Archive for the ‘Jacques Lacan’ Category


November 17, 2015


In 1954–55 Lacan devoted a substantial part of his Seminar II to a
theoretical analysis of Freud’s concept of the compulsion to repeat
(Wiederholungszwang). As he explained on at least two occasions
during this Seminar (1988c[1954–55]:118, 123), this was a logical
step to take after having dissected the phenomenology of transference,
taking account of the amalgamation of transference and repetition in
Freud’s works.28 It was also an occasion for Lacan to address a
Freudian dilemma Lagache had rehashed in his numerous
contributions to the topic of transference: does transference conform
to the repetition of a need, or to a need for repetition? (Lagache
1952:94–95; 1953[1951]:4–5; 1993[1954]:137).


In presenting this
dilemma, Lagache had opposed Freud’s description of transference
as the repetition of an unfulfilled need for love (Freud 1912b:100),
following the pleasure principle, to his subsequent account of
transference as a derivative of the compulsion to repeat, and thus of
what functions beyond the pleasure principle (Freud 1920g:20–21).
Hence, the apparently futile question raised by Lagache opened up
onto a cardinal issue: does transference operate in keeping with the
pleasure principle, or does it work against it?29


Lacan’s trajectory in Seminar II sparked a new interpretation of
‘Beyond the Pleasure Principle’ (Freud 1920g), in which Freud had
conceptualized the repetition compulsion as an infernal cycle compelling
people to re-experience unpleasurable events time and again. By analogy
with the notion of resistance, Lacan dubbed the repetition compulsion
an insistence, linking its compulsive nature to the continuous return of
the signifiers within the symbolic order.

拉康在第二研讨班的探讨引发对于“超越快乐原则”的新的铨释。在” 超越快乐原则“的文章,弗洛伊德曾经建构重复的强迫的观念,作为是内部的迴圈,强迫人们一再地重新经验令人不愉快的事件。拉康则是将它跟抗拒的观念类比,称重复的强迫是一种抗拒。拉康将重复强迫的特性,跟象征秩序内部,能指的继续回落联接一块。

Again minimizing the explanatory
value of the Zeigarnik effect, he attributed the repetition compulsion to
the incessant intrusion of the symbolic machinery which governs all
human life forms, similar to the ongoing exchange of messages within
an isolated, closed circuit (Lacan 1988c[1954–55]:87–90). Hence, if
transference follows the repetition compulsion and the latter equals the
insistence of the signifiers within the symbolic order, then transference
must be characterized by that same symbolic insistence and not, for that
matter, by the power of resistance.


This conclusion urged Lacan to decide
in favour of the analysand’s transference as an unconscious, symbolic
need for repetition functioning beyond the pleasure principle, and it
bolstered his critique of clinicians advocating the analysis of the
transference as a resistance.30 This is not to say that Lacan completely
rejected the resistance side of transference, but he considered it an
unproductive, deceitful departure from its bona fide repetition side—a
deterioration for whose emergence the analyst is as much responsible as
for that of the symbolic insistence.


Armed with this new distinction between transference insistence
(symbolic repetition) and transference resistance (imaginary projection),
Lacan returned to the case-studies of Dora and the young homosexual
woman, putting Freud’s technical errors into a different light. Following
a juxtaposition of the two cases in Seminar IV, he argued that whereas in
the Dora case Freud had radically ignored the imaginary element of deceit
within Dora’s transference, in the case of the young homosexual woman
he had made exactly the opposite mistake, concentrating exclusively on
the deceitfulness of her dream (to be a happily married woman) without
acknowledging its truthful symbolic articulation (Lacan 1994[1956–57]:


In his treatment of Dora Freud was led astray by his
unshakeable belief that his patient was unconsciously, yet honestly
reliving her love for Mr K in her relationship with her analyst, whilst in
his analysis of the young homosexual girl he was mistaken in excluding
the possibility that her dream of a happily married life transpired a deeply
felt, though unconscious wish.


At the end of the 1950s, with Seminar VII (1992[1959–60]), a radical
shift of perspective took place. Although the entire seminar was intended
as a revaluation of the aims and objectives of psychoanalytic treatment,
Lacan entered into a digression concerning the relation between the
pleasure and reality principles in Freud’s oeuvre to redefine the status of
the signifier.


Contrary to what he had proffered in previous seminars, he
now located the signifier, or what Freud had called Vorstellung
(representation), firmly within the realm of the pleasure principle (ibid.:
134). Relying on Freud’s ‘Project for a Scientific Psychology’
(1950a[1895]), Lacan intimated that the pleasure principle, the primary
unconscious process regulating the distribution of libidinal energy
between representations, cannot operate without these representations.
Rather than being an agency functioning beyond the pleasure principle,
the signifier thus became part and parcel of the primary process.


This new conception of the signifier evidently challenged the
connection between transference and repetition. Initially, Lacan had
correlated transference with the repetition compulsion and the latter with
the insistence of the signifier beyond the pleasure principle. Now, with
the new alliance between the signifier and the pleasure principle,
transference could no longer be associated with the repetition compulsion,
unless the symbolic mechanism of transference itself was entirely revised.
In addition, the proposed congruence of transference, the signifier and
the pleasure principle seemed to topple Lacan’s original take on Lagache’s
polarization (need for repetition vs. repetition of need) into the opposite
direction, transference appearing quite conspicuously as the repetition
of a need.


Avoiding this inconsistency in Seminar VII, Lacan devoted his next
seminar entirely to the topic of transference, which incited him to ponder
the two sides of Lagache’s opposition again and to offer the following
provisional solution:


[I]t seems impossible to me to eliminate from the phenomenon of
transference the fact that it manifests itself in relation to somebody
spoken to. This is a constitutive fact. It constitutes a frontier and it
simultaneously indicates to us that we should not drown the
phenomenon of transference in the general possibility of repetition
constituted by the existence of the unconscious. In analysis, there
are of course repetitions linked to the constancy of the signifying
chain in the subject. These repetitions need to be distinguished
strictly from what we call transference, even when in some cases
they may have homologous effects.
(Lacan 1991b[1960–61]:208)


It would be erroneous to infer from this passage that Lacan took issue
with his own previous equivalence of transference and the need for
repetition, now realigning the occurrence of transference with the
repetition of a need. As a matter of fact, he was making a rudimentary
case for the radical separation of transference and repetition on the basis
of an evaluation of the inherently creative dimension in the transference


On the one hand, Freud’s definition of transference as the
analysand’s reproduction in acts of a repressed historical event within
the presence of the analytic situation (Freud 1914g:150) encouraged
Lacan to loosen the knot between transference and the compulsion to


The element of acting and the incessant implication of the present
within the transference prompted him to approach transference as
something more than the emergence of the compulsion to repeat. On the
other hand, he questioned the view of transference as the repetition of an
ancient unfulfilled need from the vantage point that the analysand never
simply succumbs to this need, but always recreates it within the novel
context of the analytic experience (Lacan 1991b[1960–61]:206–207).


The vexed issue of the relationship between transference and repetition
was reopened in 1962–63, when Lacan spent a whole year investigating
the topic of anxiety. Broaching yet again the conjunction of transference
and the compulsion to repeat, he underscored that transference cannot
be reduced to the reproduction of an anterior, unresolved conflict. If the
analysand’s transference is marked by love, this affect is always already
related to an object in the present, which Lacan (1991b[1960–61]: 179–
195) illustrated with Socrates’ interpretation of Alcibiades’ love in Plato’s
Symposium (Plato 1951).31


Concurrently, he insisted that the reduction
of transference to repetition obfuscates the importance of the analyst’s
own part in the entire affair. For if the transference always integrates an
object in the present, analysts cannot escape their being made into the
object of their analy sands’ transference, through which they not only
elicit but also crucially shape their patients’ reactions. Down-playing
the repetitive component of transference and upgrading the analyst’s
creative part in it, Lacan also replaced his previous definition of
countertransference as the sum of the analyst’s prejudices, insufficient
information, passions and difficulties, by the analyst’s essential
implication in the analysand’s transference, whose cautious management
must proceed from the purified desire of the analyst (Lacan 1991b[1960–
61]: 221; 1962–63: session of 27 February 1963).32


Lacan’s most distinguished view on the nature of transference
appeared in Seminar XI (1977b[1964]), in which he designated
transference and repetition as two distinct fundamental concepts of
psychoanalysis.33 Disregarding his own previous assertions and criticizing
Freud for presenting a confused account, Lacan proclaimed that repetition
has nothing in common with transference (ibid.: 33, 69).


repetition occurs when a missed, traumatic encounter (beyond the
pleasure principle) is integrated within the network of signifiers (following
the pleasure principle), transference ‘is the enactment of the reality of
the unconscious’ (ibid.: 146, 149).34 Gradually disclosing the meaning
of this new, highly aphoristic description of transference, Lacan specified
that the reality of the unconscious is always sexual and that this
unconscious sexual reality underpins all the analysand’s demands within
the transference.


For example, if an analysand demands that the analyst
say something because she has the impression that the latter does not
seem to be interested in her associations, this demand represents an avatar
of the analysand’s unconscious sexual reality, notably that she derives
excitement from awakening people’s interest and that she cannot tolerate
the idea that somebody might not be attracted to her.


If the analyst remains
mute, the analysand is bound to interpret his silence as an indication of
the analyst’s lack of interest or, more commonly, as evidence of his lack
of professionalism, and she is likely to employ this interpretation as an
explanation for her own lack of analytic progress. More specifically, she
will attribute the fact that the analyst is not giving her enough (nice
interpretations, kind words, love) to his being a bad practitioner, and she
will try to change his habits by intermittently threatening him with her
imminent departure.


Conversely, when an analysand requests that the
analyst remain silent so that he can devote himself fully to the exploration
of his thoughts, this demand too harbours an unconscious sexual reality,
inasmuch as the analysand might enjoy destroying whatever interest
people may show in him so that he can devote himself quietly to the
narcissistic enjoyment of his own isolated condition.


Substantiating earlier statements on the analyst’s responsibility,
Lacan added that this enactment of the sexual reality of the unconscious
should not be understood as a mere effect of the analysand’s psychic


The transference is a phenomenon in which subject and
psychoanalyst are both included. To divide it in terms of
transference and countertransference—however bold, however
confident what is said on this theme may be—is never more than a
way of avoiding the essence of the matter.
(ibid.: 231)


Apropos of the aforementioned examples, this means that the analysand
in the first case will not regard the analyst as a passive figure who lacks
all interest and commitment, expressly formulating the demand that he
start working and acting as a proper analyst, if the latter did not cultivate
an attitude of prolonged silence. Mutatis mutandis, the analysand in the
second case will not vilify the analyst for intervening, impressing on
him the idea that good analysts are supposed to listen and not talk, if the
analyst himself did not engage regularly in asking questions and launching


The analyst’s conduct in these two cases is crucial for
the emergence of the analysand’s transference as the enactment of the
sexual reality of the unconscious and it simultaneously gives form to it.


Needless to say that the analyst’s conduct in these matters reflects a
particular desire and rests upon an appreciation of the psychic structure of
the analysand before and during analytic sessions. In the first case, the
analyst’s sustained silence will normally proceed from a diagnosis of the
analysand as a hysteric, whereas in the second case the analyst’s nagging
interventions will be based on a diagnosis of obsessional neurosis. Since
hysteria revolves around an ardent desire to elicit the desire of the Other,
the analyst’s silence encompasses a refusal to enter the hysterical dynamics
and is well suited to trigger the hysteric’s fantasy within the transference.


In ‘Subversion of the Subject and the Dialectics of Desire’ Lacan wrote:
[A] calculated vacillation of the analyst’s ‘neutrality’ may be more
valuable for a hysteric than any amount of interpretation, despite
the frenzy which may result from it. That is to say, so that this
frenzy does not entail a rupture and the sequel convinces the subject
that the desire of the analyst was by no means involved.
(Lacan 1977k[1960]:321–322, translation modified)


Vice versa, since obsessional neurosis hinges on a desire to neutralize
the desire of the Other, the analyst’s interventions confront the analysand
with a living presence by which the analyst guards himself against the
tentacles of the obsessional apparatus and conjures up the obsessional
fantasy.35 In these two cases, the analyst’s attitude is complementary, yet
in each case it is based on what Lacan called the desire of the analyst, i.e.
a desire that analysands reach the point where they avow their own desire.
Strategies of transference 123



拉康与弗洛伊德的临床实践 4

October 12, 2015

Jacques Lacan and the Freudian Practice of

雅克 拉康与弗洛伊德的精神分析实践
Dany Nobus
丹尼 诺布斯

Chapter 1
Diagnosis via speech and


In Seminar III, Lacan did not content himself with describing the principal
features of psychotic communication—the exclusion of the Other, the
semantic ‘shallowness’ of language, a code that has become message
and a message that has been reduced to its code, and the compulsory
nature of the exchange—he also tried to delineate the cause of these


Assuming that the dimension of the Other and the possibility to define
positions within a particular exchange are due to the wall imposed by
language, Lacan had to conclude that in psychosis this wall has somehow
not been erected. In psychotic patients, language has not been anchored.


Rather than a firmly embedded, solid structure, it is a free-floating, flat
and permeable screen. Implicitly referring to Freud’s idea that in
psychosis the link between the word-presentation and the thingpresentation
has been severed, Lacan defined this non-embedment of
language as a lack of ‘quilting points’ (points de capiton) between the
signifier and the signified (Lacan 1993[1955–56]:268–270), for which
he in turn held the foreclosure (forclusion) of the Name-of-the-Father
responsible (Lacan 1977h[1957–58]:215).8


In the final session of Seminar III Lacan proposed ‘foreclosure’ as
the best translation of Freud’s term Verwerfung (Lacan 1993[1955–
56]:321). In Freud’s works, Verwerfung can hardly lay claim to conceptual
status— there are very few passages in which the term appears—and it
is not really elaborated as the specific cause of psychosis.9 In
conceptualizing Verwerfung as a distinct mechanism for psychosis, Lacan
took his main lead from Freud’s formula in his case-study of the Wolf
Man that a ‘repression [Verdrangung] is something very different from
a condemning judgement [Verwerfung]’ (Freud 1918b[1914]:79–80).


Between 1954 and 1956, he then tried to define Verwerfung in opposition
to repression, but also in relation to the mechanisms of Verneinung
(negation) and Bejahung (affirmation), which Freud had discussed in
his paper ‘Negation’ (1925h). Eventually, Lacan reached the conclusion
that Verwerfung and Verdrangung differ with regard to their effects:
What comes under the effect of repression returns, for repression
and the return of the repressed are just the two sides of the same
coin. The repressed is always there, expressed in a perfectly
articulate manner in symptoms and a host of other phenomena. By
contrast, what falls under the effect of Verwerfung has a completely
different destiny …[W]hatever is refused in the symbolic order, in
the sense of Verwerfung, reappears in the real.
(Lacan 1993[1955–56]:12–13)


The meaning Lacan gave to Verwerfung here—a process through which
something reappears (as a hallucination) in the real—tallies with Freud’s
description of the mechanism of psychotic symptom formation in his
Schreber study. A paranoid patient suffering from hallucinations or
persecutory delusions was in Freud’s opinion subject to a process whereby
‘an internal perception is suppressed, and…its content enters
consciousness in the form of an external perception’ (Freud 1911c


Initially, Freud called this process ‘projection’, but owing to
the fact that people regularly attribute their mental states to external rather
than internal causes—which also deserves to be called projection—he
came to question his own designation: ‘It was incorrect to say that the
perception which was suppressed internally is projected outwards; the
truth is rather…that what was abolished internally returns from without’
(ibid.: 71). Lacan must have noticed that Freud was looking in vain for
an appropriate denominator to grasp the psychic mechanism of psychosis,
which prompted him to designate the mechanism as Verwerfung, bearing
in mind that Freud himself had conceived Verwerfung as radically
different from repression.


In ultimately choosing to translate Verwerfung as foreclosure, Lacan
re-emphasized the linguistic nature of the psychotic mechanism. Indeed,
whereas foreclosure is a juridical term expressing the expiration of a
person’s assigned rights (for instance, the legal access to one’s children
after a divorce) when he does not exercise them, Lacan took it from a
paper on the nature of French negations by Damourette and Pichon
(1928). With French negations generally consisting of two parts—as in
ne…pas and ne…jamais—Damourette and Pichon redefined the first part
as the discordant component and the second one as the foreclosure,
observing that the latter part is more akin to the rough logical negation
than the former, which can in some cases even be omitted without the
meaning of the sentence being lost.

当拉康最后选择将”否认“翻译成为”除权弃绝“时,他重新强调精神病的心理机制的语言的特性。的确,虽然”除权弃绝“是一个司法的术语,表达一个人的被指定的权利的终止,(譬如,离婚之后,合法地承接自己的小孩),当他没有运用这些权利时。拉康从达摩瑞特与皮琼探讨法文的”否定词“的特性的论文,获得这个观念。法文的否定词通常由两个部分组成–如同在ne…pas and ne…jamais–达摩瑞特与皮琼重新定义第一部分,作为是不协调的成分,将第二部分定义作为”除权弃绝“。他们观察到,后者部分更加类似简陋的逻辑的否定,比起前者。在某些的情况,前者会被省略,而不会丧失句子的意义。

They also considered foreclosure to
be the linguistic index of a desire to exclude the possibility that a certain
event exists or happens again, a phenomenon which they compared to
the excision (scotomization) of a perception from the field of vision.10
Without restricting himself to this particular structure of French negation,
Lacan substituted foreclosure for other translations of Verwerfung,
because in his view the operation epitomized the exclusion of a linguistic
element (a signifier) rather than an ‘internal perception’. As to the exact
nature of this signifier, he explored various avenues throughout Seminar
III, finally designating it as the Name-of-the-Father from his 1957–58
text on psychosis onwards.


Lacan had introduced the concept of the Name-of-the-Father in a 1953
lecture on the neurotic’s individual myth, in order to separate the real
father, a flesh and blood man, from the symbolic ‘function of the father’,
which he interpreted as the culturally determined regulation of the natural
order of things (Lacan 1979[1953]:422–423). In the contemporaneous
‘Rome Discourse’, he further specified that ‘in the name of the father…
we must recognize the support of the symbolic function which, from the
dawn of history, has identified his person [the person of the father] with
the figure of the law (Lacan 1977e[1953]:67).11


Hence, in Lacan’s theory
of the 1950s the signifier of the Name-of-the-Father bears a striking
resemblance to how the Jewish God Yahweh was understood by Freud in
his Moses and Monotheism (1939a[1937–39]). Yahweh is an upholding,
yet demanding agency which never reveals its true face. An immaterial,
yet speaking creature which promises redemption in exchange for a strict
obeyance to the divine law, whose first indication is the act of
circumcision, it is an abstract intangible principle imposing an alternative,
symbolic order onto the people of Israel, which reshapes their natural
living conditions.


Lacan’s concept of the Name-of-the-Father conveys a similar meaning,
because it is held to represent an imposed transcendence of natural
provisions with a view of a higher order of mental and social functioning.
Although Lacan’s notion betrays its grounding in religion, he extended
its operation beyond this realm, conceiving it as the guiding principle of
every sociocultural organization. Similar to Moses’ God, the Name-ofthe-
Father thereby remained an essentially linguistic principle, not so
much due to the fact that it speaks, but rather because Lacan regarded it
as the cornerstone of a shared language system. He also pointed out that
in most cultures and throughout history the representation of this
regulatory father-function is considered to be one of the tasks of real
fathers, their relationships with children being less irrefutable than those
of real mothers.12


The foreclosure of the Name-of-the-Father in psychosis thus means
that an individual has been excluded from the possibility of substituting
a culturally determined symbolic pact, including injunctions, prohibitions
and allowances, for an unblemished, yet chaotic natural condition.13 In
Lacan’s view, the psychotic is literally an outlaw, because she has not
assimilated the cultural laws of language. As described on p. 12, the
effect is not that language is completely eradicated, but that it no longer
sets a barrier between the individual and his environment. This foreclosure
of the Name-of-the-Father and the ensuing absence of quilting points
between the signifier and the signified also entail that the meaning of
words no longer shifts, but solidifies to the point where it becomes
petrified on the level of the code itself.


This may seem odd when taking into account that the absence of
quilting points appears to suggest an endless fluctuation of the signified
(the thing-presentation, the culturally imposed meaning) under the
signifier (the word-presentation), whereas firmly established quilting
points would signal the allocation of a fixed meaning to certain signifiers.


Yet, as Lacan saw it, the absence of quilting points precludes semantic
ambiguity, because equivocality presupposes that at least two different
meanings can be balanced against each other, which in turn requires that
at least one meaning has been established.14 In Freudian terms, the
installation of a link between the word-presentation and the thing presentation
implies that the literal meaning of a word can be weighed
against the figurative one, whereas the absence of such a link makes this
process impossible.


Who or what is responsible for the foreclosure of the Name-of-the-
Father is a particularly vexed issue within Lacanian theory. In the final
pages of his 1957–58 paper on psychosis Lacan proceeded with the
greatest caution when broaching this question.

First of all, he repudiated
the idea that foreclosure stems from the parent’s mutual competition to
win and sustain the child’s love, whereby the mother would for instance
ridicule the father systematically in front of her child. Instead of this
parental rivalry to the detriment of one parent (notably the father), Lacan
highlighted the place each parent accords to the symbolic position of the
Name-of-the-Father in his or her relationship with the child. In this way,
he decomposed the classic Oedipal triangle of mother-father-child into
two sub-structures, mother-child-Name-of-the-Father and father-child18


Within each of these sub-structures, the parental
agencies ought to ensure that the transcendental, symbolic paternal
function is acknowledged. This implies that the father and the mother
need to let the child know in no uncertain terms that they are subjected
to a symbolic order which they cannot alter or control. Both the father
and the mother need to acknowledge that they do not epitomize the law,
but that the law transcends them and that they themselves are forced to
comply with it as much as everybody else. To put it in even more concrete
terms, this comes down to the parents telling their children that they are
expected to observe certain social rules (for example, the basic ‘Freudian
rule’ of the incest prohibition) and that this expectation also applies to
them, despite the fact that they are in a parental position. Such a
concession might pose serious difficulties, as Lacan stressed, to those
fathers who really have the function of legislators (Lacan 1977h[1957–
58]: 218–219).


Needless to say that Lacan’s deconstruction of the Freudian Oedipal
triangle into two distinct triads does not yet outline the necessary and
sufficient conditions for the foreclosure of the Name-of-the-Father and
the ensuing emergence of a psychotic structure in the child. Is it sufficient
for one of the child’s parents to dishonour the paternal function, or should
the parents do it in tandem? And if the Name-of-the-Father is debased
by both parents, does that automatically induce psychosis in the child or
should some auxiliary condition be fulfilled?


On occasion, people
commenting on Lacan’s theory have argued that the mother’s refusal to
accept the paternal authority is sufficient for psychosis to occur in the
child, by which they have reduced Lacan’s complex Oedipal schema to
its simple triangular roots, and by which they have also realigned it with
the post-Freudian view that a child’s psychic normality is predicated
upon its separation from the pre-Oedipal dyadic relation with the mother,
through the intervention of the father and the concurrent ‘triangulation’.15

有时,评论拉康的理论的人们争辩说:母亲的拒绝接受父权的权威,就足够让精神病发生在小孩身上。凭借这个,他们将拉康的复杂的伊狄浦斯情结的基模化简成为简单的三角位置的根源。评借这个,他们也重新安排它,用后-弗洛伊德的观点: 小孩的心灵的正常被陈述在它跟前-伊狄浦斯跟母亲的二元关系的分开。通过父亲与同时间的“三角位置”的介入。

Nowhere does Lacan’s work allow us to make these kinds of inferences,
yet neither does it suggest a good alternative answer to the problem.
Jacques-Alain Miller (1987) has proposed to complicate Lacan’s
model even further by taking into account the child’s own involvement.
Explicitly eschewing a structuralist (social constructionist) conception
of Lacanian theory, Miller took his bearings from Lacan’s 1946 essay
on psychic causality, in which he had asserted that psychosis ultimately
rests upon an ‘unfathomable decision of being’ (Lacan

拉康的研究根本没有让我们能够从事这些种类的推测。它也没有暗示对于这个难题有一个好的替代答案。艾伦 米勒曾经建议要将拉康的模式甚至变得更加复杂。他考虑到小孩自己的参与。当米勒明确地规避拉康的理论的结构主义(社会建构主义)的观念。他从拉康的1946年的论文“探讨心灵的因果律”开始申论。在那篇论文,拉康曾经主张,精神病最后依靠“深不可测的生命实存的决定”。

According to Miller, ‘the formula of foreclosure
has paralysed the debate on madness to such an extent that it has become
impossible for us to read what is supporting this formula, notably that it
is unthinkable without the implication of a subjective position’ (Miller
1987:143). When human beings become psychotic, it is not simply
because they have been the passive victim of deleterious parental attitudes,
but because they themselves have ‘decided’ to reject the Name-of-the-
Father, just as much as neurotics themselves, rather than their parents,
have repressed certain traumatic incidents.


However, Lacan’s statement
also underscored that it is impossible to probe into the exact nature of
this ‘decision’. Although foreclosure cannot be operative without a
supporting subject, how, when and where this component has entered,
or will enter the play remains a mystery. In its impenetrability, the decision
is both untraceable and unforeseeable. Likewise, we are forced to remain
silent concerning the question as to whether this decision implies a free
choice or has already been shaped by the demands and desires of others,
and perhaps also as to whether it is modifiable or not.




June 30, 2014

20.11.57 42

This is the whole story of the novel and it seems that to a
certain extent it is a very instructive and moral story that
could be used at the level of what we want to demonstrate.
Here then we have our Heinrich Heine who has created this
character as a background, and this character has produced with
the signifier famillionaire, the double dimension of metaphorical
creation, and on the other hand a sort of new metonymical object,
the famillionaire, whose position you can situate here and here.


I showed you last day that to conceive of the existence of the
signifying creation called the famillionaire we can find here,
even though here of course attention is not drawn to this aspect
of things, all the debris, all the ordinary waste from the
reflection of a metaphorical creation on an object; namely, all
(13) the underlying signifiers, all the signifying packets into
which we can break the term famillionaire, the fames, the fama,
the infamy, in fact anything you like, the famulus, everything
that Hirsen-Hyacinth effectively is for his caricature of a boss,
Cristoforo Gumpelino.


And here in this place, we should
systematically search every time we are dealing with a formation
of the unconscious as such, for what I have called the debris of
the metonymical object which certainly, for reasons that are
altogether clear from experience, are shown to be naturally more
important when the metaphorical creation, one might say, has not


I mean when it has culminated in nothing, as in the
case that I have just shown you of the forgetting of a name; when
the name Signorelli is forgotten to rediscover the trace of this
hollow, of this hole that we find at the level of metaphor, the
metonymical debris take on all their importance.


The fact that at the level of the disappearance of the term
“Herr”, it is something that forms part of the whole metonymical
context within which “Herr” is isolated, namely the context of
Bosnia Herzogovina, that allows us to restore it, takes on here
all its importance.

在这个术语的消失的层次,有某件东西形成整个换喻的内容。在这个内容里,“Herr” 被孤立出来,换句话说,Bosnia Herzogovina 的内容。它让我们能够恢复它,在此具有它的一切意义。

But let us return to our famillionaire.
Our famillionaire is produced then at the level of the message. I
(13) pointed out to you that we would find ourselves at the level
of f amillionaire when we were dealing with the metonymical
correspondences of the paradoxical formation that is produced at
the level of the forgetting of a name.

但是让我们回到famillionaire。 我们的famillionaire 当时在讯息的层次被产生。我跟你们指出,我们将会发现我们自己处于famillionaire的层次,当我们正在处理悖论形成的换喻的对应。这个悖论的形成在忘记名字的层次被产生。

In the case of Signorelli
we should also find something corresponding to the concealment,
to the disappearance of Signor, in the case of the forgetting of
a name.

在Signorelli的情况,我们也应该发现某件东西,对应于这个隐藏,对应于Signor 的消失,在忘记名字的这个情况。

We should also find it at the level of the witticism.
This is where we stopped. How can we think, reflect on what
happens at the level of famillionaire, given that the witty
metaphor has succeeded in this case? There must be something
that up to a certain point corresponds, marks in some way, the
residue, the refuse of the metaphorical creation.




June 30, 2014

20.11.57 33

I showed some equivalent things that are very like it in the
order of pure and simple parapraxes – but which on the contrary
found, in the conditions that the accident occurs, to be
registered and given a value as a meaningful phenomenon;
precisely of being a generation of meaning at the level of a
Signifying neo-formation, of a sort of co-lapsing, of signifiers
that in this instance, as Freud puts it, are compressed into one
another, stuck one against the other, and that this created
meaning, and I showed you its nuances and its enigmatic
qualities. Between what and what?


Between a certain evocation of
(10) a properly metaphorical manner of being: “he treated me
quite famillionairely”; and a certain evocation of a particular
type of being, a verbal being that is ready to take on the
peculiar animation whose ghost I already brandished before you
with the famillionaire;


the famillionaire in so far as he makes
his entry into the world as the representative of something that
is very likely to take on for us a much more consistent reality
and weight than the more hidden reality and weight of the


but which I also showed you as having a certain
something in existence that is vivid enough to really represent a
personage characteristic of a certain historical epoque. And I
pointed out to you that Heine was not the only one to have
invented it, I talked to you about Gide’s Prometheus ill-bound
and his “miglionnaire”.


It would be very interesting to pause for an instant at the
Gidean creation of Prometheus ill-bound. The millionaire in
Prometheus ill-bound is the banker Zeus, and there is nothing
more surprising than the way this character is elaborated. I do
not know why in our memories of Gide’s work, it is eclipsed
perhaps by the ineffable brilliance of Palude, of which it is
nonetheless a sort of correspondent and double.


It is the same character who is involved in both. There are many features here
(11) that overlap: the millionaire, in any case, is someone who
is found to have rather peculiar relationships with his fellows,
because it is here that we see emerge the idea of the gratuitous
act. Zeus, the banker, who is incapable of having with any other
person a true and authentic interchange, since he is identified
one might say with absolute power, with this aspect of the pure
signifier that there is in money, that questions one might say
the existence of every possible kind of significant exchange, can
find no other way of escaping from his solitude than to proceed
in the following way:


as Gide puts it, to go out on the street
with in one hand an envelope containing what at the time was
something of value, a five hundred franc note, and in the other
hand a box in the ear, if one can put it like that; he lets the
envelope fall and, when someone obligingly picks it up, asks him
to write a name on the envelope, in return for which he gives him
a blow in the face.


And it it is not for nothing that he is Zeus.
It is a tremendous blow that leaves him dazed and hurt; then he
goes off and sends the contents of the envelope to the person
whose name had been written by the person whom he had just
treated so roughly.


In this way he finds himself in the position of not having to
make a choice, of having compensated, one might say for a
gratuitous piece of badness by a gift that owes absolutely
(12) nothing to him.


His choice is to restore by his action the
circuit of exchange into which he cannot introduce himself in any
way or from any angle, to participate in it in this way by
attraction, as it were, to engender a sort of debt in which he
does not participate, and all of whose consequences, which will
develop in the rest of the novel through the fact that the two
characters themselves never succeed in connecting what they owe
to one another; one will become almost blind and the other will
die of it.


无意识的形成 29

June 29, 2014

无意识的形成 29
20.11.57 40
This had of course already made its appearance, but only up to a
certain point and masked in some way; masked in so far as what is
graspable at the level of discourse, of the concrete discourse,
always presents itself with respect to this generation of meaning
in an ambiguous position;

this language, in effect, being already
turned towards objects that include in themselves something of
the creation that they have received from language itself and
(8) something that had already been the object precisely of a
whole tradition, even of a whole philosophical rhetoric, that
which asks the question in the most general sense of the critique
of judgement:


what is the value of language? What do these
connections represent in relation to the connections at which
they appear to culminate? That they should even put themselves
forward as representing the connections that exist in the real


It is at all of this, in fact, that there culminates a critical
tradition, a philosophical tradition, whose high point and summit
we can define by Kant, and already we can in a certain way
interpret, think of Kant’s critique as the most profound
questionning of every kind of reality, in so far as it is submitted
to a priori categories not only of aesthetics but also of logic.


Here indeed is something that represents a pivotal point from
which human meditation can begin again to rediscover that
something that was not at all perceived in the way of asking the
question at the level of discourse, at the level of logical
discourse, at the level of the correspondence between a certain
syntax of the intentional circle


in so far as it is closed in each sentence, to take it up again right through this book on the critique of logical discourse, to reconsider again the action of
the word in this creative chain in which it is always capable of
engendering new meanings, most obviously by means of metaphor;
(9) and by way of metonymy in a fashion that – I will explain why
in due course – has up to recent times always remained profoundly


This introduction is already difficult enough to make me return
to my example of famillionaire and to make us try here to
complete it.


We only arrived at this notion in the course of an intentional
discourse in which, while the subject presents himself as wishing
to say something, something else is produced that goes beyond his
wish, something that presents itself as an accident, as a
paradox, as a scandal, a neo-formation, that appears with certain
features that are not at all the negative ones of a sort of
stumbling like in a parapraxis which is what it might have been –



无意识的形成 28

June 28, 2014

无意识的形成 28
20.11.57 39
But naming them is not what is important. The core of what he
puts forward, the key to his analysis is this recognition of
common structural laws. This, as he says, is how you recognize
that a process has been drawn into the unconscious. It is what
is structured according to the laws, structured according to
their types. This is what is in question when the unconscious is
in question.


What happens then? What happens at the level of what I am
teaching you, is that we are now able, that is after Freud, to
recognize this event that is all the more demonstrative because
it is really extremely surprising.


That these laws, this
structure of the unconscious, that by which a phenomenon can be
recognized as belonging to the formations of the unconscious is
strictly identifiable with, overlaps, and I would even say
further, overlaps in an exhaustive fashion what linguistic
analysis allows us to detect as being the essential modes of the
(6) formation of meaning, in so far as this meaning is engendered
by combinations of signifiers.


The term signifier takes on its full meaning from a certain
moment in the evolution of linguistics, that at which there is
isolated the notion of the signifying element, a notion very
closely linked in the actual history to the separating out of the
notion of the phoneme.


Since it is uniquely localized by its
associations with this notion, the notion of signifier, in so far
as it allows us to take language at the level of a certain
elementary register, can be doubly defined, on the one hand as a
diachronic chain, and, as a possibility within this chain, of a
permanent possibility of substitution in the synchronic sense.


This grasp at an elementary level of the functions of the
signifier is a recognition at the level of this function of an
original power which is precisely that in which we can localize a
certain generation of something called meaning, and something
that in itself is very rich in psychological implications, and
that receives a kind of complement, without even needing to push
any further its own way, its research, to plough any further its
own furrow, in what Freud himself had already prepared for us at
this point of conjunction between the field of linguistics and
the proper field of psychoanalysis.


It is to show us that these
psychological effects, that these effects of the generation of
(7) meaning are nothing other than this, and overlap exactly what
Freud show us as being the formations of the unconscious.


In other words, we are able to grasp something that remained
elided up to then in what can be called the place of man, and it
is precisely this: the relationship that there is between the
fact that for him there exist objects of a heterogeneity, of a
diversity, of a variability that is truly surprising compared to
the biological objects that we could expect as corresponding to
his existence as a living organism, namely something particular
that presents a certain style, a certain superabundant and
luxuriant diversity, and at the same time something impossible to
grasp as such as a biological object, something that comes from
the world of human objects, something that is found in this
instance to be closely and indissolubly related to the
submission, to the subduction, of the human being by the
phenomenon of language.



无意识的形成 27

June 27, 2014

无意识的形成 27
20.11.57 38

There is no need to refer to it since a simple, sincere inspection of the life of any one of us helps us to see that this so-called power of synthesis is more than held in check; and that really, unless we are dealing in fiction, there
is nothing more common in experience than what we can call not
just the incoherence of our motives, but even more, I would say
the sentiment of their profound lack of motivation, of their
fundamental alienation.


So that if Freud puts forward a notion of
the subject that operates beyond this, this subject that is so
difficult to grasp in ourselves, if he shows us its sources and
its action, there is something that should always have given us
pause, namely that this subject – in so far as it introduces a
hidden unity, a secret unity into what is apparent to us at the
most banal level of experience, our profound division, our
profound fragmentation, our profound alienation with respect to
(4) our own motives – that this subject is other.


Is it simply a kind of double, a subject that is perhaps a bad
ego, as some have said, since in fact it conceals some rather
surprising tendencies, or simply another ego, or as you might
rather think I am saying, the true ego? Is that really what is in
question? Is it simply an understudy, purely and simply an other
whom we can conceive of as being structured like the ego of our


That is the question, and that is also why we approach it this
year at the level and under the title of formations of the


The question is of course already present, and offers a response.
It is not structured in the same way: in this experiential I
(moi) something is presented that has its own laws. It has in
fact an organization of its formations, and has not only a style
but also a particular structure.


Freud approaches this structure
and deconstructs it at the level of neuroses, at the level of
symptoms, at the level of dreams, at the level of parapraxes, at
the level of the witticism. He recognizes it as being unique and


The whole core of what he exposes to us at the
level of the witticism, and this is the reason why I chose it as
a point of entry, rests on this; it is his fundamental argument
for making of the witticism a manifestation of the unconscious.


This means that it is structured, that it is organized according
(5) to the same laws as those we find in the dream. He recalls
these laws to us, he enumerates them, he articulates them, he
recognizes them in the structure of the witticism.


They are the
laws of condensation; the laws of displacement; essentially and
above all something of the other adheres to them; he also
recognizes in them what I translated at the end of my article as
égards aux nécessités de la mise en scene (tr: considerations of
representability). He introduces this also as a third element.



精神分析的侵凌性 3/4

June 3, 2014

A point, let it be said in passing, whose anthropological
implications cannot be too highly stressed. What concerns us here is the function that I shall call the pacifying function of the ego ideal, the connexion between its libidinal
normativity and a cultural normativity bound up from the dawn of history with the imago
of the father. Here, obviously, lies the import that Freud’s work, Totem and Taboo, still
retains, despite the mythical circularity that vitiates it, in so far as it derives from the
mythological event, the murder of the father, the subjective dimension that gives this
event meaning, namely, guilt.

让我们顺便提到,有一点,它具有人类学的暗示,无论如何强调也不过分。我们在此所关心的事情,是我所谓的自我理想具有安抚的功能,它的生命力比多的规范,与文化的规范之间的联结,自古以来,它就跟父亲的意象息息相关。在此,显而易见地,弗洛依德的著作「图腾与禁忌」的意义就在那里。尽管神秘的流通让它无效,因为它从神话事件得来,它依旧保留弑父 ,给予这个事件的意义的主体性维度,那就是罪恶感。

Freud shows us, in fact, that the need to participate, which neutralizes the conflict
inscribed after the murder in the situation of rivalry between the brothers, is the basis of
the identification with the paternal Totem. Thus the Oedipal identification is that by
which the subject transcends the aggressivity that is constitutive of the primary subjective
individuation. I have stressed elsewhere how it constitutes a step in the establishment of
that distance by which, with feelings like respect, is realized a whole affective
assumption of one’s neighbour.


Only the anti-dialectical mentality of a culture which, in order to be dominated by
objectifying ends, tends to reduce all subjective activity to the being of the ego, can
justify the astonishment of a Van den Steinen when confronted by a Bororo who says:
‘I’m an ara.’


And all the sociologists of ‘the primitive mind’ busy themselves around this
profession of identity, which, on reflexion, is no more surprising than declaring, ‘I’m a
doctor’ or ‘I’m a citizen of the French Republic’, and which certainly presents fewer
logical difficulties than the statement, ‘I’m a man’, which at most can mean no more
than, ‘I’m like he whom I recognize to be a man, and so recognize myself as being such.’
In the last resort, these various formulas are to be understood only in reference to the
truth of ‘I is an other’, an observation that is less astonishing to the intuition of the poet
than obvious to the gaze of the psychoanalyst.


Who, if not us, will question once more the objective status of this ‘I’, which a
historical evolution peculiar to our culture tends to confuse with the subject? This
anomaly should be manifested in its particular effects on every level of language, and
first and foremost in the grammatical subject of the first person in our languages, in the ‘I
love’ that hypostatizes the tendency of a subject who denies it. An impossible mirage in
linguistic forms among which the most ancient are to be found, and in which the subject
appears fundamentally in the position of being determinant or instrumental of action.


Let us leave aside the critique of all the abuses of the cogito ergo sum, and recall that,
in my experience, the ego represents the centre of all the resistances to the treatment of


It was inevitable that analysis, after stressing the reintegration of the tendencies
excluded by the ego, in so far as they are subjacent to the symptoms that it tackled in the
first instance, and which were bound up for the most part with the failures of Oedipal
identification, should eventually discover the ‘moral’ dimension of the problem.


And, in a parallel fashion, there came to the forefront the role played by the aggressive
tendencies in the structure of the symptoms and of the personality, on the one hand, and,
on the other, all sorts of conceptions that stressed the value of the liberated libido, one of
the first of which can be attributed to French psychoanalysts under the register of


It is clear, in effect, that genital libido operates as a supersession, indeed a blind
supersession, of the individual in favour of the species, and that its sublimating effects in
the Oedipal crisis lie at the origin of the whole process of the cultural subordination of man.


Nevertheless, one cannot stress too strongly the irreducible character of the
narcissistic structure, and the ambiguity of a notion that tends to ignore the constancy of
aggressive tension in all moral life that involves subjection to this structure: in fact no
notion of oblativity could produce altruism from that structure.


And that is why La
Rochefoucauld could formulate his maxim, in which his rigour matches the fundamental
theme of this thought, on the incompatibility of marriage and sexual pleasure (délices).


We would allow the sharpness of our experience to become blunted if we deluded
ourselves, if not our patients, into believing in some kind of pre-established harmony that
would free of all aggressive induction in the subject the social conformisms made
possible by the reduction of symptoms.


And the theoreticians of the Middle Ages showed another kind of penetration, by
which the problem of love was discussed in terms of the two poles of a ‘physical’ theory
and an ‘ecstatic’ theory, each involving the re-absorption of man’s ego, whether by reintegration
into a universal good, or by the effusion of the subject towards an object
without alterity.


This narcissistic moment in the subject is to be found in all the genetic phases of the
individual, in all the degrees of human accomplishment in the person, in an earlier stage
in which it must assume a libidinal frustration and a later stage in which it is transcended
in a normative sublimation.


This conception allows us to understand the aggressivity involved in the effects of all
regression, all arrested development, all rejection of typical development in the subject,
especially on the plane of sexual realization, and more specifically with each of the great
phases that the libidinal transformations determine in human life, the crucial function of
which has been demonstrated by analysis: weaning, the Oedipal stage, puberty, maturity,
or motherhood, even the climacteric.


And I have often said that the emphasis that was
placed at first in psychoanalytic theory on the aggressive turning round of the Oedipal
conflict upon the subject’s own self was due to the fact that the effects of the complex
were first perceived in failures to resolve it.


There is no need to emphasize that a coherent theory of the narcissistic phase clarifies
the fact of the ambivalence proper to the ‘partial drives’ of scoptophilia, sadomasochism,
and homosexuality, as well as the stereotyped, ceremonial formalism of the aggressivity
that is manifested in them: we are dealing here with the often very little ‘realized’ aspect
of the apprehension of others in the practice of certain of these perversions, their
subjective value, in actual fact very different from that given to them in the existential
reconstructions, striking though they be, of a Sartre.


I should also like to mention in passing that the decisive function that we attribute to
the imago of one’s own body in the determination of the narcissistic phase enables us to
understand the clinical relation between the congenital anomalies of functional
lateralization (left-handedness) and all forms of inversion of sexual and cultural
normalization. This reminds one of the role attributed to gymnastics in the ‘beautiful and
good’ ideal of education among the Ancient Greeks and leads us to the social thesis with
which I will conclude.


无意识的形成 26

June 1, 2014

无意识的形成 26

37.11.57 1
Seminar 3: 20 november ,1957

We have approached our task then by way of the witticism, the
first example of which we began to analyse the last day, the one
that Freud made his own in the famillionaire joke, while at the
same time attributing it to Hirsch-Hyacinth, himself a very
significant poetic creation.


It is not by chance that it is
against this background of poetic creation that Freud chose his
first example, and that we ourselves have found, as is usually
the case, that this original example turned out to be
particularly suitable to portray, to demonstrate, what we want to
demonstrate here.


You have no doubt perceived that this brings us to the analysis
of the psychological phenomenon that is in question in the
witticism, at the level of a signifying articulation which, no
doubt, even though it may interest you, at least I hope a good
number of you, is nonetheless the object, as you can well
(2) imagine, of something that might easily appear disturbing. I
mean that without doubt this something that surprises, upsets
your way of thinking is also at the very core of the renewal of
the analytic experience that I am carrying on here with you, and
concerns the place, I would say up to a certain point the
existence, of the subject. Someone asked me about this, someone
who is certainly far from being badly informed, nor indeed badly
informed about the question itself, nor badly informed about what
I am trying to contribute to it.


Someone asked me the question: “But what then becomes of the
subject? Where is it?”


The reply is easy when you are dealing with philosophers, because
it was a philosopher who asked me the question at the
Philosophical Society where I was speaking. I was tempted to
reply: “But on this point I could easily ask you to answer your
own question, and say that I leave it to philosophers to speak
about it. After all, I do not see why I should do all the work.”


This question of the elaboration of the notion of the subject
certainly needs to be revised as a result of the Freudian
experience. If there is something that has to be modified in it,
this is hardly a cause for surprise.


In other words, if Freud
has introduced something essential, should we still really expect
to see intelligent people, particularly psychoanalysts, all the
(3) more completely overwhelmed by a particular notion of the
subject, embodied in a certain style of thinking, as being simply
the ego – which is nothing but a return to what we can call the
grammatical confusions of the problem of the subject, the
identification of the ego with a power of synthesis that
certainly no data of experience can allow us to sustain. You
could even say that there is no need to draw on the Freudian



无意识的形成 25

May 31, 2014

无意识的形成 25
13.11.57 36
Here lies the distinction between the witticism compared to what
is pure and simple phenomenon, the relating of a symptom, for
example; it is in the passage to the second function that the
witticism itself lies.


But on the other hand if all that I have
just told you today did not exist, namely what happens at the
level of the signifying conjunction which is its essential
phenomenon, and of what it develops as such, in so far as it
participates in the essential dimensions of the signifier, namely
metaphor and metonymy, there would be no sanction possible, no
other distinction possible for the witticism. For example in
comparison with the comic there would be none possible; or
compared to the jest, or compared to the raw phenomenon of


In order to understand what is in question in the witticism qua
signifying phenomenon, we had to isolate its aspects, its
particularities, its attachments, all its ins and outs at the
(41) level of the signifier, and that the fact that the Witz
(S?), something that is at such an elevated level of signifying
elaboration, was dwelt on by Freud in order to see in it a
particular example of the formation of the unconscious, is also
something that retains us, it is also this whose importance you
should begin to see when I have shown you in this connection how
it allows us to advance in a rigorous fashion into a phenomenon
that is itself psychopathological as such, namely the parapraxis.