Two Forms of Body : 7th July 2021 (Zoom) : Julia Evans

by Julia Evans on July 7, 2021

Presented at a Zoom exchange between two cartels, on Saturday 7th July 2021. See Endnote.

In ‘Chomsky with Joyce’[i], (11th April 2005) which comments on Seminar XXIII, Éric Laurent describes two bodies : 

i) the hole-less body and modular organs (Chomsky) & 

ii)  the sack and detachable organs (Joyce).  

I hope to examine these definitions and give an example of each.  

From Laurent[ii], p13, “For Lacan, language was indeed to be defined as a sort of organ, but a symptom-organ. The object a, as a lamella, is an organ (Lacan, 31st October 1960[iii]). As an organ, the object a covers the body, and plugs up all of its orifices. The body plugged by the object a is the true organ-less body. With language, one manages to form orifices, one manages to have oral, anal, scopic and invocatory orifices; that is, one manages to form a rim for each of these orifices.

In early-onset psychosis, in autism, one can observe just what a rimless organ is, and also the heroic attempts these subjects make to create a rim.”

i) the hole-less body and modular organs

My example is Pink Floyd’s The Wall, a 1979 album & 1982 film, described as live action & adult animated surrealism, musical psychological drama. The screenplay has rock star Pink, driven into insanity by the death of his father, construct a physical and emotional wall to protect himself. The film is highly metaphorical, and symbolic imagery and sound are present most commonly. In being driven by music, it features little dialogue from the characters. The film is best known for its imagery of mental isolation, drug use, war, fascism, dark or disturbing animated sequences, sexual situations, violence and gore.  

Lacan stated (Seminar XIXa : 6th January 1972[iv]) :  And that walls, … it is designed to circumscribe a void[v].  

It is possible to be inside or outside the walls, so in a different position with respect to the rim – the wall. In the film Pink is within the wall, & phenomena from the edge appear.  They are not mediated by language but direct.  The impression is that the wall totally contains Pink.  In 1960 Lacan used a sphere to examine this. 

Lacan, 31st October 1960[vi] : “Apart from the effects of a lethal ray, that has yet to be tested, the only way out would be to lock it up, placing it in the jaws of a Magdeburg sphere[vii], for example, which turns up again here, as if by chance, being the only appropriate instrument.

But the whole Manlet would have to slip into the sphere and would have to do so by itself. For to touch it in order to shove a negligible overflowing amount [un rien] back in, even the bravest person would be justified in thinking twice for fear that it would slip between his fingers and take up its abode who knows where?”

So Pink is contained within the wall, a lamella as object a, as if he was within a Magdeburg sphere – there is no way out.  Under these conditions, delusions & apparitions appear which are phenomena on the edge of language.

ii. the sack and detachable organs.  

(Laurent 2005 p13) : “Lacan’s “rope-and-sack” logic is a logic that is articulated between, on the one hand, the sack that could find itself completely plugged up by the real, and on the other, the rope that allows for a way through and for these rims and orifices to be constructed. Thus, the body’s true consistency is not the consistency of the sack but the consistency of the rope, the cord. This assumes that the subject does not ground his identification, his seat in the world, on the basis of his swelling form, his bodily envelope, the narcissism of the image, but that he manages to get by in constituting drive-circuits, the drifting trajectory of the drive, sinthomatically.”

An example from Lewis Carroll’s ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’, Chapter II  : “`Curiouser and curiouser!’ cried Alice (she was so much surprised, that for the moment she quite forgot how to speak good English); `now I’m opening out like the largest telescope that ever was! Good-bye, feet!’ (for when she looked down at her feet, they seemed to be almost out of sight, they were getting so far off). ” 

The author Lewis Carroll, as Charles Dodson, is both a clergyman (all members of Oxford University had to be clergy) & Prof of Logic. Lacan, 31st December 1966[viii] states “There is indeed – as we are told – Lewis Carroll the dreamer, the poet, the lover if you will, and Lewis Carroll the logician, the professor of mathematics. ….. Lewis Carroll is indeed divided – if that’s your theme – but both are necessary for bringing the oeuvre to fruition”.

Language operates as a symptom-organ, so the quoted passage from Carroll is both symptom and organ. 

Lacan, 31st December 1966 “Of the little girl, Lewis Carroll made himself the servant; she is the object which he draws, she is the ear he wants to reach, she is the one he is truly addressing amongst us all. How this oeuvre reaches us all, after that, can be conceived only by a determined theory of what one must call the subject, the theory that psychoanalysis allows.  … and that the imaginary is to be distinguished from them. “

The passage operates on two levels : what the writing portrays & Dodson’s lamella (object a) his interest in girls undergoing puberty. The writing portrays Alice as in a rabbit hole –  she is within a sack which does have a hole at its entrance. Her relation to her body transforms itself & her relation to language changes – she forgets to speak good English [should be ‘More curious’] & reports the change as if the speaking Alice is detached from her body. This may be seen as Carroll/Dodson’s attempt to construct a logic of the movement from girl to woman.  

So Alice reports that her distance from her body changes – it increases & in reporting this change, Dodson draws our attention to a grammatical ruling being transgressed. Comparative adjectives are used to compare one noun to another noun[ix].

There are two ways to make or to “form” a comparative adjective:

  • short adjectives: add “-er”
  • long adjectives: use “more”

In comparing her before body to the resultant one, Dodson makes Alice undermine the grammatical rule for forming comparative adjectives.  She uses an incorrect form.  

So the changes in her body are reflected in her ignoring how to make a comparative adjective.  The change in her body breaches the logical rules of language. May be rules no longer apply or Alice becomes an exception. Charles Dodson has produced a fantasy linking logic & his interest in adolescent girls going through puberty. In his writing, this change of body image disconnects from the rules or logic of language.

Alice’s symptom is her surprise marked by a mistake in language.  She has been bumped from one sack to the next, though both sacks are contained in the rabbit hole.

These two positions – inside walls & inside a sack with a breach – form the basis for two different clinics. They are connected to each other & may be the connection is what is at stake. 

Two concluding remarks from Lacan, 31st December 1966[x] :

Lewis Carroll’s penchant for pre‐pubescent girls, that is not his genius, we psychoanalysts don’t need our clients to know where that fails in the end in a public park. Neither does his teaching as a professor break new ground in the middle of a period of renaissance in logic and inauguration of mathematical form, learned since then. 

…..

Lewis Carroll, no matter how amusing his exercises are, follows along with Aristotle. But it is indeed from the conspiring of these two positions that there springs forth this marvellous object, still not deciphered and forever dazzling: his oeuvre. 

Thank you to the cartel members, Lorena, Ganesh, Marcin, for walking alongside and helping develop this and other texts. 

.

Other texts by Julia Evans here  

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This text was presented at an exchange between two cartels on Saturday 10th July (Zoom)

Towards New Lacanian School of Psychoanalysis Congress 2021: Bodily Effects of Language, May 2021: See  www.nlscongress2021.com 

The cartel on ‘Being a body & having a body’ & the other cartel on ‘Bodily Effects of Language’ are meeting, on Zoom, to exchange on Saturday 10th July 2021. Both cartels are registered and working within the New Lacanian School of Psychoanalysis. 

The discussant was Joanne Conway, one of the NLS cartel delegate, with members of the other cartel and the addition of comments from supporters/guests. 

Meeting Participants

From Cartel 1 – Being a body & having a body 

Julia Evans (plus-un) Sandwich, Kent & London, UK, Topic Cutting as interpretation on a/the body. 

Ganesh Anantharaman, Chennai, India, Topic  Jouissance & body event? 

Lorena Rivero de Beer, Liverpool, UK. Topic  Zazen & the embodiment of emptiness – symptom/body event. 

Marcin Zaremba, London, UK  Topic  Treating anorexia as a body event. 

From Cartel 3 – Bodily Effects of Language

Nicolas Duchenne (plus-un), Rotherhithe, London, UK Topic The real father is an effect of language 

Giuseppe Covelli, Amsterdam, Netherlands Topic   The body at the place where a word should have been spoken 

Owen Hewitson, East London, UK, Topic   Idioms of Distress – Appeal, Nomination, and Other Ways to Say   Owen is unable to be present at the December encounter.

Greg Hynds North London, UK, Topic  Subject and body

Jo (Josephine) Rostron North West London, UK  Topic  An elaboration of the presence of the body in the psychic structure

Previous discussant, on Saturday 10th March 2021, was René Raggenbass, also an NLS Cartel delegate. 

__________________________________________

Some texts from cartels:-

Other texts on or from cartels here 

Ganesh Anantharaman  : Navigating the entanglement of Desire and Jouissance : 10th July 2021 (Zoom Cartel Exchange) :  Information  here  

Lorena Rivero de Beer  : End Text, The topic,  Zazen & the embodiment of emptiness – symptom/body event : 10th July 2021 (Zoom) : Information  or  here   

Two Forms of Body : 7th July 2021 (Zoom) : Julia Evans  or  here   

Treating Shell Shock – re-conceptualising what worked : 12th March 2021 (Zoom Intercartel Meeting) : Julia Evans  or  here   

Ganesh Anantharaman :  Present without a body: absence, lack, & loss in the work of a cartel : 12th December 2020 (Zoom Intercartel Meeting) : Information   here   

A reflection on cartel work examining COVID-19 by Julia Evans on 25th October 2020 or here   

Ganesh Anantharaman : An Extimate Experience  :  25th July 2020 :  Information   here  Also published in 4 Plus One – the NLS cartels’ newsletter, 4+1, no 16,  https://quatreplusone.com/index.php/n16/    

Frank Rollier : 4 PLUS ONE – The Formula of a New Mode of Social Bond : 26th June 2020 (Athens) ::  Information here  Also published in 4 Plus One – the NLS cartels’ newsletter, 4+1, no 16, https://quatreplusone.com/index.php/n16/    

THE PANDEMIC versus a pandemic – Cartel Opening Statement by Julia Evans on 25th April 2020  or here   

Greg Hynds  or http://gwh.xyz: A cartel on trauma (17th July 2019 – London) : Information here    Also published in 4 Plus ONE  February 2020,  http://quatreplusone.com/index.php/n14/  

Henrik Lynggaard   http://www.lacanianworks.net/?author=19 : The logic that haste determines (17th July 2019 London) : Information here  Also published in 4+1, the cartels’ newsletter – December 2019, available https://quatreplusone.com/index.php/n13/   

Julia Evans : A work in progress report of ‘Trauma and Urgency’ cartel, 2018–2019 (17th July 2019 – London) : Information here  

Owen Hewitson (www.lacanonline.com)    here  : What makes a trauma traumatic? : 8th February 2019 (Manchester) : Information here    

Julia Evans : Why is trauma urgent? : 4th February 2019 : Information here       Also an abbreviated copy is published in 4 PLUS ONE issue 10 February 2019 see http://quatreplusone.com/index.php/n10/    

Greg Hynds  or http://gwh.xyz : Understanding in Analysis : 14th December 2018 (Manchester) : Information here 

Greg Hynds  or http://gwh.xyz : Reading the Recommendations : London, 1st April  2017 : Information here 

Bruno de Florence  : Ignorance is a Passion : 10th March 2016 (London) : Information here    

LW cartel: Jouissance & symbolic (dis)order by Julia Evans on 30th July 2011 or here  

Related Texts:

The Real Presence and Slipperiness of the Body (LRO 248) : 11th October 2020 : Catherine Lacaze-Paule  or   here    

Jacques Lacan’s sayings excavated by Julia Evans on 17th October 2020 or  here   

Lacanian Psychoanalysis Not Without the Body : 18th January 2020 (Dublin) : Bernard Seynhaeve (audio)  or   here    

Announcement of title for the 2020 NLS Congress, Interpretation, From Truth to Event : 18th June 2019 : Bernard Seynhaeve or  here   

Interpretation : From Truth to Event : 2nd June 2019 (Tel Aviv) : Éric Laurent  or  here  

The symptom in the perspective of the speaking body in civilisation (audio) : 19th May 2016 (London) : Éric Laurent or here 

The Unconscious and the Body Event : the full interview : July 2015 : Éric Laurent or here 

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

On the origin of the Other and the post-traumatic object : 6th November 2004 (Lyon) : Éric Laurent or here  

Trauma in Reverse : 27th April 2002 (New York) : Éric Laurent or here 

Lacanian Biology and the Event of the Body : 12th & 19th May 1999 (Paris VIII) : Jacques-Alain Miller or here   

Interpretation and Truth : 1st July 1994 : Éric Laurent or here 

The Body in the Teaching of Jacques Lacan : May 1984 : Colette Soler  or  here   

Notes & References

[i] See Lost in Cognition: Psychoanalysis and the Cognitive Sciences : 2008 – French, 2012 – Hebrew, English -2014 : Éric Laurent  or here  

Chomsky with Joyce : 11th April 2005 (Paris) : Éric Laurent  or  here   

[ii] See Lost in Cognition: Psychoanalysis and the Cognitive Sciences : 2008 – French, 2012 – Hebrew, English -2014 : Éric Laurent  or here  

Chomsky with Joyce : 11th April 2005 (Paris) : Éric Laurent  or  here   

p5

This clinical enquiry allowed Jacques-Alain Miller to differentiate carefully between the first and second clinics of Lacan. The first was focused on the Name-of-the-Father and its modalities whilst the second encompasses both the pluralisation of the Name-of-the-Father and, above all, the fact of language taking charge of jouissance. In the second clinic, the common nouns take charge of jouissance. What you have shared with us this evening, Jacques Aubert, clarifies the clinical perspectives that need to be used to show the point of passage from proper name [JE:noun] to common noun, via the pluralisation of proper names [JE:noun].

: p13

These objects in which our desire is enclosed, which pass over to the condition of being the “cause of desire”, still have to be appropriated between the lines. For Lacan, language was indeed to be defined as a sort of organ, but a symptom-organ. The object a, as a lamella, is an organ (Lacan, 2006, p.7I8). As an organ, the object a covers the body, and plugs up all of its orifices. The body plugged by the object a is the true organ-less body. With language, one manages to form orifices, one manages to have oral, anal, scopic and invocatory orifices; that is, one manages to form a rim for each of these orifices.

In early-onset psychosis, in autism, one can observe just what a rimless organ is, and also the heroic attempts these subjects make to create a rim. The object a could be represented as a bubble-gum balloon: it is what allows for the creation of a breathing space that doesn’t collapse back onto your mouth and doesn’t splatter over your whole body when it bursts. The same goes for all the body’s rims.

Lacan’s “rope-and-sack” logic is a logic that is articulated between, on the one hand, the sack that could find itself completely plugged up by the real, and on the other, the rope that allows for a way through and for these rims and orifices to be constructed. Thus, the body’s true consistency is not the consistency of the sack but the consistency of the rope, the cord. This assumes that the subject does not ground his identification, his seat in the world, on the basis of his swelling form, his bodily envelope, the narcissism of the image, but that he manages to get by in constituting drive-circuits, the drifting trajectory of the drive, sinthomatically.

[iii] p274 of Bruce Fink’s translation, The Position of the Unconscious (Bonneval Hospital): 31st October 1960: Jacques Lacan or here : This image shows “libido” to be what it is, namely an organ, to which its habits make it far more akin than to a force field. Let’s say that it is qua surface that it orders this force field. This conception is corroborated when one realizes that Freud considered the drive to be structured like a montage, and articulated it in that sense.

Referring to electromagnetic theory, and, in particular, to a theorem known as Stokes’ theorem, would allow me to situate the reason for the constancy of the drive’s pressure.[70] which Freud emphasizes so greatly, [71] in the fact that that surface is based on a closed rim which is the erogenous zone.

It is also clear that what Freud calls the Schub [72] or flow [coulee] of the drive is not its discharge, but should rather be described as the turning inside out and outside in [73] of an organ whose function should be situated in relation to the preceding subjective coordinates.

This organ must be called “unreal”, in the sense that the unreal is not the imaginary and precedes the subjective it conditions, being in direct contact with the real.

That is what my myth, like any other myth, strives to provide a symbolic articulation for, rather than an image.

My lamella represents here the part of a living being that is lost when that being is produced through the straits of sex. [74]

Notes

[70]. {See “instincts and their Vicissitudes” (1915); the Standard Edition gives “pressure” as the translation for Drang, while the Collected Papers, translated under the supervision of Joan Rivière, give “impetus”: Lacan’s French translation is “poussée”.}] 

[71] It is well known what this theorem states about curl flux. It assumes a continuously differentiable vector field. In such a field, since the curl of a vector is based on the derivatives of the vector’s components. It can be demonstrated that the circulation of this vector along a closed curve is equal to the curl flux calculated for the surface whose edge is defined by this curve.  In other words, by positing this flux as invariable, the theorem establishes the notion of a flux “through” an orifical circuit, that is, such that the original surface need no longer be taken into account.  For topologists  [equation given]]

[72] [Schub is also translated “thrust” – see “Instincts and their Vicissitudes” (1915) – appearing in that essay in connection with images like “successive eruptions of lava”]]

[73] [evagination aller et retour: the figure provided in Seminar XI of the circuit of the drive would suggest that this be translated somewhat differently: “back and forth evagination” or “insertion in and back out”]]

[74] [par les voies du sexe: by sexual passageways, pathways, or means: via sex.]

***

From p275  of Bruce Fink’s translation of ‘The Position of the Unconscious’ 

The libido is this lamella that the organism’s being takes to its true limit, which goes further than the body’s limit Its radical function in animals is materialized in a certain ethology by the sudden decline [chute] in an animal’s ability to intimidate other animals at the boundaries of its “territory.”

This lamella is an organ, as it is the instrument of an organism. It is sometimes almost palpable [comme sensible], as when an hysteric plays at testing its elasticity to the hilt.

Speaking subjects have the privilege of revealing the deadly meaning of this organ, and thereby its relation to sexuality. That is because the signifier as such, whose first purpose is to bar the subject, has brought into him the meaning of death.(The letter kills, but we learn this from the letter itself.) That is why every drive is virtually [78] a death drive.

[78] {virtuellement  also means potentially, practically, and for all intents and purposes.}

***

[p276] It is important to grasp how the organism is taken up in the dialectic of the subject. The organ of what is incorporeal in the sexuated [sexué] being is that part of the organism the subject places [79] when his separation occurs. It is through that organ that he can really make his death the object of the Other’s desire.

[79] {vient à placer suggests a placing or investing of something, in addition to a situating.}]

In this way, the object he naturally loses, excrement, and the props he finds in the Other’s desire – the Other’s gaze or voice – come to this place. 

The activity in the subject I call “drive” (Trieb) consists in dealing with [tourner] these objects in such a way as to take back from them, to restore to himself, his original loss. 

[iv] Seminar XIX a is also published as Talking to Brick Walls, A Series of Presentations in the Chapel at Sainte-Anne Hospital by Jacques Lacan, Polity 2017 : See Seminar XIX : The Psychoanalyst’s Knowledge – Seven Talks at St Anne’s Hospital : 1971-1972: begins on 4th November 1971: Jacques Lacan or here  

[v] : pIII 7 of Cormac Gallagher’s translation (my preferred one) ; Published at www.LacaninIreland.com 

[vi] p274 of Bruce Fink’s translation, The Position of the Unconscious (Bonneval Hospital): 31st October 1960: Jacques Lacan or here

[vii] Guericke’s demonstration was performed on 8 May 1654 in front of the Imperial Diet, and the Emperor Ferdinand III in Regensburg. Thirty horses, in two teams of fifteen, could not separate the hemispheres until the valve was opened to equalize the air pressure. In 1656 he repeated the demonstration with sixteen horses (two teams of eight) in his hometown of Magdeburg, where he was mayor. He also took the two spheres, hung the two hemispheres with a support, and removed the air from within. He then strapped weights to the spheres, but the spheres would not budge. Gaspar Schott was the first to describe the experiment in print in his Mechanica Hydraulico-Pneumatica (1657). In 1663 (or, according to some sources, in 1661) the same demonstration was given in Berlin before Frederick William, Elector of Brandenburg with twenty-four horses.

The experiment became a popular way to illustrate the principles of air pressure, and many smaller copies of the hemispheres were made, and are used to this day in science classes.

[viii] Hommage to Lewis Carroll : 31st December 1966 : Jacques Lacan or here 

[ix] See https://www.englishclub.com/grammar/adjectives-comparative.htm    

[x] In  Hommage to Lewis Carroll : 31st December 1966 : Jacques Lacan or here

one never passes through a doorway except one of one’s own size and to take rightly, with the rabbit in a hurry, the measure of the absolute alterity of the passer‐by’s [passant’s1] preoccupation; [TN 1 Lacan’s term for the analysand at the moment of the passe. ]

…..

Of the little girl, Lewis Carroll made himself the servant; she is the object which he draws, she is the ear he wants to reach, she is the one he is truly addressing amongst us all. How this oeuvre reaches us all, after that, can be conceived only by a determined theory of what one must call the subject, the theory that psychoanalysis allows. 

and that the imaginary is to be distinguished from them. 

….

Neither the text nor the plot appeal to any resonance of signification that one can call profound. Neither genesis, nor tragedy, nor destiny are evoked there; so how does this oeuvre have such a hold? 

…..

This is a transition, since after all I have only the time to push open doors without even entering where they open, in order to get to the author himself in this moment of homage, that one cannot do justice to him