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LX:71 | A Limited But Infinite Path

But why say that desire is never satisfied, as if psychoanalysis had a pessimistic vision with respect to human aspirations?

I can appreciate your reservations. I will answer you by saying that in that place where desire does not attain its goal, I mean where it fails, a positive creation emerges, a creative act takes place. If that is the case, you would wonder, why must desire necessarily fail? Desire will never be satisfied for the simple reason that we speak. Inasmuch as we speak, inasmuch as we are immersed in the symbolic world, inasmuch as we belong to that universe where everything has a thousand-and-one meanings, we will never achieve a complete satisfaction of desire, for from here to the full satisfaction of desire, an infinite field constituted by a thousand-and-one labyrinths, spreads out. Since I speak, it is sufficient that on the path of my desire I advance a saying or posit an act, including the most authentic, to immediately encounter a host of equivocations at the source of every possible misunderstanding. Acts can then be creative, but the purest act or the most accurate word could never avoid the appearance of another act or another word that will divert me from the shortest path to the satisfaction of desire. Once the word is uttered and the act is posited the path toward the satisfaction opens once again. One approaches the goal, one posits an act in life, and yet another path opens. This line of desire exactly reproduces the trajectory of an analysis. It is a path which is not traced in advance, but is opened with each experience. The analytic experience takes place, it is inscribed as a point, and it opens from this point to a new section. We pass through it to another point, beginning a new passage. Considered as the trajectory of a cure, analysis is an expanding path, because once the limit is reached, it moves up one notch. The exact formulation would be: analysis is a limited but infinite path. Limited because it always faces a limit that stops it. And infinite because once reached the limit advances infinitely always further. This is precisely the same logic of displacement that we are able to use to understand both the trajectory of desire and the trajectory of an analysis.

According to the set theory proposed by Cantor, this expanding movement is ruled by a principle called the principle of passing to the limit.1 For Cantor, the passage to the limit signifies that arriving at the limit generates an infinite set. And if we return to our terminology, we say that one reaches the threshold, and right away, an additional sequence opens up onto infinity. (36-37)


[1] Georg Cantor, “Fondements d’une théorie générale des ensembles,” in Cahiers pour l’analyse (Paris: Seuil, 1969), 35-52.


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. 


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Diplomatic Situation
Principle of Incompletion 

Works and Days

 

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LX:42 | The Act of Naming

He began by naming, and the thing existed. But clearly, a name alone is unable to establish existence. It must as well be the case that the name is repeated and inscribed in a structure. To name is not simply to attach a name, naming is an act which not only instantiates an element, but gives it consistency and engenders a structure. Freud names, the thing exists, and the consistency unfolds.

Now quite often, in the context of the cure, the psychoanalyst’s interpretation is limited to this act, the act of naming. A correct interpretation consists precisely in giving the right name to an event that emerges. In this way, it causes the structure of the unconscious to exist. But the problem is that one must interpret without giving it too much thought. An interpretation is not a reflective or calculated intervention. An interpretation is a name that one gives without much knowing, and in the giving of the name there is a leap. An interpretation is the leap of a name; it is a passage, a crossing, a risk taken. You see, as an act of naming, interpretation involves the risk of exposing oneself. (48)


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. 


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The Red Ink; A Fundamental Quality of an Act; The Museum 

Works and Days

Creative Activity

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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. 


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A Fundamental Quality of an Act 

Works and Days

Creative Activity

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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. 


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

Works and Days

 

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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. 


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that That

Works and Days

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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

 

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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.