Desire 033 Jacques Lacan

Desire 033

Jacques Lacan

Desire and its Interpretation

3.12.58 52
Seminar 4: 3 December 1958

So that the way out proposed to this new drama is to censure this truth of desire. But this censorship is not something which, however it is exercised, can be sustained with the stroke of a pen, because here it is the process of enunciating which is aimed
at, and because to prevent it some foreknowledge of the process of the enunciation is necessary, and that every discourse destined to banish this enunciation from the process of enunciating is going to find itself offending more or less openly with its end. It is the matrix of this possibility which at this level, is given on our graph, and it will give you a lot of other matrices.


The subject, because of the fact that he articulates his demand, is captured in a discourse in which he cannot but be himself constructed qua agent of enunciating, which is why he cannot renounce it without this enunciation, because that is to efface himself completely as a subject knowing what is in question.


(30) The relationship to one another of these two lines of the process of enunciating and the process of the enunciation is quite simple, it is the whole of grammar, a rational grammar which is articulated in these terms; if you find it interesting I
will tell you where and how, in what terms and in what context this has been articulated, but for the moment what we have to deal with is the following: it is the fact that we see when repression is introduced, it is essentially linked to the
absolute necessity of the subject being effaced and disappearing at the level of the process of enunciating.


How, by what empirical paths does the subject accede to this possibility? It is quite impossible, even to articulate it if we do not see what the nature of the process of enunciating is.


As I told you: every word begins from these points of intersection which we have designated by the point 0, namely that every word in so far as the subject is implicated in it, is the discourse of the Other.


That is the precise reason why at first the child is quite convinced that all his thoughts are known, it is because the definition of thought is not as the psychologists say, something like the beginning of an act. Thought is above all something which participates in this dimension of the unsaid which I have just introduced by the distinction between the process of enunciating and the process of enunciation, but for
this unsaid to subsist, naturally in so far as in order that it (31) should be an unsaid it must be said, it must be said at the level of the process of enunciating, namely qua discourse of the Other, and that is why the child does not doubt for an instant
that what represents for him this locus where this discourse is carried on, namely his parents, know all his thoughts.


In any case this is his first movement, it is a movement which will subsist as long as he is not introduced to something new which we have again articulated here concerning this relationship of the upper line with the lower line, namely what keeps them outside grammar at a certain distance.


I do not need to tell you how grammar keeps a distance between sentences like “I do not know whether he is dead”, “He is not dead, as far as I know”, “I did not know that he was dead”, “I was afraid that he was dead”. All these subtle taxemes which go
from the subjunctive here to a ne that Monsieur Lebidoy calls in a fashion that is really incredible for a philologist who writes in Le Monde, the expletive ne. All of this is done to show us that a whole part of grammar, the essential part, the taxemes,
are there to maintain the necessary gap between these two lines.


The next time I will project for you onto these two lines the articulations in question, but for the subject who has not yet learned these subtle forms, and it is quite clear that the (32) distinction between the two lines is made well before.


There are required conditions, and these form the basis of the interrogation that I am bringing before you today. This distinction is very essentially linked, like every time of course that you see that it is a question of something which is not a temporal reference point, but a tensional point, namely of a difference in tenses between these two lines, you can clearly see the relationship that there can be between this and the
situation, and the topology of desire.


This is where we are. For a time the child is in sum entirely caught up in the interplay between these two lines. What is necessary here in order that repression may be produced? I would say that I am hesitating before committing myself to a path which
after all I would like not to appear for what it nevertheless is, a path of concession, namely that I appeal to notions of development properly speaking, I mean that everything is implicated in the empirical process at the level at which this is
produced, of an intervention, of an empirical and certainly necessary incidence, but the necessity to which this empirical incidence, this empirical accident, the necessity in which it comes to reverberate, which it precipitates in its form, is of a different nature.


In any case, the child perceives at a given moment that these adults who are supposed to know all his thoughts, and here precisely he is not going to go beyond this stage, in a certain (33) fashion he will be able to reproduce later on the possibility which is the fundamental possibility of what we call in brief and rapidly the so-called elementary form of hallucination, that there appears this primitive structure of what we call this background of the process of enunciating, parallel to the current enunciation of the existence of what is called the echo of acts, the echo of expressed thoughts.



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