Anxiety 212 Jacques Lacan

Anxiety 212

Jacques Lacan
雅克 拉康



1962 – 1963

Seminar 17: Wednesday 8 May 196 3

I left you on a remark which put in question the function of
circumcision in the economy of desire, in the economy of the
object, in the sense that analysis grounds it as an object of desire.


This lecture ended on a text, on a passage from Jeremiah – verses 24 and 25 of Chapter 9 – which in truth has posed some difficulties for translators throughout the ages, because the Hebrew text – I have too much to say to you today to delay on the letter of the text – for the Hebrew text, I am saying, should be translated: “I will punish every circumcised man in his prepuce”, a paradoxical term that the translators have tried to get around, even one of the best of them, Paul Dorn, by the formula: “I will punish every circumcised man as if he were uncircumcised”.

這個演講以一篇文本,一篇希伯來先知,傑瑞米的文章作為結尾。那是第九章,24 及25 詩篇。事實上,從古迄今,它形成翻譯家的困難。因為希伯來文本,(我今天要跟你們說的話很多,我們就不耽擱在這篇文本的字詞上。)我是說,希伯來的文本應該被翻譯:「我將懲罰每一位因為包皮而被切割的人。」這是一個很矛盾的術語,這篇翻譯設法要讓它流傳。即使中間最好的一位翻譯者,保羅、豆恩,有這個公式:「我將懲罰每一位被切割包皮的人,好像他沒有被切割包皮。」

I am only recalling this point here to indicate to you that it is indeed some permanent relationship to a lost object as such that is involved and that it is only in the dialectic of this object o as cut and as now sustaining, presentifying a relationship essential to this relation itself, that effectively we can conceive of what is involved at this point in the Bible, which is not unique, but a point which illuminates by its extreme paradox what is involved every time the term of circumcised and uncircumcised is effectively employed in the Bible.


It is not at all in effect, far from it, limited to this little bit of flesh which constitutes the object of the ritual. “Uncircumcised lips”, “uncircumcised heart”, these are terms which right through this text, appear numerous, almost current, almost common, underlining that what is involved is always an essential separation from a certain part of the body, a certain appendix, from something which in a function becomes symbolic of a relationship to the body itself henceforth alienated, and fundamental for the subject.


I will take things up today from a broader, higher, more distant point of view. You know, some of you know, that I have just returned from a journey which brought me some new experiences and which also brought me, in its essence in any case, the approach, the view, the encounter with some of these works without which the most attentive study of texts, of the letter, of the doctrine, specifically that of Buddhism in this case, must remain in some way incomplete and lifeless.


I think that to give you some report of what this approach was, (2) of the way in which, for me and for you also I think, it can be inserted into what is this year our fundamental question, the point where the dialectic of anxiety takes place, namely the question of desire, which in our approach can from now on be, can represent for us from now on, a contribution.


Desire in effect constitutes the essential basis, the goal, the aim, the practice also of everything here that is denominated and announced about the Freudian message. Something absolutely essential, new, passes through this message.


This is the path along which – who among you, there is surely someone among you, some people, I hope, who can pick it up – along which this message passes. We should justify at the point that we are at, namely at every point of a renewal of our remotivated elan, what is involved in this locus this year, this subtle locus, this locus that we are trying to circumscribe, to define, to coordinate, that this locus never located up to now in what we could call its ultra-subjective influence, this central locus of what one could call the pure function of desire.


This locus into which we are advancing a little further this year with our discourse about anxiety, is the locus where I am demonstrating for you how o is formed.


o, the object of objects, the object for which our vocabulary has put forward the term objectality in so far as it is opposed to that of objectivity.


To sum up this opposition in some formulae – I apologise that
they have to be so rapid – we will say that objectivity is the final term of Western scientific analytic thinking, that
objectivity is the correlate of a pure reason which, when all is said and done, is the final term which for us is expressed, is resumed by, is articulated in, a logical formalism.


Objectality, if you have been following my teaching of about the past five or six years, objectality is something else and to highlight it at its most crucial point, I would say, I would
formulate, that in contra-distinction to the preceding formula which I have just given, objectality is the correlate of a pathos about the cut, and precisely of the one through which this same formalism, logical formalism, in the Kantian sense of this term, this same formalism rejoins its miscognised effect in the Critique of pure reason, an effect which accounts for this formalism even in Kant, in Kant especially I would say, remains hewn out of causality, remains suspended on the justification that no a priori has up to now managed to reduce, of this function which is nevertheless essential to the whole mechanism of the lived experience of our mental life, the function of the cause.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: