Desire 028 Jacques Lacan

Desire 028

Jacques Lacan

Desire and its Interpretation

3.12.58 52
Seminar 4: 3 December 1958

This takes on its value, I would say, through its insertion into a circuit, and if I say that in short what Freud describes to us as being the result of the primary process,
is in a way that on this circuit something lights up. I will not make a metaphor of this, I will only say in substance what Freud draws from the explanation on this occasion, from the translation of what is in question, namely to show you on this circuit which
always implicitly has homeostasis as its goal, the notion of reflexometry and to distinguish this series of relays and the fact that something is happening at the level of these relays, something which in itself takes on a certain value as a terminal
effect in certain conditions, is something which is quite identical to what we see being produced in any machine whatsoever in the form of a series of bulbs, as I might put it, and the fact that one of these becomes active indicates precisely, not so much what appears, namely a luminous phenomenon, but a certain voltage, something which is produced moreover in function of a (10) resistance and indicates at a given point the state of the whole circuit.


And therefore, let us say the word, this in no way corresponds to the principle of need, because of course no need is satisfied by a hallucinatory satisfaction. To be satisfied, need requires the intervention of the secondary process, and even of secondary
processes because there is a great variety of them, which processes, can of course only be satisfied, as the name indicates with reality; they are submitted to the reality principle.


If secondary processes are produced, they are only produced because there have been primary processes. Only it is no less evident that this fencing off, that this separation makes instinct impossible no matter how one conceives it. It vanishes into thin air in this instance because look at the direction in which all the researches on instinct are going, and especially the most elaborate the most intelligent modern researches. What
are they aimed at? To give an account of how a structure which is not just purely preformed – we are no longer at that point, let us not look at instinct like Monsieur Fabre, it is a structure which engenders, which sustains its own chain – how
these structures outline, in the real, paths towards objects which have not yet been experienced.


(11) This is the problem of the instincts, and it is explained to you that there is an appetitive stage of behaviour, of seeking.


The animal at one of these phases, puts himself into a certain state where motor activity is expressed by an activity going in all sorts of directions. And at the second stage, at the second phase, there is a stage of a specialised release, but even if
this specialised release finally culminates in a behaviour which disappoints them, namely if you wish to the realisation of the fact that they have got hold of some coloured cloths, it nevertheless remains true that they had detected these cloths in
the real.


What I want to indicate here, is that hallucinatory behaviour is distinguished in the most radical fashion from a homing behaviour that the regressive investment, as one might say, of something which is going to be expressed by the illumination of a lamp on the conducting circuits.


This can at the limit illuminate an object that has already been experienced; if this object is perchance already there, it in no way shows its path, and still less of course if it shows it even when it is not there, which is what in effect is produced in the hallucinatory phenomenon, because at the very most the seeking-mechanism can begin from this, and this indeed is what happens.


Freud also articulates it for us starting from the secondary process, which in sum fulfils the role of instinctive behaviour, but from another point of view is absolutely distinguished from it because due to the (12) existence of the primary process this secondary process is going to be, Freud articulates it – I do not subscribe to all of this, I am repeating to you the sense of what Freud articulates – a behaviour that tests the reality of this Wahrnehmung first ordered as the effect of a bulb in the circuit. This is going to be a judgement behaviour; the word is put forward when Freud explains things at this level.


When all is said and done according to Freud, human reality is constructed on a previous foundation of hallucination, which is the universe of pleasure in its illusions, in its essence, and this whole process is openly avowed, I am not even saying
betrayed, is openly articulated in the terms that Freud continually makes use of every time he has to explain the series of borrowings into which the term is decomposed, and in the Traumdeutunq at the level that he is speaking about the processes of the psychic apparatus, he shows this series of layers where there is imprinted, and it is not even imprinted, there is inscribed every time he speaks in this text and in all the
others, it is terms like niederschreiben, and which recorded on the sequence of layers, are organised there.


He articulates them differently according to the different moments of his thought. On the first layer for example it is by relationships of simultaneity; on others, piled up one on the other; on other levels they will be ordered.


(13) These impressions, through other relationships, separate the schema into a series of inscriptions, of Niederschriften which are superimposed on one another in a word which cannot be translated by a sort of typographical space, which is how there
ought to be conceived all the things which happen originally before arriving at another form of articulation which is that of the preconscious, namely very precisely in the unconscious.



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