Lacan was able to call the analyst’s act of saying [dire] which responds to the saying [dire] of the unconscious become hybrid, jaculation. “What we establish with the Borromean knot already goes against the image of concatenation. The discourse that it concerns does not make a chain […] Consequently, the question arises as to whether the effect of meaning in its real is due to the use of words or to their jaculation… we used to believe it was the words that counted. Whereas if we take the trouble to isolate the category of the signifier, we can see that the jaculation has a sense that can be isolated.”[xxxii]To retain this link of an effect of meaning that continues to exist, without believing in the significance [portée] of an enunciation, Lacan comes to posit the existence of a real effect of meaning. “The effect of meaning required of the analytic discourse is not imaginary. It is not symbolic either. It must be real. What I’m busy doing this year is thinking what the real of an effect of meaning could be.”[xxxiii]This interpretation is not of the order of a translation by addition of a signifier two, S2, in relation to an S1, a signifier One. It does not aim at concatenation or the production of a signifying chain. It responds to the new aim of tightening the knot around the body event and the inscription that can be noted (a) in a renewed use: “The famous concept of the letter, which was made to overcome the dichotomy of the signifier and the object.”[xxxiv]

Lacan had already used this term ‘jaculation’ to account for the power of the poetic text, whether with reference to Pindare[xxxv]or Angelus Silesius and his mystic jaculations.[xxxvi]Or again, of Serge Leclaire’s Poordjeli– an expression outside meaning of different elements of the fantasy, he made “a secrete jaculation, a jubilatory expression, an onomatopoeia,”[xxxvii]as he made a jaculation out of the “Fort-Da”. In the seminar on The Object of Psychoanalysis, he took up the first sentences from his first Seminar on the action of the Zen master: “Everyone knows, though one does not know what it means, that a Zen exercise has something to do with the subjective realization of a void […] the mental void that it is a matter of obtaining and which would be obtained, this singular moment, in an abruptness following a period of waiting, sometimes provoked by a word, a sentence, a jaculation, even a rude remark, a snub, a kick in the ass. It is quite certain that these kinds of slapstick moments or clownish behavior have meaning only in the light of a long subjective preparation […].”[xxxviii]We can now add that, in Zen Buddhism, Linji was the inventor, and also the one who best knew how to put it into practice, of what Demiéville translated as eructation: “An eructation, the inimitable way of conducting the Chan maieutic; Lin-tsi was regarded as being its most consummate virtuoso, if not its inventor.”[xxxix]

Jacques-Alain Miller has given an updated version of this jaculation that gives it its full scope. He considers that Lacan goes beyond the Saussurean atom that links sound and meaning by using the voice. “An utterance is […] subject to the binary matrix of statement and enunciation, which makes two. I would say today that vociferation – which I take as a third term after those of proposition and statement – overcomes the division of statement and enunciation. The vociferation is statement-enunciation as indivisible. […] It does not take a distance from he who vociferates. And when there is no who, it is said all together. In other words, vociferation includes its point of emission.”[xl]

What was called jaculation in Seminar XXII, as designating a real effect of meaning becomes, in Seminar XXIV, the new signifier. “When he appeals to a new signifier, in fact, it concerns a signifier that could have another use […] a signifier that would be new, not simply because with it there would be one more signifier but because, instead of being contaminated by sleep, this new signifier would trigger an awakening.”[xli]

This awakening is connected to the production of a real effect of meaning as the production of a subjective void. Thus, in his latest teaching, Lacan draws, in the fullest sense, with the knot, a modality of the treatment of the disruption of jouissance by the One blunder [Une bévue]For this, he revises the classical terms of the instruments of the psychoanalytic operation: the unconscious, transference, and interpretation, to propose new ones: the parlêtre, the act, and jaculation subject to the logic of the “There’s something of the One” [Yad’l’Un],” a jaculation that is central in Lacan’s last teaching.


Excerpt from the Argument of the 2020 NLS Congress in Ghent "Interpretation: From Truth To Event"

[xxxii]Ibid., pp. 96-97.


[xxxiv]Miller, J.-A., “Lacanian Biology and the Event of the Body”, Lacanian Ink, Issue 18, 2001, pp. 6-29.

[xxxv]Lacan, J., The Seminar of Jacques Lacan, Book VIII, Transference, tr. B. Fink, Polity, London, 2017, p. 372. Lacan speaks of “Pindar’s famous ejaculatory proclamation.”

[xxxvi]Lacan J., Seminar XIII, “The Object of Psychoanalysis (1965-1966), lesson of 1December 1965, unpublished.

[xxxvii]Lacan J., Seminar XII, “Crucial Problems for Psychoanalysis” (1964-1965), lesson of 27 February 1965, unpublished.

[xxxviii]Lacan, J., Seminar XIIIop. cit.

[xxxix]Demiéville, P., Entretiens de Linji, Fayard, 1972, quoted by Nathalie Charraud, “Lacan et le Buddhisme Chan” La Cause freudienne, No. 79 (2011/2013), p. 123.

[xl]Miller, J-A., XVIIINullibiété, Lesson of 11 June 2008, unpublished.

[xli]Miller, J.-A., “L’orientation lacanienne, Le tout dernier Lacan,” teaching delivered within the framework of the Department of Psychoanalysis Paris VIII, published as “En deçà de l’insconscient”, La Cause du Désir, No. 91, Navarin, Paris, 2015, p. 107.