You have suggested that I open a virtual conversation which must clarify the way towards the WAP Congress in April 2008. I am thankful to you and I am pleased to do so.
In order to approach the title of our Congress: "Objets a in the analytic experience", you have suggested to produce a commentary on the extracts of two difficult texts by Lacan:
"L'Étourdit" and "La Troisième". In these texts, the link between objet a and semblance is interrogated. The link between semblance and the real has been approached in various ways throughout the teachings of Lacan. It is a matter, in these two texts, of his "last teachings." There, Lacan questions the limit to the solution that he had invented in the first period of his teaching.
The first quotation that you suggested for the discussion is extracted from a paragraph in "La Troisième". There, Lacan explicitly kept distance from the way in which he had tried to write the relationship between signifier and object in his seminar L'identification. And I quote: "In short, when I think that for some time I had fun to play with that S1, which I had elevated to the dignity of the signifier One, that I played with that One and a, knotting them with the golden number, isn't this priceless!".
In his last teachings, Lacan no longer wants to start off from the signifier to deduce the effects of phallic signification and the remainder of jouissance (a). He directly starts from objet a to knot semblance and phallic dialectics. In "the world", what counts, is the "unworldly" object. Here, we place his point of departure: "Then, in the world there is nothing outside objet a, the shit or the gaze, the voice or the nipple, that divides the subject and disguises it as that remainder which ex-ists the body. In order to be its semblance, it is necessary to be gifted. (doué)
The meaning of this term "doue" oscillates between "being enabled" or "to have ability, to be gifted". This term (doué) has been translated into English as "conditions".
You have requested my opinion of what these "conditions" mean.
It is not a word frequently used by Lacan, who distrusted of all sorts of gifts frequently evoked in psychoanalysis: the clinical gift for example. An etymological annotation prevails. The "gift" is in principle "an action which gratuitously gives something to somebody". Later, in a religious context, it takes the sense of an "innate disposition". It is said of the "gift of prophecy", with multiple disputes on its origin. And this brings us closer to the "gift to make semblance". Where does it come from in psychoanalysis? From God, the Other, from a?
As Lacan starts with object a to approach jouissance which is no longer phallic jouissance, it seems normal to consider the fact of being the bearer of the phallus as an obstacle when "making semblance" of having it. Thus, the following phrase evokes woman, whom one assumes with more conditions for making semblance than a man. It is for the best to call this opinion into question. "It is especially difficult, more difficult for a woman than for a man, contrary to what is usually said. That on occasions a woman is object a for a man does not mean at all that she, she has the taste in being it."
Here we have one of Lacan's sayings that is in series with his multiple declarations on the links between the feminine position and the position of women analysts. We find this from his declarations upon the feminization of the holder of the letter, to women analysts as being the best or the worst. We should explore each one of these sayings which clarify different facets of the question.
It is a road to explore the implications in the paragraph that you have extracted, and that Jacques-Alain Miller interrogates when he wonders, "If the analyst can be assimilated to objet a", and to what extent".
I will not explore this road here. I leave this possibility opened for the virtual Conversation. I will choose another track. In Seminar on Anxiety, where Lacan introduces object a itself, he presents the development of a cure in which the position of the analyst is articulated to the feminine position. In effect, it is about a feminine subject's analysis. On another list for the preparation towards the Congress of 2008, the list of the ECF, animated by Catherine Lazarus-Matet, a recent contribution has cast a light upon the interest in this clinical development. It is a contribution by Pierre Skriabine. It has been published under the Reasoned Bibliography No. 13; "Desire, the gaze object and the phallus: a clinical vignette by Jacques Lacan ". I will cite it now.
"This vignette is in part 2, lesson XIV, book X of the Seminar on Anxiety. A patient, not very well looked after by her husband, in any case, enough for her to point at it, not without a certain relief on the other hand, lets Lacan know what follows by punctuating this confirmation: "Little does it matter that he desires me, provided he does not desire the others". Put it another way, as Lacan emphasizes, she maintains her husband's desire, but not the fact that it is manifested. It is enough for her if it remains idealized: it is love. The desire of the Other, then, is what interests her, and not only the one of her husband's. It is in this way that she describes her inexplicable symptom to Lacan: she feels a vaginal swelling with the passing by of any unspecified object, a mobile one, - a car for example - emerging in the field of vision. And she continues, she emphasizes that it must be well understood that it bears no relation whatsoever, and that each one of her initiatives are consecrated, according to her purpose, to Lacan. Any object forces her to evoke Lacan as witness, and more precisely to evoke his gaze. Which will be Lacan's gaze on her and this object? This is what helps her, she says, so that each thing acquires sense.
In order to highlight this, if it were necessary, it is about love transference, supported by the gaze object. She then refers to a great love of her youth, a fictional love cultivated by correspondence, where she creates, letter after letter, the fictitious character, the ideal object, the desired object that she would want to be in the eyes of an absent partner. It is exactly the opposite, she believes, of what she does with Lacan, dedicating to him the minimum gesture, the minimum act, offering them to Lacan's gaze, she says, under the aegis of always being true to him. And further on, Lacan indicates that what she would want, is that his gaze is substituted for the patient's and that he contributed "with the aid of himself", to the point where she feels she is "remotely controlled", to put it another way, that she is her analyst's object.
She tries to capture Lacan's desire; it is him whom she wants to tempt. And the object, with which she, the little fish, would want to make Lacan, the rod-fisherman, swallow the bait, is the gaze she offers herself to as object in her relationship to any object. Therefore, she tries to become the object, the lost object, the agalmatic - Φ which lacks in the Other, because for herself, she lacks nothing. Then, as Lacan indicates, "she gets tempted by tempting the Other".
There is still another indication to another road for the Virtual Conversation. Why not retake other clinical developments of Lacan's from this perspective? We would still learn much more from them on object a's charm.
I hope to have the opportunity to participate in the different lists for the preparation of the Congress to emphasize our foretaste in a presentation of the pragmatics of the treatment from object a.
27 October 2007
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