Talk:Seminar XVIII

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1970-1971 (165 pp.)-SEMINAIRE XVIII: D'UN DISCOURS QUI NE SERAIT PAS DU SEMBLANT (SEMINAR XVIII: OF A DISCOURSE THAT WOULD NOT BE ON SEMBLANCE)-ANONYMOUS VERSION,1981 This seminar took for granted the four discourses of L' Envers de /a psychan�alyse (73) and Radiophonie (77), in order to define-insisting on the condi�tional of the expression-a discourse that would not be on semblance, a discourse that would not have semblance as its object or that would not rely on it. Semblance is not opposed to truth, but is correlative to it and upholds it because it belongs to the order of the signifier. It is "the point of organiza�tion" [point d' ordonnance] of the four discourses. Where, then, does the privilege of the analytic discourse come from, a discourse that is able to dis�tribute the other discourses according to the "four fundamental arrange�ments" of the same four letters? Where does this privilege come from, if not from having one's ears opened to "this last discourse," "that would not be on semblance." Is it the discourse of the unconscious? In any case, if it is, it is not in terms of the sayable or the nonsayable, but in terms of the said or the nonsaid. Or is it the discourse that, by extending the analyst's position, would put the plus-de-jouir in "a certain place" (a certain place that would be a different place?). This discourse would be on the side of repetition and jouis�sance: it is the discourse of a "does not talk," except maybe in the "middle ground of speech" [mi-dire] of the analytic experience. Is it a discourse that "is centered by its effect as impossible" and that is kept on the edge by the pleasure principle? No doubt about it, this discourse deals with the Real! If it cannot be said, can it however be written? This is one of the interesting questions raised here. What is the "written" (or "writing" since they are given to be the same) for Lacan, as opposed to speech? He moved back and forth, over and over again, in a breathtaking way, from the transcription of words to Chinese ideograms, to the Lacanian "letter" (31, 35), to Ecrits, which led to the graphs (themselves incomprehensible without the text that comments on them), to mathematical writing and logical topology .... It "makes its way from speech" [~a se fraye de la parole] but it functions differently: it belongs to the order of an inscription which, on the one hand, demands interpretation, and, on the other hand, demonstrates [demontre] rather than shows [montre]. Algebraic formulas are thus the best way to talk about /' achose, which is absent where it has its place and which only leaves the sexual act, "that is, castration," once the objet a, which masks it, is re�moved. However, concerning the analytic experience, Lacan said that "writ�ing is jouissance, " a jouissance that is doubly inscribed, on the right and the wrong side, without any border cut, according to the Moebius strip. But can we decipher it and separate ourselves from it if, as he said, it is the deadly jouissance of one's body proper, thus forbidden in the name of the pleasure principle (on the side of life), before being forbidden secondarily as the jouis- 228 DOSSI ER sance of the mother's body? Is it on this account that "writing is the bone of which language would be the flesh"? Or is it on the account of the Name-of�the-Father, equivalent to the phallus (which has nothing to do with the penis, which, as he noted complacently, lacks bones)? What about the Law? One really gets lost, because logical writing too would be the right and the wrong sides of this "primary" discourse: is it for this reason that Lacan talked more and more about the logico-mathematical discourse as the order of the Real? If the audience pushed to get in, if the reader, upon a first reading, is under the spell, isn't it because Lacan mainly talked here about jouissance and the sexual relation? Where does the unavowed pleasure come from? Is it that the seriousness of the discourse allows him both to approach and to elude the issues between men and women? Or is it that these issues, so ordinary and so painful (unavowable?), suddenly find a noble facade? Or else is it that it is reassuring to realize that there is no sexual relation that can be written or said, hence lived? Is this what Lacan was about to say (and to write algebra�ically) when he claimed the nonexistence of a signifier of sexual difference and asserted the place of the phallus as a third party, but not a "middle term," between men and women: "if one links it to one of the terms" (man or woman), "it won't communicate with the other." This tragedy is fascinating and disarming, because it relies on so many texts, cultures, different disci�plines, not to mention the weight of the analytic position: Lacan positioned himself as an "analysand" in front of his audience, indeed, but it was because he told them that he could not occupy the position of the analyst "for lack of knowing." Still, rereading La Lettre volee (31) is worth the detour. The analysis, in Freud, of Totem and Taboo compared to the Oedipus myth, gives a new image to the figure of the original father and of the superego, a new image that sheds a disturbing shadow on the Name-of-the-Father, this master-signifier of psy�choanalysis, which is one and the same as the phallus (except that "if one calls it, somebody gets up to answer"). Numerous possibilities of reflection are opened up by what is said of the conjunction of jouissance and semblance in man (hence man's fear of confronting woman in the ordeal) and of their dis�junction in woman, and by the comments on the hysteric's desire for the "at least one" man [I' "au-moins-un" homme, which provides the pun L'hommo�inzun] u in a patriarchal system grounded in the Pas-plus-d' un (no-more-than�one). We will encounter these issues again in the seminar Encore (84).