the objet petit a—
The objet a is that object which, in actual experience, in the operation and process sustained by the transference, is signaled to us by a special status.


One constantly has on one’s lips, without quite knowing what one means, the term the liquidation of the transference. What, in fact, does the term mean? Exactly what assets are being liquidated? Or is it a question of some kind of operation in an alembic? Is it a question of—It must go somewhere and empty itself somewhere? If the transference is the enaction of the unconscious, does one mean that the transference might be a means of liquidating the unconscious? Do we no longer have any unconscious after an analysis? Or is it, to take up what I said before, the subject who is supposed to know who must
be liquidated as such?


It would be odd all the same if this subject who is supposed to know, supposed to know something about you, and who, in fact, knows nothing, should be regarded as liquidated, at the very moment when, at the end of the analysis, he begins at last, about you at least, to know something. It is therefore at the
moment what he takes on most substance, that the subject who is supposed to know ought to be supposed to have been vaporized.


It can only be a question, then, if the term liquidation has any meaning, of the permanent liquidation of that deception by which the transference tends to be exercised in the direction of the closing up of the unconscious. I have already explained to you how it works, by referring to it the narcissistic relation by
which the subject becomes an object worthy of love. From his reference to him who must love him, he tries to induce the Other into a mirage relation in which he convinces him of being worthy of love.


Freud designates for us its natural culmination in the function known as identification. The identification in question is not—and Freud articulates it with great subtlety, I would ask you to go back and read the two chapters in Group and the Analysis of the Ego that I referred to last time, the first is called Identification and the second Hypnosis and the State of being in Love
— the identification in question is not specular, immediate identification. It is its support. It supports the perspective chosen by the subject in the field of the Other, from which specular identification may be seen in a satisfactory light. The point of the ego ideal is that from which the subject will see
himself, as one says, as others see him—which will enable him to support himself in a dual situation that is satisfactory for him from the point of view of love.


As a specular mirage, love is essentially deception. It is situated in the field established at the level of the pleasure reference, of that sole signifier necessary to introduce a perspective centred on the Ideal point, capital I, placed somewhere in the Other, from which the Other sees me, in the form I like to be seen.


Now, in this very convergence to which analysis is called by the element of deception that there is in the transference, something is encountered that is paradoxical— the discovery of the analyst. This discovery is understandable only at the other level, the level at which we have situated the relation of alienation.


This paradoxical, unique, specified object we call the objet a. I have no wish to rehash the whole thing again, but I will present it for you in a more syncopated way, stressing that the analysand says to his partner, to the analyst, what amounts to this—I love you, but, because inexplicably I love in you something more than you—the objet petit a—I mutilate you.


This is the meaning of that breast-complex, that mammal complex, whose relation to the oral drive Bergler saw so clearly, except that the orality in question has nothing to do with food, and that the whole stress is placed on this effect of mutilation.


I give myself to you, the patient says again, but this of my person—as they say—Oh, mystery! is changed inexplicably into a gift of skit—a term that is also essential to our experience. When this swerve is achieved, at the conclusion of the interpretative elucidation, we are able to understand retroactively that vertigo, for example, of the white page, which, for a particular character, who is gifted but stuck at the limits of the psychotic, is like the centre of the symptomatic barrage which
blocks off for him every access to the Other. If, quite literally, he cannot touch this white page at which his ineffable intellectual effusions come to a stop, it is because he apprehends it only as a piece of lavatory paper.


How shall I describe for you the effect of this presence of the objet a, rediscovered always and everywhere, in the movement of the transference? I do not have much time today, but I will make use, by way of illustration, of a short fable, an apologue, which I happened to embark on the other day, with a smaller group of listeners. I will provide an end for it, so that if I apologize to them for repeating myself; they will see that what follows at least is new.


What happens when the subject begins to speak to the analyst?—to the analyst, that is to say, to the subject who is supposed to know, but of whom it is certain that he still knows nothing. It is to him that is offered something that will first, necessarily, take the form of demand. Everyone knows that it is this that has orientated all thinking on analysis in the direction of a recognition of the function of frustration. But what does the subject demand? That is the whole question, for the subject knows very well that, whatever his appetites may be, whatever his needs may be, none of them will find satisfaction in analysis, and that the most he can expect of it is to organize his menu.


In the fable I read, when I was a child, in these early forms of strip cartoon, the poor beggar at the restaurant door feasted himself on the smell of the roasting meat. On this occasion, the smell is the menu, that is to say, signifiers, since we are concerned with speech only. Well! There is this complication— and this is my fable—that the menu is written in Chinese, so the first step is to order a translation from the patronne. She translates—imperial pâté, spring rolls, etc. etc. It may well be, if it is the first time that you have come to a Chinese restaurant, that the translation does not tell you much more than the original, and in the end you say to the patronne—Recommend something. This means: you should know what I desire in all this.


But is so paradoxical a situation supposed, in the final resort, to end there? At this point, when you abdicate your choice to some divination of the patronne, whose importance you have exaggerated out of all proportion, would it not be more appropriate, if you felt like it, and if the opportunity presented itself, to tickle her tits a bit? For one goes to a Chinese restaurant not only to eat, but to eat in the dimensions of the exotic. If my fable means anything, it is in as much as alimentary desire has
another meaning than alimentation. It is here the support and symbol of the sexual dimension, which is the only one to be rejected by the psyche. The drive in its relation to the part object is subjacent here.


Well! Paradoxical, not to say free and easy, as this little apologue may seem, it is nevertheless precisely what is at issue in the reality of analysis. It is not enough that the analyst should support the function of Tiresias. He must also, as Apollinaire tells us, have breasts. I mean that the operation and manipulation
of the transference are to be regulated in a way that maintains a distance between the point at which the subject sees himself as lovable—and that other point where the subject sees himself caused as a lack by a, and where a fills the gap constituted by the inaugural division of the subject.


The petit a never crosses this gap. Recollect what we learned about the gaze, the most characteristic term for apprehending the proper function of the objet a. This a is presented precisely, in the field of the mirage of the narcissistic function of desire, as the object that cannot be swallowed, as it were, which remains stuck in the gullet of the signifier. It is at this point of lack that the subject has to recognize


It is for this reason that the function of the transference may be topologized in the form that I have already produced in-my seminar on Identification—namely, the form that I have called on occasion the internal object, that double curve that you see on the blackboard folding back upon itself, and whose essential property is that each of its halves, following one another, comes back to back at each point with the preceding half. Just suppose that a particular half of the curve is unfolded, then you will see
it cover up the other.


That is not all. As it is a question here of a plane defined by the cut, you need only take a sheet of paper to get, with the help of a few small collages, an exact idea of the way in which what I am going to tell you may be conceived. It is very easy to imagine that, in short, the lobe constituted by this surface at its
point of return covers another lobe, the two constituting themselves by a form of rim. Note that this in no way implies any contradiction, even in the most ordinary space—except that, in order to grasp its extent, one must abstract oneself from three-dimensional space, since it is a question here only of a
topological reality that is limited to the function of a surface. You can thus conceive quite easily in the three dimensions that one of the parts of the plane, at the moment at which the other, by its rim, returns upon it, determines there a sort of intersection.


This intersection has a meaning outside our space. It is structurally definable, without reference to the three dimensions, by a certain relation of the surface to itself; in so far as, returning upon itself; it crosses itself at a point no doubt to be determined. Well! This line of intersection is for us what may
symbolize the function of identification.


In effect, by the very work that leads the subject, while telling himself in analysis, to orientate what he says in the direction of the resistance of the transference, of deception, deception of love as well as of aggression—something like closing up occurs and its value is marked in the very form of this spiral developing towards a centre.


What I have depicted here by means of the rim comes back on to the plane constituted by the locus of the Other, from the place where the subject, realizing himself in his speech, is instituted at the level of the subject who is supposed to know. Any conception of analysis that is articulated—innocently or not, God only knows—to defining the end of the analysis as identification with the analyst, by that very fact makes an admission of its limits. Any analysis that one teaches as having to be terminated by identification with the analyst reveals, by the same token, that its true motive force is elided. There is a beyond to this identification, and this beyond is defined by the relation and the distance of the objet petit a to the idealizing capital I of identification.


I cannot enter into the details of what such an affirmation implies in the structure of practice. I will refer here to Freud’s chapter on Hypnosis and the State of being in Love, which I mentioned earlier. In this chapter Freud makes an excellent distinction between hypnosis and the state of being in love, even
in its most extreme forms, what he calls Verliebiheit. Here he provides the clearest doctrinal account to be read anywhere, if only one knows how to read it.


There is an essential difference between the object defined as narcissistic, the i (a), and the function of the a. Things are such that the only view of the schema that Freud gives of hypnosis, gives by the same token the formula of collective fascination, which was an increasing reality at the time when he wrote that article. He draws this schema exactly as I have represented it for you on the blackboard.


In it he designates what he calls the object—in which you must recognize what I call the a—the ego and the ego ideal. As for the curves, they are made to mark the conjunction of the a with the ego ideal. In this way Freud gives its status to hypnosis by superposing at the same place the objet a as such
and this signifying mapping that is called the ego ideal. I have given you the elements in order to understand it, adding that the objet a may be identical with the gaze.


Well, Freud precisely indicates the nodal point of hypnosis when he formulates that the object is certainly an element that is difficult to grasp in it, but an incontestable one, namely, the gaze of the hypnotizer. Remember what I articulated for you about the function of the gaze, of its fundamental relations to the ink-blot, of the fact that there is already in the world something that looks before there is a view for it to see, that the ocellus of animal mimicry is indispensable as a presupposition to the fact that a subject may see and be fascinated, that the fascination of the ink-blot is anterior to the view that discovers it. You apprehend by the same token the function of the gaze in hypnosis, which may be fulfilled in fact by a crystal stopper, or anything, so long as it shines.


To define hypnosis as the confusion, at one point, of the ideal signifier in which the subject is mapped with the a, is the most assured structural definition that has been advanced. Now, as everyone knows, it was by distinguishing itself from hypnosis that analysis became established. For the fundamental
mainspring of the analytic operation is the maintenance of the distance between the I— identification—and the a.


In order to give you formulae-reference points, I will say—if the transference is that which separates demand from the drive, the analyst’s desire is that which brings it back. And in this way, it isolates the a, places it at the greatest possible distance from the I that he, the analyst, is called upon by the subject to embody. It is from this idealization that the analyst has to fail in order to be the support of the separating a, in so far as his desire allows him, in an upside-down hypnosis, to embody the hypnotized patient.


This crossing of the plane of identification is possible. Anyone who has lived through the analytic experience with me to the end of the training analysis knows that what I am saying is true. It is beyond the function of the a that the curve closes back upon itself at a point where nothing is ever said as to the
outcome of the analysis, that is, after the mapping of the subject in relation to the a, the experience of the fundamental phantasy becomes the drive. What, then, does he who has passed through the experience of this opaque relation to the origin, to the drive, become? How can a subject who has traversed the radical phantasy experience the drive? This is the beyond of analysis, and has never been approached. Up to now, it has been approachable only at the level of the analyst, in as much as it would be required of him to have specifically traversed the cycle of the analytic experience in its totality.


There is only one kind of psycho-analysis, the training analysis—which means a psycho-analysis that has looped this loop to its end. The loop must be run through several times. There is in effect no other way of accounting for the term durcharbeiten, of the necessity of elaboration, except to conceive
how the loop must be run through more than once. I will not deal with this here because it introduces new difficulties, and because I cannot say everything, since I am dealing here only with the fundamentals of psycho-analysis.


The schema that I leave you, as a guide both to experience and to reading, shows you that the transference operates in the direction of bringing demand back to identification. It is in as much as the analyst’s desire, which remains an x, tends in a direction that is the exact opposite of identification, that
the crossing of the plane of identification is possible, through the mediation of the separation of the subject in experience.


The experience of the subject is thus brought back to the plane at which, from the reality of the unconscious, the drive may be made present.



One Response to “拉岡講座255”

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