Furrows in the alethosphere 5

Furrows in the alethosphere 5
From The Other Side of Psychoanalysis
By Jacques Lacan

In a certain sense, this is only a local articulation. It certainly does not pretend to solve, with a fixed and guaranteed proportion, the question of the effectiveness of the most primary manifestation of number, namely the unary trait. I only did it to remind you what science is such as we have it now, if I can put it like this, on our hands—I mean, present in our world in a manner that goes well beyond anything that an effect of knowledge may lead us to speculate about.


In effect, it is, all the same, necessary not to forget that it is characteristic of our science not to have introduced a better and more extensive knowledge of the world but to have brought into existence, in the world, things that did not in any way exist at the level of our perception.


Attempts have been made to organize science according to some mythical genesis that begins with perception, under the pretext that such and such a philosophical meditation had supposedly come to a standstill for a long time over the question of knowing what guarantees that perception is not illusory. This is not where science emerged from. Science emerged from what was embryonic in the Euclidean demonstrations. Nevertheless, these still remain very suspect because they still contain that attachment to the figure, the self-evidence of which serves as a pretext. The entire evolution of Greek mathematics proves to us that what rises to the highest point is the manipulation of numbers as such.


Consider the method of exhaustion which, already in Archimedes, prefigures what leads to what is essential, to what for us is, as it happens, structure, namely the calculus, the infinitesimal calculus. There is no need to wait until Leibziz, who, moreover, at his first attempt shows himself to have been a little awkward. It had already been started by Cavalieri, simply by reproducing Archimedes’ exploit on the parabola, in the seventeenth century, but well before Leibniz.


What is the result of this? No doubt you can say of science that nihil fuerit in intellectu quod non prius fuit in sensu, what does that prove? The sensus has nothing to do, as people nevertheless know, with perception. The sensus is only there in the manner of what can be counted, and the actual counting rapidly dissolves. Taking what is in our sensus at the level of the ear or eye, for example, leads to counting vibrations. And it was owing to this play of numbers that we in fact set about producing vibrations that had nothing to do either with our senses or with our perception.

這樣的結果是什麼呢?毫無疑問,對於科學,你們可以這樣說:nihil fuerit in intellectu quod non prius fuit in sensu, 那證明了什麼?如同我們所知道的,統計sensu 跟感官沒有絲毫關係。這個統計在那裡,只是為了能夠計算,而實際的計算馬上一清二楚。以耳朵跟眼睛層次的統計當例子,它們可以導致聲波跟光波的計算。事實上,由於數字的運算,我們開始產生聲波跟光波,這些跟我們的感覺或感官沒有絲毫關係。

As I was saying the other day on the steps of the pantheon, the world that is assumed to have always ours is now populated, in the very place where we are, without your having the slightest suspicion of it, by a considerable and intersecting number of what are called waves. “ This is not to be neglected as the manifestation, presence, existence, of science, and to describe what is around our Earth would require that one not be satisfied with speaking of atmosphere, of stratosphere, of whatever you would like to spherize, however distant the particles we can apprehend. It would be necessary to account also of what in our day goes well beyond, and which is the effect of what? Of a knowledge that has progressed less through its own filtering, through its own critique as we say, than through an audacious leap from an artifice, no doubt that of Descartes—others will choose different ones—the artifice of giving the guarantee of truth back to God. If truth there be, that he take responsibility for it. We take it at face value.


Solely by means of the play of a truth that is not abstract but purely logical, solely by the play of a strict combinatory that is subject only to the requirement that rules, under the name of axioms, must always be given—this is where a science is constructed, one that no longer has anything to do with the presuppositions that the idea of knowledge has always implied—namely, the mute polarization, the imagined ideal unification of that is knowledge, where one can always find, whatever the name one dresses them up, in “ endosunia,’ for instance, the reflection, the image, which is moreover always ambiguous, of two principles, the male principle and the female principle.


The space in which the creations of science are deployed can only be qualified henceforth as the in-substance, as the a-thing, with an apostrophe—a fact that entirely changes the meaning of our materialism.


It is the oldest figure of the master’s infatuation—write “ master” as you will—for man to image that he shapes woman, I think you all have experienced enough to have encountered this comical story at one stage of your life or another. Form, substance, content, call it what you will—this is the myth scientific thought must detach itself from.


I figure that I am allowed to plow on fairly crudely in order to express my thought well. I am failing to act as if I had had a thought, whereas, precisely, this is not the case, but, as everyone knows, it’s thought that communicates itself, by means of misunderstanding, of course. Well, let’s communicate and say what this conversion consists in, the conversion by which science is shown to be distinct from any theory of knowledge.



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