Ethics 30

Ethics 30
The Ethics of Psychoanalysis
Jacques Lacan
雅克 拉康

Pleasure and reality

From a Freudian point of view, the reality principle is presented as functioning
in a way that is essentially precarious.


No previous philosophy has gone so far in that direction. It is not that
reality is called into question; it is certainly not called into question in the
way that the idealists did so. Compared to Freud the idealists of the philosophical
tradition are small beer indeed, for in the last analysis they don’t
seriously contest that famous reality, they merely tame it. Idealism consists
in affirming that we are the ones who give shape to reality, and that there is
no point in looking any further. It is a comfortable position. Freud’s position,
or that of any sensible man for that matter, is something very different.
Reality is precarious.


And it is precisely to the extent that access to it is so
precarious that the commandments which trace its path are so tyrannical. As
guides to the real, feelings are deceptive. That intuition which animates the
whole auto-analysis of Freud expresses itself thus concerning the approach
to the real. Its very movement can only begin to occur by means of a primary
defense. The profound ambiguity of this approach to the real demanded by
man is first inscribed in terms of a defense – a defense that already exists
even before the conditions of repression as such are formulated.


In order to emphasize what I am calling the paradox of the relationship to
the real in Freud, I will put this on the board – the pleasure principle on the
one hand and reality principle on the other. Once you have been gently reassured
by these two terms, things seem to go along by themselves. Speaking
broadly, one can say that the unconscious is on one side and the conscious
on the other. Please bear that in mind in your attempt to follow the points I
am trying to bring out.


What are we led to articulate the apparatus of perception onto? Onto reality,
of course. Yet, if we follow Freud’s hypothesis, on what theoretically is
the control of the pleasure principle exercised? Precisely on perception, and
it is here that one finds the originality of his contribution. The primary process,
as he tells us in the seventh part of the Traumdeutung, tends to be exercised
toward an identity of perception. It doesn’t matter whether it is real or
hallucinated, such an identity will always tend to be established. If it isn’t
lucky enough to coincide with reality, it will be hallucinated. The risk is in
the possibility of the primary process winning out.


On the other hand, what does the secondary process tend toward? Once
again you should look at Chapter VII, but it is already articulated in the
Enrumrf. It tends toward an identity of thought. What does that mean? It
means that the interior functioning of the psychic apparatus – I will discuss
next time how it might be represented schematically – occurs as a kind of
groping forward, a rectifying test, thanks to which the subject, led on by the
discharges that follow along the Bahnungen already established, will conduct
the series of tests or of detours that will gradually lead him to anastomosis
and to moving beyond the testing of the surrounding system of different
objects present at that moment of its experience. One might say that the
backcloth of experience consists in the construction of a certain system of
Wunsch or of Erwartung of pleasure, defined as anticipated pleasure, and which
tends for this reason to realize itself autonomously in its own sphere, theoretically
without expecting anything from the outside. It moves directly toward
a fulfillment highly antithetical to whatever triggers it.

在另一方面,这个次级过程倾向于什么?再次地,你们应该观看第七章,但是它已经被表达,在“筹划”一书。它倾向于思想的认同。那是什么意思?它的意思是,心灵的工具的内部的功能—下次我将讨论它如何用基模方式来代表—这个功能的发生,作为一种向前模索,一种矫正的测试。由于这个矫正的测试,主体将会主导这一系列的测试或一系列的迂迴。因为它被这些发泄所引导,遵循Bahnungen (方便途径)已经建立的发泄所引导。这一系统的测试或一系列的迂迴逐渐引导他到汇集一块,引导他到移动超越过周围系统的测试,出现在它的经验的那个时刻不同的客体的周围系统。我们可以说,经验的背景主要是在于建立某个愿望的系统,或快乐的期望。它被定义为被预期的快乐。因为这个理由,它倾向于自动自发地实践它自己,在它自己的范围里。理论上,它并没有从外部期望任何东西。它直接地朝向满足前进。这个满足跟任何触发它的东西高度地对立。

In this preliminary approach, thought ought to appear to be on the level
of the reality principle, in the same column as the reality principle. But it is
by no means the case, since as described by Freud, this process is in itself
and by nature unconscious. Understand that unlike that which reaches the
subject in the perceptual order from the outside world, nothing that takes
place at the level of these tests – thanks to which, by means of approximations
in the psyche, the facilitations are realized that enable the subject to
make his action adequate – is perceptible as such. All thought by its very
nature occurs according to unconscious means. It is doubtless not controlled
by the pleasure principle, but it occurs in a space that as an unconscious space
is to be considered as subject to the pleasure principle.


Of everything that occurs at the level of inner processes, and thought itself
is such a process, according to Freud, the only signs of which the subject is
consciously aware are signs of pleasure or pain. As with all the other unconscious
processes, nothing else reaches the level of consciousness but those
signs there.


How then do we have some apprehension of those processes of thought?
Here again Freud responds in a fully articulated way – only insofar as words
are uttered. An idea that, with the tendency to facility characteristic of all
thought that in spite of itself is tainted by a kind of parallelism, is commonly
interpreted as follows: “It is, of course, clear that what Freud is telling us
there is that words are that which characterizes the transition into the preconscious.”
But the transition of what precisely?


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