Archive for April, 2015

Identification 128

April 28, 2015

Identification 128

Jacques Lacan
雅克 拉康

21.3.62 XIV 173

11.4.62 XVII 213

Here we are then in the presence of two types of circle which
from this point of view moreover are the same, which do not
define an inside and an outside. I would point out to you
incidentally that, if you cut the torus successively following
one and the other, you will still not manage for all that to make
what it is a matter of making and what you nevertheless obtain
immediately with the other type of circle 1 (p 10), the first one
that I drew for you, namely two pieces.


On the contrary the
torus not only remains well and truly entire, but it was, the
first time that I spoke to you about it, a flattening out that
resulted from it which allows you to symbolise the torus
eventually in a particularly convenient fashion as a rectangle
which you can, by pulling a little, spread out like a skin pinned
down at the four corners, to define the properties of
correspondence of these edges one to the other, of correspondence
also of its vertices,


the four vertices which unite at a point
and to have in this way, in a fashion much more accessible to
your ordinary faculties of intuition, the means of studying what
happens geometrically on the torus, namely that there will be one
of these types of circle which will be represented by a line like
this one another type of circle by lines like this representing
two points posed, defined in a preliminary fashion as being
equivalent on what are called the edges of the spread-out
flattened surface, as I might say, even though of course it is
not a real flattening out, a flattening-out as such being
(15) impossible because we are not dealing with a surface which
is metrically identifiable to a plane surface, I repeat purely
metrically, not topologically.

11.4.62 XVII 213

Where does all this lead us?
The fact that two sections of this kind are possible, with
moreover the necessity of the one or the other being regrouped
without fragmenting the surface in any way, leaving it whole and
entire, leaving it in one piece, as I might say, this is enough
to define a certain type of surface. Not all surfaces are of
this type; if you carry out in particular a section like that on
a sphere, you will always only have two pieces whatever the
circle may be.


This in order to lead us to what?
Let us make no longer a single section but two sections on the
single base of the torus. What do we see appearing? We see
appearing something which undoubtedly is going to astonish us
immediately, namely that if the two circles are regrouped, what
is called the field of the symmetric difference well and truly
exists. Can we say, for all that, that the field of intersection
exists? I think that this figure, as it is constructed, is
sufficiently accessible to your intuition for you to clearly
understand immediately and right away that there is no question of it


11.4.62 XVII 214
Namely that this something which might be the intersection, but
which is not one and which, I am saying, for the eye because of
course there is no question for a single instant of this
intersection existing, but which for the eye is, as I have
presented it to you in this way on this figure as it is drawn,
would be found perhaps somewhere here (see the schema) of this
field perfectly continuous in a single block, in a single piece
with this field here which could analogically, in the crudest
fashion for an intuition precisely accustomed to base itself on
things which happen uniquely on the plane, to correspond to this
external field where we could define, with respect to two
Eulerian circles cutting one another, the field of their
negation, namely if here we have the circle A and here the circle
B, here we have A’ as a negation of A and we have here B’ as a
negation of B, and there is something to be formulated concerning
their intersection at these eventual external fields.

换句话说,这个可能是交会的某件东西,但是它并不是一个交会。我正在说,对于眼睛,因为当然不可能有单一的瞬间,对于存在的这个交会,但是对于眼睛,它是交会。如同我以这种方式呈现它给予你们,针对这个图形,依照它所被画。它将会被找出,或许这个领域的这里的某个地方(参照基模),在单一的区块里,它完美地连续一块。用这个领域的单一的区块。用最简陋的方式,让确实已经习惯的直觉,它能够类比地将它的基础放在这些事情上,这些独特地发生在平面的事情上。为了对应这个外部的领域。在那里,我们能够定义,关于这两个尤勒的圆圈,互相切割,它们的否定的领域。换句话说,假如这里,我们拥有圆形A,在此圆形B,在此我们用用圆形A‘,作为A的否定,我们拥有圆形B’ 作为的B的否定。有某件东西能够被说明,关于它们的交换,在这些最后的外部的领域。

Here we see illustrated then in the simplest fashion by the
structure of the torus the fact that something is possible,
something which can be articulated as follows: two fields cutting
one another being as such able to define their difference qua
symmetric difference, but which are nonetheless two fields about
which one can say that they cannot unite and that neither can
they overlap one another, in other words that they cannot serve
either as a function of “either…, or…”, of union, nor as a
function of multiplication (intersection) by itself.


They can
literally not be raised to a higher power, they cannot be
reflected one by the other and one in the other; they have no
intersection, their intersection is exclusion from themselves.
The field where one would expect intersection is the field where
you leave behind what concerns them, where you are in the
non-field. This is all the more interesting in that for the
representation of these two circles we can substitute our
inverted eight of a little while ago.



seminar 16(12)

April 27, 2015

seminar 16(12)

From an other to the Other

Jacques Lacan
雅克 拉康


(26) No doubt, when it is articulated in this way this involves a claim about the
frustration o f the labourer. This involves a certain position of the “I” in the system,
when this “I” is in the place of the worker, which is more and more generally the case.
That this involves that is strange. This is what should be said. Because it is only the
consequences of a perfectly well defined discourse, into which the labourer inscribes
himself as a labourer, as “I”. I said “I” here.


Notice that I did not say subject although
I spoke about the capitalist subject. I am going slowly because after all I will come
back to it, we will look at it again – except I hope those who leave in the middle! –
and you will see that it is not for nothing that I am saying here “subject”, and that
there I say “I”. Because that will be found at a certain level, and at a level that must
have functioned for a long time because it is that of my graph that I constructed more
than ten years ago before an audience of donkeys. They still have not found where
the “I” is on this ^raph! So then I will have to explain it for them. In order to explain
it for them, I must prepare. We labour. It is work. Let us hope that I can tell you
before the end how the labour, for us, at the level of this discourse, of the teacher, is
situated. So then it is strange that this involves the idea of frustration, with the
complaints which follow, the little reconstructions that are distinguished under the
name of revolution. It is strange. It is interesting.

But I cannot from now on not articulate that at this precise point the conflictual
dimension is introduced. It is difficult to designate it otherwise. I said that it was
strange, and that it is interesting. That ought at least to encourage you to recognise it,
no? I will designate it by this strange word, not less interesting but strange, which is
the word truth. You know, the truth is not grasped just like that, huh! Of course I
introduced it, like that, at one time, in its junction whose topology I tried to draw, in
its junction with knowledge, because it is difficult to speak about anything whatsoever
in psychoanalysis without introducing this junction. This clearly shows the prudence
that is necessary because God knows what has come back to me in this connection in
terms of the idiocies that are doing the rounds!


20.11.68 II 10
We are going to try to approach it a little bit more closely and to see how the capitalist
reality does not have such bad relationships with science. It can function like that3 in
any case for some time yet, to all appearances. I would even say that it
accommodates itself to it not badly at all. I am speaking about reality, am I not? I did
not speak about the Real. I spoke about what is constructed about the capitalist
subject, what is generated from the complaint fundamentally made about the
recognition – otherwise the discourse of Marx has no sense – called surplus value.
This is properly the scientific incidence into the order of something that is the order of
the subject. Obviously, at a certain level this does not accommodate itself badly at all
(27) to science. People send into the spatial orbs objects that are quite well shaped as
well as being habitable.


But it is not sure that at a closer level, at the one where there
is generated revolution and the political forms that it generates, something is entirely
resolved on the plane of this frustration that we have designated as being the level of a
truth. No doubt the labourer is the sacred locus of this conflictual element which is
the truth of the system. Namely, that a knowledge which holds up all the more
perfectly because it is identical to its own perception of being, is torn apart
somewhere. So then let us take this step that is allowed us by the factt that what is at
stake without any doubt is the same substance. Let us feel what is involved in the
structural stuff and let us make our scissors’ cut. It is knowledge that is at stake. It is
in relation to it, in its scientific form, that I have just given a prudent appreciation
about what is involved in the relations, in the two realities that are opposed in our
political world.


Knowledge, even though earlier I seemed to begin my discourse from it, knowledge is
not labour. It is worth labouring at sometimes but you can get it without labour.
Knowledge, at the extreme point, is what we call the price. The price is sometimes
incarnated in money, but just as much in knowledge! It is worth money and more and
more so. This is what ought to enlighten us! The price of what? It is clear, the price
of the renunciation of enjoyment. Originally it is through this that we begin to know a
little bit. No need to labour for that. It is because labour implies the renunciation of
enjoyment that every renunciation of enjoyment is only accomplished through labour.
An illumination like that comes to you provided you know how to hold yourself back,
or to contain yourself as I alluded to it the last time to define thinking.
知识,即使早先我似乎就从知识开始我的辞说,知识并不是劳工。有时,知识是值得劳苦获得。但是你们能够不经劳苦地获得知识。在极端时刻,知识就是我们所谓的价格。这个价格有时用金钱具体表示。但是同样用知识具体表示!知识是值得金钱,而且越来越是这样。这就是应该让我们恍然大悟的地方! 知识是什么的价格?显而易见地,欢爽的放弃的价格。原先,就是凭借这点,我们开始稍微知道。我们没有必要为了知识而劳苦。因为劳苦暗示着放弃欢爽。只有在劳苦工作时,欢爽的放弃才会被完成。只要你们知道如何节制你们自己,或只有你们控制自己,如同我上次提到它,为了定义思想,你们就会获得像那样的启明。


Identification 128

April 27, 2015

Identification 128

Jacques Lacan
雅克 拉康

11.4.62 XVII 211

When one of my obsessionals, quite recently again after having
developed all the subtlety of the science of his exercises with
respect to feminine objects to whom, as is common among other
obsessionals, he remains attached, as I might say, by what one
can call a constant infidelity: at once the impossibility of
leaving any of these objects and the extreme difficulty of
(12) maintaining them all together, and that he adds that it is
quite clear that in this relationship, in this so complicated
relationship which requires this high degree of technical
subtlety, as I might say, in the maintaining of relationships
which in principle must remain outside one another, impermeable
as one might say to one another and nevertheless linked, that, if
all of this, he tells me, has no other purpose than to leave him
intact for a satisfaction which he himself here comes to grief
on, it must therefore be found elsewhere, not just simply in a
future that is always put off, but manifestly in another space
since as regards this intactness and its purpose he is incapable
when all is said and done of saying at what this could end up in
terms of satisfaction.


We have all the same here in a tangible way, something which can
pose for us the question of the structure of desire in the most
day-to-day fashion.


Let us come back to our torus and let us inscribe on it our
Eulerian circles. This is going to necessitate – I apologise for
it – a tiny little twist which is not, even though it might
appear so to someone who comes into my seminar today for the
first time, a geometrical twist – it will be that perhaps right
at the end but very incidentally – which is properly speaking
topological. There is no need for this torus to be a regular
torus nor a torus on which we could make measurements. It is a
surface constituted according to certain fundamental
relationships that I am going to be led to remind you of, but
because I do not want to appear to go too far from what is the
field of our interest I am going to limit myself to things that I
have already initiated and which are very simple.


As I pointed out to you: on a surface like this, we can describe
this type of circle which is the one that I have already connoted
(13) for you as reducible, one which if it is represented by a
little string which passes at the
end through a buckle, I can by
pulling on the string reduce to a
point, in other words to zero. I
pointed out to you that there are
two other kinds of circle or loop
whatever size they may be because
for example this one here could
just as well have that shape there:


That means a circle which goes through the hole whatever may be
its more or less tight more or less loose shape. This is what
defines it: it goes through the hole it passes to the other side
of the hole. It is represented here in dots while the 2 is
represented in full.


This is what that symbolises: this circle
is not reducible, which means that if you suppose it to be
realised by a string still passing through this little arch which
would allow us to tighten it we cannot reduce it to something
like a point; whatever its circumference may be, there will
always remain at the centre, the circumference of what one could
call here the thickness of the torus.


If from the point of view
which interested us earlier, namely the definition of an inside
and an outside, this irreducible circle shows from one side a
particular resistance, something which with respect to other
circles confers on it an eminent dignity, on this other point
here suddenly it is going to appear singularly deprived of the
properties of the preceding one; because if you materialise this
circle that I am talking to you about for example by a cut with a
pair of scissors, what will you obtain?


Absolutely not, as in
the other case, a little piece which disappears and then the
remainder of the torus. The torus will remain entirely intact in
the form of a pipe or of a sleeve if you wish.


If you take on the other hand another type of circle, the one
that I already spoke to you about, the one which does not go
through the hole, but goes around it, this one finds itself in
the same situation as the preceding one as regards


It also finds itself in the same situation as
the preceding one as regards the fact that it is not sufficient
to define an inside or an outside. In other words that if you
follow this circle and if you open the torus with the help of a
pair of scissors, you will finally get what?


Well, the same
thing as in the preceding case: this has the shape of a torus but
it is a shape which presents only an intuitive difference, which
is altogether essentially the same from the point of view of
(14) structure. You always have after this operation, as in the
first case, a sleeve, simply it is a very short and a very wide
sleeve, you have a belt if you wish but there is no essential
difference between a belt and a sleeve from the topological point
of view, again you can call it a strip if you wish.



Identification 127

April 26, 2015

Identification 127

Jacques Lacan
雅克 拉康

11.4.62 XVII 209

I pose the
following question to you: what happens if Euler, instead of
drawing this circle, draws my inverted eight the one that today I
have to talk to you about?


In appearance it is only a particular case of the circle with the
inside field that it defines and the possibility of having
another circle within. Simply the inside
circle touches – here
is what at first sight some people
may say to me – the inside circle
touches on the limit constituted by
the outside circle. Only it is all
the same not quite that, in this
sense that it is quite clear, in
the way I draw it, that the line
here of the outside circle
continues into the line of the
inside circle and finds itself


And so in order simply immediately to mark the
interest, the
import of this very simple shape, I will suggest to you that the
remarks that I introduced at a certain point of my seminar when I
introduced the function of the signifier consisted in the
following: reminding you of the paradox or the supposed one
introduced by the classification of sets – you remember – which
do not include themselves.

I remind you of the difficulty they introduce: should one or
should one not include these sets which do not include themselves
(10) in the set of sets which do not include themselves? You see
the difficulty here. If yes, then they include themselves in
this set of sets which do not include themselves. If not, we
find ourselves confronted with an analogous impasse.


This is easily resolved on this simple condition that one grasps
at least the following – it is the solution that moreover the
formalists, the logicians have given – that one cannot speak, let
us say in the same way, about sets which include themselves and
sets which do not include themselves. In other words that one
excludes them as such from the simple definition of sets, that
one poses when all is said and done that the sets which include
themselves cannot be posed as sets.

这很容易被解决,条件很简单:我们至少理解以下的东西—而且,这是形式主义者,逻辑专家曾经给予的解决—容我们用相同的方式说,我们无法谈论关于包含自己的那些集合,与那些没有包括自己的集合。换句话说,我们排除它们自身,从集合的这个简单的定义。当一切都说都做了,我们提出的这个定义, 包括它们自己的那些集合,无法被提出作为集合。

I mean that far from this
inside zone of objects as important in the construction of modern
logic as sets, far from an inside zone defined by this image of
the inverted eight by the overlapping or the redoubling in this
overlapping of a class, of a relation, of some proposition or
other by itself, by being raised to a second power, far from this
leaving as a well-known case the class, the proposition, the
relationship in a general fashion, the category inside itself in
a fashion that is in a way more weighty more accentuated, this
has the effect of reducing it to homogeneity with what is

11.4.62 XVII 210

How is this conceivable? For indeed one must all the same
clearly say that, if this is the way that the question is
presented, namely among all the sets, there is no a priori reason
not to make of a set which includes itself a set like the others.
You define as a set for example all the works that refer to the
(11) humanities, namely to the arts, to the sciences, to
ethnography. You make a list of them; the works produced on the
question of what one should class as humanities will form part of
the same catalogue, namely that what I have even defined just now
in articulating the title: works about the humanities, forms part
of what is to be catalogued.


How can we conceive that something which is thus posed as
redoubling itself in the dignity of a certain category can find
itself practically leading us to an antinomy, to a logical
impasse such that we are on the contrary constrained to reject
it? Here is something which is not as unimportant as you might
think because one has practically seen the best logicians see in
it a sort of failure, a stumbling block, a vacillating point of
the whole formalist edifice, and not without reason. Here is
something which nevertheless puts to intuition a sort of major
objection, inscribed, tangible, visible of itself in the very
form of these two circles which are presented, in the Eulerian
perspective, as included one in the other.


It is precisely on this point that we are going to see that the
use of the intuition of the representation of the torus is quite
usable. And given that you clearly sense, I imagine, what is
involved, namely a certain relationship of the signifier to
itself, as I told you, it is in the measure that the definition
of a set has got closer and closer to a purely signifying
articulation that it leads us to this impasse, it is the whole
question of the fact that it is a matter for us of putting in the
foreground that a signifier cannot signify itself. In fact it is
something excessively stupid and simple, this very essential
point that the signifier in so far as it can be used to signify
itself has to be posed as different to itself. This is what it
is a matter of symbolising in the first place because it is also
this that we are going to rediscover, up to a certain point of
extension which it is a matter of determining, in the whole
subjective structure up to and including desire.



From an other to the Other 11

April 26, 2015

From an other to the Other 11

Jacques Lacan
雅克 拉康


There is a person, like that, earlier, among those who might instruct themselves a little
bit here and get rid of their nonsense, who left because she finds no doubt that what I
am saying are banalities. Apparently it is necessary to say them; otherwise why
would I take the trouble, after all I have just said, about the fact that a discourse has
consequences or not. It had in any case as a consequence this leaving, which serves
as a signal. This indeed is why it is essential that in psychoanalysis we should have
some minds formed in what is called – 1 do not know why – “mathematical logic”, like
that, through an old constraint, as if there were any other. It is quite simply logic. It
happens that it has interested mathematics.


This is all that distinguishes it from
Aristotelian logic that very obviously did not interest mathematics. It is a progress for
logic that it interests mathematics, yes! This mathematical logic, to call things by
their name, is altogether essential for your existence; whether you know it or whether
you do not know it. It is precisely because you do not know very much about it that
things happen that stir things up from time to time, very recent things. People are
waiting for me to talk about them, but I will speak about them, I will speak about
them! It all depends on the time that I am going to spend in unfolding what I prepared
for you today and I would like to have a little point, like that, to give you before
leaving you. But it is not sure, because I never know too well. What I bring you is
never absolutely measured out.


That is not where the question is. Whether you know it or whether you do not know
it, the bizarre question is that obviously I have just alluded to the fact, since I told you
that whether you knew it or whether you did not know it, whether it has always been
true that mathematical logic has consequences as regards your existence as a subject,
(25) which I have just said are there whether you know it or whether you do not know
it. Because then the question is posed, of how it could happen before the logic that is
called mathematical came to birth? It is the question of the existence of God. I have
already remarked it but I repeat – one cannot repeat oneself too much – was
mathematical logic already there, in the divine brainbox, before in your existence as a
subject, which would have thus been conditioned from that moment on, you were
already affected by it?


It is a problem that has all its importance because it is around this that there takes
effect this advance that a discourse has consequences. Namely, that something close
to the effects of discourse was required for there to be born that of mathematical logic.
And that in any case, even if something could already represent in an existence of a
subject something that retroactively we can attach to some facts in this existence of
the discourse of logic, it is quite clear, it ought to be firmly held that they are not the
same consequences as since this discourse, I mean that of mathematical logic, has
been put forward.


Here there is situated the necessary and the contingent in the discourse that is
effectively held. This indeed is where I have trouble in seeing why the structural
reference is supposed to overlook the dimension of history. It is simply a matter of
knowing what one is talking about! History as it is included in historical materialism
appears to me to conform strictly to structural requirements.


Was surplus value there
before abstract labour, I mean what this abstraction is separated out from, I mean as a
social means, resulted from something that we will call – 1 am not guaranteeing the
exactitude of the first word but I want to say a word that has weight – the
absolutisation of the market. It is more than probable, and for a good reason which is
that we have, for that, introduced the surplus enjoying. That one can consider that this
absolutisation of the market is only a condition so that surplus value can appear in


There was therefore required this thing that can with difficulty be
separated from the development of certain effects of language, namely, the
absolutisation of the market to the point that it encompasses labour itself for surplus
value to be defined in the fact that in paying with money or not, with money because
we are in the market, for labour, its true price, as the function of exchange value is
defined in the market, there is an unpaid value in what appears as the fruit of labour,
in a use value, in what is the true price of this fruit. This unpaid labour, even though
paid in a correct fashion with respect to the consistency of the market, this, in the
functioning of the capitalist subject, this unpaid labour is the surplus value. It is the
fruit of the means of articulation that constitutes the capitalistic discourse from
capitalist logic.



Identification 126

April 25, 2015

Identification 126
Jacques Lacan
11.4.62 XVII 207

(7) There is another relationship illustrated by these
overlapping circles: it is that of intersection, symbolised by
this sign whose signification is completely different. The
field of intersection is included in the field of union.
In what is called Boolean algebra, it is shown that, up to a
certain point at least, this operation of union is analogous
enough to addition for it to be able to be symbolised by the sign
of addition (+). It is also shown that intersection is
structurally analogous enough to multiplication for it to be
symbolised by the sign of multiplication (X).

这些重叠的圆圈所说明的,还有另外一种关系:交会的关系,由这些符号象征的关系。这个符号的意义完全是不同的。交会的领域被包括在结合的领域。在所谓的布林代数。它显示出来,至少直到某个点,结合的这个运作足够类同于“增加”,为了让它被“加 法+”的这个符号所象征。它也显示,交换在结构上足够类同于“乘法X”,为了让它被“乘法X”这个符号所象征。

I assure you that I am giving here an ultra-rapid extract
designed to lead you where I have to lead you and I apologise of
course to those for whom these things present themselves in all
their complexity for the elisions that all of this involves.


Because we must go further and on the precise point that I have
to introduce, what interests us, is something which up to De
Morgan – and one can only be astonished at such an omission – had
not been properly speaking highlighted as precisely one of these
functions which flow from, which ought to flow from an altogether
rigorous usage of logic, it is precisely this field constituted
by the extraction, in the relationship between these two circles
of the zone of intersection.

因为我们必须更加深入。在我必须选择的准确点。让我感到興趣的东西,恰当而言,是某件一直到德 莫根都没有准确地被强调—对于这个省略,我们仅能惋叹—作为流露出了的这些的功能之一,应该从逻辑的非常严谨的用法流露出来的东西。确实就是这个领域,由这个摘要所形成,在这两个圆圈之间的关系,交会的地区的这两个圆圈之间的关系。

And to consider what the product is, when two circles cut, at the
level of a field described in this way, namely the union minus
the intersection. This is what is called the symmetric


This symmetric difference is what is going to retain our
(8) attention, what for us – you will see why – is of the
greatest interest. The term symmetric difference is here an
appellation that I would simply ask you to take for its
additional usage. This was what it was called. Do not try
therefore to give a grammatically analysable meaning to this
so-called symmetry.


The symmetric difference, this is what that
means, that means: these fields, in the two Eulerian circles, in
so far as they define as such an exclusive “or”. With respect to
two different fields, the symmetric difference marks the field
as it is constructed if you give to the “or”, not the alternative
sense, but one which implies the possibility of a local identity
between the two terms; and the usual usage of the term “or” meansthat in fact the term “or” applies here very well to the field of union. If a thing is A or B, this is how the field of its extension can be drawn, namely in the first form that these two
fields are discovered. If on the contrary A or B is exclusive this
is how we can symbolise it, namely that the field of intersection is excluded.

这个均称的差异,这就是它的意思。它意味着:这些领域,在这两个尤勒的圆圈。因为它们定义一个排除的“或者”,作为自身。关于这两个不同的差异,这个均称的差异标示这个领域,因为它被建构,假如你们给予这个“或者”,不是替代的意涵,而是这个意涵暗示着这个可能性,在这两个术语之间的局部的认同的可能性。“或者”这个术语的通常用法意味着,实际上,“或者”这个术语在此应用得非常恰当,对于结合的领域。假如一件东西是A 或B,这就是它的延伸到领域如何被获得。假如相反地,A或B是互相排除,这就是我们用来象征它的方式。换句话说,交会的领域被排除。

This should lead us back to a reflection about what is
intuitively supposed by the usage of a circle as a basis, as a
support for what is formalised in function of a limit. This is
very sufficiently defined in the fact that on a commonly used
plane, which does not mean a natural plane, a plane that can be fabricated, a plane which has completely entered into our universe of implements, namely a sheet of paper, we live much more in the company of sheets of paper than in the company of tori. There must be reasons for that but after all reasons which are not evident. Why after all does man not fabricate more tori?


Moreover for centuries, what we nowadays have in the form of sheets were rolls which must have been more familiar with the notion of volume in epochs other than our own.


Finally there is certainly a reason why this plane surface is something which
(9) suffices for us and more exactly that we satisfy ourselves
with it. These reasons must be somewhere. And – I indicated it
earlier – one cannot give too much importance to the fact that,
contrary to all the efforts of physicists and philosophers to
persuade us of the contrary, the field of vision whatever is said
about it is essentially two-dimensional:



Seminar 12 (03)

April 24, 2015

Seminar 12 (03)
Crucial Problems

Jacques Lacan
雅克 拉康

What is the unconscious, if not precisely ideas, thoughts, Gedanken, thoughts
whose faded greenness, does not Freud tell us somewhere, that like the shades
summoned from hell and returning to the sunlight, want to drink blood, to recover
their colours. Is it the thoughts of the unconscious that are involved, that here
sleep furiously?


Well, all of that would have been a very pretty exercise but I did not pursue it, I
(11) would not say to the end, because I am cutting it short only to suggest that it
is quite simply completely idiotic.


The unconscious has nothing to do with these metaphorical meanings, however far
we may push them. And to search for meaning in a signifying, grammatical chain
is an undertaking of extraordinary futility.


For if, because of the fact that I am before this audience, I was able to give it that
meaning, I could just as well have given it a completely different one, and for a
simple reason, which is that any signifying chain whatsoever, provided it is
grammatical, always generates a meaning, and I would go further, any one


Because I commit myself, in varying, and one can vary to infinity, the surrounding
conditions, the situation, but what is more, the situations of dialogue, I can make
this sentence mean whatever I want, including for example in a particular case that
I am mocking you.


Pay attention! Does there not intervene here at this extreme point something other
than a meaning? That I am able, in a particular context, to make any meaning
emerge from it, is one thing, but is it really meaning that is involved. Because
why did I say that nothing guaranteed the meaning I gave earlier? It is in the very
measure that I had given it one with respect to what? With respect to an object, a
(12) referent, something that I have brought out there for the needs of the case,
namely the unconscious.


In speaking about context, in speaking about dialogue, I allow to disappear, to
vanish, to vacillate what is involved, namely, the function of sense. What it is a
question here of circumscribing more closely is the distinction between the two.
In the final analysis, how does it come about that its very author who chose this
sentence, drew comfort so easily from something that is so doubtful, namely that it
does not make sense.



From an other to the Other 10

April 24, 2015

From an other to the Other 10

Jacques Lacan
雅克 拉康


Only there you are. Inevitably, people imagine that the realistic argument is to make
an allusion to the feet that, whether we are there or not, we and our science, as if our
science were ours, and if we were not determined by it, well then people say nature is
always there. I absolutely do not dispute it. Nature is there. The way physics
distinguishes itself from nature is that physics is worth saying something about, that
discourse has consequences in it. In nature, as everyone knows – and that is even why
it is so loved – no discourse has any at all! This is what differentiates nature from
physics. To be a philosopher of nature was never taken at any period as a certificate
of materialism, for example, nor of scienticity.


But let us take things up again, because that is not where we are. If physics does
indeed give us a model of a discourse that is worthwhile, the necessities of our
discourse ought to be taken at a higher level. Every discourse presents itself as heavy
with consequences, but ones that are obscure. Nothing of what we say, in principle,
fails to imply some. Nevertheless we do not know which. We notice in language –
for it is at the level of language that I will take things up, and to clearly mark the
limits – a syntax that is incarnated by a great number of tongues that, for want of
boldness, are called positive tongues.


Because I am there, and because I have just
made a remark about nature that, I think, does not at all seem to you irrelevant, but
(23) why, why should we inconvenience ourselves and not call them natural tongues?
One would see better in this way what concerns linguistics and what allows it to be
situated in the discourse of science. It is quite clear that even vis-a-vis language —
whatever prevalence we may accord to it because we forget it as a natural reality —
every scientific discourse about the tongue is presented by a reduction of its material.


A functioning is highlighted in which consequences are grasped. I would say more, in
which there is grasped the very notion of consequence with its varieties of necessary
or contingent for example. There is carried out then a discursive split and this is what
allows there to be given its whole value to the fact that I first of all affirm that there is
no meta-language, which is true in the field of natural language.


But why do you
carry out this reduction of the material? I have just told you. It is to highlight a
functioning in which consequences are grasped, and once you grasp consequences,
you articulate them in something that you have the right to consider as meta-language,
except for the feet that this “meta” can only create a confusion. And that this is why I
would prefer what gives rise to the detaching in discourse of what must be called by
its name, logic – 1 am indicating here nothing more – always conditioned by nothing
other than by a reduction of material. And I illustrate here what I mean.


Reduction of material means that logic begins at this precise date in history when, for
certain elements of language as functioning in their natural syntax, someone who
understands it, who inaugurates logic, substitutes for certain of these elements a
simple letter. It is starting from the moment when with, “if this, then that” you
introduce an A or a B that logic begins. And it is only starting from there that in
language you are able, about the use of this A and of this B, to pose a certain number
of axioms and laws of discussion that will merit the title of being articulated as metaor
if you prefer para-language. So then no more than physics extends, like the
goodness of God, to the whole of nature, does logic circumscribe the whole of

材料的化简意味着,逻辑开始,在历史的这个准确的资料,当语言的某些元素,充当它们自然的句法的功能,某位理解它的人,某位开启逻辑的人,用一个简单的字母替换某些的这些元素。从那个时刻开始,採有“假如这个,那么那个“,你们介绍逻辑开始的A或。仅是从那里开始,在语言里,你们能够,在使用这个A与使用这个B,你们能够提出某些的公理与讨论的法则。它们将会获得这个头衔,被表述作为”meteor流星雨“的头衔,假如你们比较喜欢”后设语言para-language“的话。因此,如同仅是物理学,就像上帝的善,延伸到整个的自然, 逻辑也限制语言的整体。

It nevertheless remains, as I have said, that either it is a delusion, absurd folly to dwell
on it – this indeed in effect is the whole appearance that one has of it in these
publications, most of them – to dwell on psychoanalysis, or what it states is that
everything that you are, to be understood as up to now, as a sentient being – 1 did not
say simply as a thinking being, even though after all there is no reason to have any
repugnance for this term; is the fact of thinking the privilege of intellectualistic
intellectuals who, as everyone knows, are the poison of this nether world, of this
nether psychoanalytic world I mean – everything that you are as a sentient being fells
under the influence of the consequences of discourse.


Even your death, I mean the
(24) quaint idea that you may have of it, is not separable from the fact that you can
say it, and I mean by that not just to say it naively. Even the idea that I call quaint,
because in effect it does not have any great weight for you, that you have of your
death is not separable from the maximal discourse that you may weave about it. This
indeed is the reason why the feeling that you have of it is nothing but quaint. I would
even say that naively, you cannot begin to say it. Because what I am alluding to, is
not at all to the fact that primitive people are naive and that is why they speak about it
in such a funny way.


That for them it is always a device, a poisoning, a spell that has
been cast, a gadget that is not labouring somewhere, in short an accident, this does not
at all prove that they speak about it naively. Do you find that that is naive! It is quite
the contrary. But it is precisely for that reason that they also fall under this law. The
feeling they have about their death is not separable from what they can say about it,
which was what had to be proved.



Identification 125

April 23, 2015

Identification 125
Jacques Lacan
雅克 拉康

11.204.62 XVII 204

Let us leave the princess and the troubles that she gave Euler.
He wrote 254 letters to her, not simply to make her understand
Eulerian circles. Published in 1775 in London, they constitute a
(4) sort of corpus of the scientific thinking at that date.


The only thing that survived from it effectively are these little
circles, these Eulerian circles which are circles like any other
circles it is simply a matter of seeing the use that he made of
them. It was to explain the rules of the syllogism and in the
final analysis exclusion, inclusion and then what can be called
the intersection of two what? Of two fields applicable to what?


Well, my heavens, applicable to many things, applicable for
example to the field where a certain proposition is true,
applicable to the field where a certain relationship exists,
applicable quite simply to the field where an object exists.


You see that the usage of the
Eulerian circle, if you are used to
the multiplicity of logics as they
were elaborated in an immense
effort, the greater part of which
belongs to propositional logic and
the logic of classes, was
distinguished in the most useful
fashion. I cannot even dream of
entering of course into the details
that would be required to make the distinction between these
elaborations. What I simply want to have recognised here, is
that you surely remember one or other moment of your existence
where there has come to you, under this form of a support, some
logical proof or other, some object as a logical object, whether
it involved a proposition, a class relationship, or even simply
an object of existence.


Let us take an example at the level of the logic of classes
and let us represent this example
by a small circle inside a big
one, mammals with respect to the
class of vertebrates; this works
quite easily and all the more
simply because the logic of
classes is certainly what
at the beginning opened up
in the easiest way the paths to this
formal elaboration and you should consult
here something already
incarnated in a signifying elaboration, quite simply that of
zoological classification which really gives it its model.


But the universe of discourse, as it is quite correctly expressed, is not a zoological universe; and, by wanting to extend the
properties of the universe of zoological classification to the
whole universe of discourse, one easily slips into a certain
number of traps which help you to avoid mistakes and allow there (5) to be heard rather quickly the alarm signal of an significant impasse.


11.4.62 XVII 205

One of these drawbacks is for example an ill-considered use of
negation. It is precisely in recent times that this use was
opened up as possible, namely just at the time when the remark
was made that this exterior Eulerian circle of inclusion ought to
play an essential role in the use
of negation, namely that it is
absolutely the same thing to speak
without any precision for example
of that which is not-man or of that
which is not-man within the animal
world. In other words that in
order that negation should have a
more or less assured, usable
meaning in logic, it is necessary
to know in relation to what set
something is denied. In other
words if A 1 is not A, it is
necessary to know within what it is
not A, namely here in B.
A’ = A


If you open Aristotle on this occasion, you will see negation
dragged into all sorts of difficulties. It nevertheless remains
incontestable that these remarks were not at all expected nor was the slightest use made of this formal support – I mean that it is not normal to make use of it in order to make use of negation –
namely that the subject in his discourse frequently makes use of
elsewhere than where It found its established position that we
have to define the status of negation. It is a reminder, a
reminder designed to clarify for you retrospectively the
importance of what from the beginning of my discourse of this
year I have been suggesting to you about the primordial
originality of the function of negation compared to this


11.206.62 XVII 206

You see then that it was not Euler who used these Eulerian
(6) circles for this purpose; it was necessary in the meantime
for there to be introduced the work of Boole, then that of De
Morgan in order that this should be fully articulated.

你们因此看见,并不是尤勒使用这些尤勒的圆圈,来充当这个目的。同时,这也是必要的,要介绍博尔的研究。然后是,德 莫根的研究,为了让这个充分地被表达。

If I come back to these Eulerian circles then, it is not because
he himself made good use of them, but because it was with his
material, with the use of these circles that there could be made
the progress which followed of which I will give you at the same
time an example which is not the least important nor the least
notorious, in any case particularly gripping and immediate to


Between Euler and De Morgan the use of these circles allowed a
symbolisation which is useful also in that it appears to you
moreover implicitly fundamental, which reposes on the position of
these circles which are structured as follows: this is what we
will call two circles which intersect, which are especially
important for their intuitive appearance which will appear
incontestable to everyone if I point out to you that it is around
these circles that there can be first of all be articulated two
relationships which it would be well to accentuate strongly,
which are first of all that of union: involving anything
whatsoever that I enumerated earlier, \J their union, it is the
fact that after the operation of union, what is united are these
two fields.

在尤勒与德 莫根之间,对于这些圆圈的使用容下一种有用的象征。而且,你们觉得这个象征是非常基本的暗示。它依靠在这些圆圈的立场,如同以下的结构的圆圈:这就是我们所谓的交会的两个圆圈。它们特别的重用,因为它们直觉的外表。每个人都觉得它们是无可争议的。首先,有两个关系被表达。这确实要强烈地强调,它们首先就是结合的圆圈:牵涉到我稍早列举的任何东西,它们的结合,就是这个事实,在结合的运作之后,所被结合的东西,就是这两个领域。

is precisely what introduced this
symbol – is, as you see, something
which is not altogether like addition,
the advantage of these circles is to
make you sense that. It is not the
The operation described as
union which is ordinarily
symbolised as follows: – it
same thing for example to add two separate circles or to unite
them in this position.



From an other to the Other 9

April 22, 2015

From an other to the Other 9

Jacques Lacan
雅克 拉康

But on the other hand there is something by which it indisputably affirms itself. It is
the symptom of the point in time that we have come to, let us say, in this provisional
word that I would call, like that, civilisation. I am not joking! I am not talking about
culture. That is vaster! It is moreover a question of convention. We will try to
situate culture in the current usage that is made of this term at a certain level that we
will call commercial.


Good! Let us come back to my discourse.


To employ a metaphor here that I already used on several occasions to make you
(21) sense what I mean by a discourse that is valid, I would compare it to a scissors’
cut in this material that I talk about when I talk about the real of a subject. It is
through this scissors’ cut in what is called structure, in the way that this happens, that
it is revealed for what it is. If one makes the scissors’ cut somewhere, relationships change in such a way that what is not seen before is seen afterwards.


This is what I illustrated by saying that it is not a metaphor, in recalling to you that the
scissors’ cut in the Moebius strip makes a strip that no longer has anything to do’with
what it was previously. To take the next step, one could even say that in grasping this
. transformation, one perceives that it is the scissors’ cut that, in itself is the whole
strip, I mean, as long as it is, in so far as it is, a Moebius strip.


This is a way of speaking about the slightest metaphor. In other words, in principle,
whether you call it structuralist or not, let us say that it is not worth the trouble to talk
about anything except the real in which discourse itself has consequences. ■ Whether
you call that structuralism or not, it is what I called the last time the condition of


It is particularly required in a technique whose pretension it is that
discourse has consequences in it since the patient only submits himself in an
artificially defined fashion to a certain discourse regulated in order that there should
be consequences. Nothing prevails against these remarks, not even those that one
sees displayed in books whose text is otherwise marked by this discourse itself, by
saying that I neglect the energetic dimension for example.


Things like that, I let pass.
I let them pass when it is a matter of polemical responses. But here, we are at the
heart of the subject since, as I pointed out the last time, for this exalted reference –
especially for those who do not even know what it means – to energetics, I substituted
a reference that, in our time, one would have difficulty in suggesting is less
materialist, a reference to the economy, the political economy. But let us not disdain
energetics on this occasion. For it to have a reference to our field, if we apply what I
have just said, it is necessary that the discourse should have consequences in it.


Well then, precisely, it has! I am speaking about real energetics, about where it is
situated in science, about physics. I even at one time, and well before these laughable
objections were published, put into lectures that those involved were perfectly able to
hear because they made use of them afterwards in their own lectures. I precisely
underlined that energetics is not even conceivable otherwise than as a consequence of
discourse. It is not because it is physics that it is not clear, that, without a signifying
mapping out of the dimensions and the levels with respect to which there can be
estimated, evaluated the initial function of the labour, naturally in the sense of
(22) physics, there is not even the probability of beginning to formulate what is called
the principle of all energetics in the literal sense of this term, namely, the reference to
a constant, which is precisely what one calls energy, in relation to a closed system
which is another essential hypothesis. That one can make with that a physics and one
that functions, is indeed the proof of what is involved in a discourse that has


This implies at the same time that physics implies the existence of a physicist and,
what is more, not just anyone whatsoever, a physicist who has a correct discourse in
. • ithe sense that I have articulated it. Namely, a discourse that is worth the trouble
saying and is not simply something that is all of a flutter; which is what energetics
becomes when it is applied to a usage as delusional and hazy as that made of the
notion of libido when people see in it what is called “a life drive”. In short, to say that
physics does not labour without the physicist is not, since I hope there will not be
found any understanding here to formulate the objection – which would be rather
ridiculous with what I have just stated – that this is an idealist postulate. Because
what I am in the process of saying, is that it is the discourse of physics that determines
the physicist and not the contrary. Namely, that there were never real physicists until
this discourse prevailed. Such is the sense that I give to an acceptable discourse in
what I am calling science.