Encore 24

Encore 24
Jacques Lacan

God and Woman’s jouissance

Be careful with this “more” – beware of taking it too far too quickly. I cannot designate it any better or otherwise because I have to rough it out (trancher)?3 and I have to go quickly.


There is a jouissance, since I am confining myself here to jouissance,34 a jouissance of the body that is, if I may express myself thus – why not makea book title out of it? it’ll be the next book in the Galilee collection – “beyond the phallus.” That would be cute, huh? And it would give another consistency to the women’s liberation movement. A jouissance beyond the phallus. . . .

尚欠缺一種歡爽。因為我目前限制自己先談歡爽,身體的歡爽—假如我容許我自己這樣表達—為什麼不用它來當書名?那會上伽利立文集的下一本書名:「超越陽具」。那個書名很酷,不是嗎? 那會讓女性解放運動,具有另一種一致性。超越陽具的歡爽…

You may have noticed – I am naturally speaking here to the few semblances of men I see here and there, fortunately I don’t know them for the most part, and that way I don’t presume anything about the others – that now and then, there is something that, for a brief moment, shakes (secoue) women up or rescues them (secourt).


When you look up the etymology of those two words in the Bloch et Von Wartburg that is so delectable to me, and that I am sure you don’t even all have on your bookshelves, you’ll see the relationship between them.35 Such things don’t happen by chance, all the same.


There is a jouissance that is hers (à elle), that belongs to that “she” (elle) that doesn’t exist and doesn’t signify anything.36 There is a jouissance that is hers about which she herself perhaps knows nothing if not that she experiences it – that much she knows. She knows it, of course, when it comes (arrive). It doesn’t happen (arrive) to all of them.


I don’t want to end up talking about putative frigidity, but one must isolate that aspect of relationships between men and women that is related to current trends (la mode). It’s very important. Of course in Freud’s discourse, alas, as in courtly love, all of that is covered over by minute considerations that have led to all kinds of problems {ravages). Minute considerations concerning clitoral jouissance and the jouissance that people call by whatever name they can find, the other one, precisely, the one that
I am trying to get you to approach by a logical pathway, because, as things currently stand, there is no other.


The plausibility of what I am claiming here – namely, that woman knows nothing of this jouissance – is underscored by the fact that in all the time people have been begging them, begging them on their hands and knees – I spoke last time of women psychoanalysts – to try to tell us, not a word!


We’ve never been able to get anything out of them. So we call this jouissance by whatever name we can come up with, “vaginal,” and speak of the posterior pole of the uterine orifice and other such “cunt-torsions” {conneries) – 70 that’s the word for it! If she simply experienced it and knew nothing about it, that would allow us to cast myriad doubts on this notorious {fameuse) frigidity.


That too is a theme, a literary theme. And it’s worth dwelling on for a moment. I’ve been doing nothing but that since I was twenty, exploring the philosophers on the subject of love. Naturally, I didn’t immediately focus on the question of love, but that did dawn on me at one point, with the
abbot Rousselot, actually, whom I mentioned earlier, and the whole quarrel about physical love and ecstatic love, as they are called.37


I understand why Gilson didn’t find that opposition to be a very good one.38 He thought that Rousselot had made a discovery that wasn’t really one, because that opposition was part of the problem, and love is just as ecstatic in Aristotle’s work as in Saint Bernard’s,39 assuming one knows how to read the chapters regarding çikia, friendship.


Some of you must surely know what literary debauchery occurred around that: Denis de Rougemont – have a look at Love in the Western World,40 it gets red hot! – and then another no stupider than anyone else, named Nygren, a Protestant, [the author of] Agape and Eros.41 Christianity naturally ended up inventing a God such that he is the one who gets off (jouii)\


There is, nevertheless, a little connection when you read certain serious authors, like women, as if by chance. I will give you a reference here to an author, a reference I owe to a very nice person who had read the author’s work and brought it to me. I read it immediately. I’d better write her name on the board, otherwise you won’t buy it. It is Hadewijch d’Anvers, a Beguine – she is what we so quaintly refer to as a mystic.42

可是,有一個小小的關聯,當你們閱讀某些嚴肅的作者,譬如女性的作者,好奇偶然地。我在此將給予你們一種指稱,給一位作者,一個指稱,我歸功於某個好人,他曾經閱讀這位作者的著作然後帶來給我。我立刻閱讀它。我最好寫下她的名字在黑板上,否則你們不會去買它。她的名字是Hadewijch d’Anvers 一位貝居安修會修女—我們很奇特地提到她,作為一位神秘主義者。

I don’t use the word “mystic” as Peguy did.43 Mysticism isn’t everything that isn’t politics. It is something serious, about which several people inform us – most often women, or bright people like Saint John of the Cross, because one is not obliged, when one is male, to situate oneself on
the side of VxΦx.


One can also situate oneself on the side of the not-whole. There are men who are just as good as women. It happens. And who also feel just fine about it. Despite – I won’t say their phallus – despite what encumbers them that goes by that name, they get the idea or sense that there must be a jouissance that is beyond. Those are the ones we call mystics.


I have already spoken about other people who were not too bad in terms of mysticism, but who were situated instead on the side of the phallic function, Angelus Silesius, for example.44 Confusing his contemplative eye with the eye with which God looks at him, must, if kept up, partake of perverse


For the Hadewijch in question, it’s like for Saint Teresa – you need but go to Rome and see the statue by Bernini45 to immediately understand that she’s coming. There’s no doubt about it. What is she getting off on? It is clear that the essential testimony of the mystics consists in saying that they experience it, but know nothing about it.


These mystical jaculations are neither idle chatter nor empty verbiage; they provide, all in all, some of the best reading one can find – at the bottom of the page, drop a footnote, “Add to that list Jacques Lacan’s Écrits” because it’s of the same order. Thanks to which, naturally, you are all going to be convinced that I believe in God. I believe in the jouissance of woman insofar as it is extra (en plus), as long as you put a screen in front of this “extra” until I have been able to properly explain it.


What was attempted at the end of the last century, in Freud’s time, what all sorts of decent souls around Charcot and others were trying to do, was to reduce mysticism to questions of cum (affaires de foutre). If you look closely, that’s not it at all. Doesn’t this jouissance one experiences and yet knows nothing about put us on the path of ex-sistence? And why not interpret one face of the Other, the God face, as based on feminine jouissance?


As all of that is produced thanks to the being of signifierness, and as that being has no other locus than the locus of the Other (Autre) that I designate with capital A, one sees the “cross-sightedness”46 that results. And as that is also where the father function is inscribed, insofar as castration is related
to the father function, we see that that doesn’t make two Gods (deux Dieu), but that it doesn’t make just one either.


In other words, it’s no accident that Kierkegaard discovered existence in a seducer’s little love affair. It’s by castrating himself, by giving up love, that he thinks he will accede to it.47 But perhaps, after all – why not? – Regine too existed. This desire for a good at one remove (au second degré), a good
that is not caused by a little a – perhaps it was through Regine that he attained that dimension.
February 20, 1973


「性的關係不存在」There is no sexual relationship 及「女人不存在」women don’t exist,「女人並非全部」women are not-whole or not-all 是拉康最令人困惑的幾個陳述,在這一篇裡,獲得比較請楚的一個解釋。

拉康所謂的「性關係不存在」,指的並非是一般男女的「性關係」,而是借用修道的神秘主義者的證詞:跟上帝的性靈互相的溝通,會獲得無限的永恆「狂喜」ecstasy。拉康把這種「狂喜」,用男女作愛的射精的歡爽來做換喻,變成人作為「陽具」的能指signierness,是跟作為「所指」signifiedness的上帝這個「女人」在做愛。所謂「女性的歡爽」,也就是上帝的歡爽,大他者the Other 的歡爽。

至於說「性關係不存在」,「女人不存在」,「女人並非全部」,是因為晚期拉康認為並非是上帝創造這個世界,而是人作為陽具的「能指」的想像界the imaginary 創造上帝,而「所指」也不再是被比喻為女人的「上帝」,或「大他者」,他們僅是實在界the Real的無意識the unconscious的空洞the role或空界 the void 的一部分,故非「全部」not-whole or not-all。


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