The School: Woman, Subject, of the Cartel, Symptom, Knowledge, Knot, Cause, Refuge, Work in Progress, of the Pass… The predicates multiply themselves, constituting a sufficiently Borgesean labyrinth that invites one to lose oneself in what Lacan skillfully called a set of ill-assorted oddments [1]. Each of these terms (the list is incomplete) makes up a language that is uncomfortable to inhabit but that one must learn and speak. It is in this manoeuvre, as I understand it, that the spirit of conversation lies hidden.

To this end I will try to locate some coordinates that allow us to think about ‘the living thing’, transference, and affectio societatis.

Jacques Lacan, in his Italian Note (1973), speaks of enthusiasm as a condition of possibility for the analyst. I bring it up since I consider it a fundamental text when it comes to thinking about the School. One can read there what hopes he has for the Italian School that is to come. In other words, he proposes a kind of plan for the work transference to come. In summary: first, he differentiates happiness from enthusiasm. Happiness is a condition per se of the subject as defined in 1974 in Television. Then he links the end of the analytic experience and its going beyond the horror of knowledge, as a possibility for enthusiasm. He says: “From then on, he knows that he is a reject [a waste object]. This is what the analyst must at least have made him sense. If he is not carried in it to enthusiasm, there may well have been an analysis, but no chance of an analyst.” [2]

In case it passed you by, I shall underline what he says: “This is what the analyst must at least have made him sense.” First point: it is an enthusiasm which is born – at least – uncomfortable.

There is no life without desire, nor desire without enthusiasm, but enthusiasm should not be confused with the naivety of hope. Mauricio Tarrab, in his presentation at the Cartel Study Days held in Carlos Paz in 2017, describes how the EOL had to wait five years in order to put the device into operation: “For the Pass to be sustained as an effective reality, it had to be something more than an ideal and had to be incarnated in a community of experience, in an affectio societatis and in a climate of lucid trust without which it cannot not work.”

Second point: for the ‘living thing’ to happen [pasar], it was necessary to know how to wait.


The term is complex but interesting. Enthusiasm, the dictionary states, is an exaltation of the spirit for something that captivates it. I say complex since, in its Greek root, this is a word made up of three elements: en, theou and asthma, which together mean “God’s inner breath.” We could solve the problem of the theological argument if we remind ourselves of the God-unconscious relation, recovering from the term enthusiasm the beyond looking at the navel of the dream – even if it is just for a little while – and knotting it to the work transference, which is what I am attempting to define.

I say “stop looking at the navel of one’s dream” and go to Jacques-Alain Miller’s course “Le lieu et le lien” [3] to try to clarify the way in which he poses this transformation: he calls it an irrealization of the unconscious, making the real (the term that pulsates in the middle of the word) resonate.

Let’s say that the experience of this real allows – Lacan says “authorizes” – a new direction of that which captivates the exaltation of the spirit.

I have no doubt that at this point in my presentation, Cesar Aira would be tempted to play with the Echeverrian [4] resonances of the term “captive” and would oppose it to the Slaughterhouse. You know it already; I do not manage to separate psychoanalysis from literature without fear of stepping off solid ground.

I maintain that: either the cause captivates us, or the slaughterhouse tempts us. It is the beauty of life.


The School Woman: this locates the not-all while at least trying to know how to get dressed with the semblant to suit each happening and which is a condition of possibility for the analyst.

The School Subject: Miller has developed it in his Turin Theory, since it calls for interpretation.

The School Cartel: well, that was my entrance to the cartography of the labyrinth and the possibility of thinking beyond the postal address of the EOL. I owe this, and hereby I acknowledge it, to Luis Tudanca, who pushed me to think about the School in terms of topology.

The School Symptom: because it does not cease to be a little bit trauma, a little bit solution.

The School Knowledge, S2: I have not the slightest doubt of it. Moreover, when someone criticizes it (with or without reasons) I cannot stop thinking about what the critic is missing, in terms of the volume of the collective elaboration that the EOL has produced since its foundation.

The School Knot: which, through the permutation of roles and functions, enables the hooking and unhooking that supports the labyrinth. Which, in turn, is the unfathomable decision of each member, adherent, associate or participant.

The School Cause: because otherwise we would not be talking about this in the midst of the world’s current disarray.

The School Refuge: precisely in the face of this disarray.

The School Work in Progress, [5] the Joycean School: an enormous device made of language and jouissance to be listened to as an unfinished score.

The School of the Pass: I leave it for last. Leaving the Pass for last seems like a Lacanian joke…

The Pass is always at the end. Contingency took care of teaching me what Lacan meant in his Seminar on the Purloined Letter with respect to the letter en souffrance. [6]

I am just going to say that the role of the AS, the Analyst of the School, is not exhausted in the Testimony (that’s what got captured in contingency).

Haste is always a problem to be elucidated. Or at least it was for me.

One has to know how to wait for the moment.

Translated from the Spanish by Florencia F.C. Shanahan


Text presented 28 September 2020 at  “Evening of the Council: Life of the School. Transference and affectio societatis”, EOL (School of the Lacanian Orientation), Buenos Aires.

[1] Lacan, J., “Preface to the English Edition of Seminar XI”. The expression épars désassortis‘, literally ‘dispersed oddments’, translated first as ‘scattered, ill-assorted individuals’ and, in a more recent translation, as ‘ill-assorted oddments’. Cf. The Lacanian Review, Issue 6, Fall 2018.

[2] Lacan, J., “Note to the Italian Group (1973)”, trans. R. Grigg, Analysis 7 (1997).

[3] Miller, J.-A., El lugar y el lazo, Paidos, Bs.As., p. 371.

[4] Reference to Argentinian writers Esteban Echeverria [1805-1851] and Cesar Aira [1949- ].

[5] In English in the original.

[6] “En souffrance”: pending or in abeyance. See Lacan., J., Ecrits. The First Complete Edition in English, Norton, London/New York, 2006, p. 21. “to resort to the language of the post office, a letter en souffrance (awaiting delivery or unclaimed).”


Image @Alessi – Time Maze Wall Clock