Encore 21

Encore 21
Jacques Lacan

God and Woman’s jouissance

On that note, I will continue with what I have to say to you today, namely, to further articulate the consequence of the fact that no relationship gets constituted between the sexes in the case of speaking beings, for it is on that basis alone that what makes up for that relationship can be enunciated.


For a long time I have scanded what constitutes the first step in this undertaking with a certain “There’s such a thing as One” (Y a dy UUn).


This “There’s such a thing as One” is not simple – that’s the word for it. In psychoanalysis, or more precisely in Freud’s discourse, it is announced by the fact that Eros is defined as the fusion that makes one from two, as what is supposed to gradually tend in the direction of making but one from an
immense multitude.


But, since it is clear that even all of you – as numerous as you are here, assuredly forming a multitude – not only do not make one, but have no chance of pulling that off – which is only too amply demonstrated every day, if only by communing in my speech – Freud obviously has to bring in another factor that poses an obstacle to this universal Eros in the guise of Thanatos, the reduction to dust.


That is obviously a metaphor that Freud is able to use thanks to the fortunate discovery of the two units of the germ (germen), the ovum and the spermatozoon, about which one could roughly say that it is on the basis of their fusion that is engendered what? A new being. Except that that doesn’t happen without meiosis, a thoroughly obvious subtraction, at least for one of the two, just before the very moment at which the conjunction occurs, a subtraction of certain elements that are not superfluous in the
final operation.

那顯而易見是佛洛德能夠使用的一種比喻,由於他幸運地發現有兩個種子的來源,卵子與精子。 關於它們,我們能夠粗略地說,就是根據它們融合的基礎,什麼東西被產生?一個新的生命。除了假如沒有減數分裂細胞,一種徹底明顯的減扣,至少就在那個時刻之前,二化減為一,那種產生無法發生。就在那種連接發生的時刻,在最後的運算裡並非是多餘的某種元素的一種扣減。

But biological metaphors clearly cannot reassure us here – they reassure us here still less than elsewhere. If the unconscious is truly what I say it is, being structured like a language, it is at the level of language (langue) that we must investigate this One.


The course of the centuries has provided this One with an infinite resonance. Need I mention here the Neo-Platonists? Perhaps I will have occasion to mention their adventure very quickly later, since what I need to do today is very precisely designate from whence the thing not only may but must be taken up on the basis of our discourse and of the revamping our experience brings about in the realm of Eros.


We must begin with the fact that this “There’s such a thing as One” is to be understood in the sense that there’s One all alone (il y a de VUn tout 64 seul). We can grasp, thereby, the crux (nerf) of what we must clearly call by the name by which the thing resounds throughout the centuries, namely,

我們必須從這個事實開始: 這個「有「一」這個東西存在」應該被瞭解,根據這個意義:「僅有這個一的本身」。因此,我們能夠瞭解,我們清楚所稱呼的東西的關鍵,這個幾世紀以來迴響的東西,換言之,就是愛。

In analysis, we deal with nothing but that, and analysis doesn’t operate by any other pathway. It is a singular pathway in that it alone allowed us to isolate what I, I who am talking to you, felt I needed to base transference on, insofar as it is not distinguished from love, that is, on the formulation
“the subject supposed to know.”


I cannot but mention the new resonance this term “knowledge” can take on for you. I love the person I assume to have knowledge. Earlier you saw me stall, back off, and hesitate to come down on one side or the other, on the side of love or on the side of what we call hatred, when I insistently invited you to read a book whose climax is expressly designed to discredit me (déconsidérer) – which is certainly not something that can be backed away from by someone who speaks, ultimately, but on the basis of “desideration” 7 and aims at nothing else.


The fact is that this climax appears sustainable to the authors precisely where there is a “desupposition” of my knowledge. If I said that they hate me it is because they “desuppose” that I have knowledge.


And why not? Why not, if it turns out that that must be the condition for what I call reading? After all, what can I presume Aristotle knew? Perhaps the less I assume he has knowledge, the better I read him.
That is the condition of a strict putting to the test of reading, a condition I don’t weasel out of. What is offered to us to be read by that aspect of language that exists, namely, what is woven as an effect of its erosion8 – that is how I define what is written thereof – cannot be ignored. Thus, it would be disdainful not to at least recall to mind what has been said about love throughout the ages by a thought that has called itself- improperly, I must say – philosophical.

有何不可呢?有何不可呢? 假如結果是,那必須是我所謂閱讀的情況?畢竟,我能夠假定亞裡斯多德知道什麼?或許我越少假定他擁有知識,我越能夠閱讀他。那就是閱讀嚴格受到考驗的情況,我沒有推諉的情況。所被提供給與我們閱讀,由於存在的語言的這一面,換句話說,所被編織,作為它的腐蝕的影響—那就是我如何定義所被書寫的東西—它無法被忽略。因此,這將是表示藐視,假如至少都不回憶一下,幾世紀以來,關於愛,曾經被思想說過的東西。這個思想曾經稱呼它自己為哲學—這是不適當的稱呼,我必須說。

I am not going to provide a general review of the question here. It seems to me that, given the type of faces I see all around the room, you must have heard that, in philosophy, the love of God (l’amour de Dieu)9 has occupied a certain place. We have here a sweeping fact that analytic discourse cannot
but take into account, if only tangentially.


I will recall to mind here something that was said after I was, as the authors express themselves in this booklet, “excluded” from Sainte-Anne [Hospital]. In fact, I was not excluded; I withdrew. That’s a horse of a different color, especially given the importance of the term “excluded” in my topology – but it’s of no import, since that’s not what we’re here to talk about. Well-intentioned people – who are far worse than ill-intentioned ones – were surprised when they heard that I situated a certain Other
between man and woman that certainly seemed like the good old God of time immemorial. It was only an echo, but they made themselves the unpaid conduits thereof.


They were, by God, it must be admitted, from the pure philosophical tradition, and among those who claim to be materialists – that is why I say “pure,” for there is nothing more philosophical than materialism. Materialism believes that it is obliged, God only knows why – a serendipitous expression here – to be on its guard against this God who, as I said, dominated the whole debate regarding love in philosophy. Those people, to whose warm reception I owed a renewed audience, thus manifested a certain uneasiness.



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