Anxiety 58 Jacques Lacan

Anxiety 58

Jacques Lacan
雅克 拉康



1962 – 1963

Seminar 8: Wednesday 16 January 1963

(7) Moreover, if you evoke what is involved in the figure of
Sade, you will see then that it is not by chance if, what can be extracted from it, what remains of it, through a sort of
transubstantiation through the ages, with the imaginary
elaboration of his figure throughout the generations, is a form – Man Ray could do no better when he tried to construct his imaginary portrait – precisely a petrified form.


Quite different is, as you know, the position of the masochist for whom this incarnation of himself as object is the declared goal, whether he turns himself into a dog under the table or a piece of merchandise, an item that is treated in a contract by giving it over, by selling it as one among other objects that are on the market, in short, his identification with this other object which I called the common object, the object of exchange, this is the route, this is the path on which he seeks precisely what is impossible, which is to grasp himself for what he is, in so far as like all of us he is an o. .


To know why he is so interested by this recognition, which all the same remains impossible, is of course what many particular conditions of his analysis could reveal. But before even being able to understand these particular conditions, there are certain conjunctions which must be properly established here and which are the most structural ones. This is what we are going to try to do now.


You should clearly understand that I have not said, without
elaboration, that the masochist attains his identification with the object. As for the sadist this identification only appears on the stage. Only, even on this stage, the sadist does not see himself, he only sees the remainder. There is also something that the masochist does not see – we will see what perhaps a little later – but this allows me to introduce right away some formulae the first of which is the following: that to recognize oneself as the object of one’s desire, in the sense that I am articulating it today, is always masochistic.


This formula has the interest of making the difficulty tangible for you, because it is all too convenient to use our little Punch and to say that if there is masochism, it is because the super-ego is very wicked, for example. We know of course that within masochism we make all the necessary distinctions: erogenous masochism, feminine masochism, moral masochism.


But as the simple enunciation of this classification has pretty much the same effect as what I would say if I were to say: “There is this glass, there is the Christian faith, and there is the collapse of (8) Wall Street”. This should all the same leave us a little dissatisfied.


If the term masochism can have a meaning, it would be well to find a more unitary formula for it and if we were to
say that the super-ego is the cause of masochism, we would not be abandoning too much this satisfying intuition, except for the fact that, since we have said before that the object is the cause of desire, we would see that the super-ego shares, at least that it shares the function of this object qua cause, as I have introduced it today in order to make you sense how true it is.


I could include it in the catalogue, in the series of these objects as we will have to deploy them before you, by illustrating this place with all the contents, if you wish, that it can have and which are numerable. If I did not do it at the beginning, it was so that you would not lose your heads, by seeing them as contents, and think that they are the same thing that you always discover about analysis. For it is not true. If you think you know the function of the maternal breast, or that of the turd, you know well how much obscurity remains in your minds about the phallus, and when it is the object which comes immediately after that is concerned. I will give it to you all the same, as a way of giving your curiosity something to feed on, namely the eye as such, about it you know nothing at all. This is why it should only be approached with prudence, and for the best of reasons.


This is the object involved since, when all is said and done, it is the object without which there is no anxiety, it is because it is a dangerous object. Let us be prudent therefore since I lack, that is to say in the immediate, the opportunity of making appear in what sense I said it – this caught the ear of one of my listeners – I said, two lectures ago, that if desire and the law were the same thing, it is in so far and in this sense that desire and the law have a common object.


It is not enough then in this case to give oneself the
consolation that they are, with respect to one another, like the two sides of the wall, or like the front and the back.



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