Seminar IX :Identification 03

Seminar IX :Identification 03
第九研讨班 :认同

Jacques Lacan

15.11.61 I 2
Seminar 1: Wednesday 15 November 1961

It is therefore arbitrary to some extent, and nevertheless there are reasons enough for it, the fact is that this formula which has a meaning for you and has a weight which certainly goes beyond the attention that you may have granted it up to now, I am
going today to dwell on it in order to show a kind of introduction that we can rediscover in it. It is a question for us, at the point of the elaboration that we have arrived at, of
(9) trying to articulate in a more precise fashion something that we have already advanced more than once as a thesis: that nothing supports the traditional philosophical idea of a subject, except the existence of the signifier and its effects.


Such a thesis, which as you will see will be essential for every incarnation that we will subsequently be able to give to the effects of identification, requires that we should try to articulate in a more precise fashion how effectively we conceive of this dependence of the formation of the subject on the existence of the effects of the signifier as such.


We will even go further by saying that if we give to the word thinking a technical meaning: the thinking of those whose trade is thinking, one can, by looking closely at it, and in a way retrospectively, perceive that nothing of what is called thinking ever did anything other than to position itself somewhere within this problem.


From this, we will state that we cannot say that, at the very least, we contemplate thinking only, in a certain fashion, whether we wish it or not, whether you knew it or not, every research into, every experience of the unconscious, which we have
on this occasion about what this experience is, is something which is placed at this level of thinking where, in so far as we are no doubt going there together, but not all the same without me leading you there, the tangible relationship which is the most
present, the most immediate, the most incarnated of this effort, is the question that you can pose yourselves in this effort about the “who am 1?”.


What we have here is not an abstract philosophical game: for, on the subject of “who am I?” what I am trying to initiate you into, you doubtless know – at least some of you – that I mean it in (10) every possible sense. Those who know it may be, naturally,
those from whom I hear it, and I am not going to embarrass anyone by publishing here what I hear of it.


Moreover, why would I do it since I am going to grant you that the question is a
legitimate one? I can lead very far along this track without there being guaranteed for you for a single instant the truth of what I am telling you, even though in what I am telling you there is never a question of anything but of the truth and, in what I hear of it, why not say after all that this carries over into the dreams of those who address themselves to me. I remember one of the them – one can quote a dream -: “Why?”, dreamt one of my analysands, “does he not tell the truth about the truth?”.


I was the one in question in this dream. This dream ended up nevertheless with my subject in a fully awake state complaining to me about this discourse in which, according to him, the last word was always missing.


It does not resolve the question to say: you are children who are always wanting to believe that I am telling you the real truth (la vraie verite*): because this term, the real truth, has a meaning, and I would further say: it is on this meaning that the whole credit of psychoanalyis has been built.


Psychoanalyis presented itself at first to the world as being that which brought the real truth. Naturally, one falls quickly into all sorts of metaphors which allow the thing to escape. This real truth is what is concealed.


There will always be one, even in the most rigorous philosophical discourse: it is
on this that there is founded our credit in the world and the stupefying thing is that this credit still persists even though, for a good while now, not the least effort has been made to give even the slightest start to something which would respond to it.
(11) Under these circumstances I feel myself quite honoured to be questioned on this theme: “where is the real truth of your discourse?”.


And I can even, after all, find that it is precisely indeed in so far as I am not taken for a philosopher, but for a psychoanalyst, that I am posed this question. Because one of the most remarkable things in philosophical literature, is the degree to which among philosophers, I mean in so far as they are philosophising, when all is said and done the same question is never posed to philosophers, unless it is to admit with a
disconcerting facility that the greatest of them have never thought a word of what they have communicated to us in black and white and allowed themselves to think in connection with Descartes, for example, that he had only the most uncertain faith
in God because this suits one or other of his commentators unless it is the opposite that suits him.


There is one thing, in any case, which has never seemed to shake for anyone the credit of philosophers, which is that it has been possible to speak, with respect to each of them, and even the greatest, about a double truth.


That then I who, entering into psychoanalysis, put my feet in the platter by posing this question about truth, should suddenly feel the aforesaid platter getting warm under the soles of my feet, is something about which after all I can rejoice, since, if you reflect on it, I am all the same the one who turned on the gas. But, let us leave this now, let us enter into the identity-relationships of the subject, and let us enter into it through the Cartesian formula and you are going to see how I intend to tackle it today.


It is quite clear that there is absolutely no question of pretending to go beyond Descartes, but rather indeed to draw the (12) maximum effect from the utilization of the impasses whose foundation he connotes for us.


If you follow me then in a critique which is not at all a textual commentary, you should clearly remember what I intend to take from it for the good of my own discourse. “I think therefore I am” appears to me under this form to go against common usages to the point of becoming this worn down money without a figure that Mallarmé makes an allusion to somewhere.



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