In order to conclude Lacan on Dante, I would like to address the question of nominalism. Previously what Lacan contrasts to sadness is Gay Sçavoir, and we should not forget that in these two depressive forms that I have described we must add a third: depression and the end of analysis. Lacan makes an opposition between what comes from Gay Sçavoir and Spinoza’s fascinating solution of intellectual love, amor intellectualis Dei. It seems to me that a graph could inscribe a forced choice between the two ethics.
“What, quite wrongly, has been thought of in Spinoza as pantheism is simply the reduction of the field of God to the universality of the signifier, which produces a serene, exceptional detachment from human desire. In so far as Spinoza says—desire is the essence of man, and in so far as he institutes this desire in the radical dependence of the universality of the divine attributes, which is possible only through the function of the signifier, in so far as he does this, he obtains that unique position by which the philosopher—and it is no accident that it is a Jew detached from his tradition who embodies it—may be confused with a transcendent love. This position is not tenable for us. Experience shows us that Kant is more true, and I have proved that his theory of consciousness, when he writes of practical reason, is sustained only by giving a specification of the moral law which, looked at more closely, is simply desire in its pure state, that very desire that culminates in the sacrifice, strictly speaking, of everything that is the object of love in one’s human tenderness—I would say, not only in the rejection of the pathological object, but also in its sacrifice and murder. This is why I wrote ‘Kant with Sade’.” (Jacques Lacan, The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis).