Talk:Seminar VIII

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1960-1961 (148 pp.)-SEMINAIRE VIII: LE TRANSFERT DANS SA DISPARITE SUBJECTIVE (SEMINAR VIII: TRANSFERENCE IN ITS SUBJECnVE DISPARITY)-ANONYMOUS VERSION 1981; OFFICIAL VERSION 1991 What is most often quoted from this seminar is the analysis of Plato's Sym�posium (with Socrates, Alcibiades, Diotima, and Agathon). However, the analysis of Claudel's trilogy-L' Otage, Le Pain dur and Le Nre humilie-is often forgotten, because the link between these two analyses is enigmatic, as they are caught in a flow of allusive, contradictory, or apparently disparate formulations. The question of transference is crucial throughout the present study. Here the title of the seminar can be used as a guiding thread. This text testifies to a turning point in Lacan's thinking on transference~ before, the emphasis was placed on repetition; now, it is placed on transfer ence love [amour de transfert]. Indeed, both are inseparable, but the perspec tive changes. For Lacan, to insist on repetition means to refuse to see in the analytic situation an intersubjective re~ among others, to be dealt with directly-here and now. Treatment is offered in order to reproduce in it, through and in speech, relationships organized since childhood. In short, what speech constructed in the past can only be deconstructed now by speech:" As such, the analytic experience is "a particuiarrypure symbolic experience" (27). On the individual level, it allows for "the reshaping of the imaginary," and on the theoretical level, an intersubjective logic can be constructed, a simple schema of the subject with its variations (hysteria, obsession, phobia, perversion, psychosis), which are tools useful for practice. These elements, indeed present in this seminar, are often only implicit. L'[ntervelltion sur Ie transfert (20), Le My the individuel (22), Fonction et Champ (24), and Les Ecrits techniques (25) may enlighten many obscure passages. What does this second perspective reveal? Analysis is described as a "par-If ticu/ar/y pure" experience of desire, hence on the side of sexuality. Speech~1 180 DOSS I ER has an effect only because there is transference, and to deal with transference is the fundamental function of analysis. Two sentences really show the para�doxical nature of the treatment: "It is in the position that transference gives him that the psychoanalyst intervenes in transference itself" and "Transfer�ence is interpreted on the basis of and with the tool of transference itself." This is a classical conception that again grants some importance to the analy�sis, here and now, of the relationship between the two partners. In La Direc�tion de la cure (40) Lacan already considered that counter-transference was the analyst's unavoidable and necessary involvement in the experience in pro�cess, and he thus raised the ('p!:'~~e~ of the psychoanalyst's desire. Here, "subjective disparity" becomes a rigorous rule establishing the radical dis�symmetry of the two protagonists before desire; this dissymmetry is precisely what the analyzed patient will discover through the disappointn.?~nt of trans�ference love [amour de trallsfertJ. Because in the course of analysis oneTearns to talk instead of make love, in the end, desire, whic_~_l!as been purified, is no more than the empty place where the (barred) sUbject1iisacces-s- to the desire for the "forever revealed-revealing discourse." These themes of repe�tition and transference reappear in Les Quatre Concepts fondamentaux (55). It is indeed surprising that a key issue of psychoanalytic technique is ap�proached only through a reading of a philosophic~~xt, as opposed to Ecrits techlliques (25) where a lot of space was devoted to case histories. The Sym�posiwn seems to be the privileged place of an encounter between practice and theory. As early as 1955 (27), O. Mannoni had opposed the assimilation of the analytic dialogue to the Socratic dialogue. Here Lacan comes back to this ,assimilation and insists on it because it is indeed a matter of a model and not just of a mere illustration. :rhroughout the text, the analyst's position is iden�tified with Socrates's, which further reinforces the assertion that Freud, like Socrates, chose to serve [servir ] Eros in order to use it [s' en servir], inventing a method that turned him into the Master of Eros. As for Alcibiades, he occupies the position of the analyzed patient who, thanks to Socrates, will discover himself desiring. Even the tactic is similar: "To isolate oneself with an other in order to teach him what he is lacking and, by the nature of trans�ference, he will learn what he is lacking insofar as he loves: I am not here for his Good, but for him to love me," and for me to disappoint him. The adven�ture begins .... Lacan chooses a homosexual model, in order, he says, to avoid "that which is too complicated in love with women." Sexual d!ffe~nce thus is erased from the start. The two masculine partners are "two partners in the neutral" thanks to "the something through which the male gender is naturally expressed at the level of the couple formed by the lover and the loved one." Alcibiades r desires because he thinks that Socrates possesses the agalmd ,(the brilliant l\;bjcct, the fetish, the part object of desire, the phall~s' a~~d~sirable). But The Works of Jacques Llcan 111 Socrates refuses the. position of !o~e~object In order to assert himself as lacking, t~at ~,- desifing-:--asubject of desire. As a matter of fact, for Lacan, desire never takes place between two subjects but between a subje~!.!llil an overvalorizedJ?~in!Lwb9. in fact, has fallen to the state of an object. The only possible way to discover the other as subject is "to recognize that the other speaks an ~iculated language, acombinatory, and responds to ours with his own combinations; thus, the other cannot fit into our calculations as someone who combines like us." Socrates, by shying away from A1cibiades' declara�tion, by refusing to mask his lack with a fetish, and by showing him Agathon as the true object of his love, shows the psychoanalyst how to behave; such is the other aspect of "the subjective disparity" that must take place in the ideal analysis (between two males?). Although sexual difference is erased here, "to give what one does not have" is however not reserved to women, .!lf1d §exua! ~i!ference is in play between. men. The discrepancy comes from the fact that there is rio- relationship between what the one possesses and what the other lacks. Then:-th(philllli), from being the partobject [obj~t a], the i~.!8inary ooject, finally enrerges as the sigmfier of sig!!i~ers, and then as "the only sighifier1fiat deserves, in our register and in the form of the absolute signi�fier, the role of symbol." "It designates, beyond all possible signification, this real presence that permits identification, the origin of the Ideal-of-the�Ego on the side of the Other, a flat mirror that no longer has anything to do with the mirror stage. It thus operates between counterparts. However, there is a woman who speaks in The Symposium-~a, who expresses herself in the form of myth. For Lacan she is Socrates's feminine -Y91c~~_. It is, he says, "as if I let Fnln~oise Dolto'speaitto-dCScribe~to l;'s psychoanalytic theory." In the fable- where female lack is confronted with male res_Riot Heroce~ the3minine first has an active role before the e~minently desirable masculine. The reversal takes place because in love one only gives what oneaoes not have: the masculine, by shying away from the demand, reveals himself as a subject of desire. Later, Lacan would make S~rates the 7 true model of hysterical discourse, but also of analytic discourse, because he ! reachestl1e1illOW1eage (the episteme) of love. -_ The analyst IS the one WhO has managed to provoke "a mutation in the economy of his desire." He has Riot Heros both to the unconscious and to the ext! perience of the unconscious because, like Socrates, he has confronted the desire l'OfaeaThln order to gain access to that in which he becomes eternal, the "between-two-deaths" [entre-deux-morts). If he has placed the signifier in the position of the absolute, then he has abolished "fear and trembling" in himself. His motto is not "You shall love your neighb9r like yourself" but "You shall love above all in your soul what is most essential to you," or else "One puts one's desire aside in order to preserve what is the ~ost precious, the phallus, the symbol of desire." Desire is only its empty place. It is in this 182 DO S S I E R way, taking up sonIc issues of L'Ethiqlle (43) again. that Lacan approaches Claudcl's trilogy, lie opens a kind of passage from Plato to Claude!. which would assimilate Socrates and Alcibiades with the Father and the Son in the Christian trinity whose third term is the symbolic mystery of love. However, the Father figure is cruel. The character Sygne de CoGfo~iaine in Claudel's trilogy is put in the place of the sacrificed Christ. According to Lacan, what created a scandal is the fact that she crossed the very limits of the second death. Most of the analysis is devoted to the father-son (sometimes daughter) rclationship over three generations. Anxiety originates from the Father's enig�matic cruelty and from his degradation already noted In Hamlet (41),which Lacan still seems to attribute to the separation of the function of speech and of the function of love for the Father (22). We will limit ourselves here to, these few landmarks.




Introduction

In La relation d'objet Lacan provided a way of understanding the paradoxical function of transference in the analytical cure.


In its symbolic dimension (repetition) it helps the treatment to progress, by revealing the signifiers of the subject's history.

In its imaginary dimension (love and hate) it acts as a resistance to the treatment.



He uses Plato's The Symposium to illustrate the rapport between analysand and analyst: Alcibiades compares Socrates to a box enclosing a precious object, agalma.

Just as Alcibiades attributes a hidden treasure to Socrates, so too the patient sees his object of desire in the analyst.

Lacan articulates the objet a with agalma, the object of desire we seek in the other. Before, the emphasis was placed on repetition, now it is placed on transference love, amour de transfert: both are inseparable, but the perspective changes.

To insist on repetition means to refuse to see in the analytic situation an intersubjective rapport to be dealt with here and now.

What speech constructed in the past can be deconstructed in the cure by speech: the cure is "pure symbolic experience."

On the individual level, it allows for "the reshaping of the imaginary," on the theorethical level for an intersubjective logic to be constructed.

Thus, analysis is described as a particular experience of desire, on the side of sexuality.


Speech has an effect only after transference.

For Lacan "it is from the position that transference bestows the analyst with that he intervenes in transference itself," and "transference is interpreted on the basis of and with the aid of transference itself."

In "The direction of the treatment and the principles of its power" (Écrits: A Selection) Lacan presented countertransference as a resistance of the analyst and raised the problem of the analyst's desire.

Here, subjective disparity becomes the rule establishing dissymmetry between the two protagonists vis-à-vis desire: what the patient will discover through the disappointment of transference love.

Because in the cure one learns to talk instead of making love, in the end desire, which has been purified, is but the empty place where the barred subject accesses desire.

We should note that training analysis does not put the analyst beyond passion; to believe that it does would mean that all passions stem from the unconscious, a notion that Lacan rejects.

The better analysed the analyst is, the more likely he is to be in love with, or be quite repulsed by, the analysand.

In training-analysis there will be a mutation in the economy of desire in the analyst-to-be: desire will be restructured, so that it will be stronger than passions.

Lacan calls it the desire proper to the analyst.


In The Symposium the analyst's position is identified with Socrates', while Alcibiades occupies the position of the analysand, who after Socrates will discover himself desiring.

"To isolate oneself with another so as to teach him what he is lacking and, by the nature of transference, he will learn what he is lacking insofar as he loves: I am not here for his Good, but for him to love me, and for me to disappoint him."


Alcibiades desires because he presumes Socrates is in possession of the agalma - the phallus as desirable.

But Socrates refuses the position of loved object to assert himself as desiring.

For Lacan desire never occurs between two subjects but between a subject and an overvalorized being who has fallen to the state of an object.

The only way to discover the other as subject is "to recognize that he speaks an articulated language and responds to ours with his own combinations; the other cannot fit into our calculations as someone who coheres like us."

Socrates, by shying away from Alcibiades' declaration, by refusing to mask his lack with a fetish, and by showing him Agathon as the true object of his love, shows the analyst how to behave: such is the other aspect of "subjective disparity" taking place in analysis.

There is no rapport between what the one possesses and what the other lacks.

The phallus, from being objet a, the imaginary object, emerges as the signifier of signifiers, as "the only signifier that deserves the role of symbol.

It designates the real presence that permits identification, the origin of the Ideal-of-the-Ego on the side of the Other."

There is a woman in The Symposium, Diotima, who speaks in the form of myth. In the fable where female lack is confronted with male resources, the feminine first has an active role before the desirable masculine.

The reversal occurs because in love one only gives what one does not have: the masculine, by shying away from the demand, is revealed as a subject of desire.

Later, Lacan would make Socrates the model of hysterical discourse, but also of analytic discourse because he attains the knowledge, the episteme, of love.

Having managed to provoke "a mutation in the economy of his desire," the analyst has access both to the unconscious and to the experience of the unconscious because, like Socrates, he has confronted the desire for death and achieved the "between-two-deaths" - entre-deux-morts.

Having placed the signifier in the position of the absolute, he has abolished "fear and trembling." "One puts one's desire aside so as to preserve what is the most precious, the phallus, the symbol of desire."

Desire is only its empty place.

Bibliography

  • Le séminaire, Livre VIII: Le transfert (dans sa disparité subjective), 1960-1961.

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