Desire 43 Jacques Lacan

Desire 43

Jacques Lacan

Desire and its Interpretation

Seminar 6 1 17 December 1958

What does it mean to assume castration? Is castration ever really assumed? This sort of point against which have broken the last waves of what Freud called finite or indefinite analysis (4) is what? And up to what point in this dream and in connection with this dream is the analyst not only right, but also in a position, potentially, to be able to interpret it?


It is at this point that at the end of what we were saying the last time about this dream, I had left posed the question: the three ways open to the analyst of reintroducing the “in consequence of his wish”, the way that accords with the word of the subject, is in accord with what the subject had wished, and which he remembered perfectly well, which is not at all forgotten, namely that “in consequence of his wish” re-establishes there at the level of the upper line of “in consequence of his wish”, re-establishes there at the level of the hidden enunciation of unconscious memory, the traces of the
Oedipus complex, of the infantile desire for the death of the father, which is the thing Freud tells us is the capitalist in every formation of the dream, this infantile desire finds its entrepreneur on this occasion in a current desire which has to express itself in the dream, and which is far from being always an unconscious desire.


Is not this “in consequence of his wish” re-established at the level of the infantile desire, something which is found there in short in the position of going in the direction of the dream-desire, because it is a question of interposing at this crucial moment of the subject’s life which is realised by the death of the father, because it is a question in the dream of interposing this image of the object and incontestably presents (5) it as the support of a veil, of a perpetual ignorance, of a prop to what was in short up to then the alibi of the desire, because indeed the very function of the prohibition conveyed by the father, is indeed something which gives to desire its
enigmatic, even unfathomable form, this something from which the subject finds himself separated, this protection, this defence when all is said and done, which is as Jones very well glimpsed, and we will see today that Jones had some very extraordinary perceptions from certain points of view about this psychic dynamism, this moral pretext never to be affronted in his desire.


Could we not say that the pure and simple interpretation of this oedipal desire is here something which in short attaches itself to some intermediary stage of the interpretation of the dream?


By permitting the subject to do what? Properly speaking this something whose nature you are going to recognise when it is designated as identifying with the aggressor. Is it anything other than the interpretation of oedipal desire, at this level and in these terms: that you had wished for the death of your father at such a date and for such a reason. In your childhood, somewhere in your childhood there is identification to the


Have you not typically recognised that this is essential, because it is one of the forms of defence? Is it not (6) something which is put forward at the very place where the “in consequence of his wish” is elided? Are the “in consequence” and its meaning not essential for a full interpretation of the dream?


There is no doubt about this, apart from the opportunities and the conditions which allow the analyst to get to this point, they will depend on the moments of the treatment, on the context of the response of the subject in dreams, because we know that in analysis the subject responds to the analyst, or at least to what the analyst has become in the transference, by his dreams.


But essentially, I mean in the logical position of the terms, is a question not posed to the “in consequence of his wish”, to which we always run the risk of giving some over-hasty form, some over-hasty response, some premature response, some avoidance offered to the subject about what is in question, namely the impasse that he is put in by this fundamental structure which makes of the object of every desire the support of an essential metonomy, and something in which the object of human desire as such is presented in a vanishing form, and of which we can perhaps glimpse that castration is what we could call the final tempering.


Here then we are led to take up at the other end, namely at the one which is not given in dreams, to question more closely what is meant by, what is signified by human desire, and whether this (7) formula, I mean this algorithm, this S confronted, put in the presence of, put face to face with the o, with the object, and in this connection we have introduced into these dream-images, and of the meaning which is revealed to us in them. Is it not something that we cannot attempt to test in the phenomenology of
desire, as it is presented to us, curiously enough, of desire which is there, which is there since ………….. , which is at the heart of ………………..


Let us try to see in what form this desire presents itself to us analysts.


This algorithm is not going to be able to lead us together along the path of a questioning which is that of our common experience, of our experience as analysts, of the way in which in the case of the subject, in the subject who is not necessarily or always the neurotic subject regarding whom we have no reason to presume that
on this point his structure is not included, because it reveals a more general structure. In any case there is no doubt that the neurotic finds himself situated somewhere along what represents the prolongations, the processes of an experience which for us
has a universal value.


This indeed is the point around which the whole construction of Freudian doctrine unfolds.



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