Archive for July, 2010

Rings of string 06 绳之环

July 17, 2010

Encore 706

By Jacques Lacan
雅克 拉岡

Rings of string 06

It is not enough to have found a general solution to the problem of Borromean knots, for an infinite number of Borromean knots. We must find a way to demonstrate that it is the only solution.


But, as of our point in time today, there is no theory of knots. Currently, there is no mathematical formalization applicable to knots, apart from a few little constructions like those I showed you, that allows us to foresee that a solution like the one I just gave is not simply ex-sistent, but necessary, in other words, that it doesn’t stop—as I define the necessary—being written. I’m going to show it to you right away. It suffices for me to do this.


I just passed one of these rings around the other in such a way that they form, not the kind of bending I showed you earlier but simply a sailor’s knot. You immediately see that I can, without any difficulty, pursue the operation on either side by making as many sailor’s knots as I like, with all the rings of string in the world.


Here too I can close the chain, thereby eliminating the separability these elements had hitherto retained. I use a third ring to join the two ends of the chain.


Here, without any doubt, we have a solution which is just as valid as the first. The knot enjoys the Borromean property that if I cut anyone of the rings that I have arranged in this way, all the others are set free.


None of the rings here is any different from the others. There is no privileged point and the chain is strictly homogeneous. You realize that there is no topological analogy between the two ways of knotting the rings of string I showed you. In the case of the sailor’s knots, there is what might be called a topology of twisting compared to the preceding one, which is simply one of being. But it wouldn’t be contradictory to use bent rings in a sailor’s knot.


What is at stake for us, as you have realized, is to obtain a model of mathematical formalization. Formalization is nothing other than the substitution of what is called a letter for any number of ones. What does it mean when we write that inertia is


If not that, whatever the number of ones you place under each of those letters, you are subject to a certain number of laws—laws of grouping, addition, multiplication, etc.

Those are the questions that I am opening up, that are designed to announce to you what I hope to transmit to you concerning that which is written.


That which is written—what would that be in the end? The conditions of jouissance. And that which is counted—what would that be? The residues of jouissance. Isn’t it by joining that a-sexual up with what she has by way of surplus jouissance—being, as she is, the Other, since she can only be said to be other—that woman offers it to man in the guise of object a?


Man believes he creates—he believes believes believes , he creates creates creates. He creates creates creates woman. In reality, he puts her to work—to the work of the One. And it is in that respect that the Other—the Other insofar as the articulation of language, that is, the truth, is inscribed earlier qualified as the One-missing. That is what S(A) means. It is in that respect that we arrive at the point of raising the question how to make the One into something that holds up, that is, that is counted without being.


Mathematization alone reaches a real—and it is in that respect that is compatible with our discourse, analytic discourse—a real that has nothing to do with what traditional knowledge has served as a basis for, which is not what the latter believes it to be—namely, reality—but rather fantasy.


The real, I will say, is the mystery of the speaking body, the mystery of the unconscious.



Rings of string 06 绳之环

July 16, 2010

Encore 705

By Jacques Lacan
雅克 拉岡

Rings of string 05

Let us note that, unlike rings of string, the elements of a chain can be forged. It is not very difficult to imagine how—one bends metal to the point where one can solder it. No doubt, it’s not a simple prop, for, in order to be to adequately represent the use of language, links would have to be made in that chain that would attach to another link a little further on, with two or three floating intermediate links. We would also have to understand why a sentence has a limited duration. The metaphor cannot tell us that.


Do you want an example that can show you what purpose can be served by this line of folded knots that become independent once again as soon as you cut one of them? It’s not very difficult to find such an example in psychosis, and that’s no accident. Recall what hallucinatorily fills up Schreber’s solitude: “ Now I shall…,” or again “ You were to…” These interrupted sentences, which I called code messages, leave some sort of substance in abeyance. We perceive here the requirement of a sentence, whatever it may be, which is such that one of its links, when missing, sets all the others free, that is, withdraws from them the One.


Isn’t that the best basis we can provide for that by which mathematical language proceeds?


The nature of mathematical language, once it is sufficiently isolated in terms of its requirements of pure demonstration, is such that everything that is put forward there—not so much in the spoken commentary as in the very handling of letters—assumes that if one of the letters doesn’t stand up, all the others, due to their arrangement, not only constitute nothing of any validity but disperse. It is in that respect that the Borromean knot is the best metaphor of the fact that we proceed only on the basis of the One.


The One engenders science. Not in the sense of the one of measurement. It is not what is measured in science that is important, contrary to what people think. What distinguishes modern science from the science of antiquity, which is based on the reciprocity between the vous and the world, between what thinks and what is thought of, is precisely the function of the One, the One insofar as it is only there, we can assume, to represent solitude—the fact that the One doesn’t truly knot itself with anything that resembles the sexual Other. Unlike the chain, the Ones of which are all made in the same way, being nothing other than One.


When I said, “ There’s such a thing as One”, when I stressed that, when I truly pounded that into you like an elephant all of last year, you see what I was introducing you to.


How then can we situate the function of the Other? How—if, up to a certain point, what remains of any language when it is written is based simply on knots of the One—are we to posit a difference ? For it is clear that the Other cannot be added to the One. The Other can only be differentiated from it. If there is something by which it participates in the One, it is not by being added. For the Other—as I already said, but it is not clear that you heard me—is the One-missing.


That’s why, in any relationship of man with a woman—she who is to question—it is from the perspective of the One-missing that she must be taken up. I already indicated that to you concerning Don Juan, but, of course, there was only one person who noticed—my daughter.



Rings of string 04 绳之环

July 16, 2010

Encore 704

By Jacques Lacan
雅克 拉岡

Rings of string 04

Why did I formerly bring in the Borromean knot? It was to translate the formulation “ I ask you”—what? “ to refuse” –what?—“what I offer you”—why?—“ because that’s not it.’ You know what “ it” is; it’s object a. Object a is no being. Object a is the void presupposed by a demand, and it is only situating demand via metonymy, that is, by the pure continuity assured from the beginning to the end of a sentence, that we can imagine a desire that is based on no being—a desire without any other substance than that assured by knots themselves.


Enunciating that sentence, “ I ask you to refuse what I offer you,” I could only motivate it by the “ that’s not it” that I took up again last time.


“ That’s not it” means that, in the desire of every demand, there is but the request for object a, for the object that could satisfy jouissance. The latter would then be the lustbefriedigung presupposed in what is improperly called the “ genital drive” in psychoanalytic discourse, that drive in which the full, inscribable relationship of the on with what remains irreducibly the Other is supposedly inscribed. I stressed the fact that the partner of this “ I” that is the subject, the subject of any sentence that constitutes a demand, is not the Other, but that which is substituted for it in the form of the cause of desire—that I have diversified into four causes, insofar as the base of the object of sucking, the object of excretion, the gaze, and the voice. It is as substitutes for the Other that these objects are laid claim to and made into the cause of desire.


It seems that the subject calls inanimate objects to mind as a function of the following –that there’s no such thing as a sexual relation. It’s only speaking bodies, as I said, that come up with an idea of the world as such. The world, the world of being, full of knowledge, is but a dream, a dream of the body insofar as it speaks, for there’s no such thing as a knowing subject. There are subjects who give themselves correlates in object a, correlates of enjoying speech qua jouissance of speech. What does it wedge but other Others?


I pointed out to you earlier that bilobulation—the transformation by being of the ring of string into two ears—can be carried out in a strictly symmetrical fashion. Indeed, that is what happens as soon as one gets to the level of four. Well, similarly, the reciprocity between the subject and object a is total.


For every speaking being, the cause of its desire is, in terms of structure, strictly equivalent, so to speak, to its bending, that is, to what I have called its division as subject. That is what explains why the subject could believe for so long that the world knew as much about things as he did. The world is symmetrical to the subject—the world of what I last time called thought is the equivalent, the mirror image, of thought. That is why there was nothing but fantasy regarding knowledge until the advent of the most modern science.


This mirroring is what allowed for the chain of beings that presupposed in one being, said to be the Supreme Being, the good of all beings. Which is also equivalent to the following , that object a can be said to be, as its name indicates a-sexual. The Other presents itself to the subject only in an a-sexual form. Everything that has been the prop, substitute-prop, or substitute for the Other in the form of the object of desire is a-sexual.


It is in that sense that the Other as such remains a problem in Freudian theory—though we are able to take a step further –a problem that is expressed in a question Freud repeated—“ What does a woman want?”—woman being, in this case, equivalent to truth. It is in that sense that the equivalence I produced is justified.


Does that enlighten you as to why it is of interest to work with the ring of string? The said ring is certainly the most eminent representation of the One, in the sense that it encloses but a hole. Indeed, that is what makes a true ring of string very difficult to produce. The ring of string I make use of is mythical,since people don’t manufacture closed rings of string.


But still, what are we to do with this Borromean knot? My answer to you is that it can serve us by representing a metaphor that is so often used to express what distinguishes the use of language—the chain metaphor.



Rings of string 03 绳之环

July 15, 2010

Encore 703

By Jacques Lacan
雅克 拉岡

Rings of string 03

What cuts a line is a point. Since a point has zero dimensions, a line is defined as having one dimension. Since what a line cuts is a surface, a surface is defined as having two dimensions. Since what a surface cuts is space, space has three dimensions.


The little sign I wrote on the blackboard ( figure 1) derives its value therefrom.


It has all the characteristics of writing—it could be a letter. However, since you write cursively, you never think of stopping a line before it crosses another in order to make it pass underneath, or rather in order to assume that it passes underneath, because in writing something completely different than three-dimensional space is involved.


In this figure, when a line is cut by another, it means that the former passes under the latter. That is what happens here, except that there is only one line. But although there is one, it is distinguished from a simple ring, for this writing represents for you the flattening out of a knot. Thus, this line or string is something other than the line I defined earlier with respect to space as a cut and that constitutes a hole,, that is, separates an inside from an outside.


This new line is not so easily incarnated in space. The proof is that the ideal string, the simpliest string, would be a torus. And it took a long time for people to realize, thanks to topology, that what is enclosed in a torus has absolutely nothing to do with what is enclosed in a bubble.


Regardless of what you do with the surface of a torus, you cannot make a knot. It is in this respect, allow me to tell you, that the torus is reason, since it is what allows for knot.


It is in that respect that what I am showing you now, a twisted torus, is as neat an image as I can give you of the trinity, as I qualified it the other—one and three in a single stroke.


Nevertheless, it is by making three toruses out of it, using a little thingamabob I already showed you called the Borromean knot, that we shall be able to operate on the first knot. Naturally, there are people here today who weren’t here last year in February when I spoke about the Borromean knot. I will try today to give you a sense of its importance and of how it is related to writing, inasmuch as I have defined writing as what languages leaves by way of a trace.


With the Borromean knot, we are dealing with something that cannot be found anywhere,, namely, a true ring of string. You should realize that, when you lay out a string, you never manage to join the two ends together in the woof. In order to have a ring of string, you to make a knot, preferably a sailor’s knot. Let’s make a sailor’s knot with this string.


That’s it. Thanks to the sailor’s knot, we have here, as you see, a ring of string. I will make two more. The problem that is then raised by the Borromean knot is the following—once you have made your rings of string, how can you get these three rings of string to hang together in such a way that if you cut one, all three are set free?


Three is really nothing. The true problem, the general problem, is to work things out in such a way that, with any number of rings of string, when you cut one, every single one of the others becomes free and independent.


Here is the Borromean knot—I already put it up on the blackboard last year. It is easy for you see that no two rings of string are knotted to each other, and that it’s only thanks to the third that they hang together.


Pay close attention here—don’t let yourself remain captivated by this image. I’m going to show you another way to solve the problem.


Here is a ring of string. Here is another. You insert the second ring into the first, and you bend it ( see figure 4)


It suffices then to take up the second ring in a third for the three to be knotted together—knotted in such a way that it suffices for you to cut one for the other two to be set free ( see figure 5)


After the first bending, you could also bend the third ring and take it up in a fourth. With four, as with three, it suffices to cut one of the rings for all the others to be set free. You can add an absolutely infinite number of rings and it will still be true. The solution is thus absolutely general, and the line of rings can be as long as you like.


In this chain, whatever its length, the first and last links different from the others: while the intermediary rings, in other words, the bent ones, are all ear-shaped, as you see in figure 4, the extremes are simple rings.


Nothing stops us from making the first and last rings coincide, by bending the first and taking it up in the last. The chain is thereby closed ( see figure 6)


The collapse of the two extremes into one nevertheless leaves a trace: in the chain of intermediary links, the strands are juxtaposed two by two, whereas, when the chain closes on a simple, single ring, four strands on each side are juxtaposed to one strand, the circular ring.


That trace can certainly be effaced—you then obtain a homogeneous chain of bent rings.



Rings of string 02 绳之环

July 15, 2010

Encore 702

By Jacques Lacan
雅克 拉岡

Rings of string 02

I don’t know how to approach, why not say, the truth—no more than woman. I have said that the one and the other are the same thing, at least to man. They constitute the same conundrum. As it turns out, I relish the one and the other, despite what people say.


The discordance between knowledge and being is my subject. One can also say, notwithstanding, that there isn’t any discordance regarding what still (encore)—according to my title this year—directs the game. We are still ( encore) caught up in the insufficiency of knowledge. It is what directs the game of encore–not that by knowing more about it, it would direct us better, but perhaps there would be better jouissance, agreement between jouissance and its end.


Now, the end of jouissance—as everything Freud articulated about what he unadvisedly calls ‘ partial drives ‘ teaches us—the end of jouissance does not coincide with what it leads to, namely the fact that we reproduce.


The “ I “ is not a being, but rather something attributed to that which speaks. That which speaks deals only with solitude, regarding the aspect of the relationship I can only define by saying, I have, that it cannot be written. That solitude, as a break in knowledge, not only can be written but it is that which is written par excellence, for it is that which leaves a trace of break in being.


That is what I said in a text, certainly not without its imperfections that I called “ Lituraterre.” “ The cloud of language, “ I expressed myself metaphorically, “ constitutes writing.” Who knows whether the fact that we can read ( lire) the streams I saw over Siberia as the metaphorical trace of writing isn’t linked ( lie) —betware lier ( to link) and lire consist of the same letters. To something that goes beyond the effect of rain, which animals have no chance of reading as such? It seems rather to be linked to that form of idealism that I would like you to get into your heads—certainly not that professed by Berkeley, who lived at a time when the subject had acquired its independence, not the idealism that holds that everything we know is representation, but rather that idealism related to the impossibility of inscribing the sexual relationship between two bodies of different sexes.

那就是我在「文季」刊物发表的一篇文章中所说的,虽然内容确实不无暇疵。「语言的云层」,我比喻地表达我自己,「组成了书写。」天晓得,我们能够阅读我在西伯利亚所看到的溪流,作为书写的比喻痕迹,跟超越下雨的影响的事情,如动物不可能是这样阅读溪流,有没有牵扯上关系?请注意一下,阅读lire 与关系lier的法文字母都相同。相反地,它似乎跟我要你们联想到的理念主义的形式有些关系。我说的不是哲学家柏克来所说的理念主义,因为他出生在主体已经获得独立的时代,也不是那种相信我们所知的一切,都是符号再现的理念主义,而是两个不同性别的身体之间,灵魂的交会的性关系不可能产生,这样的理念主义。

An opening, by which it is the world that makes us into its partner, is created thereby. It is the speaking body insofar as it can only manage to reproduce thanks to a misunderstanding regarding its jouissance. That is to say that it only reproduces thanks to missing what it wants to say, for what it wants to say ( veut dire)—namely, as French clearly states, its meaning ( sens)—is its effective jouissance. And it is by missing that jouissance that it reproduces—in other words, by fucking.


That is precisely what it doesn’t want to do, in the final analysis. This proof is that when one leaves it all alone, it sublimates with all its might, it sees Beauty and the Good—not to mention Truth, and it is there, as I just told you,, that it comes closest to what is at stake. But what is true is that the partner of the opposite sex remains the Other. It is thus by missing its jouissance that it manages to be reproduced yet agin ( encore) without knowing anything about what reproduces it. And in particular—and this is perfectly tangible in Freud’s work, though of course it’s nothing but gibberish, even if we can’t do any better—it doesn’t know whether what reproduces it is life or death.


I must nevertheless say what there is qua metalanguage, and in what respect I coincides with the trace left by language. For this is where the subject returns to the revelation of the correlate of language ( langue), which is the extra knowledge of being, and constitutes for him his slim chance of going to the Other, to its being, about which I noted last time—and this is the second essential point—that it wants to know nothing. It is a passion for ignorance.


This is why the other two passions are those that are called love—which has nothing to do with knowledge, despite philosophy’s absurd contentions—and hatred, which is what comes closest to being, that I call “ ex-sisting.” Nothing concentrates more hatred than that act of saying in which ex-sistence is situated.


Writing is thus a trace in which an effect of language can be read ( se lit). That is what happens when you scribble something.


I certainly don’t deprive myself of doing so, for that is how I prepare what I have to say. It is worth noting that one must ensure things by writing. The latter certainly is not metalanguage, nevertheless, though one can make it fulfill a function that resembles it. That effect is nevertheless secondary with respect to the Other in which language is inscribed as truth. For nothing I could write on the blackboard for you based on the general formuas that relate energy and matter, at the present point it time–Einstein’s last formulas, for example—none of it would stand up if I didn’t prop it up with an act of speaking that involves language ( langue), and with a practice which is that of people who gives orders in the name of a certain knowledge.


But let me back up. When you scribble and when I too scribble, it is always on a page with lines, and we are thus immediately enmeshed in this business of dimensions.


Rings of string 01 绳之环

July 14, 2010

Encore 701

By Jacques Lacan
雅克 拉岡

Rings of string 01

I dreamt last night that when I arrived, no one was here.


That confirms the wishful character of the dream. Despite the fact that I was rather outraged, that it would all be for naught, since I also remembered in the dream that I had worked until 4;30 in the morning, it was nevertheless the satisfaction of a wish, namely, that then I would have but to twiddle my thumbs.


I am going to say—that is my function—I am going to say once again—because I repeat myself—something that I say, which is enunciated as follows, “ There’s no such thing as a metalanguage.”


When I say that, it apparently means—no language of being. But is there being? As I pointed out last time, what I say is what there isn’t. Being is, as they say, and nonbeing is not. There is or there isn’t. Being is merely presumed in certain words—“ individual,” for instance, and “ substance.” In my view, it is but a fact of what is said.


The word “ subject” that I use thus takes on a different import.


I distinguish myself from the language of being. That implies that there may be verbal fiction—I mean, fiction on the basis of the word. And as some of you may recall, that is what I began with when I spoke of ethics.


Just because I have written things that serve the function of forms of language doesn’t mean I assure the being of metalanguage. For I would have to present that being as subsisting by itself, all alone, like the language of being.


Mathemathical formalization is our goal, our ideal. Why? Because it alone is matheme, in other words, it alone is capable of being integrally transmitted. Mathematical formalization consists of what is written, but it only subsists if I employ, in presenting it, the language I make use of. Therein lies the objection: no formalization of language is transmissible without the use of language itself. It is in the very act of speaking that I make this formalization, this idea metalanguage, ex-sist. It is in this respect that the symbolic cannot be confused with being—far from it. Rather, it subsists qua ex-sistence with respect to the act of speaking. That is what I stressed, in my texts called ‘ L’Etourdit,’ by saying that the symbolic bears only ex-sistence.


In what respect? This is one of the essential things I said last time—analysis can be distinguished from everything that was produced by discourse prior to analysis by the fact that it enunciates the following, which is the very backbone of my teaching—I speak without knowing it. I speak with my body and I do so unbeknownst to myself.
Thus I always say more than I know.


This is where I arrive at the meaning of the word “ subject” in analytic discourse. What speaks without knowing it makes me “ I,” subject of the verb. That doesn’t suffice to bring me into being. That has nothing to do with what I am forced to put in being—enough knowledge for it to hold up, but not one drop more.


That is what was hitherto called form. In Plato work, form is the knowledge that fills being. Form doesn’t know any more about it than it says. It is real in the sense that it holds being in its glass, but it is filled right to the brim. Form is the knowledge of being. The discourse of being presumes that being is, and that is what holds it.


There is some relationship of being that cannot be known. It is that relationship whose structure I investigate in my teaching, insofar as that knowledge—which, as I just said, is impossible—is prohibited thereby. This is where I play on an equivocation—that impossible knowledge is censored or forbidden, but isn’t if you write “ inter-dit” appropriately—it is said between the words, between the lines. We have to expose the kind of real to which it grants us access.


We have to show where the shaping of that metalanguage—which is not, and which I make ex-sist—is going. Something true can still be said about what cannot be demonstrated. It is thus that is opened up that sort of truth, the only truth that is accessible to us and that bears on, for example, the non-savoir-faire.



Encore 407 再来一次

July 13, 2010

Encore 407

Jacques Lacan
雅克 拉岡

On the Baroque 07

To once and for all put end to this business about the true religion, I will while there is still time, point out that God is manifested only in writings that are said to be sacred. Sacred in what respect? In that they don’t stop repeating the failure—read Salomon, the master of masters, the master of feeling, someone of my own ilk—the failure of the attempts made by a wisdom tradition to which being is supposed to testify.


None of that implies that there weren’t things from time to time thanks to which jouissance—without it, there could be no wisdom—could believe that it had reached the goal of satisfying the thought of being. But that goal has never been satisfied, except at the price of a castration.


In Taoism, for example—you don’t know what it is, very few do, but I have worked at it, by reading the texts, of course—this is clear in the very practice of sex. In order to feel good, one must withhold one’s cum. Buddhism is the trivial example by its renunciation of thought itself. What is best in Buddhism is Zen, and Zen consists in answering you by barking, my little friend. That is what is best when one wants, naturally, to get out of this infernal business, as Freud called it.


The fantasizing of antiquity, mythology as you call it—Claude Levi-Straus also called it by that name—of the Mediterranean region—which is precisely the one we don’t touch because it’s the most profuse and, above all, because such a big to-do has been made of it that one no longer knows by what strand to approach it—mythology has also come to something in the form of psychoanalysis.


There were shovelfuls of gods—all one had to do was find the right one. Which led to this contingent thing that is such that sometimes, after an analysis, we manage to achieve a state in which a guy correctly fucks his “ one gal”. They were gods all the same, that is, rather consistent representations of the Other. Let us pass over here the weakness of the analytic operation.


Oddly enough, that is so completely compatible with Christian belief that we saw a renaissance of polytheism during the era known by the same name.


I am telling you all that precisely because I just got back from the museums, and because the Counter-Reformation was ultimately a return to the sources and the baroque the parading thereof.


The baroque is the regulating of the soul by corporal radioscopy.


I should sometime—I don’t know if I’ll ever have the time—speak of music, in the margins. For the time being, I am only speaking of what we see in all the churches in Europe, everything attached to the walls, everything that is crumbling, everything that is delirious. It is what I earlier called obscenity, but exalted.


I wonder what effect this flood of representations of martyrs must have on someone who comes from backwoods China. That formulation can be revered—those representations are themselves martyrs. You know that “ martyr” means witness—of a more or less pure suffering. That was what our painting was about, until the slate was wiped clean when people began to seriously concern themselves with little squares.


There is a reduction of the human species here—that word, “ human”, resounds like “ unhealthy humor”, and there is a remainder that creates “ misfortune”. That reduction is the term by which the Church intends to carry the species—that’s the word for it—right up to the end of time. And it is so well grounded in the gap peculiar to the sexuality of speaking beings that it risks being at least as well grounded, let’s say—because I don’t want to give up on anything—as the future of science.


The Future of Science is the title of a book by that other priestling named Ernest Renan, who was also an all-out servant of the truth. He only required one thing of truth—but it was absolutely capital, failing which, he panicked—that it have no consequence whatsoever.


The economy of jouissance is something we can’t yet put our fingertips on. It would be of some interest if we managed to do so. What we can see on the basis of analytic discourse is that we may have a slight chance of finding out something about it, from time to time, by pathways that are essentially contingent.


If my discourse today hadn’t been absolutely and entirely negative, I would tremble at having lapsed into philosophical discourse. Nevertheless, since we have already seen several wisdom traditions that have lasted quite a while, why shouldn’t we find, with analytic discourse, something that gives us a glimpse of something precise? After all, what is energetics if it is not also a mathematical thing? The analytic thing will not be mathematical. That is why the discourse of analysis differs from scientific discourse.


Well, let us leave that chance to lady luck—encore.



Encore 406 再来一次

July 13, 2010

Encore 406

Jacques Lacan
雅克 拉岡

On the Baroque 06

I’m going to add a little more frosting on the Christ, because he is an important personage, and because it fits into my commentary on the baroque. It’s not without reason that people say that my discourse has something baroque about it.


I am going to raise a question—of what importance can it be in Christian doctrine that Christ have a soul? That doctrine speaks only of the incarnation of God in a body, and assumes that the passion suffered in that person constituted another person’s jouissance. But there is nothing lacking here, especially not a soul.


Christ, even when resurrected from the dead, is valued for his body, and his body is the means by which communion in his presence is incorporation—oral drive—with which Christ’s wife, the Church as it is called, contents itself very well, having nothing to expect from copulation.


In everything that followed from the effects of Christianity, particularly in art—and it’s in this respect that I coincide with the “ baroquism” with which I accept to be clothed—everything is exhibition of the body evoking jouissance—and you can lend credence to the testimony of someone who has just come back from an orgy of churches in Italy—but without copulation. If copulation isn’t present, it’s no accident. It’s just as much out of place there as it is in human reality, to which it nevertheless provides sustenance with the fantasies by which that reality is constituted.


Nowhere, in any cultural milieu, has this exclusion been admitted to more nakedly. I will even go a bit further—don’t think I don’t mete out what I say to you—I will go so far as to tell you that nowhere more blatantly than in Christianity does the work of art as such show itself as what it has always been in all places—obscenity.


The dit-mension of obscenity is that by which Christianity revives the religion of men. I’m not going to give you a definition of religion, because there is no more a history of religion than a history of art. “ Religion,” like “ the arts,” is nothing but a basket category, for there isn’t the slightest homogeneity therein.


But there is something in the utensils people keep fabricating to one-up each other. What is at stake, for those beings whose nature it is to speak, is the urgency constituted by the fact that they engage in amorous diversions in ways that are excluded from what I could call “ the soul of copulation,” were it conceivable, in the sense that I gave earlier to the word “ soul,” namely, what is such that it functions. I dare to prop up with this word that which—effectively pushing them to it if it were the soul of copulation—could be elaborated by what I call a physics, which in this case is nothing other than the following: a thought that can be presupposed in thinking.


There is a hole there and that hole is called the Other. At least that is what I felt I could name it, the other qua locus in which speech, being deposited—pay attention to the resonances here—founds truth and, with it, the pact that makes up for the non-existence of the sexual relationship, insofar as it would be conceptualized, in other words, something that could conceivably be conceptualized, and that discourse would not be reduced to beginning solely from semblance—if you remember the title of one of my seminars.


The fact that thought moves in the direction of a science only by being attributed to thinking—in other words, the fact that being is presumed to think—is what founds the philosophical tradition starting from Parmenides. Parmenides was wrong and Heraclitus was right. That is clinched by the fact that, in fragment 93, Heraclitus enunciates “ he neither avows nor hides, he signifies”—putting back in its lace the discourse of the winning side itself—in other words, the winner—“ who prophecizes in Delphi.”


You know the crazy story, the one that arouses my delirious admiration? I roll on the floor laughing when I read Saint Thomas ( Aquinas), because it’s awfully well put together. For Aristotle’s philosophy to have been reinjected by Saint Thomas into what one might call the Christian conscience, if that had any meaning, is something that can only be explained by the fact that Christians—well, it’s the same with psychoanalysis—abhor what was revealed to them. And they are right.


The gap inscribed in the very status of jouissance qua dit-mension of the body, in the speaking being, is what re-emerges with Freud—and I’m not saying anything more than him—through the test constituted by the existence of speech. Where it speaks, it enjoys. And that doesn’t mean that it knows anything because, as far as I’ve heard, the unconscious has revealed nothing to us about the physiology of the nervous system, the process of getting a hard-on, or early ejaculation.



On the Baroque 405

July 12, 2010

Encore 405

Jacques Lacan
雅克 拉岡

On the Baroque 05

It is obvious that people have nevertheless tried to do better. There is still something else prior to quantum physics—“ energetism” and the idea of homeostasis. What I called inertia in the function of language is such that all speech is an energy not yet taken up in an energetics, because that energetics is not easy to measure. Energetics means bringing out, in energy, not quantities, but numbers chosen in a completely arbitrary fashion, with which one arranges things in such a way that there is always a constant somewhere. We are forced to take up the inertia in question at the level of language itself.


What possible relationship can there be between the articulation that constitutes language and the jouissance that reveals itself to be the substance of thought, of that thought so easily reflected in the world by traditional science? That jouissance is the one that makes it such that God is the Supreme Being and that that Supreme Being can, as Aristotle said, be nothing other than the locus in which the good of all the others is known. That doesn’t have much to do with thought—does it?—if we consider it to be dominated above all by the inertia of language.


It’s not very surprising that no one knew how to grasp or catch jouissance, how to make it squeal, by using what seems to best prop up the inertia of language, namely, the idea of a chain, in other words, bits of string—bits of string that constitute rings and hook onto each other, though we’re not too sure how.


I already presented this notion to you once before, and I will try to do better. Last year—I myself am surprised, as I get older, that last year’s things seem a hundred years away to me—I took as my theme a formulation that I felt I could base on the Borromean knot: “ I ask you to refuse what I offer you because that’s not in it”


That formulation is carefully designed to have an effect, like all those I proffer. See “ L’Etourdit.” I didn’t say ‘ the saying remains forgotten” and so on—I said “ the fact that one says.” Similarly here, I did not say “ because that’s all it is”.


“ That’s not it” is the very cry by which the jouissance obtained is distinguished from the jouissance expected. It is here that what can be said in language is specified. Negation certainly seems to derive therefrom. But nothing more.


Structure, which connects up here, demonstrates nothing if not that it is of the same text as jouissance, insofar as, in marking by what distance jouissance misses—the jouissance that would be in question if “that were it”—structure does not presuppose merely the jouissance that would be it, it also props up another.


Voila. This dit-mension—this dit-mension is Freud’s saying.


Indeed, that is the proof of Freud’s existence—in a certain number of years we will need one. Earlier I associated him with a little friend, Christ. The proof of Christ’s existence is obvious: it’s Christianity. Christianity, in fact, is attached to it. Anyway, for the time being, we have the Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality that I asked you to look at, because I will have to use it again concerning what I call le derive to translate Trieb, the drift of jouissance.


All of that, I insist, is precisely what was covered over during the whole of philosophical antiquity by the idea of knowledge.


Thank God, Aristotle was intelligent enough to isolate in the intellect agent what is at stake in the symbolic function. He simply saw that the symbolic is where the intellect must act. But he wasn’t intelligent enough—because he hadn’t benefited from Christian revelation—to think that speech, even his own, by designating the νουδthat is based only on language, concerns jouissance, the latter nevertheless being designated metaphorically throughout his work.


The whole business of matter and form—what a lot of old claptrap it suggests concerning copulation! It would have allowed him to see that that’s not it at all, that there isn’t the slightest knowledge ( connissance), but that the jouissance that prop up the semblance thereof are something like the spectrum of white light—on the sole condition that one see that the jouissance at stake is outside the field of that spectrum.


It’s a question of metaphor. Regarding the status of jouissance, we must situate the false finality as corresponding to the pure fallacy of a jouissance that would supposedly correspond to the sexual relationship. In this respect, all of the jouissances are but rivals of the finality that would be constituted if jouissance had the slightest relationship with the sexual relationship.



Encore 404

July 12, 2010

Encore 404

Jacques Lacan
雅克 拉岡

On the Baroque 04

The soul—you have to read Aristotle—is obviously what the winning thoughts leads to.


It is all the more necessary—that is, it doesn’t stop being written—since what the thought in question elaborates are thoughts about ( sur) the body.


The boy should impress you more. In fact, that is what impresses classical science—how can it work like that? A body, yours or any other one besides, a roving body, must suffice unto itself. Something made me think of it, a little syndrome that I saw emerge from my ignorance, and that I was reminded of –if it so happened that one’s tears dried up, the eye wouldn’t work very well anymore. I call such things miracles of the body. That can be grasped immediately. What if the lachrymal gland didn’t cry or drip anymore? You would run into trouble.


On the other hand, the fact is that it snivels, and why the devil does it when, corporally, imaginarily or symbolically, someone steps on your foot? Someone affects you—that’s what it’s called. What relation is there between that sniveling and the fact of parrying the unexpected, in other words, getting the hell out of there ( se barrer)?
That’s a vulgar formuation, but it says what it means, because it precisely re-converges with the barred subject ( sujet barrer ), some consonance of which you hear therein. Indeed, the subject gets the hell of there ( se barre), as I said, and more often than it is his turn to do so.


Observe here simply that there are many advantages to unifying the expression for the symbolic, imaginary, and the real—I am saying this to you in parentheses — as Aristotle did, who did not distinguish movement from αλλομοηξ. Change and motion in space were for him—though he didn’t realize it—the fact that the subject gets the hell out of there. Obviously Aristotle didn’t have the true categories, but, all the same, he sensed things very well.


In other words, what is important is that all that hang together well enough for the body to subsist, barring any accident, as they say, whether external or internal. Which means that the body is taken for what it presents itself to be, an enclosed body ( un corpi ferme).


Isn’t it plain to see that the soul is nothing other than the supposed identicalness ( identite) of the body to everything people think in order to explain it? In short, the soul is what one thinks regarding the body—on the winning side.


And people are reassured by thinking that the body thinks in the same way. Hence the diversity of explanations. When it is assumed to think secretly, there are secretions. When it is assumed to think concretely, there are concretions. When it is assumed to think information, there are hormones. And still further, it gives itself over ( s’adonne) to DNA, to Adonis.


All of that to bring you to the following, which I announced at the beginning regarding the subject of the unconscious—because I don’t speak just casually, to waster my breath—it is truly odd that the fact that the structure of thought is based on language is not thrown into question in psychology. The said language—that’s the only thing that’s new in the term “ structure,” others do whatever they feel like with it, but what I point out is that—the said language brings with it considerable inertia, which is seen by comparing its functioning to sings that are called mathematical—“ mathemes”—solely because they are integrally transmitted. We haven’t the slightest idea what they mean, but they are transmitted. Nevertheless, they are not transmitted without the help of language, and that’s what makes the whole thing shaky.


If there is something that grounds being, it is assuredly the body. On that score, Aristotle was not mistaken. He sorted out many of them, one by one—see his history of animals. But he doesn’t manage, if we read him carefully, to link it to his affirmation—naturally you have never read De Anima ( On the Soul), despite my supplications—that man thinks with—instrument—his soul, that is, as I just told you, the presumed mechanism on which the body is based.


Naturally, you have to watch out. We are the ones who introduce mechanisms because of our physics—which is already, moreover, on a dead and path because, ever since the rise of quantum physics, mechanisms don’t work. Aristotle didn’t enter into the narrow straits of mechanism. This, “ man thinks with his soul” means that man thinks with Aristotle’s thought. In that sense, thought is naturally on the winning side.