FROM THE SIMBOLIC TO THE REAL
Lacan gives a straightforward example in his écrit on psychosis. What he takes as a reference is apparently a communication phenomenon, namely a female patient who, in a corridor, hears the insult “Sow!” It’s an hallucinatory insult that she hears directed at her. At that time, Lacan captured the case in the structure of communication. He inquired about the sentence immediately preceding the insult that the patient might have uttered in her head. The hallucinatory insult that the patient hears might be captured in the structure of communication, according to the law of “I tell you that you are a woman.”
But the guy in front of her didn’t say “You’re my wife,” he said “Sow!” It’s an insult. “You’re my wife” is not an insult, unless one makes it out to be one… When Picasso said, not to Braque, but of him, that he was Braque’s wife, it was an insult. Let us take two points (I and A) marking, no longer the imaginary relation, but the symbolic relation. If from the Other (), the female patient hears “Sow,” it entails that she had first constructed the Other () as a pig.
This is the most reasonable possibility. It would be the response of the shepherd to the shepherdess, although they do not vocalize the pastorale. Sows and swine are what you really find in the countryside when you are not into the pastorale. So this is the response of the shepherd to the shepherdess or rather — what is the name of the one who keeps the pigs? — the response of the male swineherd to the female swineherd.
Is it not a relation to the Other? Furthermore, it is an hypothesis in Lacan’s Seminar: what would be normal and not psychotic is that she called him “Swine!” (which, by the way, works much better than sow) and he responded “Sow!” It’s a basis of agreement, a basis of understanding! In Seminar III, without much explanation, discreetly, Lacan suggests that, in psychosis the answer would come first. The patient would first hear “Sow!” Afterwards, the sentence “I just came from the pork butcher’s shop” would suggest that there was a pig in the air...
translated by Jorge Jauregui
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