1960-1961 (550 pp.)-SEMINAIRE IX: L'IDENTIFICATION (SEMINAR IX: IDENTIFICATION)-ANONYMOUS VERSION 1981 Lacan declared that, after having alternated the themes of the subject and that of the signifier in his teaching up to this point. he finally studied the very relation of the subject to the signifier in L~lde!!tificati.on. He also acknowl�edged the "dryness" of this seminar, which he nevertheless considered to be necessary. At the end of the seminar on Le Tran.sfert he had defined the th!ee types of identifcation isolated by Freud. The first one is a prif!1itive identifcation with the father as such, a "virile exquisiteness" even before the rivalry in the desire for the mother, an identification based on a single characteristic feature, the matrix of the ideal-of-the-ego, the symbolic introjection of the father's mark. Ultimately, it is an incorporation that comes close to the semitic reli�gious theme according to which "an identity of body links the Father of all times to all those who descend from Him," a theme that becomes that of the mystical body in Christianity. The second identification is the regressi~ ~~en�tification in love relations; the object refuses itself, therefore one identifies with the object itself. One could think here of the mother, but theseminar on Le Transfert (47) reminds us that it is still a man's business (Master/student; Father/son) centered around the obJe..t a and the phallus, which are still often confused. Here again one identifies with a single-characteristic feat~of the loved object. The third identification is the hysterical ide-ntificatlon in which the subject recognizes in the other the globiiI-situation-in whic~ h~ Jives. Lacan says that he focuses on the second identification but, by establishing the identification of the signifier and the identification with the signifier, his analyses create a new category that encompasses the first two and that centers on the relation to the Father and to the phallus. The Works of Jacques Lacan 11& The most important thing is to institute the subject in his relation to the signifier-and the signifier alone. Everything begins with a story whose func�tion is to mark the difference between the preverbal and the verbal. Lacan talked about his dog, Justine (in honour Of Sade);whohas speech but no~ language: insofar as she sPeaks, he says, she never takes him for an other, sh is not capable of transference, and she lives in the demand. The same hold for the wom~n who takes care of his building [gardienne d' immeuble] and for society women in bed or in conversation; they embody the glory to be there and the fear of the gesture that chases away or of the word that turns down [parole de non-recevoir]. Lacan's horror of "baby talk" (parler babysh. Fe�renczi's confusion of languages) goes very far; recall the epigraph of L'In�stance de la lettre (35) whe!C the language of the aff~t and of the body is I( referred to as. th~. ~'JJ9!1l1l!man" aS~£LQ(tfios~jyIiO "do 1J0cha~ lm!&..~ge"l These people live in the _~n that represents them for somebody and not in the signifier. The only salvation is "the signifying identification" where the preverbal is articul.a!~w.I!hJ.n the su~j~~ relation to the word. Identification raises the question of the identical. Can it be said that A = A? No, for there-aiready'isa-differe~~due to the very fact of repetition: hence, A =1= A. Against the One of totality, Lacan institutes thiT)ls the sin~le m~k that he calls the unbroken line [trait unaire], constituted1)y mere repe�tition: the line of sticks in elementary school (in which not one is similar to the other), the marks of our remote ancestors (at the museum of Saint-Ger�main), or the marks of violence inscribed by Sade on the bedstead. The dif�f:.rence is not only a qualitative one, but in fact the signifier has a unity only insofar as it is that which all the other ~nes are !lot, insofar as it is pure jifference: -.!9~e.~qiie as·sucniSffieUth-er: 'there is, therefore, no tautology in expressions such asilwai··iswain·or"Laplanche is Laplanche and Lacan is Lacan." The real has nothing to do with this, it is the same signifier that functions~~_ c<?.!liioTe-puredITference,-·for~f~ the signifier repJ):sents the subject for an<?fl!.e~. si~lfier and nQ.tfur~one. The identification of the signifier and the identification with the signifier closely mingle: "the elastic logic" that Lacan wanted to practice led him to use the symbol V -I, which upholds the subject. Formal logic, the stl!gy of the proper name, the complex grammar of negation~verythi~g~works toward defining th~ lUtilrsl.ken line as "a return: the seizing of the origin of a counting before the nymber." The phallus as the symbOllcmarkiSat the origin since "narcissism and incoTpO: ration should be located in the direction of the Father and not in the direction of the parasited mother's body." In short, Lacan's response to the problem of II the origin (the chicken or the egg?) is the rooster, or better, the signifier that/I makes the rooster, that is, the letter or the unbroken line. There was something new in this seminar: the project to create t. «.l!!2!!.~ !!!.gical_structure of the subject. " with .t!1eJ!elp of a discipline that, in mathe ' matics, studies the dirreren~_~P:~ ~~ surface}' constituted ~y the movement 0 188 00881 ER
- ) d~!f,:rent geometrical figures. Lacan's disciples would have to acquaint them�selves (even if, like myself, they did not have any serious knowledge of this field) with the spheric surface, the surface delineated by. a~ing (the torus or the cross-cap), the Moebius strip, etc. Lacan was confident that, from the
theories of Gauss, Riemann, and Moebius, he could construct a science of the subject. From then on, this dream would tirelessly haunt him untilthe iast selTIlnars. At this early stage several questions were raised: could this research further analytic theory and practice, and, if so, how? Was the use of topology
real or metaphorical? Was it a way of illustrating notions elaborated through other means or was it a sort of metadiscourse of analytic discourse? Finally, how was this theorization articulated with linguistic notions, with Russell's and Frege's logic, or else with the theory of grace, which, in Saint-Paul, comes after that of law? To whomever might ask, "What is the truth of your discourse?", Lacan had already responded: I am a psychoanalyst, and, as such, I have to disap�point you, "I don't tell the truth about truth." "I can take you very far on the path of the 'who am I' without the truth of what I am telling you being guar�anteed for a single moment, but nevertheless, in what I am telling you, it is still only a matter of truth." In this seminar, however, the subject was defined l
as a "structure full of holes," made of empty circles in whlchthe "lacuna" / would consist in the snare of the web lies lacs (lacis)] of circles described by
\ the torus turning around its axis.
In Le transfert Lacan describes symbolic identification as identification with the signifier. Here, he examines the rapport of the subject to the signifier. In the three types of identification isolated by Freud in Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego (1921, S.E. XVIII), he finds:
- A primitive identification with the father as such based on a single feature: the matrix of the Ideal-of-the-Ego, a symbolic introjection of the father's mark, "An identity of body links the Father of all times to all those who descend from Him."
- A regressive identification in love relations: the object refuses itself, therefore the subject identifies with the object (one centered around objet a and the phallus).
- An hysterical identification where the subject recognizes in the other his global situation.
By asserting the identification of the signifier and the identification with the signifier, Lacan brings about a new category consisting in the first two and centered on the rapport to the Father and to the phallus. It becomes crucial to institute the subject in his rapport to the signifier - to the signifier alone. To mark the difference between the preverbal and the verbal Lacan points at his dog, Justine, who has speech but not language: insofar as she speaks, she never takes him for an other, she is not capable of transference and lives in the demand. In "The agency of the letter in the unconscious or reason since Freud" (Écrits: A Selection) he refers to the language of the affect and of the body as the "nonhuman" aspect of those who "do not have language." The only salvation lies in "the signifying identification" where the preverbal is articulated within the subject's relation to the word.
In "The agency of the letter..." the signifier is turned into an inscription in the unconscious, a seal, which in L'identification becomes the "unbroken line," trait unaire, a symbolic term which is to produce the ego-ideal. Though this trait may originate as a sign, it becomes a signifier when incorporated into a signifying system: identification raises the question of the identical. Can it be said that A = A? No, for there already is a difference due to repetition: hence AA. Against the One of totality, Lacan institutes the 1 as the single mark, the unbroken line, made by mere repetition. The signifier has a unity only insofar as it is that which all the other ones are not, insofar as it is pure difference: the One as such is the Other. There is no tautology in expressions such as "war is war" or "Lacan is Lacan." The real thing has nothing to do with this, it is the same signifier that functions to connote pure difference, for, in repetition, the signifier represents the subject for another signifier and not for some one. The identification of the signifier and the identification with the signfier closely mingle. Formal logic, the study of the proper name, the complex grammar of negation... everything works toward defining the unbroken line as "a return, the seizing of the origin of a counting before the number." The phallus as the symbolic mark is at the origin since "narcissism and incorporation should be located in the direction of the Father and not in the direction of the parasited mother's body." Lacan's response to the problem of the origin (the chicken or the egg?) is the rooster, the signifier that makes the rooster, the letter or unbroken line. His project is to create "a topological structure of the subject."
To whomever asks, "What is the truth of your discourse?", Lacan answers: "I am an analyst, and as such, I have to to disappoint you, I don't tell the truth about truth." "I can take you very far on the path of the 'who am I' without the truth of what I am telling you being guaranteed, but nevertheless, in what I am telling you, it is still a matter of truth."
- Le séminaire, Livre IX: L'identification, 1961-1962.