The Pass … or to Finesse Against the Subject Supposed to Know : 14th May 2009 (Paris) : Éric Laurent

by Julia Evans on May 14, 2009

Éric Laurent gave this paper at the Paris/English Seminar, ‘The End of Analysis – the end, the interruption, or yet again the interminable’, probably on Thursday 14th May 2009.

Published as p79-88 of Hurly-Burly, No. 2 – November 2009

Available here


Prerequisites to a reading of the experience of the Pass Signification of language as the effect of jouissance by its use

Production of the effect of anxiety in science, mathematics and finance

A reading of the experience of the Pass

Contingency and the dissolution of the semblants in fiction and the Pass

References to Jacques Lacan

P79 : “Seminar on ‘The Purloined Letter”‘ which opens the Écrit : See Seminar on ‘The Purloined Letter’ : 26th April 1955 : Jacques Lacan or here OR Écrits : 1966 : Jacques Lacan: Information here

p80 : “The Function and Field of Speech and Language”. : See The Function and Field of Speech and Language in Psychoanalysis (Rome) : 26th September 1953 : Jacques Lacan or here

p80 & p81 : As Lacan says in the first lesson of Seminar XVIII, the signifiers are in the world but to play you have to add the fragmented body. : See See pI 9 to I 10 of Cormac Gallagher’s translation of Seminar XIII : 13th January 1971 : here Seminar XVIII:On a discourse that might not be a semblance:1971: from 13th January 1971: Jacques Lacan or here : Quote : For language to come to birth, it is already something to initiate that, for language to be born, it was necessary that there should be established somewhere this something that I already indicated to you in connection with the wager, it was Pascal’s wager, we do not remember it. In presupposing this, the trouble is that this already presupposes the functioning of language because what is at stake is the unconscious. The unconscious and its operation, means that among the numerous [pI 10] signifiers that travel the world there is going to be in addition the fragmented body. There are, all the same, things from which one can start by thinking that they already exist. They already exist in a certain functioning in which we would not be forced to consider the accumulation of the signifier. It is this business about territory.

P82 : Lacan also mentions in his “Triomphe de la réligion” the anxiety of the biologists who produced potential weapons of mass destruction in biological experiments. : See translation given here Press Conference at the French Cultural Center, Rome (The Triumph of Religion) : 29th October 1974 : Jacques Lacan or here : From an unknown translator : Quote :

One thing Freud did not talk about, because for him it was taboo, was the position of the scholar (savant), the position of science. Science still has a chance. Its position is also impossible, but it still lacks even a dim awareness of this. In fact it is only recently that scholars (savants) have begun to have attacks of angst! They are only now starting to wonder – their attacks are not any more serious than any other, after all anxiety is always a sort of half-assed, trivial affair – it’s amusing to watch how some of these scholars, working in major laboratories, have suddenly become alarmed and are starting to get “the willies” as we say (avoir les foies) – do you speak French? Do you know what getting the willies means? It means being scared to death – because they are starting to wonder, “What if, once we have fashioned all these tiny bacteria that we are doing such wonderful things with into an absolutely sublime instrument for the destruction of life, What if some character decided to take it out of the lab?”

They’re not quite there yet, this hasn’t yet been done, but still they are beginning to conceive of ways to make bacteria which are resistant to everything, and once they manage that feat they will become unstoppable and could even wipe the surface of the globe clean of all the troublesome things we find in it, human beings in particular. So now they suddenly feel themselves to be in the throes of a crisis of responsibility. They have declared a so- called moratorium on certain avenues of research – maybe they know what they’re doing after all, I mean it’s true that it is probably risky, but I don’t believe it’s possible – animal life is unstoppable I think, and the bacteria are not going to be the ones to manage to rid us of it! But the scholars who started having angst about all this had the “classic attack” as it were, and so a sort of prohibition was put in place, a temporary one no less, insofar as it was decided it would be necessary to take a second look before pushing bacterial research too far in certain directions. It would be nothing short of a sublime release instead if we suddenly had a plague on our hands, handmade by the biologists, that would have been a real triumph, that would mean humanity had finally reached something, its own destruction for example – one being’s superiority over all the others is after all genuinely signaled by its ability to destroy not only itself but all life on Earth! That would be a sign that Man is truly capable of something, but it makes us a little angst-ridden too. We have not quite reached this point as yet.

Anyway since science has no idea whatsoever what it is doing, except for the occasional whiff of the aforementioned anxiety, it is going to get to continue for a while longer and, probably because of Freud, nobody has even dreamt of pointing out that it is just as impossible to actually do science, that is to do one which might produce results, as it is to govern and to educate. Analysis is the only way we might have some small idea of it being possible to point this out, because this is what analysis truly deals with.

Julia Evans

Practicing Lacanian Psychoanalyst, Earl’s Court, London

Other texts

By Éric Laurent here

Of the clinic : here

Lacanian Transmission : here

Some Lacanian History : here

Topology : here

From LW working groups : here

By Sigmund Freud here

Notes on texts by Sigmund Freud : here

By Jacques Lacan here

Notes on texts by Jacques Lacan here