Chiesa

Lorenzo Chiesa on Lacan

Chiesa lacan le-sinthome

There is no Other of the symbolic Other” primarily means that– given that the symbolic Other is not (any longer) legitimized by any Other external guarantor (i.e. the universalised Law of the Name-of-the-Father), and given that the Symbolic is non-All–Real Otherness with respect to the Symbolic is no longer possible. In other words, for the final Lacan, there is no “primordial One” which was originally “killed” by the Symbolic; there is no Pure Real (no “real Real”) beyond the dimension of the Real-in-the-Symbolic, that is, of the leftover of the Real which “holes” the Symbolic (in its conjunction with the Imaginary). The Pure Real exclu- sively belongs to the domain of the mythical or to that of the mathematical (which ultimately overlap). “There is no One but in mathematics”, as Lacan stated in 1971. Some of the essays in Re-inventing the Symptom fail to acknowledge this unequivocal negation: this is why the passage from Lacan’s reading of Hamlet in Seminar VI to his reading of Joyce in Seminar XXIII can be summarised by Dravers as a passage from the Other to the One; sharmg the same assumption, Voruz states that there is a Real “outside” of the Real in language. (Against this stance, in his forthcoming Organs without Bodies, Slavoj Zizek unambiguously claims that “Lacan brings back the cut, the gap, into the One itself”–this One-with-a-gap is to be opposed to both the notion of “One-substance” and to that of “radical Otherness”.) To go further, it has to 163 be underlined how, for Lacan, the “primordial One” – or “real Real” – is not-One precisely insofar as, to put it with Alain Badiou, it cannot be effectively “counted as One”: it actually corresponds to a zero. (As Harari recalls in his How James Joyce Made His Name, Badiou’s philosophy of the real event is deeply indebted to the final Lacan.) In Seminar XXIII, Lacan points out that “the Real must be sought on the side of the absolute zero”. We can only retroactively think this 0from the standpoint of the “fake” symbolic/imaginary One (what Lacan calls a “semblant”): even better, we can retrospectively think this 0 as if it were a One–the One par excellence–only from the standpoint of the “fake” One. To put it differently: 0 is nothing but, as such, it is some- thing from the determinate perspective of the “fake” One; the Thing-in-itself is in-itself No-thing for Lacan (it is, as he says, l’achose). In other words, the 0 equates to the always-already lost mythical jouissance of the real Real: the “fake” One needs the “fake” jouissance of objet a in order to “make One”–To cork the hole in the symbolic structure–and thus retrospectively creates the illusion of an absolute jouissance (or suffering) which has been lost. 2) Ever since Seminar VII, suffering explicitly stands out, for Lacan, as the main charac- teristic of jouissance. Jouissance is “pleasure in pain”. More specifically, this suffering which jouissance is equates to the jouissance of objet a, a leftover, that is, a remainder of the Real which tears holes in the symbolic structure (the Symbolic as such is “holed” in this manner). Objet a qua real hole in the Other is both the hole qua

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Chiesa lacan le-sinthome

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Lacan can unambiguously state the following: “One can only pretend that there is plus-de-jouir [i.e. jouissance of objet a]; heaps of people are still seized by this idea”). Jouissance is suffering, it is jouis-sans–to use a neo- logism which, to the best of my knowledge, was not coined by Lacan. Enjoying the lack of enjoyment will therefore mean suffering/enjoying the lack of the Thing, the fact that the Thing is No-thing (l’achose). One of the major tasks of psychoanalysis is to make the subject accept real “a” qua lack: on the contrary, according to Lacan, both perversion and capitalism (pretend to) enjoy real “a” (the lack) qua presence of jouis- sance. Against this background, statements such as “neurotically, the Name-of- the-Father knots the registers of the Real, the Symbolic, and the Imaginary in a way that jouissance is forbidden” (Verhaeghe and Declercq) as well as notions such as “archaic jouissance” (Lichtenberg Ettinger) and “pure enjoyment” (Voruz) could all be said to point to the fact that many articles

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Chiesa lacan le-sinthome

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one can either accept or fail to accept the lack that jouis-sans is. Even in the border-case of psychosis, what is at stake is not an “increase” of jouissance but an incapacity of the Symbolic to manage the potentially destructive lack of jouissance that jouis-sans constitutes. 3) As Voruz correctly affirms in her article, in Seminar XXIII Lacan’s discussion of Joyce’s sinthome is related to that of three different forms of jouissance. She distinguishes them as: phallic jouissance; jouis-sens; and Other jouissance. I am tempted to re-group them in a slightly different way

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Chiesa lacan le-sinthome

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Enjoyment (or better, its lack) is also idiotic enjoy-meant. Jouis-sans also indicates a linguistic lack of sense, an intrinsic limitation of symbolic knowledge as such

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Chiesa lacan le-sinthome

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Jouissance of the big Other for/under the hegemony of which we “make One” and “make sense” (i.e. ideological j’ouïs-sens which corks the holed structure). The jouissance of the big Other actually equates to phallic jouissance: it is the same jouissance, but considered from a different perspective. That is, the jouissance of the big Other corresponds to ideological phallic jouissance con- sidered, as it were, from the standpoint of structure and not from that of the (alienated) subject who is interpellated by it; phallic jouissance is nothing but this same jouissance taken from the perspective of the alienated subject

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Chiesa lacan le-sinthome

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feminine jouissance remains indirectly related/internal to the Symbolic: the feminine non-All is ultimately both different from and dependent on the phallic Sym- bolic, precisely insofar as it stands as its non-All, its constitutive point of exception . . . Consequently, JA cannot stand for the jouissance of the “real Real”, or, in other words, there is no Other jouissance given that there is no Other of the Other. Lacan seems to become aware of this deadlock in Seminar XXIII, in which in fact JA barred takes the place of JA in the Borromean knot. In one of his most important lectures from that year, Lacan states the following: “JA barred concerns jouissance, but not Other jouissance, given that I have stated that there is no Other of the Other, i.e. that there is nothing to be opposed to the Symbolic qua place of the Other; the fact that A is barred entails that there is no Other jouissance in as much as there is no Other of the Other”. The passage from the notion of Other jouissance (JA) to that of jouissance of the barred Other (JA barred) epitomizes the fundamental distance that separates Seminar XX from Seminar XXIII, Saint Theresa’s holy ecstasy from the (still feminine) individuation of lack carried out by Joyce-le-saint-homme

 

it is half the art of storytelling

t

the Other as the order of

signifiers is guaranteed by

another transcendent Other,

namely the paternal Law.

The Other as Law, the Other

of the Other, corresponds to

the Name-of-the-Father: this

is precisely what allows the

resolution of the Oedipus

complex, and consequently

the detachment of the subject

from the disquieting relation

he entertained with the mother.

 

the relationship … exists

between the barred subject (S),

the Other of the signifiers (S2),

the Master-Signifier (S1),

and the Other of the Other qua

Name-of-the-Father.

 

By securing the Other’s

(potentially deceiving)

discourse to “something

that does not deceive,”

we move from the plane

of the mere feint, at

which the psychotic is

stuck, to that of fictions.

 

There is no Other of the

symbolic Other” primarily

means that– given that

the symbolic Other is not

(any longer) legitimized by

any Other external guarantor

(i.e. the universalised Law of

the Name-of-the-Father),

and given that the Symbolic

is non-All–Real Otherness

with respect to the Symbolic

is no longer possible.

for the final Lacan, there is

no “primordial One” which

was originally “killed” by the

Symbolic; there is no Pure

Real (no “real Real”) beyond

the dimension of the

Real-in-the-Symbolic, that is,

of the leftover of the Real

which “holes” the Symbolic

(in its conjunction with the

Imaginary). The Pure Real

exclusively belongs to the

domain of the mythical or

to that of the mathematical

(which ultimately overlap).

the passage from Lacan’s

reading of Hamlet in

Seminar VI to his reading

of Joyce in Seminar XXIII

can be summarised by

Dravers as a passage from

the Other to the One;

sharing the same

assumption, Voruz states

that there is a Real

“outside” of the Real in

language. (Against this

stance, in his forthcoming

Organs without Bodies,

Slavoj Zizek unambiguously

claims that “Lacan brings

back the cut, the gap, into

the One itself”

—this One-with-a-gap is to

be opposed to both the

notion of “One-substance”

and to that of “radical

Otherness”.) To go further,

it has to be underlined how,

for Lacan, the “primordial

One” – or “real Real” – is

not-One precisely insofar as,

to put it with Alain Badiou,

it cannot be effectively

“counted as One”: it actually

corresponds to a zero.

“the Real must be sought on

the side of the absolute zero”.

Lacan

We can only retroactively

think this 0 from the

standpoint of the “fake”

symbolic/imaginary One

(what Lacan calls a

“semblant”): even better,

we can retrospectively

think this 0 as if it were a 1,

the One par excellence,

only from the standpoint

of the “fake” One. To put

it differently: 0 is nothing

but, as such, it is something

from the determinate

perspective of the “fake” 1;

the Thing-in-itself is in-itself

No-thing for Lacan. …  The 0

equates to the always-already

lost mythical jouissance of

the real Real: the “fake” One

needs the “fake” jouissance

of objet a in order to “make

One”–To cork the hole in the

symbolic structure–and thus

retrospectively creates the

illusion of an absolute

jouissance (or suffering)

which has been lost.

suffering explicitly stands

out, for Lacan, as the

main characteristic of

jouissance.

Jouissance is “pleasure in

pain”. … this suffering

which jouissance is

equates to the jouissance

of objet a, a leftover, that

is, a remainder of the Real

which tears holes in the

symbolic structure

Objet a qua real hole in

the Other

Lacan:

“One can only pretend that

there is plus-de-jouir

[i.e. jouissance of objet a];

heaps of people are

still seized by this idea”).

Jouissance is suffering, it

is jouis-sans–to use a

neologism which, to the

best of my knowledge,

was not coined by Lacan.

Enjoying the lack of

enjoyment will therefore

mean suffering/enjoying

the lack of the Thing, the

fact that the Thing is

No-thing (l’achose).

One of the major tasks of

psychoanalysis is to make

the subject accept real “a”

qua lack

both perversion and

capitalism (pretend to)

enjoy real “a” (the lack)

qua presence of jouissance.

one can either accept or

fail to accept the lack that

jouis-sans is.

in the border-case of

psychosis, what is at

stake is not an “increase”

of jouissance but an

incapacity of the

Symbolic to manage the

potentially destructive

lack of jouissance that

jouis-sans constitutes.

three different forms of

jouissance… phallic

jouissance; jouis-sens;

and Other jouissance.

Enjoyment (or better, its lack)

is also idiotic enjoy-meant.

Jouis-sans also indicates a

linguistic lack of sense, an

intrinsic limitation of

symbolic knowledge as such

Jouissance of the big Other

under the hegemony of

which we “make One” and

“make sense” is i.e.

ideological j’ouïs-sens

which corks the holed

The jouissance of the

big Other actually

equates to phallic

jouissance: it is the

same jouissance, but

considered from a

different perspective.

That is, the jouissance

of the big Other

corresponds to

ideological phallic

jouissance considered

from the standpoint

of structure and not

from that of the

(alienated) subject

who is interpellated

by it

phallic jouissance is

nothing but this same

jouissance taken from

the perspective of the

alienated subject

feminine jouissance remains

indirectly related/internal to

the Symbolic: the feminine

non-All is ultimately both

different from and

dependent on the phallic

Symbolic, precisely insofar

as it stands as its non-All,

its constitutive point of

exception

. . .

Consequently, JA cannot

stand for the jouissance of

the “real Real”, or, in other

words, there is no Other

jouissance given that there

is no Other of the Other.

Lacan:

“Jouissance Autre (JA) barred

concerns jouissance, but not

Other jouissance, given that

I have stated that there is no

Other of the Other, i.e. that

there is nothing to be

opposed to the Symbolic qua

place of the Other; the fact

that A is barred entails that

there is no Other jouissance

in as much as there is no

Other of the Other”.

The passage from the notion of Other jouissance (JA) to that of jouissance of the barred Other (JA barred) epitomizes the fundamental distance that separates Seminar XX from Seminar XXIII, Saint Theresa’s holy ecstasy from the (still feminine) individuation of lack carried out by Joyce-le-saint-homme

This is why Lacan

suggests that “the

fictitious is not, in its

essence, that which

deceives, but is

precisely what I call

the symbolic” and,

conversely, “every

[symbolic] truth has the

structure of a fiction.”

 

the Name-of-the-Father

can suture the symbolic

order only as a “cork”

such a cork fills in the

gap of a real hole which,

as we shall see later in

more detail, somehow

remains present in spite

of being corked. At the

same time, and for the

same reason, Lacan

relativizes the function

of the Name-of-the-Father

& from the 1960s, speaks

of the Names-of-the-Father

in the plural. The real hole

in the Symbolic can now be

corked in … different ways.

The Name-of-the-Father

represents the standard

way in which this is

achieved; it does not follow

that the Name-of-the-Father

is more structural than any

other (perverse) Master-

Signifier: indeed, these are

now deemed equally

efficient in (phallically)

suturing the open structure.

This contradicts those parts

of Seminar V in which the

formation of the ego-ideal

through an identification

with the symbolic father,

… as an effect of the

instauration of the

Name-of-the-Father, was

structurally opposed to the

formation of “pathological”

Master-Signifiers in the

case of perverts.

 

there is “the paternal signifier,” the Name-of-the-Father, which “authorizes the game of the signifiers” by working as the nonbarred legal Other (A) of the linguistic (and thus differential by definition) Other of the signifiers, the locus of speech (A barred). On the other hand, there is “another privileged signifier,” the symbolic phallus Φ, that “institutes” in the Other as the “locus of speech”—ultimately guaranteed by the Name-of-the-Father, and thus turned into a nonbarred Other—something which “changes [the Other’s] nature. ” This can only mean that the phallus signifierizes the level on which the Other is barred. The level on which the Other is barred—“like the subject” S—and signifierized as such by Φ is the level on which the Other “is implicated” in the imaginary dialectic (“of reflection”) with the imaginary (“little”) other. The fact that Φ and S (A barred) should here be regarded as strictly linked—and thus equally distinguished from the Name-of-the-Father—is confirmed on the same page of Seminar

128-128 | Added on Wednesday, July 3, 2013 7:04:38 – Lorenzo Chiesa

 

the phallus therefore signi- fierizes the lack caused in the Other as desiring Other by the very nature of the signifier. If we refer these observations back to the first quotation, we can conclude that in order for the subject’s own desire to be able to emerge, a superimposition of his relation with both the imaginary and the symbolic Other has to occur; this is brought about by the symbolic phallus insofar as it manages to mark—signifierize—the Other as a lacking, desiring Other. This extremely complicated process has already been explained from a slightly different angle in Chapter 3, where I discussed the way in which the sexuation of the subject is made possible only when the desire of the (m)Other is retroactively signifierized by the phallic signifier: it will later be analyzed in more depth when we examine the fundamental fantasy. For the time being, what should concern us the most is that both quotations entail that, in Seminar V, Φ as the signifier of the “signified as such” is also the signi- fier of the lack in the Other, S (A barred), and thus has to be distinguished from the Name-of-the-Father, the “signifier of signifiers” whose nature as a transcendent sign excludes any irreducible lack. To cut a long story short, at this stage, there still is an Other of the Other. It is important, however, to emphasize that in Seminar V the Other of the Other is, for Lacan, by no means irreconcilable with S (A barred). In other words, at this stage, the symbolic phallus Φ to be understood as that which “carries out” (“réalise”) S (A barred) 61 is still “encircled” by the Name-of-the-Father. This is definitely not the case in “Subversion of the Subject,” where Lacan makes it clear that there is no Other of the Other, nothing standing outside of S (A barred). Consequently, the most important effect of the passage from “there is an Other of the Other” (A) to “there is no Other of the Other” (A barred) is that the lack in the Other—the fact that, because of the differential logic of the signifying structure, a signifier is always missing from the battery of signifiers—is no longer intrasymbolic but should be considered as real, as a presence of the Real in the open structure of the Symbolic. Whenever Lacan refers now to the Name(s)-of-theFather, he is speaking of something which is perfectly identifiable with Φ and S (A barred). In Seminar V, the Name-of-the-Father could be written as S (S/s), which is, after all, the same as S (A). In “Subversion of the Subject,” when there is no Other of the Other, the Name-of-the-Father is S (A barred); the statement “the father [qua law] is a dead father” 62 finds its true implication here. In other words, this means: the Master-Signifier S1 relies on A barred; there is a Father or Master-Signifier, but it cannot be detached from S (A barred). As Lacan writes: “If we are to expect . . . an effect from the unconscious enunciation it is to be found here 1 1 9

during the so-called dialectic of frustration, the child’s demand—to be distinguished from a mere appeal/cry relating to the satisfaction of biological needs—is constituted as an unconditional and unsatisfiable demand for love. What the child actually demands is not the real object that satisfies his needs, but the love of the one that can give him any object as a gift, a symbolic object; in this context, “the [occasional] satisfaction of need corresponds to nothing more than a compensation for the frustration of love.” 51 In the same chapter I also explained how, as a result of the dialectic of frustration, the child both symbolizes his relation to the (m)Other for the first time and, for the same reason, soon becomes utterly dependent on her alleged omnipotence. The emergence of a subject who is no longer a “non-subject” (a-sujet) completely subjected (assujetti) to the (m)Other and her desire is possible only after the intervention of the law of the father that first deprives the mother—in the second stage of the Oedipus complex—and successively castrates the child himself—in the third and final stage of the Oedipus complex. From what I have said so far, it is clear that desire stricto sensu, unconscious desire, consolidates itself only after the resolution of the Oedipus complex, which simultaneously involves the formation of the fundamental fantasy and the sexuated subjectivation of the child. The question I shall now attempt to answer is: what is the specific difference between the register of (pre-Oedipal and Oedipal) demand—most noticeably, the demand for love—and that of (post-Oedipal) desire? My analysis mainly focuses on Lacan’s seminal lesson XXI of Seminar V, which was later reelaborated in the well-known article entitled “The Signification of the Phallus.” More specifically, it is my intention to carry out a critical evaluation of the formula according to which desire is “the margin, the result of the subtraction . . . of the necessity [exigence] of need from [par rapport à] the demand for love.” 52 Most of the interpretations of this formula oversimplify it, and continuously risk contradicting themselves, inasmuch as they render it tautologous with the formula of the demand for love. Indeed, desire is often simply described as the surplus produced by the articulation of need in demand—a perfect definition of the demand for love. Obviously this cannot be regarded as an acceptable explanation of desire, since the demand for love (and not simply “demand”) is, in Lacan’s formula, just one of the elements of the operation from which desire results. 1 5 1

161-1619:28:26 AM

 

Lacan ambiguously asserts that “what is alienated in needs”—and constitutes primal repression “as it cannot … be articulated in demand”—nevertheless “appears … as desire,” 53 on the same page, he also unequivocally maintains that desire is definitely not just a repressed need. Lacan is extremely careful in distinguishing desire from repressed need as well as from the demand for love, even though he closely relates it to both of them.If, on the one hand, desire is not a mere prediscursive biological given that was repressed by the signifier—desire cannot be reduced to need alone—on the other, it is doubtless the case that desire is related to the repressed need in a way that the demand for love is not: “Desire is something that gives back the margin of deviation marked by the incidence of the signifier on needs. ” 54 By definition, desire remains beyond the “necessity of need,” the “appetite for satisfaction”—after all, desire essentially looks for unsatisfaction—yet, at the same time, it also “recuperates”—in the unconscious—the needs that could not be satisfied through demand. As Guyomard remarks, desire “takes up again, at another level [that of the subject’s active entrance

161-1619:28:40 AM

 

into the Symbolic], the biological imperative of the satisfaction of needs. ”

 

161-1619:29:41 AM

162-16211:05:21 AM

 

the drive represents precisely the appetite for satisfaction on the symbolic level, and drive is another name for “sexual desire.”

 

desire applies only to a post-Oedipal scenario: in the end, commentators often fail to distinguish between desire and the demand for love precisely because they fail to acknowledge this important specification by relating (the child’s) desire to the context of the pre-Oedipal dialectic of frustration. Yet at the same time, once we have assumed that desire is always post-Oedipal desire, and thus different from the pre-Oedipal demand for love, we can also show that desire overlaps with the demand for love, which is precisely what Lacan does in the following passage: “Desire presents itself as that which, in the demand for love, rebels against any sort of reduction to need, since actually the demand for love doesn’t satisfy anything but itself, which is to say [pure] desire as an absolute condition.” 61 In other words, the post-Oedipal demand for love is equal to the drive insofar as it partially satisfies need; it is equivalent to pure desire insofar as it does not satisfy need. At this stage, we can also see from a new standpoint why Lacan can say that desire satisfies itself precisely as unsatisfied desire: it is only insofar as desire is unsatisfied (pure desire) that the drive can satisfy itself (and desire) partially. The abstract function of pure desire, its “absoluteness,” necessitates the drive, and vice versa. As we have already seen, when pure desire completely purifies itself of the drive, it can only cause the termination of desire itself. Let us now take a step back and attempt to explain more exhaustively the transformation of the (pre-Oedipal) demand for love into desire: Lacan obtains the formula of desire only after what he himself calls a “second negation” 62 —of demand by desire—that follows the first negation—of need by demand. As Lacan has it, given the pre-Oedipal “alienation” of the child in the signifier, “we should ask ourselves what is the meaning of the fact that the human subject is able to take hold of the conditions that were imposed on him . . . as if they were made for him, and that he can satisfy himself with them.”

The child manages to “positivize” the lack … that surfaced with demand, and “can be named absolute in that it is a necessity [exigence] for which the Other does not have to answer ‘yes’ or ‘no.’”… it is in fact only insofar as desire is partly submitted to the demand (of the Other) that the subject’s drive can partially be satisfied; when one moves to “pure” desire, the fantasy is undone and the drive can no longer be satisfied.

165-16512:18:58 – Lorenzo Chiesa

 

in its purest state “the [post-Oedipal] demand for love doesn’t satisfy anything but itself, which is to say [pure] desire as an absolute condition. ” 80 In order to avoid any gross misunderstanding, it should be made explicit that this sentence is meaningful only if we assume that what the purified state of demand categorically excludes is precisely the request to be loved.Yet, at the same time, if “we can only approach [desire] by means of some sort of demand,” 81 then we must also assume that this will be valid a fortiori when pure desire is at stake. We should therefore ask ourselves the following crucial question: which sort of (purified) demand allows us to approach pure desire? (If not to reach it, since, as we have already seen, it elides itself. ) I argue that, in its purified form, demand will be a demand beyond demand, a demand that demands nothing, or rather, demands nothingness itself, the void/ lack of the desire of the Other, and does not demand the demand of the Other— as happens in neurosis. In other words, pure demand, as an approximation to pure desire, does not demand to be loved back (to be recognized) by the Other, but simply desires what in the Other equally desires without demanding

166-16612:23:43 – Lorenzo Chiesa

The phantasmatic object is first and foremost the support which the subject gives himself insofar as he is a “failing” (défaillant) subject. As we have repeatedly seen from different perspectives, during the second stage of the Oedipus complex the child is confronted with the fundamental lack in the (m)Other—with the fact that his own demands cannot ultimately be recognized by the Other—and thus “fails in his certitude” of being the exclusive imaginary object of the (m)Other’s love: at the same time, and for the same reason, the child is equally unable symbolically to “name himself as subject,” he “fails in his designation as subject” precisely inasmuch as there is no Other of the Other, there is no signifier that “might guarantee the concrete consequences of any manifestation of the signifier,” that is, the child’s symbolic demand for love. 90 The only way out of this impasse, the only way to constitute himself as subject, is for the child precisely to locate himself at the level of the lack of the Other as a failing/lacking subject. The object a serves this purpose insofar as it is the paradoxical object that represents the subject as lacking—or, more specifically, it is the representation of the lacking subject brought about by the representative function of the phallic signifier—and, in so doing, simultaneously institutes him as a “tension,” a desiring manque-à-être.

 

167-16712:24:58 – Lorenzo Chiesa

 

167-16712:28:42 – Lorenzo Chiesa

 

the object a should be understood here as the detachable part of the subject, the so-called part-object (breast, feces, phallus) that allows him to symbolize on the imaginary plane the symbolic cut— or, rather, the cut in the Symbolic as such—as it surfaced at the moment of the privation of the mother, “the absence of the signifier.” On the synchronic level, “the subject encounters himself as cut” thanks to the support of “the form of cut” of the object a in the fantasy

167-16712:31:14 – Lorenzo Chiesa

 

if the subject as cut is the one who is represented in the phantasmatic object at the moment of his own disappearance, then the subject

167-16712:31:21 – Lorenzo Chiesa

 

is one (le sujet est un) in the unconscious insofar as he appears there as pas-un. 96 More precisely, the subject continues to make one in the unconscious fantasy precisely because, as failing/fading subject, he is not-one. 97 To put it differently, the subject can call himself “I” in self-consciousness—and thus value himself (se compter)—only because he repeats the act of counting himself (se compter) as not-one in the fantasy—where, in fact, the object a functions as a “lost name. ” 98

168-16812:32:45 – Lorenzo Chiesa

 

symbolic identification is brought about by the phallic signifier which organizes the lack in the Other; the problem, however, is that the subject represses the fact that such an organization is not equivalent to an overcoming of lack

 

I do not think I am forcing Lacan’s theories in suggesting that the object a in the “standard” phallic fantasy S a must necessarily refer to the secondary (symbolic) identification with the father which promotes the formation of the ego-ideal. 101 More specifically, as we saw in Chapter 3, in secondary identification the child identifies himself with the symbolic father—embodied in the real paternal figure—as the one who has Φ, and who is thus able retroactively to signifierize the desire of/lack in the (m)Other. In and around Seminar VI, Lacan further specifies that secondary identification allows the child to proceed to a subjective assumption—and a parallel sexuation—which is inflected between “having” and “being,” and is succinctly expressed by the formula “he is not without having it” (il n’est pas sans l’avoir). This is to say that when, at the resolution of the Oedipus complex, the child symbolically identifies himself with the father as bearer of Φ (by means of an imaginary alienating identification), he represents himself in the object a (the phallic Gestalt) precisely as “not being without having it.”

Undoubtedly, the diachronic dimension of demand is characterized by the metonymic empty place of agalma; lack is present in imaginary selfconsciousness; this, however, by no means implies that we normally have an image of this lack.

Anxiety emerges precisely when the subject acquires a “positive” image of lack 137 —when a “window” is opened onto the void concealed by his specular projections—and the agalma, “the absence where we are” beyond specularity, 138 is thus revealed in its true nature: a “presence elsewhere,” a “pound of flesh,” the part-object a (the image of lack) that I am for the Other’s desire in my fantasy.

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