Desire 89 Jacques Lacan

Desire 89

Jacques Lacan

Desire and its Interpretation
欲望及其解釋 `

4.2.59 166
Seminar 11; Wednesday 4 February 1959

Aphanisis means disappearance, in so far as he understands it in that way. And what he means by that we will see further on.


But for the moment I am going to make a quite different use of it; what is really an impressionistic use for what is really there all the time throughout the material of the dream, its surrounds, the behaviour of the subject, everything that we have already tried to articulate in connection with what is presented, with what is proposed to Ella Sharpe.


This very subject who, before presenting himself to her in a fashion which she so finely describes, with this sort of profound absence which of itself gives her the feeling that there is no remark of the subject, nor any of his gestures (7) which is not entirely thought out, and that nothing corresponds to anything connected with feeling.


This subject who is so cautious, who moreover does not announce himself, who
appears, but who once he appears is more elusive than if he were not there; this subject who himself has put to us in the preliminaries of what he brought forward about his dream, this question which he posed in connection with his little cough.
And this little cough is given in order to do what? To make something which must be there at the other side of the door disappear. We do not know what. He says it himself: in the case of the analyst, what is there to make disappear?


He evokes in this connection the warning given in other circumstances, in another context, that it is a question of them separating, of disuniting, because the situation might be embarrassing if he entered. And so on.


In the dream we are in the presence of three characters, because it must not be forgotten that his wife is there. Once the subject has said it he does not speak about it any more. But what exactly happens with the sexual partner, the one in fact whom he evades. Is it all that sure that he is evading her?


What follows in what he says proves that he is far from being completely absent; and he put his finger, he tells us in this sort of protruding, inside-out vagina, this sort of prolapsed vagina on which I laid stress.


Here again questions are posed and we are going to pose them. Where is what is at stake, where is the important thing in this scene? That which in so (8) far as one can pose this question in connection with a dream – and we can only pose it in so far as the whole Freudian theory obliges us to pose it – what will be produced immediately
afterwards in the associations of the dream, is something which involves this friend, mediated by a memory which came to him concerning the hood that constitutes the feminine sexual organ of someone who on a golf course offered him something in which his clubs could be put, and whom he found to be a really funny person.


He speaks about him with a kind of amused pleasure. And one can clearly see what is happening around this real character. He is really the sort of person who makes you ask where he came out of.


This is the way he speaks about him. With that face, and that glibness what could he have been. Maybe a butcher, he says. God knows why he says a butcher. But the style and the general atmosphere, the ambiance of impersonation in connection with this character – immediately afterwards he is going to start imitating him – shows that here it is a question of ….‘


This moreover is the way that the notion of imitation is introduced, and the association with his friend who impersonates men so well, who is so talented, and who exploits that talent by broadcasting. And in this connection the first idea that comes to the subject is that he is talking too much about her, that he seems to be boasting by speaking about a relationship with somebody so remarkable, to be “swanking”. I checked the (9) English word that he uses: it is quite a new word, that can almost be considered to be slang, and that I have tried to translate here by la ramener. He uses it to say: I feel guilty to be swanking like that.


In a word he disappears, he makes himself very small, he does not want to take too much space on this occasion.


In short, what forces itself on us the whole time, what recurs as a theme, as a leitmotif in all the discourse, the remarks of the subject, is something for which the term aphanisis appears to be here much closer to “to make disappear” than “to
disappear”. It is something that is a perpetual game in which we sense that in different forms something – let us call this if you wish the object of interest – is never there.


The last time I insisted on this. It is never where it is expected, it slips from one point to another in a sort of conjuring trick. I am going to insist on it again, and you are
going to see where this will take us, what is the essential, the characteristic at every level of the confrontation before which the analyst finds herself.


The subject cannot put anything forward without immediately, in some way, subtilising what is essential in it as one might say.



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