Desire 029 Jacques Lacan

Desire 029

Jacques Lacan

Desire and its Interpretation

3.12.58 52
Seminar 4: 3 December 1958

This veritable topology of signifiers, because you cannot escape from it once you follow closely Freud’s articulation, is what is in question, and in Letter 52 (6.12.96) to Fliess, one sees that he is necessarily led to presuppose at the origin a type of ideal
Wahrnehmungen which cannot be taken as simple freshly taken Wahrnehmung. If we translate it literally, this topology does not reach a Begriffen, it is a term that he continually uses, a grasp of reality, it does not reach it at all by an eliminatory
sorting out, by a selective sorting out, of anything that resembles what was put forward in the whole theory of instinct as being the first approximate behaviour which directs the organism along the paths of successful instinctual behaviour.


This is not what we are dealing with, but with a sort of real recurrent critique, with a critique of these signifiers evoked in (14) the primary process, which critique of course, like every critique, does not eliminate the previous thing on which it is brought to bear, but complicates it, complicates it by connoting it with what? With indices of reality which themselves belong to the signifying order. There is absolutely no way of escaping from this accentuation of what I articulate as being what Freud
conceives and presents to us as the primary process. You will see, provided you refer to any of the texts that Freud wrote, that at the different stages of his doctrine he articulated, repeated, every time he had to approach this problem, whether he
is dealing with the Traumdeutung or with what is, in the introduction of the Interpretation of dreams, and subsequently with what he took up later when he brought forward the second mode of presenting his topography, namely starting with the articles grouped around the psychology of the ego and the beyond
of the pleasure principle.


You will allow me for a moment to image, by playing with etymologies, what is meant by this fresh way of looking at things which would lead a sort of ideal subject to the real; but the alternatives by which the subject brings the real into his propositions, Vorste1lunqen, here I decompose it by articulating it as follows: these Vorstellunqen have a signifying organisation. If we wish to talk about them in terms other than the Freudian ones, in Pavlovian terms, we would say that they form part from the beginning, not of a first system of (15) significations, not of something connected to the tendency of need, but of a second system of significations.


They are like the lighting up of a bulb in a slot machine when the ball has fallen into the proper hole, and the sign that the ball has fallen into the proper hole Freud also articulates: the proper hole means the same hole into which the ball has previously


The primary process is not directed towards the search for a new object, but for an object which is to be rediscovered, and this by means of a Vorstellunq which is re-evoked, because it was the Vorstellunq corresponding to a first pathway so that the
illumination of this bulb entitles you to a prize, and there is no doubt about this, and that is what the pleasure principle is.


But in order that this prize should be honoured, there must be a certain reserve of money in the machine, and the reserve of money in the machine on this occasion is pledged to this system of processes which are called the secondary processes. In other
words, the lighting up of the bulb is only a satisfaction within the total convention of the machine in so far as this machine is that of the gambler, from the moment that he begins to gamble.


Staring with this, let us again take up Anna’s dream. This dream of Anna is presented to us as a dream of desire in its naked form. It seems to me that it is quite impossible to evade, to elide in the revelation of this nakedness, the mechanism itself (16) by which this nakedness is revealed, in other words the mode of this revelation cannot be separated from this nakedness itself.


I have the idea that we only know about this so-called naked dream by hearsay, and when I say by hearsay, that does not at all mean what some people quoted me as saying that in sum it was a question here of a remark about the fact that we never know that someone dreams except through what he tells us, and that in sum that everything which refers to the dream should be included in the fact, in the parenthesis of the fact that he reports it.


It is certainly not indifferent that Freud accords so much importance to the Niederschrift which constitutes this residue of the dream, but it is quite clear that this Niederschrift refers to an experience that the subject is telling us about. It is important to see that Freud is a long long way from retaining even for a single instant the nevertheless obvious objections which arise from the fact that a spoken narrative is one thing, and a lived experience is something else, and it is starting from there that we can connect the remark that the fact that he sets aside with such vigour, and even that he agrees with, that he explicitly makes the starting point of all his analysis even to the point of advising that it should be a technique of the Niederschrift, of what is there lying in the writings of the dream, shows us precisely what he thinks fundamentally about this lived experience, namely that there is everything to be said for approaching it in this way because he did not try of course, to (17) articulate it; it is itself already structured in a series of Niederschriften, in a kind of palimpsest-writing as one might say.


If one could imagine a palimpsest where the different superimposed texts have a certain relationship, it would still be a question of knowing which, with one another; but if you search for it, you would see that it is a relationship that is to be sought much more in the form of the letters than in the meaning of the text.



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