PC: At this stage of its production (and of the development of the Schools of the WAP), what do you consider to have been Jacques-Alain Miller’s decisive contribution to the elucidation of the late Lacan?

GD: Jacques-Alain Miller was clairvoyant. When he was little more than twenty years old, he had the intuition that Lacan was much more than a great psychoanalyst. He understood that he was in the presence of someone who was changing our way of understanding the human, who was about to push Freud’s discovery even further. Miller saw that and didn’t let it escape. He dedicated his entire life to deciphering Lacan’s work, to preventing something similar happening to his doctrine as what happened with Freud, whose disciples were dissolving the power of his discovery. Miller knew very early on that this risk was at stake with Lacan’s work, and I suppose Lacan, knowing the background of what had happened with Freud, needed someone to help avoid something similar happening with him.

Lacan also had a kind of enlightenment. There was no lack of intelligent, even brilliant people among his followers. Nonetheless, he trusted a young man who did not even have a true analytical background at the beginning, who came from philosophy and logic, and who was certainly not a practitioner. Can you imagine what that must have involved at that time? That a youth became the intellectual heir of the teacher? Well, that youth could see further than all those who disputed that inheritance. He grasped like no other the logic of the divine details (an expression that Jacques-Alain Miller took from Nabokov) in reading the Lacanian text, and extracted the pure gold of that psychoanalysis. Thanks to the establishment of Lacan’s Seminar, and also through his numerous courses, Miller transmitted something fundamental: the work of Lacan is a corpus in which all the parts are indispensable. There is nothing to discard, given that it is a doctrine that rejects the idea of progress.

The late Lacan is as valuable as the first, or the middle one. The concept of jouissance does not replace the concept of desire. Jacques-Alain Miller has definitely stripped away the illusion that one can keep the final part, and that what came before can be discarded. Or alternatively we have the example of the Lacanians of the IPA who take a section of the Lacanian corpus, and are entranced by the imaginary and the symbolic. The real seems to them an oddity unsuitable for clinical practice. The decisive thing, returning to your question, is precisely to pursue to its final consequences an elaboration on the concept of the real that has not yet been concluded. The late Lacan is just the beginning of an investigation that Miller has opened up, and that has to be continued. It is not proven that we are up to that challenge. But we try.