translated by Barbara P. Fulks
THE JOUISSANCE OF THE CIRCUIT
As I've presented it here, the erotics of space especially concerns desire. But one can also construct the erotics of space in jouissance, and not in desire. Lacan approaches and situates what he calls the Thing through space. Lacan used the word extimité one or two times to qualify the unique spatial position of the Thing. This term, which I emphasize here, belongs to the erotics of space and is opposed to the erotics of space in desire, to the extent that desire goes toward something else, while jouissance as such does not go toward something else.
It is doubtless the profound truth of what we call narcissism. Jouissance as such is haunted by auto-eroticism, by the erotics of the self, and it is this functionally auto-erotic jouissance which is marked by the obstacle. Basically, what one calls castration is the name of the obstacle which marks the jouissance of the body itself. This object of jouissance as interdiction, as occupying an extime position, meaning at the same time internal and inaccessible, is what Lacan designated with the name of the Thing: one can only turn around at a distance from the Thing-this is the foundation of the circuits of jouissance. One can only escape the circuits of jouissance through transgression-this is what really fascinated an epoch: the obstacle calling out for transgression. Transgression is a spatial term itself which indicates the crossing of an interdictive barrier. What Lacan then added is that in veering around jouissance as interdiction, as extime, one jouit. In other words, there is a jouissance proper to the circuit. And we could oppose the circuits of desire to the jouissance of the circuit, which is precisely what Lacan attributes to the trajectory of the drive.