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Chapter Eighteen - Letter and Nomination

Izcovich, Luis Karnac Books ePub

Hypothesis of the unconscious

Our question is whether Lacan's introduction of the term “letter” into psychoanalysis, together with its conceptualisation, has consequences for the direction of the treatment and the ends of analysis. Ends should be heard in the double sense of the conclusion of the treatment and of its objectives. My choice of associating the term “nomination” with the letter indicates a direction here as it already introduces the essential function of the letter: as nomination.

Throughout Lacan's teaching, the question of the letter is connected to his elaboration of the unconscious. Similarly, the changes concerning this latter concept are accompanied by a reworking of the status of the symptom. This will allow us to understand that the letter is what justifies the notion of the real unconscious presented by Lacan as the only possible definition of the unconscious. There are two very distinct moments regarding the letter in Lacan. The first corresponds essentially to “The Purloined Letter” and “The Instance of the Letter in the Unconscious”, the second to “Lituraterre”, as well as to the seminar “R.S.I.” and the lecture “La troisième”.

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Chapter Four - The Moments to Conclude

Izcovich, Luis Karnac Books ePub

Moment or moments?

You will have noticed that the question of time concerns the whole of the analytic experience, but of special importance is the idea analysts have of how analyses end. There is on the one hand the evidence of experience, that is to say, the observable facts, and on the other hand what analysts say about how and when an analysis should end. It is clear that Lacan established this moment of concluding as singular. He used the sophism of the three prisoners to suggest a process that follows a precise sequence: the instant of seeing, the time for understanding, and the moment to conclude. This is unambiguous in a text published after the introduction in 1967 of his proposition on the pass. So, in “L'acte psychanalytique, compte-rendu du séminaire 1967–1968” (2001 [1969]), Lacan refers to an elective moment, that of the act, to mark the passage from analysand to analyst. It concerns a specific moment that is logical and distinct.

Lacan invented a specific instrument to assess this moment. This is the instrument of the pass. Its objective was not to create a rule for the formation of the analyst but to make an offer to those who wish to testify to this moment of the passage to the analyst. Lacan created the term “passand” for those who offer to make such a testimony and proposed the term “jury” for those assigned to assess the testimony. This term “jury” was then replaced by that of “cartel” in the schools where the pass functions, thereby emphasising the dimension of epistemic elaboration instead of the candidate's assessment. Between the passand and the jury, Lacan introduced the term “passer” for the one who gathers the testimony of the passand to transmit to the jury. The experience of the pass, which is that of each passand, is deposited as knowledge for the cartel on condition that there has been a working through (élaboration) on the part of the passand, an accurate testimony on the part of the passer, and a working through afterwards by the cartel.

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Chapter Nine - The Clinic of Limits

Izcovich, Luis Karnac Books ePub

A debate about diagnosis

Sometimes in psychoanalysis there are cases of diagnostic difficulty where the clinical signs remain discreet and where the phenomena do not have the status of fundamental symptoms belonging to a structure. It is not uncommon that a diagnosis is expected at the entry into analysis, but if the entry requires that an Other incarnate the place from which the subject supposed to know is constituted for the subject, that does not imply that the constitution of the subject supposed to know is specific to neurosis, nor that the absence of its constitution excludes neurosis. This is why analytic practice does not make diagnosis a prerequisite for entering an analysis, although it does consider diagnosis to be important.

Psychoanalysis is not reserved exclusively for neurotics; there are certainly non-neurotics in analysis. But should we conclude that every non-neurotic is a psychotic? That is an old debate and the conclusion has varied according to the theories of the time. Because of this, analysts have delineated clinical categories that were formerly absent in psychoanalytic nosography, with the aim of filling in a diagnostic void that has been something of an embarrassment for the clinician. Where Freud had sought to place limits on the clinic, thus promoting a discontinuity in diagnosis, a suture had to be made in order to re-establish the continuum.

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Chapter Seven - Lapsus of the Knot

Izcovich, Luis Karnac Books ePub

Guarantee from the real

Does what is subtracted from consciousness—which is no less structured by the symbolic, that is to say, by the unconscious—have a chance of being grasped as real? It took Lacan some time to raise the question and then to prove the answer. His teaching testifies to it. It took time, first of all, to demonstrate that the unconscious responds to the knowledge of lalangue and is structured like a language. Undoubtedly, the time also to see how his own love of truth was a mirage, a cover for what is the most authentic kernel of a subject. Indeed, the search for truth runs throughout Lacan's teaching since his first seminars and constitutes his orientation. This can be seen very clearly with the orientation of the symptom, which has been the axis of his teaching. In Lacan's theory, the symptom was considered for a long time to be what constitutes the truth of the subject.

The change of perspective that he introduced with the notion of the mirage of truth necessarily involves another dimension for psychoanalysis, namely the orientation to the real. This has an impact on the status of the symptom and correlatively on that of the unconscious. Consequently, beyond the knowledge about what limits the symbolic in the unconscious, namely the real of the symbolic, another question asserts itself: is it from having pushed the symbolic to the limit of the impossible that the guarantee of this real emerges?

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Chapter Seventeen - Grimaces of the Real or the Marks of Repetition

Izcovich, Luis Karnac Books ePub

The real decamps

In Television, Lacan uses the expression “grimaces of the real.” What does this expression refer to and what does it explain? Lacan evokes it in relation to a question he takes from Kant—“What should I do?”—a question we often meet with in analyses. It appears particularly at the outset of the analytic experience, when the subject, once the reason for his question is revealed, asks: “Tell me, what should I do?” We can evoke here the way Freud responded to Dora's question. Dora stops talking once she has revealed what does not work for her because of what does not work in the Other. This interruption in her discourse constitutes an implicit question addressed to Freud: “What should I do?” To which Freud replies: “What is your part in the disorder about which you complain?” This is what allows Dora to go on talking.

The analyst therefore does not respond to “What should I do?” but nor does he abstain from responding. More precisely, he does not respond as a master who knows what must be done. For the analyst is alert to the fact that the question of what to do appears systematically each time there is a failure of desire in the subject. In each analysis, it is always fundamental to explore these moments when desire proves to be unstable; it allows one to approach the real of the subject before the analysis. Lacan refers to this just before answering the question: “What should I do?” when he speaks of the real as “sense-less by nature”. What is this “sense-less by nature”? It is exactly what eludes the Kantian maxim, that is, a universal regulating each person's conduct within the perspective of a conduct common to everyone. It is here that Lacan uses the formulation: “the grimace by which the real decamps, by being taken from only one side”, and he adds: “thumbing your nose in response to the non-relation to the Other” (1990 [1974], p. 42).

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