Talk:Seminar XIV

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1966-1967 (324 pp.)-SEMINAIRE XIV: LA LOGIQUE DU FANTASME (SEMINAR XIV: THE LOGIC OF FANTASY)-Reports 1967-1968�ANONYMOUS EDITION 1981

What a nice fantasy to finally have a logical formula of fantasy, this imaginary scenario that governs us, as it is linked to our desires, drives, history-this "mixed blood," as Freud said, between unconscious and conscious! Logic must go beyond "the fundamental fantasy," which is already a theoretical construct as opposed to the multiplicity of any individual's fantasies. It must go beyond the "originary fantasies" that are structures shared by all; and it must go beyond the grammatical transformations structured around a simpli�fied sentence (subject/verb/object) and the substitutions ad infinitum of its elements where pleasure and anxiety are at play. Lacan took as his starting point the "algorithm" $ <> a, which is the logical articulation of fantasy. This algorithm had already been introduced, in 1956-1957, in the graphs of desire (36), which then articulated in 1960 a first topology of the subject (46). Here, Lacan recalled the signification of the algorithm: g represents the division of the subject barred by the signifier that constitutes him. "The punch," <>, is the sign of a relation either of inclusion/implication (and they are reversible), or of exclusion between the two terms. It is thus a binary system where the verb as such has disappeared (along with its semantic and dynamic values) to leave room for the algebraic sign of a pure relation. There remains the objet a whose definitions changed with the years, for it was in�deed the object of Lacan's quest. To understand its definition here, we must start with the part object of the Seminaire IV (33) and follow its analyses in Seminaires X (52) and XII/ (59). However, a statement made in 1960 seems crucial to me: Lacan mentioned "the fascination" of the fantasy in which "the subject himself becomes the cut that makes the object shine in its inexpress�ible oscillation" (44).

The objet a would be the primal object, forever lost, the fall, the remainder, or the product (that "cannot be assimilated" because it is Real) of the cut operated by the primal signifier that engenders the "subject" by the very fact of repeating itself in absolute difference (see L'ldentification 50). These as�sertions are repeated here in a systematic way: "If a is the frame of the subject ("jewel"), this frame falls at the level of the most fundamental act of life, the act in which the subject as such is engendered, i.e., the repetition of the signifier." This is the symbolic paternal mark or the phallic mark since there is no signifier of sexual difference: "The phallus alone is the sex-unity." The objet a creates a "hole" constantly filled, in the partial drives, by the different objects (1, the breast, feces, the penis. the gaze. or the voice, objects that are themselves caught in imaginary substitutions. To understand the fantasy, it is thus necessary to try to determine the logical status of the objet a. which can only be accomplished by a theory in keeping with the geometrical figures of topology. For example, is the objet a situated on the side of the drive or of the desire of which it is the cause? Is it born from the separation from Ute placenta as a part of the body proper or from the division/separation from oneself by the signifier, the cost that the speaking being has to pay to become a subject? But is there really an alternative? Indeed, Lacan talked of a surface where "desire and reality" are "the right and the wrong sides"; however, the passage from one side to the other is unnoticeable, as if there were only one side, because "the relation of texture does not entail any break." The objet a seems to be a "bubble," just as, on a projective plane, the Klein bottle is. IncidentalIy, the Master often marveled that his topological figures resembled those of embryology. Might the fantasy allow us to go from the drive to desire and from desire to the drive, to link them or to disjoint them? Will we learn more about the logic of fantasy?

In fact, Lacan seemed to oscillate between exaltation for having discovered a new logic, indeed the foundation of all logic on the one hand, and a pro�found anxiety about the excessiveness of such an enterprise on the other hand. Hence, he said, "The logic of fantasy is the most fundamental principle of any logic that deals with formalizing defiles" (this is an allusion to Wittgen�stein, Russell, and even Boole and Morgan); "I am going to formulate deci�sive formulas about the unconscious, i.e., logical formulas." But, at the same time, he deferred until January his "presentation of alienation in terms of logical calculation" because "its formulation [was] not ready." The reason for this delay might have been that "truth is related to desire," whic~ "creates difficulties for handling it like the logicians do." He even wondered whether he would continue his seminar (the number of participants encouraged him to continue while the troublemakers discouraged him). What was his aim? It was to define "a logic that is not a logic, an entirely new logic that I have not named yet, for it needs to be instituted first." Is his appeal to an "elastic logic" not a way of saving, until his death, a dream that was also his tragedy? Using once again (in a parody?) the figure of Diotima in The Symposium, he talked about academic Penia (female lack) before psychoanalytic Poros (male resource) and wondered "up to what point, between the two, [he could) let the obscurity go."

We will not mention the constant digressions (which were deleted in Nas- • sif's reports) and the perpetual repetitions of aphorisms or of previously used examples; the seminar drifted toward the search for a logic of the subject around the eternal Cartesian cogito, then toward the questions of "the sexual act," of "the impossible subjectivization of sex," and of "jouissance," all questions that would prevail in the following seminars ..

The multiple transformations of Descartes' Cogito ergo sum ("either I think or I alll"; "cithcr I don't think or I am not"; "I am whcrc I don't think," "I think whcrc I am not," ctc.) endcd with a formula that is a play on words:

Cogito ergo es. Thc Latin "cs" (you are) marks the always fundamental de�pendcncy on thc Other and raises the problem of the passage from the objet a to thc Othcr or from the Other to the objet a (71). Applied to desire, the formula becomes, "I desire you" means "I implicate you in my fundamental fantasy" as the objet a. Applied to love, it becomes, "You are not, therefore I am not"; "You are nothing but what I am"; "You are the nothing that I am," etc. However, Es in German is the id, defined as the "non-I," the impersonal id (ncithcr first, nor second or third person): is it the reservoir of drives? Is it the cauldron (with a hole in it) of Freud's witches? Or is it an "aggregate of signifiers" as Lagache was told (44)? A. Green's comments during the semi�nar wcrc helpful because he tried to mark the differences between the Freu�dian teaching and the Lacanian teaching, especially concerning the questions of the representations and of the affects that constitute the unconscious in Freud. For Lacan, the affects are signifiers whose chain excludes the subject: but did anybody doubt that the subject as such was absent from the fantasy, and that he was only present as scattered in all its elements, to be recon�structed as the subject of the enunciation? Green's commentaries on Lacan's translations of Wo Es War, solliell Werdell are enlightening.

Lacan's new interpretations led him to the first elaboration of "unbeing" I desctre], which would soon become the mark of the end of the analysis (66). This first elaboration is based on puns: the unconscious desire is "pure de�sire," des-ctre like des-espoir (despair, nonhope) is an irpas (from the Latin ire, to go, and the negation pas, not), which is an illpasse (something that has not gone through) linked to the desire of the Other, but also an inpasse (a dead end) due to repetition. The interpretation does not give any solution [issue] to the interpreted desire because there is no solution [issue] to the unconscious desire that "will always remain, and all the better so, a desirpas (desirenot)." For Lacan, is this knowledge of the truth of the unconscious desire really the solution I issue] to be offered in analysis, the solution to the "unfulfilled desire" of hysteria, to the "prevented desire" of phobia, or to the "impossible desire" of obsession? In his schema, the objet a upholds "the truth of the alienation"; to discover this truth is to discover that "there is no universe of discourse" because something real (something impossible because not symbolizable) eludes it, makes a "hole" or an opening in it. Then comes the terrible experience of the "subjective destitution" which, according to him, is necessary for any analyst-to-be (66). But what about the ordinary analysands and even the analysts-to-be as individuals?


"The big secret of psychoanalysis is that there is no sexual act," all there is is sexuality, which is a very different thing. For Lacan indeed, the act has a specific definition: it entails a signifying doubling that allows for an inser�tion of the subject in a chain where he inscribes himself-or else it entails the institution of a signifier. But there is no signifier of sexual difference and none of the feminine sex either. On the other hand, between the man and the woman, "there is this third object (objet a) whose always sliding function of substitution makes it impossible to keep them opposed in whatever eternal essence. Therefore, it is impossible to posit a subject inscribing himself as sexed in the act of conjunction to the subject of what is called the opposite sex." At the symbolic level, there is no "sexual relation": there is merely (a + I) and (a - I), where a term marks the difference as a plus or as a minus. Remember that the phallus is "the sex-unity": the I symbolizes the incommensurable.

For the first time Lacan used Marx's analyses of use value and exchange value, and he began a long journey to back up his theory of "man-he" l/'homme-i/I. The "man-he" is also the man-standard and the man-stallion I/' homme-eta/on in the two senses of the term in French), as well as the bull and the poor bearer of the symbol of sex, thereby doomed to (symbolic) cas�tration. He does not know how to live since there is no Other to guarantee him, not even if he were God, marked as he himself is by castration. The only protection is the construction of a protective society based on masculine ho�mosexuality. The Father of Freud's primal horde, because he supposedly en�joys Uouirl all women, sees "his jouissance killed." Then, if the almighty phallus circulates, it is due to women: "Woman represents it (the phallus) as an exchange value among men; and, if the power of the penis bears the mark of castration, it seems that it is because, in a fictitious way, the woman be�comes what is enjoyed Ice dont on jouitJ and circulates as an object of jouis�sana." "She is the locus of transference of this jouissance value" repre�sented by the phallus. Through her identification to the use value embodied in the phallus, the woman transforms herself into an "object-good." But it seems that she does not lack resources (such as masquerade) to act as "man�she" [{,homme-elfe). However, "she is unexpugnable as a woman precisely outside the system of the sexual act": "she has a different use of her own jouissance, outside this ideology." Thus, Lacan established the "radical het�erogeneity" of the jouissance of the two sexes whose relationship could only be problematic. He began here a reflection that would lead him to the seminar Encore (84). If there is an enigma for the analysts (of both sexes?), he told us, it is indeed that of feminine jouissance.

I have devoted substantial space to this seminar because it seems to me to be an important crossroads in Lacanian thinking. I have omitted many aspects that emerged in the course of his oral comments, but I would suggest reading carefully the session where Jakobson responded, without equivocation, to the relevant questions asked by Dr. Jenny Aubry, Luce Irigaray, and Dr, Oury, and evaded Lacan's tricky questions. What he said about the possible links between psychoanalysis and linguistics as regards the development of Jan-. guage in the child and the problem of verbalization is fascinating, all the more so since he admilled his divergence from Lacan. For him, as a linguist, there is no element cut off from signification, not even at the most minimal level, and semantics is not to be separated from syntax in too rigid a manner.

Introduction

Lacan stresses the importance of the signifying structure in fantasy.

He takes as his starting point the matheme File:Barreds.gif <> a, which is the logical articulation of fantasy.

The matheme was already introduced in the 1957-58 seminar, Les formations de l'inconscient, in the graphs of desire, and was later developed in 1960 in "The Subversion of the Subject and the Dialectic of Desire in the Freudian Unconscious" as the first topology] of the subject.

File:Barreds.gif represents the division of the subject barred by the signifier that constitutes him.

The sign <> enunciates the relation either of inclusion/implication, or of exclusion between the two terms.

It's a binary system where the verb as such disappears to leave room for the algebraic sign of a pure relation.

Definitions of objet a will vary over the years; to understand it here, one should go back to the part object of the 1956-7 seminar, La relation d'objet et les structures freudiennes, and then address its analysis in L'angoisse and L'objet de la psychanalyse.

In 1960, however, Lacan mentions the fascination of the fantasy in which "the subject becomes the cut that makes shine in its inexpressible oscillation."[1]

The objet a would be the primal object, forever lost, the remainder or the product, which cannot be assimilated because it is real, of the cut operated by the primal signifier engendering the subject when it repeats itself in absolute difference (L'identification).

"If a is the frame of the subject, this frame falls at the level of the most fundamental act of life, the act in which the subject as such is engendered, i.e the repetition of the signifier."[2]

This is the symbolic paternal mark or the phallic mark since there is no signifier of sexual difference: "The phallus alone is the sex-unity."

The objet a creates a hole constantly filled, in the partial drives, by the different objets a, the breast, feces, the penis, the gaze or the voice, objects that are in themselves caught in imaginary substitutions.

To understand fantasy, one should try to determine the logical status of objet a, which can only be accomplished by way of a topology dealing with gemetrical figures.

Is objet a situated on the side of the drive or of desire of which it is the cause?

Is it born out of the separation from the placenta as a part of the body proper or from the division from oneself from the signifier, the cost that the speaking being has to pay to become a subject?

Is there really an alternative?

Lacan talks of a surface where "desire and reality" are "the right and the wrong sides"; however, the passage from one side to the other is unnoticeable, as if there were only one side, because "the relation of texture does not entail any break."

Might the fantasy allow oneself to go from the drive to desire and from desire to the drive, to link them or to disjoint them?

Lacan oscillates between exaltation and bouts of anxiety: "The logic of fantasy is the most fundamental principle of any logic that deals with formalizing defiles," and at the same time defers his presentation of "alienation in terms logical calculation" because its formulation is not yet ready.

The reason might have been that "truth is related to desire," which "creates difficulties for handling it like logicians do."

His aim is to define "a logic that is not a logic, an entirely new logic that I have not named yet, for it needs to be instituted first."

Using the character of Diotima from The Symposium, he mentions academic Penia (the lack) before psychoanalytic Poros (male resource) and wonders "up to what point, between the two, he could let the obscurity go."

The seminar shifts its course toward the search for a logic of the subject around the Cartesian cogito, then toward "the sexual act," questioning "the impossible subjectivization of sex," and of jouissance.

The multiple transformations of Descartes' cogito ergo sum (either "I think or I am"; "either I don't think or I am not"; "I am where I don't think," or "I think where I am not") end with a play of words: Cogito ergo es.

The Latin es ('you are') marks the fundamental dependency on the Other and raises the problem of the passage from objet a to the Other or from the Other to objet a.

Applied to desire, "I desire you" means "I implicate you in my fundamental fantasy" as objet a.

Applied to love, "You are not, therefore I am not"; "You are nothing but what I am"; "You are the nothing that I am."

Now, in German, Es is the id, defined as the "non-I," the impersonal id, is it the reservoir of drives?

Is it the cauldron (with a hole in it) of Freud's witches?

Or is it an aggregate of signifiers?

Lacan elaborates on the notion of "unbeing," désêtre, which would become the mark of the end of analysis.

He elaborates on puns: the unconscious desire is "pure desire," dés-être like dés-espoir, despair, is an irpas, from the Latin ire, to go and the negation pas, not, which is an impassé, something that had not gone through, linked to the desire of the Other, but also an impasse, a dead end, due to repetition.

The interpretation does not entail any solution, issue, to the interpreted desire because there is no solution, issue, to the unconscious desire that "will always remain a désirpas (desirenot)."

For Lacan, is this knowledge of the truth of the unconscious desire really the solution, issue to be offered in analysis, the solution to the unfulfilled desire" of hysteria, to the "prevented desire" of phobia, or to the "impossible desire" of obsession?

By itself, the objet a upholds "the truth of alienation"; to discover this truth is to discover that "there is no universe of discourse" because something real (something impossible because not symbolizable) eludes it.

"The big secret of psychoanalysis is that there is no sexual act," all there is is sexuality, a very different thing.

The act has a specific definition: it provokes a signifying doubling that allows for an insertion of the subject in a chain in which he inscribes himself.

Or it raises the institution of the signifier.

But there is no signifier of sexual difference and none of the feminine sex either.

Between man and ]]woman]] "there is this third object, objet a, whose always sliding function of substitution makes it impossible to keep them opposed in whatever eternal essence. It is impossible then to posit a subject inscribing himself as sexed in the act of conjunction to the subject of what is called the opposite sex."

At the symbolic level, "there is no sexual rapport": there is merely (a + 1) and (a - 1), where a term marks the difference as a plus or a a minus.

The phallus is "the sex-unity": the 1 symbolizes the incommensurable.

Lacan uses Marx's analyses of use value and exchange value, and starts his theory of "man-he" (l'homme-il).

The "man-he" is also the man-standard and the man-stallion (l'homme-étalon), as well as the bull and the poor bearer of the symbol of sex, doomed to symbolic castration.

He does not know how to live since there is no Other to guarantee him, not even if he were God, marked as he is by castration.

The only safeguard is the construction of a protective society based on masculine homosexuality.

The Father of Freud's primal horde, because he supposedly jouis all women, sees "his jouissance killed."

Then, if the almighty phallus circulates, it is due to women.

"Woman represents the phallus as an exchange value among men; and, if the power of the penis bears the mark of castration, it is because fictitiously she becomes what is enjoyed, ce dont on jouit, and circulates as an object of jouissance: she is the locus of transference of this jouissance value" represented by the phallus.

Through her identification to the use value embodied in the phallus, woman transforms herself into an object-good.

Yet, she does not lack resources, such as masquerade, to act as "man-she," l'homme-elle.

"She is inexpugnable as a woman precisely outside the system of the sexual act," or "she has a different use of her own jouissance outside this ideology."

Thus, Lacan establishes "the radical heterogeneity" of the jouissance of the two sexes whose rapport could only be problematic.

He begins here a reflection that will lead him to Encore, the twentieth seminar.


Text

Lacan Seminar 14: The Logic of Fantasy 1-24

  1. 16 November 1966
  2. 23 November 1966
  3. 30 November 1966
  4. 6 December 1996
  5. 14 December 1967
  6. 14 December 1967
  7. 1 January 1967
  8. 18 January 1967
  9. 25 January 1967
  10. 1 February 1967
  11. 15 February 1967
  12. 22 February 1967
  13. 1 March 1967
  14. 8 March 1967
  15. 15 March 1967
  16. 12 April 1967
  17. 19 April 1967
  18. 26 April 1967
  19. 10 May 1967
  20. 24 May 1967
  21. 31 May 1967
  22. 7 June 1967
  23. 14 June 1967
  24. 21 June 1967


Bibliography

  • Le séminaire, Livre XIV: La logique du fantasme, 1966-1967.

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