Identification 74

Identification 74

Jacques Lacan
雅克 拉康

. 7.362 XII 138

(7) So, let us take things up where we left them, because it is a
matter of calculation, and of the basis and foundation of
calculation for the subject: because of course if the unary trait
begins the function of counting so early, let us not go too
quickly as regards what a subject may know about a higher number.


It is difficult to imagine that two and three do not come rather
quickly. But when we are told that certain so-called primitive
tribes along the mouth of the Amazon were only recently able to
discover the virtue of the number four and raised altars to it,
it is not the picturesque aspect of this story about savages
which strikes me: this seems to me to be self-evident, because if
the unary trait is what I am telling you, namely the difference
and the difference, which not alone supports, but which supposes
the subsistence alongside it of one plus one and one again, the
plus being only meant there to mark well the radical subsistence
of this difference, where the problem begins is precisely that
one can add them together, in other words that two, that three
have a meaning.


Taken from that angle this causes a lot of
trouble; but one must not be astonished at it. If you take
things in the opposite direction, namely if you begin from three,
as John Stuart Mill did, you will never manage to rediscover one,
the difficulty is the same.

从这个角度来看,这会引起许多麻烦。但是,我们切勿对它大惊小怪。假如你们从相反的方向看待事情。换句话说,假如你们从三开始,如约翰 米勒那样 。你们将永远无法重新发现一,困难是相同的。

For us here – I point it out to you in passing – with our way of
interrogating the facts of language in terms of the effects of
the signifier, in so far as we are used to recognising this
effect of the signifier at the level of metonymy, it would be
simpler for us than for a mathematician to ask our pupil to
recognise in every signification of number an effect of metonymy
(8) which has arisen virtually from nothing more and, as its
elective point, from the succession of an equal number of
signifiers. It is in so far as something is happening which
makes sense of the simple sequence of extension x of a certain
number of unary traits, that the number three for example can
make sense, namely that it makes sense – whether it has any or
not – to write the word end in English: here again perhaps is the
best way we have of showing the emergence of the number three
because there are three letters.


As for us we have no need to demand so much of our unary trait;
because we know that at the level of the Freudian series, if you
will allow me this formula, the unary trait designates something
which is radical for this originating experience: it is the
uniquity as such of the circuit (tour) in repetition.


I think I have sufficiently stressed for you that the notion of
the function of repetition in the unconscious is absolutely
distinguished from any natural cycle, in the sense that what is
accentuated is not its return, it is that what is sought by the
subject is its signifying uniquity and in so far as one of the
circuits of the repetition, as one might say, has marked the
subject who begins to repeat what of course he will only be able
to repeat because this will never be anything but a repetition,
but with the goal, the plan, of making the original unary
re-emerge from one of its circuits.



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