From No Subject - Encyclopedia of Lacanian Psychoanalysis
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MP3s 07 juin 1970

1970 (45 pp.)-RADIOPHONIE-1970 This is an interview with Lacan conducted by Georgin, with seven questions and answers. The first four were broadcast in Belgium, and then in France. Scilicet (2/3) published the entire interview, including the passages that shed light on the four discourses (73, 76) and, most importantly, the note that gives The Works of Jacques Lacan m the complete algebraic schemas (p. 99). However, the aim of the interview was wider: it was to assess the Freudian and Lacanian contributions, the no�tion of structure, the place of psychoanalysis in the humanities, its conse�quences "on the level of science, philosophy and more particularly Marxism, indeed communism," in order to conclude finally with the question, "To what extent are knowledge and truth incompatible?" If "to govern, to educate, and to psychoanalyse are three wagers impossible to t~e up," how "do you re�solve the contradiction" between "the perpetual contesting of all discourse," even of "analytic knowledge," and the necessity to "hang on to it"? Is it through the "status of the impossible," because "the impossible is the real"? This was a standard interview in the media-with a lot of general and abstract problems-and it was characteristic of the 60s and 70s. The point was to allow a broader audience to know what Lacan's theses had been since 1953. Let us merely point out what was new. First, there is the following statement: if "language is the condition of the unconscious" (a thesis that had been reaffirmed, 75), "the unconscious is the condition of linguistics." Freud anticipated the researches of Saussure and the Prague circle by sticking to the letter of the patient's word, to jokes, to "slips" of the tongue, and by bringing to light the fundamental importance of condensation and displacement in the production of dreams. The uncon�scious is simply the fact "that the subject is not the one who knows what he says." "Whoever articulates it [the unconscious], in Lacan's name, must say that it is either that or nothing." "And why would Saussure have realized { ... ] better than Freud himself, what he anticipated, notably the Lacanian metaphor and metonymy, the very places where Saussure engendered Jakob�son?" Besides, metaphor and metonymy do not have the same functions in the two disciplines. No, the notion of "structure" does not allow us to create a "common field" uniting linguistics, ethnology, and psychoanalysis. Linguistics has "no hold over the unconscious," because "it leaves as a blank that which produces effects in the unconscious, the objet a, " the very focus of the psychoanalytic act-and of any act. Such is the "linguist's shortcoming" (an allusion to Benveniste). The two discourses also differ in the position of the subject: "Only the discourse that defines itself in the terms given by psychoanalysis manifests the subject as other, that is, gives him the key to his division�whereas science, by making the subject a master, conceals him, to the extent that the desire that gives way to him bars him for me, as for Socrates, without remedy." As opposed to ethnology, psychoanalysis "does not have to make an inventory of the myths that have conditioned a subject. " There is only one myth in Lacan's discourse, the Freudian Oedipus complex. Moreover, for Levi-Strauss, "myth denies everything I promoted in L'/nslance de la lelITe dans l'inconscient (35). It performs neither metaphor nor metonymy. It does not condense, it explains. It does not displace, it accommodates, even if it 226 DOSS I ER has to change the order of the tents." "It only functions by combining its heavy units, and it is the complement alone that, because it insures the pres�ence of the couple, allows a background to emerge, which is precisely what its structure rejects." On the other hand, "in psychoanalysis (as well as in the unconscious), man knows nothing of woman, and woman nothing of man. The phallus epitomizes the point in myth where the sexual becomes the pas�sion of the signifier." For Lacan, the structure is the body of the symbolic. The Stoics "were abled, with the term' incorporeal,' to mark how the symbolic relates to the body." "The function that at once makes the reality of mathematics, the use of topology whose ,effect is similar, and analysis in a broader sense for logics, is incorporeal." Lacan added, "It is as incorporeal that structure creates the affect [ ... ], thereby revealing that it [the affect] is second to the body, be it dead or alive." Moreover, the structure in analysis entails" a rift-and a structural one"! "There is 110 sexual relation-implying no sexual relation that can be formulated ill the structure," a statement that La Logique du fall1asme (65) had already presaged and that would be further developed in the seminars to follow. There is no "appropriate signifier to give substance to a formula of sexual relation." Thus, Lacan brought into play the "undecid�able," which belongs to the order of a real that makes a hole in the structure. Ultimately, Marx, with the "surplus-value," made a discovery that Lacan's plus-de-jouir surpasses because it exposes the operative mechanism of the surplus-value: "When one acknowledges the kind of plus-de-jouir that leads one to say 'this is truly somebody,' one will be on the right track towards a dialectical material that may be more active than the party meat [/a chair d Parti], used as the babysitter of history. Psychoanalysis can shed light on this track with its passe" (66,76). In the end, it can be said without any hesitation that this carefully thought text establishes psychoanalysis both as fundamental and hegemonic. This is indeed what the four discourses (Master, Hysteric, University, Ana�lyst) attempt to establish in the relations that tie them together and in the passages from one to the other. There is, however, no algebraic formula for the unconscious discourse: "The unconscious [ ... ] is only the metaphorical term designating the knowledge that only sustains itself by presenting itself as impossible, so that it can conform by being real (that is, real discourse)." Lacan was thus not calling knowledge [/a conllaissance] into question, he had nothing to do with it. "My ordeal [epreuve] only concerns being [I' erre] insofar as it gives birth to being from the rift produced by the existent [I' erant] by telling itself," he said.' t. In Frcnch. thc scntcnce reads: "Mon eprcuve ne touche a l'etrc qu'a Ie faire naitre de la faille que produit l'etant dc se dire." In naim!. one also hears the negation of tire. i.e., II' erre. so that the emergence of being is already a disappearance. The Wortls of Jacques Lacan 227