Jacques Lacan - Télévision (Video) - Lacan on the unconscious

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Here, Lacan points to the dependence of thought and the unconscious on the structure of language. He pits this relation against the notion of thought as grounded in a physical anatomy imagined as an objectified and highly assumptive unity of functions, a singular body. Such a singularity of subjectivity is predicated upon the chain of intersubjectivity, the bonds of civilization, in which it aquires definition. Thus Lacan recognizes that the Aristotelian notion of the subject as object supplies, at the level of the intersubjective, the means of its radical decentering, viz. :

"the ex-sistence [a holding outside] of one more subject for the soul."

In fact, the physical symptoms of the hysteric, the invasion and disturbance of the body by obsessive thoughts, how to behave, what to say, testifies to the fact that the only relation thought has to the soul-body is one of a differentiating projective ex-sistence.

Lacan argues that the concept of the subject as a composite of thought and soul emerges from efforts to conform thought to the world, for which, under the sway of the aforementioned social bonds, the soul is held responsible. Lacan argues that the object of this responsiblity which passes for "reality" is, in fact, a fantasy, a "grimace of the real", which simply serves an instinctual purpose: the survivalist perpetuation of thought.

Subtitles adapted from the translation by Denis Hollier, Rosalind Krauss, and Annette Michelson in 'Television: A Challenge to the Psychoanalytic Establishment' - Jacques Lacan (Norton, London: 1990). Complete video (without subtitles) available here.