Archive for January, 2012

The Psychoses 23

January 31, 2012

The Psychoses 23
Jacques Lacan

On a god who does not deceive and
one who does






What is our method concerning President Schreber?


It’s undeniable that he expressed himself in common discourse to explain to us what had happened and was continuing to happen to him at the time he wrote his work. This testimony bears witness to structural transformations that are undoubtedly to be regarded as real, but here the verbal dominates since it’s through the intermediary of the subject’s written testimony that we have proof of this.


Let’s proceed methodically. By setting out from our knowledge of the importance of speech in the structuring of psychoneurotic symptoms we shall make progress in the analysis of this territory, psychosis.


We are not saying that psychosis has the same etiology as neurosis. We are not even saying that it is, like neurosis, a pure and simple fact of language – far from it. We are
simply remarking that psychosis is very rich with respect to what it can express
in discourse.


We have proof of this in the work that President Schreber bequeathed us and which Freud’s almost fascinated attention has recommended to our attention. On the basis of this testimony, by means of an internal analysis, Freud has shown us how this world was structured.


We shall proceed in the same way, setting out from the subject’s discourse, which
will enable us to approach the constituent mechanisms of psychosis.


Let it be clearly understood that we shall have to proceed methodically, step by step, not leaving out any detail on the pretext that a superficial analogy with a mechanism of neurosis is apparent. In short, we shall do nothing of what is so often done in the literature.


A certain Katan, for example, who has taken a special interest in the Schreber case, takes it for granted that the origin of his psychosis is to be located in his struggle against threatening masturbation provoked by his homosexual erotic investments upon the character who formed the prototype and at the same time the nucleus of his persecutory system, namely, Professor Flechsig.


1 This is supposed to have driven President Schreber so far as to undermine
reality, that is to say, to reconstruct, after a short period of twilight of the world,2 a new, unreal world, in which he didn’t have to give in to this masturbation that was thought to be so threatening.


Don’t we all feel that a mechanism of this kind, while it’s true that it enters into play in the neuroses at a certain point of their articulation, would here be having altogether di proportionate results?


President Schreber gives a very clear account of the first phases of his psychosis. And when he testifies that between the first psychotic attack, a phase called, not without foundation, prepsychotic, and the progressive establishment of the psychotic phase, at the height of the stabilization of which he wrote his work, he had a fantasy which was expressed in these words, that it really must be rather pleasant to be a woman succumbing to intercourse.*

苏瑞伯首先法官清楚地描述他的精神病的前几个时期。当他证实,在第一次精神病发作,被称为精神病前期,并不是没有基础的。然后精神病时期的逐渐建立,在这个时期的稳定状态的高潮,他写下他的著作。他有个幻见,可以这些字词表达: 成为女人,屈服于性交,一定是相当愉快。

He emphasizes that this thought, which takes him by surprise, has the character of having been imagined, while adding that he greeted it with indignation. There is a sort of moral conflict here.


We find ourselves in the presence of a phenomenon whose name nobody ever uses anymore, so that nobody knows how to classify things anymore – it’s a preconscious phenomenon.


This is the preconscious order at which Freud intervenes in the dynamics of
the dream, and to which he attaches so much importance in the Traumdeutung.


One gets the strong impression that this is coming from the ego. The emphasis placed by this It really must be rather pleasant… has the character of a seductive thought, which the ego is far from misrecognizing.


In a passage in the Traumdeutung dedicated to dreams of punishment Freud
admits that at the same level at which unconscious desires intervene in a dream another mechanism than the one that relies on the conscious-unconscious opposition may be present – The mechanism of dream formation, says Freud, would in general be greatly clarified if instead of the opposition between conscious and unconscious we were to speak of that between the ego and the repressed.4


This was written at a time when the notion of the ego was not yet part of Freudian theory, but you still see nevertheless that it was already present in his thought. / will only add that punishment-dreams are not in general subject to the condition that the day’s residue shall be of a distressing hind. On the contrary, they occur most easily where the opposite is the case – where the day’s residues are thoughts of a satisfying nature but the satisfaction which they express is a forbidden one. The only trace of these thoughts that appears in the manifest dream is their diametric opposite. . . . The essential characteristic of punishment-dreams would thus be that in their case the dream-constructing wish is not an unconscious wish derived from the repressed (from the system Ucs.) but a punitive one reacting against it and belonging to the ego, though at the same time an unconscious (that is to say, preconscious) one.5

这段被书写,当自我的观念还尚未是弗洛伊德理论的一部分,但是你们依旧可看出:它确实存在于他的思想里: 「我仅是补充说,惩罚性的梦通常并没有屈服于这个情况:白天残渣属于令人痛苦的后遗症。相反地,它们在相反的情况,最容易发生。譬如在白天的残渣是令人满意的特性的思想,但是他们表达的满意却是被禁止的满意。这些出现在显梦到思想的痕迹,是它们直接的对立、、、惩罚性的梦基本特性因此将是,在它们的情况,建构梦到愿望,并不是从受到潜抑者获得的无意识的愿望,而是回应它及属于自我的一种惩罚的愿望,虽然同时是一种无意识的愿望 (换句话说,前意识的愿望)」。

Anyone who is following the path I am gradually leading you down, by drawing your attention to a mechanism that is distinct from Verneinung and that can be constantly seen emerging in Freud’s discourse, will find here, once again, the need to distinguish between something that has been symbolized and something that hasn’t.


What relation is there between the emergence in the ego – and, let me emphasize, free from conflict – of the thought that it must be rather pleasant to be a woman succumbing to intercourse, and the conception which the delusion, achieving a degree of completion, will blossom into, namely that the man must be the permanent woman of God? There is reason, undoubtedly, to compare the two terms – the initial appearance of this thought that crossed Schreber’s mind, who was apparently sane at the time, and the delusion’s final state which, before an all-powerful personality with whom he has permanent erotic relations, situates him as a completely feminized being, a woman – this is what he says.


The initial thought legitimately appears to us to give a glimpse of the final theme. Nevertheless, we must not neglect the stages, the crises, that have made him pass from such a fleeting thought to such firmly delusional conduct and discourse.


We should not assume that the mechanisms in question are homogeneous with the mechanisms we are usually dealing with in the neuroses, and especially not with that of repression. Of course, to appreciate this one has to begin by understanding what repression means, that is, that it’s structured like a linguistic phenomenon.


The question arises whether we have before us a properly psychotic mechanism,
one that would be imaginary and that would extend from the first hint of identification with and capture by the feminine image, to the blossoming of a world system in which the subject is completely absorbed in his imagination by a feminine identification.


What I am saying, which is almost too artificial, clearly indicates to you in what direction we have to seek a resolution of our question. We shall lack the means to do it unless we can uncover its traces in the one element we do possess, namely the document itself, the subject’s discourse. This is why I introduced you last time to what will orient our investigation, namely the structure of this discourse itself.



The Psychoses 22

January 30, 2012

The Psychoses 22
Jacques Lacan

On a god who does not deceive and
one who does






The other day at my case presentation we saw a serious case.


It was a clinical case that I had certainly not chosen myself, but it was one
that in a way brought the unconscious out into the open, in the difficulty it
had in passing into the analytic discourse. It brought it out into the open
because, owing to the exceptional circumstances, everything that in another
subject would have passed into repression was found in him to be supported
by another language, this language of quite limited scope known as a dialect.


As it happens, the Corsican dialect had functioned for this subject in conditions
that accentuated even further the function of particularization belonging to all dialects. He had in fact lived in Paris from childhood, an only child of parents extremely closed in upon their own laws, speaking exclusively the Corsican dialect.


The perpetual quarreling of these two parental characters, an ambivalent manifestation of their extreme attachment to one another and of the fear of seeing a woman, a foreign object, appear, was carried out quite openly, plunging him directly into their conjugal intimacy.


All this in the Corsican dialect. Nothing of what went on in the house was conceived in anything but the Corsican dialect. There were two worlds, that of the elite, of the Corsican dialect, and then that which went on outside. This separation was still present in the subject’s life and he recounted to us the difference in his relations with the world between when he was with his mother and when he was out in the street.


What did this result in? This is a most conclusive case. It resulted in two things. The first, apparent when he was questioned, is the difficulty he had in calling to mind anything at all from this former register, that is, in expressing himself in his childhood dialect, the only one he ever spoke with his mother.


When I asked him to say something in this dialect, to repeat to me words he might have exchanged with his father, for example – / can’tt get it out, he replied. Moreover, one could see a neurosis in him, the traces of behavior that enabled us to divine a mechanism that one may call – this is a term I always use cautiously – regressive. In particular, his unusual way of exercising his genitality tended to get confused on the imaginary level with the regressive activity of his excremental functions.


But everything that was of the order of what is usually repressed, all the contents that are commonly expressed through the intermediary of neurotic symptoms, was perfectly limpid here, and I had no trouble in getting him to express it in words. Since it was borne by the language of the others, he expressed it in words all that much more easily.


I used the comparison of the censorship of a newspaper that not only has an extremely small circulation but is published in a dialect that is only understood by a minimum number of people.


The establishment of a common discourse, of a public discourse I would almost say, is an important factor in the specific functioning of the mechanism of repression. In itself repression stems from the impossibility of granting discourse to a certain past of the subject’s speech which is linked, as Freud stressed, to the specific world of
his infantile relations. It’s precisely this past of speech that continues to function in the primitive language.


Now, for this subject, this language is his Corsican dialect in which he was capable of saying the most extraordinary things, of flinging at his father for example – If you don’t go away, I shall punch you in the hurt. These things, which could have just as easily been said by a neurotic, having had to construct his neurosis in a different manner, were out in the open here in the register of the other language which was not
only dialectal but intrafamilial.

What is repression for a neurotic? It’s a language, another language that he manufactures with his symptoms, that is, if he is a hysteric or an obsessional, with the imaginary dialectic of himself and the other. The neurotic symptom acts as a language that enables repression to be expressed. This is precisely what enables us to grasp the fact that repression and the return of the repressed are one and the same thing, the front and back of a single process.


These remarks are not irrelevant to our problem.



The Psychoses 21

January 30, 2012

The Psychoses
Jacques Lacan


After having looked at speech, we shall now take a quick look at language, to which the triple division of the symbolic, the imaginary, and the real appropriately applies.
Certainly, the care Saussure took to eliminate considerations of motor articulation from his analysis of language clearly shows that he discerns its autonomy.9


Concrete discourse is real language, and language speaks [le langage, qa park]. The registers of the symbolic and the imaginary recur in the two other terms in which he expresses the structure of language, namely, the signified and the signifier.


The signifying material, such as I am always telling you it is, for example on this table, in these books, is the symbolic. If artificial languages are stupid it is because they are constructed on the basis of meaning. Someone recently reminded me of the forms of deduction that rule over Esperanto and which are such that once one knows ax one can deduce caw, heifer, veakr, and whatever else one wants to.

能指化的材料,譬如我总是在告诉你们的,例如,在这个表格,在这些书,都是符号界。假如人为的语言是愚笨的,那是因为它们是根据意义的基础被建构。最近有某人提醒我,规范「万国语」的推论的形式。内容如下:一旦我们知道ox (牛),我们就能推论出cow (母牛),heifer (小牛),vealer( 小牛肉),以及其他我们想要知道的东西。

And I asked him how one says, Death to the bastards!10 – this must be deducible from Lang live the king! This alone suffices to refute the existence of artificial languages, which attempt to model themselves on meaning, this as a rule being the reason why they are unused.


And then there is meaning, which always refers to meaning. Of course, the signifier may be caught up therein as soon as you give it a meaning, as soon as you create another signifier as signifier, something in this function of meaning. This is why it’s possible to speak of language.


But the signifier-signified division will always reproduce itself. There’s no doubt that meaning is by nature imaginary. Meaning is, like the imaginary, always in the end
evanescent, for it is tightly bound to what interests you, that is, to that in which you are ensnared.


You would know that hunger and love are the same thing, you would be like any animal, truly motivated. But owing to the existence of the signifier your personal little meaning – which is also absolutely heart-breakingly generic, human all too human – leads you much further.


Since there is this damned system of the signifier, such that you have not yet been able to understand either how it came to be there, how it came to exist, what purpose it serves, or where it is leading you, it is what leads you away.


When he speaks, the subject has the entire material of language at his disposal, and this is where concrete discourse begins to be formed. Firstly, there is a synchronic whole, which is language as a simultaneous system of structured groups of opposition, then there is what occurs diachronically, over time, and which is discourse. One cannot but give discourse a certain direction in time, a direction that is defined in a linear manner, M. de Saussure tells us.11


I leave the responsibility for that statement with him. Not that I believe it to be false – it is basically true that there is no discourse without a certain temporal order, and consequently without a certain concrete succession, even if it is a virtual one.


If I read this page starting from the bottom reading up, backwards, the effect won’t be the same as if I read it in the right direction, and in certain cases this may give rise to an extremely serious confusion. But it is not quite exact to say that it is a simple line, it is more probably a set of several lines, a stave. It is in this diachronism that discourse is set up.


The signifier as existing synchronically is sufficiently characterized in delusional
talk by a modification I’ve already pointed out here, namely that certain elements become isolated, laden, take on a value, a particular force of inertia, become charged with meaning, with a meaning and nothing more. Schreber’s book is overflowing with them.


Take a word such as Nervenankang, for example, nerve-contact, a word of the fundamental language. Schreber discerns perfectly well which words have come to him through inspiration, precisely by way of the Nervenanhang, which have been repeated to him in their elective meaning which he does not always understand terribly well.


Seelenmord, soul murder, for example, is another of these words, which is problematic for him, but which he knows has a particular sense. Nevertheless, he talks about all this in a discourse that is indeed our own, and his book, it must be said, is remarkably written, clear, and natural.


Moreover, he is as coherent as are many philosophical systems of our time, where we constantly see somebody suddenly get stung, at a detour on the path, by a tarantula that makes him regard Bovaryism and duration as the key to the world and reconstruct the entire world around this notion, without one’s knowing why it is this one that he has gone and picked out.


I do not see how Schreber’s system is of any less value than those of philosophers
whose general theme I’ve just profiled. And what Freud remarks at the end of his study is that this character has written some amazing things that resemble what I, Freud, have described.


This book, then, written in ordinary discourse, signals the words that for the subject have taken on such a particular weight. Let’s call this erotization, and let’s avoid explanations that are too simple. When the signifier finds itself charged thus, the subject is perfectly well aware of it.


The moment Schreber employs the term instance to define the various forces articulated in the world he is implicated in – he also has his little instances – he says, Instance, that is mine. The others didn’t say it to me, it is my normal discourse.12


What happens at the level of meaning? The insult is always a rupture in the system of language, just as words of love are. Whether or not Sow! Is charged with obscure meaning, and probably it is, we already have here an indication of this dissociation.


This meaning, like all meaning worthy of the name, refers to another meaning. It is indeed what here characterizes the allusion. In saying, I’ve just been to the butcher’s, the patient points out to us that it refers to another meaning. Naturally, it is a bit oblique, she would prefer it was I who understand. .


Beware those who say to you – You understand. It is always so as to send you somewhere else than where it is a question of going. That’s what she’s doing. You understand perfectly well, this means that she herself isn’t very sure of the meaning, and that the latter refers not so much to a system of continuous and reconcilable meaning as to meaning as ineffable, to the meaning of’ her own reality, to her own personal fragmentation.


And then there is the real, the well and truly real articulation, the other’s sleight of hand. Real speech, I mean speech that is expressed, appears at another point of the field, not just at any point, but at that of the other, the puppet, as an element of the external world.


The big S whose medium is speech, analysis warns us, is not what a vain people thinks it is.13 There is the real person who is before you and who takes up space – there is this in the presence of human beings, they take up space, at a pinch you can get ten of you into your office, but not a hundred and fifty- there is he whom you see, who manifestly captivates you and is capable of making you jump up and hug him – an ill-considered act of the imaginary order.


And then there is the Other whom we were talking about, who is the subject also, but not the reflection of what you see in front of you, and not simply what takes place insofar as you see yourself seeing yourself.


If what I am saying is not true, then Freud said nothing true, for this is what the unconscious means.


There are several possible othernesses, and we shall see how they manifest themselves in a complete delusion like Schreber’s. First there are day and night, the sun and the moon, those things that always return to the same place, which Schreber calls the natural world order.14


There is the otherness of the Other that corresponds to the S, that is, the big Other, the subject who is unknown to us, the Other who is symbolic by nature, the Other one addresses oneself to beyond what one sees. In between there are objects.


And then, at the level of the S, there is something that is of the dimension of the imaginary, the ego and the body, whether fragmented or not, but more fragmented
than not.


I shall leave you there for today. This analysis of structure begins what I shall speak to you about next time.


We shall try to understand, on the basis of this little picture, what is happening
to Schreber, the delusional who has arrived at complete fulfillment and, ultimately, at a perfectly adapted delusion.


What is characteristic of Schreber in fact is that he never stopped raving at full bore, but had adapted himself so well that the director of the psychiatric hospital said of him – He is such a nice man.


We are fortunate in having in him a man who communicates his entire delusional system to us, and at a time when it is full-blown. Before we start wondering how he entered psychosis and giving the history of the prepsychotic phase, before we take things up in the sense of their genesis, as everyone always does, which is the source of inexplicable confusions, we shall convey them such as they are given to us in Freud’s observation, who only ever had this book, who never saw the patient.


You will see how the different elements of a system are modified when constructed as a function of the coordinates of language. This approach is certainly legitimate, concerning as it does a case that is only given to us through a book, and it is what will enable us to reconstitute its dynamics in an effective way. But we shall start with its dialectics.
7 December 1955



The Psychoses 20

January 29, 2012

The Psychoses
Jacques Lacan


In saying to someone, You are my woman, you are implicitly saying to her, / am your man, but you are saying to her first, You are my woman, that is, you are establishing her in the position of being recognized by you, by means of which she will be able to recognize you.


This speech is therefore always beyond language. And such a commitment, like any other utterance, even a lie, conditions all the discourse that follows, and here, what I understand by discourse includes acts, steps, the contortions of puppets, yourselves included, caught up in the game.


Beginning with an utterance a game is instituted, entirely comparable to what happens in Alice in Wonderland when the servants and other characters of the Queen’s court start playing cards by dressing themselves up in the cards and themselves becoming the King of Hearts, the Queen of Spades, and the Jack of Diamonds.


An utterance commits you to maintaining it through your discourse, or to repudiating it, or to objecting to it, or to conforming to it, to refuting it, but, even more, to complying with many things that are within the rules of the game. And even should the Queen change the rules from one moment to the next, this changes nothing essential – once you have entered the play of symbols, you are always forced to act
according to a rule.


In other words, whenever a puppet talks it’s not the puppet that talks, but it’s someone behind it. The question is what is the function of the character one encounters on this occasion. What we can say is that for the subject it’s clearly something real that is speaking. Our patient is not saying that there is someone else behind him who is speaking. She receives her own speech from him, but not inverted, her own speech is in the other who is herself, the little other, her reflection in the mirror, her counterpart. Sow! gives tit for tat, and one no longer knows whether the tit or the tat comes first.


That the utterance is expressed in the real means that it is expressed in the puppet. The Other at issue in this situation is not beyond the partner, it is
beyond the subject herself – this is the structure of the allusion, it indicates itself in a beyond of what it says.


Let us try to orientate ourselves by means of this game of four implied by what I said last time.7


The small o is the gentleman she encounters in the corridor and there is no
big O. It’s small o’ who says, I’ve just been to the butchers. And who is I’ve
just been to the butcher’s said of? Of S. Small o said Sow! to her. The person
who is speaking to us, and who spoke qua delusional, o’, undoubtedly receives
somewhere her own message in an inverted form from the small other, and
what she says affects the beyond which she herself is as subject and which,
by definition, simply because she is a human subject, she can only speak of
by allusion.


There are only two ways one can talk about this S, about this subject that we radically are. These are – either truly to address oneself to the Other, the big Other, and to receive from it the message that concerns you in an inverted form – or to indicate its direction, its existence, in the form of an allusion.


The reason that the woman is strictly a paranoiac is that for her the cycle contains an exclusion of the big Other. The circuit closes on the two small others who are the puppet opposite her, which speaks, and in which her own message resonates, and herself who, as an ego, is always an other and speaks by allusion.


This is the important thing. She speaks by allusion so well that she doesn’t know what she is saying. What does she say? She says – I’ve just been to the butcher’s. Now, who has just been to the butcher’s?


A quartered pig. She does not know that she is saying this, but she says it nevertheless. That other to whom she is speaking, she says to him about herself – / , the sow, have just been to the butcher’s, I am already disjointed, a fragmented body, membra disjecta, delusional, and my world is fragmenting, like me. That’s what she’s saying.
That way of expressing it, however understandable it might appear to us, is nevertheless, to put it mildly, a tiny bit amusing.


There is another thing which concerns temporality. It is clear from the patient’s words that we do not know who spoke first. To all appearances it was not our patient, or at least it was not necessarily her. We will never know since we are not going to time dereal [dtreel\ utterances, but if what I’ve just sketched out is correct, if the response is the allocution – that is, what the patient actually said – then the I’ve just been to the butcher’s presupposes the response, Sow!


In true speech, on the contrary, the allocution is the response. What responds to speech is in effect the consecration of the Other as my woman or as my master, and so here it’s the response that presupposes the allocution. In delusional speech the Other is truly excluded, there is no truth behind, there is so little truth that the subject places none there himself, and in the face of this phenomenon, this ultimately raw phenomenon, his attitude is one of perplexity.


It will be a long time before he attempts to restore an order, which we shall call a delusional order, around this. He does not restore it, as is thought, through deduction and construction, but in a way that we shall later see is not unrelated to the primitive phenomenon itself.


The Other being truly excluded, what concerns the subject is actually said by the little other, by shadows of others, or, as Schreber will express himself to designate all human beings he encounters, by fabricated, or improvised men. The small other effectively presents an unreal character, tending towards the unreal.


The translation that I’ve just given you is not entirely correct, there are resonances in German that I’ve tried to render with the word fautu, fabricated.



The Psychoses 18

January 29, 2012

The Psychoses 18
Jacques Lacan

Those of you who attend my presentations will recall that I was dealing with
two people and one single delusion, what is known as a dilire a deux.


It wasn’t very easy for me to draw out either daughter or mother. I’ve reason to think that the daughter had been examined and presented before I became involved with her and that she had seen the role that patients play in a teaching ward a good dozen times. It does not matter whether or not one is delusional, one gets fed up fairly quickly with these sorts of exercises, and she wasn’t particularly well disposed.


It was nevertheless possible to bring out certain things, and in particular the following. Paranoid delusion, since she is paranoid, is far from presupposing a character base of pride, mistrust, irritability, psychological rigidity, as people say.


At least, alongside the chain of interpretations, difficult to grasp, of which she felt she was the victim, this young girl had, on the contrary, the feeling that a person as good and kind as herself who, into the bargain, was surrounded by the many trials she had undergone, could only benefit from benevolence, from a general sympathy – and indeed the head of her ward, in making his report on her, spoke of her only as a charming woman loved by all.


In a word, after having had all the difficulty in the world tackling the subject, I approached the center of what was manifestly present there. Of course, her basic concern was to prove to me that no element was subject to reticence, while at the same time not allowing the doctor any room for the wrong interpretation, of which she was certain in advance. All the same she confided to me that one day, as she was leaving her home, she had a run-in in the hallway with an ill-mannered sort of chap, which came as no surprise to her, since this shameful married man was the steady lover of one of her neighbors, someone of loose morals.


On passing her – she could not hide this from me, it still weighed upon her chest – he had said a dirty word to her, a dirty word that she was disinclined to repeat to me because, as she put it, it devalued her. Nevertheless, a certain gentleness that I had put into approaching her meant that after five minutes of chat we were on good terms with one another, and on that subject she confessed to me with a conceding laugh that she was not completely innocent in this matter for she herself had said something in passing. This something, which she confessed to me more easily than what she had heard, was this – I’ve just been to the butcher’s.


Naturally, I’m like everybody else, I make the same mistakes as you, I do everything I tell you that you mustn’t do. I’m no less in the wrong – even when it works. A true opinion remains no less an opinion from the point of view of science, as Spinoza shows. If you understand, so much the better, keep it to yourself.


The important thing is not to understand, but to attain the true. But if you attain it by chance, even if you understand, you don’t understand. Naturally, I understand – which proves that we all have a little something in common with delusionals. I have within myself, as you have within yourselves, what there is that is delusional in the normal man. I’ve just been to the butcher’s – if I am told that there is something there to
understand I may well declare that there is a reference to pig. I didn’t say Pig, I said Pork.6


She agreed entirely. That was what she wanted me to understand. It was perhaps also what she wanted the other to understand. Except that this is precisely what one must not do. What one has to be interested in is the point of knowing why she wanted the other to understand this, precisely, and why she didn’t say it to him clearly, but by allusion.


If I understand I continue, I don’t dwell on it, since I’ve already understood. This brings out what it is to enter into the patient’s game – it is to collaborate in his resistance. The patient’s resistance is always your own, and when a resistance succeeds it is because you are in it up to your neck, because you understand. You understand, you are wrong. What it is, precisely, that has to be understood is why there is something there given to be understood. Why did she say, I’ve just been to the butchers and not Pig?


I limited my commentary, because of insufficient time, to pointing out to you that it contained a gem, and showed you the similarity with the discovery that consisted in observing one day that certain patients who complain of auditory hallucinations were manifestly making movements of the throat, of the lips; in other words, they were articulating them themselves. Here, it’s not the same, it’s similar, and it’s even more interesting because it’s not the same.


I said – I’ve just been to the butcher’s, and then she blurts it out to us, what did he say? He said – Sow! This is the final word – thread, needle, my soul, my life, things happen thus in our existence.

我说:「我刚刚去过屠夫的店。」然后她跟我们含糊地说出。他说了什么?他说:母猪! 这是最后的字词–「线、针、我的灵魂、我的生命」,这些事情因此发生在我们的存在里。

Let’s pause here a moment. There he is, all pleased with himself, you are saying to yourselves. This is what he teaches us-in speech the subject receives his message in an inverted form. Disabuse yourselves, this isn’t true. The message in question is not identical with speech, far from it, at least not in the sense in which I describe it to you as the form of mediation where the subject receives his message from the other in an inverted form.

让我们在此暂停一下。「他在那里,意气风发地」,你们跟你们自己说。「这就是他教导我们的—主体以倒转的方式,接受他的讯息。」这个受到质疑的讯息,跟言说并不相一致,根本就不相一致,至少在我跟你们描述它的意义,作为中介的形式。 在那里,主体以一个倒转的形式,从大他者接收他的讯息。

First, who is this character? We have already said he is a married man, the lover of a girl who is herself the friend of our patient and heavily implicated in the desire of which our patient is the victim – she is not its center but, I would say, its main character. Our subject’s relations with this couple are ambiguous. They are no doubt persecutory and hostile characters, but they are not grasped in such a terribly litigious style, which surprised those present at the interview.


What characterizes this subject’s relations with the outside is rather her perplexity – how was it possible, through malicious gossip, no doubt through taking legal action, to get them into hospital? The universal interest bestowed on them has a tendency to be repeated. From this there arise these beginnings of erotomaniacal elements that we observed in the presentation. They aren’t properly speaking erotomaniacs, but they’re inhabited by the feeling that one is interested in them.

相反地,这位主体跟外在的关系的特色是她的困惑: 这如何可能,通过恶意的闲谈,无可置疑是通过採取法律的行动,就将他们送进医院?大众给予他们的关怀具有一种会被重复的倾向。从这里,我们在研讨班观察到的色情狂的要素的这些开始就产生。适当来说,他们并不是色情狂,但是他们萦绕著这种感觉:有人对他们感到興趣。

Sow, what is that? It is effectively her message, but is it not rather her message to herself?

母猪! 那是什么?有效的是她的讯息,但是这难道不是她给予她自己的讯息。

At the beginning of everything that was said, there was the intrusion of the said neighbor into the relationship of these isolated women, who had remained closely bound to one another in their existence, who were unable to separate when the younger married, who suddenly fled the dramatic situation that seems to have been created in the marital relations of the latter by the threats of her husband who, according to the medical certificates, wanted nothing less than to slice her up.


We get the feeling here that the insult in question – the term insult is quite essential here and has always been stressed in the clinical phenomenology of paranoia – agrees with the process of defense, the pathway of expulsion, to which the two patients felt compelled to proceed in relation to the neighbor who was considered primordially invading.


She would always come and knock at their door while they were at their toilet or just as they were dining or reading. Above all, it was a matter of distancing this person who was essentially taken to be intrusive. Things only started to become problematic when this expulsion, this refusal, this rejection, took full effect, I mean when they actually threw her out.



The Psychoses 17

January 28, 2012

The Psychoses 17
Jacques Lacan

“I’ve just been to the butcher’s”





In two articles respectively entitled “The Loss of Reality in Neurosis and Psychosis” and “Neurosis and Psychosis”1 Freud provides us with interesting information on the question of what distinguishes neurosis from psychosis.


I shall try to emphasize what distinguishes them from one another with respect to the disturbances they create in the subject’s relations with reality.


It is also an opportunity to recall, in a precise and structured way, what is meant by repression in neurosis.

Freud stresses the extent to which the subject’s relations with reality are not the same in neurosis and psychosis. In particular, the clinical characteristic of the psychotic is distinguished by this profoundly perverted relation to reality known as a delusion. For this great difference in organization, or disorganization, there must be, Freud tells us, a deep-seated structural reason.


How are we to spell out this difference?


When we speak of neurosis, we ascribe a certain role to flight, to avoidance, in which conflict with reality plays a part. Attempts have been made to designate the function of reality in the onset of neurosis by the notion of traumatism, which is an etiological notion.


This is one thing, but another is the moment in a neurosis when a certain rupture with reality occurs in the subject. What is the reality involved? Freud stresses from the outset that the reality sacrificed in neurosis is a part of psychical reality.


We are already entering here upon a very important distinction – reality is not synonymous with external reality. When he triggers his neurosis the subject elides, scotomizes as it has since been said, a part of his psychical reality, or, in another language, a part of his id.2

我们在此已经正在从事一个非常重要的区别: 现实界并不是跟外在的现实界是同义语。当他他触发他的神经症时,主体闪躲,视而不见他的心理现实界的一部分,依照后来的说法,或是换句话说,闪躲,视而不见他的本我的一部分。

This part is forgotten but continues to make itself heard. How? In a manner that all my teaching emphasizes – in a symbolic manner.


In the first article I mentioned Freud evokes a storehouse that the subject sets aside in reality and in which he preserves resources to be used in constructing the external world – this is where psychosis will borrow its material from.


Neurosis, Freud says, is something quite different, for the subject attempts to make the reality that he at one time elided re-emerge by lending it a particular meaning, a secret meaning, which we call symbolic.3


But Freud does not emphasize this properly. Overall the impressionistic manner in which the term symbolic is used has until now never been made precise in a way that
is really consistent with what is at stake.


I point out, in passing, that I don’t always have the opportunity to provide the textual references that a number of you would like, because they mustn’t interrupt my discourse.


Nevertheless I do give you, it seems to me, quotations where necessary. Many passages in Freud’s work show that he felt the need for a complete articulation of the symbolic order, for this is what was at stake for him in neurosis, to which he opposes psychosis, where at some time there has been a hole, a rupture, a rent, a gap, with respect to external reality.


In neurosis, inasmuch as reality is not fully rearticulated symbolically into the external world, it is in a second phase that a partial flight from reality, an incapacity to confront this secretly preserved part of reality, occurs in the subject. In psychosis, on the contrary, reality itself initially contains a hole that the world of fantasy will subsequently fill.


Can we be satisfied with so simple a definition, so summary an opposition between neurosis and psychosis? Surely not, and Freud himself indicates, subsequent to his reading of Schreber’s text, that it’s not enough just to see how symptoms are made. It is also necessary to discover the mechanism of their formation.

我们能够满足于神经症与精神疾病如此简单的一个定义,如此结论的一种对立吗? 当然不满足。随着他阅读苏瑞伯的文本,弗洛伊德本人指示:这是不足够的,仅是看出病症如何被形成。也有需要发现这种形成的机制结构。

Let’s start with the idea that a hole, a fault, a point of rupture, in the structure of the external world finds itself patched over by psychotic fantasy. How is this to be explained? We have at our disposal the mechanism of projection.

让我们从这个观念开始:这外在世界的结构,有 一个空洞,一个断层,一个断裂点,发现它自己被精神疾病的幻想所缝满。这要如何被解释?我们可用的工具是投射的机制结构。

I shall start with that today, insisting upon it in particular because a number of you working on the Freudian texts I’ve already commented on have said that, in returning to a passage whose importance I’ve pointed out, you are still hesitant over the meaning to give to a fragment, even though it’s very clear, concerning the episodic hallucination in which the paranoid potentialities of the Wolf Man appear.


While what I was stressing when I said that what has been rejected from the symbolic reappears in the real was grasped very well, a discussion arose over the way I translate the patient does not want to know anything about it in the sense of repression.4


However, to act on the repressed through the mechanism of repression is to know something about it, for repression and the return of the repressed are one and the same thing, expressed elsewhere than in the subject’s conscious language. The difficulty for some was their failure to grasp that what is involved is of the order of knowledge
[un savoir].


I shall quote you another passage, taken from the Schreber case. While Freud is explaining to us the mechanism of projection as such, which is supposed to explain the reappearance of fantasy in reality, he pauses to observe that we cannot speak here purely and simply of projection.


This is all too self-evident if one thinks of the way this mechanism functions, for example, in the delusion of so-called projective jealousy, which consists in imputing to one’s spouse infidelities of which one imaginatively feels guilty oneself. The
delusion of persecution is quite different and manifests itself through interpretive intuitions in the real.


Here are the terms in which Freud expresses himself -It is incorrect to say that the internally suppressed sensation – Verdrangung is a symbolization, and Unterdriickung simply indicates that something has fallen underneath – is once again projected outwards – this is the repressed and the return of the repressed – But instead we must say that what is rejected – you perhaps recall the note of insistence that usage has given this word – returns from without?


There you have a text to add to the ones that I’ve already quoted in the same vein, and which are pivotal. To be precise, the text Die Vemeinung that M. Hyppolite gave us a commentary on has enabled us to articulate with precision that there is a moment that is, one might say, the point of origin of symbolization.


Let it be clearly understood that this point of origin is not a point in development but answers to the requirement that symbolization has to have a beginning. Now, at any point in development something may occur 58 that is the contrary of Bejahung – a Vemeinung that is in some way primitive, to which Vemeinung in its clinical consequences is a sequel. The distinction between the two mechanisms, Vemeinung and Bejahung, is absolutely essential.


We should be better off to abandon this term projection. What we are concerned with here has nothing to do with the psychological projection that makes us – when for example it concerns those about whom we have nothing but extremely mixed feelings – always greet everything they do with at least a certain amount of confusion as to their intentions.


Projection in psychosis is not that at all; it’s the mechanism that makes what has got caught up in the Vemerfisng – that is, what has been placed outside the general symbolization structuring the subject – return from without.


What is this three-card trick we are all prey to, this strange juggler’s game between the symbolic, the imaginary, and the real? Since we don’t know the juggler we can ask the question. I am putting it on this year’s agenda. It will * enable us to define what is called the relation to reality and at the same time to articulate what the goal of analysis is, without falling into the constant confusions made in analytic theory on this subject. What are we talking about when we talk about adaptation to reality? Nobody knows what reality is, until it has been defined, which is not altogether simple.


To introduce the problem I shall begin from a thoroughly up-to-the-minute element. No one can say that this seminar is merely a commentary of texts, in the sense in which it would involve a pure and simple exegesis – these things are alive for us in our daily practice, in our supervisions, in the way we conduct our interpretation, in the way we deal with resistances.


So I shall borrow an example from my case presentation of last Friday.



The Psychosis 16

January 28, 2012

The Psychoses 16
Jacques Lacan



I am not going to answer the first question. Is it true speech? – at the outset we can’t know. On the other hand, what does he talk to you about? About himself no doubt, but first about one object that isn’t like any of the others, about an object that is situated in the prolongation of the dual dialectic – he speaks to you about something that has spoken to him.


The very basis of the paranoid structure is the fact that the subject has understood something that he formulates, that something has taken the form of speech and speaks to him. No one, of course, is in any doubt that this is a fantasized being, not even he, for he is always in a position to admit the totally ambiguous character of the source of the utterances that have been addressed to him.


The paranoiac bears witness to you concerning the structure of this being that speaks to the subject.


You must already be able to tell the difference in level between alienation as the general form of the imaginary and alienation in psychosis. It’s not simply a matter of identification, and of scenery swinging over onto the side of the little other. From the moment the subject speaks, the Other, with a big O, is there. Without this there would be no problem of psychosis. Psychotics would be speaking machines.


It’s precisely insofar as he speaks to you that you take his testimony into account. The question is this. What is the structure of this being that speaks to him, and that everybody agrees is fantasmatic? It’s precisely the S in the sense in which the analyst understands it, but an S with a question mark.


What part in the subject talks? Analysis says it’s the unconscious. Naturally, for this question to make sense you have to have already admitted that the unconscious is something that speaks within the subject, beyond the subject, and even when the subject doesn’t know it, and that says more about him than he believes.


Analysis says that in the psychoses this is what speaks. Is this enough? Absolutely not, for the whole question is how it [ga] speaks and what the structure of paranoid discourse is. Freud gave us an altogether gripping dialectic on this point.


It’s based on the utterance [enonci] of a fundamental tendency that might eventually be recognized in a neurosis, namely – / love him and You love me.


There are three ways of negating this, says Freud. He doesn’t beat about the bush, he doesn’t tell us why the unconscious of psychotics is such a good grammarian and such a bad philologist – from the philologist’s viewpoint all this is in fact extremely suspect. Don’t think that this works like a high school grammar book – there are, depending on the language, many ways of saying / love him. Freud doesn’t stop there, he says there are three ways, and three types of delusion, and it works.


The first way to negate it is to say – Its not I who love him, its she, my conjoint, my double. The second is to say – Its not him that I love, its her.

At this level the defense isn’t adequate for the paranoid subject, the disguise is inadequate, he isn’t safe, projection has to enter into play. The third possibility
-I do not love him, I hate him. Here inversion is also inadequate, this at least is what Freud tells us, and the mechanism of projection must also intervene, namely – He hates me. And there we have the delusion of persecution.


10 “Case of Paranoia/’ SE 12:63-65. Freud in fact mentions four kinds of contradiction.
The fourth is: “I do not love him at all – 1 do not love anyone.”


The high degree of synthesis that this construction contributes is illuminating for us, but you see the questions that remain open. Projection has to intervene as a supplementary mechanism whenever there is no effacement of the I


This isn’t totally unacceptable, though we would like more information about it. Furthermore, it’s clear that the not, the negation taken in its most categorical form, definitely doesn’t have, when applied to these different terms, the same value. But on the whole this construction comes close to something, it works, and it situates things at their true level by tackling them from this angle of, I would say, principal logomachy.


Perhaps what I have said to you this morning will give you some indication that we can rephrase the question differently. / love him – is this a message, an utterance, a testimony, the brute recognition of a fact in its neutralized state?


Take things in terms of a message. In the first case, Its she that loves him, the subject gets another to carry his message. This alienation surely places us on the level of the little other – the ego speaks through the intermediary of the alter ego, which has meanwhile changed sex. We shall restrict ourselves to observing the inverted alienation. In delusions of jealousy, this identification with the other with a reversal of the sign of sexualization is in the foreground.


On the other hand, by analyzing the structure this way, you see that it isn’t, in any case, a question of projection in the sense in which it can be integrated into a mechanism of neurosis. This projection consists in effect of imputing one’s own infidelities to the other – when one is jealous of one’s wife, it’s because one has a few little peccadilloes of one’s own to reproach oneself with.


The same mechanism can’t be invoked in the delusion of jealousy, probably psychotic, such as it’s presented either in Freud’s case or in the register into which I myself have just tried to insert it, where it’s the person you are identified with through an inverted alienation, namely your own wife, that you make the messenger of your feelings concerning, not even another man, but, as the clinic shows, a more or less indefinite number of men.


The properly paranoid delusion of jealousy is repeatable indefinitely, it re-emerges at every turning point of experience and may implicate fairly well any subject who appears on the horizon, and even ones that don’t.


Now, Its not him that I love, its her. This is another type of alienation, no longer inverted, but diverted. The other addressed in erotomania is very special, since the subject doesn’t have any concrete relations with him, so much so that it has been possible to speak in terms of a mystical bond or platonic love.


He is very often a distant object with whom the subject is happy to communicate in writing, without even knowing whether what’s written will get to its destination. The least that can be said is that there is diverted alienation of the message. The accompanying depersonalization of the other is apparent in that heroic perseverance through every trial, as the erotomaniacs will themselves say.


The erotomaniacal delusion is addressed to such a neutralized other that he is inflated to the very dimensions of the world, since the universal interest attached to the adventure, as de Clerambault used to say, is an essential part of it.


In the third case we are dealing with something much closer to negation. It’s a converted alienation, in that love has become hatred. The profound deterioration of the entire system of the other, its reduction ratio, the extensive nature of interpretations about the world, shows you here the properly imaginary disturbance at its maximum extension.


The relations with the Other in delusions now call for investigation. Our terms will help us to reply all the better, through making us distinguish between the subject, he who talks, and the other with whom he is caught in the imaginary relation, the center of gravity of his individual ego, and in which there is no speech. These terms will enable us to characterize psychosis and neurosis in a new way.
30 November 1955



The Psychoses 15

January 27, 2012

The Psychoses 15
Jacques Lacan




Now, there is another level. She is talking about herself, and she happens to say a little bit more than she would have liked to. This is where we perceive that she is deluding.


Here she is talking about what is our common object – the other, with a small o. It is indeed still she who is talking, but there is another structure here, which moreover doesn’t reveal itself entirely.


It’s not quite as if she were talking to me about nothing in particular, she is talking to me about something which to her is very interesting, vital, she is talking about something to which she nevertheless continues to be committed – in short, she bears witness.


Let us try to probe a bit the notion of bearing witness. Is bearing witness purely and simply communication, too? Surely not. It’s clear however that everything we attach value to as communication is of the order of bearing witness.


Disinterested communication is ultimately only failed testimony, that is, something upon which everybody is agreed. Everyone knows that this is the ideal of the transmission of knowledge. The entire system of thought of the scientific community is based on the possibility of a communication that concludes with an experiment that everybody can agree on. The very institution of the experiment is a function of testimony.


Here we are dealing with another sort of otherness. I can’t repeat all I once said about what I have called paranoid knowledge, since I shall also have to take it up again constantly over this year’s discourse, but I am going to give you some idea of it.


What I designated thus in my first communication to the group Evolution psychiatrique, which at the time was quite remarkably original, was aimed at the paranoid affinities between all knowledge of objects as such. All human knowledge stems from the dialectic of jealousy, which is a primordial manifestation of communication. It’s a matter of an observable generic notion, behavioristically observable. What takes place between two young children involves this fundamental transitivism expressed by the fact that one child who has beaten another can say – The other beat me. It’s not that he is lying – he is the other, literally.


This is the basis of the distinction between the human world and the animal world. Human objects are characterized by their neutrality and indefinite proliferation. They are not dependent on the preparation of any instinctual coaptation of the subject, in the way that there is coaptation, housing, of one chemical valency by another. What makes the human world a world covered with objects derives from the fact that the object of human interest is the object of the other’s desire.


How is this possible? It’s possible because the human ego is the other and because in the beginning the subject is closer to the form of the other than to the emergence of his own tendency. He is originally an inchoate collection of desires – there you have the true sense of the expression fragmented body – and the initial synthesis of the ego is essentially an alter ego, it is alienated.


The desiring human subject is constructed around a center which is the other insofar as he gives the subject his unity, and the first encounter with the object is with the object as object of the other’s desire.


This defines, within the speech relationship, something that originates somewhere else – this is exactly the distinction between the imaginary and the real. A primitive otherness is included in the object, insofar as primitively it’s the object of rivalry and competition. It’s of interest only as the object of the other’s desire.


The said paranoid knowledge is knowledge founded on the rivalry of jealousy, over the course of the primary identification I have tried to define by means of the mirror stage.


This rivalrous and competitive ground for the foundation of the object is precisely what is overcome in speech insofar as this involves a third party. Speech is always a pact, an agreement, people get on with one another, they agree – this is yours, this is mine, this is this, that is that

dudes with an experiment that everybody can agree on. The very institution
of the experiment is a function of testimony.


But the aggressive character of primitive competition leaves its mark on every type of discourse about the small other, about the Other as third party, about the object. It’s not for nothing that in Latin testimony is called testis and that one testifies on one’s balls. In everything of the order of testimony there is always some commitment by the subject, and a virtual struggle in which the organism is always latent.


This dialectic always carries the possibility that I may be called upon to annul the other, for one simple reason. The beginning of this dialectic being my alienation in the other, there is a moment at which I can be put into the position of being annulled myself because the other doesn’t agree. The dialectic of the unconscious always implies struggle, the impossibility of coexistence with the other, as one of its possibilities.


The master-slave dialectic reappears here. The Phenomenology of Mind probably doesn’t exhaust the whole question, but surely its psychological and psychogenetic value can’t be misrecognized. It’s in a fundamental rivalry, in a primary and essential struggle to the death, that the constitution of the human world as such takes place. Except that at the end one is present when the stakes reappear.


The master has taken the slave’s enjoyment from him, he has stolen the object of desire as object of the slave’s desire, but at the same time he has lost his own humanity. It was in no way the object of enjoyment that was at issue, but rivalry as such. To whom does he owe his humanity? Solely to the slave’s recognition. However, since he doesn’t recognize the slave, that recognition literally has no value.


As is habitual in the concrete development of things, the one who has triumphed and conquered the enjoyment becomes a complete idiot, incapable of doing anything other than enjoying, while he who has been deprived of it keeps his humanity intact. The slave recognizes the master, and thus he has the possibility of being recognized by him. Over the centuries he will engage in the struggle to be effectively recognized.


This distinction between the Other with a big O, that is, the Other in so far as it’s not known, and the other with a small o, that is, the other who is me, the source of all knowledge, is fundamental. It’s in this gap, it’s in the angle opened up between these two relations, that the entire dialectic of delusion has to be situated. The question is this – firstly, is the subject talking to you? – secondly, what is he talking about?



The Psychoses 14

January 27, 2012

The Psychoses 14
Jacques Lacan




What is speech? Does the subject speak or does he not? Speech – let’s dwell
on this fact for a moment.


What distinguishes speech [une parole] from a registering of language? To
speak is first of all to speak to others. I have on many occasions brought to
the foreground of my teaching this characteristic which at first sight appears
simple – speaking to others.


The notion of what a message is has, for some time, been in the foreground
of the preoccupations of science. For us, the structure of speech, as I have
said to you whenever we have had to use this term in its strict sense here, is
that the subject receives his message from the other in an inverted form. Full
speech, essential, committed speech, is based on this structure. We have two
exemplary forms of this.


The first is fides, speech that gives itself, the You are my woman or the You are my master, which means – You are what is still within my speech, and this I can only affirm by speaking in your place. This comes from you to find the certainty of what I pledge.9 This speech is speech that commits you. The unity of speech insofar as it founds the position of the two subjects is made apparent here.


If this doesn’t seem obvious to you, confirmation by its contrary is, as usual, so much more obvious.


The sign by which the subject-to-subject relation is recognized, and which distinguishes it from the subject-to-object relationship, is the feint, the reverse
of fides.


You are in the presence of a subject insofar as what he says and does – they’re the same thing – can be supposed to have been said and done to deceive you, with all the dialectic that that comprises, up to and including that he should tell the truth so that you believe the contrary.


You know the Jewish joke, recounted by Freud, about the character who says – / am going to Cracow. And the other replies – Why are you telling me you are going to
Cracow? You are telling me that to make me believe that you are going somewhere


What the subject tells me is always fundamentally related to a possible feint, in which he sends me, and I receive, the message in an inverted form.


There you have both sides of the structure, foundational speech and lying 48
speech which is deceptive as such.


We have generalized the notion of communication. In the present state of affairs, it’s touch and go whether the entire theory of what goes on in living beings will be revised as a function of communication.


Read anything by Mr. Norbert Wiener; its implications are huge. Among his many paradoxes he presents this strange myth of transmitting a man by telegraph from Paris to New York by sending exhaustive information on everything that constitutes
his individuality.


Since there is no limit to the transmission of information, the point-by-point resynthesis, the automatic recreation of his entire true identity at a distant place, is conceivable. Such things are curiously deceptive, and everyone wonders at them.


They are a subjective mirage which collapses as soon as one points out that it would be no greater a miracle to telegraph over two centimeters. And we do nothing less when we move ourselves through the same distance. This extraordinary confusion is sufficient indication that the notion of communication has to be treated cautiously.


For my part, within the generalized notion of communication, I state what speech as speaking to the other is. It’s making the other speak as such. We shall, if you like, write that other with a big O. And why with a big O? No doubt for a delusional reason, as is the case whenever one is obliged to provide signs that are supplementary to what
language offers.

就我而言,在沟通的一般的观念里面,我陈述跟他者言说是什么。它让他者作为本身言说。你们若愿意,我们将写下那个大者为大写字母O. 为什么要一个大写字母O呢?无可置疑的,是因为幻觉的理由,如同我们被迫供应讯息,来补充语言所提供的东西。

That delusional reason is the following. You are my woman – after all, what do you know about it? You are my master – in point of fact, are you so sure? Precisely what constitutes the foundational value of this speech is that what is aimed at in the message, as well as what is apparent in the feint, is that the other is there as absolute Other.


Absolute, that is to say that he is recognized but that he isn’t known. Similarly, what constitutes the feint is that ultimately you do not know whether it’s a feint or not. It’s essentially this unknown in the otherness of the Other that characterizes the speech relation at the level at which speech is spoken to the other.


I am going to keep you at the level of structural description for a while, because it’s only here that the problems can be raised. Is this all that distinguishes speech? Perhaps, but surely it has other characteristics – it doesn’t speak only to the other, it speaks of the other as an object. And this is what is involved when a subject speaks to you of himself.


Take the paranoiac of the other day, the one who used the term galopiner. While she talks to you, you know that she is a subject by virtue of the fact that she tries to take you in. This is what you are expressing in saying that you are simply dealing with what you clinically call a partial delusion.

拿前天的那个偏执狂为例。使用「galopiner」这个术语的那个人。当她跟你谈论时,你知道,她是一个主体,是凭借这个事实: 她尝试欺骗你。这是你正在表达的东西,当你说:你仅是在处理你的临床所谓的部分幻觉。

It’s precisely to the extent that it took me an hour and a half the other day to make her produce her galopiner, to the extent that during all that time she held me at bay and showed herself to be of sane mind, that she maintains herself at the limit of what can be clinically perceived as a delusion. What you call, in your jargon, the sane part of the personality derives from the fact that she speaks of the other, is capable of making fun of him. It’s by virtue of this that she exists as a subject.

确实到达那个程度,前天我花费一个半小时,让她言说出「galopiner」这个字词。到达这个程度,在所有的那段时间,他让我陷于困境,并且显示她自己跟我们的心灵相同。她维持她自己,处于临床感觉作为的幻觉的极限。随你们高兴用你们的术语,人格的清醒1部分是来自于这个事实: 她言说大他者,她能够开大他者玩笑。凭借这一点,她存在作为主体。

The Psychoses 13

January 26, 2012

The Psychoses 13
Jacques Lacan





I once tried to outline an analysis of psychotic discourse in an article published
in the Annales medico-psychologiques in the thirties.7 It concerned a case of schizophasia where effectively one can, at every level of discourse, semanteme
as well as taxeme, pick out the structure of what is, perhaps not without reason, but no doubt without full awareness of the term’s significance, known as schizophrenic disintegration.


I’ve been talking about language. You must in this respect touch upon the inadequacy, the undesirable tendency that is betrayed in the expression – One has to speak the patients language.


No doubt those who say such things must be forgiven, like all those who don’t know what they are saying. Evoking so summarily what is at issue is the sign of hasty thoughts, of repentance.


One absolves oneself, pays one’s debts – except that one only displays condescension
and reveals at what distance one maintains the object in question, namely the patient. Since he, too, is present, well then, let’s speak his language, the language of simpletons and idiots.

我们赦免我们自己,偿付我们的债务,除了我们仅是展示纡尊降贵的态度,并且显示我们将受质疑的客体维持在怎样的距离。换句话说,病人。 因为他也在现场,呵呵,就让我们用他的语言谈论,傻瓜与白痴的语言。

To mark this distance, to make language a pure and simple instrument, a way of making oneself understood by those who understand nothing, is completely to elude what is at issue – the reality of speech.


Let’s leave analysts to one side for the moment. On whom is the psychiatric discussion of delusion, whether it seeks to be phenomenological, psychogenetic, or organogenetic, centered? What do the extraordinarily penetrating analyses of a de Clerambault signify, for instance? Some people think that it is a matter of discovering whether or not delusion is an organic phenomenon.


This, it seems, is supposed to be discernible in its very phenomenology. This
is all very well, but let’s look at the thing a bit more closely.


45 Does the patient speak? If we did not distinguish language and speech, it’s true, he speaks, but he speaks like those sophisticated dolls that open and close their eyes, drink liquid, etc. When a de Clexambault analyzes the elementary phenomena, he looks for their signature in their mechanical, serpiginous structure, and God only knows what neologisms.


But even on that analysis personality is never defined but is always assumed, since everything rests on the ideogenic character of a primary comprehensibility, on the link
between affections and their linguistic expression. This is supposed to be self evident, this is where the demonstration starts from. We are told this – the automatic character of what takes place is demonstrable phenomenologically, and this proves that the disorder isn’t psychogenetic.


But it’s in relation to a psychogenetic reference itself that the phenomenon is defined as automatic. It’s assumed that there is a subject who understands by himself and who
observes himself. Otherwise, how would the other phenomena be grasped as foreign?


Notice that this isn’t the classical problem that has brought all philosophy since Leibniz to a standstill, that is, at least since consciousness has been emphasized as the foundation of certainty – must a thought, to be a thought, necessarily think of itself thinking? Must all thought necessarily perceive that it’s thinking of what it is thinking?


This is so far from being straightforward that it immediately leads into an endless play of mirrors – if it’s the nature of thought to think of itself thinking, there will be a third thought that will think of itself thinking thought, and so on.


This small problem, which has never been resolved, suffices on its own to demonstrate the insufficiency of the subject’s foundation in the phenomenon of thought as transparent to itself. But this isn’t at all what is at issue here.


Once we allow that the subject has knowledge as such of the parasitic phenomenon
as such, that is, as subjectively unmotivated, as written into the structure of the mechanism, into the disturbance of the supposed neurological pathways, we cannot avoid the idea that the subject has an endoscopy of what is actually going on within his own mechanisms.


This is a necessity imposed on any theory that makes intraorganic phenomena the center of what happens in the subject. Freud attacks this problem more subtly than other authors, but he is equally obliged to admit that the subject is somewhere, at
a privileged point where he is able to have an endoscopy of what is going on
inside himself.


This idea doesn’t surprise anybody when it’s a question of more or less delusional endoscopies that the subject has of what is happening inside his stomach or his lungs, but it’s a more difficult matter when intracerebral phenomena are concerned.


The authors are forced to admit, though usually without being aware of it, that the subject has some endoscopy of what goes on inside the system of nerve fibers.


Take a subject who is the object of a thought-echo. Let’s agree with C1erambault
that this is the effect of a delay produced by a chronaxic deterioration – one of the two intracerebral messages, one of the two telegrams, as it were, is impeded and arrives after the other, thus as its echo.


For this delay to be registered, there must be some privileged reference point at which this can occur, from which the subject notes a possible discordance between one
system and another. However the organogenetic or automatizing theory is constructed, there is no escaping the consequence that some such privileged point exists. In a word, one is more of a psychogeneticist than ever.


What is this privileged point if it’s not the soul? – except that one is even more idolatry than those who confer the crudest reality on the soul by locating it in a fiber or a system, in what President Schreber designates as the unique fiber attached to the personality. It’s what is habitually called the function of synthesis, the nature of a synthesis being to have its point of convergence somewhere – even if ideal, this point exists.


So whether we are organogeneticists or psychogeneticists, we shall always be forced to assume the existence of a unifying entity somewhere. Does that entity suffice to explain the level of psychotic phenomena? The sterility of these sorts of hypotheses is astounding. If psychoanalysis has revealed anything significant, clarifying, illuminating, fruitful, rich, dynamic, it’s through disturbing the minuscule psychiatric constructions pursued over the decades with the help of purely functional notions of which the ego, which camouflaged them, necessarily formed the essential hub.


But as for what psychoanalysis has contributed that is new, how do we approach it without again falling into the same rut from a different direction, through multiplying egos, themselves variously camouflaged?


The only approach consistent with the Freudian discovery is to raise the issue within
the same register in which the phenomenon appears to us, that is, in the register of speech. It’s the register of speech that creates all the richness of the phenomenology of psychosis, it’s here that we see all its aspects, decompositions, refractions. Verbal hallucination, which is fundamental to it, is precisely one of speech’s most problematic phenomena.


Is there no way of dwelling on the phenomenon of speech as such? Simply by taking it into consideration, don’t we see a primary structure emerge, an essential and obvious structure that enables us to make distinctions that are not mythical, that is, that do not assume that the subject is somewhere?

难道没有方法详述语言的现象的本身?仅是凭借着考虑到它,我们难道不是看见一个原初的结构出现? 一个基本而明显的结构让我们能够从事并非是神秘的区别? 换句话说,这种结构并没有假定,主体是在某个地方?