Henry St. Settlement, Harry de Jur Playhouse,
New York City, November 06/2008 (sponsored by the Miguel Abreu Gallery)

Thank you all for being here tonight, and a special thanks to Miguel Abreu for his eager enthusiasm with hosting our Lacanian Ink events - this time he did a true move with finding and hiring this beautiful theatre, for us to attend in comfort.

So we have Issue 32, and Lacanian Ink's 19th year of existence. The general topic is Semblance.

What is Semblance?

In his Seminar XIII, an unpublished seminar – Jacques Lacan calls on Dante, who, he says, brings up Virgil as "memory of presence". An image of water, Dante closes his First Chant with Virgil saying "tell yourself I am always at your side." Perhaps, says Lacan, we can link the place Virgil occupies with the place the analyst occupies.

In a second allusion to the myth of Narcissus, the scene takes place in Paradise - under the sky of the moon… Beatrice just destroyed the erroneous opinion of Dante on the moon stains. Dante ready to confess his new conviction, lifts his head high up in order to speak better, but a vision appears and he no longer recalls his confession as transparent, clean glass, nor as pure and quiet water surfaces… not deep enough for the bottoms to be obscured, he says, "they returned the traits of their faces so diffused as a pearl on a white background does not arrive at all abrasive to our pupils."

So I saw several figures ready to talk… one gave birth to the love between man and source. And as I hardly surprised I glimpsed her, that looked like mirrored semblants… So I saw many faces bent to speak and fell into the error opposite, to that which made Narcissus love the fountain. Here, the fountain could stand for the source, with Lacan the cause, which at the source, is the cause of the desire.

Alain Badiou

With Jacques-Alain Miller's "Reading of Seminar XVI From an Other to the other (1968-69)" – the fourth and last part. What is properly called "clinical" by Lacan is what pairs up with the term "structure." The structure forms the axis of the Seminar. What is properly called clinical practice in psychoanalysis does not omit the factor of transference…: with Dante "memory of presence" or "tell yourself I am always at your side.

This, says Miller, explains the sometimes-superstitious reverence that some analysts have about the place they degrade by calling it the office. It is not a matter of an office, but of structure; the difference between the office and the structure is that the structure works, it has an action, it commands. a - $ - S1 – S2. In the structure Semblance lies in concern with the analyst… much as he is supposed to become: like the woman, like art, the analyst does not exist…

Miller draws a parallel between the appearance of a neurosis and the triggering of a psychosis… between the formulas of hysteria and obsession. And these depend on a double postulation – that of erotic jouissance. Erotic jouissance is prior to autoerotic jouissance, such as that which intruded for Little Hans in which his tiny sister Anna is lacking a penis like his, a penis for which he has a signifier - thus he functions in the Symbolic. Unfortunately for Hans his perception or psychical reality does not "work", because in the real his little sister Anna lacks nothing.

For Slavoj Žižek in his "Why Lacan Is Not a Heideggerian", the fact is that psychotics can speak, that in some sense they do dwell in language: "foreclosure" does not mean their exclusion from language, but the exclusion/ suspension of the symbolic efficiency of a key signifier within their symbolic universe. When the small Wolfman, at the age of one, observed his parents' coitus a tergo, this event left in his mind a memory trace, it was symbolized, but it was just kept there as a libidinally-neutral trace; it was only more than three years later, when the Wolfman's sexual fantasies were awakened and he was intrigued by the origin of children that this trace was properly historicized, activated in his personal narrative as a way to locate himself in the universe of meaning. Psychotics do accomplish the first step, they are within the symbolic order; what they are unable to do is to subjectively/performatively engage in language, to "historicize" their subjective process.

So with Love, it is a pretend, Lacan said; so it cannot be acknowledging our lack, more so because it is a fake, a play of simulation: semblance… that I (lover) have something (phallus) so I can fill in your lack my beloved! but it is not a successful fake, because at the same moment, I have to play being devoid of something so I need you my beloved and so on… just love.

With you Alain Badiou...




Jack Tilton Gallery - New York City,
November 07/2008

Thank you all for being here tonight, a special thanks to Jacques Tilton and many thanks to Jeanine Cirincione for their recurrent enthusiasm with hosting our Lacanian Ink events.

Josefina Ayerza & Alain Badiou

So we have Lacanian Ink 32 and the journals' 19 years of existence – the general topic is Semblance.

This issue begins with Humpty Dumpty in dialogue with Alice "Through the Looking Glass", and this is Lewis Carroll's version in Jacques-Alain Miller's Polemic: death to Psy's, "The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things." "The question is," said Humpty Dumpty, "which is to be master – that's all."

In Seminar XIII – Humpty is Maese Adam, comparable to the public thing. Says Lacan - a body, a social body and the effects this body provokes – the excessive swelling of the prince's abusive wealth leads to images of deformity. The prince is a member of this body – a kind of monster, excessively inflated, inflated in detriment of the rest of the body that is the community… Maese Adam suffers from hydropesia – his tummy grows as it raises an forms a screen in front of his eyes, blinds them. The tummy is full with the certain stagnant water in concern with the prince's wealth. Stagnant it rots, and it cannot circulate inside Maese Adam's body. And it provokes dryness in the mouth, and the broken lips, and constant thirst. His members too thin, they cannot sustain Maese Adam, this huge blind tummy. Maese Adam is a false wallet. And the false wallet is Adam, the first man.

In "The Other Side of Lacan" Miller tells of the final text published by Lacan which the preface of Seminar XI, having as an initial title "The Fundaments of Psychoanalysis" – a title transformed by the listeners to "The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis", then adopted by Lacan. Unconscious/transference/repetition/drive. With the handling of these concepts Lacan, says Miller, was at an impasse with the real unconscious. Then, the following year, he tried to propose "something that goes further than the unconscious." He did not name this something, for which we keep the pseudonym of real unconscious. It is the real, such as in labyrinths, vortices, the complications presented in the form of a quest in analysis.

With Massimo Recalcati there is in Lacan's return to Freud four main propositions that characterize his own journey trough madness - that reveal four different stations in Lacan's discourse.

1. The existentialist soul that underlines the relationship between madness and freedom as being ethically crucial.

2. The Spinozean-Hegelian soul which emphasizes the universal function of the symbolic and where madness is perceived as negative in relation to its pacifying nature.

3. The Freudian-structuralist soul, which considers madness as the result of a fundamental failure of the signifying function and the Oedipal inefficacy of the Name-of-the-Father.

4. The soul "beyond Oedipus" which leads Lacan to conceive of the Other as inconsistent and, consequently, to articulate madness as the dimension proper to any human being: the Name-of-the-Father is exposed as pure semblance among the others and fails to foster the neurotic belief in its being the foundation of the symbolic order.

In Alain Badiou's "The Son's Aleatory Identity in Today's World", I quote: "Freud tells us a story divided into three grand chapters. In the first, that of the primitive horde, the father jouisseur appropriates all the women for himself. The sons then revolt against and murder this father, forming a pact by which they organize themselves to manage the situation in the most egalitarian way possible. The second chapter is that of the sublimation of the dead father, wherein he becomes Law, the figure of the one God. The father is over again both harsh guardian and severe judge, but it should be understood that the real father, assassinated, only returns under the order of the symbolic father. The third chapter is of the sons' participation in the glory of the father, in Christianity, at the price of a violent initiation: the initiation of the Son of God into the torture and death humanity imposes upon itself.

In Lacan's famous short Seminar The Names-of-the-Father, Abraham embodies the Father Figure reproduced.