth, which is fundamental to the satisfaction—what goes out from the mouth comes back to the mouth, and is exhausted in that pleasure that I have just called, by reference to the usual terms, the pleasure of the mouth.


This is what Freud tells us. Let us look at what he says—As far as the object in the drive is concerned, let it be clear that it is, strictly speaking, of no importance. It is a matter of total indifference. One must never read Freud without one’s ears cocked. When one reads such things, one really ought to prick up one’s ears. How should one conceive of the object of the drive, so that one can say that, in the drive, whatever it may be, it is indifferent?


As far as the oral drive is concerned, for example, it is obvious that it is not a question of food, nor of the memory of food, nor the echo of food; nor the mother’s care, but of something that is called the breast, and which seems to go of its own accord because it belongs to the same series. If Freud makes a remark to the effect that the object in the drive is of no importance, it is probably because the breast, in its function as object, is to be revised in its entirety.


To this breast in its function as object, objet a cause of desire, in the sense that I understand the term—we must give a function that will explain its place in the satisfaction of the drive. The best formula seems to me to be the following—that lapulsion en fait le tour.1 I shall find other opportunities of applying it to other objects. Tour is to be understood here with the ambiguity it possesses in French, both turn, the limit around which one turns, and trick.

依據我對於小客體的術語的了解,乳房作為欲望的小客體,我們必須界定它在驅力的滿足方面,有何功用。我覺得,最佳的公式似乎如下:驅力遊走及耍弄客體。我將再找其它機會,將這一個公式應用到其它客體。Tour 在法文的理解是一語雙關,兼具有迴轉、繞著圈圈迴轉,及耍弄的模稜兩可。



January 1, 2010




January 1, 2010

Deconstruction of Drive

Now let us ask ourselves what appears first when we look more closely at the four terms laid down by Freud in relation to the drive. Let us say that these four terms cannot but appear disjointed.


First, thrust will be identified with a mere tendency to discharge. This tendency is what is produced by the fact of a stimulus, namely, the transmission of the accepted portion, at the level of the stimulus, of the additional energy, the celebrated Qn quantity of the Entwurf. But, on this matter, Freud makes, at the outset, a remark that has very far-reaching implications. Here, too, no doubt, there is stimulation, excitation, to use the term Freud uses at this level, Reiz, excitation. But the Reic that is used when speaking of drive is different from any stimulation coming from the outside world, it is an internal Reiz. What does this mean?


In order to explicitate it, we have the notion of need, as it is manifested in the organism at several levels and first of all at the level of hunger and thirst. This is what Freud seems to mean when he distinguishes internal excitement from external excitement.


Well! It has to be said that, at the very outset, Freud posits, quite categorically, that there is absolutely no question in Trieb of the pressure of a need such as Hunger or Durst, thirst. What exactly does Freud mean by Trieb? Is he referring to something whose agency is exercised at the level of the organism
in its totality? Does the real qua totality irrupt here? Are we concerned here with the living organism?


No. It is always a question quite specifically of the Freudian field itself, in the most undifferentiated form that Freud gave it at the outset, which at this level, in the terms of the Skekh referred to above,
that of the kh, of the Real-Ich. The Real -Ich is conceived as supported, not by the organism as a whole, but by the nervous system. It has the character of a planned, objectified subject. I am stressing the surface characteristics of this field by treating it topologically, and in trying to show you how taking it in the form of a surface responds to all the needs of its handling.


This point is essential for, when we examine it more closely, we shall see that the Triebreic is that by which certain elements of this field are, says Freud, invested as drive. This investment places us on the terrain of an energy—and not any energy—a potential energy, for—Freud articulated it in the most pressing way—the characteristic of the drive is to be a konstante Irafi, a constant force. He cannot conceive of it as a momentane Stosskraft.

這一點很重要。當我們更仔細地審察它,我們將會看出,Triebreic 就是這個領域的某些元素被認為是驅力所集中的地方,如佛洛伊德所說。這個集中使我們位於精力的平台,不是任何精力,而是潛在的精力。佛洛伊德聲嘶力竭地說,驅力的特性是要成為一個持續的力量。他無法構想它僅當著是一時的衝動。

What is meant by momentane Stosskraft? About this word Moment, we already have the example of a historical misunderstanding. During the siege of Paris in 1870, the Parisians made fun of Bismarck’spsjc/zologiscke Moment. This phrase struck them as being absurdly funny, for, until fairly recently, when they have had to get used to everything, the French have always been rather particular about the correct use of words.


This quite new psychological moment struck them as being very funny indeed. All it meant was the psychological factor. But this momentane Stosskraft is not perhaps to be taken quite in the sense of factor, but rather in the sense of moment as used in the cinema. I think that this Stosskraft, or shock force, is simply a reference to the life force, to kinetic energy. In the drive, there is no question of kinetic energy; it is not a question of something that will be regulated with movement. The discharge in question is of a quite different nature, and is on a quite different plane.


The constancy of the thrust forbids any assimilation of the drive to a biological function, which always has a rhythm. The first thing Freud says about the drive is, if I may put it this way, that it has no day or night, no spring or autumn, no rise and fall. It is a constant force. All the same, one must take account
of the texts, and also of experience.