Archive for the ‘拉康:精神分析技术’ Category

The Psychoses 11

January 23, 2012

The Psychoses 11
Jacques Lacan

The Other and psychosis






The life of a psychoanalyst – as I was reminded by my analysands [analysis]
several times on the one day – isn’t rosy.


The comparison that can be made between the analyst and a rubbish dump
is justified. All day long in fact he has to endure utterances that, surely, are
of doubtful value to himself and even more so to the subject who communicates
them to him.


This is a feeling that the psychoanalyst, if he is a real one, has not only been accustomed to overcoming for a long time, but, to be honest, it’s one that he purely and simply abolishes within himself in the exercise of his practice.


I must on the other hand say that this feeling comes alive again with all its force when one is led to go over the sum total of works that make up what is called the analytic literature. There is no more disconcerting an exercise for scientific attention than to be made aware over a short space of time of the points of view that authors have elaborated on the same subjects. And nobody seems to perceive the flagrant and permanent contradictions that are brought into play whenever basic concepts arise.


You know that psychoanalysis explains the case of President Schreber, and paranoia in general, by portraying the subject’s unconscious drive as nothing other than a homosexual tendency.1 Drawing attention to all the facts grouped around such a notion was surely fundamentally new, and it profoundly changed our outlook on the pathogenesis of paranoia.


But as for knowing what this homosexuality is, at which point of subjective economy it acts, how it occasions the psychosis – 1 believe I can testify that, in this sense, all the outlines we have contain the most imprecise, even the most contradictory approaches.


People speak of defense against the supposed irruption – and why this irruption at this point? – of the homosexual tendency. But this is far from having been proved, if one is to give a meaning that is in any way precise to the term defense – which one is very careful not to do, so as to be able to continue cogitating in the dark. It’s nevertheless clear that there is a constitutive ambiguity here and that the defense maintains a far from univocal relation with the cause that provokes it. It’s thought either that the defense helps maintain a certain equilibrium or else that it provokes the illness.


We are also assured that the initial determinants of Schreber’s psychosis are to be sought in the moment of onset of the different phases of his illness.


You know that around 1886 he had his first crisis, whose co-ordinates people
try to show us by means of his Memoirs – at that time he had nominated for
the Reichstag, we are told.2 Between this crisis and the second, which covers
a period of eight years, Magistrate Schreber was normal, with the exception
that his hope of paternity was unfulfilled.


At the end of this period he happened to accede, in a way that up to a point was premature and certainly at an age at which it could not have been foreseen, to a very high function, that of Presiding Judge of the Leipzig Court of Appeal. This function, which was in the nature of an eminent distinction, conferred authority on him, so it’s
said, that elevated him to responsibility that, though not quite total, was at least greater and heavier than any he could have hoped for, which gives the impression that there was a relation between his promotion and the onset of the crisis.


In other words, in the former case one appeals to the fact that Schreber was unable to satisfy his ambition, and in the other that it was fulfilled from the outside, in a manner that is virtually consecrated as being undeserved.

换句话说,在前者的个案,我们诉诸于这个事实; 苏瑞伯不能够满足他的企图心。在后者的个案,它从外在被满足,使用的方式几乎是被奉献,作为不值得。

These two events are given the same value as trigger. It’s carefully noted that
the President had no children, so as to assign a prime role to the notion of paternity. But at the same time it’s claimed that because he finally accedes to the position of father, the fear of castration thus comes to life in him again, with a corresponding homosexual craving.


This is what is supposed to be directly at issue in the onset of the crisis and to entail all the distortions, pathological deformations, and mirages that progressively evolve into a delusion.


Surely the fact that the masculine characters in the medical entourage are present from the outset, that they are named one after the other and successively come to the centre of President Schreber’s extreme paranoid persecution, is enough to show their importance.


This is, in a word, a transference – which is undoubtedly not to be taken in quite the sense that we usually mean, but it’s something of that order, bound up in a special way with those in whose care he had been.


Undoubtedly this is an adequate explanation of the choice of characters, but before we become too satisfied with this overall arrangement it needs to be observed that, in providing its motivation, the proof by the contrary is neglected. People fail to realize that both fear of the struggle and premature success are given the value of a sign with the same positive sense in each case.


If by chance President Schreber had, between his two crises, become a father, this would be emphasized and much would be made of the fact that this paternal function would have been unbearable for him. In short, the notion of conflict is always played upon in an ambiguous manner – the source of conflict and, what is much less easy to see, the absence of conflict are placed on the same level. The conflict leaves an empty place, one might say, and it’s in the empty place of the conflict that a reaction, a
construction, a bringing into play of subjectivity, appears.

假如偶然地,苏瑞伯首席法官在他的两次危机之间,成为父亲,这将会被强调,这是事实将会被重视: 这个父亲的功用对于他而言,本来会上无可忍受的。总之,冲突的观念总是以一个模糊暧昧的方式被扮演。冲突的来源,更加不容易看出的,与冲突的欠缺,被放置在相同的层次。这种冲突留下一个空洞的位置,我们不妨说,这是在冲突的这个空洞的位置,一种反应,一种建构,一种主体性的运作会发生。

This suggestion is only designed to show you that the same ambiguity as the one our last lesson was about is at work, the ambiguity of the very meaning of a delusion, and which here is concerned with what is normally called the content and which I would prefer to call the psychotic statement [dire].


You think you are dealing with someone who is communicating with you because he speaks the same language as you. And then, what he is saying is so understandable that you get the feeling, particularly if you are a psychoanalyst, that here is someone who has penetrated, in a more profound way than is given to the common lot of mortals, into the very mechanism of the system of the unconscious. Somewhere in the second chapter Schreber expresses it in passing – Enlightenment rarely given to mortals has been given to me}

你们认为你们正在处理某个正在跟你沟通的人,因为他谈论跟你相同的语言。然后,他所正在说的,是如此可了解,以致于你获得这种感觉,特别是假如你是一位精神分析家,在此是某个曾经贯彻的人,以一种更加深刻的方式,超越有限生命的众生的命运,进入无意识的系统的机制。在第二章的某个地方,苏瑞伯偶然这样表达: 我获得到天启,是一般众生难得一见的。

My discourse today is about this ambiguity whereby the very system of the
delusional is supposed to provide us with the elements of its own understanding.



Seminar IX :Identification 09

January 4, 2012

Seminar IX :Identification 09
第九研讨班 :认同

Jacques Lacan

Seminar 2: Wednesday 22 November 1961

It is quite clear that it is in the measure that we can say to ourselves that we have forgotten it at almost every instant that we will be placed in this uncertainty, for which there is no name, either tragic, or comic, of being able to say to ourselves, at the moment of leaving our lives that we have always been in a certain measure strangers to our own lives.


This indeed is what is at the bottom of the most modern philosophical interrogation,
that through which, even for those who as I might say are only very little fettered by it, even those very people who proclaim their feelings about this obscurity, all the same something is happening, whatever may be said about it, something different is
happening than the popularity of a fashion in the formula of Heidegger recalling us to the existential foundation of being for death.


Whatever its causes may be, whatever its correlations, or even its impact – one can say – what one can call the profanation of the great phantasies forged for desire by the style of religious thinking is not a contingent phenomenon, this mode of thinking is here what will leave us uncovered, disarmed, giving rise to this hollow, this void, to which this modern philosophical meditation strives to respond, and to which our
experience has also something to contribute, because this is its place, at the instant that I am designating sufficiently for you the same place at which this subject constitutes himself as not being able to know precisely why there is a question for him here of the All.


This is the value of what Descartes brings us, and that is why it was good to start with him. (9) That is why I am coming back to it today, because it is appropriate to go over it again in order to measure again what is involved in what you were able to hear me designating for you as an impasse, namely the impossibleness (1’impossible) of the “I
think therefore I am”.


It is precisely this impossibleness which gives its price and its value to this subject which Descartes proposes to us, even if it is only the subject around which the age-old cogitations turned before, turn since, it is clear that our objections in our last
discourse take their weight, the very weight implied in the etymology of the French verb penser which means nothing other than peser (to weigh).


What can be based on the “I think”, if we know, we analysts, that this “what I am thinking about” which we may grasp, refers back to a “from which and from where I think” which necessarily slips away; and this is indeed why Descartes’ formula questions us to know whether there is not at least this privileged point of the pure “I think” on which we might base ourselves, and this is why it was at the very least important that I should make you pause for an instant.


his formula seems to imply that it would be necessary for the subject to be careful to think at every instant in order to assure himself of being. Is it sufficient for him to think that he is for him to touch this thinking being?


For it is indeed on that that Descartes, in this incredible magic of the discourse of the two first meditations, suspends us.


He manages to make stand up, I mean in his text, not that once the professor of philosophy has picked out its signifier and shown too easily the artifice which results from formulating that in thinking thus I can say that I am a thing which thinks – it is too easy to refute – but which takes nothing from the force of the progress of the text, except (10) for the fact that we must interrogate this thinking being, ask ourselves if it is not the participle of an être-penser (to be written in the infinitive and in a single word): j ‘être-pense, as one says j’outrecuide (I overween), as our analytic habits make us say “I compensate (je compense), even I decompensate, I overcompensate”. It is the same term and just as legitimate in its composition.


From then on, the “je pense-ëtre” which is proposed to us to introduce us to it, may appear, in this prospective, an artifice that is hard to tolerate because moreover to formulate things in this way, the being already determines the register in which I inaugurate my whole progress; this “je pensetre” – as I told you the last time – cannot even in Descartes’ text, be connoted except with traits of lure and appearance.


“Je pens être” does not bring with it any greater consistency than that of dreams at which effectively Descartes at several moments of his progress has left us suspended.


The “je pensetre” can for its part also be conjugated like a verb, but it does not go very far: “je pensêtre, tu pensêtres, with l’s if you wish at the end, that may still be allowable, even “il pensêtre”.


All that we can say is that if we make of it the tenses of the verb with a sort of infinitive of “pensètrer”, we can only connote it with what is written in dictionaries that all the
other forms, except the third person singular of the present, are not used in French. If we want to be humourous we will add that they are supplemented ordinarily by the same form of the verb complementary to pensètrer: the verb s’empêtrer (to become
entangled). What does that mean?


The fact is that the act of êtrepenser – because this is what is in question – only ends up for whoever is thinking with a “peut-être je, perhaps I”, and (11) moreover I am not the first nor the only one to have always remarked the contraband trait of the introduction of this “I” into the conclusion “I think therefore I am”.

事实上,我思故我在的行动—因为这是受到质疑的东西—因为这是受到质疑—对于任何正在思想的人,它的结局是「peut-être je,」,或许这个「我」,而且,我并不是第一个,也不是唯一的一个,总是标明这个不合法的特征,对于这个「我」被介绍到「我思故我在」的结论里。

It is quite clear that this “I” remains problematic and that until Descartes’ next step – and we are going to see which one – there is no reason why it should be preserved from the total putting into question that Descartes carries out of the whole process by profiling at the foundations of this process the function of the deceitful God – you know that he goes further: the deceitful God is still a good God: in order to be there, to swamp me with illusions, he goes so far as to be an evil demon, a radical liar, the one who leads me astray in order to lead me astray: this is what has been called hyperbolic doubt. It can in no way be seen how this doubt has spared this “I” and leaves it therefore properly speaking in a fundamental vacillation.



Death instinct 07

January 2, 2012

Death instinct 07
The Ego in Freud’s Theory and in the Technique of Psychoanalysis 1954-1955

Jacques Lacan

Desire, life and death
This to be or not to be is an entirely verbal story. A very funny comedian tried
showing how Shakespeare came upon it, scratching his head – to be or not . . ‘
and he would start again – to be or not . . . to be. If that’s funny, that’s because
this moment is when the entire dimension of language comes into focus. The
dream and the joke emerge on the same level.

这个生存或是死亡,完全是一文辞的故事。一位逗笑的喜剧演员嘗试表现莎士比亚如何想到这个句子,搔搔他的头颅—“生存还是不…” 他再一次开始: 生存或是不…生存。假如那是好玩,那是因为这个时刻是语言的整个维度聚焦点。梦跟笑话出现在同一个层次。

Take this sentence, which is obviously not very funny – The greatest boon is
not to be. ,It is quite striking to realise that for the greatest tragedian of
Antiquity, this was to be found in a religious ceremony. Can you imagine that
being said during mass!


The comics took it upon themselves to make us laugh at it. It would be better not to be born – Unfortunately, replies the other, that happens to scarcely one in a hundred thousand.9


Why is this witty?

To begin with, because it plays on words, an indispensable technical
element. It would be better not to be born.


Of course! This means that here there’s an unthinkable unity, about which absolutely nothing can be said before it comes into existence, from which time it may indeed insist, but one could imagine it not insisting, so that everything passes into the universal rest and silence of the stars, as Pascal puts it.


That is true enough, it may be so at the moment when one says it, it would be better not to be born. What is ridiculous is saying it. and entering into the order of the calculus of probabilities. Wit is only wit because it is close enough to our existence to cancel it with laughter.


The phenomena of the dream. of the psychopathology of everyday life. of the joke are to be found in this zone.


You must read Jokes and their Relation to the Unconscious. Freud’s rigour is
stupefying, but he doesn’t quite give the last word, namely that everything
relating to wit takes place on the vacillating level of speech. If it weren’t there,
nothing would exist. ‘


Take the silliest story, the man in a bakery, who pretends he’s got nothing to
pay for – he held out his hand and asked for a cake. he gives the cake back and asks for a glass of liqueur. drinks it, he’s asked to pay for the glass of liqueur and he replies – But I gave you the cake in exchange/or it. – But you haven’t paid/or the cake either – But I hadn’t eaten it. 10


There was an exchange. But how did the exchange begin? At some point • . something must have entered the circle of exchange. So the exchange must have already been set up.


That is to say that when all is said and done. one is always left paying for the small glass of liqueur with a cake one hasn’t paid for.


The absolutely sublime marriage-broker stories are also funny for the same
reason. ‘The one you introduced me to has an unbearable mother. ‘ – ‘Listen, you’re marrying the daughter. not the mother. ‘ – ‘But she isn’t exactly pretty. nor a spring chicken. ‘ – ‘She’ll be all the more faithful for it. ‘ – ‘But she hasn’t got much money. ”


You can ‘t expect everything. ‘And so on. The conjoiner. the marriage-broker, conjoins on a completely different plane than that of reality. since the plane of
an engagement, of love, has nothing to do with reality.


By definition. The marriage-broker. paid to deceive. can never fall into crass realities. Desire always becomes manifest at the joint of speech, where it makes its appearance, its sudden emergence. its surge forwards.


Desire emerges just as it becomes embodied in speech, it emerges with symbolism.


To be sure. symbolism links up a certain number of these natural signs, of
these loci. which captivate the human being. There is even the beginnings of
symbolism in the instinctual capture of one animal by another. But that isn’t
what constitutes symbolism, it’s the symbolising Merken which make what
doesn’t exist exist.


You mark the six sides of a die, you roll the die – from this rolling die emerges desire. I am not saying human desire, for, after all, the man who plays with the die is captive to the desire thus put into play. He doesn’t know the origin of his desire, as it rolls with the symbol written on its six sides.


Why is it only man who plays dice? Why don’t the planets speak? Questions I’ll leave open for today.
.1 8 May 1 955



Death instinct 06

January 2, 2012

Death instinct 06
The Ego in Freud’s Theory and in the Technique of Psychoanalysis 1954-1955

Jacques Lacan

Desire, life and death

Edgar Poe always juxtaposed the themes of life and of death,in a way not
lacking in significance. As an echo of this liquifaction of Oedipus. I would
choose The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar.


It’s about an experiment in the sustentation of the subject in speech. by
means of what was then called magnetism. a form of theorisation of hypnosis someone in articulo mortis is hypnotised to see what will happen.


A man at the end of his life is chosen. he only has some few breaths left. and in every other way he’s dying. It’s been explained to him that if he wants to become one of humanity’s heroes. he has only to signal to the hypnotiser .


If this could be set up in the few hours preceding his last breath. one would find out. This is fine poetical imagination,which ranges much further than our timid medical imaginations. although we all try hard along that road.


In fact, the subject passes from life into death. and remains for some months
in a state of sufficient aggregation to be still in fair condition – a corpse on a bed. which. from time to time. speaks. saying I am dead.


This state of affairs is maintained. with the help of all kinds of tricks and digs
in the ribs. until the passes contrary to those that put him to sleep are started in
order to wake him up. when several screams from the poor wretch are heard –
For God’s sake! – quick! quick! – put me to sleep – or, quick! – waken me! – quick! –I SAY TO YOU THAT I AM DEAD!


He’s already been saying he’s dead for six months. but when he is awakened.
M. Valdemar is no more than a disgusting liquefaction. something for which no
language has a name. the naked apparition. pure. simple, brutal. of this figure
which it is impossible to gaze at face on. which hovers in the background of all
the imaginings of human destiny ,which is beyond all qualification, and for
which the word carrion is completely inadequate. the complete collapse of this species of swelling that is life – the bubble bursts and dissolves down into
inanimate putrid liquid,
他已经一直在说,他已经死了六个月了。但是当他被唤醒时,范德马先生仅仅就是一个令人厌恶的瓦解的东西,没有语言能够形容他,这个赤裸的魅影,纯粹,简单,而悲惨的这个人物,正面真是惨不忍睹。这样的人物逡巡在人类命运所有的意象的背景里, 他的特质实在是无法形容,「行尸走肉」这个成语都不足以形容,生命的虚张声势的东西完全崩坍—像泡沫爆裂,瓦解成为一滩没有生命的死水。

That is what happens in the case of Oedipus. As everything right from the
start of the tragedy goes to show, Oedipus is nothing more than the scum of the earth, the refuse, the residue, a thing empty of any plausible appearance.


Oedipus at Colonus, whose being lies entirely within the word [parole]
proferred by his destiny, makes actual the conjunction of death and life. He lives a life which is dead, which is that death which is precisely there under life,


That is also where Freud’s lengthy text leads us, where he tells us – Don’t believe that life is an exalting goddess who has arisen to culminate in that most beautiful of forms, that there is the slightest power of achievement and progress in life. Life is a blister, a mould, characterised – as others besides Freud have written – by nothing beyond its aptitude for death.


That is what life is – a detour, a dogged detour, in itself transitory and
precarious, and deprived of any significance. Why, in that of its manifestations
called man, does something happen, which insists throughout this life, which is
called a meaning? We call it human, but are we so sure? Is this meaning as
human as all that? A meaning is an order, that is to say, a sudden emergence.


A meaning is an order which suddenly emerges. A life insists on entering into it, but it expresses something which is perhaps completely beyond this life, since when we get to the root of this life, behind the drama of the passage into
existence, we find nothing besides life conjoined to death. That is where the
Freudian dialectic leads us.


Up to a certain point, Freudian theory may seem to explain everything,
including what’s related to death, within the framework of a closed libidinal
economy, regulated by the pleasure principle and a return to equilibrium,
involving specific relations between objects.


The merging of the libido with activities which on the surface are at odds with it, aggressivity for instance, is put down to imaginary identification. Instead of beating up the other confronting him, the subject identifies himself, and turns against himself this gentle aggressivity, which is thought of as a libidinal object relation, and is founded upon what are called the instincts of the ego, that is to say the need for order and harmony.


After all, one must eat .- when the pantry is empty, one tucks into one’s fellow being [semblable]. The libidinal adventure is here objectified in the order of living things, and one assumes that the behaviour of subjects, their inter-aggressivity, is conditioned and capable of explication by a desire which is fundamentally adequate to its object.


The significance of Beyond the Pleasure Principle is that that isn’t enough.
Masochism is not inverted sadism, the phenomenon of aggressivity isn’t to be
explained simply on the level of imaginary identification.


What Freud’s primary masochism teaches us is that, when life has been dispossessed of its speech, its final word can only be the final malediction expressed at the end of Oedipus at Colonus, Life doesn’t want to be healed.


The negative therapeutic reaction is fundamental to it. Anyway, what is healing? The realisation of the subject through a speech which comes from elsewhere, traversing it.


This life we’re captive of, this essentially alienated life, ex-sisting, this life in
the other, is: as such joined to death, it always returns to death, and is only
drawn into increasingly large and more roundabout circuits by what Freud
calls the elements of the external world.


All that life is concerned with is seeking repose as much as possible while
awaiting death. That is what devours the time of the suckling baby at the
beginning of its existence. with hourly segments which allow him just to take a
peep from time to time. You have to try bloody hard to draw him out of this for
him to find the rhythm by which we get attuned to the world.


If the nameless desire can appear at the level of the desire to sleep, which you mentioned the other day,:Valabrega, that’s because it is in an intermediary state -dozing off is -the most natural of all vital states. Life is concerned solely with dying -To die, to sleep, perchance to dream, as a certain gentleman put it, just when what was at issue was exactly that – to be or not to be.7



Death instinct 05

January 1, 2012

Death instinct 05
The Ego in Freud’s Theory and in the Technique of Psychoanalysis 1954-1955

Jacques Lacan

Desire, life and death

To fill in what I am in the middle of articulating for you. I told you that we had
an example. which I took because I happened to come across it – the example of Oedipus finding his end. the beyond of Oedipus.


The fact that Oedipus is the patronymic hero of the Oedipus complex isn’t a
coincidence. Another one could have been chosen. since all the heroes of Greek mythology have some sort of connection with this myth. they embody it under different guises. reveal other aspects of it. There was certainly a reason why Freud was guided towards this one.


Throughout his life. Oedipus is always this myth. He is himself nothing other
than the passage from myth to existence. Whether he existed or not is of little
importance to us. since he exists in each of us. in a palely reflected form. he is
ubiquitous. and he exists far more than if he really had existed.


One can say that a thing does or doesn’t really exist. On the other hand, I was
surprised to see. regarding the archetypal cure. one of our colleagues oppose
the term psychic reality to that of true reality. I think that I have put you all in
enough of a state of suggestion for this term to seem to you a contradiction in


Whether a thing really exists or not doesn’t much matter. It can perfectly
easily exist in the full sense of the term. even if it doesn’t really exist. By
definition. there is something so improbable about all existence that one is in
effect perpetually questioning oneself about its reality.


So Oedipus does exist. and he fully realised his destiny. He realised it to that
final point which is nothing more than something strictly identical to a striking
down. a tearing apart. a laceration of himself -r- he is no longer, no longer
anything. at all. And it is at that moment that he says the phrase I evoked last
time – Am I made man in the hour when I cease to be?


I’ve tom this phrase out of its context. and I must put it back there so that you
avoid acquiring the illusion that. for instance. the term of man would at this
moment have some sort of significance.


In all strictness, it has none. precisely in as much as Oedipus achieved the full realisation of the speech of the oracles which already named his destiny even before he was born.


Before his birth his parents were told those things which required that he be hurled towards his destiny, that is that no sooner was he born, he be exposed hung by a foot. It is with this initial act that he begins to realize his destiny.


So everything is written from the start, and unfolds right up to its final end, including the fact that Oedipus assumes it through his own action. I, he says, have nothing to do with it.


The people of Thebes, in their exaltation, gave me this woman as reward for having delivered them from the Sphinx, and this guy, I didn’t know who he was, I beat him up, he was old, I can’t help it, I hit him a bit hard, it has to be said I was quite a guy.


He accepts his destiny at the moment when he mutilates himself, but he had
already accepted it at the moment when he accepted the crown. It is when he is king that he draws down all the maledictions on the city, and that there is an
order of the gods, a law of retributions and punishments. It is quite natural for
everything to come down on Oedipus since he is the central knot of speech.


The question is whether he will accept it or not. He thinks that. after all, he is
innocent. but he fully accepts it since he tears himself apart. And he asks to be
allowed to sit at Colonus. in the sacred precinct of the Eumenides. He thus fulfills the prophecy (parole] down to the last detail.


Meanwhile, people in Thebes continue to gossip. The people of Thebes are
told – Just a minute! You pushed it a bit far. It was all very well for Oedipus to mortify himself. Except, you found him disgusting and you drove him away.


Now, the future of Thebes hangs precisely on this embodied speech which you couldn’t recognise when it was here, with its ensuing tearing, cancelling of man.


You exiled him. Thebes beware – if you don ‘t bring him back, if not within the limits of your land. at least nearby, so that he doesn ‘t slip away from you. If the speech which is his destiny begins to wander, it will take with it your destiny as well. Athens will reap the harvest of true existence which he embodies. and she will secure every advantage over you and will have every triumph.


They run after him. Hearing that he is about to receive some visit, all kinds of
ambassadors. wise men. politicians. enthusiasts. his son. Oedipus then says –
Am I made man in the hour when I cease to be?


That is where beyond the pleasure principle begins. When the oracle’s
prophecy (parole] is entirely fulfilled. when the life of Oedipus has completely
passed over into his destiny, what remains of Oedipus? That is what Oedipus at Colonus shows us – the essential drama of destiny. the total absence of charity,of fraternity. of anything whatsoever relating to what one calls human feeling.


What does the theme of Oedipus at Colonus amount to? The chorus says – Say what you will, the greatest boon is not to be:/ But, life begun, soonest to end is best •

在科隆那斯的伊底普斯的主题相当等于什么?戏剧的合唱队说: 无论你怎么说,最大的恩赐尚未给予,但是生命一旦开始,越早结束越好。

. . . And Oedipus calls down the most extreme maledictions upon posterity and
the city for which he was a burnt offering – read the maledictions addressed to
his son, Polynices.


And then there is the negation of the prophecy (parole], which takes place
within the precinct, upon whose borders the whole drama takes place.


The precinct in the place where it is forbidden to speak. the central point where
silence is obligatory. for there live avenging goddesses. who do not forgive and
who catch hold of the human being at every opportunity. You get Oedipus to
come out of there each time you want to get a few words from him. for if he says them in that place. something awful will happen.


The sacred always has its raisons detre. Why is there always somewhere
where speech peters out? Perhaps so that it subsists in this precinct.
What happens at that moment?


The death of Oedipus. It comes about under extremely peculiar circumstances. Someone whose gaze from afar has followed the two men as they go towards the centre of the sacred place.


Turns around and sees only one of the two men hiding his face with his arm in an attitude of sacred awe. You have the feeling that it isn’t very pretty to look at. A kind of volatilisation of the presence of one who has said his last words.


I think that Oedipus at Colonus here is alluding to some unknown thing which was revealed in the mysteries. which are here always in the background. But for us. if I wanted to picture it. I would look for it yet again in Edgar Poe.



Death instinct 04

January 1, 2012

Death instinct 04
The Ego in Freud’s Theory and in the Technique of Psychoanalysis 1954-1955

Jacques Lacan

Desire, life and death

In the perspective which I’m opening up for you, it’s you who provoke
resistance. In the sense in which you understand resistance, that is a resistance which resists, it only resists because that’s where you’re pushing.


There is no resistance on the part of the subject. What’s at stake is delivering the insistence that is to be found in the symptom. What Freud himself calls inertia in this context isn’t a resistance – like any kind of inertia, it is a kind of ideal point. It’s you who presuppose it, in order to understand what’s happening.


You aren’t wrong so long as you don’t forget that it is your hypothesis. It simply means that there’s a process, and that in order to understand it you imagine a zero point. Resistance only starts once you try to make the subject move on from this point.


In other words, resistance is the present state of an interpretation of the
subject. It is the manner in which. at the same time, the subject interprets the
point he’s got to.


This resistance is an abstract ideal point. It is you who call it resistance. It simply means that he cannot move any faster, and you have no say in the matter. The subject is where he is at. The question is one of knowing
whether or not he is making progress.


It is clear that he has no inclination whatsoever to move on, but however little he speaks. however little value what he says might have. what he says is his interpretation of the moment, and the rest of what he says is the totality of his successive interpretations.


Properly speaking. resistance is an abstraction which you locate inside so as to find your way around. You introduce the idea of a deadlock, which you call resistance, and of a force, which makes it move on. Up to that point, that is entirely correct.


But if you invariably then resort to the idea that resistance is to be liquidated, as is written all over the place, you are ending up with pure, unqualified absurdity.


Having created an abstraction, you say – we have to make this abstraction
disappear, there mustn ‘t be any inertia.


There is only one resistance. the resistance of the analyst. The analyst resists
when he doesn’t understand what he is dealing with. He doesn’t understand
what he is dealing with when he thinks that interpreting is showing the
subject that what he desires is this particular sexual object. He’s mistaken.


What he here takes to be objective is just a pure and simple abstraction. He’s the one who’s in a state of inertia and of resistance.


In contrast. what’s important is to teach the subject to name, to articulate, to
bring this desire into existence. this desire which. quite literally, is on this side of existence, which is why it insists. If desire doesn’t dare to speak its name, it’s because the subject hasn’t yet caused this name to come forth.


That the subject should come to recognise and to name his desire, that is the efficacious action of analysis. But it isn’t a question of recognising something which would be entirely given, ready to be coapted. In naming it. the subject creates, brings forth. a new presence in the world.


He introduces presence as such. and by the same token. hollows out absence as such. It is only at this level that one can conceive of the action’ of interpretation.


Since we’re always engaged in a balancing-act between Freud’s text and
experience. go back to the text, to see how Beyond really does locate desire
beyond any instinctual cycle definable by its conditions.



Death instinct 03

January 1, 2012

Death 03
The Ego in Freud’s Theory and in the Technique of Psychoanalysis 1954-1955

Jacques Lacan

Desire, life and death
If we were to operate in the world of science, if it were sufficient to change the
objective conditions in order to obtain different effects, if sexual desire followed
objectified cycles, we would end up abandoning analysis. How could sexual
desire thus defined be influenced by the experience of speech – except by
adopting magical thinking?


It isn’t Freud who discovered that the libido is the determining factor in
human behaviour. Aristotle was already offering a theory of hysteria based on
the fact that the uterus is a small animal which lives inside the woman’s body,
and which moved about bloody violently when it wasn’t given something to
tuck into;,


Obviously he used this example because he didn’t want to take a far
more obvious one, the male sexual organ, for which you don’t need any sort of
theoretician to remind you of its surgings.


Except Aristotle never thought matters would be helped by having
conversations with the little animal inside the woman’s belly. In other words,
to speak like a chansonnier who, in his obscenity, was infected from time to
time with a kind of sacred fury [fureur] verging on prophecy• – a ne mange pas de pain, 􀅼a ne parle pas non plus, et puis 􀅼a n ‘en tend rien [it doesn’t take up space, nor does it talk, neither does it hear]. It is not open to reason. If the experience of speech has an effect under these circumstances, it is because we are somewhere other than Aristotle.

除外,亚里斯多德从来没有想到,凭借跟女人肚子里的这个小动物谈话,对于事情会有帮助。换句话,像一位激情歌手般谈话,他由于地位卑微,有时像是有一种类似预言的神的愤怒,附在身上。 (这种神的愤怒并没有佔有空间,没有谈话,没有听见)。它没有开放给理性,假如在这些情况之下,言说的经验没有影响,那是因为我们处于跟亚里斯多德不同的地方。

Of course, the desire we deal with in analysis isn’t totally unrelated to this


Given the level at which desire is to be found in the Freudian experience, why
are we nonetheless called upon to embody it in this desire?


You tell me, my dear Valabrega, that there’s a kind of satisfaction of desire in
dreams. I assume that you are thinking of children’s dreams, as indeed about
every kind of hallucinatory satisfaction of desire.


But what does Freud tell us? It is true, in the child there’s no distortion of
desire, during the day he wants cherries and he dreams of cherries. Except,
Freud nonetheless emphasises that, even at this infantile stage, the desire of the dream as of the symptom is a sexual desire. He is adamant about that.
Look at the Wolfman.


With Jung, the libido gets drowned in the concerns of the soul, the great dreamer, the centre of the world, the ethereal embodiment of the subject. Freud is categorically opposed to that, and moreover at an extremely delicate moment in time, when he is tempted to give in to Jungian reductionism, since at that point he realises that the perspective of the past of the subject may well only be fantasy.


The door is open to pass from the notion of desire which is directed towards, which is captivated by, mirages, to the notion of the universal mirage. It isn’t the same thing.


The full signification of the fact that Freud retains the term ‘sexual desire’
every time desire is at issue can be seen in those cases when something else
clearly seems to be involved, the hallucination of needs for instance. It all seems entirely natural – why wouldn’t needs be hallucinated?


It’s so much easier to believe on account of there being a kind of mirage at the second level, called mirage of the mirage. Since we experience the mirage, its presence is entirely natural. But once you start thinking, you ought to be astonished by the existence of mirages, and not only by what they show us.


We never stop long enough to consider the hallucination of the child’s dream
or the dream of the starving. We don’t notice one fine detail, which is that when
the child wanted cherries during the day, she doesn’t dream only of cherries.


To cite the young Anna Freud, since the dream is hers, with her baby talk in which certain consonants are missing, she also dreams of custard, of cake, just as the person starving to death doesn’t dream of the hunk of bread and glass of water which would sate him, rather he dreams of Pantagruelian meals.


O . M A N N O N I : The dream about the cherries and the one about the cake aren’t the same. The desire at issue/even the one that is said to be distorted, is already beyond the coaptation of need. Even the simplest of desires is very problematic.
奥、曼伦尼: 关于樱桃的梦,以及关于蛋糕的梦并不一样。这个欲望受到争议,甚至这个据说是被扭曲的欲望,已经超越了需要的的衔合。即使是最单纯的欲望都是问题重重。

O . M A N N O N I: The desire isn ‘t the same, since she recounts her dream.
I’m very much aware that you have an admirable understanding of what I’m
saying. Of course.. that’s what it’s really about, but that isn’t clear to everyone, and I’m trying to bring the evidence to bear just where it can reach the greatest
number of people. Let me stick to the level I’m working on.


In the end, at this existential level, we can only talk about the libido satisfactorily in a mythical way – it is the genitrix, hominum divumque voluptas.

genitrix, hominum divumque voluptas.

That is what Freud is getting at. In former days what returns here used to be
expressed in terms of the gods, and one must proceed with care before turning it into an algebtaic sign. They’re extremely useful. algebraic signs, but on
condition that you restore their dimensions to them. That is what I am trying to
do when I talk to you about machines.


When does Freud tell us about a beyond of the pleasure principle? Just when
the analysts have taken the path Freud taught them, and think they know.
Freud tells them that desire is sexual desire, and they believe it. That is precisely where they err – for they don’t understand what that means.

什么时候弗洛伊德告诉我们,有关一个超越快乐原则?正当这种精神分析採取弗洛伊德教导他们的途径, 并且认为他们知道。弗洛伊德告诉他们,欲望是性的欲望,他们相信它。那确实是他们犯错误的地方。因为他们并不了解那是什么意思。

Why for most of the time is desire something other than what it appears to
be? Why is that what Freud calls sexual desire? The reason for it remains
concealed, just as concealed as the beyond which the one who experiences the sexual desire looks for behind an experience subjected to all the lures in nature as a whole. “


If there’s something which shows, not only in ordinary experience, but in
experiments. the efficacity of the lure in animal behaviour, that something is
sexual experience.


There’s nothing easier than fooling an animal about the qualities which turn an object, of whatever appearance, into the thing towards which he’ll advance as if towards his partner. The captivating Gestalten, the innate releasing mechanisms are inscribed in the register of parade and pairing.


When Freud maintains that sexual desire is the heart of human desire, all
those wile follow him believe it, believe it so strongly that they manage to
persuade themselves that it is all very simple, and that all that’s left to do is to
turn it into a science, the science of sexual desire, a constant force.


All it takes is to remove the obstacles, and it will work all by itself. All it takes is to tell the patient – you don’t realise it, but the object is here. That is at first sight what an interpretation seems to be like.


Except it doesn’t work. This is when – and this is the turning-point – it is said
that the subject resists. Why do we say that? Because Freud also said it. But we haven’t understood what resisting means any more than we have understood sexual desire. We think that we should press on.


And that is when the analyst himself succumbs to the lure. I showed you what the insistence on the side of the suffering patient means. Well then, the analyst places himself at the same level, he insists in his own way, an obviously far more stupid way, since it is conscious.



Death 02

December 31, 2011

Death 02
The Ego in Freud’s Theory and in the Technique of Psychoanalysis 1954-1955

Jacques Lacan

Desire, life and death
This famous object relation, which we are gargling with these days. has a
tendency to be employed as a model. a pattern of the adaptation of the subject to its normal objects.


However. this term. in so far as it can be of use in the experience of analysis. can only acquire a meaning from ideas concerning the evolution of the libido. the pregenital stage. the genital stage. Can one say that the structure. the maturity. the fully-fledged realisation of the object depends on the libido?•.At the genital stage. the libido is thought to bring a new object. another structuration. another sort of existence for the object into the world.
bringing its fullness. its maturity to completion. And this has nothing to do with
traditional aspects of the theory of man’ s relations to the world – the opposition
of being to appearance.


Within the classical. theoretical perspective. between subject and object
there is coaptation. co-naissancez – a play on words retaining all its force. for the theory of knowledge lies at the heart of any discussion of the relation of man to the world. The subject has to place himself in adequation with the thing. in a relation of-being to being – the relation of a subjective being. but one that is
truly real. Or a being aware of being to a being one knows to be.


The domain of the Freudian experience is established within a very different
register of relations. Desire is a relation of being to lack. This lack is the lack of
being properly speaking. It isn’t the lack of this or that. but lack of being
whereby the being exists.


This lack is beyond anything which can represent it. It is only ever
represented as a reflection on a veil. The libido. but now no longer as used
theoretically as a quantitative quantity. is the name of what animates the deepseated conflict at the heart of human action.


We necessarily believe that. at the centre. things are really there. solid.
established, waiting to be recognised. and that the conflict is marginal. But
what does the Freudian experience teach us? If not that what happens in the domain of so-called consciousness. that is on the level of the recognition of objects. is equally misleading in relation to what the being is looking for?


In so far as the libido creates the different stages of the object, the objects are never it- except from the moment when that would be entirely it, thanks to a genital maturation of the libido, the experience of which in analysis retains a character which is, there is no denying it, Ineffable ,since as soon as one wants to spell it out, one ends up in all sorts of contradictions, including the impasse of narcissism.


Desire. a function central to all human experience. is the desire for nothing
nameable. And at the same time this desire lies at the origin of every variety of
animation. If being were only what it is. there wouldn’t even be room to talk
about it.


Being comes into existence as an exact function of this lack. Being
attains a sense of self in relation to being as a function of this lack. In the experience of desire. In the pursuit of this beyond, which is nothing, it harks
back to the feeling of a being with self-consciousness, which is nothing but its
own reflection in the world of things. For it is the companion of beings there before it, who do not in fact know themselves.


The self-conscious being, transparent to itself, which classical theory places
at the centre of human experience, appears, from this perspective, as a manner of locating, in the world of objects, this being of desire who cannot perceive itself as such, except in its lack. If this lack of being, it perceived that it is lacking being, and that the being is there, in all the things which do not know
themselves to be. And it imagines itself, for its part, as one more object, for it sees no other difference. It says – I’m the one who knows that I am.


Unfortunately, If it does perhaps know that it is, it knows nothing at all about what it is. That is what is lacking in every being.


In short, there is a confusion between the capacity to erect a fundamental
distress whereby being arises as presence from a background of absence, and
what we commonly call the capacity for consciousness, for becoming aware,
which is only a neutral and abstract, and even abstracted, form of the totality of
the possible mirages.


Relations between human beings are really established before one gets to the
domain of consciousness. It is desire which achieves the primitive structuration
of the human world, desire as unconscious. In this respect, we must appraise
Freud’s advance.


Copernican revolution, when it comes down to it, is, as you can see, a crass
metaphor. It goes without saying that Copernicus produced a revolution, but in
the world of determined and determinable things.


Freud’s advance constitutes, I would say, a revolution in an opposite direction, because before Copernicus, the world owed its structure precisely to the fact that so much of man was already in it. And to tell the truth, we’ve never really decanted it completely, although we’ve done enough.


Freud’s advance isn’t to be explained by the basic and precarious experience
of the fact of having to care for someone, it really is the correlate of a revolution
carried through over the entire domain constituted by man’s thinking concerning himself and his experience; over the entire domain of philosophy since after all we must give it its name.


This revolution brings man back into the world as creator. But the latter risks
being entirely dispossessed of his creation by the simple trick, always put on one side in classical theory, which consists in saying – God is no deceiver.


That is so essential that, when it came to it, Einstein got stuck at the same
point as Descartes. The Lord, he used to say, is certainly a crafty fellow, but he
isn’t dishonest. It was essential to his organisation of the world that God not be
a deceiver. But this, precisely, is what we don’t know.


The decisive element of the Freudian experience could be summed up as follows – don’t forget that consciousness isn’t universal. Modern experience
awoke from a long fascination with the property of consciousness)” and
considers man’s experience within its own structure, which is the structure of
desire. That is the only starting-point for explaining the fact that there are men.


Not men as a herd, but men who speak, with this speech through which
something is introduced into the world which weighs as heavily as the whole of the real.


There is a fundamental ambiguity in the use we make of the word ‘desire’.
Sometimes we objectify it – and we have to do so, if only to talk about it. On the
contrary, sometimes we locate it as the primitive term in relation to any


In fact, sexual desire in our experience has nothing objectified about it. It is
neither an abstraction, nor a purified x, as the notion of force in physics has


Doubtless we make use of it, and it’s very handy, for describing a
certain biologieal cycle, or more precisely a certain number of cycles which are
more or less tied up with biological systems.


But what we have to deal with is a subject which}s here, who truly is desiring, and the desire in question is prior to any kind of conceptualisation – every conceptualisation stems from it.


The proof that analysis does indeed lead to our approaching things this way is that the largest part of what the subject takes to be a certainty after due reflection is for us only the superficial, rationalised, subsequently justified ordering of what his desire foments, which gives his world and his action its essential curvature.



迴圈 08

December 28, 2011

The Ego in Freud’s Theory and in the Technique of Psychoanalysis 1954-1955

Jacques Lacan

VII The circuit 06
第七章: 迴圈
Here, it’s more complicated. We call that a message. It’s very ambiguous.
What is a message inside a machine? Something which proceeds by opening
and not opening, the way an electronic lamp does, by yes or no. It’s something
articulated, of the same order as the fundamental oppositions of the symbolic


At any given moment, this something which turns has to, or doesn’t,
come back into play. It is always ready to give a reply, and be completed by this self same act of replyIng, that is to say by ceasing to function as an isolated and closed circuit, by entering into the general run of things. Now this comes very close to what we can conceive of as Zwang, the compulsion to repeat.


As soon as we have this little model, we realise that in the very anatomy of
the cerebral apparatus there are things which return back on themselves.


Thanks to Riguet, on whose recommendation I read the work of an English
neurologist, l became very interested in a certain octopus.


It seems that its nervous system is sufficiently simple to have an isolated nerve which governs what is called the jet, or the propulsion of liquid, thanks to which the octopus has this delightful way of moving.


You can also think of its memory apparatus being pretty much reduced to this message circulating between Paris and Paris, on tiny points of the nervous system.


Think back on what we said in preceding years about those striking
coincidences Freud noted in the sphere of what he calls telepathy. Very
important things, in the way of transference, occur in parallel in two patients,
whether one is in analysis and the other just on its fringes, or whether both are
in analysis.


At that time, I showed you how it is through being links, supports,
rings in the same circle of discourse, agents integrated in the same circle of
discourse, .that the subjects simultaneously experience such and such a
symptomatic act, or discover such and such a memory.


At the point we have reached, I propose, looking ahead, that you conceive of
the need for repetition, such as it concretely manifests itself in the subject, in
analysis for instance, as the form of behaviour staged in the past and
reproduced in the present in a way which doesn’t conform much with vital


Here we rediscover what I’ve already pointed out to you, namely that the
unconscious is the discourse of the other.


This discourse of the other is not the discourse of the abstract other, of the other in the dyad, of my correspondent, nor even of my slave, it is the discourse of the circuit in which I am integrated. I am one of its links.


It is the discourse of my father for instance, in so far as my father made mistakes which I am absolutely condemned to reproduce – that’s what we call the super-ego.


I am condemned to reproduce them because I am obliged to pick up again the discourse he bequeathed to me, not simply because I am his son, but because one can’t stop the chain of discourse, and it is precisely my duty to transmit it in its aberrant form to someone else.


I have to put to someone else the problem of a situation of life or death in which the chances are that it is just as likely that he will falter, in such a way that this discourse produces a small circuit in which an entire family, an entire coterie, an entire camp. an entire nation or half of the world will be caught.


The circular form of a speech which is just at the limit between sense and non-sense. which is problematic.


That’s what the need for repetition is. as we see it emerge beyond the pleasure
principle. It vacillates beyond all the biological mechanisms of equilibration. of
harmonisation and of agreement. It 1s only introduced by the register of
language, by the function of the symbol, by the problematic of the question
within the human order.


How does Freud project that in the most literal manner on to a level which
ostensibly belongs to the order of biology? We will have to come back to that the next few times. Life is only caught up in the symbolic piece-meal, decomposed, The human being himself is in part outside life. He partakes of the death instinct.


Only from there can he engage in the register of life.
1 9 January 1 955



迴圈 07

December 28, 2011

The Ego in Freud’s Theory and in the Technique of Psychoanalysis 1954-1955

Jacques Lacan

VII The circuit 06
第七章: 迴圈
Kierkegaard. who was, as you know, a humorist. discussed the difference
between the pagan world and the world of grace, which Christianity
introduces. Something of the ability to recognise his natural object, so apparent in animals, is present in man.


There is being captured by form, being seized by play, being gripped by the mirage of life. That is what a theoretical. or theorial, or contemplative, or Platonic thought refers itself to, and it isn’t an accident that Plato places reminiscence at the centre of his entire theory of knowledge.


The natural object, the harmonic correspondent of the living being, is
recognisable because its outline has already been sketched. And for it to-have
been sketched, it must already have been within the object which is going to
join itself to it. That is the relation of the dyad. Plato’s entire theory of
knowledge – Jean Hyppolite won’t contradict me – is dyadic.


But for certain specific reasons, a change occurred. Sin is from then on
present as the third term, and it is no longer by following the path of
reminiscence, but rather in following that of repetition, that man finds his way.


That is precisely what puts Kierkegaard on the track of our Freudian intuitions,
in a small book called Repetition. I recommend reading it to those who are
already somewhat ahead. Those who don’t have much time should at least
read the first part.


Kierkegaard wants to avoid precisely those problems which stem from his
accession to a new order, and he encounters the dam of his own reminiscences, of who he thinks he is and of what he knows he will never be able to become.


He then tries the experiment of repetition. He returns to Berlin where. during his previous stay he had experienced infinite pleasure. and he retraces his own steps.


You will see what happens to him , seeking his well-being in the shadow of his pleasure. The experiment fails totally. But as a result of that ,he puts us on
the track of our problem. Namely, how and why everything which pertains to
an advance essential to the human being must take the path of a tenacious


I’m getting close to the model which I want to leave with you today. so you
can see the meaning of man’s need for repetition. It’s all to do with the intrusion
of the symbolic register. Only, I’ll illustrate it for you.


Models are very important. Not that they mean anything – they mean
nothing. But that’s the way we are – that’s our animal weakness – we need
images. And. sometimes, for lack of images, some symbols don’t see the light of day.


In general. it is rather the symbolic deficiency which is worrisome. The
image comes to us from an essentially symbolic creation, that is to say from a
machine, that most modem of machines, far more dangerous for man than the
atom bomb, the adding machine.


You’ve been told, you’ve understood, and you don’t believe it – the adding
machine has a memory. You quite like saying it, but you don’t believe it. Do get
it right! The sort of memory it has is destined to put all the images of memory
which up to now we had given ourselves into question.


The best thing we’ve found for giving an image of the phenomenon of memory is the Babylonian wax seal. a thing with a few little reliefs and some lines which you roll out on to a wax plaque, what we call an engram. The seal is also a machine, only no one notices that.


For machines to remember every question, questions which have already
been put to them, which is sometimes necessary, something a bit more cunning was discovered -the machine’s first experience circulates inside it in the form of a message.


Suppose that I send a telegram from here to Le Mans, with the request that Le
Mans send it back to Tours, from there to Sens, from there to Fontainebleau,
and from there to Paris, and so on indefinitely.


What’s needed is that when I reach the tail of my message, the head should not yet have arrived back. The message must have time to tum around. It turns quickly, it doesn’t stop turning, it turns around in circles.


It’s funny. this thing turning back on itself. It’s called feedback,s and its
related to the homeostat. You know that that is how the admission of steam
into a steam-engine is controlled. If it heats up too quickly, a governor registers
it, two things are forced apart by the centrifugal force. and the admission of
steam is regulated. We have oscillation about a point of equilibrium.