Habeus Corpus : 28th April 2016 (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) : Jacques-Alain Miller

by Julia Evans on April 28, 2016

Text presented by Jacques-Alain Miller during the closing session of the tenth Congress of the World Association of Psychoanalysis, The Speaking Body. On the Unconscious in the XXIst Century, Rio de Janeiro, 25-28 April 2016. During the session, titled ‘From Rio to Barcelona’, Miquel Bassols and Guy Briole also presented.

Translated by Adrian Price


Published by www.wapol.org : Available here

Or here

The English Text & the References in English

The English references & the text, available here

There follows a list of references, from this text, to Jacques Lacan with the reference number from the text and the English text or its availability where known.


References – availability in English given below

1. Lacan, J., The Seminar Book XX, Encore, 1972-1973, New York: Norton, 1998, p. 131.

3. Lacan, J., back cover of the French edition of the Écrits, Paris: Seuil, 1966. No known English translation.

6. Lacan, J., The Seminar Book XI, The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis, 1964, Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1994, p. 33.

7. Cf. Lacan, J., ‘Joyce the Symptom’ in The Seminar Book XXIII, The Sinthome, 1975-1976, Cambridge: Polity, 2016, p. 145, where Lacan spells it ‘LOM’, thus condensing the noun ‘man’ with its definite article. See also the written version of ‘Joyce the Symptom’ in The Lacanian Review, Issue 2, 2016.

9. Lacan, J., The Seminar Book XX, Encore, op. cit., p. 119: ‘I speak with my body, and I do so unbeknownst to myself.’

10. Aristotle, De Anima, 1.4, 408b 14. In the J. A. Smith rendering: ‘It is doubtless better to avoid saying that the soul pities or learns or thinks and rather to say that it is the man who does this with his soul.’ The first reference to this passage in Lacan’s teaching is in The Seminar Book III, The Psychoses, Norton/Routledge, 1993, p. 14. Among the many further occurrences, cf. The Seminar Book XX, Encore, op. cit., p. 110 (‘man thinks with – instrument – his soul’) and the written version of ‘Joyce the Symptom’.

11. Lacan, J., The Seminar Book XXIII, The Sinthome, op. cit., p. 9: ‘[…] the drives are the echo in the body of a fact of saying.’

12. Lacan, J., ‘Joyce the Symptom’ (written version): ‘Hence my expression parlêtre, which will supersede Freud’s UCS (unconscious: let it be read).’

Cf. Lacan, J., ‘Radiophonie’, in Autres écrits, Paris: Seuil, p. 412, among other occurences.
17. Lacan, J., ‘Fonction et champ de la parole et du langage en psychanalyse’, Écrits, op. cit., p. 261; & ‘Discours de Rome’, in Autres écrits, op. cit., pp. 137-141.
18. Lacan, J., ‘Television’ in Autres écrits, ibid., p. 517. This spelling matches the imperative jouis [‘enjoy’] with sens, which on p. 10 of the English-language edition is rendered as ‘enjoy-meant’, but consider also j’ouï-sens [‘I hear meaning’]. Both versions are homophonic with jouissance. Cf. Lacan, J., The Seminar Book XXIII, The Sinthome, p. 58.
19. Lacan, J., ‘Joyce the Symptom’ (written version), op. cit. & Lacan, J., The Seminar Book XX, Encore, op. cit., pp. 90-95, in particular.


The English Text of the References

1. Seminar XX : 15th May 1973 : p131 of Bruce Fink’s translation:

Quote from pXII 22 of Cormac Gallagher’s translation : See Seminar XX: Encore: 1972 – 1973: from 21st November 1972 : Jacques Lacan or here

Mathematisation alone reaches a real, and this is why it is compatible with our discourse, the analytic discourse, a real which precisely escapes, which has nothing to do with what traditional knowledge has supported, namely, not what it believes, reality, but indeed phantasy.

The real is the mystery of the speaking body, it is the mystery of the unconscious.


6. Seminar XI : 29th January 1964 : Availability Seminar XI: The Four Fundamental Concepts: 1963-1964 : beginning 15th January 1964 : Jacques Lacan or here : p33 of Alan Sheridan’s translation :

I would now like to make clear, astonishing as the formula may seem to you, that its status of being, which is so elusive, so unsubstantial, is given to the unconscious by the procedure of its discoverer.

The status of the unconscious, which, as I have shown, is so fragile on the ontic plane, is ethical. In his thirst for truth, Freud says, Whatever it is, I must go there,+ because, somewhere, the unconscious reveals itself. And he says this on the basis of his experience of what was, up to that time, for the physician, the most rejected, the most conceled, the most contained, reality, that of the hysteric, in so far as it is – in a sense, from its origin – marked by the sign of deception.

[May be a bad translation of “Wo Es war, soll Ich werden” (English: “Where It was, shall I be”) : From the last paragraph of Lecture XXXI: Dissection of the personality: 1932 of Sigmund Freud: New Introductory Lectures on Psycho-Analysis : 1932 (Published 1933) : Also quote in Seminar VII : 18th November 1959 : p7 of Dennis Porter’s translation – Availability Seminar VII: The ethics of psychoanalysis: 1959-1960: begins 18th November 1959 : Jacques Lacan or here ]


7. See Joyce the Symptom : 16th June 1975 : Jacques Lacan or here

p147 of Adrian Price’s translation : ‘where Lacan spells it ‘LOM’, thus condensing the noun ‘man’ with its definite article.’ :

This is the version from Éric Laurent’s notes, of a Conference given by Jacques Lacan in the large auditorium of the Sorbonne on the 16th of June, 1975.

From Adrian Price’s translation : ‘It is in so far as the unconscious is knotted to the sinthome, which is what is singular to each individual, that we may say that Joyce, as has been written somewhere, identifies with the individual. He is one who has earned the privilege of having reached the extreme point of embodying the symptom in himself, by which he eludes any possible death, on account of eing reduced to a structure that is the very structure of LOM, if you will let me spell it quite simply L.O.M.? This is how he conveys himself, as something that puts a full stop to a certain number of exercises. He sets down an end point, but how are we to understand the meaning of this end point?

Details of the translation by Aaron Benenay are given Joyce the Symptôm (Sinthôme) I & II : 16th June 1975 : Jacques Lacan or here

From Aaron Benenay’s translation : It is insofar as the unconscious knots itself into a sinthome, which is what there is singularly in each individual, that one can say that Joyce, as it is written somewhere, identifies with the individual. He has made himself privileged enough to have, at the extreme point, incarnated in himself the symptom, that by which he escapes any possible death, by reducing himself to a structure that is precisely that of LOM [l’homme, man], if you will permit me to write it quite simply as l.o.m.

See also the written version of ‘Joyce the Symptom’ in The Lacanian Review, Issue 2, 2016. Not yet published.


9. Seminar XX : : p119 of Bruce Fink’s translation :

Quote from pXII 2 – XII3 of Cormac Gallagher’s translation : See Seminar XX: Encore: 1972 – 1973: from 21st November 1972 : Jacques Lacan or here

In a word, I forewarn you, I distinguish myself from the language of being. This implies that there may be fictions. I mean starting from the word. And as perhaps some of you may remember, this is where I started in order to speak about Ethics. It is not because I wrote things which play the function of form of language that I am assuring the being of metalanguage. Because I would have to present this being as subsisting by itself, by itself alone; the language of being.

Mathematical formalisation which is our goal, our ideal, why? Because it alone is matheme, namely, capable of being transmitted integrally. Mathematical formalisation is something written. And this is what I will try to go into today.

Now this mathematical formalisation only subsists if I employ in presenting it the tongue I use. Therein lies the objection. No formalisation of the tongue is transmissible without the use of the tongue itself. It is through my saying that I make ex-sist this formalisation, ideal metalanguage. Thus it is that the symbolic is not to be confused, far from it, with being. But that it subsists as ex-sistence of saying. This is what I underlined in the text called L’Étourdit – d.i.t.- [Availability given L’Étourdit: 1972: Jacques Lacan  or here] this is what I underlined in saying that the symbolic supports only ex-sistence. In what respect? I recalled it the last time it is one of the important things that I said in this exercise that as usual, I more or less did to hold you, to make you understand, but it would all the same be important for you to remember the essential. The essential I recalled one more time in connection with the unconscious.

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.

In Plato form is this knowledge that fills being. ….


10. References to Aristotle’s De Anima :

– Seminar III : 16th November 1955 : Availability Seminar III: The Psychoses: 1955-1956: from 16th November 1955: Jacques Lacan or here : p14 of Russell Grigg’s translation : Quote:

Our schema [not reproduced], I remind you, represents the interruption of full speech between the subject and the Other and its detour through the two egos, a and a’, and their imaginary relations. Here it indicates triplicity in the subject, which overlaps the fact that it’s the subject’s ego that normally speaks to another, 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 …

– Seminar XX : 8th May 1973 : p109 – 111 of Bruce Fink’s translation : Quote from pXI 3 – XI 4 & pXI 7 – XI 13 : See Seminar XX: Encore: 1972 – 1973: from 21st November 1972 : Jacques Lacan or here :

pXI 3 : To take an example that is the closest possible to you, I will put forward that what renders what are called human relationships liveable, is not to think about them. And it is on this that in short there is founded what is comically called behaviourism. Behaviour, according to it, can be observed in such a way that it is illuminated by its end. It is on this that it was hoped to found human sciences, to envelop all behaviour, without supposing in it the intention of any subject, any finality posited as constituting the object of this behaviour, nothing is easier, this object having its own regulation, than to imagine it in the nervous system.

The problem, is that it does nothing more than inject into it everything that has been elaborated philosophically, in an Aristotelian manner, about the soul. Nothing has changed. We can put our finger on this from the fact that behaviourism has not distinguished itself, as far as I know, by any upset in ethics, namely, of mental habits, of the fundamental habit. Being only an object, it serves an end. It is founded – whatever one may think about it, it is always there – on its final cause, which in this case is to live, or more exactly to survive; namely, to postpone death and dominate the rival.

You see, it is clear that the number of thoughts implicit in such a conception of the world, Weltanschauung as it is called, is properly incalculable. It is always the equivalence of the thought and the thinking that is at stake.

What is most certain about this way of thinking of traditional science, is what is called its classicism; the Aristotelian reign of the class, namely, of the genus and of the species, in other words of the individual considered as specified. It is also the aesthetics that results from it, and the ethics that are ordained by it. I would qualify it in a simple way, too simple and which risks making you see red, make no mistake, but you would be wrong to see too quickly. In any case, I say my formula: thought holds the whip hand and thinking is on the other side (la pensée est du côté du manche, et le penser de l’autre côté]. This can be read from the fact that the whip hand is the word, it alone explains and justifies. In that sense, behaviourism does not go beyond the classic. It is dit-manche – to be read as I write dit-mansion. The Dit-manche of life as Queneau says; without at the same time revealing its btutalising being. Not evident in a first approach.

pXI 4 But what I will pick out about it, is that this dit-manche was read and approved by someone who knew a little about the history of thought, namely, Kojève, who applauded this Dimanche de la vie, recognising in it nothing less than absolute knowledge as it is promised to us by Hegel.

pXI 7 : Freud luckily gave us a necessary interpretation – which does not cease being written, as I define the necessary – a necessary interpretation of the murder of the son as founding the religion of grace. He did not say it quite like that, but he clearly noted that it was a mode of negation, which constitutes a possible form of the avowal of truth.

This is how Freud saves the father once again; in this he is imitating Jesus Christ. Modesty, no doubt, he does not go all out! But he contributes his little part to it, such as he is, namely a good Jew who was not quite up to date. It is extremely widespread. They should be regrouped for them to get the bit between their teeth. How long will that last? Because there is all the same something that I would like to approach concerning the essence of Christianity. You are going to hae a hard time of it today.

For that, I will have to take it up from earlier on. The soul – you have to read Aristotle, you know he is worth reading – is obviously what the dominant thinking (la pensée du manche) culminated in. It is all the more necessary – namely, not the ceasing to be written – that what it elaborates there, the thinking that is said to be in question, are thoughts about the body. The body ought to amaze you more. In fact it is what amazes, what amazes classical science: how is it able to work like that? Namely, at the same time a body, your own, or any other, moreover, a wandering body, it is the same thing, you are at the [pXI 8] same point, it must at the same time be sufficient in itself – something made me think, a little syndrome that I saw emerging from my ignorance, which was recalled to me: that if perchance tears were to dry up, the eye would no longer work very well. This is what I am calling the miracles of the body. That can already be sensed immediately. Just suppose that the lachrymal gland no longer cried, no longer gave any more juice, you would run into trouble. Good! Ouch!

And on the other hand, it is a fact that it snivels – and why the devil does it? When corporally, imaginarily or symbolically someone steps on your foot, you are affected as they say. And what relationship is there between this snivelling and the fact implied by warding off the unexpected, in other words that you make yourself scarce (qu’on se barre)? This is a popular formula, but it clearly says what it means because it rejoins exactly the barred subject, some consonance of which you have heard here. The subject se barre, in effect, as I said, and more often than in his turn.

You should note here simply that there is every advantage in unifying the expression for the symbolic, the imaginary and the real; as, I am saying it to you in parenthesis, Aristotle did, in not distinguishing movement from alloiosis. Change and motion in space were for him – but he did not know it – were for him the fact that the subject makes himself scarce. Obviously he did not have the true categories but all the same he had a good sense of things. In other words, the important thing is that all of that sticks together sufficiently for the body to subsist, barring any accident as they say, external or internal, which means that the body is taken for what it presents itself to be: a closed body, as they say.

Who can fail to see that the soul, is nothing other than its supposed identity to itself? With everything that is thought up to explain it. In [pXI 9]short, the soul is what one thinks about the body, from the dominant side. And people reassure themselves by thinking that it thinks likewise. Hence the diversity of explanations: when it is supposed to think secretly, there are secretions, when it is supposed to think concretely, there are concretions, when it is supposed to think information, well there are hormones. Or still further it gives itself over to AND (DNA), Adonai, Adonis, in short whatever you want!

All this to bring you to what I all the same announced at the start about the subject of the unconscious – because I am not simply talking like that, as if I were whistling in the wind – that it is truly curious that it has not been put to the test in psychology that the structure of thinking reposes on language, which language – this is all that is new in this term structure – the others, qualified by this label, can make of it what they wish, but I for my part what I point out, is that language comprises a considerable inertia, which can be seen in comparing its functioning to those signs called mathematical, mathemes, solely from the fact that they are integrally transmitted. We have absolutely no knowledge of what they mean, but they are transmitted. It nevertheless remains that they are only transmitted with the help of language, and this is what makes the whole business so lame.

If there something that founds being, it is assuredly the body. On this point Aristotle made no mistake. He sorted out many of them one by one in his History of animals, but he does not manage, read him carefully, to make the link with his affirmation – it is a matter of what he affirms, you have naturally never read the De Anima despite my supplications – but what he affirms, is that man thinks with the instrument, with his soul, namely, as I have just said to you, I could say it rapidly by way of summary, the supposed mechanisms by which his body is supported. [bold is added]

[p XI 10] Be careful, naturally! We are the ones who go on about mechanisms because of our physics. But our physics moreover is a physics already sidelined, on its way to the garage, I mean, because there has been quantum physics, and ever since, for mechanisms, things exploded! Good! But anyway Aristotle, who did not get into the narrow defiles of mechanisms, that simply shows what he thought of them.

So then, man thinks with his soul means that man thinks with the thinking of Aristotle; so that thinking naturally holds the whip hand.

It is obvious that people all the same tried to do better, there is something else again before quantum physics. There is energetics and the idea of homeostasis. But all of this would lead us … Yeah! Would lead us toward the fact that the unconscious is something completely different. And if I wove the thing around what I stated first of all, namely, what I called the inertia in the function of language, which means that every word is this energy not yet taken up into an energetics because this energetics is not easy to measure, to make emerge from there not quantities but figures (chiffres) which, chosen in a way, note, that is completely arbitrary, we fix it so that there always remains somewhere a constant – for this is the foundation of energetics – and it is not easy to handle. As regards the inertia in question, we are forced to take it at the level of language itself.

What relationship could there possibly be between the articulation that constitutes language and an enjoyment which reveals itself to be the substance of thinking, which makes of this thinking so easily reflected in the world by traditional science, the one that means that God is the Supreme Being and that this Supreme Being cannot, Aristotle said, be anything other than the locus from which it is known what the good of all the others is? That means something. It means something which has no great relationship with thinking if we consider it as being above all dominated by this inertia of language.

It is not very surprising that people have not known how to circumscribe, corner, enjoyment or make it squeal, by making use of what seems the best thing to support what I am calling the inertia of language, namely, the idea of the chain, in other words pieces of string; pieces of string that make rings (ronds) and which, we do not very well know how, catch onto one another. I already put that forward to you at one time – I will of course try to do better – in connection with a class, and I myself am astonished, as I get older, that last year’s things seem to me to be a hundred years ago! It was then last year that I took as a theme the formula that I believe I could support by a well known knot which is called the Borromean knot. The formula: I ask you to refuse what I am offering you because it’s not that (Je te demande de refuser ce que je t’offre parce que ça n’est pas ça). [See also Lacan’s Seminar XIX … ou pire at Seminar XIX, … ou pire : 9th February 1972 : pV 1 of Cormac Gallagher’s translation : [Lacan, before beginning, writes on the board]

I ask you

To refuse

What I am offering you… because: it is not that

(Je te demande/ de me refuser/ ce que je t’offre/ parce que: c’est pas ça.)

Availability Seminar XIX: 1971-72: …Ou pire …Or worse : from 8th December 1971 : Jacques Lacan or here]

It is a formula that is carefully adapted to its effect, like all those that I utter. Look at l’Étourdit, [See L’Étourdit: 1972: Jacques Lacan or here also in Autres Écrits: 2001 : Jacques Lacan or here] I did not say: the saying remains forgotten etc…, I said: that one should say. In the same way here, I did not say because it is only that. It’s not that! It is the cry by which there is distinguished the enjoyment that is obtained from that expected. It is where there is specified what can be said in language. Negation has every appearance of coming from there. But nothing more.

Structure, because it connects up here, demonstrates nothing if not that it belongs to the very text of enjoyment in so far as by marking the distance by which it fails, the one that would be involved if it were that, it does not simply suppose what that would be, it supports a different one.

[XI 12] There you are. The dit-mension – here I am repeating myself, but we are in a domain where precisely repetition is the law – this dit-ension, is Freud’s saying. It is even the proof of Freud’s existence. In a certain number of years we will need one! Earlier I compared him, like that, to a little pal, I compared him to Christ. Good, well obviously, we must also have proof of the existence of Christ; it is obvious, it is Christianity. Christianity in fact, as you know, is hooked on there. Anyway for the moment, we have the Three essays on sexuality, [Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality: 1905d : Sigmund Freud] which I would ask you moreover to consult, which I will have to use, as I formerly used these writings about what I call the drift (la dérive) to translate Trieb, the drift of enjoyment.

Yes. All that, in short, all that I insist, is properly what was contributed throughout the whole of philosophical antiquity by the idea of knowledge. Thank God, Aristotle was intelligent enough to isolate in the active-intellect what was involved in the function of the symbolic. He simply saw that the symbolic was there. It is there that the intellect must act. But he was not intelligent enough, not enough so because he had not enjoyed the Christian revelation, to think that a word, even his own in designating this nous which is only supported of language, concerns enjoyment, which nevertheless everywhere designated by him metaphorically, because this whole business of matter and form, think of what all of that, what all of that suggests in terms of an old yarn about copulation! That would have allowed him to see that that is not it at all. That there is not the slightest knowledge, but that the least that one can say is that the enjoyments that support the semblance of it, are something like the spectrum of white light. On the sole condition that one sees that the enjoyment at stake is outside the field of this spectrum, that it is a matter of metaphor, that we must put, as regards everything that is involved in enjoyment, we must put the false finality as a warrant of what is only the pure fallaciousness of an enjoyment that is supposed to be adequate to the sexual relationship, and that in this respect, all the [pXI 13] enjoyments are only rivals for the finality that it would be, if enjoyment had the slightest relationship with the sexual relationship.

– Keep watching www.LacanianWorks for the reference in the written version of Joyce the Symptom : 16th June 1975 : Jacques Lacan or here


11. Seminar XXIII : p. 9 of Adrian Price’s translation : ‘[…] the drives are the echo in the body of a fact of saying.’ :

Seminar XXIII : 18th November 1975 : p10 of Cormac Gallagher’s translation : They cannot get it into their heads that drives are the echo in the body of the fact that there is a saying. {Note: the ‘they’ refers to English Psychoanalysts who Lacan dismisses as philosophers.}

JE thinks this is an important difference between the two translations

For further information & availability see :

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

12. ‘Hence my expression parlêtre, which will supersede Freud’s UCS (unconscious: let it be read).’ : Keep watching www.LacanianWorks for the reference in the written version of Joyce the Symptom : 16th June 1975 : Jacques Lacan or here


16. Quote from text : the disparity is the same in Lacan between, first, ‘like a language’, and then, second, la langue. First, that the unconscious is structured like a language implies that the structure is the same for any language. ‘Like a language’ is actually a universal of structure. Second, on the contrary, la langue is always particular.16 It consists only in its particularities. Consequently, there is no universal of tongues, one cannot make an all of tongues. 16. Cf. Lacan, J., ‘Radiophonie’, in Autres écrits, Paris: Seuil, p. 412, among other occurences.

Details of English translations : Radiophonie: 9th April & 5th June 1970: Jacques Lacan or here : p6 of Jack W. Stone’s translation : To take a less anecdotal example, let us remark that (63)the particular of the tongue (langue) is that by which structure falls under the crystal effect, as I said above.

To qualify it, this particular, as arbitrary is a slip (lapsus) that Saussure committed, in that, reluctantly, certainly, but by that all the more offered to the stumbling, he “ramparted” himself (se « rempardait ») there (since one tells me that this is my word) from university discourse where I have shown that what is harbored is precisely this signifier that dominates the discourse of the master, that of the arbitrary.

See also in Autres Écrits: 2001 : Jacques Lacan or here


17. From the text:

Lacan’s operation was more complex, but it was also an operation of division that consisted in clearly separating the technique of deciphering the unconscious from the theory of the drives, as he puts it in his ‘Discours de Rome’.17 In other words, Lacan was seeking a clear separation of the unconscious from the drives. This is spelt out in full. The orientation of his first movement is this separation.

P261 of French version of Écrits or p217 of Bruce Fink’s translation or : Quote from p30 of Alan Sheridan’s translation : At this point it would be too much to say that I was about to carry these remarks over into the field of psychoanalysis, since they are there already, and since the disentanglement that they bring about in psychoanalysis between the technique of deciphering the unconscious and the theory of instincts goes without saying.

What we teach the subject to recognize as his unconscious is his history – that is to say, we halp him to perfect the present historization of the facts that have already determined a certain number of the historical ‘turning-points’ in his existence.

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


Autres Écrits: 2001 : Jacques Lacan or here


Écrits : 1966 : Jacques Lacan or here

18. This spelling matches the imperative jouis [‘enjoy’] with sens, which on p. 10 of the English-language edition is rendered as ‘enjoy-meant’, but consider also j’ouï-sens [‘I hear meaning’]. Both versions are homophonic with jouissance.

P10 of Denis Hollier, Rosalind Krauss and Annette Michelson’s translation : Quote p10 : What Freud discovers in the unconscious – here I’ve only been able to invite you to take a look at his writings to see if I speak truly – is something utterly different from realizing that broadly speaking one can give a sexual meaning to everything one knows, for the reason that knowing has always been open to the famous metaphor (the side of meaning Jung exploted). It is the real that permits the effective unknotting of wht makes the symptom hold together, namely a knot of signifiers. Where here knotting and unknotting are not metaphors, but are really to be taken as those knots that in fact are built up through developing chains of the signifying material.

For these chains are not of meaning but of enjoy-meant [jous-sens]which you can write as you wish, as is implied by the punning that constitutes the law of the signifier.

Availability Television: 1974: Jacques Lacan or here

P517 of Autres Écrits: 2001 : Jacques Lacan : Availability given here

Cf. Seminar XXIII : p58 of Adrian Price’s translation =

Seminar XXIII : 13th January 1976 : pIV 15 of Cormac Gallagher’s translation:

When we make this splice, we make another one at the same time, this one here, between precisely what is Symbolic and the Real. Namely, that from some angle we teach him to splice, to make a splice between his sinthome and this parasitic Real of enjoyment. And what is characteristic of our operation, to render this enjoyment possible, is the same thing as what I will write : j’ouis-sens. It is the same thing as to hear a meaning.

For further information see :

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


19. Keep watching www.LacanianWorks for the reference in the written version of Joyce the Symptom : 16th June 1975 : Jacques Lacan or here


20. Seminar XX : 20th March 1973 : p90-95 of Bruce Fink’s translation

Quote from pIX 1 to pIX 9 of Cormac Gallagher’s translation : See Seminar XX: Encore: 1972 – 1973: from 21st November 1972 : Jacques Lacan or here

[Note the two translations differ considerably]

I would like to start from a remark, from a few remarks, the first two make a connection with what today I would be happy to write for you as hainamoration, [From Bruce Fink: Hainamoration is composed to the noun haine (“hate”) and the adjective énamoré (“enamored”). “Depth” probably isn’t the best translation for relief three words further on; other possible translations include “profile”, “terrain,” “ground,” “outline,” and so on.] which must be written h.a.i.n.a.m.o.r.a.t.i.o.n This as you know, is the relief psychoanalysis was able to introduce in order to situate in it the zone of its experience. It is a testimony – as I might say – of good will, on its part. If precisely it had only been able to call hainamoration by a different term than the bastard one of ambivalence, perhaps it would have succeeded better in waking up the context of the epoch in which it is inserted.

Perhaps also it is modesty in its part. And in effect, if I ended on something, this something thanks to which I can only approach what polarised everything I was stating the last time. I stated, in the final paragraph, that there was someone named Empedocles, and I had pointed out that it was not for nothing that Freud arms himself with him. That for Empedocles God must be the most ignorant of all beings, which links us up to the question of knowledge. And this very precisely, I said, because of not knowing hatred. To this I added that later on Christians transformed this non-hatred of God into a mark of love.

It is here that the analysis of the correlation that it establishes between hatred and love encourages us towards something by a reminder [JE wonders if this should be remainder], to which I will come back later, and which is exactly the following: that we do not know love without hatred. Namely, that if there is knowledge of something, if this knowledge that was fomented throughout the centuries disappoints us and means that we must renovate the function of knowledge, it is indeed perhaps that hatred has never been put in its place in it.

It is true that this is not either what seems to be the most desirable thing to evoke. And that is why I ended with this sentence: One could say that the more man attributes to the woman a confusion of himself with God, namely, of what she enjoys – remember my schema from the last time, I am not going to do it again – the less he hates; and at the same time, I said that I was equivocating on hait and est in French. Namely, that in this business, moreover, the less he loves.

I was not very happy at having ended on that, even though it is the truth. This indeed is what will make me question myself today once more about what is apparently confused in terms of the true and the real, in the way I have contributed a notion of the way that they are sketched out in analytic experience, and what it would be well in effect not to confuse.

The truth, of course, is affirmed as aiming at the real. But it is only stated here as the fruit of a long development and I would say more, of a reduction of the pretensions to truth. Everywhere we see it presenting itself, affirming itself as an ideal, as something of which the word can be the support, we see that the truth is not something that is so easily attained.

I will say that if analysis is based on a presumption, it is that a knowledge about the truth can be constituted.

In the schema, the little formula (gramme) that I gave you of analytic discourse, the a is written on the top left and is sustained by this S2, knowledge in so far as it is at the place of truth. It is from there that it summons $…asked to say anything whatsoever, which ought to result in the production of S1, of the signifier from which there can be resolved what? Precisely its relationship to truth. [JE: At the end of this paragraph pIX 3 the analytic discourse has been added – see Seminar XVII]

The truth, let us say to cut to the quick, is originally aletheia on which Heidegger speculated so much. Emet, the Hebrew term, which, like every use of this term truth, has a judicial origin. Even in our day, the witness is asked to tell the truth. Nothing but the truth. And what is more, all if he is able. How also could he do so? The whole truth about what he knows. But what is sought, and precisely, more than anywhere else in judicial testimony, is what? It is to be able to judge what is involved in enjoyment. And I would say more: the fact is that enjoyment is avowed and precisely in that may be unavowable, that the truth sought is precisely that which, more than any other with regard to the law, rules this enjoyment. This is moreover how, in Kant’s terms, the problem is evoked. Is evoked as regards what the free man ought to do with respect to the tyrant, the tyrant who proposes every enjoyment to him in exchange for him denouncing the enemy whom the tyrant fears may be, with respect to enjoyment, the one who is disputing it with him.

How is the question evoked about this imperative not seen: that nothing in the name of what is of the order of the pathetic ought to direct the testimony of what after all is evoked in terms of it? And if what the free man is asked to denounce the enemy, the rival about, if it were true, ought he to do it? Can it not be seen, simply by evoking this problem, that if there is something that assuredly inspires in us all the reservations that are indeed those that we all have, that we all have. It is that the whole truth is what cannot be said. It is what can only be said on condition of not pushing it to the end; to only half-say it.

There is something else that constrains us as regards what is involved in the truth, which is that enjoyment is a limit. This is something that stems from the very structure that was evoked, at the time when I constructed my quadripodes for you, [Seminar XVII] the fact is that enjoyment can only be summoned, can only be evoked, can only be elaborated starting from a semblance. Love itself, I underlined the last time, is addressed from the semblance. It is addressed from the semblance and moreover, if it is indeed true that the Other can only be reached by being bracketed, as I said the last time, with small a, [small o in Gallagher’s text], the cause of desire, it is moreover to the semblance of being that it is addressed; this being, there, is not nothing. It is sup-posed to this something, to this object which is the little a [o Gallagher’s text]. But here, ought we not to rediscover this trace that as such it corresponds to some imaginary?

Assuredly I have explicitly designated this imaginary by i, by small i placed here isolated from the term i-maginary and that this is why it is [at the bottom of pIX 4 there is a diagram in the margin] only by the clothing, by the clothing of the self image that has enveloped the object cause of desire that there is most often sustained – this is the very articulation of analysis – that there is most often sustained the objectal relationship.

This affinity of small a [o in Gallagher] to this envelope is the connection, it must be said, one of these major connections that has been advanced by psychoanalysis, and which, for us, is the point of suspicion that it essentially introduces.

This is where what we come to say about the real is distinguished. For this real, if you take it as I believed I should in the course of time, a time which is also that of my experience, the real can only be inscribed from an impasse of formalisation. And that is why I believed I could sketch out the model of it, from mathematical formalisation in so far as it is the most advanced elaboration that we have managed to produce, the most advance elaboration of significance (signifiance). Of a significance which in short – I am talking about mathematical formalisation – one can say that it runs counter to meaning. I almost said in the opposite direction. The it means nothing about mathematics, is what is said in our time by philosophers of mathematics, even when they are themselves mathematicians. I sufficiently underlined the Russell’s Principia.

And nevertheless, can one not say that this network precisely of mathematical logic that has been pushed so far, in as much as with respect to something that found its high point from a philosophy that was indeed forced to emerge from its own entrenchments – the summit, is Hegel – can we not say that with respect to this plenitude of contrasts dialecticised in the idea of a historical progress whose substance it must be said nothing attests for us, can we not say that with regard to that, what is stated in terms of this formalisation that is so well constructed supported as it is by nothing but the written, is something that may only serve us, would only be of service to us if required in the analytic process, in that what is designated in it, in that what is designated in it is what invisibly retains bodies?

And if I were not allowed to give an image of it, I would easily take it from what in nature appears to be closest to what ensures that the written requires, in a way, this reduction to the dimension, two dimension, of the surface and which, in a certain way, is supported, I would say, namely, the textual work that comes out of the spider’s belly. The spider’s web, a truly miraculous function to see in a way being already supported by it, in this opaque point of this strange being, seeing appear from the surface itself, the one which for us allows the outline of the tracing of these writings which are finally the only point where we might find graspable these limits, these points of impasse, of dead ends which, make the real understood as coming from (accèdant du) the symbolic at its most extreme point.

That is why I do not believe it was vain that after a work of elaboration whose date I do not need to recall here and now, I came to the writing of this little a [o in Gallagher’s original], of the capital S read as signifier, of A [Gallagher gives O] qua barred – Ø – and of capital Φ. Their very writing constitutes the support that goes beyond the word and which nevertheless does not go beyond the very effects of language, and in which there is designated this something where, by centring the symbolic, something that is important on condition of course of knowing how to make use of it. But make use of it for what? To retain a congruent truth. Not the truth that claims to be all; the one precisely, the one that we have to deal with in terms of a half-saying, the one that proves to be wary of going as far as an avowal, an avowal which would be the worst, the one that is wary starting with the cause of desire. It presumes that this desire is inscribed on the basis of corporal contingency. I recall for you the way in which I support this term contingency. One could say that the phallus, as tackled in analytic experience as the key point, the extreme point of what is stated as cause of desire, one could say that analytic experience does not cease writing it. Now, if I call it contingency, it is inasmuch that here is where analytic experience encounters its limit. That all it can produce is the S1, this signifier, this signifier which the last time, I think you still remember the uproar that I succeeded in producing from this audience by qualifying it as the signifier of the most idiotic enjoyment itself, and, it was pointed out to me in the two senses of the term, that of the idiot on the one hand, which has indeed here its function as a reference, and also the one which is most singular.

It is in this does not cease to be written that there resides the high point of what I called contingency. Contingency, if as I say it is opposed to the impossible, it is inasmuch as the necessary is the does not cease not to be written. I beg your pardon. It is necessary that introduces to us this does not cease. But the does not cease of the necessary, is the does not cease to be written. Now here indeed is the apparent necessity to which the analysis of the reference to the phallus leads us. The does not cease not to be written, that I said in a slip just now, is the impossible. The impossible as I define it as what cannot in any case be written. This is how I designate what is involved in the sexual relationship. It does not cease not to be written, but the correction that by this fact it allows us to contribute to the apparent necessity of the phallic function, is the following: that it is really quo mode of the contingent, namely, that the does not cease to be written ought to be written, ceases precisely by not being written.

It is as contingency, contingency in which there is resumed everything that is involved of that which for us submits the sexual relationship, for the speaking being, to being only in the regime of encounter, it is in this sense that one can say that, through psychoanalysis, the phallus, the phallus reserved in ancient times for the Mysteries, has ceased not being written. Nothing more. It has not entered into the does not cease, in the field on which there depends necessity on the one hand and, above, impossibility.

The true then, here, bears witness that by warning about the imaginary, as it does, it has a lot to do with a-natomy.

It is in the final analysis from a depreciatory angle that I contribute these three terms, those that I inscribe as small a [o in Gallagher’s], S(Ø) and Φ. What shows us the conjunction of these three terms is precisely what is inscribed in terms of this triangle, of this triangle constituted by the Imaginary, the Symbolic and the Real, and in which what is designated by their conjunction is what? On the right the little reality on which there is supported this principle that Freud promised as being the one that is elaborated by a progress, which would be fundamentally that of the pleasure principle. The little reality, namely, the fact that everything that we are allowed to approach in terms of reality remains rooted in phantasy.

On the other hand, what is S(Ø) but the impossibility of saying the whole truth that I spoke about earlier?

And finally, the third term, this, this through which the symbolic by directing itself towards the real, demonstrates for us the true nature of this little a [o in Gallagher] object that I earlier qualified as semblance of being, not by chance. It is indeed because it seems to give us the support of being, it is moreover because what is confirmed by everything that is elaborated as such, and anything whatsoever that belongs to being, of being and even of essence, that we can, by reading it starting from analytic experience, in reading Aristotle for example, se that what is at stake, is the little a [o in Gallagher]; that Aristotelian contemplation, for example, issues from this look as I defined it in The four fundamental concepts of psychoanalysis [Seminar XI: The Four Fundamental Concepts: 1963-1964 : beginning 15th January 1964 : Jacques Lacan See here] as representing one, one of the four supports that constitute the cause of desire.

It is then from a graphing (graphicisation), not to mention graph, since moreover a graph is a term that has a very precise sense in mathematical logic, in this graphing that there are shown these correspondences that make of the real one open between the semblance that results from the symbolic and the reality as it is supported in the concrete of human life, in what leads men, in what makes them always charge along the same paths, in what makes them produce still other men, in what ensures that forever the still to be born (l’encore à naître) will never result in anything than … l’encorné. [Bruce Fink’s footnote: l’encorné is “someone with horns,” a reference to someone who has been cheated on: a cuckold. L’encore-né (“the reborn”) is a homonym.]

On the other hand, this small a [o in Gallagher] which for its part, by being overall on the right path, would make us take it as being, in the name of the fact that it is indeed apparently something, which only resolves itself when all is said and done by its failure, by precisely not being able to be inscribed in any way completely in approaching the real.

The true, then, the true, then, of course, is that. Except for the fact that it is never reached except along twisted paths, and that everything to which the true, to which frequently we are led to appeal, is simply to recall the fact that one must not make the mistake, that one must not believe that one is already even in the semblance, that before the semblance with which in effect everything is supported in order to rebound into phantasy, that before that, a severe distinction must be made between the imaginary and the real; that it must not believed that it is in any way we ourselves that even support this semblance. We are not even semblance. We are on occasion what can occupy its place and make reign there what? What assuredly, to limit ourselves to the immediate of today, allows us to say that after all, the analyst, in all the orders of discourse which are those, in any case, which are actually sustained – and this word actually is not irrelevant if we give to the act its full Aristotelian sense – among all the discourses that are actually sustained, it is indeed the analyst who, by putting the small a [o in Gallagher] object in the place of the semblance, is in the most appropriate position for doing what it is right to do, namely, to examine, to examine what is involved in truth in terms of knowledge.

What is knowledge? It is strange that apart from Descartes who not for nothing is at the dawn of modern science – not the only one but he is there all the same – that before Descartes, the question of knowledge had never been put, that it required in a way this something that is analysis and which came to announce to us that there is some knowledge that does not know itself, and that it is properly speaking a knowledge that is supported by the signifier as such, that a dream does not introduce us to any unfathomable experience, to any mysticisim, that it is read in what is said about it and that one can even go further, by taking up its equivocations in the most anagrammatic sense of the word, that it is at this point of language where someone like Saussure asked himself the question as to whether even in the Saturnian verses in which he found the most strange punctuations of writing, it was or was not intentional. Here is where Saussure is in a way waiting for Freud. It is here that there is renewed the question of knowledge.



Further texts

Jacques-Alain Miller here

Jacques Lacan here

Commentaries on Lacan here

Of the clinic here