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Jacques Lacan: 1901-1981

LX:41 | Linguistic Structure of the Unconscious

Now the concrete and objective data that allow the linguistic structure of the unconscious to be inferred are the external acts of the unconscious. We have already noted that each of the manifestations of the unconscious must be seen, in a formal sense, as a signifier, or more exactly, as one signifier. We have also said that these external acts belong to diverse realities: a bodily gesture, an unexpected speech, or any other event. But among these realities in which the unconscious expresses itself, that of speech provides the best opening for us to come into contact with the structural order of the unconscious. In the same way that Freud took the dream to be the royal road to the unconscious, I would say that for Lacan, the royal road is that of speech.

Lacan recognized, then, the difference that Saussure established between speech and language: speech is the spoken language. There is first a spoken language which, for example, would be the dialect of Cali, and I expect it is quite distinct from that of the capital Bogota, even if in both regions they speak the same language. Then, most importantly, there is that particular language that is the maternal language, the language spoken by the mother. It is this language in which the unconscious manifests itself. In fact, the best definition would be, “The unconscious is structured like a language and manifests itself in the language as spoken by the mother.” (48-9)


Source

Nasio, Juan-David. Five Lessons on the Psychoanalytic Theory of Jacques Lacan.  Trans. Pettigrew, David and François Raffoul.  State University of New York Press 1998. 


See Also

Lexicon Entries

A Fundamental Quality of an Act 

Works and Days

Creative Activity

Documents

 


Notes

 


 

LX:38 | Fertility of the Didactic Action

You see, there are two ways of applying a discipline which is structured as a teaching. There’s what you hear, and then what you make of it. These two planes do not overlap, but they can be made to join up in a certain number of secondary signs. It is from this angle that I see the fertility of every truly didactic action. It is not so much a question of transmitting concepts to you, as of explaining them to you leaving you the task, and the responsibility, of filling them in. But something else is perhaps even more imperative, which is to point out to you those concepts which should never be made use of. (274)


Source

Lacan, Jacques. The Seminar of Jacques Lacan Book I: Freud's Papers on Technique 1953-1954.  Trans. John Forrester.  Ed. Jacques-Alain Miller.  W.W. Norton & Company, Inc. 1991. 


See Also

Lexicon Entries

Socratic Midwifery; The 'Claro, Pero' Paradox;The Most Basic Sphere of Concern is Schooling

Works and Days

 

Documents

 


Notes

 


 

LX:31 | Efficacious Transference

In its essence, the efficacious transference which we’re considering is quite simply the speech act. Each time a man speaks to another in an authentic and full manner, there is, in the true sense, transference, symbolic transference – something takes place which changes the nature of the two beings present. (109)


Source

Lacan, Jacques. The Seminar of Jacques Lacan Book I: Freud's Papers on Technique 1953-1954.  Trans. John Forrester.  Ed. Jacques-Alain Miller.  W.W. Norton & Company, Inc. 1991. 


See Also

Lexicon Entries

The Analytical Relation; The Red Ink;A Fundamental Quality of an Act;White;Encouraging an Investment in the Desire to Know

Works and Days

Creative Activity

Documents

 


Notes

 


LX:30 | The Analytical Relation

There is yet another essential trait that is particular to the analytic relation and distinguishes it from any other transferential relation involving a priest, a professor, or a leader. This trait pertains to jouissance and consists precisely in the way in which the psychoanalyst acts and in the particular position of the analyst as object a, a position such that the analyst’s listening contributes to the generation of events. Let me explain. The psychoanalyst is not a partner who governs me like a leader or teaches me like a professor, or who confesses me like a priest, but is a resolutely unique other who, during the gradual unfolding of the cure, will become an integral part of my psychical life. Paradoxically, the analytic relation will progressively cease to be a relation between two persons as it becomes a unique psychical place that includes conjointly the analyst and the analysand, or rather, the place of the in-between which envelops and absorbs the analytic partners. Analysis is in fact a singular place that contains the psychical life of the analyst and the analysand. (98)


Source

Nasio, Juan-David. Five Lessons on the Psychoanalytic Theory of Jacques Lacan.  Trans. Pettigrew, David and François Raffoul.  State University of New York Press 1998. 


See Also

Lexicon Entries

Efficacious Transference
A Fundamental Quality of an Act
Desire Proper to the Analyst
White

Works and Days

 

Documents

 


Notes

See About


LX:19 | Act

It is curious enough that neither Freud, nor any of his epigones, ever attempted to remember what is nevertheless within the grasp of everybody concerning the act - let us say, human act, if you like, since to our knowledge there is no other act but the human one. Why is an act not mere behaviour? Let us concentrate, for example, on an act that is unambiguous, the act of cutting open one’s belly in certain conditions - incidentally, it’s not called hara-kiri, but seppuku. Why do people do that? Because they think it annoys others, because, in the structure, it is an act that is done in honour of something. But wait. Let us not be precipitate until we know, and let us take note of this, that an act, a true act, always has an element of structure, by the fact of concerning a real that is not self-evidently caught up in it. (50)


Source

Lacan, Jacques. The Seminar of Jacques Lacan Book XI: The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis .  Trans. Alan Sheridan.  Ed. Jacques-Alain Miller.  W.W. Norton & Company, Inc. 1998.


See Also

Lexicon Entries

Situated Freedom
This Permanent Dissonance
Apologia
A Fundamental Quality of an Act 

Works and Days

It's Hard To Say

Documents

 


Notes

 


LX:2 | The Place I Have Come To

In the beginning, there was not the origin. There was the place.

There are perhaps two or three people here who have some idea about this same old story of mine. Place is a term I often use, because there are often references to place in the field that my discourses - or my discourse, if you prefer - deal with. If you want to know where you are in that field, it is advisable to have what other and more self-assured domains call a topology, and to have some idea of how the support on which what is at stake is inscribed was constructed.

I certainly will not get that far this evening because I absolutely refuse to give you my teaching in the form of a little pill. 'Place' means something very different here from what it means in topology, in the sense of structure, where it is just a question of knowing whether a surface is a sphere or a ring, because what can be done with it is not at all the same. But that is not what this is about. 'Place' can have a very different meaning. It simply means the place I have come to, and which puts me in a position to teach, given that there is such a thing as teaching.

Well, that place has to be inscribed in the register of what is our common fate. You occupy the place where an act pushes you, just like that, from the right or the left, any old way. It so happens that circumstances where such that, truth to tell, I really did not think it was my destiny, and... well... I just had to grab hold of the thread.

It all revolves around the fact that the function of the psychoanalyst is not self-evident, that, when it comes to giving him his status, his habits, his reference, and even his place in the world, nothing is obvious, nothing is self-evident at all.

There are the places I talked about first: topological places, places that have to do with essence, and then there is your place in the world. You usually get to that place by pushing and shoving. In short, it leaves you some hope. No matter how many of you there are, you will always end up in a certain place, with a bit of luck. It goes no further than that.  (4-5)


Source

Lacan, Jacques. My Teaching.  Trans. David Macey.  Verso 2008. 


See Also

Lexicon Entries

Hupomnēmata
The Red Ink
White

Works and Days

It's Hard To Say

Documents

 


Notes

See About


LX:96 | Genuine Happiness

Freud always reminds us that the individual seeks happiness. Then the individual creates obstacles so as not to be able to reach it. What does he define in the end? …
 
…A limited happiness. In fact, psychoanalysis discovers that we, speaking beings, are content in the end with very little. You know, genuine happiness, I mean happiness that is actually found, is in fact an extremely limited satisfaction that one obtains without much effort. Any other satisfaction beyond that limit is what Lacanian psychoanalysts call the jouissance of the Other. From an ethical point of view, the psychoanalytic position is subversive because, in contrast to certain philosophical schools that recognize in man the search for happiness as a search for the supreme good, psychoanalysis states: we agree that human beings aspire to the supreme good, if we accept that as soon as one begins to pursue the ideal they transform it into a concrete reality of a satisfaction that is drastically scaled-down. (33-4)

Source

Nasio, Juan-David. Five Lessons on the Psychoanalytic Theory of Jacques Lacan.  Trans. Pettigrew, David and François Raffoul.  State University of New York Press 1998. 


See Also

Lexicon Entries

that That

Works and Days

Documents


Notes

 


It's Hard To Say

What is said signifies the act of enunciating a saying.  The saying on the contrary signifies that which is going to be said, what will perhaps one day be said, or even what has already been said.  These are the sayings that while waiting to be said or while having already been said, remain in a virtual and unconscious state.  I enunciate now a statement but I do not know when or where another statement will reappear: perhaps it will surprise me in a dream tonight or in an unanticipated event tomorrow.  In a word the saying can be defined as a statement that has not yet been said or even as a statement already said in the past while waiting to reappear, while the what is said has the value of an act; it is the act of saying.  What is said is always an act while the saying remains suspended in the virtuality of a past and an expectancy.
 
Juan-David Nasio | Five Lessons on the Psychoanalytic Theory of Jacques Lacan

 

See Also:
Stultitia
[1] Nasio, Juan-David. Five Lessons on the Psychoanalytic Theory of Jacques Lacan.  Trans. Pettigrew, David and François Raffoul.  State University of New York Press 1998. P. 53.
 
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