Talk:Seminar XV

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1967-1968 (267 pp.)-SEMINAIRE XV: L'ACTE PSYCHANALYTIQUE (SEMINAR XV: THE PSYCHOANALYTIC ACT)-ANONYMOUS VERSION, 1981 Since La Logique dufantasme (65), where he stated that there is no "sexual act," Lacan questioned the difference between the act [/' acte] and a mere action [/'agir]. One of his students summarized this opposition in an enlight�ening, if not satisfactory, way: "to fuck" is an action [un agir], "to get mar�ried" is an act [un acte], because there is "a commitment and a recognition, which entail repetition" and "the inscription in the Big Other." Certainly, the significr would appear soon, which the Mastcr had already announced the The Works of Jacquel Lacal 213 previous year. This was confirmed by the absence of contradiction between Saint John's sentence, "In the beginning was the Word [Ie Verbe]," and Goethe's, "In the beginning was the action" (as noted by Lacan, based on A. Koyre). However these statements were mild compared to the Lacanian assertion of the "irreducibility of the sexual act to any truthful relation." Since love is itself purely narcissistic, what remained of a possible relation between the sexes, other than a social pact? To talk about the psychoanalytic act meant a lot, and a lot was expected from this seminar. It is disappointing. It is a chaotic set of previously stated things, and the transcription is not alone to blame for it. Lacan seemed to be uncomfortable, and, as often in such cases, he embarked on polemics, com�plained about the absence of so many analysts of his ecole, fulminated, threw incisive formulas, repeated over and over again formulas that had already been fully tested, spread banalities, got irritated whenever someone raised the slightest doubts .... The Proposition sur I' analyste a I' ecole (66) and the Conferences written for the trip to Italy (70) are more enlightening than this text concerning his elaborations about the subject-supposed-to-know and the end of the analysis. What can be redeemed from this seminar? An overview of the different types of acts in psychoanalysis might be. There is the founding act of psycho�analysis: before, the effects of the unconscious existed, but nobody knew that they existed. There is the entrance into analysis and the fact of becoming an established psychoanalyst, which are decisions and commitments. On the side of the analysand, there are the slips and the failures, which led Lacan to give an Eloge de la connerie (Praise of Folly). In analysis one learns that it is impossible to respond simply to the injunction "render unto truth the things that are truth's and unto folly the things that are folly's," because the two overlap and one encounters "the folly of truth even more often than the truth of folly." Other acts are the passage a I' acte and the "acting out," activities that, although they fill a distressing hole, reproduce the past instead of re�membering it in words. On the side of the psychoanalyst, Lacan reminded the audience that "outside the manipulation of transference, there is no psycho�analytic act." He had been repeating it since 1948, but the perspective is very different here: in order for the analysand to move to the function of analyst, his analyst must accept-while pretending to be the upholder of the subject supposed to know-being "reduced to his function of cause of a pro�cess in which the subject supposed to know is undone" and he must accept in the end being "nothing more than the waste of the operation represented by the objet a," which will produce an effect of truth. The analyst's position is thus untenable, as Freud said, and this is why he opposes "the most violent misconstruction [meconnaissance] as regards the psychoanalytjc act itself. ", Besides, the analysand who has experienced des/Ire discovers, when he •• takes up the analyst's torch," that he is forced to restore for another the 214 DOS S I ER subject supposed to know. The transmission would thus be completed, very different from the passe itself. The psychoanalytic act, a "setting into act of the subject" and a "setting into act of the unconscious," is like a tragedy where the hero falls in the end as a piece of trash. One of the sessions of the seminar-which ended with the events of May 1968-is fascinating: in Lacan's absence, some analysts discussed among themselves what they had, or had not, understood in his teaching and some expressed their fears concerning the effects of these new developments about the ohjet a and the desetre in therapies.


Introduction

Since La logique du fantasme, where he states that there is not a "sexual act," Lacan questions the difference between the act, l'acte and a mere action, agir. To make love would be an action, un agir, and to get married an act, un acte, because there is a commitment and a recognition, which entail repetition and the inscription in the Other.

The signifier will appear soon: the absence of contradiction between Saint John's "In the beginning was the Word," and Goethe's "In the beginning was the action." Lacan then asserts "the irreducibility of the sexual act to any truthful relation." Since love is itself purely narcissistic, a social pact is what remains of a possible rapport between the sexes.

As to the different types of acts in psychoanalysis, there is the founding act: before, the effects of the unconscious existed, but nobody knew that they existed. T here is the entrance into analysis and the fact of becoming an analyst, which are decisions and commitments.

On the side of the analysand, there are slips and failures, which lead Lacan to give an Éloge de la connerie, Praise of Folly.

In analysis it is almost impossible to answer simply to the injunction "render unto truth the things that are truth's and unto folly the things that are folly's," because the two overlap and then one finds "the folly of truth even more often than the truth of folly."

The passage à l'acte and the "acting out" are activities that, although they fill a distressing hole, reproduce the past instead of remembering it in words.

On the side of the analyst, "outside the manipulation of transference, there is no psychoanalytic act."

In order for the analysand to move to the function of analyst, the latter - while pretending to be the upholder of the subject-supposed-to-know - must accept being "reduced to the function of cause of a process in which the subject-supposed-to-know is undone." Moreover, in the end the analyst must accept to be "nothing more than a waste of the operation represented by the objet a," which will produce an effect of truth.

The position of the analyst is untenable, and this is why he opposes "the most violent misconstruction, méconnaissance, as to the analytic act itself."

Besides, the analysand who experiences désêtre discovers, when becoming an analyst, that he is forced to restore for another the subject-supposed-to-know.

The transmission would thus be completed, very different from the passe itself.


The psychoanalytic act, a "setting into act of the subject" and a "setting into act of the unconscious," is like a tragedy where the hero falls in the end as a piece of trash. "In the beginning of psychoanalysis is transference," without any intersubjectivity, because between the two partners the subject-supposed-to-know acts as a third, as "the pivot from where everything that goes on in transference is articulated."

This pivot is the signifier introduced in the discourse instituted by it, a formation as though detached from the analysand, which has nothing to do with the analyst's person.

It is "a chain of letters that leads the not-known to frame knowledge," which concerns desire.

The Graph of Desire still guides the analysis but an identity is asserted between the matheme of the subject-supposed-to-know and the agalma of Plato's The Symposium, which presents "the pure angle of the subject as the free rapport to the signifier, a signifier from which both the desire of knowledge and the desire of the Other are isolated."


Lacan wants to establish, as to the passage from the analysand to the analyst, "an equation whose constant is the agalma" (this term being a sort of compromise between objet a and the phallus). Once "the desire that, in its functioning, uphelds the analysand has been resolved, the analysand no longer wants to remove the possibility of such desire, the remainder which, insofar as it determines his division, makes him fall from his fantasy and destitutes him as subject."

Lacan interprets the depressive position often noticed as the end of the analysis in terms of désêtre and "subjective destitution".

"The subject sees its assurance sink, a self-assurance that comes from the fantasy in which everybody's opening onto the real is constituted."

The subject realizes that the grasp of desire is nothing other than that of a désêtre. "In this désêtre what is unveiled is the nonessential nature of the subject-supposed-to-know; the analyst-to-be is dedicated to the agalma of the essence of desire, even if it means that the analyst-to-be has to be reduced to an ordinary signifier, since the subject is the signifier of the pure signifying relation."


Does going through the fantasy, then, mean going toward the drive or toward a confrontation with the signifier? Thus Lacan answers: "The being of desire meets the being of knowledge to be reborn from their knot in a strip formed by the only side on which only one lack is inscribed, that which upholds the agalma."

The agalma becomes the signifier of the bar that is put on the Other (A); the gap of (- F) opens in the Other; and the (a) falls from the Other.

Love

Slavoj Zizek argues that "here we find the inescapable deadlock that defines the position of the loved one: the other sees something in me and wants something from me, but I cannot give him what I do not possess - or as Lacan puts it, there is no rapport between what the loved one possesses and what the loving one lacks. The only way for the loved one to escape this deadlock is to stretch out his hand toward the loving one and to return love, that is to exchange, in a metaphorical gesture, his status as the loved one for the status of the loving one. This reversal designates the point of subjectivization: the object of love changes into the subject the moment it answers the call of love. And it is only by way of this reversal that a genuine love emerges: I am truly in love not when I am simply fascinated by the agalma in the other, but when I experience the other, the object of love, as frail and lost, as lacking 'it', and my love none the less survives this loss."


Bibliography

  • Le séminaire, Livre XV: L'acte psychanalytique, 1967-1968.

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