What Cannot Be Said: Desire, Fantasy, Real : 11th September 2013 : Dominique Holvoet

by Julia Evans on September 11, 2013

Translated by Florencia F.C. Shanahan and Philip Dravers

Circulated as [nls-messager] 805.en/ NLS Congress: The argument and the title unveiled

Towards NLS Congress  on 17th and 18th May 2014 in Ghent

Published by New Lacanian School of Psychoanalysis

Available here or here

References to the texts in English

[i] Ludwig Wittgenstein, Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, 1961, trans. D.F. Pears and B.F. McGuinness, (London: Routledge, 1961), p. 89. [T.N. Or according to Ogden’s translation: “Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent” Ludwig Wittgenstein,Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus  (1922) trans. C.K. Ogden (New York: Cosimo, 2007), p 27 and p 108.

[ii] J-A Miller, “The Other without Other”, closing presentation at the NLS Congress in Athens, May 2013. To be published in Mental 30 and Hurly-Burly 10. Working version available on the NLS website.  See The Other without Other : Sunday 19th May 2013: in Athens : Jacques-Alain Miller or here

& Presentation of Jacques Lacan’s Seminar VI (2nd part) : 26th May 2013 : Jacques-Alain Miller or here

Note The English translation of the references is given in each of the above.

[iii] J-A Miller, “La psychanalyse, sa place dans les Sciences”, Mental, 25, p. 19.

[iv] J. Lacan, Le Séminaire, Livre VI, Le désir et son interprétation, (La Martinière et le Champ freudien editions, 2013), p. 108. (Unpublished in English). Availability in English Seminar VI: Desire and its interpretation: 1958-1959 : from 12th November 1958 : Jacques Lacan or here

Seminar VI:“there is no Other of the Other”: See Seminar VI : 8th April 1959 : p206 of Cormac Gallagher’s translation :

This is the great secret: there is no Other of the Other. In other words for the subject of traditional philosophy, this subject subjectivises himself indefinitely. If I am in everything I think, I am in so far as I think that I am, and so on, this has no reason to stop. The truth is that analysis teaches us something quite different. The fact is that it has already been glimpsed that it is not so sure that I am in so far as I think, and that one can only be sure of one thing, which is that I am in so far as I think that I am. Certainly that. Only what analysis teaches us is that I am not the one who precisely is in the process of thinking that I am, for the simple reason that because of the fact that I think that I am, I think in the locus of the Other; I am different to the one who thinks that I am.

But the question is that I have no guarantee of any kind that this Other, through what there is in his system, can give me if I may express myself in this way, what I gave him: his being and his essence as truth. There is no, I have told you, Other of the Other. There is not in the Other, any signifier which is able on this occasion to answer for what I am. And to say things in a transformed way, this hopeless truth that I spoke to you about a while ago, this truth which is the one that we encounter at the level of the unconscious, is a faceless truth, is a closed truth, is a truth which can be bent in every direction. We only know it too well. It is a truthless truth.

[v] J.C. Milner, “L’oeuvre claire, Lacan, la science, la philosophie”, (Paris: Seuil, 1995), p. 169.

[vi] J. Lacan, “The Direction of the Treatment and the Principles of its Power”, Écrits. The First Complete Edition in English, (New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 2006), p 536. Availability given The Direction of the Treatment and the Principles of its Power:10th-13th July 1958 : Jacques Lacanor here

[vii] J-A Miller, “The Other without Other”, op. cit., p 9.

[viii] J-A Miller, Ibid., p. 12.

[ix] J. Lacan, Le Séminaire, Livre VI, Le désir et son interprétation, (La Martinière & le Champ freudien editions, 2013), p. 572 (Unpublished in English) : English translation probably: Seminar VI : 1st July 1959 (27) : p346 of Cormac Gallagher’s translation : The problem of analysis is precisely this that the desire which the subject has to encounter, which is this desire of the other, our desire, this desire which is only all too present in what the subject supposes we are demanding of him, this desire finds itself in this paradoxical situation that we must guide this desire of the other which for us is the desire of the subject not towards our desire, but towards an other. We mature the desire of the subject for someone other than ourselves, we find ourselves in this paradoxical situation of being procurers, midwives, those who preside at the advent of desire.

How can this position be held? It can undoubtedly only be held by maintaining an artifice which is that of the whole analytic rule. But the final mainspring of this artifice, does it not contain something which allows us to grasp where there can take place in the analysis this openness onto the cut which is the one without which we cannot conceive of the situation of desire? As always it is undoubtedly both the most trivial and the most hidden truth. The essential thing in the analysis of this situation in which we find ourselves, of being the one who offers himself as a support for every demand, and who responds to none of them; is it only in this non-responding which is far from being an absolute non-responding that there is found the principle of our presence? Should we not give some essential share to what happens at the end of each session, but which is imminent in the whole situation itself in so far as our desire should limit itself to this aim, to this place that we leave to desire in order that it may situate itself there, to the cut? To the cut which is no doubt the most efficacious mode of analytic intervention and interpretation.

And that is why it is one of the things on which we should most insist, this cut which we turn into something mechanical, which we understand as limited by a prefabricated time. It is quite elsewhere not alone that we effectively put it. It is one of the most efficacious methods by which we can intervene; it is also one of those to which we should most apply ourselves. But in this cut there is something, this same thing that we have learned to recognise in the form of this phallic object latent to every relationship of demand as signifier of desire.

[x] J. Lacan, Ibid. p.469. : “separated from the subject though they are closely related to his vital drive.” : Seminar VI : 27th May 1959 (22) : p279 of Cormac Gallagher’s translation : I would go further. The cut, let us not forget – and this is already indicated to us in the type of the first object of the phantasy, the pregenital object. What am I alluding to as objects which can here support phantasies, if not to real objects in a close relationship with the vital drive of the subject, in so far as they are separated from him. It is only too obvious that the real is not an opaque continuum, that the real is of course made up of cuts, just as much and well beyond the cuts of language and it is not today or yesterday that the philosopher Aristotle spoke to us about the ‘good philosopher’, which means, as I understand it, just as much someone who knows in all its generality, who can be compared to the good cook, he is the one who knows how to insert the knife in the right place, cutting at the articulations, knowing how to penetrate without injuring them.

[xi] J. Lacan, Ibid., p.565 : “inexorable” support : Probably : Seminar VI : 1st July 1959 (27) : p342 of Cormac Gallagher’s translation : The object in question, in so far as it rejoins the real, participates in it because the real presents itself precisely as what resists the demand, what I would call the inexorable.

The object of desire is inexorable as such, and if it rejoins the real, this real to which I alluded when we were doing our analysis of Schreber, it is in this form of the real that this inexorable is best incarnated, this form of the real which presents itself in the fact that it always comes back to the same place. And this is why it is in the stars that curiously we have seen the prototype.

Or : Seminar VI : 1st July 1959 (27) : p346 of Cormac Gallagher’s translation : How can this position be held? It can undoubtedly only be held by maintaining an artifice which is that of the whole analytic rule. But the final mainspring of this artifice, does it not contain something which allows us to grasp where there can take place in the analysis this openness onto the cut which is the one without which we cannot conceive of the situation of desire? As always it is undoubtedly both the most trivial and the most hidden truth. The essential thing in the analysis of this situation in which we find ourselves, of being the one who offers himself as a support for every demand, and who responds to none of them; is it only in this non-responding which is far from being an absolute non-responding that there is found the principle of our presence?

Further information

Seminar VI: Desire and its interpretation: 1958-1959 : from 12th November 1958 : Jacques Lacan :Availability given here

Posts for the “Lacan Jacques” category : Available here

Posts for the “B. Seminar VI : towards NLS in Ghent, 2014” category : Available here