Anxiety 95 Jacques Lacan

Anxiety 95

Jacques Lacan
雅克 拉康



1962 – 1963

Seminar 13: Wednesday 6 March 1963

For with castration also we are dealing with an organ, before we get to the castration threat, namely what I have called the possible gesture, could we not, analogously to the image that I produced today before you, see whether we do not have the indication that anxiety is to be placed elsewhere?


Because a phallus, because people are always gargling on about
biology, approaching it in an unbelievably frivolous way, a
phallus is not limited to the field of mammals. There are a whole lot of insects, all revolting in different ways, from the black beetle to the cockroach, which have what? Stings (des dards).


The sting goes a long way in effect in the animal. The sting is an instrument, and in many cases – I do not want to give you a course in comparative anatomy today, I would ask you to refer to the authors, if necessary I will indicate them to you – the sting is an instrument: it is used for hooking on. We know nothing about the amorous enjoyments of the black beetle or the cockroach. Nothing indicates however that they are deprived of it.


It is even rather probable that jouissance and sexual union
are always in the closest possible relationship.


And what does it matter! Our experience as men and the experience that we can presume to be those of mammals who most resemble us conjoin the locus of the jouissance and the instrument, the sting.


While we take the thing as being self-explanatory, nothing
indicates that even where the copulatory instrument is a sting or a claw, an object for hooking on, in any case neither a
tumescent nor detumescent object, jouissance is linked to the
function of the object.


That jouissance, orgasm in our case, to limit ourselves to
ourselves, coincides with as I might say the putting out of
action, the putting out of operation of the instrument by
detumescence, is something that altogether deserves that we
should not hold it to be something, as I might say, which is as Goldstein expresses it, part of the Wesenheit, an essential part of the organism.


(14) This coincidence of approach has nothing rigorous about it once one begins to think about it; and then it is not, as I might say, in the nature of human things. In fact what do we see in Freud’s first intuition about a certain source of anxiety?


Coitus interruptus. It is precisely the case in which by the
very nature of the operations being carried out the instrument is revealed in its suddenly failed function of being an
accompaniment to orgasm, in so far as orgasm is supposed to
signify a common satisfaction.


I leave this question in suspense. I am saying simply that
anxiety is put forward by Freud in its essential function there
precisely where the accompaniment of the orgasmic build-up with what is called the exercise of the instrument is precisely
disjointed. The subject can reach ejaculation, but it is an
ejaculation outside; and the anxiety is precisely provoked by this fact which is highlighted, what I called earlier the putting out of action of the apparatus, of the instrument of jouissance.


Subjectivity, if you wish, is focussed on the collapse of the
phallus. This collapse of the phallus, exists in any case in a normally completed orgasm. It is precisely to this that our
attention should be directed to highlight one of the dimensions of castration.


How is copulation between man and woman experienced, this is what allows the function of castration, namely the fact that the phallus is more significant in human experience by its collapse, by its possibility of being a fallen object, than by its presence, this is what designates the possibility of the place of castration in the history of desire.


It is essential to highlight this. Because what did I end with
the last time, if not by telling you: as long as desire is not structurally situated, is not distinguished from the dimension of jouissance, as long as the question is not that of knowing what is the relationship, and whether there is a relationship for each partner between desire – specifically the desire of the Other – and jouissance, the whole affair is condemned to obscurity.



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