Indetermination and determination of the subject.
Love, transference, desire•

However, we must move on to what is our main topic, namely, the transference. How can we take up the thread again? The transference is unthinkable unless one sets out from the subject who is supposed to know.


You will now have a better idea of what he is supposed to know. He is supposed to know that from which no one can escape, as soon as he formulates it—quite simply, signification. Signification implies, of course—and that is why I first brought out the dimension of his desire—that he cannot refuse it.


This privileged point is the only one by which we can recognize the character of an absolute point with no knowledge. It is absolute precisely by virtue of being in no way knowledge, but the point of attachment that links his very desire to the resolution of that which is to be revealed.


The subject comes into play on the basis of this fundamental support—the subject is supposed to know, simply by virtue of being a subject of desire. Now what actually happens? What happens is what is called in its most common appearance the transference effect. This effect is love. It is clear that, like all love, it can be mapped, as Freud shows, only in the field of narcissism. To love is, essentially, to wish to be loved.


What emerges in the transference effect is opposed to revelation. Love intervenes in its function, revealed here as essential, in its function as deception. Love, no doubt, is a transference effect, but it is its resistance side. We are linked together in awaiting this transference effect in order to be able to interpret, and at the same time, we know that it closes the subject off from the effect of our interpretation. The alienation effect, in which is articulated, in the relation of the subject to the Other,
the effect that we are, is here absolutely manifest.


We should point out here, then, something that is always avoided, which Freud articulates, and which is not an excuse, but the reason of the transference, namely, that nothing can be attained in absentia, in eftigie. This means that the transference is not, of its nature, the shadow of something that was once
alive. On the contrary, the subject, in so far as he is subjected to the desire of the analyst, desires to betray him for this subjection, by making the analyst love him, by offering of himself that essential duplicity that is love. The transference effect is that effect of deception in so far as it is repeated in the
present here and now.


It is repetition of that which passed for such only because it possesses the same form. It is not ectopia. It is not a shadow of the former deceptions of love. It is isolation in the actuality of its pure functioning as deception.


That is why we can say that what is there, behind the love known as transference, is the affirmation of the link between the desire of the analyst and the desire of the patient. This is what Freud expressed in a kind of rapid sleight of hand when he said—after all, it is only the desire of the patient—this should
reassure one’s colleagues. It is the patient’s desire, yes, but in its meeting with the analyst’s desire. I will not say that I have not yet named the analyst’s desire, for how can one name a desire? One circumscribes a desire. There are many things in history that provide us with tracks and traces here.


Is it not strange, that echo that we found—though, of course, we are not going to stick our noses into this for long—between the ethic of analysis and the Stoic ethic? What does the Stoic ethic really amount to other than the recognition of the absolute authority of the desire of the Other, that Thy will
be done! that is taken up again in the Christian register? But will I ever have the time to show you this?


We are solicited by a more radical articulation. The problem may be posed of the relation between the master’s desire and the slave. Hegel declares it to be solved —this is not so at all. Since I am ready to take my leave of you for this year —next time will be my last lecture—may I throw out a few
points that may give you some idea of the direction in which we will travel later.


If it is true that the master situates himself only in an original relation to the assumption of death, I think that it is very difficult to attribute to him an apprehensible relation to desire. I’m speaking of the master in Hegel, not of the master of antiquity, of which we have one portrait, for example, in that
of Alcibiades, whose relation to desire is visible enough. He asks Socrates for something, without knowing what it is, but which he calls agalma. Some of you will know the use that I made of this term some time ago. I will go back to this agalma, this mystery, which, in the mist that clouds Alcibiades’ vision, represents something beyond all good.


How can one see anything other than a first adumbration of the technique of the mapping of the transference in the fact that Socrates replies to him, not what he said to him when he was young, Look to your soul, but something more suited to the florid, hardened man he now is, Look to your desire, look to your onions. As it happens, it is the height of irony on Plato’s part to have embodied these onions in a man who is so futile and absurd, almost a buffoon. I think I was the first to remark that
the lines Plato puts in his mouth concerning the nature of love are an indication of just such futility, verging on buffoonery, which makes of Agathon perhaps the least likely object to attract the desire of a master. Furthermore, the fact that he is called Agathon, that is to say, the name to which Plato gave
the supreme value, adds an extra, perhaps involuntary, but incontestable, note of irony.


Thus, as soon as it comes into play in the story, the desire of the master seems, of its very nature, to be the most inappropriate term. On the other hand, when Socrates wishes to obtain his own answer, it is to the slave, who has no right to declare his own desire, that he turns. He can always be sure of obtaining
the right reply from him. The voice of reason is low, Freud says somewhere, but it always says the same thing. I don’t wish to draw a false parallel to the effect that Freud says exactly the same thing about unconscious desire. Its voice, too, is low, but its insistence is indestructible. Perhaps there is a relation between the two. It is in the direction of some kind of kinship that we should turn our eyes to the slave, when it is a question of mapping what the analyst’s desire is.



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