Archive for the ‘Lacan on Desire’ Category

Absolute injunction and desire

October 12, 2011

Absolute injunction and desire

• 2011-10-12 22:09:25 Herr.Nos (齐物方可达道,无言最是逍遥…)

Some reflections on the last three sessions of Lacan’s Seminar VII
By Leonardo S. Rodríguez

Over the years Lacan added precision to his conception of the analyst’s
desire. A significant milestone of this development was his definition, at the end of Seminar XI (on the four fundamental concepts of psychoanalysis) of the
analyst’s desire as the desire ‘to obtain absolute difference’, or the logical
opposite of an identification with or idealisation of the analyst—which is the aim of psychoanalysis according to ego psychology. (Lacan 1977, 276)

过去几年来, 拉康对于精神分析师的欲望的观念,补充得更明确。 这个发展的一个重要的里程碑式,在11研讨班的结尾 ( 论精神分析的四个观念),把分析师的欲望作为是「获得绝对差异」的欲望,或是跟分析师的认同与理想化,在逻辑上是相反—依照自我心理学,这个精神分析的目标。

We can also inscribe in the same conception the comparison that Lacan made between the analyst and the saint, in so far as both act as a cause of desire:
[The saint] acts as trash […] so as to embody what the structure entails,
namely allowing the subject, the subject of the unconscious, to take him as
the cause of the subject’s own desire. (Lacan 1990, 15)

我们也能够在相同的观念里,铭记拉康所做的必较,关于分析师与圣人。 他们两者的行为,充当是「欲望的原因」。 圣人行为充当垃圾,为了具体表现这个结构所涵盖的内容。 换句话说, 容许主体, 无意识的主体, 把他当成主体欲望的原因。

It is necessary that the desire of someone follow a defined orientation in order to operate as a cause of desire. If the analyst proposed to his patient any particular model or ideal as the aim to achieve in the analysis, the result would be an experience in education of variable value, but not an experience in the
recognition of the patient’s desire, its limits and its possibilities

某个人的欲望遵照一个被定义的定向是需要的, 为了要运作作为欲望的原因。 假如分析师对他的病人建议任何的模式或理想, 当著是精神分析要获得的目标, 结果在教育上,将是有各种价值的的经验,但并不是对于病人的欲望,它的极限,及它的可能性的承认的经验。

‘Limits’ and ‘possibilities’: it is pertinent to stress this point in relation to the
analyst’s desire. The analyst’s desire cannot be conceived as impossible,
unlimited, or infinite.


The metonymic structure of human desire could open the way to a
conception of desire as infinite: if it is always the desire for something else, then it would be potentially infinite. However, such a notion disregards the fact that human beings—the only desiring beings in the strict sense of the term—are also living beings, that is to say, mortal beings. Death imposes an absolute limit to desire, as it is also its cause and absolute condition.

人类欲望的换喻结构,可能展开途径,构想欲望为永恒。 假如那总是对于某件其它东西的欲望, 那么它潜在是无限。 可是, 这样一个观念忽视了这个事实: 人类—严格意义来说,就是这个术语的欲望生物—也是有生命的生物,也就是会死的生物。 死亡对欲望赋加一个绝对的限制, 因为死亡也是欲望的原因与绝对的条件。


请回顾The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psycho-analysis 的最后一段:

The analyst’s desire is not a pure desire. It is a desire to obtain absolute difference, a desire which intervenes when, confronted with the primary signifier, the subject is, for the first time, in a position to subject himself to it. There only may the signification of a limitless love emerge, because it is outside the limits of the law, where alone it may live.

精神分析的欲望并不是一个纯粹的欲望。 它是想要获得绝对差异性的欲望。当这一种欲望面临原初的能指时,它会介入。 生命主体第一次处于一个立场,要将自己屈服于这个欲望。只有在那里, 永恒的爱的意义才会出现, 因为那是在法则的限制外面,只有在那里, 这个欲望才能存活。

Desire 96 Jacques Lacan

June 20, 2011

Desire 96

Jacques Lacan

Desire and its Interpretation
欲望及其解釋 `

4.2.59 176
The moment, she tells us, that she made her decisive intervention is not the moment that she began to put him on the path of his aggression, with as a result for the subject moreover a very curious manifestation that one could call psychosomatic, whose character she does not quite pick up, that namely instead of the cough, the following day he had a little colicky pain before entering. God knows whether he tightened his …… for that, but as I said above he has everything to lose at the moment of entering the psychoanalyst’s office for the following session.


But Ella Sharpe’s own interpretation appears to be very illuminating. It is at the second session after this interpretation when the subject tells her that he again had had a colicky pain on leaving (31) the session the last time. He then talks to her about
what? He says, I was unable to use my car because the garage man had not finished with it. I was not able to be angry with him because he is so kind that it is impossible to blame him, he is very very good.


And then the car is not a necessity. And he adds with an accent of imitation, but all the same I really want it, I like it, I love it. (cf 146)


And she makes no mistake. For the first time, she says, I was able to deal with the libidinal wishes. Here it is a question of libido. We are therefore in complete accord with her. If I am doing a critique of Ella Sharpe, it is because I find her at every point, in this observation, to be admirably sensitive.


She understands the importance of that, namely what is present in the life of a subject as desire properly speaking, desire being characterised by its non-motivated character — he has no need of this car; the fact that he declares his desire to her, that it is the first time that she hears such a discourse, is something which presents itself as unreasonable in the discourse of the subject.


She tells us that she hops on it, namely that she underlines it for him. It is a curious thing, here we have something like a kind of wobble of the projector. While she was always so good at telling us what she said to the subject, even the most daring
things, the most risky things, here we do not know exactly what she said to him. It is very annoying. What she tells us, is that she was really overjoyed to have the opportunity of telling him: there you are admitting that you desire something. But what (32) it is she might have told him, we will never know.


4.2.59 182
We know simply that she might all the same have told him something rather oriented in the sense of what she had told him before, to explain why it is precisely after what she told him that the following day the subject came to tell her, not quite content, a bit dissatisfied that that night he had wet the bed.


We cannot consider that this is, as I told you already, in itself a symptom, which, however transitory it may be, and however significant it may be of the fact that a blow had been delivered which certainly had its effect, is all the same something which absolutely confirms us in what I could call the sense of the proper direction of the statement if there is a statement (dire) Namely that if we have the notion about this
thing that enuresis represents, it is certainly what I would call the personal implementation of the penis.


But again it is not when all is said and done a genital implementation. It is precisely the penis as real which very frequently intervenes as an echo – this is what clinical work shows us in the case of children – of the sexual activity of the parents; it is to the degree that the subjects, whether masculine or feminine children are in a period when they are very profoundly interested by the sexual relations of the parents that there occur enuretic manifestations which on occasion are the bringing into play on the plane of the real of the organ as such. But the organ as such, as real, no longer as signifier, which is indeed something which shows us that on this occasion Ella Sharpe’s intervention had in effect a certain import.


(33) Is this import appropriate? This is of course what remains to be looked at more closely. It is quite clear that what follows, namely the arrival, the emergence, certain
reactions which the subject seems to regard with a certain feeling of satisfaction, and which is the fact that when he is playing he no longer allows his companions to tease him, namely that he caught one of them around the neck and held him in a strangle hold in a corner with sufficient force for him not to want to start again, can in no way be considered as something which is really along the line of what is to be obtained.


Let us not forget all the same that if there is something the subject is to be allowed, namely to corner the other in a game, this is absolutely not the same thing as “cornering him” by the throat about this game. This is precisely an inadequate
reaction, one which does not render him for a moment any more capable of cornering him in the game, namely where relationships with others occur, the other as the locus of the word, as locus of the law, as locus of the conventions of the game.


It is precisely this which is found to have failed because of this slight lowering of the act of analytic intervention. I think that today we have pushed things fairly far. The next time I will give the last seminar of what is grouped here around the literary analysis of desire and its interpretation, and I will try to gather for you in some formulae how we should conceive of this function of the phallic signifier in its most (34) general form in connection with the ……… relationship and the fashion in which the subject situates himself in desire.


I will try to collect around these notions that I am trying to articulate here with the help of the graph the function which we should very precisely give to the phallic signifier.


I will also try to show you where exactly there is situated, how in terms of mapping things out in our exercise of analysis you can try to situate the phallic signifier in this schema. In a word, and to give you something which is borrowed from the work
of a writer to whom I already alluded here, Lewis Carroll, I will show you what Lewis Carroll says somewhere more or less in the following terms: he thought that he had seen a garden gate – this famous gate of paradise of the interior of the maternal
womb around which there are currently centred, or even engulfed all the analytic theories – which could be opened with a key.


He looked more closely and perceived that it was a double rule of three. The next time I will show you what this rule of three is.




Desire 95

June 20, 2011

Desire 95

Jacques Lacan

Desire and its Interpretation
欲望及其解釋 `

4.2.59 176

Because in effect for this subject – as the analyst dimly perceives it through a veil in her interpretation the subject has a certain relationship with omnipotence, or simply with potency, with power.


His power, in this case the phallus, what he must preserve at all costs to keep out of the game because in the game he could lose this phallus, is here represented in the dream quite simply by the person that one would least think represents it, namely his wife who is there and who has, far from being the apparent witness that she is — because in fact it is nowhere indicated that this function of seeing is something which is essential ……


In this subject as in many other subjects, and I would ask you to retain this because it is such an obvious clinical fact that one is absolutely stupefied that it is not a commonplace in psychoanalysis, the feminine partner qua other is precisely what
represents for the subject what is in a way most taboo in his potency, and also who is at the same time found to dominate the whole economy of his desire. It is because his wife is his phallus that I would say that he makes this kind of tiny lapse that I noted for you in passing, namely “taking a journey with my wife around the world” and not “around the world with my wife” (132).


The accent of omnipotence is put on “around the world”, by our analyst. I think that the secret of omnipotence in this (28) subject is in the “with my wife”, and that what is in question is that he should not lose that, namely that he does not perceive precisely that this is what is to be put in question, namely to perceive that his wife on this occasion is the analyst.


Because when all is said and done this is what is in question. The subject we would say does not want to lose his queen, like those bad chess players who imagine that to lose the queen is to lose the game, even though to win at chess means when all is
said and done to arrive at what one calls an end game, namely with the subject the simplest and most reduced facility for displacement and the minimum of rights — I mean that he has not the right to occupy a space which is put in check by another –
and with that to find the advantage of the position.


On the contrary it is greatly to one’s advantage on occasion to sacrifice one’s queen. This is what the subject does not want to do under any circumstances because the signifier phallus is for him identical with everything that happened in the
relationship with his mother.


And it is here that there appears, as the observation clearly allows to transude the inefficient and defective character of what the father was able to contribute in this case. And of course we come back to something, back to an already known
aspect of the relationship of the subject to the parental couple. The important thing is not that.


The important thing is effectively to accentuate this very hidden, very secret
relationship of the subject to his partner, because it is the most important thing to highlight at the moment that he appears (29) in analysis. In the analysis where in short the subject, by his discreet coughing, warns his analyst about what is happening inside if perchance she had, as it happens in the dream, turned her bag or her game inside out, that she should put it away before he arrives because to see that, to see that there is nothing but a bag he stands to lose everything.


This is the prudence that the subject demonstrates and which in a way maintains, in a tight bond with all the pram-pinned position of his childhood, the subject in a relationship with his desire which can only be phantastical, namely that it is
necessary for him to be himself tied into a pram or something else and well and truly held and tightly wrapped so that there can be elsewhere the signifier, the image of an omnipotence that is dreamt of.


And this is also the way that we must understand the capital role of omnipotence for him, this whole story and this observation about the automobile. The automobile, this
problematic instrument of our civilisation, whose relationship everyone can clearly see on the one hand with power (the horsepower, the speed, the peak of speed), and everyone obviously talks about phallic equivalence, the equivalence of a power to help the impotent. But on the other hand everyone well knows its extremely coupling, feminine character also.


Because it is not for nothing that an automobile is spoken of as feminine, that we give this car on occasions all sorts of little nicknames which also have the character of a partner of the opposite sex. Well this automobile on this occasion, (30) about which he makes such problematic remarks: namely, “strange how one speaks of the life of a car as if it were human” (135).


These of course are banalities, but it is very curious that this automobile, is so obviously this thing in which there is reproduced this sort of signifying ambiguity which ensures that it is both what protects him, what binds him, and envelops him,
that which in relation to him has exactly the same position as the projecting hood in the dream — it is moreover the same word which is used in the two cases — as in the dream this bizarre sexual protuberance on which he finds himself putting his finger, as on the other hand — I well underlined something that I translated badly. I should not have said “streaked with scarlet”, but “lined with scarlet”. But what does the analyst
tell us? The analyst has made no mistake here.


Desire 94 Jacques Lacan

June 19, 2011

Desire 94

Jacques Lacan

Desire and its Interpretation
欲望及其解釋 `

4.2.59 176

(24) Each one of the pieces is a signifying element. And in short in this game which is played by means of a series of answering moves founded on the nature of the signifiers, each one having its own move characterised by its position as signifier, what happens is the progressive reduction of the number of signifiers which are involved. And one could after all describe an analysis in that way: that it is a question of eliminating a sufficient number of signifiers so that there only remain in play a reduced number of signifiers so that one can sense properly where the position of the subject is within them.


4.2.59 178
Because I subsequently came back to it I believe in effect that this can take us a good way. But what is important is the following: it is that Ella Sharpe — effectively everything that I know or came to know from other sources about her work
indicates it — effectively has this conception of analysis, that there is in her interpretation of analytic theory this kind of profound highlighting of the signifying character of things.


She put a stress on metaphor in a way which is absolutely not out of harmony with the things that I am explaining to you.


And all the time she knows how to highlight what is properly speaking this element of linguistic substitution in symptoms, which means that she brought it to bear in her analysis of literary themes which constitute an important part of her work.


And all the technical rules that she gives share also in something which is quite profoundly marked by a kind of experience, of apprehension of the interplay of signifiers as such.


(25) So that the thing which, in this case, one can say that she overlooks, I would say are her own intentions which are expressed in this register, on the plane of the word of which there is question in the forefront of this observation, of cornering. She brings “cornering” in here for the first time.


It is only in the sessions following the interpretation that she gave of this dream that we will see the same word appearing in the discourse of the patient, and I will tell you later in what connection.


This is why, as you already know, I pointed out to you what also happened two sessions later. Namely how impossible he finds it to corner his partner also in a game, the game of tennis, to corner him in order to put in the final shot, one that the chap
would not be able to reach. What is in effect in question is the following that it is on this plane that the analyst manifests herself. And I am not at all in the process of
saying that the subject perceives this.


It is of course understood that she is a good analyst. She says it in all sorts of ways: it is a case in which you will have noticed, she says to the students, that I said very little,
or that I was silent. Why, she says? Because there is absolutely nothing in this subject which does not indicate to me in all sorts of ways that his claim to want to be helped means exactly the contrary, namely that above all he wants to remain sheltered, and with his little covering, the hood of the car over him.


(26) The hood, is really a quite fundamental position. She senses that. Everything that happens in connection with the memory of the pram which is effaced, is all the same the fact that he was pinned into his bed, namely pinned down.


Moreover it seems that he has very specific notions about what the fact of being tied down can provoke in a child, even though there is nothing particular in his memory which permits him to evoke it, but undoubtedly this bound position is very important
for him.


4.2.59 179
Therefore she is far from allowing this countertransference element to appear, namely something which would be too interventionist in the game. An aggressive move in this game of chess. But what I am saying, is that because she senses so well the import of this notion, this aggressive exercise of the analytic game, she does not see its exact import, namely that what is in question is something which has the closest relationship to the signifiers.


Namely that if we ask where the phallus is, it is in this direction that we should search for it. In other words, if you wish, in the quadrangle of the schema of the subject, of the other, of the ego qua image of the other, and of the big Other this is what is in question: the place from where the signifier as such can appear.


Namely that this phallus which is never where we expect it, is there all the same. It is there like the purloined letter, where one least expects it, and there where nevertheless everything designates it.


To express it as the metaphor of chess really allows us to articulate it, I would say that the subject does not want to (27) lose his queen, and I will explain. In the dream it is not the subject who is there looking at the phallus. This is not where the phallus is.



Desire 92 Jacques Lacan

June 17, 2011

Desire 92

Jacques Lacan

Desire and its Interpretation
欲望及其解釋 `

4.2.59 176

If you take up Mr. Fenichel, you will see that braid cutters are people who do this in function of their castration complex (Fenichel 349). But how can we say, except by weighing each case precisely, whether it is the retortion of castration, the application of castration to a subject other than themselves, or on the contrary the taming of castration, the carrying out on an other of a castration which is not a real castration, and which therefore shows itself to be not so dangerous as that; the domestication as one might say, or the lessening in value, the devaluation of castration, in the course of this exercise; all the more because when braids are cut it is always possible,
conceivable, that the aforesaid braids will grow again, namely give reassurance against castration.


This is naturally all that the sum of analytic experience allows (21) to be developed from this subject, but which in this case only appears to us as hiding …….. But there is no doubt that there is a link here with castration.


But now what is in question, if we force ourselves not to go more quickly, and to sustain things at the level where we have sufficiently indicated them, namely that here castration is something which forms part as one might say, of the context of
the report, but that nothing allows us up to the present to bring into play in as precise a fashion as the analyst has done the indication of the subject postulated on this occasion in order to articulate something as being a primitive aggressive intention turned back against himself. But after all what do we know about it. Is it not much more interesting to pose, to ceaselessly renew the question: where is this phallus?


Where is it in effect, where must it be conceived of? What we can say, is that the analyst is going very far, is pushing things a good deal in saying to the subject it is
somewhere very far back in you, it forms part of an old rivalry with your father, it is there at the principle of all your primordial omnipotent wishes, it is there at the source of an aggression whose retortion you are undergoing in this case.


Since there is nothing properly speaking which allows there to be taken from the text something which is articulated in this way.


Let us try for our part, after all, to ask ourselves the question a bit more daringly than we would naturally tend to. (22) We cannot it seems, propose in connection with a printed, written observation like this, something which we would demand of one of our pupils. If it was one of my pupils I would speak about it much more severely. I would say what possessed you to say something like that. In such a case I would ask the question: where is the countertransference element?


Here it would seem to be rash to pose such a question about the text of an author who after all is someone to whom we have every reason to accord the greatest trust at that date, namely Ella Sharpe. I smiled at myself when I asked myself that question
because it really seemed to me a little bit exorbitant. But one is never wrong when all is said and done to be a little bit too daring in this way. It may happen that this is the way that one will find what one is looking for.

關於一位元作者的文本,提出這樣的問題似乎有點魯莽。畢竟,這位作者在當時是某個我們有充分理由給予最大信任的人,也是阿拉 夏普。當我詢問自己那個問題時,我自己不禁會心一笑。因為這個問題對於我似乎有點過分。但是當一切都說都做了,我們以這種方式稍微大膽一點,也不為過。恰巧地,這就是我們將會發現我們正在尋找的東西的方式。

And in this case I searched before I found. I mean that I had read in an almost
distracted way the first pages of this book. I mean that as always one never reads well, and nevertheless there was there something extremely fine.


Immediately after having spoken about the dead father, about this father whom she cannot manage to bring to life in the subject’s memory, but which she has managed to move a little bit recently: you remember how startled the subject was that his father must at one time have spoken – immediately afterwards she remarks that it is the same difficulty as regards herself, namely “He has no thoughts about me” (126). There was already there something which should have held our attention. “He feels (23) nothing about me”. He cannot believe in that. It must be said that it is disturbing.


That the subject is not aware of it as such, does not mean that there is no manifestation of it, because there is “a dim stirring of anxiety of some kind” on one
or other occasion. This is where I had badly remembered something that is expressed here. But when one reads that one thinks that it is a general dissertation of the kind that he sometimes addresses to the analyst.


“I think” she says, this indeed is what is in question, “that the analysis might be compared to a long-drawn-out game of chess and that it will continue to be so until I cease to be the unconscious avenging father who is bent on cornering him,
checkmating him, after which there is no alternative to death” (127).


This curious reference to chess on this occasion, which really is not implied by anything, is all the same what deserves on this occasion to hold our attention. I would say that at the time I read this page I effectively found it to be very nice, because I did not immediately dwell on its value in the transferential order. I mean that during the reading what that gave rise to in me was: that’s very fine.


One should compare the whole development of an analysis to a game of chess. And why? Because what is most beautiful and what stands out most in the game of chess is that it is a game which can be described as follows: there are a certain number of elements which we will characterise as signifying elements.



Desire 92 Jacques Lacan

June 16, 2011

Desire 92

Jacques Lacan

Desire and its Interpretation
欲望及其解釋 `

4.2.59 166
Seminar 11; Wednesday 4 February 1959

Let us take what comes immediately afterwards, and what is going to play its role. The problematic character of what insists in front of the subject immediately continues, and by means of a (17) question which emerges in connection with, which is going to arise from childhood memories. Why the devil did he have at another moment another compulsion than the one he had at the beginning of the session, namely the cough.


Namely cutting his sister’s straps. “I dislike thinking it was a compulsion; that’s why the cough annoys me. I suppose I cut up my sister’s sandals in the same way. I have only the dimmest memory of doing it. I don’t know why nor what I wanted the leather for when I had done it. I thought I wanted the strips to make something useful but I expect something quite unnecessary.” (135) To my way of thinking it was very useful, but there was no serious reason for it.


Here again we find ourselves before a sort of flight within which still another flight is going to follow, namely the remark that he suddenly thinks of the straps that tied back the hood of the~motor car. Or “rather “that makes him think of the straps that one sees a child fastened in by in a pram.


And at that moment in a curious fashion, in a negative fashion, he introduces the notion of pram. He thinks that there was no pram in his family. But of course nothing could be more silly, he says himself, to say there was no pram in our house. There
must have been one because there were two children.


Always the same style of something which appears under the form of something that is missing, and which dominates the whole style of the subject’s associations. The following step, directly linked to this one is what? “I suddenly remembered I
meant to send off letters admitting two members to the Club. I (18) boasted of being a better secretary than the last and yet here I am forgetting to give people admission to enter the Club.” (135-136) In other words, I did not write to them.


And linked on immediately, and indicated in inverted commas in Ella Sharpe’s text even though she does not make much of it, because for an English reader these lines do not even need to be put in inverted commas, the citing of a sentence which is found
in what is called the General Confession, namely one of the prayers from The Book of Common Prayer, from the book of prayers for everybody which form the foundation of the religious duties of people in the Church of England.


I should say that my relations with The Book of Common Prayer do not date from yesterday and I will only evoke here the very beautiful object which was created twenty or twenty five years ago in the surrealist community by my friend Roland Penrose who made use of The Book of Common Prayer for the initiates of the
circle. When one opened it, on each side of the inner cover there was a mirror.


This is very instructive, because this is the only fault that one can find with Ella Sharpe for whom undoubtedly this text was much more familiar than for us, because the text of The Book of Common Prayer is not exactly the same as the quotation that the subject gives from it. “We have left undone those things which we ought to have done” instead of “We have undone those things (19) we ought to have done” (as the subject says). It is a small thing, but afterwards there is missing a whole sentence
which is in a way the counterpart in the text of the prayer of the General Confession “and we have done those things which we ought not to have done”. (136,142)


The subject does not feel any need at all to confess this. For the good reason that when all is said and done it is really always a question for him of not doing things. But doing things is not his business. This indeed is what in fact is in question, because he adds that he is quite incapable of doing anything at all, for fear of being too successful, as the analyst has underlined for us.


And then, because it is not the least important thing, this is what I want to get to, the subject continues the sentence: “There is” no good thing in”us” “. This” is a “pure invention by the subject, because in The Book of Common Prayer there is nothing like this. There is: “And there is no health in us”. I think that the “good thing” that he put in instead is indeed what is in question. I would say that this good object is not
there, this indeed is what is in question, and it confirms for us once again that it is a question of the phallus.


It is very important for the subject to say that this good object is not there. Again we find the term: it is not there. It is never where one expects it. And it is undoubtedly a good thing which is for him something of extreme importance, but it is no less clear that what he tends to show, to demonstrate is (20) always one and the same thing, namely that it is never there. There where what? There where one could get it, make
off with it, take it. And it is indeed this which dominates the totality of the material that is in question.


That in the light of what we are going to advance here, the bringing together of the two compulsions, that of the cough and that of having cut strips of leather from his sister’s sandals, seems less surprising – because it is really the most common type
of analytic interpretation; the fact of cutting the strips of leather which hold together his sister’s sandals has a relationship that we will be satisfied here, like everybody
else, to approximate in general to the theme of castration.


Desire 91 Jacques Lacan

June 16, 2011

Desire 91

Jacques Lacan

Desire and its Interpretation
欲望及其解釋 `

4.2.59 166
Seminar 11; Wednesday 4 February 1959

Yes, always the same conjuring away without our knowing what it is that is conjured away. And undoubtedly it is above all the subject himself who is conjured away. But the dream points out to us, and allows us to specify that in any case if we seek to
specify what is localised in the dream as being what is at stake in this conjuring away, it is certainly the phallus, the phallus that is in question: “To get my penis” (133).


And we are I would say so habituated, so hardened to this by analytic routine, that we scarcely stop at this datum of the dream. Nevertheless the choice by the subject of “to get” to designate what the woman is trying to do here – it is a verb that is used in a very polyvalent way. It is always in the sense of obtaining, of gaining, of capturing, of seizing, of joining to one’s self. It is a question of something that is broadly speaking obtained in the general sense. Naturally we understand this with the note and the echo of femina curem et benim (ou penim) devorem, but it is not so simple.

我不妨說,對於精神分析的例行公事的這個召喚,我們是如此的因循,如此麻木,以致面對夢的資訊,我們幾乎不會因此卻步。可是,「獲得」的生命主體指明女人想要在此所做的事情是什麼的選擇,這是一個動詞,以多重抗體的方式被使用。它總是具有「獲得」「得到」「捕獲」「捉住」「加入」一個人的「自我」。廣義地說,某件東西被獲的。當然,我們瞭解這個「femina curem et benim (ou penim) devorem」的注釋與回聲,但是並不那麼簡單。

Because after all what is being questioned in this case is something which when all is said and done is far from belonging (14) to this register. And also the question, whether in effect it is a matter in any form at all, real or imaginary, of obtaining the penis, the first question to be asked is namely: this penis where is it? Because it seems to be self-evident that it is there. Namely that on the pretext that what has been said, that the subject in the account of the dream said that she was manoeuvring “to get my penis”, it seems to be believed that because of this it is there somewhere in the
dream. But literally, if one looks at the text carefully, there is absolutely nothing to indicate it.


It is not enough that the partner’s imputation is given there for us to deduce that the subject’s penis is there, is sufficient in a way to satisfy us on the subject of this
question: where is it? It is perhaps completely elsewhere than at the place where this need that we have to complete things in a scene where the subject is supposed to evade …. It is not so simple. And from the moment that we pose this question we
clearly see in effect that it is here that the whole question is posed, and that it is also from there that we can grasp what is the singular discordance, the strangeness that is presented by the enigmatic sign that is proposed to us in the dream.


Because it is certain that there is a relationship between what is happening and a masturbation. What does that mean, what does that underline for us in this
case? It is worthwhile picking it up in passing. Because even though it is not elucidated, it is very instructive. I (15) mean even though it is not articulated by the analyst in her remarks.


Namely that the masturbation of the other, and the masturbation of the subject are the same thing, that one can even go pretty far, and say that everything that is in the grasp of the other by the subject himself which resembles a masturbation, effectively supposes a secret narcissistic identification which is less that of body to body than of the body of the other to the penis.


That a whole part of the activities of caressing – and this becomes all the more evident
because it takes on a character of a more detached, a more autonomous, a more insistent pleasure, bordering even on something which is called more or less correctly on this occasion a certain sadism – is something which brings into play the phallus to the degree that as I have already shown you it is already profiled imaginarily in the beyond of the natural partner.


That the phallus is involved as signifier in the relationship of the subject to the other, means that it appears there as something which can be sought in this beyond of the
embrace of the other with which there begins, there takes hold every kind of typical form more or less accentuated in the sense of perversion.


In fact, what we see here, is that precisely this masturbation of the other subject is completely different from this taking of the phallus in the embrace of the other which would allow us to make strictly equivalent the masturbation of the other and the
masturbation of the subject himself, that this gesture whose meaning I showed you, which is almost a gesture of verifying (16) that what is there is undoubtedly something that is very important for the subject, it is something that has the closest
relationship with the phallus, but it is something also which demonstrates that the phallus is not there, that the “to get my penis” that is in question for the partner is something which slips away, which escapes, not simply through the subject’s
will, but because some structural accident which really is what is in question, what gives its style to everything that comes back in the sequence of the association, namely also that this woman whom he tells us about who behaves herself so remarkably in the fact that she impersonates men perfectly, that this sort of unbelievable trickster whom he remembers years afterwards, and who offers him with an incredible glibness something which remarkably is again one thing for another, to make a covering for something with a covering which is made for something else,
namely the cloth that is meant to make a hood for a car, and to make what?


To allow him to put his golf clubs in it. This sort of tricky gentleman, this is what will come back again.


Everything has always this character, whatever element is in question, that it is never quite what presents itself that is in question. It is never with the real thing that we are dealing. Things present themselves always in a problematic form.



Desire 89 Jacques Lacan

June 11, 2011

Desire 89

Jacques Lacan

Desire and its Interpretation
欲望及其解釋 `

4.2.59 166
Seminar 11; Wednesday 4 February 1959

Aphanisis means disappearance, in so far as he understands it in that way. And what he means by that we will see further on.


But for the moment I am going to make a quite different use of it; what is really an impressionistic use for what is really there all the time throughout the material of the dream, its surrounds, the behaviour of the subject, everything that we have already tried to articulate in connection with what is presented, with what is proposed to Ella Sharpe.


This very subject who, before presenting himself to her in a fashion which she so finely describes, with this sort of profound absence which of itself gives her the feeling that there is no remark of the subject, nor any of his gestures (7) which is not entirely thought out, and that nothing corresponds to anything connected with feeling.


This subject who is so cautious, who moreover does not announce himself, who
appears, but who once he appears is more elusive than if he were not there; this subject who himself has put to us in the preliminaries of what he brought forward about his dream, this question which he posed in connection with his little cough.
And this little cough is given in order to do what? To make something which must be there at the other side of the door disappear. We do not know what. He says it himself: in the case of the analyst, what is there to make disappear?


He evokes in this connection the warning given in other circumstances, in another context, that it is a question of them separating, of disuniting, because the situation might be embarrassing if he entered. And so on.


In the dream we are in the presence of three characters, because it must not be forgotten that his wife is there. Once the subject has said it he does not speak about it any more. But what exactly happens with the sexual partner, the one in fact whom he evades. Is it all that sure that he is evading her?


What follows in what he says proves that he is far from being completely absent; and he put his finger, he tells us in this sort of protruding, inside-out vagina, this sort of prolapsed vagina on which I laid stress.


Here again questions are posed and we are going to pose them. Where is what is at stake, where is the important thing in this scene? That which in so (8) far as one can pose this question in connection with a dream – and we can only pose it in so far as the whole Freudian theory obliges us to pose it – what will be produced immediately
afterwards in the associations of the dream, is something which involves this friend, mediated by a memory which came to him concerning the hood that constitutes the feminine sexual organ of someone who on a golf course offered him something in which his clubs could be put, and whom he found to be a really funny person.


He speaks about him with a kind of amused pleasure. And one can clearly see what is happening around this real character. He is really the sort of person who makes you ask where he came out of.


This is the way he speaks about him. With that face, and that glibness what could he have been. Maybe a butcher, he says. God knows why he says a butcher. But the style and the general atmosphere, the ambiance of impersonation in connection with this character – immediately afterwards he is going to start imitating him – shows that here it is a question of ….‘


This moreover is the way that the notion of imitation is introduced, and the association with his friend who impersonates men so well, who is so talented, and who exploits that talent by broadcasting. And in this connection the first idea that comes to the subject is that he is talking too much about her, that he seems to be boasting by speaking about a relationship with somebody so remarkable, to be “swanking”. I checked the (9) English word that he uses: it is quite a new word, that can almost be considered to be slang, and that I have tried to translate here by la ramener. He uses it to say: I feel guilty to be swanking like that.


In a word he disappears, he makes himself very small, he does not want to take too much space on this occasion.


In short, what forces itself on us the whole time, what recurs as a theme, as a leitmotif in all the discourse, the remarks of the subject, is something for which the term aphanisis appears to be here much closer to “to make disappear” than “to
disappear”. It is something that is a perpetual game in which we sense that in different forms something – let us call this if you wish the object of interest – is never there.


The last time I insisted on this. It is never where it is expected, it slips from one point to another in a sort of conjuring trick. I am going to insist on it again, and you are
going to see where this will take us, what is the essential, the characteristic at every level of the confrontation before which the analyst finds herself.


The subject cannot put anything forward without immediately, in some way, subtilising what is essential in it as one might say.



Desire 88 Jacques Lacan

June 11, 2011

Desire 88

Jacques Lacan

Desire and its Interpretation
欲望及其解釋 `

4.2.59 166
Seminar 11; Wednesday 4 February 1959

But the next leap that I spoke about is that what is in question is again much less the phallus of the partner, of the partner in this case imagined in the dream, than the phallus of the subject. This we know; we admit the masturbatory nature of the
dream, matched by many other things in all that appears afterwards in the statements of the subject. But this phallus of the subject, we are already led to consider it as being this instrument of destruction, of aggression, of an extremely primitive type, as it emerges from what could be called imagery.


And it is in this sense that the thinking of the analyst, Ella Sharpe in this case, is already oriented. And even though she is far from communicating all her interpretation to the subject, the point on which she is immediately going to intervene is in this sense that she tells him, it is after having pointed out to him the elements that she calls omnipotent – according to her interpretation what appears according to her in the dream is: secondly masturbation, thirdly this masturbation is omnipotent in the sense that it is dealing with this boring and biting organ which is the subject’s own phallus. (146)


It must be said that there is here a real intrusion, a real theoretical extrapolation on the part of the analyst, because in fact nothing, either in the dream or in the associations, gives any kind of basis for bringing immediately into the (4) interpretation this notion the subject has that the phallus here intervenes as an organ of aggression, and that what might be dreaded would be in a way the return, the retortion of the aggression that is implied on the part of the subject.


One cannot help underlining here that it is hard to see at what moment the subject passes from these intrusions to the analysis of what she had effectively before her eyes and which she senses with such detail and finesse. It is clear that it is a
question of theory. It is enough to read this formula to perceive that after all nothing justifies it except something that the analyst does not tell us. But again she has
sufficiently informed us, and with enough care, about the antecedents of the dream, about the patient’s case in its broad details, for us to say that there is undoubtedly here something which constitutes a leap.


That this might have appeared necessary is indeed after all something that we will willingly concede to her, but it also appears necessary to us, it is on this point that we pose the question and that we are going to try to take up this analysis again, not in a way to substitute for the imaginary equivalents, for the interpretations in the sense that it is understood properly speaking, something which is a given and should be
understood like that …….


It is not a question of knowing at one or other moment what each element of the dream means on the whole. On the whole one can only say that these elements are more than correctly judged.


(5) They are based on a tradition of analytic experience at the time Ella Sharpe is working. And on the other hand they are certainly perceived with great discernment and with great finesse.


That is not the question. It is to see whether the problem cannot be clarified by being formulated, articulated in a fashion which better links the interpretation with this thing on which I am trying to put the accent for you here, namely the intersubjective topology, which in different forms is always the one which I am trying here to construct before you, to reinstate in so far as it is the very one of our experience: that of the subject, of the small other, of the big Other, in so far as their places should always, at the moment of every phenomenon in analysis, be marked by us if we wish to avoid this sort of tangle, this knot which has been really entwined like a thread which no one can unknot and which forms, as one might say, the daily stuff of our analytic explanations.


We have already gone through this dream under many forms and we can all the same begin to articulate something simple, direct, something which is even not at all absent from the observation or which can be extracted from this reading that we have carried
out. I would say at the stage of what precedes, what the subject brings, and of the dream itself, there is a word which with everything that we have here in terms of a vocabulary in common seems to be the one which comes first, and it cannot be
ruled out that at that time it may have come to Ella Sharpe’s mind.


It is not at all a question of bringing into play a notion which was not within her range? we are in the English milieu which is (6) dominated at that time by discussions such as those being developed for example between people like Jones and Joan Riviere whom we already brought up here in connection with her article: “On womanliness as a masquerade”. I spoke to you about it in connection with the discussion concerning the phallic woman (or phase) and the phallic function in feminine sexuality.‘


There is a word that he gives importance to at a particular moment, which is the moment which is really necessary for Jones to enter into the understanding of what is indeed the most difficult point to understand, not simply to bring into play, in
analysis, namely the castration complex. The word that Jones uses is the word aphanisis, which he introduced in an interesting fashion into the analytic vocabulary, and which we must not at all consider as being absent from the English
milieu, because it makes a great deal of it.



Desire 86 Jacques Lacan

June 6, 2011

Desire 86

Jacques Lacan

Desire and its Interpretation
欲望及其解釋 `

28.1.59 149
Seminar 10; Wednesday 28 January 1959

And you will see that these interpretations are in this regard extremely active, even brutal, suggesting that the root of the question is the aggressive character of his own penis. You will see that it is his penis qua aggressive organ, qua an organ which brings into play the dangerous and deleterious character of the water that it emits, namely the urination which you have seen evoked in this case, and to which we will have occasion to come back, since the analyst obtains an effect which we need not be surprised at in that an adult subject, and one who is rather old, wet his bed the following night. But let us leave this to one side.


What I mean is the following: I believe that this dream, if I may anticipate a little what I believe I am going to be able to (30) demonstrate for you by continuing this painful and slow work of line by line analysis of what is presented to us …. Where
is the question posed in what can be called the fundamental phantasy of the subject in so far as it is presentified? The subject imagines something, we do not know what, concerning his analyst – I will tell you what the analyst herself thinks about the point reached in the transference. This transference is at that moment a transference of a clearly imaginary type. The analyst is focussed, centred as something which is essentially, with respect to the subject, in the relationship of an other ego.


The whole rigid, measured, attitude of defence, as the analyst very well senses it, in the presence of Ella Sharpe, is something which indicates a very tight specular relationship with the analyst. And contrary to what Ella Sharpe says, it is very far
from being an indication that there is no transference. It is a certain type of transference from a dual imaginary source.


This analyst, in so far as she is the image of him, is in the process of doing what? This imposes itself already. It is quite clear that what the subject warns her against by his little cough, is that she is dreaming of masturbating. This is what she is thought to be in the process of doing. But how do we know it? We do not know it immediately, and this is very important. How could we know it: it is to the degree that in the dream the matter is then quite clear because it is precisely what the subject is saying: namely that there is someone masturbating.


The analyst recognises quite correctly that it is a question of (31) the subject masturbating, that it is he who is dreaming.


But that the dream is the manifested intention in the subject of masturbating her – adding that this is an intransitive verb – is enough to put us on the track of the following: that the signifying phantasy that is in question is that of the close link
between a male and female element taken along the theme of a sort of enveloping. I mean that the subject is not simply captured, contained in the other. In so far as he masturbates her, he masturbates himself, but also he does not masturbate.


I mean that the fundamental image that is in question, which is presentified there by the dream, is of a sort of sheath, a glove. They are moreover in fact the same words. Sheath (gaine) is the same word as vagina (vaqin)


Here are two linguistic encounters which are not without signification. There would be a lot to say from the linguistic point of view about the sheath, the glove, the scabbard (fourreau), because I think there is here a whole chain of images
which it is extremely important to locate, because they are much more constant you will see, and present, not just in this particular case but in many other cases.


What is in question is that the imaginary, signifying person is something in which the subject sees in a way, enveloped, captured, every sort of possibility of his sexual manifestation.


It is with respect to this central image that he signifies his desire and that his desire is in a way stuck.


I am going to try to show it to you because I must do a little (32) more to justify the following notion: in the sequence of associations there is going to appear an idea which crossed the subject’s mind, the analyst tells us, during the recent associations.


The subject in the course of his duties must go to a place where the king and queen are to be present. He is haunted by the idea of having a breakdown in the middle of the road, and by this of blocking the passage of the royal motor car.


The analyst sees here once more the manifestations of the omnipotence dreaded by the subject for himself, and even goes so far as to see in it – we will see this in detail the next time – the fact that the subject had the opportunity, during some primitive scenes of intervening in this fashion, of stopping something, the parents, during this primitive scene.


What on the contrary seems to me to be very striking, is precisely the function of the car to which we will return. The subject is in a car, and far from separating anything by this stopping – he no doubt stops the others; we know well that he stops everything because this is what is in question; that is why he is in analysis; everything stops, he stops the others, the royal, parental couple on this occasion in a car and well and
truly in a single car which envelops them like the hood of his car, which he evoked by his associations, reproducing the character of the covering cave.