Discussion of Seminar VII: 20th March 1960: continued comments on Jacques Lacan’s previous engagement in Brussels

by Julia Evans on November 30, 2013

Meeting on Saturday 30th November : Seminar VII and second mention of Jacques Lacan’s engaging with Faculté Universitaire Saint-Louis, Brussels : 9th & 10th March 1960

Seminar VII : 20th March 1960 : Chapter XIV – Love of One’s neighbour : p179 of Denis Porter’s translation : Quote :

You know that last time I picked up my discussion with you by connecting it to my lecture to the Catholics. ([i])

Don’t imagine that that was an easy way out. I didn’t merely serve up again what I had to say in Brussels; I didn’t tell them half of what I told you. ([ii])

What I laid out last time concerning the death of God ([iii]) the Father will lead us to another question today, one that will show you Freud situating himself directly at the centre of our true experience. For he doesn’t attempt to evade the issue by making generalisations about the religious function in man. He is concerned with the way in which it manifests itself to us, that is to say, in the commandment which is expressed in our civilization in the form of the love of one’s neighbour.


[i] Note on translation by JE: The title to this conference has varied from ‘Conference on the ethics of psychoanalysis in Brussels: 9th & 10th March 1960’ to variations on ‘Lecture to Catholics’ by Dennis Porter (p179: Ch XIV) and as ‘lectures, comments, and conversations in which I engaged in Brussels’ (p169). Therefore, I suggest that ‘Engaging with Catholics’ is nearer to what is described than ‘Discourse to’.  This will be the title given throughout LacanianWorks.

[ii]Engaging with Catholics: 9th & 10th March 1960: Availability

Published in French at École Lacanienne de Psychanalyse – Pas tout Lacan – 1960/1969 : here

1960-03-09 : Conférence sur l’éthique de la psychanalyse à Bruxelles (1ère) (11 p.): Available here

1960-03-10 Conférence sur l’éthique de la psychanalyse à Bruxelles (2ème)  (8p) : Available here

Also available here  in translation 

[iii] the death of God :

First referred to by Nietzsche, in ‘The Gay Science in 1882, according to Theo Reeves-Evison in the Reading Group of 30th November 2013. See http://www.philosophy-index.com/nietzsche/god-is-dead/  for more information.

In ‘Engaging with Catholics’: 9th & 10th March 1960 Lacan quotes “God is dead, nothing is permitted anymore”. This is an obvious reversal of the line attributed to Dostoevsky (and found not quite word for word in ‘The Bothers Karamazov’, Part 4, Book 11, chapter 4, “A Hymn and a Secret”): “If God is dead, all is permitted.”