Anxiety 252 Jacques Lacan

Anxiety 252

Jacques Lacan
雅克 拉康



1962 – 1963

12.6.63 XXII 258
Seminar 22: Wednesday 12 June 1963

Anxiety lies in this fundamental relationship that the subject is in with what I have called up to now the desire of the Other.


Analysis has, has always had and keeps as its object the
discovery of a desire. It is – you will admit – for some
structural reasons that I am led, this year, to disengage, to bring into function as such in a circumscribed, articulated way, and this just as much by what we could call an algebraic
definition, as by an articulation in which the function appears in a sort of gap, of residue of the signifying function as such; but I also did it piece by piece, this is the path that I will take today.


In every advance, in every becoming of this o as such, anxiety
appears precisely in function of its relationship to the desire of the Other. But what is its relationship to the desire of the subject?


It is absolutely situatable in the form that I already
advanced at the appropriate time: o is not the object of desire,
the one that we search to reveal in analysis, it is its cause.
This feature is essential; for if anxiety marks the dependency of every constitution of the subject – his dependency on the Other – the desire of the subject is thus found appended to this relationship through the mediation of the first, antecedent constitution of o.


This is the interest that pushes me to remind you how this
presence of o as cause of desire announces itself. From the
first data of analytic research, it announces itself in a more or less veiled fashion precisely in the function of the cause.


This function can be mapped out in the data of our field, the one in which research engages, namely the field of the symptom. In every symptom, in so far as a term of this name is what interests us, this dimension that I am going to try to bring into play today before you manifests itself.


To make you sense it, I will start from a symptom which it is not for nothing has – as you will see after the event – this exemplary function, namely the symptom of the obsessional. But – I am indicating it right away – if I put it forward, it is because it allows us once again to go into this mapping out of the function of o, in so far as it unveils itself functioning in the first givens of the symptom in the dimension of the cause.


(2) What does the obsessional present to us in the pathognomic
form of his position? The obsession or the compulsion,
articulated or not as a motivation in his inner language: “Do
this or that; check whether the door is closed or not, whether
the tap is on”. As we will see later perhaps, it is the symptom
which takes in its most exemplary form, implies as I might say, that not following the line awakens anxiety. It is this which brings it about that the symptom, I would say, indicates in its very phenomenon that we are at the most favourable level to link the position of o as much to the relationships of anxiety as to the relationships of desire.


Anxiety,in fact, appears – because desire, at the beginning,
historically before Freudian research, before the analysis of our praxis, is hidden, and we know the trouble we have to unmask it, if we ever do unmask it!


But here there deserves to be highlighted this datum of our
experience which appears from the very first observations of
Freud and which, I would say, constitutes, even if it has not
been situated as such, perhaps the most essential step in the
advance into obsessional neurosis, it is that Freud, and we
ourselves every day have recognised, can recognise this fact that the analytic procedure does not begin from the enunciation of the symptom as I have just described it to you, namely according to its classical form, the one which had already been defined much earlier, the compulsion with the anxious struggle which accompanies it, but in the recognition of the following: the fact is that it functions like that.


This recognition is not an effect detached from the functioning of this symptom, it is not epiphenomenally that the subject has to perceive that it functions like that.


The symptom is only constituted when the subject becomes aware of it; because we know from experience that there are forms of obsessional behaviour in which the subject, not only has not noticed his obsessions, but has not even constituted them as such.


And the first step, in this case, of the analysis – the
passages of Freud on this point are celebrated – is that the
symptom is constituted in its classical form. Without this,
there is no means of getting out of it and not simply because
there is no way of speaking about it, but because there is no way of catching it by the ear. What is this ear in question?


It is this something of the symptom that we can say is unassimilated by the subject.



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: