The Feminine Uncanny. Saying the Unsayable

23rd Brasilian Encounter of the Freudian Field / 20th to 22nd November 2020 – Itaigara – Salvador / Guest Speaker: Christiane Alberti (ECF – Paris)

A feminine fable

By Marcelo Veras

Increasingly waking up to the sensitivity of Korean culture, I invite you to read the three-part fable by writer Han Kang, The Vegetarian. South Korea seems to me to be one of the countries that most represents the shock of two ways of living the jouissance of the object in the same culture, as emptiness and as excess. What Korean artists seem to insist on revealing is precisely the remains of the miraculous Korean transformation of the last decades. These remains are explored, as everyone could see, in the excellent film Parasite.
Kang’s fable brings another aspect of Korean contradiction, the loneliness of the sexes in the decline of traditions. What happens when a completely submissive woman, after a dream, suddenly refuses to eat meat. Although small, the book brings an explosion of possibilities for possible readings. In an Asian country with an enormous contingent of Christians, the decision to refuse meat in a scene where the father violently forces his daughter to eat, does not cease to raise the question of incorporation and refusal of the sacred body and blood.
However, if the radical refusal of this woman leads to an explosion of violence and madness in the first part, it is in the second part that the most intense eroticism found in current books erupts. This is the part which impressed me the most, due to its proximity to many Lacanian texts on the feminine. It is when the lovers, each in their own way, find eachother sexually after having renounced something. While the woman destroys her marriage and relationship with her father by refusing to eat meat, the man, a brother-in-law who has always been fascinated by a birthmark, a fetishist trait, her Mongolian birthmark, finally manages to love her for the paintings he makes on this woman’s naked body. For her, a love beyond Oedipus, for him, a woman beyond fetish, a woman-sinthome.
Naked, both fuse together as bodies that are just surfaces for drawing prints on their own skins. They become a work of art.
This is not the hysterical body of a woman, nor the fetishist body parts for a man; the two characters exile themselves from the lures of symbolic castration in a field where nothing else seems to make sense, they become bodies of pure letter.
Kang, through the letter, makes the sexual relation exist, but it is ephemeral as a beating structure, an eclipse in the phallic universe. The third and last part shows the drift of the characters, lost in a world whose phallic imposture no longer makes sense, the social semblants seem like caricatures, the master, represented by the medical discourse, tries to impose his truth, just as the father and husband did, but what seemed impotence finally reveals its impossibility.
The book is short, a few pages. I spent a long time trying to understand where its depth came from. Then I realized that it was precisely because the whole plot is not in the words, but in its form. As always, it is art teaching psychoanalysts.


The Future in Times of Coronavirus – The New Normal?


26th June 202019h [Spain]

The beginning of the pandemic caused by the coronavirus has placed the authorities in the position of decreeing the State of Alarm, which has implied the restriction of rights and a situation of confinement that has been dragging on for more than two months. The certain possibility of getting sick and of dying, together with the demand for social distancing due to the possibility of being infected or infectious -which turns the other and each one into potential contagion- introduce modifications in the social bonds, plunging citizens into bewilderment and anguish. On the other hand, the inability to go to the workplace and the loss of jobs have increased poverty and exclusion. One of the worst economic crises is looming, envisaged to be even greater than that of 2008.

Although at the moment deconfinement has begun, nothing suggests that it will be simple and that it will not involve setbacks. Sustained and globalized uncertainty is another of the feelings that hits the bodies given the difficulty for words to give a credible meaning to the situation. The bet is placed on science finding a vaccine and a treatment that prevents the virus from attacking. But subjective times do not coincide with those of science. You have to wait longer than you wished.

In this context, voices emerge that predict a post-pandemic world very different from the current one. Authors like Zizek think that the virus has placed a bomb on the waterline of capitalism, a question that is unclear and therefore central for us to think about. For her part, Naomi Klein estimates that the defenders of an absolutely cyber world, where bodies and presence would no longer be necessary, are finding their golden opportunity. Let’s be attentive to what happens in education and medicine where this idea gains maximum strength. And in teleworking. Do not lose track either of what the alarm / exception States have shown to lovers of population control: it is possible to impose the monitoring of people through mobile phones in order to end the pandemic: totalitarianism blossoms? In turn, the attack on the planet by the voracity of “always more” could be at the origin of the situation we are living.

All these questions, which introduce new forms of discontent in civilization, are framed by the concern for the future and in this new born signifier: “the new normal” which, like a mantra, we hear every day coming out from the screens. If we tune our ears and isolate it from the common sense imposed on it, we can hear its sinister tint. Hence the questions that arise from the title of the debate that we propose: what is to come? What is the “new” that is announced? What is it that it’s trying to be “normalized”?

Gustavo Dessal, psychoanalyst
Carlos Fernández Liria, philosopher
Mónica García, physician and and regional deputy (CAM)
Luis García Montero, poet and director of the Instituto Cervantes
Joaquín Caretti Ríos, psychoanalyst
Free Registration via Zoom:
Organising Committee: Dolores Castrillo, José Luis Chacón, Elisa Giangaspro and Oscar Strada
Zadig España


50th Study Days of the École de la Cause Freudienne

Argument – Part 4

By Caroline Leduc

The current feminist debates are crystallised around a difficulty proper to our time which concerns the alterity of the sexuated bodies, whatever their gender. As Jacques-Alain Miller already discovered in 2004, the sexual non-relation became a common truth in the current discourse: “the relation between the two sexes is going to become more and more impossible [1]”; “the non-existence of the sexual relation has precisely, today, become obvious,” to the extent that “the master signifiers no longer manage to make it exist.” [2] Therefore, it is also a crisis of semblants and more specifically a crisis of the phallic semblant. The phallic trait once operative between the sexes appears broken and phallic desire becomes a monster. The phallic gift which could be a consolation to castration no longer has its symbolic effect but it henceforth tends to take the colouring of abuse. It is the break-in of jouissance for all – revealing for each his jouissance One separated, isolated, orphaned, that is to say, without Other. The phallus, once instrument of a singular desire subjectivising the signifying alienation, is reduced to being nothing more than an index of the contingent violence through which the registers of the Other and the One are originally separated. A rejection of the Other agitates our times.

Sexual abuse exists, and it has always existed. Psychoanalysis of the Lacanian orientation claims that the emergence of sexual desire in the body of a subject has a structural effect of traumatic otherness, whether or not an abuse has occurred in reality. The sexual always separates something with a crash. It is the ravaging otherness of the sexual desire of an other which prematurely sexualises the body; and this can be the disturbing otherness of one’s own body moved by an always premature sexual desire. Psychoanalysis bets that it is from this very point of real of which it appeared that one is the object, that a response can be invented – that of the subject itself.

The structural abuse that sex inflicts on our bodies was previously hidden. It was not talked about. Censorship had the function of maintaining the established order, of veiling this scandal by means of the fictions that ordered and regulated the rapport between the sexes. With the metoo phenomenon and its still very powerful consequences, it turns out that the feminist discourse of our time meets the deductions of psychoanalysis. There are nevertheless differences between these two discourses. Psychoanalysis proposes to free oneself from the mortifying consequences of the abuse by taking into account an impossible which is discovered and experienced in a long analytical treatment; long because discovering it and then using it first requires to have exhausted the suffering. It is indeed impossible to enjoy the body of an other. This is the meaning of Lacan’s aphorism: there is no sexual relation. Even within a consensual relationship, the partner is added to a jouissance which is that of one’s own body. This addition is a fiction – for example, that of love. If we can desire the participation of a partner, it will nonetheless be a “means”[3] to our jouissance; if the jouissance of an other is imposed on us, the horror resides in what is revealed to us in being reduced to a means of the other’s jouissance without the support of a fiction.

So what remains are the blows of this real of the jouissance One on the imaginary, the stakes of which swell, producing the scattering of the old imaginary and symbolic categories of sexual roles, as well as the sign of solitude of each turning in circles around the symptomatic capture of his or her jouissance. It is therefore understandable how sexual abuse precipitates into the ravages of an incestuous imaginary: “sexual rapport, there is none, but it is not obvious, there is none, except incestuous one.”[4] The way out through speech in a psychoanalysis is to consider one’s “symptom as a question mark in the sexual non-relation.” [5]

The work on the theme of our Study Days aims to obtain an Aufhebung of what these contemporary phenomena denote as impasse, which restores their precise place in what is transformed in discourse. Which are the effects of this modernity on the politics of treatments? To orient oneself, it is about situating in a differential way the bad encounter with the sexual in terms of structure and in its contingent appearance.

Translated by Peggy Papada
1 Miller, Jacques-Alain, “A fantasy”, in Mental 15, February 2005, Available in English online, p. 11.
2 Ibid, p10.
3 Miller, Jacques-Alain, “The Lacanian Orientation. The partner –symptom” (1997-1998). Teaching delivered within the framework of the department of psychoanalysis of the University Paris-VIII, course of 27 May, 1998, unpublished: “the relationship of the couple at the level of the sexual supposes that the other becomes […] a means of his jouissance”; the body of the partner, “ is a means of jouissance […] of my own body […] it is a mode of enjoying the body of the other, and by body of the other, it is necessary to understand both one’s own body, which has always a dimension of otherness, and also the body of others as a means for the jouissance of one’s own body”.
4. Lacan, Jaques, Seminar XXIV, lesson of 15 March 1977, published in Ornicar?, no 17/18, Paris, Navarin, printemps 1979, pp. 8-9.
5. Cf. Miller, Jacques-Alain, “A fantasy”, in Mental 15, February 2005, Available in English online, p. 14.


50th Study Days of the École de la Cause Freudienne

Argument – Part 3

By Angèle Terrier

The verification of the real of the drive exigency in infantile sexuality is at the core of Freud’s invention of psychoanalysis. There is no unconscious without the encounter with a first experience of jouissance, Lacan states in the “Geneva lecture on the symptom” [1]. By putting the accent on the effect of this encounter, he emphasises, with the support of the clinic of little Hans, the exterior and foreign character of this jouissance hétéro that breaks-in. Even though the little one encounters the sexual reality in his own body, by no means is this jouissance autoerotic. This is evidenced by the heartbreaking invasion which little Hans experiences in this phobic symptom, which condenses this jouissance which assails him and which he rejects with all his strength. The symptom is formed at the point where sexual reality erupts, in the context of the intimacy little Hans knows with his mother and of the type of the father he has. The subject’s response is an effect of the contingency of an encounter with an external jouissance as well as of the structural necessity of language which confronts him with an unsayable.

A hundred and twenty years after the birth of psychoanalysis, women testify -by means of a sharp a well-saying- to the unassimilable of a sexual trauma. If psychoanalysis shows that the introduction of sexuality is structurally traumatizing,[2] the violence of trauma is something different when a bad encounter comes to embody this jouissance in the locus of the Other.

When the veil of the fantasy which covers the real is torn, the subject is confronted with the obscene jouissance of the Other. Thus, what is experienced as the foreignness of one’s own body in the emergence of sexuality, becomes confused with the position of object that the subject incarnates for the jouissance of an other.

An analysis may allow someone to grasp something of this position of object which is constitutive of every subject that comes into the world, and to read the symptom formed in response to this initial trauma. It can also allow the subject to exit the abyss in which he or she has been precipitated following a sexual trauma.

We live in a world which is no longer exclusively dominated by an aspiration to virility; the Lacanian orientation allows psychoanalysis to lodge the real as it arises in our time. The 50th Study-Days of the ECF will be the occasion for us to take stock of the issue of sexual trauma, and to gather -by means of the clinic- a new knowledge about what constitutes sexual assault today.

Translated by Peggy Papada

[1] Lacan, J., Geneva lecture on the symptom, In Analysis, No. 1, 1989: pp. 7-26.
[2] Lacan, J., Seminar XI, The four fundamental concepts of psychoanalysis (1964), edited by Jacques-Alain Miller, Seuil, 1973, translated by Alan Sheridan, London, The Hogarth Press, 1977, p. 64.

Argument – Part 2

By Éric Zuliani
Sexual assault haunts the first steps of Freud’s discovery. Researching for a cause that can account for the symptoms -firstly hysterical -, his letters to Fliess and his first writings establish the observation that something is wrong with the sexuality of speaking beings: impotence, premature ejaculation, frigidity are already inscribed in the portraits of patients who speak to him. However, unraveling the thread of the causality of symptoms, Freud only finds one memory replacing an other, one scene substituted by an other scene, forming as many signifying chains which invariably lead to a domain where sexuality and trauma form a knot concerning a real. He deduces an original causality from it, where something assaults the subjective constitution of the speaking being, who is implicated, in its defending body, by the intrusion of the Other, “its knowledge, its desire and its jouissance.” [1] The body, precisely, is permanently marked by an excess of senseless sexual excitation which exiles the subject into a forever symptomatic sexuality. How does psychoanalysis operates on this “implication”?
His Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality explore the way by which men and women, equal in relation to the instance of a sexuality no longer linked to biology, are the seat of a sexual activity guided by the imperative of the drive, without including the sexuated Other. Lacan illuminates the baroque montages of the drive, a mixture of the imaginary and the symbolic, and the part which escapes the drive, piercing the sexual encounter with his aphorism: there is no sexual relation. Yes, but there is this jouissance, absolute, outside the body, which harasses you: demanding its rights, it confines you to solitude and puts an obstacle to sexuality. The speaking being is caught between the insistence of the drive and that which pushes him to a yes or a no in his rapport with the Other. Hence Vanessa Springora’s subtle interrogation on the question of consent, which illuminates this non-place of the love encounter where the enjoying body and language attempt to get knotted by means of desire and love. What are these knots? And when the knot is undone, what are the consequences? Sexual assault is lodged in this zone where encounters are invented instead of the non-rapports: sexual non-relation and non-relation of speech. It is also the place where women and men are engaged in unconscious ties without guarantee. The sexual is only there as a horizon, where a man does not enjoy the body of a woman but only his own body, where a woman, in the name of a wanting to be loved (which can at times be ravaging), gives herself to the sexuality of her partner, where the hurtful is never too far away.
The contemporary questions of feminist movements – including #metoo– on the violence towards women and the denunciation of a “rape culture” for example, are addressed to men and remain to be explored. The Lacanian orientation can become its addressee. In 1969 Lacan gives an indication which can guide us: “that the whole theory of analysis, as it is sometimes said, has developed along an androcentric channel, is certainly not the fault of men, as is believed. In particular, it is not because they dominate. It is because they have lost their way. From then on, it is only women, and especially hysterical women, who understand something about it.”[3]
Starting from the analytical experience, what do women have to teach us about sex; what is the actuality of men in analysis, of their desiring conditions (which Freud pinned down as neurotic in his time), and of the destinies of these conditions during and at the end of an analysis?

Translated by Peggy Papada

[1] Miller, Jacques-Alain, “The Child and Knowledge”, Psychoanalytical Notebooks 24, 2012.
[2] Springora, V., Le consentement, Paris, Grasset, 2020.
[3] Lacan J., Seminar XVI, From an Other to the other, Lesson of 5th March 1969, Unpublished.


50th Study Days of the École de la Cause Freudienne

Argument – Part 1

By Laurent Dupont
Sexual assault, the expression comes from Freud. We quote the passage which concerns Emma: “On two occasions when she was a child of eight she had gone into a small shop to buy some sweets, and the shopkeeper had grabbed at her genitals through her clothes. In spite of the first experience she had gone there a second time; after the second time she stopped away. She now reproached herself for having gone there the second time, as though she had wanted in that way to provoke the assault.[1]” Freud employs the word assault (attentat)[2] to name the violence and the explosion of that which comes to be inscribed in the body of the subject confronted by the irruption of the sexual as a traumatic encounter. The body is marked by it. In Emma’s case, years later, it is by an inhibition, trace in the subject’s body of the first attack. The inhibition is therefore a response to the assault. But where is what causes the assault really situated? Freud’s quoted phrase demonstrates also that there is an element of reproach of the subject addressed to itself; the assault is not solely attributed to the other, but the subject itself is situated at the heart of a psychical conflict from which Freud will try to extract the stakes of the trauma. We have here the premises of that which Freud will develop later, beyond the theory of seduction: it is the sexual itself which is an assault, which is traumatic due to not being inscribed anywhere in the human being as an instinct.
This is what Lacan will point out with his scandalous aphorism: There is no sexual rapport, meaning that the sexual encounter is always traumatic. In a firm response to Françoise Dolto, Lacan gives a concise definition: “the copulatory fact of the introduction of sexuality is traumatizing […] The central bad encounter is at the level of the sexual.”[3] In Television, he will speak of the “curse on sex” [malediction sur le sexe], [4] which we can hear as “the saying it bad on the sexual”. This non-meeting, we cannot but say it badly. The consequence of this bad is diction, is that there is no signifying articulation which can say the sexual rapport. From this fundamental trauma, which Lacan will call troumatisme, is deduced the string of all discoveries of the unconscious of a subject in order to bring into existence that which does not exist and one of them, the fantasy, is what will permit Lacan to think of the end of the analysis. The fantasy allows to make the bet that if we cannot articulate anything about the sexual assault, we can testify, say something, about the traversal of the fantasy.
Certainly there is an infantile sexuality, this no longer needs to be demonstrated, it is taken in the dimension of the fantasy of the child. But the adult hand landing on the child, breaking the taboo, comes to tear up the veil of the fantasy or, at least, operates a violence of unveiling. That which is unveiled, like in Freud’s Emma, is the other’s sexual jouissance without brake, which reveals that which of ours remained veiled. Of that, Vanessa Springora, Adèle Haenel and the others have testified with rigour.
Le’t bet that our Study Days, the 50th, forty years after the creation of the École de la Cause Freudienne, will find a well-saying for that which in the encounter with the sexual makes a break-in, trauma for each one, most often under the veil of the fantasy, there where, for others, it is exactly in the lifting of the veil that the sexual encounter is assaulted.
Translated by Peggy Papada
[1] Freud, S., Project for a Scientific Psychology (1950 [1985]), In J. Strachey (Ed.), Standard edition of the complete psychological works of Sigmund Freud (vol. 1. p.354), London: Hogarth.
[2] Freud, in the German edition, writes: Attentate (Assault)
[3] Lacan, J., Seminar XI, The four fundamental concepts of psychoanalysis (1964), edited by Jacques-Alain Miller, Seuil, 1973, translated by Alan Sheridan, 1977, Karnac, p64.
[4] Lacan, J., Television (1976), translated by D. Hollier, R. Krause & A. Michelson, 1990, Norton, p.30.



Still Dreaming? / La Cause Du Désir

Tu rêves encore ? La Cause Du Désir 2020/1 (N° 104) / Editor : L’École de la Cause freudienne



The title of this issue highlights the place we give to the interpretation of dreams, 120 years after the invention of psychoanalysis by Sigmund Freud. What use do psychoanalysts make of the dream, since Jacques Lacan taught us to consider the unconscious in its real dimension, as the one-blunder [l’une-bévue] which is neither to be deciphered nor interpreted?

The dream and its interpretation do not occupy the same place at the beginning and at the end of an analysis – this is the common thread running through this issue, like the one that the artist Salvatore Puglia could sew on the Roman ruins of the cover. There where it is a question of first giving consistency to the meanings present in the dream so that the subject hears the equivocation of the signifiers which determine it, the progress of the cure reveals behind these same linguistic articulations a real element present in the ‘One’ of the surplus-jouissance that is satisfied in it.

The dream thus approached as an accident, a cut, no longer harbors meanings to be revealed in the signifiers that give it body; it limits itself – like the haikus studied by Roland Barthes in The Empire of Signs – to show something that is taking place, a phenomenon: to indicate “that”.

Freud’s drive-based unconscious [inconscient pulsionnel], present in his second topography, is reduced at the end of an analysis to the radical and impossible to reabsorb cut produced by the encounter with jouissance in its pictorial formations. Some dreams evoked here by the Analysts of the School testify to this. The signifiers of the dream come to dress the reality of the One of jouissance, whether it is the traumatic jouissance that marks the body, or that of the troumatisme that sexuality implies for all speaking beings. The cases published in the clinical section demonstrate in an original way what use can be made of dreams in clinical practice, even and especially with young speaking beings! The intervention of the analyst is modified, as is the place of interpretation, reduced to the equivocations that homophony, grammar and logic – as Lacan indicates in L’Étourdit – allow to produce. It is the unconscious itself that becomes interpreter, deciphering the enigma of the pure contingency involved in the encounter of the body with jouissance.

“We don’t wake up: dreams keep desire alive,” Lacan tells us in the 1974 note published in this issue. This statement has its weight and thwarts the initial idea, developed in his first seminars, that one wakes up to continue sleeping. In this same note, Lacan situates death on the side of awakening, as being a dream of life: “Life is something quite impossible which can dream of absolute awakening. It is on the side of awakening that death is situated.”

An original reading of the interpretation of dreams is offered to us by Marie-Hélène Brousse who approaches it as a text which covers -with its signifiers- that which escapes language and marked the body in its traumatic eruption. More otherness therefore, but the manifestation of the jouissance of the body which makes itself heard through the signifiers of the dream. A new orientation thus takes shape thanks to this text, which places the One-all-alone of jouissance in the contingency that supposes “the random accident that is the living body without the Other.”

This perspective allows us to define the “bit of real” present in the symbolic differently than the Freudian Unnerkannt, the unknowable of the dream, found by Freud at the bottom of Irma’s throat: it is no longer an inlay of the real in the signifier of the narrative, but rather of how this real shows its nose in the dream. This perspective then adds a new articulation between the symbolic dimension of the narrative of the dream and the real which it comes to cover over, going beyond the more well-known Freudian perspective of the “navel of the dream.”

The testimonies occurred at the end of the analysis and in the “beyond the Pass” turn out to be invaluable here to verify this relation that the dream has with the real. The dream bordering the real of jouissance, giving it form, giving it body through its signifiers, while metamorphosing it: this is indeed the dream from the perspective of the real unconscious, of the one-blunder.

The event that was the 49th Study-Days of the School of the Freudian Cause finds an echo in this issue, with Delphine Horvilleur’s intervention, who brilliantly demonstrated to us that the practice of reading and the letter does not just belong to the domain of ​​psychoanalysis; with the interview that took place, after reading his manifesto, between Paul B. Preciado, François Ansermet and Omaïra Meseguer; and finally with a fascinating article by Éric Laurent on the failed encounter between feminism and Lacan’s proposal “There is no sexual relation.”

Like “th’Esp of a Rev,”[1] art is not to be interpreted, it makes it possible to border the real that inhabits the one who creates it, through a fictional or pictorial construction, thus the drawings of François Matton by which these pages are scanded. The approach of an analysis resonates with that of the artist, this is what is heard in the voice of Jeanne Balibar who intensely circumscribes her “knowing-how-to-do with the hole” in her acting profession, and in “that voice that speaks to us,” watched over by composer Betsy Jolas.

It is clear that the reveries proposed by the civilization of excess and its behavioral regulations do not succeed in silencing this other approach to the dream opened by the Freudian practice, re-enlightened by Jacques Lacan. So, are you still dreaming?


[1] Laurent É., “The Réveil (Awakening) from the Rêve (Dream) or th’Esp of a Rev”, orientation text for the 12th Congress of the WAP “Dream. Its Interpretation and Use in Lacanian Treatment”, Buenos Aires, 14-18 December 2020, available online.


The Unbearable of Childhood


Interview with Éric Laurent by Raquel Cors Ulloa – Part 1

RCU: We are with Éric Laurent, who has kindly accepted the invitation for the XI NEL Study-Days, to be held on October 23, 24 and 25 in Bogota, whose title is “The Unbearable of Childhood”

Firstly, thank you for honoring us with your presence at the NEL and secondly, I’d like to take the opportunity to ask you: what does the title of these Study-Day evoke for you? Because, in my view, it proposes a re-reading of the concept of childhood, which is not always limited to the clinical work with children, but refers too to the drive demands [exigencies] proper to childhood sexuality. That is, the childhood sexuality that inhabits the speaking-being and which psychoanalysis is responsible for dignifying.

EL: Good. In this question there are already the elements of the answer that you give to it, distinguishing the two aspects. On the one hand, childhood as a moment, a time that a subject goes through and, on the other hand, as something that never gets traversed, that remains, that is deposited; a mode of demand [exigency] of what was at that time and which does not disappear, which remains as a demand. So, in these two slopes we have versions of the unbearable.
What I expect from this Congress is precisely a kind of aggiornamento, a way of thinking again about these two aspects, childhood as a moment and childhood as this insurmountable exigency of what childhood sexuality was.

To re-read all this with Lacan’s later teaching, of course without forgetting everything that came before, but with this interesting play of re-reading what it was, with Jacques-Alain Miller’s fundamental article on “The Paradigms of Jouissance” as model; in so far as it is precisely a fundamental instrument to approach childhood, a way of reading childhood as a time, a moment, and how jouissance is localised, the famous, let’s say, polymorphous jouissance, which in childhood takes on the form of not being centred in phallic jouissance but descentred. Childhood as, precisely, the reminder that jouissance is never finally unified, there is no ganze Sexualstrebung (whole/total sexual tendency) as Freud said, re-read by Lacan. There is no unification; there are these drives called (you said it) partial drives and there is phallic jouissance that actually comes to have an incidence on them, but never on the side of unification.

An effort must always be made to re-read, let’s say, the children’s clinic or the clinic of childhood, based on this necessary dispersion of jouissances, in the plural. This allows us to make a further effort to read what was ordered on the side of the symbolic, of the relationship of the infans subject with the symbolic and his encounter with the symbolic Other. At the same time, this is done on the imaginary side. To emphasize the three consistencies of the Real, the Symbolic and the Imaginary, but in a more egalitarian way, approaching the children’s clinic from the perspective of the knots is fundamental. Indeed, the title “unbearable” emphasizes, of course, this touch of Real that must always be reintroduced in our approach to the clinic of childhood.

Transcription: Alejandro Góngora (NEL-Santiago) Translation: Florencia F.C. Shanahan

XXthClinical Conversation of the ICF-E

Beginnings of Analysis With the participation of Jacques-Alain Miller

Barcelona, 7th and 8th March 2020 / Chaired by: Gustavo Dessal and Estela Paskvan


Vilma Coccoz

Directing one’s steps towards the consulting room of an analyst opens the possibility of inserting and lodging the body in a new circuit. This will no doubt be a memorable event in one’s life if the encounter proves to be, retroactively, the moment of incorporation into the analytical discourse through the “painful mystery for himself” [1], his symptom, the authentic impulse for formulating a demand.

The reception by the one who embodies the symbolic function inaugurated by Freud must be respectful of the only fundamental precept that should orient his responses, the principle of abstinence. In this way he will be able to put in suspense everything that could compromise the preservation of the empty place where someone can make his voice heard without being compared to anyone else.

Psychoanalysis promotes the right of one alone, says Miller. It is the right to a deviation experienced as such, not measured against any norm. A dividing line between false or true psychoanalysis is thus established, depending on whether one takes norms into consideration or not, whatever reason might be invoked to justify them: experience, orthodoxy, psychopathology, any norm leads to psychotherapy.

The formation required to provide that singular hollow able to lodge the speech of the sufferer has been obtained by a “severe asceticism” through which the analyst deciphered his own mystery, the mystery of the speaking body. But talking about mystery could induce the idea that it is hidden somewhere and should be revealed. Hence Lacan’s insistence: There is no initiation!, understood as the science of jouissance. Moreover, Lacan states, analysisis is an anti-initiation.


[1] Jacques-Alain Miller, Un comienzo en la vida [A beginning in life]. Synthesis. Madrid. 2003. p. 13.

The Feminine Uncanny Saying the Unsayable

23rd Brasilian Encounter of the Freudian Field / 20th to 22nd November 2020 – Itaigara – Salvador / Guest Speaker: Christiane Alberti (ECF – Paris)
The feminine is one of the names for our contemporary discontent. This isn’t the first time it elicits our attention and it certainly won’t be the last. The stuff of our gathering is inspired by a research programme that stirs and rouses our community and its many littorals. We always start from an unknown and, on this occasion, we’ll also have to factor-in an unknowable. This time we were interested in stretching the boundary of the sayable about the feminine, beyond our everyday ‘disance’.
In doing so, we wanted to cross the feminine with that quality of feeling, embodied in what Freud called Das Unheimliche, an experience that’s been unpacked for one hundred years. The link has already been made by several authors in the littorals of our field. We would like to say it in Other way, to get to this affaire – as per Joyce’s Witz– “where the hand of man never set foot”[1].
The phenomenon of the uncanny in Freud seems to date from his approach to his female hysterical patients and their symptoms, who exhibited fantastical bodies, remarkable for their strange effects on subjectivity. The feminine appears linked to the impossibility of symbolically representing the subjects’ experience of their body –so intimate and strange it cannot be shared.
More specifically, women appear in Freud’s 1919 The Uncanny, when he argues on the factor of repetition as a source of the “uncanny feeling”[2], which he considers will not be easily recognisable to everyone.
The context is Freud’s ‘random’ walk, “As I was walking, one hot summer afternoon, through the deserted streets of a provincial town in Italy which was unknown to me”. He comes across “a quarter of whose character I could not long remain in doubt.” We cannot but quote it, to distill the essence of our inquiry. “Nothing but painted women were to be seen at the windows of the small houses, and I hastened to leave the narrow street at the next turning”. Freud fails, unable to flee, going around in circles, ultimately condemned to what he terms an involuntary return to the same place, the colorful, feminine windows. Helplessness and uncanniness, the feelings of the norm/male. Fumbling for the light switch in a darkened room, like the stone in mid-path intimately familiar to the Freudian Field in Brazil, he trips over a piece of furniture.
What is Freud fleeing? The depths of a throat, a Medusa, a devouring, female praying mantis? The easy way out is an oedipal, phallic reading, invoking the second condition and secretly familiar proximity Dirne-Mother, to Dirnenhaftbarkeit, the “status of whore” and to substantiate a rejection of femininity; a Freud who unhesitatingly leaves. We’re already familiar with the Trem das onze[3] syndrome.
What fire do these open windows and Boquitas Pintadas[4] signal, this exhibitionist quarter[5] what does it provoke? Is it enough to point out the knot of desire and defence in the Other scene? Or is there something in these women that won’t submit to castration?[6] What opaque thing draws him back? Why does he come back again and again, making of this return an example of an uncanny experience?
The walk in thespace between two worlds […] indicates the passage from the closed world to the infinite universe”[7]. In this walk, Freud illuminates the experience of what doesn’t exist, what ek-sists. Feminine jouissance and the uncanny experience occur within the body and “parlêtres in general have trouble dealing with the feminine body”[8]. Generally, regardless of their chosen door to urinary segregation, jouissance as such, theorised starting from feminine jouissance “is [gender] neutral”, was Miquel Bassols’ recent Witz.
As we go, we will establish whether the uncanny feminine may lead us to an entire field that psychoanalysis approaches – in the clinical, in epistemics and in relation to other fields.
So let’s grab our lanterns, candles, and why not our mobile phones, to plunge, not so randomly, bearing maps, breadcrumbs, roadside graffiti, into the overly proximate, uncanny feminine. The challenge is to say what we find there.
Marcela AnteloIordan Gurgel
Salvador, Bahia, January 2020
[1] Joyce, James, Finnegans Wake, Penguin UK, 2000. p.203.
[2] Freud, Sigmund, “The ‘Uncanny”, The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, Volume XVII (1917-1919), 217-256.
[3] The 1964 samba song Trem Das Onze (The 11pm Train) song by Adoniran Barbosa is the lament of a man who has to leave his date to catch the last train and go and look after his mother.
[4] TN: Little Painted Mouths, the original title of Manuel Puig’s 1969 novel, translated into English as Heartbreak Tango.
[5] Lacan, Jacques, [1964] The Seminar of Jacques Lacan. Book XI. The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis, ed. Jacques-Alain Miller, New York: W. W. Norton and Company Inc., 1998. p. 75. «The world is all-seeing but it is not exhibitionist – it does not provoke our gaze. When it begins to provoque it, the feeling of strangeness begins too.».
[6] Miller, Jacques-Alain, “L’être et l’Un” [Being and the One]. Lacanian Orientation III, 13, Course n. 5. Lesson 2/3/2011. «[…] ça dit qu’il y a quelque chose chez les femmes qui n’est pas pris dans la castration. Et c’est pourquoi Lacan pouvait dire, écrire, d’une façon qui a pu surprendre, que c’est de ce côté -là que gît le mystère, ce qui fait mystère de la jouissance féminine ». p. 10
[7] Vieira, Marcus André, “A inquietante estranheza do fenômeno à estrutura” [The Uncanny, from the phenomenon to the structure]. Published in Latusa, n. 4, Rio de Janeiro, EBP-Rio e Contra Capa, 1999.
[8] Brousse, Marie-Hélène, Mulheres e discursos [Women and Discourses]. Rio de Janeiro: Contra Capa, 2019. p. 37.

Beyond Ontology

by Esthela Solano-Suárez
“To interpret, here the word fails, and it should be substituted with another, such as to circumscribe, to attest”[1]. This proposition by Jacques-Alain Miller invites us to consider the limits of the concept of interpretation when the analytic experience aims at the real of jouissance.
Taking into consideration the upheaval introduced by Lacan in his later teaching, including his own experience as analyst, he finds himself moving away from a practice of interpretation aimed at thenon substantial, barred subject, and therefore conceived as related to the lack-of-being [want-to-be]. In this view, interpretation is resolved at the level of desire, to make it “come into being”[2]. From this derives the creationist power of the analyst’s words.
Yet the problematic of being proves inappropriate when it is a question of aiming not only at the insistence of the fleeting being of desire but also at the irremovable permanence of jouissance. This stopping point, J.-A. Miller indicates, will lead Lacan to extract psychoanalysis from the ontological register, suddenly displacing the operation of the analyst from being that of a meaning-giving word, towards taking into account the the signifier as disjointed from the effects of the signified. Aiming at the signifier out of meaning, Lacan will cut off the issue of sense and of the fictions of being: this is what is condensed in his jaculation: “There is something of the One”.
J.-A. Miller indicates that this renunciation of ontology leads Lacan towards the category of the hole, which is not unrelated to the lack-of-being. It displaces nevertheless the accent from the ontological towards the ex-sistence of the jouissance of the One, which affects the body.
In this register, he points out, the analyst cannot profit from the creationist power of words, of speech, on the side of meaning. He is summoned to operate in a dimension where the term interpretation fails. And this is why he wonders if it shouldn’t be substituted with another term, such as “to circumscribe or to attest.” That being said, he admits that he is not satisfied with such vocabulary, clarifying that he would like “to find the vocabulary which would better say that which concerns the analyst, with regards to the term jouissance which goes beyond ontology.”[3]
On this point, both the A.S. [Analysts of the School] who will give their testimonies about their experience as analysands at at “Question of School”, as well as the Α.Μ.S. [Analysts Members of the Scholl] who will articulate the teaching they derive from the practice of supervision, will give us the opportunity to put into work this crucial question posed earlier by J.-A. Miller.
Translated by Peggy Papada
Towards “Question d’Ecole” - Paris, 1st February 2020
 Register here:
 Published in French in L'Hebdo-Blog 189, New Series, 19th January 2020.
[1] Miller J.-A., « Lacanian Orientation. The One all alone », teaching presented in the context of the department of psychoanalysis of the university of Paris VIII, course of 11 May 2011, unpublished.
[2] Ibid., course of 23 March 2011.
[3] Ibid., course of 11 May 2011.

The Unbearable of Childhood


[…] During our next NEL Study-Days, childhood [infancy] will not be limited to the challenges that the clinic with children confront us with, since if we refer to its etymology, infans means without voice and, in this sense, the resonances with the muteness of the drive are clear; a drive which psychoanalysis is however responsible for listening to in its insistence, as well as for dignifying the ways in which each one lives it.

Thus, the unbearable of childhood finds a fundamental reference in the unbearable satisfaction of the drive associated with displeasure. It is on this unpleasant drive jouissance that the superegoic jouissance will come to settle, initially linked to disgust and shame. Sigmund Freud, at the beginning of the second of his “Three essays on Sexuality”, formulated a universal law that would be present “for all” children: the existence of a sexual drive. In the face of this universal – according to their drive exigency, typical of child sexuality – the singularity of the real of the drive of each one will be inscribed, one by one.

If psychoanalysts are interested in childhood –which is not always correlative to the period of childhood–, it is because the clinic teaches us that what disturbs the chronological and integral idea of ​​the adult, is precisely because something of that infans –which does not yet have words – embodies the real. Consequently, the investigation of infantile neurosis disturbs: the old, the young, the adolescent, the child, and why not the psychoanalyst too, if he clings, as a subject, to the idea that the child is the structure, as Lacan points out. Indeed, once childhood emerges in the analytical experience, that which escapes the Symbolic, the Real, is verified.

On the other hand, helplessness (Hilflosigkeit), the helplessness that determines the absolute dependency of the human cub on the Other of language, leaves indelible marks on the parlêtre, which as such constitute himself as a response to the founding trauma, trauma inscribed in the meeting between the body and lalingua. If the trauma is the incidence of lalingua on the speaking being, where rather than the specular body what is at stake is the body as an surface for the inscription of jouissance, then it is from that trauma that the traces lalingua which language fails to name will be detached.

Hole in the body and in language, which our XIth NEL Study-Days propose to border, departing from the unbearable of childhood. Could it be the case that that impossible to bear, that which remains outside, ex-ists in each psychoanalyst? […]
Excerpt of the Argument by Raquel Cors Ulloa, President of the XIth NEL Study-Days 2020 

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



10th Study Days of the EBP-SAO PAULO
18th and 19th October 2019
That a poet has much to say about loneliness, there can be no doubt. And if, for the poet, solitude is the lava that covers everything, what would psychoanalysis have to say about it?
One can’t necessarily affirm that loneliness figures directly as a concept in either Freud or Lacan. However it is often implicit in their teachings. We are attempting to extract from these teachings the boundaries that situate loneliness, of which we hear a lot about in our clinical practice, and to fundamentally explore how it concerns the unconscious.
The loneliness of which so many patients complain, appears as a substratum of an ethic appropriate to neoliberalism which valorizes the “I” to an extreme. It engenders the frenetic search for self-sufficiency, self-transformation and self-realization, leading Eric Laurent to call it “the democratic individualism paradox of the masses”[1]. We are reminded that for Lacan, the capitalist discourse does not establish a social bond.
In Mass Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego, Freud affirms that although the individual is the result of many identifications, one can also “elevate oneself above others, the measure of which has a fragment of independence and originality” [2]. To that end, Le Bon contrasts this with the behavior of the subject in a group as a “state of isolation.” It leads us to say that great intellectual discoveries “are only possible for the individual who works in solitude” [3]. We could infer from that, something like an “ethic of solitude”. How do we distinguish an ethic of solitude from the loneliness of the neoliberal subject, one of self-sufficiency?
The problematic of loneliness is present in Freud. On Narcissism: An Introduction [4] approaches the difference between the withdrawal of the libido in the world of the paraphrenic and of the neurotic. If the first does it in such a way that it is effective, the second removes its relationship with others and with the world in spite of it being a form that is apparent and maintained only at the level of fantasy.
Even the loneliness of a religious hermit, says Freud, doesn’t imply libidinal de-sexualization, but rather, a change in the mode of satisfaction, a sublimation. In this way, there are two forms of loneliness: one grounded in the fantasy and the other wherein the social bonds disappear completely.
Staying within the field of psychosis: if, in the case of the paraphrenic, one can speak of a “true loneliness”, what shall we say of the loneliness of the paranoiac, in that a certain relationship with the Other is maintained and is transformed into a delusion of persecution, and thus a withdrawal of the libido of everyday life? Or even, the isolation of the Other experienced by the autistic, who, nevertheless, is also not totally exiled from language? Fabian Naparstek, writing in an issue of Scilicet entitled A Real for the 21st Century [5], names it the “loneliness of the crazed”, and describes it as “an unbearable freedom with regard to the Other”.
It is also, the structural dimension of loneliness that addresses the constitution of the subject, as a result of the experience of separation or castration. We can think of it essentially as the symbolic, the experience of presence or absence. Lacan, returning to the fort-da game, described by Freud, understands that the subject makes the object appear and disappear, destroying it as such. The object is required when absent and its absence is evoked in presence. Hence, in relation to the subject, there is the lack of the object. As Lacan says “(…) it is already in its loneliness that man’s desire became the desire of another, an alter ego, that dominates and whose object of desire is, from then on, its own pity”[6]. In Seminar XI Lacan affirms that “there is no fort without da” [7]. In this sense, the feeling of loneliness would be linked to the supposition that there could be a presence where something is absent.
The structural logic of loneliness is well demonstrated by the fort-da game, wherein the subject upon entering the field of language is divided thus becoming a desiring subject. Such loneliness inherent in the constitution of the subject, is, in the final analysis relative to the impossibility of the subject as a One with the Other.
Naparstek observes the unbearable character of this structural loneliness and that it results in the rejection of the Other. This rejection is the necessary fruit of the barring of the subject’s own existence. Perhaps, here we can add that Lacan, in Seminar X, emphasizes that most of the subject’s anxiety is the lack of absence: “The possibility of absence here, is the assuredness of presence” [8]. Anxiety, and the presence of the object, is certainly, a mark of our time, invaded as it is by countless objects imposed on the subject. We are experiencing a dual form of loneliness: the imposition of presence resulting in the deterioration of the social bond, as well as, the necessity of absence, which generates an “I” that is both isolated and phobic [9].
It is also important to highlight the act of loneliness itself. In the Lacanian paradigm it is encountered in the founding act of the School where in Lacan comments: “I establish it—as alone as I have always been in my relation to the analytic cause…”. The moment of the act occurs without the Other and thus leaves the subject with its solitude. Nonetheless, the Other remains someplace on its horizon. There is however, an act that implies a definitive rupture, the consequence of which is the inexorable disappearance of the subject and of the Other: the act of suicide. Suicide would be the act that reaches a paroxysm of loneliness.
An inexhaustible field of investigation opens up when we consider the perspective of the speaking being and of jouissance rather than of the subject and the Other. When the symbolic loses its prevalent role, as it does in the last teachings of Lacan, the reference to the One of jouissance comes unexpectedly: There is One. It is the essence of this jouissance with its autistic and solitary character. Would it be appropriate to speak about solitude and a jouissance premised on radical alterity? Would it be a feminine jouissance that operates beyond phallic jouissance and puts the woman in the position of the “not-all”? How should the solitude of the feminine position be differentiated from the loneliness of the masculine position? This jouissance not covered by phallic jouissance, also expresses itself in mystical experiences, devastation, and, many times, at the end of an analysis. Which form of solitude accompanies it?
In the final analysis, there is much that one can say about loneliness. The testimonies of the Pass bring an immense amount of material about the singular ways found to reckon with the absence of sexual rapport and the way in which the sinthome comes to order the subjectivity of each, one by one. Certainly, it addresses another solitude, not the loneliness evident in the complaints of patients at the beginning of an analysis. How should we differentiate among them?
In addition, how should we think about solitude, in this collective, in this psychoanalytic School? Miller teaches that “the School is the sum of subjective solitudes” where each one alone rallies around “the one-more”, the analytic cause. The founding of the School sustains itself like this, through a collective logic that has, as its base, the subjective loneliness of each one alone in relation to the analytic cause.
As one can see, there are innumerable lines of research that open up to this universe of loneliness. Better stated, the solitudes (plural), that impose themselves on all facets of what has been alluded to here, as well as so many other facets yet to be explored. It is for this reason that we invite you to the Study Days of the EPB-SP, and together [to paraphrase the words of Paulinho da Viola] we will dance the dance of loneliness.
Daniela de Camargo Barros Affonso
 Orientation Committee

Translated by Gary Marshall
[1]LAURENT, É, O avesso da biopolítica. Uma escrita para o gozo [The Other Side of Biopolitics. A Writing for Jouissance]. Rio de Janeiro, Contra Capa, 2016, p. 13
[2]FREUD, S. (1921) “Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego”, SE, Vol. XVIII.
[3] Ibid.
[4]FREUD, S. (1914), “On Narcissism. An Introduction”. In: Op. Cit., Vol. XIV.
[5]NAPARSTEK, Fabián. “Solitude”. In: Scilicet A Real for the 21st Century, 2014, p. 337.
[6]LACAN, J. “Function and Field…”, in Ecrits. The First Complete Edition in English, Routledge, 2006.
[7] LACAN, J. The Seminar of Jacques Lacan. Book 11, “The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis”, W.W. Norton &Co.
[8] LACAN, J. The Seminar of Jacques Lacan. Book 10, “Anxiety”, Polity, 2017.
[9] LA SAGNA, Philippe. “Do isolamento à solidão pela via da ironia” [From Isolation to Solitude through Irony]. In: Revista Curinga, nº 44.
[10] MILLER, J.-A. “Turin Theory of the Subject of the School”,

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:
[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!
CONTACT Orders: / Attention: Pascale Fari 
Marie-Hélène Brousse, Editor in Chief / Cyrus Saint Amand Poliakoff, Managing Editor



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