28th Study-Days of the EOL


30th November & 1st December 2019 – Hotel Panamericano, CABA, Argentina


“The supposition of the unconscious is necessary and legitimate, we possess numerous proofs of its existence … parapraxes, dreams and psychic symptoms” (Freud, “The Unconscious”, 1915, SE 14, p. 159, translation modified)

The title of our XXVIII Annual Study-Days is an invitation to practitioners of psychoanalysis: “Let us talk about the unconscious, encore…”.[1] This is a title that seeks to articulate the epistemic, the clinical and the political, both inside and outside the School. We consider that the unconscious, in its different manifestations, is the foundation of our practice and what differentiates it from any (other) therapy. A wager: let us talk about the unconscious, since “it is up to us to trace a path that takes into account the powers of the signifier and, at the same time, the contingency of the real”.[2] A real that, for Lacan, is “the mystery of the speaking body, is the mystery of the unconscious”.[3] In the Lacanian orientation we oppose both the “delirium of an unconscious without symptom” and the “delirium of a symptom without unconscious”.[4]
Of which unconscious must one speak, still? How do we situate the supposition of the unconscious today? In the register of language or in that of lalangue? How to approach its formation and its laws going from the last teaching to the transferential unconscious?
We know that in a first moment of his teaching, the unconscious for Lacan is structured as a language. This is how he reformulates the Freudian clinical structures, the fundamental compass of our orientation. He renews the validity of the hypothesis of the unconscious, stating that its status is ethical: “Starting with Freud, the unconscious becomes a chain of signifiers that repeats and insists somewhere (on another stage or in a different scene, as he wrote), interfering in the cuts offered it by actual discourse and the cogitation it informs.”[5] Evanescence, stumbling, fissure… at the center of the structure of the unconscious, the causal fault. We are at the level of the sexual reality of the unconscious as a pulsation that opens and closes.
The unconscious also manifests itself at the level of the master’s discourse: it is a question of the unconscious grasped as that which orders, manages, works, weaves, and interpellates us.
Regarding the unconscious at the level of lalangue, Lacan states: “Language is no doubt made up of lalangue. It is knowledge’s hare-brained lucubration about lalangue. But the unconscious is knowledge, a knowing how to do things with lalangue. (…) Lalangue affects us first of all by everything it brings with it by way of effects that are affects. If we can say that the unconscious is structured like a language, it is in the sense that the effects of lalangue, already there qua knowledge, go well beyond anything the being who speaks is capable of enunciating.”[6] Consequently, “the unconscious, if extended to the enigmatic affects, includes the events of the body, which do not have the same structure as the formations of the unconscious”.[7]
Martyr or Unsubscribed?
“The psychotic is a martyr of the unconscious, giving this term martyr its meaning, which is to be a witness. It’s an open testimony. The neurotic is also a witness to the existence of the unconscious, he gives a closed testimony that has to be deciphered. The psychotic, in the sense in which he is in a first approximation an open witness, seems arrested, immobilized, in a position that leaves him incapable of authentically restoring the sense of what he witnesses and sharing it in the discourse of others.[8] This is Lacan’s position in his seminar on the psychoses. Now, we know that many years later, in his elaborations on Joyce, he will propose the expression “unsubscribed from the unconscious”. What are the differences and similarities between martyr and unsubscribed in the field of the psychoses? How do these positions play out in relation to the unconscious in the neuroses? And finally, which unconscious are we speaking about at the end of analysis?
The analyst’s relationship to his unconscious
In his course Analytical Subtleties, Miller says that what should not be forgotten is the relationship of the analyst with his unconscious. “The analyst – whether nominated, self-instituted, experienced or debutant – is in no way exempt from trying, as exemplified by Freud, to clarify his relationship with the unconscious. I do not say to love it… “[9]
On the other hand, unconscious and sinthome are two nonhomogeneous orders. This is what Lacan explores with the knot, for example when in “Joyce the Symptom”, he says that “The unconscious is knotted to the sinthome” [10].
The big question is to know how these two orders are present in our practice of analysis, in our conception of the unconscious. The testimonies of the AEs at our Study Days will give an account of the fact that where it speaks is the singular of the jouissance where it does not speak to anyone.
“We are spoken, and, because of this, from the hap­penstances that drive us, we form something textured.” [11]
Being non-dupe of the unconscious as Freud was, allowing himself to be led by the discourse of his times in relation to the occult, he discovered the unconscious and reached the navel of the dream.[12] What Lacan reveals is that it is not a question of something hidden, but rather that the unconscious is on the surface, causing us to stumble again and again when speaking, making present the absence of sexual relationship.
A psychoanalysis is an experience that consists in weaving a fiction, but at the same time or subsequently, it is an experience that consists in undoing this fiction. It is not a question of the triumph of the fiction, since this lying truth is put to the test in its impotence to resolve the opacity and the weight of the real.
Dear colleagues, we are called on, as we proposed at the beginning of these lines, to trace a path that takes into account the powers of the signifier and, at the same time, the contingency of the real. The unconscious speaks still!
Gabriela Basz and Mónica Gurevicz Directors of the Study-Days
Translated by Roger Litten

The Discordance Between the Sexes in the Light of Psychoanalysis

Thursday, 9 May 2019
XVIII Study Days of the ELP – 23rd and 24th November 2019 – Palau de la Musica, Valencia


Etymologically, discordance refers to sentimental dissension, hearts that are in disaccord, in conflict. It is a word that accommodates itself to the immense variety of complications proper to the relation between the sexes for those who inhabit language. In contrast to other sexuated living beings, those who inhabit language do not have a natural programme that would indicate in a certain and definitive manner the object that corresponds to them. On the other hand, neither is the real of their anatomy sufficient to conclude about the sex that each one might end up attributing to themselves.
Of course it is on the basis of anatomy that boys and girls are identified at birth, but as Lacan says “sexuated beings are authorised only by themselves”[1], that is, the classification of the Other does not prevent them choosing, but even when they accept to align themselves with one of these signifiers nothing implies that they will take as partner someone from the opposite category.
In the absence of instinctual determination, speaking beings resort to language to organise their sexuality. Freud thus conceived the phallus – fruit of the cooperation between the imaginary of the difference between bodies and the symbolic of the paternal law – as the operator that orders the real of sex and orients the choice of partner: men aspiring to use theirs like the father – but submitted to the fear of losing it in an imaginary or symbolic sense – and women wanting to obtain one by right – but with envy and resentment on account of their supposed inferiority. Any prior real remained forever lost.
In this way the man would incline towards the woman and the woman towards the man, but exclusively due to the relation that each maintains with the phallus, which is declined between having it and being it, with the support of semblants to construct a seeming to present to the world. From this phallic angle there is no sexual relation but instead a relation to the phallus.
Nonetheless, Freud already perceived that the woman escaped in part from this logic of the phallus; she had something mysterious about her, something that fluctuated between disturbing and malign.
In reality, his intuition took up something that comes to us from the origin of time: whether in the Olympus of the gods, where Eris cast the apple of discord into the world, triggering the Trojan war, or in the terrestrial paradise where Eve bit into the apple, tempting Adam to breach the law that God had instituted with speech, pushed by a jouissance beyond the signifier.
Reprising the Freudian intuition and renouncing it in favour of the symbolic, Lacan formulated that there is an indomitable real that cannot be grasped with the signifier and that satisfies the body. With the added particularity that this jouissance is always and exclusively of one’s own body, as a result of which it too entails no pairing between two, it does not cause a relation between two. In consequence, it is also from this perspective that we stumble upon the sexual non-relation, the non-complement between the sexes.
If this jouissance of the body is more accessible to the woman it is because being less phallic she is closer to the real, while the man is, in general, bloated by the phallus, submitted to it. The not-all phallic that femininity implies is presented as disturbing for the power of the symbolic, for the phallic power that the man supposedly has in being the possessor of the organ of copulation. The rejection of femininity, in all its manifestations – violence, depreciation, subjugation, annulment, degradation – thus turns out to be, simply, the rejection of the real. The discordance is ready to be served.
From this point of view, the relation of the couple with respect to the encounter of bodies consists in each of them approaching their partner as means of jouissance, that is, putting them in the place of the symptom. And we are well aware that relations with one’s own symptom are neither peaceful nor necessarily pleasant.
Fortunately, there is the recourse of love, to which Lacan attributed the dignified function of being supplement to the relation that does not exist. Because making love transcends procreation and coupling, and above all, purports to transcend autistic jouissance. With love, two bodies can see themselves led to overcome the contingency of an occasional encounter in order to believe themselves necessary to each other.
Lacan asked whether the speaking being was like this on account of what happens with sexuality or whether, on the contrary, whether this is what happens with sexuality because he is a speaking being. He never gave an answer to this question. He left us with the paradox involved in inhabiting language: it permits a margin of manoeuvre much greater than that available to other living beings but at the same time introduces a relational complexity without parallel. We parlêtres are in this sense a unique species.
What can one expect from an analysis in regards to all this? A psychoanalysis is the experience in which a speaking being can elaborate, isolate and make legible the writing of the mode of jouissance that prevails for him, thus opening up a certain degree of liberty.
It can also facilitate the access to a new love – different from the narcissistic and absolute love that leads discordance to take the form of ravage, of sacrifice or of homicide – an unprecedented love that takes lack and difference into account.
The XVIII Study Days of the ELP will treat these and other questions on the basis of the psychoanalytic clinic as symptoms of our civilisation.
Translated by Roger Litten
[1] Lacan, J., Seminaire XXI, Les non-dupes errant, Lesson of 4th April, 1974, unpublished.

“WOMEN IN PSYCHOANALYSIS” 49th Study-Days of the ECF

Monday, 24 June 2019


Analysts, analysands, protagonists of analysands’ stories… In psychoanalysis, there are women! They have a particular affinity with this science of love, sexuality, desire and jouissance. An analysis is oriented towards femininity for those who seek how to say-well the jouissance that encumbers them. Freud, the first to have taken into consideration the truths of hysterical women, found that the “rejection of femininity” was the stumbling block of an analysis, another name for the “bedrock” of castration.[1]This rock is the last bastion that resists the effects of the cure.
Advancing closer to the wall that encloses man in the phallic logic, Freud wanted to lend an ear to the other side, to the dark continent.[2] Except that, behind this wall, no essence of The woman is grasped. That’s what Lacan summed up in a single formula: The woman does not exist. This formula, which was considered scandalous, reveals the place behind the wall to be void of meaning and essence, resistant to universal statements – “they are all… this or that.”
Women are not “all”. More precisely, each one is not-all, but a unique and incomparable version that comes to live in the empty place of The woman. They add up in an open series of singular elements that tends towards infinity. If the question “What does a woman want?” remained intact for Freud, it is because there is no answer concerning the desire of a woman that could be true for each one.
Unsayable, experienced
Displacing the question from desire to jouissance, Lacan invites us to approach femininity beyond the phallic limit. Feminine jouissance is experienced from time to time, he says, but it is impossible to put into words.[3] By forcing it into words, by putting woman into words, one defames her.[4]He had, however, explicitly requested women analysts to speak about the experience of that inexpressible something; he was banking on a “saying-well” without which psychoanalysis has no reason to exist. Even though feminine jouissance cannot be said, its experience as body event can be testified to.
This supplementary jouissance is what, in a woman, is not really concerned with the threat of castration, and is therefore marked by infinity.[5] A woman can take refuge on the side of “the phallic having” in order to border the unlimited of this jouissance and thus wear the costume of ownership. However, she can meet a loving partner who embodies a relay and makes her “Other for herself, as she is for him.”[6] Then there will open up for her an infinite love addressed not to an object of love, but to an absolute otherness with respect to this object. From this Other beyond the partner, a woman will expect what she does not have, a word or a sign, giving this love an erotomaniac tinge. Because feminine eroticism does not go without love. Many incidents of feminine love can be read from the address to this Other that Lacan calls the castrated lover.[7] For a woman, a man can be the cause of a ravage, an affliction, an unhindered jouissance: sacrifice and absolute gift, identification with the ‘object nothing’, a plunge into the abyss of eternal waiting, unlimited rage and revenge to make a hole in the all-man.
Fascinations, misogynies
On the side of the man, feminine jouissance as experienced but not being able to be put into words, is unbearable up to the point of torment: woman is considered as a captivating mystery and the relation to the feminine can be declined in multiple aspects ranging from fascination to hate. The little boy, marked by the discovery that his mother is a woman, seeks to reduce this infinite enjoyment to the contours of the fetish object. He can become the maladroit who thinks “that to have two [women] does the trick,”[8] the fundamentalist insisting that women conceal themselves, the Hamlet who is predestined to make the passage to the act, the deaf man who hears in the demand for love the sign of a certain frigidity, the fool translating this unspeakable, this inconsistency, as masochism, aberration or caprice.
Our world is becoming more and more feminized, but it is also masculinized, as evidenced by the rise to the zenith of the fetishistic and pornographic object. Ordinary misogyny sometimes passes to the act. The violent hatred unleashed against women can be inflamed by the totalitarian will to succeed in bending the resistance of the feminine not-all to the universal all. Today, the response of women can no longer wait, and the limitlessness of the feminine position sometimes translates into an unprecedented power to act and to fight.
The very last teaching of Lacan, as Jacques-Alain Miller transmits it to us, extends the not-all singularity of feminine jouissance to the parlêtre as such, that is, to all bodies parasitized by language. The distinction between the side of the man and the side of the woman is not erased for all that. For if feminine jouissance is also found on the man’s side, “it is hidden under the sabre-rattling of phallic jouissance.”[9] A priori, men have a more rigid attachment to the pre-established structures of the Other, while women move more easily in the liquid world of the Other that does not exist. This unmediated relationship to the experience of jouissance in its singularity makes women more inclined and accommodating to the creation -without the father if necessary- of flexible, improvised and invented sinthomatic solutions.[10] It is in this respect that women in psychoanalysis can be more able to embody a compass for the world of the future that we have described as after-Oedipus.[11]
If the 49th Study Days of the École de la Cause freudienne aim at speaking-well about women in psychoanalysis, they also bet on demonstrating that psychoanalytic research on femininity offers a relevant reading of the malaise in civilization. We hope that they allow the extraction of new knowledge. But you will have to be there to experience it.
Gil Caroz, Director of J49
with Caroline Leducand Omaïra Meseguer, Co-directors
Translated by Janet Haney and John Haney
[1] Sigmund Freud, “Analysis Terminable and Interminable” (1937), SE Vol 23, p. 252.
[2] Cf. Sigmund Freud, “The Question of Lay Analysis” (1925) SE Vol 20, p. 212.
[3] Cf. Jacques Lacan, Seminar 20, Encore (1972-3), edited by Jacques-Alain Miller, transl. Bruce Fink, London/NY, Norton, 1998, p. 74.
[4] Ibid., p. 85. [TN: Bruce Fink notes that dit-femme and diffâme are homonyms in French; the latter also contains âme, ‘soul’.]
[5] Cf. Jacques Lacan, “Guiding Remarks for a Convention on Female Sexuality”, Écrits. The First Complete Edition in English, transl. Bruce Fink, 2006, p. 617.
[6] Ibid., p. 616.
[7] Cf. ibid., p. 617. [TN: To account for woman’s “duplicity” regarding men, Lacan distinguishes between “l’homme châtré” and “l’homme castré”, a distinction that is not possible to render in English.]
[8] “That by having two women he makes her whole” [TN]. Jacques Lacan, “L’étourdit”, Autres écrits, Paris, Seuil, 2001, p. 469.
[9]Jacques-Alain Miller, “L’orientation lacanienne. L’Être et l’Un”, delivered at the Department of Psychoanalysis, University of Paris VIII, lesson of 23 March 2011, unpublished.
[10] Cf. Lacan J., “Television”, in Television, ed. Joan Copjec, transl. Jeffrey Mehlman, New York, Norton, 1990, p. 40.
[11] Expression forged by Jacques-Alain Miller for the title of the PIPOL 6 Congress (2013), “After Oedipus Women are Conjugated in the Future”

by Marie-Hélène Brousse
Daniel Roy accomplished a tour de force by organising successive advances, since Freud up to Lacan, on this theme of “sexual difference”.[1]He drew the picture as it emerges today in the Lacanian Orientation deployed by Jacques-Alain Miller with the help of the blurry concept of jouissance as a compass. He did so by introducing in his approach the important changes that took place in the discourse of the master and its other side, the analytic discourse. He showed us how Lacan, so sensitive to the changes in modernity, manages to anticipate movements in the discourse of the master even before they appear, thereby demonstrating the predictive power of psychoanalysis when the clinic allies itself with logic and topology. I was therefore free to begin to introduce some additional lines of research for the next two years.
The Difference: Power of the Binary
Sexual or not, big or small, the difference is one of the fundamentals of the linguistic order. It operates because it is first of all an operation for separating and linking at the same time. It constitutes pairs that allow, either metonymically or metaphorically, an ordering of signifiers, words, concepts, images, sounds. When one reads Jacques-Alain Miller one comes to realize the power of this difference, and the power, therefore, of binaries to put order into the symbolic. This is how the social bond operates and all human affairs boil down to this.
The discourse indeed extends the operationality of the difference to the social order, firstly to the family, but more generally to all the institutional structures: the living/the dead, the rich/the poor, the oppressed/the oppressors, the good guys/the bad guys, and, last but not least, men/women.
But the difference is also a mode of satisfaction that produces jouissance as much by asserting itself, because each parlêtre enjoys its difference, as by effacing itself. It is then the jouissance of uniformity [mêmeté], that of the “us” against “them”, the fraternity that Lacan has shown is at the root of racism.[2]Uniformity [mêmeté] is also the foundation of machismo. From the differential order, we slide towards the segregative order. There is no segregation that does not hook itself to a difference attributed to modes of enjoyment. The difference, which founds the symbolic order and feeds imaginary satisfactions, has real effects.
The sexual difference, classically binary, is experiencing an unprecedented upheaval. A certain number of movements of opinion try to wrench it away from the binary S1-S2 in order to pluralize it – LGBT – or to erase it: a refusal of gender or a demand for the neuter. One of the trends of the time is to privilege the inclusive or– either a, or b, or both – over the exclusive or – or a, or b, not both. But binary forces correlative to these emancipatory movements are also deployed, in reaction, by a conservative movement that asserts itself as contrain the political life of the world: Bolsonaro, Trump, and the rise of religions and sects. In France we have seen this movement manifest itself against the so-called “marriage for all,” returning to representations of the traditional sexual difference within patriarchy.[3]
All of Lacan’s teaching deals with the question of sexual difference in speaking beings, and it does so not on the basis of nature but on that of language and the subject. This radical change in point of view differentiates the phallus from the penis and, therefore, the signifier from the organ, and culminates in Seminar 20, Encore. Moving from the subject to the speaking body, the difference ceases to be organized by the binary order and gives way to a non-binary opposition between the All, including all the speaking beings of whatever gender, and the not-all, which precisely no longer allows the binary difference to hold together.
But not so fast! Let’s start from the clinic of the child, who is still often born within the traditional family structure. Daniel Roy finishes his text with this comment made by Jacques-Alain Miller during his speech at the first Study Day of the Institute of the Child: “It belongs to the Institute of the Child to restore the place of the child’s knowledge, that is, what children know.”[4] I orient myself by this recommendation, which here gives the genitive its revolutionary meaning in the proper sense and, consequently, gives the Institute of the Child its power. Not what we – the psys, the adults – know about children, but what we learn from the mouths of children. This is the psychoanalytic revolution operated by Freud with the hysterics. Throughout his trajectory, Lacan applied this formula of extraction of knowledge by the analytical clinic to the letter.
Changes in Kinship Structures – or the Second Death of Laius
An analysand, during a session, says what has just happened to him. One Sunday morning, he was in bed with his wife, in the intimacy of their room, talking in a relaxed way, when their youngest son came in and stood at the foot of the bed and said: “You! You will have a surprise!” The boy then went back to his own room. Then he came back with his plastic sword and, without saying a word, struck the duvet as hard as he could just where his father’s genitals were. A modern version of Oedipus, foundation of the Freudian psychical structure and of psychoanalysis. Big surprise for Laius – even when he’s in analysis!
Let us add another element: in the early 1980s, the analyst working with those who were not yet called nursery school teachers and who had brought drawings of their young students as working papers, noticed that “man “and “woman” were not the words used by these young children to designate the difference between the sexes – today we would say genders – because language, if we pay it the precise attention that is required in the practice of psychoanalysis, is unconscious knowledge. The difference that appeared was between “father” and “mother”: there were dads and mums, not men and women.
These two clinical vignettes lead me to consider that the speech of the master changed. On the one hand, gender has taken precedence over sex; on the other hand, as Lacan repeatedly points out, father and patriarchy have experienced a certain decline in societies now uniformly and globally organized by the capitalist economy, subjugating the name to the object. At the legal level, for example, the law has replaced “father” and “mother” with “parent,” and the notion of “parenthood” has changed the distribution of authority in the family – not to mention the “rights of the child.”
“Parenthood”, as well as marriage “for all”, shows a change in the structures of kinship and thus family ties. We have moved to a universal that can be expressed by the formula “for any parent”, of whatever sex or gender. What new knowledge arises in the child who is confronted with these mutations?
In the Era of an Iron Social Order, Where Does Sexual Difference Lie?
In “Television”, Lacan affirmed in 1973 that “the familial order is nothing but the translation of the fact that the Father is not the progenitor, and that the Mother remains the contaminator of woman for man’s offspring;”[5] is this still the case? Do the children of 2021 still cover the man with Father and the woman with Mother? As Lacan anticipates it in Seminar 21, “Les non dupes errent”, using “the Borromean knot as an algorithm”, “the strict social order” has replaced the patriarchal family order.[6] Farewell father and mother, hello parenting: castration has been displaced. The phallic function is paradoxically submitted, on the side of identifications, either to the organ – imaginary identification – or to gender – new versions of the nomination, which has become self-nomination. The only thing that remains stable is the difference itself as a function engendered by language, and therefore the real of choice which is the minimal definition of castration.
It remains for the child to become the foundation and no longer the effect of the family, to choose its place in a difference that has become pluralised. Which one to choose? How does the child do it? Am I a bi-man or bi-woman? A female to male, male to female trans or a cis? Hetero male or hetero female, a homo? … etc.
Two remarks. The first on this point of language, because, in the end, there is only that which is not subjected to a choice: today, the accepted formulation is no longer transsexual, but transgender. “Trans” marks the being of speech and not the lack of being, which is the consequence of the grip of language on the body as it speaks. Second point: Lacan’s thesis that minorities are responsible for mutations of the modes of enjoying of the parlêtres is validated. The term ‘heterosexuality’ arose in language after ‘homosexuality’, and ‘cisgender’ after ‘transgender’. The child as a ‘polymorphic pervert’ is therefore quite the inventor.
Entanglements of the Phallus and Singular Satisfactions
Henceforth, it is not easy to use the term “phallic function”. The sexual difference has been, since Freud, in a more or less happy way, approached from the term of phallus, when it is not simply reduced to the anatomy of the male, that is to say to the penis. In this case, it is based on a foreclosure of the anatomy of the female. Ernest Jones and others struggle from these premises.[7] Pierre Naveau devoted an important study to this period of analytic theory.[8]
Jacques-Alain Miller’s 2008-2009 course entitled “Things of finesse in psychoanalysis” rigorously puts things in order.[9] He concretizes the expression of Lacan in the Écrits[10]: “The heteroclite castration complex”, a term he prefers, at this period of his teaching, to the classical term of Oedipus complex. The phallus is a “meta-signifier” that refers pell-mell to the “vital flow”, to an “imaginary signifier”, a “symbolic signifier”, a signified, a meaning, a sacrifice, a symbol, a sign, an organ, and so on. As Miller notes, “the libidinal world that Lacan created, he turned it around a signifier: the phallus. It spoke for everyone. And how! It is all the more telling that this signifier is imaginary.”[11] The phallus speaks to everyone and gives the psychoanalysts the shivers. From the point of view of clinical work, it is at best the exploitation of the principle of misunderstanding, which is foundational to speech, and, at worst, a veil of ignorance. This is why Miller reduces the heteroclite nature of this meta-signifier to a value: the value “minus,” which limits jouissance and thus makes desire possible. This is clearly the reason why Lacan opted for “castration complex” rather than “Oedipus complex.”
The so-called complexes and the phallus with a heteroclite definition were and are the occasion of slippages and prejudices at work in the passé and even reactionary positions of Freudian, post-Freudian and even Lacanian psychoanalysis. Lacan has always guarded against such slips in the discourse of the master, unlike some of his students, such as Françoise Dolto. Thus, he has always differentiated the subject from the individual and the ego. He dehumanized the father by reducing him to the name – the Name-of-the-Father – and in assimilating him to the metaphorical function, and he has dehumanised the mother in reducing her to desire. He never fails to recall that this operation, which touched the basis of the symbolic in psychoanalysis, was one of the reasons for his excommunication by the analytic world of the time, and the reason why he never returned to this Seminar entitled “Names-of-the-Father”, interrupted by PIPAAD and its “air of heritage”.[12]
If, as Miller does, we reduce the phallus to the minus sign, to this common value which allows the speaking bodies to enter into commerce and exchange, how are we to approach sexual difference, if not by the singularity of modes of enjoyment? At a time when the status of the child in the family has changed, where the child has become the foundation rather than a product, how does the child approach the lack, this “minus”, the inevitable consequence of language on the body and the link of discourse? How does the child speak about the choice of his or her singular mode of enjoyment?
Mutant or Hybrid? Infantile Sexual Theories
Two other clinical vignettes show the power of knowledge invented by children. A little girl, from the age of two, had impressed her family by the fact that, to assert her femininity, she demanded to put several dresses on top of each other, in the logic of making herself the fetish, and received as a gift for her six birthday a small notebook with a padlock – Diary of a Princess – a capitalist takeover of the fairy tale. A year or two later, the object, abandoned, fell into the hands of a curious adult. Some drawings, but, written on pages and pages, the following sentence: “Prince Charming is a cretin.” Damn! I didn’t know, but I should have. It is obvious. He only serves to wake the Sleeping Beauty. This is reminiscent of the film Kill Bill by Tarentino, in which the name of the heroine is scrambled on the soundtrack: while she is asleep in a deep coma, after being hit in the head by a bullet fired by the man she loves, her “favours” are monetised by the nursing staff. One day, the sleeping beauty suddenly wakes up and makes a transformation to this capitalist version of Prince Charming, a cretin as I later understood. These tales, these myths, what structures do they reflect?
In Seminar 19, Lacan begins developing his formulas of sexuation, and, in Chapter 7, which Jacques-Alain Miller titled “The Vanished Partner”, he affirms, in speaking of his exchanges, or rather his refusal to exchange, with Simone de Beauvoir about the title she had chosen – The Second Sex – that “there is no second sex.”[13]He defines sexuality as a function: “The function called sexuality is defined, to the extent that we know anything about it – we do know a bit about it, if only from experience – by the fact that the sexes are twain […] From the moment language starts functioning, there is no second sex. Or, to put it differently, concerning what is called heterosexuality, the word heteros, which is the term that in Greek is used to say other, is in the position – for the relation that in the speaking being is called sexual – of emptying itself of its Being. This emptiness which it offers to speech is precisely what I call the locus of the Other, namely the locus in which the effects of the said speech are inscribed.” So two or not two? Is the law of difference, which is the law of articulation S1-S2, still valid?
This same little girl, talking to her brother, sprung this on him one day: “You know, there are not only boys and girls.” The brother is surprised. “There are also ‘girlboys’, and ‘boygirls’. Me, I am a ‘girlboy’.” The brother replied, dryly, that it was out of the question for him to be classed as ‘boygirl’. The dialogue was at an end. There is no relation between the sexes, even if one multiplies the cases and tries to enlarge the categories. Why? I have an idea. It is not, it seems, in a reiteration of the formula “The woman does not exist” that we have to seek it out, because it is clear that “The man does not exist.” No one escapes the fact that, as soon as we begin to talk about sexual difference, we are led by discourse to speak in universal terms: ‘the’ men, ‘the’ women, and ‘the’ others. In short, we do not exit the universal, characterised by the lying truth and meaning, alas the most common, which is to say dominant. In and through language, sexuality passes via the pathways of speech and any speaker finds themselves in the table of sexuation, which appears in Seminar 20, Encore, with its two formulas of sexuation on the side of the man: there exists an x such that not phi of xand for all x, phi of x.[14]
To characterize the effects of sexual difference on speech and language, we can use the model of the black hole as defined by astrophysicists in the context of the theory of relativity. Everything that enters the interior of the black hole – all information, all material – is assimilated to the black hole, which is characterized by only three elements: its mass, its speed of rotation, and its electric charge. All the objects that fall into it become inaccessible. As soon as one enters into the field of sexual difference, everything that defines the singularity of the modes of enjoyment and subjective positions becomes inaccessible. The man/woman binary neutralizes all other differences and makes the speaking bodies inaccessible in the contingency and non-universality of their organization. The so-called feminine side, highlighted by Lacan, is an attempt to make accessible what is not accessible to the man, governed by the regime of the one of exception, and the all of the universal. On the feminine side, sexual difference becomes totally “asymmetrical”.[15] The feminine is thinkable only if we exclude any idea of ​​complementarity, inclusion or even contradiction.
Admittedly, sexual difference can only be formulated in the field of identification and fantasy. To be gendered is only possible on the side of the logic of the all and of the phallic exception. “Man, the male, the virile […] is a creation of discourse.”[16]Let’s add, The woman is one also, as a function of Phi, understood as a measure of value. In passing, we can generalize the formula The woman does not exist for the Man. Sex is the effect of a saying. What words today do children choose to say their affiliation? Do they have new sexual theories?
The Difference Is (a)Sexuated: Differences Linked to Contingency
Sexual difference on the side of jouissance is related to the objects plus-de-jouir, or object a. This diversifies it in the function of dominance of this or that object, a dominance whose origin is due to contingent marks in the history of the subject, but which, precisely, in being dominance and fixation, engenders a repetition and thus a necessity.
These objects have one element in common, which psychoanalysis has traced since Freud. They are linked to the orifices of the body, to the passage apprehended first as a passage from the inside to the outside of the body. Objects allow the imaginary to become again a surface with an edge.
The consequence is that, linked to the orifices of one’s own body, sexuality is essentially autoerotic, even if these objects are placed in the Other. We can read the current rise in the social link of discourse where jouissance of one body is submitted to stricter conditions by another body, while, at the same time, the traditional ban on masturbation has disappeared. Fantasy, motor of autoeroticism, yes; act, no. Does the spread of porn, the empire of the image on social networks, modify ­– and if yes, how – children’s approach to sexuality? Does greater puritanism, combined with greater crudeness of images and liberation of words, bring about a modification of the subject’s relation to his or her (a)sexuality? Are children today polymorphously perverse or, rather, puritanical?
And Love?
In 1978, Seminar 26, “Topology and time,”[17] Lacan, speaks of the possibility of a third sex, on the basis of his choice of the “generalized Borromean”: “There is no sexual relation, it is what I stated because there is an Imaginary, a Symbolic and a Real, that’s what I did not dare to say […] What makes up for the sexual relation,” he continues, “is that people make love. There is an explanation for this: the possibility of a third sex.” Enigmatic, making it difficult for himself, he returns to say that “this third sex does not survive in the presence of the other two,” which concern forcing and domination. It is therefore only about love.
Does love make fun of sexual difference? Is it, as with hatred, the place of the possible where it ceases to be written, where it abolishes itself in absolute difference? Does it, in the field of love, cease to be, and dual, and classificatory, therefore segregative? What can children teach us about love as access to the third sex?
Text established by Hervé Damase with Frédérique Bouvet, read by the author.
Translated by Janet Haney and John Haney
[1] For the presentation of the forthcoming Study-Days of the Institute of the Child by Daniel Roy see: http://institut-enfant.fr/2019/05/02/quatre-perspectives-sur-la-difference-sexuelle/.
[2] Lacan J., Seminar 19, …Or worse (1971-2), ed. J.-A. Miller, transl. A.R. Price, Cambridge, Polity, 2018, p. 211.
[3] Cf. Du mariage et des psychanalystes, ed. Jacques-Alain Miller and Bernard-Henri Lévy, Paris, Navarin/Le Champ freudien, La règle du jeu, 2013. See also Psychoanalytical Notebooks No. 29, Sexual Orientation, London Society of the NLS, February 2015.
[4] Miller J.-A., “Le savoir de l’enfant”, Peurs d’enfants, Paris, Navarin, Nouvelle collection La petite Girafe No. 2, 2011, p. 18
[5] Lacan, J., “Television” transl. D. Hollier, R. Krauss, A. Michelson, in Television/A Challenge to the Psychoanalytic Establishment, ed. J. Copjec, London/New York, Norton, 1990, p. 30.
[6] Lacan, J., Seminar 21, Les non dupes errent, lesson of 19 March 1974, unpublished.
[7] Jones, E., “The Early Development of Female Sexuality” (1927), International Journal of Psychoanalysis, Vol. 8, pp. 468-9; “The Phallic Phase,” International Journal of Psychoanalysis, Vol. 14, pp. 1-33.
[8] Naveau, P., “The quarrel of the phallus: 1920-1935”, thesis realized under the direction of Jacques-Alain Miller in 1988 at the Department of Psychoanalysis of the University Paris 8, unpublished.
[9] Miller, J.-A., “The Lacanian Orientation: choses de finesse en psychanalyse,” teaching given as part of the Department of Psychoanalysis of the University Paris 8, 1 April 2009, unpublished.
[10] Lacan, J., “Subversion of the subject and dialectic of the desire in the Freudian unconscious”, Écrits, London/New York, Norton, 2006, p. 696.
[11] Miller, J.-A.,” The Lacanian Orientation, Things of finesse … “, op. cit.
[12] Lacan’s acronym is SAMCDA: society of mutual assistance against analytic discourse, translated by D. Hollier, R. Krauss, A. Michelson as PIPAAD (Professional Insurance Plan Against Analytic Discourse), “Television”, op. cit., p. 29.
[13] Lacan, J., Seminar 19, … Or worse, op. cit. p. 80.
[14] Lacan, J. Seminar 20, Encore, On Feminine Sexuality, The Limits of Love and Knowledge (1972-3), ed. Jacques-Alain Miller, transl. Bruce Fink, New York/London Norton, 1998, p. 78 et seq: the phallic universe is supported by an element that is excluded from being subjected to the function of castration.
[15] Lacan, J., Seminar 12, “Critical Problems for Psychoanalysis,” lesson of 16 June 1965, unpublished.
[16] Lacan, J., Seminar 17, The Other Side of Psychoanalysis (1969-70), ed. Jacques-Alain Miller, transl. Russell Grigg, New York/London, Norton, 2007, p. f62.
[17] Lacan, J., Seminar 26, “Topology and time”, lessons of 19 December 1978 and 16 January 1979, unpublished.


Thursday, 25 April 2019
New Lacanian School (NLS) / World Association of Psychoanalysis (WAP) presents:

The 7th Issue of The Lacanian Review: ‘Get Real’ 
There are no words for the real in psychoanalysis, there are only letters. Yet the symptoms of our era do not stop being written of the real. With new translations of Jacques Lacan, Jacques-Alain Miller, and a dossier on quantum physics, The Lacanian Review takes on the impossible question: What is real in psychoanalysis?
Presentation: The Lacanian Review 7 ‘Get Real’
In our Post-Truth era, reality is under attack. The contemporary moment is disoriented by fake news, chatbots, conspiracy theories and a digital flood of leaks, lies and revelations. On hold with automated phone answering services, one pleads to just talk to a real person.But we are also complicit, enjoying online avatars, virtual reality, augmented reality and cryptocurrency fueled binges.
Over a century ago, psychoanalysis learned from psychotic subjects that chasing after reality is folly. Reality is just another delusion in the service of the fantasy. To find an orientation amidst the proliferating loss of belief in reality experienced today, psychoanalysis must shift the question to find an exit from the reality trap. In its 7th issue, The Lacanian Review interrogates what is real in psychoanalysis.
TLR7 introduces a landmark translation by Philip Dravers of the late Lacan’s momentus and polyphonic address, “The Third,” followed by texts exploring the Borromean clinic. Marie-Helene Brousse curates a dossier that approaches the subject of the real through dialogue with quantum physics and new work by Philippe de Georges and Clotilde Leguil. Interviews with Matteo Barsuglia, astrophysicist at the National Center for Scientific Research in France and Catherine Pépin, researcher at the Institute of Theoretical Physics (IPhT) of the Atomic Energy Center at Saclay (France), advance a critical conversation between two discourses that delineates what we call reality and real.
Three new translations of Jacques-Alain Miller, published for the first time in English, examine truth, fiction and science in relation to the real as the impossible, but also the contingent. These lessons question whether we are in a Post-Truth era or the era of the Lying-Truth.
Attesting to the singular experience of the real in psychoanalysis, TLR 7 presents three testimonies of the pass of current Analysts of the School. Clinical cases, the politics of the real, biotechnology, and Lady Gaga with Hamlet are all assembled in this issue of The Lacanian Review, a journal which might not be of a semblant. Get Real!
thelacanianreviews.com Orders: eurl.librairie@gmail.com / Attention: Pascale Fari Subscribe: https://www.ecf-echoppe.com/categorie-produit/revues/the-lacanian-review/ Marie-Hélène Brousse, Editor in Chief
Cyrus Saint Amand Poliakoff, Managing Editor / cyrus.saint@gmail.com



Thursday, 14 March

The “Preface to the English-Language Edition” of Seminar XI is a three-paged text that Lacan wrote in 1976 as an extension of his Seminar, The Sinthome; Miller even considers it to be this seminar’s last lesson. This short text is a new way of taking up his “Proposition” on the pass. It is for this reason that Miller considers it to be, in some way, Lacan’s last will and testament.
When he brings up the pass again at the end of his teaching, Lacan no longer uses the signifier “subjective urgency”, but that of “urgent cases”.
Other signifiers are also not found in this text. While “transference” finds its algorithmic definition in the 1967 “Proposition”, this signifier is nowhere to be found in the later text. And for good reason, for in his very last teaching, the subject supposed to know is itself thrown into question. The subject supposed to know is the hypothesis of the Freudian unconscious, the transferential unconscious. In this final text, the signifiers “knowledge”, “subject supposed to know” and “transference” no longer appear. In this regard, Miller points out that he prefers that we say that we come back from one session to the next because ça pousse, “it pushes”, ça urge, “it urges” rather than because of transference.
Knowledge is no longer there because Lacan no longer believes in it. He considers knowledge to be only a semblant, a hare-brained lucubration about lalangue.[7]
On the other hand, while knowledge produces nothing but lies, we find another signifier, that of “lying truth”.[8] And instead of the signifier of transference we find “these urgent cases”.
Admittedly, urgency here is, on the one hand, just as in 1967, what presides over the analysis, what presides over transference. In the analytic situation, the psychoanalyst is this person, this quelconque or “whomsoever” who embodies this place of address for analysands – these speaking beings that “run”[9] after the truth – the one who agrees to “pair” with these urgent cases. We meet an analyst when we are in a state of urgency. But, on the other hand, Lacan takes an additional step that goes beyond transference; there is another urgency. In analysis, there is always urgency, there is always something that pushes, that urges, that presses and that is beyond transference, even if one takes one’s time or lets it drag on.[10] Urgency is something that presses the parlêtre. Something of the order of “the urgency of life”, as Dominique Holvoet magnificently emphasized in his teaching as an AS[11].
“This indicates that there is a causality operating at a deeper level than the transference, one that Lacan characterizes as a level of satisfaction insofar as it is urgent and analysis is its means.”[12]
We run after the truth, says Lacan; this is what happens in free association, but truth cannot be caught by the signifier.
What is urgent for Lacan at the end of his teaching – the analytical urgency, that which pushes theparlêtre – consists therefore of running after truth, of pursuing the truth that harbours the real. But this truth cannot be captured with words. The urgency in question is the attempt to catch hold of a truth that can never be reached. This race to pursue the truth that we never can catch is what provides the satisfaction of these urgent cases, of the speaking bodies. This is why one can say that analysis is the means for this urgent satisfaction.
Satis, etymologically the Latin “enough”, constitutes the root of the signifier “satisfaction”, the “it is enough” of the pass. Consequently, satisfaction comes in two modalities: that of satis – “it is enough”, and that of a new way of knowing how to do with one’s real, with the non-resorbable jouissance.
In this final text, Lacan no longer says “the psychoanalyst derives his authorisation only from himself”,[13] because the subject produced by free association is thrown back into question. Instead, he emphasizes what is urgent, the impulse that pushes the subject to “hystoricize himself” [“s’hystoriser de lui-même”][14], namely to hystoricize himself without making a pair with his analyst. As you can see, in the very last Lacan, at the Archimedean point of the pass, what is at stake is urgent. The pass is done via the urgency of life.

Bernard Seynhaeve
Translated from the French by Philip Dravers
From the Argument towards the NLS Congress 2019