The Psychoses 18

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.



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