Logic of Phantasy 29 Jacques Lacan

Logic of Phantasy 29

Jacques Lacan
雅克 拉岡

Lacan Seminar 14:
The Logic of Fantasy 8
Seminar 8: Wednesday, January 18, 1967

It is from what follows as a consequence of this, in so far as it is a decisive step forward, that it is a matter … I mean that it is in a thinking determined by this first step that Freud’s discovery is inscribed.
i spoke about the Other … it is clear that at the level of the Cartesian cogito, there is a remitting to the charge of the Other of the consequences of this step. If the cogito ergo sum does not imply what Descartes wrote quite literally in his Regulae – where there can be so clearly read all the conditions which determined it as thinking – if the cogito is not completed by a, sum, ergo Deus est (which assuredly makes things much easier), it is not tenable. And nevertheless, if it is not tenable as an articulation – I mean a philosophical one – it nonetheless remains that the benefit has been won. That the procedure which reduces to this narrow margin of the thinking being, in so far as he thinks he is able to ground himself as I am, simply on this thinking, it remains that (4) something has been won whose consequences can be read very quickly, moreover, in a series of contradictions.


For this indeed is the place to mark, for example, that the supposed foundation of simple intuition, which would see the extended thing being radically distinguished from the thinking thing, (the first being founded on the exteriority one from another of its parts, from the foundation of partes extra partes, as characteristic of extension) is very soon annihilated by the Newtonian discovery, in extension, is precisely that in each one of its points, as I might say, no mass is unaware of what is happening at that very instant in all the other points. An obvious paradox certainly and one which gave contemporaries, and very specially Cartesians, a lot of difficulty in admitting.


This reticence has not dried up and it demonstrates something which, for us is certainly completed by the fact that the thinking thing imposes itself on us, precisely, from Freudian experience, as being – for its part – no longer this thing always marked by an indefectible unification, but, quite the contrary, as marked, as characterised by being fragmented, indeed fragmenting – carrying in itself the same mark which is developed and in a way is demonstrated in the whole development of modern logic; namely, that what we call the machine, in its essential functioning, is what is closest to a combinatorial of notations and that this combinatorial of notations is for us the most precious, the most indicative fruit of the development of thinking.


Freud, here, makes his contribution by demonstrating what results from the effective functioning of this aspect of thinking. I mean, from its relation, not to the subject of mathematical proof, whose essence we are going to recall right away, but to the subject that Kant would call the pathological subject, namely, to the subject in so far as he may suffer from this sort of thinking. The subject suffers from thinking, in so far, says Freud, as he represses it.


The fragmented and fragmenting character of this repressed thinking is what our experience teaches us every day, in psychoanalysis.


That is why it is a crude and dishonest mythology to present, as the foundation of our experience, some nostalgia or other for a primitive unity, for a pure and simple pulsation of satisfaction, in a relation to the Other, who is here the only one who counts and who is imaged, who is represented as the Other of a feeding relation. The following step, still more scandalous – as I might say – than the first, becoming necessarily what happens, what is articulated in modern psychoanalytic theory throughout its length and breath: the confusion between this feeding Other and the sexual Other.


There is really no salvation – as I might say – for the thinking, no possible preservation of the truth introduced by Freud (but also indeed of technical honesty), that cannot, that ought nothing aside of this crude lure, of this scandalous abuse that it represents. A sort of contrary pedagogy, a deliberate use of a capture, by a sort of illusion especially untenable for anyone who throws an honest glance at what (5) psychoanalytic experience is.


Re-establishing the Other in the only status which is valid, which for it is that of the locus of the word, is the necessary starting point from which everything in our analytic experience can take up its correct place again.


To define the Other as the locus of the word, is to say that it s nothing other than the locus where an assertion is posited as veracious. It is to say, with the same stroke, that it has no other kind of existence. But, since to say it, is still to appeal to it in order to situate this truth, it is to make it re-emerge every time that I speak. And that is why I cannot say this expression: “that it has no kind of existence”, but I can write it. And that is why I write S signifier of capital O barred as constituting one of the nodal points of this network around which there is articulated the whole dialectic of desire, in so far as it is hollowed out from the interval between statement and stating.


There is no insufficiency, no reduction to some careless gesture or other, in the fact of affirming that the writing, S(barred-O) plays here, for our thinking, an essential, pivotal role. For there is no other foundation for what is called mathematical truth, except in the recourse to the Other, in so far as those to whom I am speaking are asked to refer to it (I mean: qua big Other), to see inscribed there the signs of our initial conventions as regards what is involved in what I manipulate in mathematics.


Which is very exactly what Mr. Bertrand Russell, an expert in the matter, would go as far as to dare to designate in these terms: that we do not know what we are talking about, nor whether there is the slightest truth in what we are saying. And in effect, why not? Simply the recourse to the Other, in so far as corresponding in a certain field to a limited use of certain signs, it is incontestable that, having spoken, I can write and maintain what I have written. (If I cannot, at every step in mathematical reasoning, make this to and fro movement between what I articulate through my discourse and what I inscribe as being established, there is no progression possible of what it called mathematical truth and this is the whole essence of what is called, in mathematics, proof). It is precisely of the same order as what we are dealing with here – the recourse to the Other, is, in every effect of thinking, absolutely determining.



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