Logic of Phantasy 102 Jacques Lacan

Logic of Phantasy 102
Jacques Lacan
雅克 拉康

Lacan Seminar 14:
The Logic of Fantasy 21

Seminar 21: Wednesday, May 31, 1967

(11) In the case of the slave, the slave is deprived of his body. How can we know about his jouissance?
How can we know it, except precisely in what, from his body, has slipped outside subjective mastery?
Everything that is involved for the slave, in so far as his body comes and goes at the whim of the master, allows nevertheless to be preserved these objects which are given to us as emerging, precisely, from the signifying dialectic.


These objects which are its stake but also its forgery, these objects taken at the frontiers, these objects which function at the level of the edges of the body, these objects that we know well in the dialectic of neuroses, these objects on which we will have to come back again and on several occasions, in order to define clearly what gives them their price and their value, their quality as exceptions. I do not need to recall them, as regards what is involved in terms of the oral and what is also called the anal. But these others also, superior, less known, of a more intimate register, which, as compared to demand, is constituted as desire, and which are called the look and the voice.


These objects, in so far as they cannot in any way be caught in the domination – whatever it maybe – of the signifier, were it entirely constituted in the rank of social domination. These objects which, of their nature, escape it, what does that mean?


Is it there? Since for the slave, there is only a supposed jouissance on the Other’s part (Hegel was mistaken in the fact that it is for the slave that there is a jouissance of the master). But the worthwhile question, I posed to you earlier: does what he enjoys, enjoy? And if it is true that something of the real of jouissance can only subsist at the level of the slave, then it would indeed be for him in this place, left in the margin of the field of his body, that is constituted by the objects whose list I have just recalled. It is there, it is at this place, that there ought to be posed the question of jouissance.


Nothing can take from the slave the function, either of his look or of his voice, nor that also of what he is, in his function as nurse, since so frequently this is the function in which antiquity shows him to us, nor indeed either in his function as a warped object, an object of contempt.


At this level there is posed the question of jouissance. It is a question and, as you see, it is even a scientific question.


Now, the pervert … the pervert, well then, this is what he is. Perversion is looking for this point of perspective, in so far as it can give rise to the accent of jouissance. But he looks for it in an experimental fashion. Perversion, while having the closest relation to jouissance, is – like the thinking of science – cosa mentale. It is an operation of the subject in so far as he has perfectly located this moment of disjunction through which the subject tears the body from jouissance, but who knows that jouissance has not only been, in this process, an alienated jouissance, that there is also the following: that there remains somewhere a chance that something has escaped from it. I mean that the whole body has not been caught in the process of alienation. (12) It is from this point, from the locus of the small o, that the pervert questions, questions what is involved in the function of jouissance.


By never grasping himself except in a partial fashion, and, as I might say, in the perspective – I would not say of the pervert .. for truly one could say that psychoanalysts comprehend nothing about it … (was there not one, recently, who posed this sort of equation, in this connection that the pervert cannot be at the same time subject and jouissance, and that in the whole measure in which he was jouissance he was no longer subject!) … the pervert remains subject throughout all the time of the exercise of what he poses as a question to jouissance. The jouissance that he aims at is that of the Other, in so far as he is perhaps the only remainder of it. But he poses it through a subject-activity.


What this allows us to reassemble, can be done only on a single condition. It is that we should perceive that these terms – sado-masochism – for example, as they are tied together, only make sense of we consider them as researches along the path of what is involved in the sexual act.


The relations that we call sadistic between one or other vague unit of the social body are only of interest for the following reason. They image something that involves the relations of man and of woman.


As I will tell you the next time, since this time, faith, I will have been cut short, You will see that in forgetting this fundamental relation, one allows there to escape any means of grasping what is involved in sadism and in masochism. This does not mean either that these two terms image in any way relations comparable to those of male and female.


A personage of, I must say, unbelievable naivety writes somewhere this truth: that “masochism has nothing specifically feminine about it”. But the reasons that he gives for it go to the level of formulating that undoubtedly, if masochism were feminine, that would mean that it is not a perversion, because it would be natural to the woman to be masochistic. Therefore, starting from there, one can clearly see that, naturally, women cannot be qualified as masochists, because, being a perversion, that could not be something natural!


Here is the kind of reasoning in which people get bogged down. Not at all, certainly, without a certain intuition, I mean the first, namely, that a woman is not naturally masochistic. She is not naturally masochistic, and for good reason! Because if she were, in effect, masochistic, that would mean that she is capable of filling the role that the masochist gives to a woman. Which, of course, gives a completely different sense, in this case, to what feminine masochism would be. The woman has, precisely, no vocation to fill this hole. This is what constitutes the value of the masochistic enterprise.


That is why you will allow me to end today on this point, while promising you – as an end point, as the high point of what is put in question by this introduction to perversion – by allowing you to indicate as a high point, that we will finally, put, I hope, some order or at least some clarity, about what is at stake, when we are dealing with masochism.



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