I would like to defend the following thesis in this intervention:
the definition of the passage to the analyst, and therefore of the end of
analysis, is correlative to the advance of the theory of sexuation in
psychoanalysis. My claim therefore is that any definition of the analyst,
and consequently of the analytical work which is required of him for his
production, corresponds to a conception of sexuation. This thesis implies
the development of several points.
First of all, why link sexuality and the formation of the analyst?
Let us recall that the field of psychoanalysis is the field of the sexual,
that psychoanalysis has no other pertinence than that of the clinic of
sexuality. It is there that we treat the effects of jouissance on a subject of the unconscious determined by its capture in language.
Consequently, the knotting of jouissance to the unconscious is the very object of an analysis.
On the other hand, psychoanalysis implies a definition of sexuality
as sexuation. The point is not so much to stress the dimension of
chronological development of this process, as to take note of a disparity
between the biological real of sex — defined in the human species by the
difference between male and female, and therefore by a duality — and its
symbolic determinations, namely the different solutions imposed on the
subject by the structure of language and the defiles of the signifier.
Sexuation is then a process of complex identifications and analysis, which
is the movement of the fall of identifications, has therefore for
objective to reach the point of separation between the jouissance which sustains the subject and the identifications with
which the subject covers it.
Lastly, this thesis I am putting forward implies that the knotting
of sexual jouissance to the
unconscious is, to some extent at least, open to formalisation and thus
transmissible. There is no clinic without epistemology, this is one of the
aspects of the ethics of psychoanalysis. The Freudian cause is the cause
of the formalisation of knowledge against the bloc of the ineffable,
unspeakable. It could be shown, although I will not do so here, that all
the analysts who have contributed to the elaboration of analytical
knowledge have been led, often implicitly, to formulate a theory of
sexuation, and that it turns out that their conception of the conclusion
of the treatment depended upon their theory of sexuation. The
formalisation of the real, in psychoanalysis as in other fields, modifies
the frameworks of the real. I will only envisage this articulation with
respect to Lacan’s teaching, since it is on the basis of his teaching
that this point could emerge explicitly. But I will do this within the
limits of this intervention, not in a systematic and erudite way, as would
doubtless be appropriate, but starting from the pressing actuality of my
current work on a question which the pass unveiled for me.
The Freudian approach to sexuation took the form of a myth, that of
Oedipus. This epic form allowed Freud to approach structure as the dynamic
of sexuation and to grasp in an imaginarised form the knotting of the
sexual, traumatic jouissance of the body to the unconscious as ordered set of
signifiers. We know that Lacan re-interpreted this Freudian sexuation with
the paternal metaphor. And thus, a conception of the end of the treatment
is deployed correlative to this formalisation of Oedipus through the
writing of the paternal metaphor, that is to say through the link between
the function of the Name-of-the-Father and the Desire-of-the-Mother. In a
seminar of January 1991, in which he elaborated the problematic informing
the chronology of Lacan’s teaching regarding the formation of the
analysts and the transmission of psychoanalysis, J.-A. Miller studied the
modifications of the conception of the concept of the phallus in the
theorisation of the end of analysis. We also know that the phallus is the
key signifier in the definition of the masculine and feminine sexual
positions. In 1958, and at the beginning of the 60’s, that is to say
notably in The Signification of the
Phallus and in Remarque sur le
Rapport de Daniel Lagache, the phallic function organises the minimal
combinatory which, based on a unique signifier, the phallus, allows the
production of the two formulae of masculine and feminine desire: F(a) and
As early as the end of the Ecrits another definition of the phallus emerges which, by insisting on its
correlation with the castration of the Other, situates it in the
perspective of phobia and, above all, fetish, as an element which allows
the subject to maintain himself in the position of ‘I don’t want to
know anything about it’. Phobia and fetish are two possible responses to
maternal castration for the neurotic subject and, by the same token, to
the difference between the sexes. And at the end of Science
and Truth, Lacan envisages two possible issues for the end of the
treatment, phobic and fetishist, on the basis of the phallus defined in
this way. The phallus is no longer envisaged as symbolic, a bar on the
subject testifying to its relation with language, but as ‘index’ of a
point of lack which it contributes to veiling. Jacques-Alain Miller
stressed that the phallic mark of desire then revealed the central point
of repression, and that the reduction of the phallus to its function of
fetish allowed for a movement towards a dephallicisation of the subject at
the time of the end of analysis. But, correlatively, this dephallicisation
opened another perspective as to sexuation. Until then, the latter
remained open to formulation on the basis of the signifier ‘phallus’,
and therefore strictly reliant on the universal of the paternal function,
the metaphor of the Name-of-the-Father allowing the writing of a relation
between father and mother. The definition of the phallus as fetish, and
therefore as veil of the castration of the Other, opens a way beyond
Oedipus and towards that which, of the sexual relation, cannot be written.
The movement of the dephallicisation of desire takes place in the
critique of the two Freudian myths, that of Oedipus in the seminar L’envers
de la psychanalyse, and that of Eros in the seminar Le savoir du psychanalyste. The thread followed by Lacan remains
Freud’s desire, and it is from Freud’s stumbling blocks that Lacan
brings to light a different position of the analyst.
Elsewhere, by taking up certain passages of the seminar L’envers
de la psychanalyse, I have developed the fact that Lacan used the
notion of the paternal metaphor to show that it was his interpretation of
the Freudian myths of the father, but that, besides this
re-interpretation, their structural analysis also allowed for a
formulation of the quilting point of the desire of Freud, of the analyst;
it is a desire to equate desire with law, or again the function of the
dead father with the condition of jouissance: for Freud, there is no salvation outside the phallus.
This analysis allows Lacan to displace the end of analysis, as well as
sexuation, towards a horizon not limited by the father and the
universality of the phallic function. I will not take it up again here.
Let’s however stress two points. Firstly, castration is no longer
defined on the basis of the register of the symbolic but from that of the
real: castration is not a fantasy, “it is the real operation introduced
through the effect of the signifier, and it may be any signifier, in the
relation to sex”. We can see that the status of sexuation is modified by
the fact that Lacan insists on the register of the real to envisage
sexuality rather than keeping it in the register of the symbolic, that is
to say, to envisage castration only in the perspective of the Other of the
Secondly, “there is a cause of desire only as product of this
operation” and “the fantasy dominates the whole reality of desire,
that is to say, the law”. It is the operation of ‘real castration’,
as we have just defined it, which produces the object, the object that
fantasy - an heterogeneous construction - will put in relation with the subject of the signifier. The object a, at the level of its production, is therefore not of the same
cloth as the signifier ‘phallus’ which comes to veil it.
is no longer to be taken as the result of the structure of the paternal
metaphor alone, it requires that a real that is foreign to the signifying
combinatory be integrated into it. Sexuation is defined by Lacan in Remarque
sur le rapport de Daniel Lagache: while it introduced this major
simplification of the phallus as signifier, this definition still went
under the Freudian banner of the phallic phase and implied a symmetry
between the two sexes on the basis of the axis of the phallus. And the
stress put on the real of sexuality requires a supplementary construction.
Just as in 1969-70, Lacan tangled with the myths of the father in
Freud and thus introduced an orientation of sexuation grounded on the
object beyond the father and a dephallicisation of the end of treatment,
in the following year 1970-71, in the Seminar Le
savoir du psychoanalyste, it is through the critique of the myth of
Eros that Lacan will introduce a new conception of the ‘One’ which
will allow him to think the real of sex in the symbolic order.
On the side of biology, that is to say of the real, there are two
sexes: “The fact that we may know with certainty that sex can be found
there, in two little cells which do not look alike, […] in the name of
this the psychoanalyst believes that there is a sexual relation”. On
side of the real therefore there are two but no relation.
On the side of the signifier, it is from the phallic signifier and
the paternal exception that the sexual position is formulated. But no
other relation than that of the paternal metaphor inscribes can be
formulated: the father cannot be assimilated to the man and the woman is
always contaminated by the mother.
And yet the Freudian myth of Eros is designed precisely in order to
be able to think that two can make one, in other words Eros is there to
state the possibility of a relation. “To find, in Freud’s work, the
idea that Eros is founded — notice the equivocation — by making One
out of the two, is a strange idea from which proceeds this outrageous
idea, which Freud nevertheless repudiated with all his being, of universal
love. Life’s founding force would entirely be in this Eros, the
principle of union”.
Lacan’s concern, in his critique of the unifying myth of Eros, is
to be able to think the One without introducing the idea of union, of the
relation between the sexes. For all that, he does not define this One on
the basis of the unicity of the phallus for the two sexes, since we have
seen that the position of the primacy of the phallus in sexuation becomes
untenable from the moment when all in sexuality is not phallic, namely
when the not-all signifier is introduced beyond the dead father. The stake
is to produce that which can be said of the One to fight this crude
mythology, for, I quote, “nothing is more dangerous than the confusions
arising as to what is the One”. Why dangerous? Because the idea of the
One obtained from the fusion of two is precisely introduced through the
power of speech, and because all the clinic of love yet shows that in no
way, and for both sexes, is there a question of becoming One in love.
Thus, to the One of Eros Lacan opposes the One of the set: the set
consists of different elements, all distinct, but without any support of
either imagination or the order in which they are enumerated. In fact,
every element is of the same value [se
vaut] and is repeated: Lacan speaks of the sameness [mêmeté] of absolute
difference. It is on the basis of this difference between the One of
the set and the One of elements which are repeated that Lacan moves on to
think the position of jouissance of a subject. It is possible to situate this mark of jouissance through its effects, and to go from the One which is repeated to the
One-all-alone which makes the difference, non-enumerable, non-countable.
In this sense, an analyst is in the position of a traumatic parent, as
Lacan says in the same seminar, since he must return to the point of
junction where in a particular speech a unique signifier marked a body,
thereby constituting a mark of jouissance which is repeated. It is therefore no longer the at-least-one of the
father or the One of the phallic signifier that gives its orientation to
the analysis, for the latter also requires that this trace of the
anchoring point of S1 on the body be isolated through its
repetitions and, in the process, dissociated from object a.
From this critique of the two Freudian myths Lacan produces the
The step beyond [pas au-delà]
the father through his reduction to the exception which sustains the
universality of symbolic castration and the quest for a definition of the
One in psychoanalysis, resting on a mathematical model which allows it to
elude the fusional relation, come to their conclusion with the formulation
of the set of the four formulae of sexuation which constitute a set
without which, as Lacan says in Seminar Le
savoir du psychoanalyste, “it is impossible to orient oneself
correctly in what is at stake in analytical practice in so far as it deals
with this something which is commonly defined as being man, on the one
hand, and, on the other, this correspondent, similarly called woman, who
leaves him alone.”
The link between sexuation and the definition of the end of
analysis is therefore established. It seems important to stress the
There is a Lacanian orientation of the end of the treatment because
Lacan made a decisive step as to sexuation. It is a double step: on the
one hand there is a dephallicisation of desire which goes together with a
taking account of the real of the object cause of desire, on the other
hand, a de-symmetricisation of sexual positions, one being the universal
masculine one, that is to say including all subjects, the other feminine,
not entirely governed by the universal and therefore, to this extent, of
the order of inconsistency. Any analysis is therefore conducted on the
basis of the set of the four formulae of sexuation which sustain the
statement of that which is the compass of the analyst, the axiom: “There
is no sexual relation which could be written”, a statement which comes
in opposition to that which founds the order of speech.
At the end of an analysis, therefore, a new dialectic of love and
desire is produced. This novelty is introduced, on the one hand, by a
modification of desire which is no longer defined solely as the repression
of castration but on the basis of the object which crystallised the
subject’s jouissance and, on
the other hand, by an inversion of the movement of love: love goes from
the traumatic encounter with the real towards phallic necessity, namely
from a contingency defined as a ‘ceasing not to be written’ towards a
‘does not cease to be written’. In analysis, the movement goes from
the phallic necessity ‘which does not cease to be written’ towards the
refound contingency of the encounter with the real: what has been
traumatic for a subject.
But to say that analysis is oriented through the set of the
formulae of sexuation, and that it thereby requires that the feminine
position be glimpsed at [entrevue], does not authorise us to say that the analyst is in a
feminine position. In this case, what is it that differentiates the
feminine position from that of the analyst? I propose the following idea:
the common point between the feminine position and that of the analyst
lies in contingency, a contingency which, let me remind you, is
characterised by the encounter with a real that can finally be written and
is defined in the formula: -"x Fx, which is the formula of the not-all.
That which distinguishes the position of the analyst from the feminine one
is not, either, the fact that the formula of the not-all can only be
sustained there as supplementary to the two masculine formulae of the
universal, since it is also the case of any feminine position. What
differentiates the position of the analyst from a feminine position lies
in the formula of the impossible, written by Lacan: $x -Fx, that is to say at the junction point
with the real, this point which is of the order of the undecidable. It is
thus on the basis of the contingency of desire, on the one hand, and of
love as determined by the non-relation, on the other, that I suggest we
can grasp the analyst’s position. It is specific in the sense that it is
differentiated from a desiring position organised by the empire of the
phallus and from a feminine position which remains organised by the
by Bogdan Wolf
Lacan, Note italienne in Ornicar? No 25, 1973, Paris, Lyse, 1982, pp.7-10.
Lacan, Lettre du 26 janvier 1981 in Actes du Forum, Paris, 1981,
Pub. De l’ECF, p.1.
Lacan, Remarque sur le rapport de
Daniel Lagache: Psychanalyse et
structure de la personnalité in Ecrits,
Paris, Seuil, 1966, p.683.
Lacan, The Direction of the
Treatment and Principles of its Power in Ecrits:
A Selection, trans. A. Sheridan, Routledge, London, 1977, p.276.
Lacan, La science et la vérité in Ecrits, op.cit. p.877.
Lacan, Le Séminaire XVII,
L’envers de la psychanalyse, 1969-70, Paris, Seuil, 1991, p. 149.
Lacan, Le Séminaire, Le savoir du
psychanalyste, 1971-72, 4 May 1972, unpublished.
Lacan, Seminar XX, Encore,
1970-71, trans. B. Fink, Norton, 1998, p.78.
paper was originally delivered at the VIIIth International
Encounter of the Freudian Field in Paris 10-13 July 1994, and then
published in La Cause freudienne No 29, 1995.
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