Archive for October, 2010

sinthome 03 Jacques Lacan

October 25, 2010

sinthome 03

Jacques Lacan
雅克 拉康

Le Sinthome

Seminar 1: Wednesday 18 November 1975

Ah! This is what I would have really wished – I did not bring it, stupidly – what I would have wished you, I would at least have like to have shown it to you, and which being badly informed, I knew that it was difficult, and that is why I am specifying how much you ought to insist. But Nicole Sels, here present, sent me an extremely precise scribble, that’s what a letter is called, in which for two pages, she explains to me that it is impossible to get it. It is impossible, at the present time, to get hold of this text and what I called this criticism, namely, that a certain number of persons, all academics, it is moreover a way of getting into the university, the university sucks in Joyceans, but anyway, they are already in the right place, it gives them grades, in short you will not find neither the .., I don’t know how that’s pronounced, Jacques Aubert will tell me: is it Beebe or Bibi?

啊!這是我本來真正所希望的,我沒有帶來,真可惜。我本來希望你們,至少我本來想要給你們顯示,我表達得真糟糕。我知道這很困難,那就是為什麽我明確指出你們應該堅持到什麽程度。但是尼可、希勒,此時在現場,他遞給我一個明確的訊息,所謂的文字書寫,有兩頁。她跟我解釋說,不可能找到它。目前不可能找到這個文本。我所謂的這個批評,換句話說,許多人學院派的人士,那就是進入大學的方式,大學在研究喬埃斯作品。無論如何,他的作品已經有了定論,被分等級,總之,你們既然找不到、、、我不知道這個字怎麽拼法,亞克、歐伯特能否告訴我,是Beebe ?還是Bibi?

– Ordinarily, one says Beebe.

通常,我們拼為 Beebe。

– You say Bibi? Good, you will not find the Bibi that opens the list with an article on Joyce, that I must say is particularly upper crust, following which you have Hugh Kenner who, in my opinion, perhaps because of the sinthome madaquin in question, in my opinion, speaks rather well about Joyce. And there are others up to the end that I regret you do not have at your disposition. In truth, I made a blunder, make no mistake, by putting this little note in small characters, I had them shortened, thank God, that I did this note in small characters. You will have to make arrangements
with Nicole Sels to make a series of photocopies of it for yourselves.

你說是Bibi? 謝謝,你們將找不到Bibi開始的列表,在論喬埃斯的文章裏。我必須說,那是在特別上層的部分,你們會找到修、肯納 。我的看法是,因為「病徵阿奎那哲學化」的討論,他對喬埃斯頗有見地。那個列表,還有其他的人,可惜你們現在拿不到那個列表。事實上,我犯了一個錯誤,將用小字體寫下這張紙條,我縮短那些列表,真是的,我用小字體寫下來。你們跟尼可、希勒洽商一下,影印一些跟你們。

Since I think that, fundamentally, that there are not so many people who are ready, I mean equipped, to speak English and especially the English of Joyce that will only give all the same a small number. But anyway there will obviously be some
competition. And, good God, a legitimate competition because The portrait of the artist or more exactly A portrait of the artist, of the artist that must be written in putting the whole stress on the the which, of course, in English is not quite our definite article; but one can trust Joyce, if he says the, it is indeed because he thinks
that in terms of artist, he is the only one. That in this he is singular.


18.11.75 I-27
As a young man, is very very suspect. Because in French, that would be translated by comme. In other words what is at stake is the how (comment). On this French is indicative. Is indicative (16) because of this, the fact is that when one says comme, making use of an adverb, when one says: réellement, mentalement, héroïquement, the adjunction of this ment is already sufficiently indicative in itself. Indicative of the fact, which is, which is that one is lying (ment). There is something of, there is something of a lie indicated in any adverb. And it is not there by accident.

作為一位年輕人,他是很可疑的。因為在法文,它被翻譯成為 comme。換句話說,岌岌可危的是這個「如何comment」。這個法文字是指示詞。當我們說 comme, 使用一個副詞,我們會說:réellement, mentalement, héroïquement 這個ment 的字尾,本身就已經是充分的指示。指示著這個事實,那就是我們正在說謊言 ment。有某個謊言,用副詞指示出來。謊言在那裏不是巧合。

When we interpret, we should pay attention to it.


Someone who is not too distant from me, made the remark in connection with the tongue, in so far as it designates the instrument of the word, that it was also the tongue that carried what are described as taste buds. Well then, I retorted that it is not for nothing that what one says lies – qu’on dit ment (condiment).

不久之前,有個人對於這個語言講過這樣的話,因為它指明這個字的功用,這個語言帶有我們所描述的「味蕾」。我反駁說:我們所說的話是謊言,不是沒有道理的。qu’on dit ment (condiment).

You are good enough to laugh. But it is not funny. Because when all is said and done, because when all is said and done, that is the only weapon we have against the sinthome: equivocation.


I sometimes offer myself the luxury of supervising, as it is called, a certain number, a certain number of people who have authorized themselves, in accordance with my formula, to be analysts. There are two stages. There is one stage when they are like the rhinoceros; they do more or less anything and I always approve them. In effect they are always right. The second stage consists in playing with this equivocation which might liberate from the symptom. Because it is uniquely by equivocation that
interpretation works. There must be something in the signifier that resonates.


18.11.75 I-28
It must be said that one is surprised, in short, that this has in no way appeared to the English philosophers. I call them philosophers because they are not psychoanalysts.
They have a rock solid belief that the word does not have an effect. They are wrong. They imagine to themselves that there are drives, even indeed when they are willing not to translate drive by instinct.


They cannot get it into their heads that drives are the echo in the body of the fact that there is a saying. But for this speech to resonate, for it to be consonant with, to use another word of the sinthome madaquin, for it to consonate, the body must be sensitive to it. And that it is, is a fact. It is because the body has some orifices of which the most important, of which the most important because it cannot be stopped, be closed, of which the most important is the ear, because it cannot be shut, that it is because of this that there is a response in the body to what I called the voice.


The embarrassing thing is assuredly that there is not only the ear, and that the look is an outstanding rival to it. More geometrico, because of the form, so dear to Plato, the individual presents himself as best he can, as a body. And this body has a power of
(17) captivation which is such, up to a certain point, that it is the blind that one should envy. How can a blind man, even if he is able to use Braille, how can he read Euclid?


The astonishing thing is something that I am going to state, it is that the form only
delivers the sack, or if you wish the bubble. It is something that can inflate itself, and whose effects I have already mentioned in connection with the obsessional who is more set on it than anyone else. The obsessional, I said somewhere, I was reminded of it recently, is something of the order of a frog who wants to make himself as big as an ox. We know the effects from a fable. It is particularly difficult, as we know, to tear away the obsessional from this grip of the look.



sinthome 02 Jacques Lacan

October 25, 2010

sinthome 02

Jacques Lacan
雅克 拉康

Le Sinthome

Seminar 1: Wednesday 18 November 1975

Is it impossible for truth to become a product of know-how (savoir-faire)? No. But then it will only be half-said, incarnated in the signifier S1, where there must be at least two of them in order that the unique one, the woman, by always having been
mythical in this sense that the myth has made her singular – what is at stake is the Eve of whom I spoke earlier – that the unique one, the woman, by having undoubtedly been always possessed, for having tasted the fruit of the forbidden tree, that of science, Evie, (13) then, is no more mortal than Socrates. The woman in question is another n


Here we can note the cunning side of Aristotle, who does not want the singular to play a role in his logic. But contrary to what he admitted in this aforesaid logic, it must be said that Socrates is not a man, because he accepts to die in order that the city may live, because he accepts it is a fact. Moreover on that occasion he does not want a word out of his wife. Hence my formula, which I pick out, rewash [relave] as I might say for your use, by making use of the me pantes that I picked out in the Organon in which moreover I did not succeed in finding it, but in which all the same I am sure
I read it, and even to the point that my daughter, here present, highlighted it, and swore to me that she would find the place where this me pantes as the opposition dismissed, dismissed by Aristotle from the universal of pan, the woman is not all except in the form whose equivocation takes on a piquant quality from the
equivocation in our lalangue in the form of mais pas ça, as one says anything, but not that! This indeed was the position of Socrates. The but not that, is what I am introducing under my title this year as the sinthome.


There is for the moment, for The agency of the letter as it has been currently sketched out – and do not expect anything better, as I said, something that will be more efficacious will not do any better than displace the sinthome, indeed multiply it – for the present moment then there is the sinthome madaquin, which I write however you like madaquin after sinthome. [Play on the French form of St Thomas Aquinas)


As you know Joyce had a hard time with this sinthome. One should state things clearly: as far as philosophy goes, it has never been bettered. It alone is true. This does not prevent the fact – consult Jacques Aubert’s book on this – that Joyce does not find his bearings very well in it concerning something that he values highly, and which he calls the Beautiful.


There is in sinthome madaquin, something or other that he calls claritas, for which Joyce substitutes something like the splendour of Being, which is indeed the weak point of what is at stake. Is this a personal weakness? I do not find the splendour of Being very striking. It is in this respect that Joyce displaces the Sinthome from his madaquinisme. And contrary to what may appear of it at first glance, mainly his detachment from politics, produces what I would call sint-home Rule. This Home Rule which The Freeman’s Journal depicted rising behind the Bank of Ireland, (14) which makes it, as if by chance, rise in the north west, which is not usual for sunrise. It is nevertheless, despite the grinding that we see on this subject in Joyce, it is all the same indeed the sinthome-roule, the sinthome on wheels that Joyce marries together.


It is certain that these two terms could be named differently. I named them thus in function of two aspects offered to the art of Joyce, which is going to occupy us this year by reason of what I said earlier, that I introduced and that I could do no better than to name him, this sinthome, because he deserves it, with the name that suits him by displacing in it, as I said the spelling, the two, the two spellings that concern him.


But it is a fact that he chooses. In doing so he is like me, a heretic. For haeresis is indeed here what specifies the heretic. One must choose the path along which the
truth must be taken. And this all the more that once the choice has been made, this does not prevent anyone from submitting it to confirmation, namely, being properly a heretic; the one who because of having well recognised the nature of the sinthome, does not spare himself using it logically, namely, to the point of reaching its Real at the end of which he is no longer thirsty. Yes. Of course he did this at first sight. Because you could not have had a worse start than him.


To be born in Dublin, with a drunken and more or less Fenian father, namely, a fanatic, from two families, for this is always how things present themselves for anyone who is the son of two families, when it happens that he believes himself to be male because he has a little bit of a prick. Naturally, excuse my use of this word, something more is needed. But since his prick was a little craven, as I might say, it was his art that supplied for his phallic bearing. And it is ever thus. The phallus is the
conjunction of what I called this parasite, which is the little piece of prick in question, it is the conjunction of this with the function of the word. And this is why his art is the real warrant of his phallus. Apart from that, let us say that he was a poor devil and
even a poor heretic. There are no Joyceans to enjoy his heresy except in the university.


But it was he who deliberately wanted this lot to busy themselves with him. The funny thing is that he succeeded in it. And beyond all measure. It lasts, and it will
continue to last. He specifically wanted it for three hundred years, he said so. I want academics to be kept busy with me for three hundred years. And he will have them, provided God does not blow us to smithereens. This poor devil {ce hère) because one can not say cet hère, it is forbidden by the aspiration, this does not worry everyone all that much, that it is for that that once says pauvre hère, this hère is conceived of as a hero. Stephen Hero, (15) this is the title explicitly given for the one from whom he
prepared A portrait of the artist as a young man.



sinthome 01 Jacques Lacan

October 24, 2010

sinthome 01

Jacques Lacan
雅克 拉康

Le Sinthome

Seminar 1: Wednesday 18 November 1975

What I announced on the notice was Le Sinthome. It is an old way of writing what was subsequently written as symptom.

我在公告宣佈的議題是「病徵」。Le Sinthome 是一個以前的拼字方式,來書寫隨後我們所謂的病徵的新式拼法symptom。

If I allowed myself to… this orthographic modification obviously marks an epoch, an epoch that happens to be that of the injection into French, into what I call lalangue, my lalangue, the injection of Greek. Of this tongue about which Joyce, in A portrait of the artist, clearly expressed the wish, no, its not in A portrait of the artist, it is in Ulysses, in Ulysses, in the first chapter, it is a matter of Hellenising, of injecting in the same way the Hellenic lalangue into something or other. Since it was not a matter of Gaelic, even though it was Ireland that was at stake, but Joyce had to write in English.

容我這樣說。我用Le Sinthome 的拼法,而不是symptom 的新式拼法,懸而易見地,是要標示著一個不同的時代。在這個時代,希臘文剛好融入法文,融入我所謂的「語文」,我的法國語文。至於喬埃斯的語文則是英文,在「一位年輕藝術家的畫像」,他清楚地表達這個願望,不,不是在「一個年輕藝術家的畫像」,而是在「尤裏西斯」,在尤裏西斯的第一章,討論到希臘文化的影響,如同要將希臘的語文,融入某件其他的東西。我們不確定是什麽東西,但確定不是愛爾蘭的蓋爾方言,即使愛爾蘭當時岌岌可危,但是喬埃斯必須用英文寫作。

That he wrote in English in such a way that – as was said (10) by someone whom I hope is in this audience, Philippe Sollers, in Tel Quel – he wrote it in such a way that the English tongue no longer exists. It already had I would say, little consistency.


Which does not mean that it is easy to write in English. But Joyce, through the series of works that he wrote in English, added something to it that makes the same author say that it should be written l’élangues. That’s l’élangues. L’élangues by which I suppose he intends to designate something like elation. This elation that we are told is at the source of some symptom or other that in psychiatry we call mania.


This indeed in effect is what his last work resembles, namely, Finnegans Wake which is the one that he held back for such a long time to attract general attention. The one also in connection with which I put forward at a time, at a time when I had allowed myself to be lured into…by a pressing solicitation, pressing, I should say, on the part of Jacques Aubert here present and still just as pressing, into which I allowed myself to be lured to inaugurate, to inaugurate under the name of a Joyce symposium.


That is why in short I allowed myself to be diverted from my project which was, this year – I announced it to you last year – to entitle this seminar by 4,5 and 6. I have contented myself with the 4 and I am very glad of it, because I would surely have succumbed to 4,5,6. Which is not to say that the 4 in question is any less weighty for me.


I inherit from Freud. Very much in spite of myself. Because I have stated in my time what could be extracted in proper logic from the babble of those he called his band. I do not need to name them, they are that clique which frequented the Vienna meetings.
Not one of them can be said to have followed the path I describe as properly logical.


(11) Nature, I will say, to be done with it, is distinguished by being not-one. Hence the logical procedure for tackling it. To call nature what you exclude in the very act of taking an interest in something, that something being distinguished by being named,
nature, by this procedure, only runs the risk of being characterized as a pot-pourri of what lies outside nature.


The advantage of this last proposition is that if you find, in carefully counting it, that to name it is in contrast with what appears to be the law of nature- that there is not in him, I mean in man any naturally (this naturally with every possible reservation)
naturally sexual relationship- your are positing logically as proves to be the case that this is not a privilege, a privilege of man.


Be careful however not to go so far as to say that there is nothing natural about sex. Rather try to see what is in question in each case, from bacteria to birds. I have already made an allusion to both. From bacteria to birds because they have names. Let us note in passing that in so-called divine creation – divine only in that it refers to nomination – bacteria in not named.


Nor is it (12) named when God, fooling around with man, with what is supposed to be the original man, suggests that he begin by saying the name of each little beast. Of what we must call this first blunder around we have no trace unless we conclude from it that Adam was, as his name sufficiently indicates- this is an allusion to the function of the index in Peirce – that Adam was of course, in the joke made precisely by Joyce, a madame.


And the fact that he named the beasts in her language can be safely assumed because she whom I would call Evie, l’évie that I have a perfect right to call such because this indeed is what it means Hebrew – if indeed Hebrew is a tongue- the mother of the living, well then, Evie immediately chattered away in this tongue, since after the supposed naming by Adam, she was the first person to make use of it in order to speak to the serpent.


The creation described as divine is thus reduplicated by the chitchat of the speaking being (parlêtre) with which Evie makes the serpent into what you must forgive me for calling an ass-tightener, later described as flaw or even phallus, since one is certainly
required to make a faux-pas. This is the fault my sinthome has the advantage of beginning with, the English sin, that means péché means sin, the first sin.

上帝創造萬物,被描述為神聖,因此人作為言說的生物,喋喋不休時也有樣學樣。夏娃就稱呼蛇為「纏繞物」,恕我用詞不雅,後來被描述為瑕疵品,或甚至就叫著陽具,因為我們確實不得不明知「失禮」而為之。我現在替我的講座命名為「病徵」,也是根據這種錯誤開始。英文的原罪sin 一詞,指的是亞當與夏娃不聽上帝的戒令所犯的原罪,病徵與原罪有關。

Hence the necessity – I think all the same, seeing you here in such large numbers, that there are some of you who have already heard my old refrains – hence the necessity that the flaw should never cease but always grow unless it submits to the cease of castration as possible. This possible, as I have previously said without you noticing it, because I myself did not note it by not putting in the comma, this possible, I formerly said, is what does not cease to be written, but you have to put in the comma: it is what ceases, comma, to be written. Or rather would cease to take that path if the discourse I have evoked, which might not be a semblance were at last to arrive.



Unconscious 08 Jacques Lacan

October 24, 2010

Unconscious 08
Jacques Lacan

雅克 拉康


The Formations of the Unconscious
1957 – 1958

Seminar 1; Wednesday 6 November 1957

You will see that it is towards this that the little bobs at the start and the arrow heads at the end tend, as well as the little ailerons that concern the segments which must always be in a secondary, intermediary position, the others being either initial
or terminal.


Thus, in three moments the two chains, that of the discourse and that of the signifier, have managed to converge at the same point, at the point of the message.


This is why Mr. Hirsch-Hyacinth was treated quite famillionairely. This message
is quite incongruous in the sense that it is not received, not in (31) the code. That says it all! The message in principle is constructed to have a certain relationship distinguishing it from the code, but here it is on the plane of the signifier itself
that it manifestly violates the code, from the definition of the witticism that I gave you, in the sense that it is a question of knowing what is happening, what is the nature of what is happening here, and the witticism is constituted by fact that the
message that is produced at a certain level of signifying production. It contains by its difference, by its distinction from the code, it takes on from this difference, from this distinction, the value of a message. The message lies in its very difference from the code.


How is this difference sanctioned? This is the second plane that is involved. This difference is sanctionned as a witticism by the Other. This is indispensable, and it is in Freud. Because there are two things in Freud’s book on the witticism: there is
the promotion of the signifying technique, and the express reference to the Other as a third party, which I have been drumming into you for years. It is articulated in an
unquestionable way in Freud, very especially in the second part of his work, but it has to be there from the beginning. For example, Freud continually emphasises for us that the difference between the witticism and the comic is determined by the fact that the comic is dual. As I have said, the comic is a dual (32) relationship, but this third Other is necessary for there to be a witticism. In fact the sanction of this third Other, whether it is supported by an individual or not, is absolutely


The Other returns the ball, that is to say ranks something in the code as a witticism; it says that in the code this is a witticism. This is essential, so that if nobody does
it there is no witticism. In other words, if famillionaire is a slip of the tongue and nobody notices it, then it is not a witticism. The Other must codify it as a witticism.


And the third element of the definition? It is inscribed in the code, through this intervention of the Other, that the witticism has a function that is related to something that is profoundly situated at the level of meaning, and that is, I will not say a truth – I shall illustrate for you in connection with this example that it is not so much with regard to famillionaire that we can make subtle allusions about the psychology of the millionaire and of the parasite, for example.


This certainly contributes a good deal to our pleasure, and we will return to it, but I am laying down from today that the witticism, if we wish to discover it, and discover it with Freud, because Freud leads us as far as possible in the direction of finding the point of it, because it is a question of a point and (33) a point exists, and its essence depends on something that is related to something absolutely radical in the sense of truth, namely something that I called elsewhere (in my article on “The
Agency of the Letter”) something that depends essentially on the truth, that is called the dimension of the alibi of the truth, namely in a point that may enable us, by using a sort of mental diplopia, to better circumscribe the witticism.


What is in question, is what it is that expressly constructs the witticism in order to designate that which is always to one side, and which is seen precisely only by looking elsewhere. This is where we will begin again the next time. I am certainly leaving you on a note of suspense, with an enigma, but I think that I have at least been able to set out the very terms that we must necessarily hold onto, and this I hope to demonstrate in what follows.


13.11.57 18
Seminar 2: Wednesday 13 November 1957

Let us take up our account at the point we left it the last time, namely at the moment that Hirsch-Hyacinth speaking to the author of the Reisebilder whom he met at the Baths of Lucca, said to him: “And as true as God shall grant me all good things, I sat down quite as an equal, quite famillionairely.”


This then is where we will begin, with the word famillionaire which has had its good fortune. It is known because Freud takes it as his starting point.


This then is where we will recommence, and it here that I am already going to try to show you the way that Freud approaches the witticism. The analysis is important for our purposes.


In fact, the importance of this exemplary point is to show us, because, alas, there is need for it, in an unmistakable fashion the importance of the signifier in what we can call with him the mechanisms of the unconscious.


(2) It is clearly very surprising to see already that the whole body of those whom their discipline does not especially prepare for it – I mean the neurologists – in the measure that they are working together on the delicate subject of aphasia, namely of speech deficits, are from day to day making remarkable progress in what is in question, what can be called their linguistic formation, while psychoanalysts whose whole art and technique is based on the use of the word, have not up to the present taken the least account of it, even though what Freud shows us, is not
simply a type of humanistic reference manifesting his culture and the extent of his reading in the field of philology, but a reference that is absolutely internal and organic.



Unconscious 07 Jacques Lacan

October 23, 2010

Unconscious 07
Jacques Lacan

雅克 拉康


The Formations of the Unconscious
1957 – 1958

Seminar 1; Wednesday 6 November 1957

It may well happen that from time to time these are found together, and indeed all three may become mixed up, but nevertheless it is not the same problem.


To clarify the problem of wit, Freud starts with the signifying technique. It is also from there that we will begin with him, and there is the very curious fact that all of this takes place at a level at which there is nothing at all to indicate at first
that it is at the level of the unconscious, and it is precisely from this, and for profound reasons that concern the very nature of Witz, it is precisely by considering this that we will see most about what is not quite there, what is to one side, which is
the unconscious, and which in fact cannot be clarified, does not betray itself, except when you look a little to one side.


Here you will discover also something that you will find all the time in the Witz, it is the nature of the Witz that appears thus when you look here, it is what allows you to look where it does not exist.


Let us begin then with Freud by means of the keys of the technique of the signifier. Freud did not go to very much trouble to find his examples, since all the examples he gives us, which may appear a bit banal to you and to be not all of the same quality, are taken from his professors, Fischer, Vischer and Lipps, which is why I told you that I hold them in considerable esteem.


(27) There is however another source that Freud has really explored. It is Heinrich Heine. It is from this source that he takes the first example, the marvellous mot that is put into the mouth of Hirsch-Hyacinth, an impoverished and half-starved Jewish
collector from Hamburg, whom he comes across at the Baths of Lucca. If you want to make a thorough study of the Witz you must read the Reisebilder. It is amazing that this book is not a classic.


You find in the Reisebilder a passage in the Italian section on the Baths of Lucca, and it is there that with this indescribable character Hirsch-Hyacinth, about whose attributes I hope I will have the time to tell you something, it is in speaking with him that he obtains the declaration, that he had had the honour of treating the corns of the great Rothschild, Nathan the Wise, and that at the time he, Hirsch-Hyacinth, thought himself an important man because, while he was paring his corns, he thought that Nathan the Wise was thinking of all the courtiers that he would be sending to kings, and that if he, Hirsch-Hyacinth, pared his corns a bit too closely there would result an irritation in the upper regions, that would make Nathan too cut more deeply into the hide of the kings.


And, little by little, he goes on to tell us too of another Rothschild that he has known, Solomon Rothschild, and that one day when he announced himself as Hirsch-Hyacinth, he received a (28) reply in the most debonair language: “I too am a collector of …….. I do not wish my colleague to have to eat in the kitchen. ” And”, cried Hirsch-Hyacinth, ” he treated me quite famillionairely.”


It is at this point that Freud pauses and goes on to ask very acutely: What is this? A neologism? A slip of the tongue? A witticism? It is certainly a witticism, but the fact that I could ask the other two questions already introduces us into an ambiguity, into the signifier, into the unconscious ………… ; and in fact what is Freud going to tell us? We recognize in it the mechanism of condensation materialized in the
material of the signifier, a sort of collision, with the help of some machine or other, between two lines of the signifying chain:


“Solomon Rothschild treated me quite familiarly (familiar)”, and then beneath it – Freud too constructs a signifying schema – there is ” millionaire (Millionar)”, and thus there is ar in both, and also mil. They are condensed, and in the interval
there appears ” famillionaire” (famillonar).


Let us try to see what this gives on our schema. I must go a bit quickly, but there is still something to which I want to draw your attention.


The discourse is obviously something that begins in “I”, and goes to the Other. This can be schematized here as going towards (29) the Other. More correctly we can also see that every discourse which begins from the Other, whatever we may think of it, begins and returns, is reflected in the “I,” because it must play some part in the affair, and goes towards the message. This simply introduces in a second moment the invocation of the other originating chain of the discourse : “I was with Solomon Rothschild, quite familiarly”, a return to the Other in a second moment.


Nevertheless because of the mysterious property of the mil and the ar, which are in both one and the other as correlatives – do not forget that these two lines are after all two lines that are only of interest to us if things are circulating at the same time
on this line. If something stirs that gives rise to a vibration in the elementary signifying chain as such, and that here at the first moment of the outline of the message is going to be reflected onto the metonymical object which is “my millionaire”, because the metonymical object of “my belonging” schematized here
is what concerns Hirsch-Hyacinth; it is his millionaire who at the same time is not his millionaire, because it is much more the millionaire who possesses him, so that things do not turn out as planned. It is precisely because this does not happen that the millionaire comes to be reflected in a second moment, that is to say at the same time as the other, the “quite familiarly”, has arrived there.


(30) In the third moment millionaire and familiar have come to meet and to join with one another in the message, in order to produce fami1lionaire.


This may seem to you to be completely puerile as a discovery, especially since I constructed the schema myself. However when this has had its effect on you for a year, you will perhaps be able to say that this schema is of some use. It has, after all,
one interesting feature, which is that thanks to what it presents in terms of topological necessity, it allows us to measure the steps that we take with regard to what concerns the signifier, namely that because of the way it is constructed, and whatever way you go around it, it limits every step we take. What I mean is that every time a step is required, it will necessitate that we take no more than three elementary ones.



Unconscious 06 Jacques Lacan

October 22, 2010

Unconscious 06
Jacques Lacan

雅克 拉康


The Formations of the Unconscious
1957 – 1958

Seminar 1; Wednesday 6 November 1957

I could equally well say this about the German tradition, and in particular about the link between the promotion of wit to its place of prime importance, and the literary Christianity which in Germany followed a strictly parallel evolution, and where the
essential question of Witz is at the heart of all Romantic speculation in Germany.


This is something which from a historical point of view, and also from the point of view of analysis, that we will have to reconsider again.


Something that is very striking is the extent to which the criticism concerning the function of Witz or of wit – to which I have to say there is nothing comparable in this country, and whether you are aware of this or not, the only people who were
seriously concerned with it here in France were the poets, by which I mean that in this period of the 19th century, the question is not only alive, but is at the heart of Baudelaire and Mallarmé’ – but in any case it was never considered even in essays
except from the critical point of view, I mean from the point of (23) view of an intellectual formulation of the problem.


The decisive point is this. The fact is that whatever you read on the subject of the problem of Witz or of wit, you will always come up against very real impasses, which I cannot expand on for you today due to lack of time – I will come back to it. I must
omit this part of my lecture but it bears witness, as I will prove to you later on, to the leap forward, to the clear-cut difference of quality and results that is brought about by the work of Freud.


Freud did not carry out this inquiry that I have just been alluding to, that which would embrace the whole European tradition on the subject of Witz. I left to one side another one, the principal one, the Spanish tradition, because it is so important that we will certainly have to come back to it frequently. Freud did not do this. He tells us what his sources are. They are clear. They are three books, very sensible, very
readable books, written by good German professors from small universities, who had time to calmly reflect on things, and who produced works that were not at all pedantic.


Their names are ■ Kuno Fischer, Friedrich Theodore Vischer and T. Lipps, a Munich professor who certainly wrote the best work of the three and who goes a long way, in fact one could say that he really reaches (24) out, to meet up with Freud’s investigation. If only Herr Lipps had not been so careful about the respectability of his Witz, if he had not wanted there to be a false and a true Witz,
he would certainly have gone much further.


On the contrary this is something that did not hold Freud back at all. Freud was already in the habit of committing himself, and that is why he saw things much more clearly. It is also because he saw the structural relationships that exist between the Witz and the unconscious.


On what plane did he see them? Exclusively on what could be called the formal plane. I mean formal not in the sense of pretty forms, the confused notions of everything that tries to swamp you in the blackest obscurantism: I am talking about form
in the sense that it is understood, for example, in literary theory. There is still another tradition that I have not spoken to you about, also because we will often have to come back to it, a tradition of recent birth, the Czech tradition.


This is the group that formulated formalism which you may think is just a vague reference, not at all, it is only your ignorance that makes you think that; formalism is a school of literary criticism that has an extremely precise meaning, and that the organization of states that is situated over there in Sputnik-land has already been persecuting for some time past.


In any case , it is precisely at the level of this formalism, (25) namely of a structural theory of the signifier as such, that Freud situates himself from the beginning. There is no doubt either about the results – they are absolutely convincing. This is a key that will allow you to make much greater progress.


After having asked you from time to time to read my articles, I hardly need to ask you, since we are talking this year about Witz, to read Freud’s book. This does not seem to me to be demanding too much. When you look at how it is organized, you
will see that is based on the fact that Freud starts from the technique of the joke, and that he constantly comes back to it. and that it takes as support the technique of joking.


What does that mean for him? It means what is called verbal technique, something that I call more precisely the technique of the signifier.


It is because he speaks of the technique of the signifier, and because he comes back to it repeatedly, that he really works out the problem. He shows its different planes, which means that all at once you see with the greatest clarity what must be recognized and distinguished in order not to get lost in the perpetual confusions of the signified, and of thoughts, which gives absolutely no hope of ever clarifying matters. Right away, for example, you see that there is a problem of wit, and a
problem of the comic which is not at all the same thing, any more (26) than the problem of the comic and the problem of laughter.



Unconscious 05 Jacques Lacan

October 22, 2010

Unconscious 05
Jacques Lacan

雅克 拉康


The Formations of the Unconscious
1957 – 1958

Seminar 1; Wednesday 6 November 1957

You should notice that in this schema you can see in a very (18) concrete way both what links and what distinguishes the truth that is perfectly and immediately accessible, from linguistic experience; this is something that the Freudian
experience of analysis rejoins with the distinction that exists originally between this “I” which is nothing other than the place of the one who speaks in the chain of discourse, and which does not even need to be designated by an “I”, and on the other hand the message, that is to say the thing that absolutely requires a
minimum of the apparatus of this schema to exist.


It is absolutely impossible to produce a message or any word whatsoever in a sort of concentric, radiating fashion coming from the existence of some subject or other, if there is not all this complexity.


No word is possible for the very good reason that the word presupposes precisely the existence of a signifying chain, which is something whose origins are far from simple to discover – we spent a year trying to arrive at it – and which
presupposes the existence of a network of uses, in other words of the usage of a tongue; and which presupposes besides all this mechanism which ensures that whatever you say, whether you think about it or not, whatever you formulate, once you’ve got caught in the wheel of this word-mill, your discourse always says more
than you are saying, and very obviously basing itself, by the simple fact that it is speech, on the existence somewhere of this term of reference that is the dimension of truth; of truth in so (19) far as it is distinct from reality and something that brings
into play the possible emergence of new meanings being introduced into the world, which the truth (realité) literally introduces into it – not the meanings that are there, but rather the meanings that it makes emerge.


Here you have, radiating out from the message on the one hand and from the “I” on the other hand, the meaning of these little wingtips that you see here; two diverging directions, one that goes from the “I” to the metonymical object and towards the
Other, to which corresponds in a symmetrical fashion the message by way of the return of the discourse, the direction of the message towards the metonymical object and towards the Other; all of this is provisional and I would ask you to take it down.


On the schema you will see that there is something which will be of great use to us and which might seem to you to require no explanation, the line that goes from “I” to the Other and the line that goes from “I” to the metonymical object, and you will see to what these two other extremely interesting lines correspond which go from the message to the code on the one hand, because in fact this return line does exist; if it did not exist, as the schema itself indicates, there would not be the slightest hope for the creation of meaning. It is precisely in the interplay between the message and the code, and also in the return of the code to the message, that the essential dimension into which the witticism immediately introduces us will have its effect. It is here I think we will remain for a certain number (20) of lectures in order to see all the extraordinarily suggestive and instructive things that can take place here.


In addition this will give us a further opportunity to grasp the relationship of dependence in which the metonymical object is, this famous object that never is, that object which is always situated elsewhere, that is always something else, and which we began to concern ourselves with last year.


Now let us approach this Witz. What does this Witz mean? It has been translated by le trait d’esprit and also by le mot d’esprit.


I will not go into the reasons why I prefer le trait d’esprit.


The Witz can also mean l’esprit. We must admit that l’esprit immediately introduces something that appears to be extremely ambiguous because in fact a witticism is something that is occasionally looked down on: it is frivolity, lack of seriousness, fantasy, capriciousness. But esprit by itself brings us up short, and we think twice before thinking of esprit in the same way. Nevertheless the spirit in the sense of un
homme spirituel has not got an excessively good reputation.


However it is around this that the centre of gravity of the notion of 1’esprit is to be found and it is better to allow it to keep all its ambiguities. This includes the spirit in the widest (21) sense, the spirit that all too often has the stamp of very shoddy goods, the spirit of spiritualism.


We can centre the notion of spirit on the witticism, that is to say on that which appears to be most contingent, most out of date, most open to criticism. It is really part of the genius of psychoanalysis to do something like this, and that is why we
should not be surprised that it is in fact the only point in the work of Freud where he mentions the Spirit, this time ornamented with a capital letter. Nevertheless there still remains this relationship between the two poles of the term spirit, and it has
always given rise to disputes about classification.


It really would be fun to evoke for you the English tradition in which the term used is wit, which is still more ambiguous than Witz and even than 1’esprit in French – the discussions on the true, the genuine spirit, the good spirit to call him by his name; and then of the bad spirit, the one with which charlatans amuse people. How can we distinguish all of this? The only thing that we must really take as a reference-point is the difficulty that all the critics have found themselves in, and this continues
after the 18th century with Addison, Pope, etc., up to the (22) beginning of the 19th century. In the English Romantic school the question of wit could not but be on the agenda and in a place of first importance, and in this respect the writings of Hazlitt are also very significant, and someone else that we will have to talk about, namely Coleridge, is the one who has gone farthest along this path.




October 21, 2010
















Unconscious 04 Jacques Lacan

October 21, 2010

Unconscious 04
Jacques Lacan

雅克 拉康


The Formations of the Unconscious
1957 – 1958

Seminar 1; Wednesday 6 November 1957

You will recognize my first line here, and the other hooked on to it after having
twice crossed over it. I would like to point out however that you cannot confuse what the two lines represent here, namely the signifier and the signified, with what they represent in this case which is slightly different, and you will see why.


In fact we are situating ourselves entirely on the plane of the (14) signifier. The effects on the signified are elsewhere, they are not directly represented on this schema. It is a matter of two states, of two functions of a signifying sequence that we can apprehend.


In the first moment of this first line, we have the signifying chain in so far as it remains entirely permeable to the properly signifying effects of metaphor and metonymy, and this implies the possible actualization of signifying effects at every level, in particular down to the phonematic level, to the level of the phonological element of what grounds the pun, the play on words, in short that which in the signifier is that something with which we analysts must continually operate, because I think that except for those of you who arrive here for the first time, you should be able to remember how all this happens in the play on words and in puns. Moreover it is precisely the way in which today we are going to begin our entry into the subject of the unconscious, by the witticism and the Witz.


The other line is that of rational discourse into which are already integrated a certain number of reference points, of things that are fixed, those things which as it happens cannot be grasped except at the level of what is called the usages of the
signifier, that is to say that which concretely in the use of discourse constitutes the fixed points which, as you know, are far from corresponding in a univocal way to a thing. There is (15) not a single semanteme that corresponds to a particular thing or to things which for the most part are very different.


We pause here at the level of the semanteme, that is to say at what is fixed and defined by a use.

我們暫停在語義的層次 換句話說,暫停在語詞約定成俗的地方。

This other line then is that of current, everyday discourse, as it is admitted into the code of the discourse, of what I would call the discourse of reality which is common to us all. It is also the level at which the fewest creations of meaning are produced, because the meaning is, in a way, already given, and because most of the time this discourse only consists in a rehashing of what are called received ideas. It is at the level of this discourse that there is produced the famous empty speech from which a number of my remarks on the field (parente) of language began.


You can see clearly then that this is the concrete discourse of the individual subject, of the person who speaks and who makes himself understood. It is the discourse that can be recorded on a record. The other is what all of that includes as a
possibility of decomposition, of reinterpretation, of resonance, of metaphorical or metonymical effects. One goes in the opposite direction to the other for the simple reason precisely that they slide over one another. But they do intersect with one another, and they intersect at two points that are perfectly recognizable.


(16) If we begin from the discourse, the first point at which the discourse meets the other chain which we shall call the properly signifying chain, is from the point of view of the signifier, what I have just explained to you, namely the collection of usages, in other words what we shall call the code; and this code must be somewhere if discourse is to be heard. This code is obviously in this capital 0 which is here, namely in the Other in so far as it is the companion of language. It is absolutely
necessary that this Other should exist, and I would ask you to note in passing that there is absolutely no need to call it by the imbecilic and delusional name of “collective consciousness”.


An Other is an Other, and a single one is sufficient for a tongue to be alive. And it is all the more sufficient that there should be just one, that this other can all by itself also be the first moment. If there is one who remains and who can speak his tongue
to himself, this is sufficient and not only an Other, but even two others, in any case someone who understands him. One can continue to produce witticisms in a tongue, even though one is the only person who knows it.


This then is the first encounter at the level of what we have called the code. In the other, the second encounter which completes the loop, which properly speaking constitutes the meaning, constitutes it in terms of the code which it (17) encountered first, is the culminating point. You see two arrows which end here, and today I will spare myself the trouble of explaining the meaning of the second arrow that ends here at this point gamma; it is the result of the conjunction of the
discourse with the signifier as a creative support of meaning – it is the message.


It is here that meaning is born; the truth that is to be announced, if there is any truth, is there in the message. Most of the time there is no truth enunciated, for the simple reason that the discourse in no way passes through the signifying chain, that it is the pure and simple droning of mere repetitiveness, of the word-mill (moulin k paroles), and that it passes through here in a sort of short-circuit between B and B’ , and that the discourse says absolutely nothing except to indicate to you that
I am a speaking animal. It is the commonplace discourse of speech that says nothing, but thanks to it you reassure yourself that you are not face to face simply with what man is in hisnatural state, namely a savage beast.


These two points B and B’ being the minimal nexuses on the short-circuit of discourse are very easily recognizable. One is the object precisely in the sense of the metonymical object that I spoke to you about last year; the other is the “I” in so far as it indicates in the discourse itself the place of the one who is speaking.



Unconscious 03 Jacques Lacan

October 20, 2010

Unconscious 03
Jacques Lacan

雅克 拉康


The Formations of the Unconscious
1957 – 1958

Seminar 1; Wednesday 6 November 1957

This is the point that we will take up again when I have evoked for you the function served by the fourth year of the séminaire, when I will have shown you in a way that is parallel and symmetrical to this – and it was at this point that the dialogue
between Joad and Abner culminated – that there is no true subject who can sustain himself, unless he speaks in the name of the word, in the name of speech. You will not have forgotten the (10) plane on which Joad speaks:


“Here is how God answers you through my mouth.”


There is no subject other than in a reference to that Other. This is symbolic of what exists in every word worthy of the name.


In the same way in the fourth year of the seminaire, I tried to show you that there is no object that is not metonymical, the object of desire being the object of the desire of the other, and desire always being desire of something else, precisely of what
is lacking in the object that has been primordially lost, in so far as Freud shows it as something that has always to be rediscovered. Likewise the only meaning that exists is metaphorical, a meaning that only arises from the substitution of a signifier for another signifier in the symbolic chain.


This is precisely what was meant in the work that I spoke about above, and that I invited you to consult, B The agency of the letter in the unconscious”. In the following symbols of metaphor and metonymy respectively, S is linked in the
combination of the chain to S|, and the whole with reference to which culminates in the fact the S, in its metonymical function, is in a certain metonymical relationship with s in signification

這確實就是我以上所談論的意義,我邀請你們參照一下「字母在無意識界的代理」。在以下的比喻及換喻各別的符號裏,生命主體S跟第二生命主體Sl 的鎖鏈的連接,整個的指稱在這個事實達到最高潮,這個生命主體S,在換喻的功用中,跟第二生命主體Sl在意義中,處於某種的換喻的關係。

Likewise, it is in the substitution of S with respect to S e relationship of substitution in the metaphor that we have the (11) following which is symbolized by the relation of capital to small s , which indicates here – it is easier to express in the case of metonymy – the function of the emergence, of the creation of meaning.


This then is where we are, and now we are going to approach what will be the object of our research for this coming year. To approach it I first of all constructed a schema for you, and I will now tell you what, at least for today, it will serve to
connote for us.


If we have to find a way of approaching more closely the relationships of the signifying chain with the signified chain, it is by this crude image of the buttoning point. But obviously, if it is to be worthwhile, we must ask where the upholsterer is.


He must clearly be somewhere; the place where we could put him in this schema might after all be a little bit too infantile.


You may be lead to the idea that since the essential aspect of the relation of the signifying chain in relation to the current of the signified is something like a reciprocal sliding, and that despite the sliding we must grasp where the liaison is, the
coherence between these two currents, you might come to the idea that this sliding, if there is a sliding, is necessarily a (12) relative sliding; that the displacement of each one produces a displacement in the other and also that it must be related to a
sort of ideal present, to something like an intersection in the opposite direction of these two lines, that we should be able to find some sort of schema to serve as an example.


You can see that it is around something like this that we can organize our speculations.


This notion of the present is going to be extremely important, except that discourse is not simply, what I might call, a series of punctuations a la Russell. A discourse is something which leads somewhere, has a fabric, a texture, and not only does it
take time, not only does it have a dimension in time, a certain density which means that we cannot in any way be satisfied with the instantaneous present, but in addition all our experience, everything that we have said and everything that we are capable of making present immediately by experience – it is quite clear for example that if I begin a sentence you will not understand its meaning until I have finished, since it is after all absolutely necessary (it is the very definition of a sentence)
that I should say its final word if you are to understand the relevance of the first – this shows us in the most tangible way what we can call the retroactive action of the signifier, precisely what I repeatedly tell you is given in the text of the analytic experience itself, on an infinitely greater scale in the (13) story of the past.


In any case it is clear – that is one way to say it I – I think it is something that you have grasped, and besides I re-emphasized it in my article on the agency of the letter in the unconscious in a very precise fashion and I would ask you provisionally to consult it, something that I expressed in the form of what might be called a topological metaphor: it is impossible to represent the signifier, the signified and the subject on the same plane.


This is neither mysterious nor opaque, it can be demonstrated in a very simple fashion with reference to the Cartesian cogito. I will refrain from going back on this now because later we will rediscover it in another form. This is simply to justify to you these two lines that we are now going to manipulate, and which are the following. The little bob means the beginning of a trajectory, and the tip of the arrow the end.