The Stepladder (Escabeau) and Freudian Sublimation. From forcing to manipulation : A reading of «Joyce the Symptom» : (Paris) 3rd February 2015 : Éric Laurent

by Julia Evans on February 4, 2015

Fourth session of ‘Speaking with one’s body – stepladder (Corps-Escabeau)’ :

Lacanian Studies at the École de la Cause Freudienne (ECF):

« Speaking lalangue of the body». :

given in Paris on 3rd February 2015 :

Introduction:

“The escabeau is not a ladder, it’s smaller than a ladder, but it’s got steps. What is the escabeau? I mean the psychoanalytic escabeau, and not just the one that you use to reach books in a library. Generally speaking, it is what the parlêtre hoists himself onto, hauls himself onto in order to make himself beau. (…)The escabeau is a transversal concept. It provides a colourful translation for Freudian sublimation, but in its intersection with narcissism. And this is a connection that is specific to the era of the parlêtre. The escabeau is sublimation, but in so far as it is grounded on the first I’m not thinking of the parlêtre. What is this, I’m not thinking? It is the negation of the unconscious by which the parlêtre believes he is the master of his Being. And with his escabeau, to this he adds the fact that he believes himself to be a maître beau, a fine master. What we call culture is nothing but the escabeaus “in reserve” that one can draw on to brag and flout one’s vanity”.

Jacques-Alain Miller, “Presentation of the theme for the Xth Congress of the WAP” – Río 2016 : Notes & Availability here

Transcript by Didier Mathey

Translated by Julia Richards

Available

– published by World Association of Psychoanalysis in the papers towards towards Xth WAP congress ‘The unconscious & the speaking body’ : here

– or here

Availability of References

* The Unconscious and the Speaking Body : Paris : 17th April 2014 : Jacques-Alain Miller : Notes here

* Sublimation is examined in Seminar VII: 20th January 1960: Seminar VII: 3rd February 1960 : Seminar VII: 10th February 1960 : Seminar VII: Chapter XII : 2nd March 1960 : 9th March 1960,

Supplementary Note, A curious case of sublimation, The case given by Mme Hubert : Seminar VII : 27th April 1960 :

Notes and availability given Seminar VII: The ethics of psychoanalysis: 1959-1960: from 18th November 1959 : Jacques Lacan or here

* Up to date information of availability and notes : Seminar IV : Relation to an Object 1956-1957 : from 21st November 1956 : Jacques Lacan or here

[1] Instincts and their vicissitudes: 1915 : Sigmund Freud

Instincts and Their Vicissitudes : you will find Freud’s text in English with the original German text laid out in the right hand column. : published at www.Freud2Lacan.com : available here

* Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality: 1905d : Sigmund Freud

[2] “Civilised” Sexual Morality and Modern Nervous Illness : 1908 : Sigmund Freud : SE, vol 9 or Penguin Freud Library, pfl, Volume 12, p27 – 56

* Probably Seminar XI : 22nd January 1964 : in Seminar XI: The Four Fundamental Concepts: 1963-1964 : beginning 15th January 1964 : Jacques Lacan : Notes & availability here

or the exploration of ‘sublimation’ in Seminar VII : See Seminar VII : 2nd March 1960 & Seminar VII : 9th March 1960 : For notes & availability, see Seminar VII: The ethics of psychoanalysis: 1959-1960: from 18th November 1959 : Jacques Lacan or here

* Lacanian « sexual relationship that does not exist », :

Seminar XVII : 11th March 1970 : pVIII 19 of Cormac Gallagher’s translation : When he addresses Hosea this is the only thing that matters – his people have definitively prostituted themselves. Everything that surrounds him, the entire context, epoch, I prostitution. What analytic discourse uncovers when we explore the discourse of the Master is that there is no sexual relationship.

From Seminar XVII: Psychoanalysis upside down/The reverse side of psychoanalysis: 1969-1970 : from 26th November 1969: Jacques Lacan : Notes & availability here

taken up in Seminar XX : 12th December 1972 : pII 2 of Cormac Gallagher’s translation : Nevertheless, it is clear that I cannot withdraw and simply say encore and the fact that it goes on is stupidity because I myaelf obviously collaborate in it. I can only place myself in the field of this encore and perhaps, by re-ascending a certain discourse which is analytic discouse back to what conditions this discourse. Namely, this truth, the only one that can be incontestable because it is not, that there is no sexual relationship. This in no way allows us to make a judgeent about what is or is not stupidity. And nevertheless! It cannot but be, given our experience, that something should be examined in connection with analytic discourse which is whether it does not depend essentially by being supported by this dimension of stupidity. And why not? Why not after all ask oneself what is the status of this dimension that nevertheless is quite present? Because in any case there was no need for analytic discourse – this is the nuance – for it to be announced as truth that there is no sexual relationship.

Seminar XX: Encore: 1972 – 1973: From 12th December 1972: Jacques Lacan : Notes & availability here

* Notes and availability given Seminar VII: The ethics of psychoanalysis: 1959-1960: from 18th November 1959 : Jacques Lacan or here

* Up to date information of availability and notes : Seminar IV : Relation to an Object 1956-1957 : from 21st November 1956 : Jacques Lacan or here

[3] Extimité of Jacques Alain Miller is published, at http://www.lacan.com/symptom/?p=36 ,

Quote: Extremity : by Jacques-Alain Miller

The term extimacy (extimité), coined by Lacan from the term “intimacy” (intimité), occurs two or three times in the Seminar, and it will be for us to transform this term into an articulation, a structure, to produce it as an S1 which would allow us to go beyond and over the confusion that we first experience when faced with such a signifier.

[4] Probably The Experience of the Real in Psychoanalysis by Jacques-Alain Miller : The Sinthome 14 : here http://www.lacan.com/symptom14/?p=186

Today I will be commenting on some of what I talked about at the University of California in Los Angeles where I was invited to give a lecture. The main audience, categorically entrenched in the domain of cultural studies, was certainly not made of practitioners, not of clinicians, but of academics proper. What to tell you? The interest in Jacques Lacan flourishes in this category, and this is how you are bound to admit it as an undeniable fact.

* « the object is raised to the dignity of the Thing » :

Seminar VII : 20th January 1960 : p112 of Denis Porter’s translation : We have to guide us the Freudian theory of the narcissistic foundations of the object, of its insertion in the imaginary register. The object that specifies directions or poles of attraction to man in his openness, in his world, and that interests him because it is more or less his image, his reflection – precisely that object is not the Thing to the extent that the latter is at the heart of the libidinal economy. Thus, the most general formula that I can give you of sublimation is the following: it raises an object – and I don’t mind the suggestion of a play on words in the term I use – to the dignity of the Thing.

That is significant, for example, in relation to something that I alluded to at the limit of our discussion, something I will get to next time, the sublimation of the feminine object. The whole theory of the Minne or of courtly love has, in effect, been decisive. Although it has completely disappeared nowadays from the sociological sphere, courtly love has nevertheless left traces in an unconscious that has no need to be called “collective,” in a traditional unconscious that is sustained by a whole literature, a whole imagery, that we continue to inhabit as far as our relations with women are concerned.

This mode was created deliberately. It was by no means a creation of the popular soul, of that famous great soul of the blessed Middle Ages, as Gus- tave Cohen used to say. The rules of polite conduct were articulated deliberately in a small literary circle and, as a result, the celebration of the object was made possible – the absurdity of which I will show you in detail; a German writer who is a specialist of this medieval German literature has used the expression “absurd Minne.” This moral code instituted an object at the heart of a given society, an object that is nevertheless completely natural. Don’t imagine they made love in those days any less than we do.

The object is elevated to the dignity of the Thing as we define it in our Freudian topology, insofar as it is not slipped into but surrounded by the network of Ziele.

Notes and availability given Seminar VII: The ethics of psychoanalysis: 1959-1960: from 18th November 1959 : Jacques Lacan or here

[8] pIV 6 – 7 of Cormac Gallagher’s translation : Seminar XXIII : 13th January 1976 : What is a fact?

It is precisely he who makes it. There is no fact except by the fact that the speaking being says it. There are no other facts than those that the speaking being recognises as such by saying them. There is no fact except from artifice. And it is a fact that he lies. Namely, that he accords recognition to false facts. This because he has mentality. Namely, self love. This is the principle of imagination. He adores his body. He adores it. Because he believes he has it. In reality he does not have it. But his body clears off. It is already miraculous enough that it subsists for a time. The time of this consummation which is, in fact, from the fact of saying it, inexorable. Inexorable in that nothing is done in it because it is not resorbative.

Lacan, J., Seminar XXIII, The Sinthome, p. 66: « The speaking-being adores its body because it believes it has one. In reality, it doesn’t, but its body is its only consistency – mental consistency of course, because its body buggers off at every instant. »

Seminar XXIII: The Sinthome or Joyce and the Sinthome: 1975-1976: beginning on November 18th 1975 : Jacques Lacan : Notes & availability here

[9] Lacan, J., The Lacanian Phenomenon, seminar of November 30th, 1974, in Cahiers Cliniques de Nice, juin 1998, offprint, 2011. (not translated). It will be available in French from usual sites.

* Up to date information of availability and notes : Seminar IV : Relation to an Object 1956-1957 : from 21st November 1956 : Jacques Lacan or here

[12] p119 of Bruce Fink’s translation : « I speak with my body, and do so without knowing it, I always say more than I know ».

Seminar XX : 15th May 1973 : pXII 3 of Cormac Gallagher’s translation : The unconscious is distinguished in the midst of everything that had been produced up to the then in terms of discourse, by the fact that it states the following which is the core of my teaching, that I speak without knowing it. I speak with my body, and this without knowing it. So then I always say more than I know. This is where I arrive at the sense of the word ‘subject’ in this other discourse. What speaks without knowing it makes me I, ‘subject’, subject of the verb certainly, but that is not enough to make me be. It has nothing to do with what I am forced to put into being: sufficient knowledge for it to hold together. But not a drop more. And this is what up to now was called form.

See Seminar XX: Encore: 1972 – 1973: from 21st November 1972 : Jacques Lacan Notes & availability here

* Radiophonie: 9th April & 5th June 1970: Jacques Lacan : Notes & availability here : Also in Autres Écrits: 2001 : Jacques Lacan : Notes here

[14] Introduction and reply to Jean Hyppolite’s presentation of Freud’s ‘Verneinung’ & the commentary : 10th February 1954 : Jacques Lacan & Jean Hyppolite : Notes & availability here : p323-325

[15] Ibid.

* Seminar XXIII: The Sinthome or Joyce and the Sinthome: 1975-1976: beginning on November 18th 1975 : Jacques Lacan : Notes & availability here

* “It is this structuring of the constitution of the world with regard to being and having that he grasped by means of the logic of Bejahung-Ausstossung in 1955” : This is probably a reference to Seminar III: The Psychoses: 1955-1956: from 16th November 1955: Jacques Lacan : Information here

Seminar III : 16th November 1955 : p 12 of Russell Grigg’s translation :

I hope that there are enough of you who remember the commentary that M. Jean Hyppolite made for us here on Die Vemeinung, [Footnote 9] and I regret his absence this morning, which prevents me from being certain I’m not distorting the terms he uncovered in it.

What emerged clearly from his analysis of this striking text is that in what is unconscious not only is everything repressed, that is, misrecognized by the subject after having been verbalized, but that behind the process of verbalization there must be admitted a primordial Bejahung, an admission in the sense of the symbolic, which can itself be wanting. This point is borne out by other texts, and especially by a passage that is as explicit as can be where Freud admits a phenomenon of exclusion for which the term Verwerfung appears valid and from which Vemeinung, produced at a much later stage, is distinguished. It can happen that a subject refuses access to his symbolic world to something that he has nevertheless experienced, which in this case is nothing other than the threat of castration. The subject’s entire subsequent development shows that he wants to know nothing about it, Freud literally says, in the sense of the repressed. [Footnote 10 below]

What comes under the effect of repression returns, for repression and the return of the repressed are just the two sides of the same coin. The repressed is always there, expressed in a perfectly articulate manner in symptoms and a host of other phenomena. By contrast, what falls under the effect of Verwerfung has a completely different destiny.

It’s not pointless in this respect for me to remind you of the comparison I made last year between certain symbolic order phenomena and what happens in those machines, in the modern sense of the word, that do not quite talk yet but any day now will. One feeds figures into them and waits for them to give what would perhaps take us 100,000 years to calculate. But we can only introduce things into the circuit if we respect the machine’s own rhythm –

[9] See “Introduction and Reply to Jean Hyppolite’s Presentation of Freud’s Ver- neinung,” Seminar I : 10th February 1954 : p52-66 of John Forrester’s translation ; and “A Spoken Commentary on Freud’s Vemeinung by Jean Hyppolite,” Appendix to Seminar 1: p289-97 of John Forrester’s translation.

See Introduction and reply to Jean Hyppolite’s presentation of Freud’s ‘Verneinung’ & the commentary : 10th February 1954 : Jacques Lacan & Jean Hyppolite : Notes & Availability here

& Seminar I: Freud’s papers on technique: 1953-1954 : begins on 13th January 1954 : Jacques Lacan : Notes & availability here

[10] “When I speak of his having rejected it, the first meaning of die phrase is that he would have nothing to do with it, in the sense of having repressed it. This really involved no judgment upon the question of its existence, but it was the same as if it did not exist.” From the History of an Infantile Neurosis (The ‘Wolf Man’) : 1914 : Sigmund Freud : SE 17:84. The German text reads, “Wenn ich gesagt habe, dass er von ihr nichts wissen wollte im Sinne der Verdrangung. Damit war eigentlich kein Urteil iiber ihre Existenz gefällt, aber es war so gut, als ob sie nicht existierte.” GW 12:117.

Seminar III : 11th January 1956 : p81 to 84 of Russell Grigg’s translation : discusses Bejahung or judgment as it is translated
[16] Lacan, J., The Lacanian Phenomenon, seminar of November 30th, 1974, Op. cit.

[17] Introduction and reply to Jean Hyppolite’s presentation of Freud’s ‘Verneinung’ & the commentary : 10th February 1954 : Jacques Lacan & Jean Hyppolite : Notes & availability here  : p. 324 of Bruce Fink’s translation

[18] Ibid.

* the differences between the text in the Ecrits and the one in the Autres Ecrits : Probably between Jean Hyppolite’s presentation on Freud’s ‘Verneinung’ & Joyce the Symtôme II : see

Écrits : 1966 : Jacques Lacan : Notes & availability here

Autres Écrits: 2001 : Jacques Lacan : Notes & availability here

[19] Joyce the Symptôm (Sinthôme) I & II : 16th June 1975 : Jacques Lacan : Notes & availability here : p. 565 of Autres Ecrits

* The soul, according to Aristotle, was the point where the body and the intellect tied together. :

Probably from Seminar III : 16th November 1955 : p14 of Russell Grigg’s translation : Here it indicates triplicity in the subject, which overlaps the fact that it’s the subject’s ego that normally speaks to another, and of the subject, the subject S in the third person. Aristotle pointed out that one must not say that man thinks, but that he thinks with his soul. Similarly, I say that the subject speaks to himself with his ego.

However, in the normal subject, speaking to oneself with one’s ego can never be made fully explicit. One’s relationship to the ego is fundamentally ambiguous, one’s assumption of the ego always revocable. In the psychotic subject on the other hand certain elementary phenomena, and in particular hallucinations, which are their most characteristic form, show us the subject completely identified either with his ego, with which he speaks, or with the ego assumed entirely along instrumental lines

[23] Joyce the Symptôm (Sinthôme) I & II : 16th June 1975 : Jacques Lacan : Notes & availability here : p. 566 of Autres Écrits

Further reading:

Joyce the Symptôm (Sinthôme) I & II : 16th June 1975 : Jacques Lacan : Notes & availability here

Further texts:

By Éric Laurent here

By Jacques Lacan here

Of the clinic here