Talk:Seminar XIII

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1965-1966 (APPROX. 160 pp.)-SEMINAIRE XIII: L'OBJET DE LA PSYCHANALYSE (SEMINAR XIII: THE OBJECT OF PSYCHOANALYSIS)-VERSION TAKEN DOWN IN SHORTHAND, NO DATE Thc first mceting was a written lesson published in 1966 by Calliers pOllr I'Allalyse under the titlc "La science et la verite" (60), but the theme of the subje<.:t divided between knowledge and truth was raised throughout the semi�nar, and it included Lacan's own position. For the first time he claimed to be the discoverer of psychoanalysis as a ncw scien<.:e whose objc<.:t would be the objet a, as lack or hole, the object in its original reality, the object whose role would be to enlighten the other sciences-s<.:ience itself-about their own objects. Since Les Qualre CO/J�cepts (55), his position had changed radically. Indeed, he still spoke "in Freud's name," but "as others have to speak in the name of he who bears my name"; "the birth of science does not remain linked for ever to the name of he who institutes it. Not only does science not present itself as belonging to the structure of myth, but moreover it proves not to belong to it, and it proves it by showing that it belongs to another structure: su<.:h is the meaning of the topological illvestigatioll that I am carrying out here." "The theory that I construct hcre is not to be placed on the level of myth." We are thus far from 1964 when drives were mythical beings (55), and we are even far from the previous scminar (58) whcre it was still a matter of analogy. Here Lacan responds to the alternative between the mathematical model and metaphor by stating, "Topology is not a metaphor, but a rigorous mOllfage with the objet a, the specific object of analytic science." The predominant use in the last years of the term matllemes thus makes sense. Lacan used four forms, which we have already seen and which would become more and more important in his rcflections: the cylinder or disk with a hole, the torus, the Moebius strip, and thc Klein bottle, all of which are accompanied by algebraic formulas "formed of small letters. " Did he want to go beyond the graph of the fantasy, which would be like a "movcable theatrical set" lUll praticable], the trompe�l'oeil of a game, while the objet Q would be the "frame"? The following scminar was dcvotcd prcciscly to La Lngiqlle dll Jamasme (65). The Wor1ls 01 Jacques Lacln 1" "The hole of the lack of the objet a would be located at the intersection of the fields of truth and knowledge ": such is the contribution of psychoanalysis. Psychoanalysts can, therefore, question science-Russell's or Frege's logic�concerning the truth whose encounter they do not know or they forget; they can also demystify religion. Thus, psychoanalysis would be the foundation and the guide for all other human sciences, which Lacan called conjectural sciences. Banking on structuralism, which prevailed at the time, Lacan both split and united his audience in two categories: "those who need to use my word for analytic purposes," and "those who prove that it can be followed in all its coherence and rigor, that it fits in a structure that is valid even outside its present practice." At the same time, he distinguished between the psycho�analyst who, at the moment of knowledge, is-and knows he is-divided, and the status of the "subject-supposed-to-know" (the subject of science) who restores the prestige of misknowledge Imeconnaissance) by thinking that he unites knowledge and subject. Praise be to the true (Lacanian) exercise of "this unique experience," that is, analysis, which has the "effect of separat�ing us from the herd." Lacan went back to his graphs of desire (36 and 46), and he tried to relate them to his topology. The objet a is situated on four sides: the demand of the Other (the objet a is feces); the demand on the part of the Other (the objet a is the breast); the desire on the part of the Other (the objet a is the gaze); and the desire of the Other (the objet a is the voice). It was with this perspective that the Master began to analyze Pascal's Pari, that he invited A. Green and C. Stein to speak (they both belonged to the S.P.P. and he met them at the Colloquium in Bonneval 56), that he gave an account of his lectures in the United States (lectures organized by Jakobson who might be called a structuralist), and most importantly that he invited Michel Foucault to talk about Velasquez's Las Meninas. Foucault's address allowed Lacan to come back to his theory of the painting as a "trap for the gaze" (55), a gaze in which what falls is the objet a. The little girl's slit is the perspective and the vanishing point, the hidden center of the painting, and "in this gap I beance) where there is nothing to see, it is impossible to recog�nize the structure of the objets a: underneath the infanta's dresses, 'it looks at me,' while the eye, on the other hand, is made not to see .... " Even Balaille, for once, was quoted from Histoire de l'oeil, a text that would establish a connection among all the objet a in their relationship to the (feminine?) sexual organ. What sign ultimately occupies the place of this gap, the impossible or untenable real? Of course, it is the phallus, as in the case of Little Hans mentioned at the beginning of the seminar. What was needed was to reshape the unconscious around language and the gaze (excluded by Freud). The voice was ultimately forgotten here. Lacan went back to the Freudian dimen�sion of desire and of the subject whose foundation is castration; the feminine sexual organ (and woman as Adam's rib) became the objet a, which fascinates 200 DOS SI ER and leads to ruin unless there is the screen of the phallus, even under the form of - <t>. There arc links between this study and that of Holbein's Ambassa�dors (55). However, in the end, the penis-as a manifestation that is seen, "Phanc"-hardly hides the presence of an objet a that would be an enig�matic -il. 60


Introduction

The theme of the subject divided between knowledge and truth is raised throughout the seminar. Lacan responds to the alternative between the mathematical model and metaphor by stating that "topology is not a metaphor, but a rigorous montage with the objet a." Thus the use of four mathemes: the disk with a hole, the Moebius strip, the torus and the Klein bottle. "The hole of the lack of the objet a would be located at the intersection of the fields of truth and knowledge": such is the conribution of psychoanalysis. It can therefore question science as to the truth whose contingency is missed or forgotten; the same happens with religion. Lacan both splits and unites his audience in two categories: "those who use my word for analytic purposes," and "those who prove that it can be followed in all its coherence and rigor, that it fits in a structure valid even outside its present practice." He also distinguishes between the analyst who at the moment of knowledge is divided (and he knows it), and the status of the subject-supposed-to-know (the subject of science) who restores the prestige of méconnaissance by thinking that he is uniting knowledge and subject.

Lacan goes to the Graph of Desire and relates them to his topology. The objet a is situated on four sides: 1. the demand of the Other (objet a is feces) 2. the demand on the part of the Other (objet a is the breast) 3. desire on the part of the Other (objet a is the gaze) 4. desire of the Other (objet a is the voice)

In this perspective he gives an account of his lectures in the United States, organized by Roman Jakobson, notably "Of Structure as an Inmixing of an Otherness Prerequisite to Any Subject Whatever," at Johns Hopkins University. Michel Foucault talks about Velasquez's Las Meninas. His address allows Lacan to conjure his theory of the painting as "a trap for the gaze," a gaze in which what falls is objet a. The little girl is the slit in the perspective and the vanishing point, the hidden center of the painting, and "in this gap, béance where there is nothing to see, it is impossible to recognize the structure of the objets a: underneath the Infanta's dresses, 'it looks at me,' while the eye is made not to see..." Georges Bataille's Histoire de l'oeil is quoted as a text that establishes a connection among all the objets a in their rapport to the feminine sexual organ. Therefore, the phallus is the sign that occupies the place of this gap, the impossible or untenable real. This entails a reshaping of the unconscious around language and the gaze (excluded by Freud). Lacan goes back to to the Freudian dimension of desire and of the subject whose foundation is castration. The vagina, the feminine sexual organ, becomes the objet a, which fascinates and leads to ruin unless there is the screen of the phallus, even under the form of - F. In the end, the penis, as a manifestation that is seen, hardly hides the presence of an objet a that would be an enigmatic - a.


The gaze, it should be noted, is not found on the side of the subject, but on that of the object. "It marks the point in the object (the picture) from which the viewing subject is already gazed at" (Slavoj Zizek). The gaze is a spot in the picture, which does not warrant the presence of the subject and by blurring its visibility, introduces a split in the rapport between the object and the subject: the latter cannot see the picture at the point from which it is gazing at him. Zizek brings out Psycho, where Norman Bates' house is rendered uncanny because Hitchcok's viewpoint switches from the house coming closer (as seen by the approaching woman) to the same woman coming closer (as seen from the house), giving the anxious impression that the house is gazing at her.


Bibliography

  • Le séminaire, Livre XIII: L'objet de la psychanalyse, 1965-1966.

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