Lacan was speaking of the difference between fear and anxiety—fear doesn’t have an object, anxiety is not without one. Even if we cannot locate the object, anxiety is not without it. Fear, it’s the fact that there is no object cause of the fright. The object that Anxiety is not without is an object cause—cause of the desire. Again, the particular object precedes anxiety.
Object cause of desire—the object-cause is before the object—a part-object, in fact—that induces desire.
Object of the desire—is this woman that you want, this trip that you want, the little car, the shoe, whatever.
Lacan talks of one of his patients—one of his “most intelligent students.” The patient asked him pointedly, “What on earth is it that drives you to such lengths to tell them that?” Lacan replied asserting that there’s such a thing as the teacher’s desire. A good way to enter the discourse matter, “The professor teaches on teachings. In other words, he snips into teachings, which is something analogous to collage. Were this truth better known, it would allow professors to go about it with more consummate art, whose path is shown precisely by collage such as it has taken on its own meaning through artworks. Their collage aims at evoking the lack that makes for the entire worth of the figurative work itself, when it is an accomplished one. And along this path, they would thereby manage to meet up with the effect that is specific to what teaching is.
Lacan says men only enjoy a part of the woman’s body—the breast, the butt, the leg… Much as the analyst himself stands for a fallen body part—the analyst will become the object of desire. Desire comes from the mother. The breast that falls comes from the mother. From the mother of course! Chances are the analyst will take the mother’s place in the structure. A big change in the patient’s perspective…
What I said in my passing about fear: there is fear up front, and there’s fear as a response. With anxiety instead, the subject is being seized in the Other.
I called to mind the relationship of anxiety, to what we call defense. It is on the side of the real that we seek out in the real. Why is it in the real? Because there are no words to name the object. What anxiety targets in the real, the anxious person doesn’t know because there isn’t the words to say it.
A over S — it is through the desire of the Other that the subject comes to exist— in the Other. The Other is the locus of the Subject.
It is a mythical subject, the subject of jouissance. In Totem and Taboo, you have the father with all the women, all the jouissance. Lacan is moving in the Seminar of Anxiety to put jouissance in this logical mythical place.
This brings us to the fantasm—the fundamental fantasy. And it is always sexual. The fantasm stands in relation to the a and its subject. The a is a left over, it’s impossible to represent it with a word. It is silence. In the case of the analyst it is the silence of the analyst. It can only be as a remainder.
In the Other it is precisely this waste product resisting signification that comes to constitute itself in the place of the desiring subject. What is there in the gap between desire and jouissance? Between desire and jouissance there is Anxiety.
To illustrate a gap between desire and jouissance in the fundamental fantasm, we turn to a case study from Laurence Bataille.
Emma or the function of the Fantasm by Laurence Bataille
In the words of Bataille:
I want to communicate to you what a woman analysand of mine told me — in regard to her fantasm. I’ll give her a name: Emma.
One day Emma tells, or more specifically she confesses to me, that now and then she looses herself in the actual labyrinth: She imagines she is being flagellated by a man. She is kneeling in a position of total submission. She does nothing to resist. More so, it doesn’t hurt. She doesn’t even know where the knocking goes, just that she offers her back to them. The knocks are regular. And she knows that she has to receive a certain quantity, even though she ignores the amount. However, the one to decide is not the one whipping her, but a man without a face—completely anonymous. Often there is more than one man.
The men are rather like robots, and they are applying something that was determined in some other place. A supreme order with nothing justifying it. It’s not a punishment. It’s like this, she has to be beaten. The man hitting her doesn’t experience any pleasure or emotion. Neither does she, at least in the way she tells of herself in the fantasm. There’s no pleasure and there’s no emotion. On the contrary, as she fantasizes the sexual excitement is very intense. At this level two representations come to provoke a special agitation, and this is a wait— a space of time— in between the hits and in the moment in which a man gives the whip to another man.
Finally Emma insists in the sedative effect of this fantasm. Which gives her the sensation of everything fitting into place, that everything happens in the world, and she participates in the cosmos.
At first glance I thought the case was a grammatical avatar of the fantasm of a child is being beaten, my father beats me. But Freud explains that this is never remembered and it is never conscious. “It’s a construction of the analysis, but even so it doesn’t stop being a need.” Lacan writes that the message in side of the fantasm is that my father loves me. But this message doesn’t reach the subject, because the conscious ones are the other two—my father beats a child, and one of the children is beaten by a man with authority. A representative of the name of the father.
In the case of Emma, the one that flagellates her is an anonymous man, and he doesn’t hold any authority, he only holds the whip, and he holds it only because he reaches for it, since this one goes from hand to hand. No doubt Emma is the one being beaten. The message fully reaches the subject, but where does it come from? The men hitting her seem to be obeying, however, a supreme order, to which she also submits herself without question. Emma feels she emerges from Chaos because what masochists are interested in is not the pain. It never occurred to me that she would be suffering. What they are interested in is the reciprocal position of the two people. What interests me is my submission.
Emma classifies herself as a masochist. Does she do this to conclude that she has nothing more to say about her fantasm? On the contrary it’s from then that she starts to talk too freely, this is the moment of the most intimate, of the most particular, she counts herself one between others. It’s a way to integrate herself in the order of the world. But also to renounce the exclusivity of love.
Now Emma is surprised by the difficulty she had talking about the fantasm. Her confession was making her ashamed—nearly an intolerable shame. In effect, we are both very surprised, nevertheless what Lacan indicates about the message that never arrives, the love of the father can give an idea—my father never loved me,—and this includes a complaint. The vindication is not the same that, she said, I would like that my father would tell me he loves me. Because the subject here is confessing the disappearing of his being in front of the negative which is opposed to his demand of love, and he recognizes that there could never be anything to repair that fault.
But in analysis, confession, the advent of the very word, whatever it is, is difficult for another reason. To whom is the word being addressed? She confers the analyst there to hear her, a power of life and death. The analyst may reduce the subject to a perpetual disappearance, or allow his coming to be. Because for this word to have an effect, it’s necessary that addressing the Other, he receives from him the only bejahung (affirmation) that will allow the subject to integrate into his history that repressed part that insists—his symptoms. But the big Other is further beyond the analyst. The analysis cannot respond for the Other, only denouncing it as an imposter. Nevertheless he needs to allow that his message go back to the subject. How? Imagine the whip as a chain of signifiers.
Let’s go back to what Emma says. She relates the production of her fantasm to the personage of her father and her relationship to him. The father born in a country family with very structured traditions. He got rid of her without rebelling so as to become a professor. He decided to cut his roots, but what about Emma? She considered these traditions worthless, and her father forgot to show her another way.
The father would shame her. She was drowning in an abyss of shame. So the father left in total indetermination. If she only had told me what she wanted. And now she has an existence which is the fantasm. But the fantasm is not there all the time. The fantasm appears when her sexual partner makes love with no desire. So this is where she feels herself with no existence—she feels herself a dead body. When the fantasm appears it replaces the sensation of falling, instead with the fantasm she gets very much into a sexual desire, and this desire takes her to her partner, and she is excited that finally she finds a way to make him desire her.
The felling of not being desired by a man that nevertheless makes love to her could also be a fantasm. I have no way to know what happened in the husband’s head, but let’s say that it doesn’t change a lot.