Detached Pieces
[excerpt]

 

 
To resume again...

Profane Illuminations
J
- A MILLER

Detached Pieces
J
- A MILLER

Drawing
A
LAIN BADIOU

The Formulas of the Real
A
LAIN BADIOU

The Question of Democracy
A
LAIN BADIOU

The Sound of Silence:
Wagner with Stalin
R
EX BUTLER
SCOTT STEPHENS

A Letter Which Did Arrive
at its Destination
S
LAVOJ ZIZEK

Jean Claude Abreu
A
DRIAN DANNATT

Florencia Gonzalez Alzaga
J
OSEFINA AYERZA

Jacques-Alain Miller

translated by Barbara P. Fulks

 

[...]

The Freudian unconscious is read, is interpreted-as we say. Lacan translates it in a way which was surprising and which is today categorized: "the unconscious is structured like a language." This phrase will embarrass Lacan, who will explain what it really means and that it has not been understood. In "Radiophone," for example: it is a language, it is only organized in discourse in analysis. This is not false, given the meaning which he gives to the word discourse, that is to say a meaning which comes from his small matrix of four. But at the same time that he translates the Freudian unconscious as structured like a language, he says also that it is "the discourse of the Other," in the sense in which discourse means communication.

Lacan articulated the signifier in this structure of language, signifier with its effect of signified, destined to be read. This is because, in his postscript to Seminar XI, he said in passing: "The unconscious is what is read before everything else." He perceived what this structure of language entailed: it doesn't use the other mode of the ˇcrit. The signifier is made to signify, and it can signify almost anything, just stick it in there. Lacan had evoked it for a very long time, prided himself on his capacity to give any old meaning to any old word, on the condition of speaking long enough. It is a property of the signifier in its relationships with the signified. This is the elusive flowing side of the signifier: not married to the signified. This is what one experiences in an analysis and also what one points out about the symptom: its multivocality. This is why all you have to do is look at it from this angle to understand why the signifier is a semblant, why the unconscious has its artifices.

[...]



L'orientation lacanienne, Paris, Autumn 2005 - text and notes in French edited by Catherine Bonningue and published in la Cause freudienne 62, Paris, March 2006.

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