Ethics 35

Ethics 35
The Ethics of Psychoanalysis
Jacques Lacan
雅克 拉康

Rereading the Entwurf
第三章 重新阅读“规划”


I have up till now taken account of a number of points in Freud’s work. And
last time you saw how I was led in particular to refer to that curiously situated
work, the Entwurf.


You are aware of the reservations that one might have relative to the correspondence
with Fliess. It is not a work as such; the text we have isn’t
complete. But it is certainly extremely valuable, and especially its supplementary
material, among which the Entwurf has a special place.


The Entwurf is very revealing of a kind of substructure of Freud’s thought.
Its obvious relationship to all the formulations of his experience that Freud
was led to offer subsequently makes it especially precious.


What I had to say about it last time expressed well enough the way in
which it will appear in my commentary this year. Contrary to received opinion,
I believe that the opposition between the pleasure principle and the reality
principle or between the primary process and the secondary process concerns
not so much the sphere of psychology as that of ethics properly speaking.


There was in Freud the perception of the proper dimension in which human
action unfolds. And in the appearance of an ideal of mechanistic reduction
acknowledged in the Entwurf, one should simply see a compensatory movement
or the other face of Freud’s discovery of the fact of neurosis, which is
from the beginning seen in that ethical dimension where it is, in effect, situated.


The proof of this is in the fact that conflict is in the foreground, and
that from the outset this conflict concerns the moral order in what we might
call a massive way.


That’s not such a novelty. Every builder of an ethics has had to face the
same problem. It is, in fact, in this connection that it is interesting to write a
history, or a genealogy, of morals. Not in Nietzsche’s sense, but as a series
of ethical systems, i.e., of theoretical reflection on moral experience. That
way one understands the central significance of problems that have been posed
since the beginning and that have been pursued with a notable constancy.


After all, why is it necessary that thinkers in the field of ethics always
return to the ethical problem of the relation of pleasure to the final good,
whenever the guidance of human action from a moral point of view is concerned?
Why do they always return to this same theme of pleasure?


does one explain that internal demand which constrains the ethical philosopher
to try to reduce the antimonies associated with this theme? – from the
fact that pleasure appears in many cases to be the end which is in opposition
to moral effort, but that the latter has nevertheless to locate its ultimate point
of reference there, a point of reference to which the good that is supposed to
orient human action is finally reduced.


That’s an example, and by no means
the only one, of the kind of knot which one comes upon in solutions to the
problem. It is instructive for us to see the constancy with which the problem
of conflict is posed within every discussion of morals.


Freud in this respect appears as no more than a descendent. Yet he contributes
something unmatched in significance, something that has changed
the problems of the ethical perspective for us to a degree that we are not yet
aware of. That is why we need reference points, and I have already alluded
to some of those that we will need to take account of this year.


One has to choose, since I don’t intend to highlight all those writers who
have discussed morals. I have discussed Aristotle because I believe that the
Nicomachean Ethics is properly speaking the first book to be organized around
the problem of an ethics. As you know, there are plenty of others around,
before, after, and in Aristotle’s work itself, who focus primarily on the problemn
of pleasure. I will not be referring to Epictetus or Seneca here, but I
will be discussing utilitarian theory insofar as it is significant for the new
direction which culminated in Freud.


I will indicate today the interest of the analysis I will be giving of certain
works in the same terms that Freud used in the Entwurf, when he designated
something which, to my mind at least, is close to the language that I have
taught you over the years to pay attention to in the functioning of the primary
process, namely, Bahnung or facilitation.


As far as the statement of the problem of ethics is concerned, Freud’s
discourse facilitates something that allows us to go further than anyone has
gone before in a domain that is essential to the problems of morality. That
will be the inspiration for our discussion this year; it is around the term
reality in the true meaning of the word – a term we always use in such a
careless way – that the power of Freud’s conception is situated. And it is a
power that one can measure through the persistence of Freud’s name in the
development of our analytical activity.


It is obvious that it is not the poor little contribution to a physiology of
fantasy involved, which explains the passionate interest we might take in
reading the Entwurf.


You will no doubt be told that this text is difficult, but it is also exciting.
Not so much in French as in German, for the French translation is extraordinarily
awkward. It is wanting in precision, emphasis, and resonance
throughout. In brief, I am obliged to evoke or to provoke at this point the
sense of regret some of you may have that you don’t know German.


In German
it is a brilliant, pure text; it suggests a virgin source and is altogether
remarkable. The outlines of the French translation obliterate that and make
it grey. Make the effort to read it and you will realize how true my comment
is that one finds there something very different from a work constructed of
hypotheses. It is Freud’s first skirmish with that hyperbole of reality he had
to deal with in his patients.


There we have it; around forty years old he
discovers the true dimensions, the profoundly meaningful life, of that reality.
It is not out of a vain concern to refer you to a text that I draw your
attention to the Entwurf. Yet why not, after all? You all know that on occasion
I know how to take liberties with Freud’s texts and affirm my distance.


If for example I have taught you the doctrine of the dominance of a signifier
in a subject’s unconscious chain, it is so as to emphasize certain characteristics
of our experience. By virtue of a distinction that I don’t fully agree with,
a distinction that does nevertheless express something, the paper we heard
last night called the above “the experience of the content.” And it affirmed
in opposition to it the scaffolding of concepts. Well now, this year I am proposing
not simply to be faithful to the text of Freud and to be its exegete, as
if it were the source of an unchanging truth that was the model, mold and
dress code to be imposed on all our experience.


What are we going to do? We are going to look for the phylum and the
development of the concepts in Freud – in the Entwurf, in Chapter VII of
the Traumdeutung – where he publishes for the first time the opposition between
the primary and the secondary processes, and his conception of the relationship
between the conscious, the preconscious and the unconscious – in the
introduction of narcissism into this economy; then in what is called the second
topic, with its emphasis on the reciprocal functioning of the ego, the
superego and the outside world, which gives a complete expression to things
that we may have glimpsed as new shoots in the Entwurf; and finally in the
later texts that are still centered around the same theme, “How is reality
constituted for man?”, namely, in the 1925 article on Vemeinung, which we
will look at again together, and in Civilization and Its Discontents, the discontents
of man’s situation in the world. The German term is Kultur, and we
will perhaps have to try to define its exact meaning in Freud’s writings. He
never takes over concepts in a neutral, conventional sense; a concept has
always for him a fully assumed significance.

我们将要如何做?我们将要寻找弗洛依德的观念的相关来源与发展。在“规划”,在“梦的解析”的第七章—在那里,弗洛依德首次出版原初与次级过程的对立,以及意识,前意识,与无意识之间的关系的观念。他将自恋介绍进入这种经济活力。然后,在所谓的第二个议题,它强调自我,超我,与外在世界的互惠的功能。这给予完整地表达那些事情,我们曾经瞥见的事情,作为是“规划”一书的新的观念。最后在后来的文本,依旧专注于相同的主题。「对于人,现实如何被构成?」换句话说,在1925年论“否定”的文章,我们将再次阅读那篇文章。然后在“文明及其不满”,人对于世界的情况的不满。德文的版本是Kultur 。我们或许将必须尝试定义它的确实的意义,在弗洛依德的著作里。他从来没有接管这些观念,用中立,传统的意义。这一个观念对于他而言,总是拥有意义。

It turns out then that if we are following so closely the development of
Freud’s metapsychology this year, it is in order to uncover the traces of a
theory that reflects an ethical thought. The latter is, in fact, at the center of
our work as analysts, however difficult it may be to realize it fully, and it is
also the latter which holds together all those who constitute the analytic community
– that dispersion, which often gives the impression of being a mere
scattering, of a fundamental intuition that is taken up by each one of us from
one perspective or another.


If we always return to Freud, it is because he started out with an initial,
central intuition, which is ethical in kind. I believe it essential to emphasize
that, if we are to understand our experience and animate it, and if we are not
to lose our way and allow it to be degraded. That’s the reason why I am
tackling this subject this year.



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