From the other to the Other 72

From the other to the Other

Jacques Lacan
雅克 拉康

12.2 69 XI4
I think that I have sufficiently made you sense that by reason of the
(133) function,of the zeros that do not really form part of the results of
a wager that might be made against a partner, because it is precisely
the existence of the partner that is in question and that it is what you
have to wager on. In these conditions the two lines of possibility that
are offered to the gambler do not intersect with any line of possibility
that might belong to the Other, since one can not even be sure of the
existence of the Other. It is then at the same time on the existence or
non-existence of the Other, on what promises his existence and what
allows his inexistence, it is on this that the choice is brought to bear,
and in this case it is plausible – 1 am saying, it is plausible, of course if
one has a mathematical mind – to wager, and to wager in the sense that
Pascal proposes.


Only, you will not forget that I introduced at this state of the affair, in
order of course not to give rise to misunderstanding and the belief that
here I am lending myself to something which would be the indication
of the advantage of this solution, I effectively remarked the following.


7 . . . And in the very introduction to the reminder of the wager as it is
presented, much less than it is through the grid of the discussions that
have become classic, I pointed out that at this level one could
substitute for the choice to be made on the subject of the existence of
God, the remark that one would fulfil the function – which would
completely change its sense – this remark that what is at stake, that
what could be at stake, is this radical formulation which is that of the
real, in so far as we can conceive of it and as moreover we sometimes
put our finger on it, that it is not conceivable to imagine any other limit
of knowledge than this stopping point at which one has only to deal
with this, something unsayable and which either is or is not. In other
words something that is related to heads or tails.


This was of course to put you in tune with what is invo lved in not
losing the plot. Namely, that we are not amusing ourselves. We are in
the process of trying to give articulations of such a kind that there can
be played out for us the most important decisions that are to be taken.


As it happens our times mark more and more that these most important
decisions, in so far as they may be those of the psychoanalyst, may
(134) also coincide with those required at a key point in the social
body, namely, the administration of knowledge, for example.


But then, even though on this point it is well understood that I cleared
the board, that I am not doing history and that I do not see why such a
precise system, especially if we correctly conceive the joint at which it
is situated, that Pascal’s wager would have less resources for us than it
had for its author.


And we will indeed come back to this question of
the situation, all the better because we are going to illuminate it now. It
is therefore not, as you are going to see right away, doing history, to
remind you, as I recalled the last time to remind you that in Pascal’s
time, Revelation existed.


And I even stressed what was at stake with
these two levels, the word of the Church, and then Sacred Scripture,
and the function that Sacred Scripture played for Pascal. And it is
obviously not to remind you that Newton also, who had other things on
his mind, produced a big book — my hobby being bibliophilic, it
happens that I have it, it is superb – which is a commentary on the
Apocalypse and of Daniel’s prophecy. He gave just as much care – 1
mean in the calculation, in the manipulation of numbers that are
nevertheless extremely problematic as those that are at stake when it is
a matter of situating the reign of Nebuchadnezzar for example – as in
his study on the laws of gravity. This should be remembered then in
the margin, but it does nothing for us.


What is at stake at this stage, is to remark that at the level that Pascal
then proposes his wager to us, whatever may be the relevance of our
remarks about what is involved in it in the final term, namely, that such
a proposition can only be conceived of when the knowledge of science
is bom, it nevertheless remains that, for him, the wager reposes on
what we can call the word of the Other, and the word of the Other
naturally conceived of as truth.



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