如何言说真理 7

如何言说真理 7


Since truth, as unveiling/veiling of Being in beings, has been reinterpreted once and for all as an unveiling/veiling of the subject in his “auto”enunciation (or “auto”representation), the result is that truth, under Lacan’s pen, reveals itself in lies, mistakes, deceptions, and fiction. This is the second important modification that Lacan brings to Heidegger’s aletheia: its total (and, from a strictly Hei-deggerian point of view, aberrant) reformulation in terms of adequacy/inadequacy to the thing and/or to itself. Indeed, to the extent that Lacan continues (in the tradition “of Kojeve) to circulate in the problematic of (auto)enunciation (of logos as “discourse,” “judgment,” “reason,” “concept,” “representation,” and so on), he is brought by the same token to reinscribe the unfathomable “logic” of aletheia into logic pure and simple, even if he must therefore constantly (and complacently) use paradoxes, aporias, and auto-destructive “formalizations.”


Thus, whereas Heidegger spoke of an initial “errancy” of truth, attempting to indicate a “truth” prior to the alternatives “true”/”false,” Lacan, for his part, said that “error is the habitual incarnation of truth,” that truth “emerges in the most ctearcut representative of the mistake” (1988a, 263/289, 265/292), and that truth has a “fictional organization” or “structure” (1977a, 306/808; 1966,17,451,742). Moreover, whereas Heidegger wrote that “das Ding dingt” patiently kneading language to make it say the truth of “the thing,” outside any problematic of adequacy or inadequacy of discourse to res,23 Lacan abruptly announced that “the thing speaks of itself.” Whereas Heidegger attempted to think of truth beyond any “representation” of a “reality,”24 Lacan would immediately translate, saying that truth distinguishes itself from reality (1977a, 306/808; 1966, 740)—indeed, it sets itself against reality (1966, 351). And whereas Heidegger proposed understanding truth as a retracted gift of Being, Lacan quite simply said that the truth is spoken in cheating, trickery, and lying.


What does Truth—Woman and Diana that she is—say in the fabulous and fabling mouth of Freud-Actaeon-Lacan? She says that she is the “great cheater” (the “great show-off,” as Klossowski wrote25): If the cunning of reason, no matter how disdainful of you, stayed open to your faith, I—truth—would be . . . the great deceiver, since it is not only through duplicity that my ways pass but also through the crack too narrow to find without dissembling and through the inaccessible cloud of dreams, through the pointless fascination of the mediocre and the seductive impasse of absurdity. Seek, dogs that you become upon hearing me…. Enroll to my call, and howl at my voice. There you are, lost already, I give way, I defy you, 1 slip away: you say that I defend myself” (1966, 411).


Truth says, in short, “I am lying” (the well-known “liar’s paradox”), which, strictly understood, in no way means that truth is an error (a bit earlier, Lacan has been railing against “the shoddy Nietzschean notion of the lie of life”; 1977a, 118/405); it means that truth, as truth, speaks itself and reveals itself in its own concealment. This would bring us back once more to aletheia except for Lacan’s intentionally “logical” formulation and, especially, for his insistence on lying and cheating. Here, we see, truth is all the more true for being false and deceptive. There is in Lacan a sort of privileging of the lie, and this is because the lie, being inadequate to the thing it speaks about, is better able to reveal the truth of the subject as “speaking thing” (or as res cogitans, since Lacan also explicitly compares the “I lie” to the “I think”; cf. 1977b, 140-141/ 128-129). Indeed, by lying, the subject speaks his truth “most truly” (1966, 21), which is to be precisely nothing, no reality. “An adequate thought, [as a] thought,” Lacan says, “always avoids . . . the same thing. Here, the real is what always comes back to the same place—to the place where the subject, as thinker (res cogitans), does not meet it” (1977b, 49/49; my emphasis).


Once we concede, with Kojeve, that the subject cannot speak himself (or think himself) in his truth except by abolishing himself as reality (which is exactly what happens to the Cartesian subject at the moment of the hypothesis of the Evil Demon), it goes without saying that truth will define itself as inadequate to reality, and that it will therefore be (this is Lacan’s imperturbably logical conclusion) all the more true and “adequate” insofar as it is inadequate. Since the “thing” (the res) is irretrievably lost as soon as it “speaks of itself,” then (according to a sort of “logic of the worst,” which brings to mind certain Gnostic—or Klossowskian—schemas) the lie, the masquerade, and the simulacrum will, paradoxically, conform more closely to it than
the accurate (conforming) discourse will: “Speech appears all the more truly to be speech the less its truth is founded on what is called adequacy to the thing; thus, true speech, paradoxically, is opposed to true discourse” (1966,351). Truth, when it reveals itself, is forced to say, “I lie,” because that is the only way to speak the truth in a fallen world (that of language) where inadequacy is the rule. So here it is:


Two Jews met in a railway carriage at a station in Galicia. “Where are you going?” asked one. “To Cracow,” was the answer. “What a liar you are!” broke out the other. “If you say you’re going to Cracow, you want me to believe you’re going to Lemberg. But I know that in fact you’re going to Cracow. So why are you lying to me?26


Because it’s the truth, of course! All Galicians, in the memory of Central European Jews, have been inveterate liars, and so in this universe where trains and words circulate indiscriminately in all directions, there is no other means of speaking the truth than to lie truly.



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