“The Unconscious is Politics”, today : LQ518 (Lacan Quotidien 518) : May 2015 – probably Nantes : Éric Laurent

by Julia Evans on May 30, 2015

Probably given in Nantes, May 2015


In French:

Lacan Quotidien n° 518 – « L’inconscient, c’est la politique », aujourd’hui – par Éric Laurent : on 23rd June 2015 : Available http://www.lacanquotidien.fr/blog/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/LQ-518.pdf

In English:

Translation by Ilya Merlin & Mikhail Pozdniakov,

JE notes : the use of ‘bodily event’ has been changed to ‘body event’

By www.lacan.com : Available http://www.lacan.com/actuality/2015/06/eric-laurent-the-unconscious-is-politics-today/

or at www.LacanianWorksExchange.net  /éric laurent


  1. Conference held in Milan on the 12th of May, 2002, taken over by JAM for his course “The Lacanian orientation. Effort for poetry” in Paris and published under the title “Milanese intuitions” in two parts, in Mental 11 & 12.
  2. Lacan J., Seminar XIV, “The logic of Fantasy”, unpublished.
  3. Miller J-A., The Lacanian orientation. Effort for poetry”, lesson of May 15th, 2002, unpublished.
  4. Ibid.
  5. Lacan J. “The Logic of Fantasy”, op. cit. May 10th, 1967.
  6. Miller J-A., “The Unconscious and the Speaking body”, available on www.wapol.org
  7. Evening Lacanian Studies at the school of the Freudian cause, by Éric Laurent: http://www.radiolacan.com
  8. Miller J-A, “The ‘Common Decency’ of the Oumma”, Lacan Quotidien, No. 474, February 7, 2015. See http://www.lacanquotidien.fr
  9. Cailhol A., “Recognizing burn-out, a long process” Libération, May 25th 2015.
  10. Rose-Paule Vinciguerra has recently written on this point in a text published on an online blog, see: www.pipolnews.eu
  11. Lacan J., Seminar XVI “On the Other to the other”, 2006, p. 259.
  12. Miller JA, “Response to Rancière”, Lacan Quotidien, n° 501, 7 avril 2015, originally published in Lacan Quotidian

Notes on availability of references:

[1] « L’inconscient, c’est la politique » – L’HEBDO-BLOG or here

 Extrait d’ « Intuitions milanaises », publié dans Mental n°11. Texte qui reprend le cours de Jacques-Alain Miller du 15 mai 2002, « L’orientation lacanienne », Département de psychanalyse, Université Paris VIII.

[2] Seminar XIV : 10th May 1967 : For notes & availability see Seminar XIV: The logic of phantasy: 1966-1967: begins 16th November 1966 : Jacques Lacan or here :

pXIX 205-206 of Cormac Gallagher’s translation : It is, undoubtedly, not something un-disturbing or something that may not appear to us, on occasion, to require to be highlighted, to remark that one or other thing that may happen in the world, and for example, quite simply at the moment, in a certain little district of South West Asia. What is at stake? It is a matter of convincing people that they are quite wrong not to want to be admitted to the benefits of capitalism! They prefer to be rejected! It is starting from there, it seems, that there ought to be posed questions about certain meanings. And specifically the following, for example, which will show us – which will show us no doubt, but today is not the day that I will even take the first steps in this direction – that if Freud wrote somewhere that “anatomy is destiny”, there is perhaps a moment, when people have come back to a sound perception of what Freud discovered for us, that it will be said – I am not even saying “politics is the unconscious” – but, quite simply, the unconscious is politics!

I mean that what binds men together, or what opposes them, is precisely to be justified by that whose logic we are trying for the moment to articulate.

Because it is for want of this logical articulation that these slippages can be produced. This means that before noting the fact that in order to be rejected, for the “to be rejected” to be essential as a dimension for the neurotic, the following, in any case, is essential: that he offers himself.

Note : “Anatomy is destiny” is from ‘On the Universal Tendency to Debasement in the Sphere of Love’ : 1912 : Sigmund Freud

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[5] Seminar XIV : 10th May 1967 : For notes & availability see Seminar XIV: The logic of phantasy: 1966-1967: begins 16th November 1966 : Jacques Lacan or here :

pXIX 213 of Cormac Gallagher’s translation : At this point, then, what is it? What is this Other, the big one, there, with a capital O? What is its substance? Huh?

I allowed myself to say – for in truth, even though in truth, you must believe that I allow myself to say it less and less, because one no longer hears, anyway, I no longer hear: it no longer comes to my ears – I allowed myself to say, for a time, that I camouflaged under this locus of the Other, what is called agreeably and, after all, why not, the spirit. The trouble is that it is false.

The Other, when all is said and done, and if you have not already guessed it, the Other here, as it is written, is the body!

Why would one call something like a volume or an object, in so far as it is subject to the laws of movement, in general, like that, a body? Why should one speak about falling bodies? What a curious extension of the word “body”! What relation is there between a little ball which falls from the tower of Pisa and the body which is ours, if not that it is starting from the fact that it is first of all the body, our presence as animal body which is the first locus in which to put inscriptions, the first signifier, as everything is there to suggest to us in our experience; except, of course, that things always impassion us. When one speaks about a wound, one adds narcissistic and one thinks right away that this ought to annoy the subject, who naturally is an idiot! Nobody imagines that what is interesting in a wound, is the scar.

The reading of the Bible could be there to remind us, with roses put at the bottom of the rushes where Jacob’s flocks are going to graze, that different devices to impose a mark on the body do not date from yesterday and are quite radical. That if one does not start from the idea that the hysterical symptom, under its simplest form, that of a “ragade” does not have to be considered as a mystery, but as the very principle of any signifying possibility. You do not have to rack your brains. The fact that the body is made to inscribe something that is called the mark would avoid a lot of worries for everyone and the resifting of a lot of stupidities. The body is made to be marked. It has always been done. And the first beginnings of the gesture of love, is always to outline more or less this gesture a little bit.

There you are. This having been said, what is the first effect, that most radical effect of this irruption of the One (in so far as it represents the sexual act), at the level of the body.

[6] The Unconscious and the Speaking Body : Paris : 17th April 2014 : Jacques-Alain Miller : see here for notes and availability


[?] this ‘body event’ (Lacan) :

Lacan, «Joyce le symptôme», in Autres Ecrits, Paris, Seuil 2001, p. 569. : Joyce the Symptôme II is published in Autres Écrits: 2001 : Jacques Lacan : See here  for details.

There are two versions of this text – details of both and availability is given in the following : Joyce the Symptôm (Sinthôme) I & II : 16th June 1975 : Jacques Lacan or here.

There is currently no English translation of this text. Here, I think, is the French: p569 :

Joyce est le premier à savoir bien escaboter pour avoir porté l’escabeau au degré de consistance logique où il le maintient, art- gueilleusement, je viens de le dire.

Laissons le symptôme à ce qu’il est : un événement de corps, lié à ce que : l’on l’a, l’on l’a de l’air, l’on l’aire, de l’on l’a. Ça se chante à l’occasion et Joyce ne s’en prive pas.

Ainsi des individus qu’Aristote prend pour des corps, peuvent n’être rien que symptômes eux-mêmes relativement à d’autres corps. Une femme par exemple, elle est symptôme d’un autre corps.

See also The Mirror Stage : Information and availability Mirror Stage: 1936, 1938, 1949, 1966: Jacques Lacan or here


Joyce le Symptôme [II] in Autres Écrits, p569 : See  Joyce the Symptôm (Sinthôme) I & II : 16th June 1975 : Jacques Lacan or here.   : p11 of Dominick Hecq’s translation, see www.Freud2Lacan.com, Let’s leave the symptom at that which it is: an event of the body intertwined with: Heigho! One’s got it, seems to have it, sings it, gentes and laitymen. One has it. Ladida. Nice song. Joyce obviously enjoys the tune.

Thus it can well be that some individuals amongst those Aristotle mistakes for bodies are by symptoms compared with other bodies. A woman, for instance, is the symptom of another body.

If this is not the case, she remains a symptom, says the hysteric – the ultimate symptom.


[?] lesson of May 26th, 1969, from Seminar XVI entitled “Clinic of Perversion,” as that of Seminar XIV of May 10th, 1967 :

For notes & availability see Seminar XIV: The logic of phantasy: 1966-1967: begins 16th November 1966 : Jacques Lacan or here :

Seminar XIV : 20th May 1967 : pXIX 204-205 of Cormac Gallagher’s translation : Is it something of this order that is at stake? It certainly seems not. Since everything that analytic experience brings us concerning the stage that is described as oral makes many other dimensions intervene in it, and specifically, this corporal dimension of oral aggression, of the need to bite and of the fear of being devoured.

Is this “to be refused” then to be taken on this occasion as concerning the object? In truth, we would easily see its justification being highlighted in the following: that to be refused would be, in this register, properly speaking, to save oneself from being
(5) engulfed by the maternal partner.

It would also perhaps be a little bit too simple to answer in this way the question of the status of the “to be refused”. And to say that it is too simple is sufficiently underlined by something which is repeated twice in the lines that I have just read to you, by Bergler, and which associates to this oral neurosis, as being essential to it, the dimension of masochism. The “to be refused” in question is a defeated refusal, it is a “humiliating refusal”, the author again writes elsewhere, and this is why he allows himself to introduce the label of masochism, which he describes as “psychic masochism” on this occasion, consecrating, in a way, a popular use of the term masochism, which I am not saying that one or other text of Freud does not give a pretext for introducing, but understood and taken in this use, which is now more and more current, is properly speaking ruinous.

The allusion to the reference to the object, at the level of this refusal, is here what alone might justify the introduction of the dimension of masochism at this level.

It is incorrect to say that what characterises masochism, is the painful aspect of a situation, assumed as such. To tackle things from this angle culminates in the abuse of making, as some do, the pseudo-masochist dimension, the essential register, for example, of the whole analytic relation. There is here a veritable perversion, as much of Freud’s thinking as of the theory and the practice. And this is, properly speaking, unsustainable, when the dimension of masochism is defined, specifically, no doubt, by the fact that the subject assumes the position of an object, in the most accentuated sense that we give to the word object, in order to define it as this effect of falling and of waste, of remainder from the advent of the subject.

The fact that the masochist establishes a situation regulated in advance and regulated in its details, which can go as far as to put himself under the table, in the position of a dog, forms part of a production, of a scenario, which has its sense and its advantage and which, incontestably, is at the source of a gain of jouissance, whatever note we may or not add to it, concerning the maintenance, the respect and the integrity of the pleasure principle. [p205]

That this jouissance is closely linked to a manoeuvre of the Other which, I would say, is most commonly expressed in the form of contract (when I say “of contract”, I am saying of written contract), of something which dictates just as much to the Other – and much more to the Other than to the masochist himself – his whole behaviour – is what ought to instruct us about the relation which gives its specificity, its originality, to masochistic perversion and is supremely designed to illuminate for us, into its depths, the part that the Other – in the sense that I understand this term, I mean the Other with a capital O – plays in it. The Other, the locus in which there is deployed on this occasion a word which is a contract word.

To reduce the use of the term “masochism”, after that, to being something which is presented as simply an exception, an aberration, to reaching the simplest pleasure, is something likely to generate every abuse, of which the first, of which the first is the following, for which, good God, I do not believe I am using too strong nor inappropriate a term, in picking it out in Bergler’s lines, from one end to the other of this remarkable book, full of observations that are very thorough and altogether instructive, in picking out, nevertheless, this something that I would call an exasperation which is not far from producing a spiteful attitude with respect to the patient: all these people that he calls, that he calls as if this were a great wrong on their part, “injustice collectors”! As if, after all, we were in a world in which justice was such an ordinary state that you really would have to go out of your way to have to complain about something! These “injustice collectors”, in whom, undoubtedly, he uncovers their most secret operation in the fact of having been rejected. But, after all, can we not put forward against Bergler this idea that in certain cases, after all, to be rejected – as we have it moreover sufficiently in phantasies, but that is something different, I am speaking here about reality — it is perhaps better, from time to time, to be rejected than to be accepted too quickly! The encounter that one may have with one or other person, who asks for nothing better than to adopt you, is not always… the best solution is not always not to escape from it!

Why this partiality which, in a way, implies that it would be in the order, in the nature of things, taking them at their proper angle, to do everything necessary to be admitted.
This supposing that “to be admitted” is always to be admitted to a benevolent table.

pXIX 206 of Cormac Gallagher’s translation : But what motivates these needs which are expressed in these biases that are paradoxical and always so badly defined if one refers them purely and simply to the reality gain, collected or not in their train, if one omits this first essential stage, in the light of which alone (I mean, the stage) what emerges from these results in the real can be judged? It is the logical articulation of the position, the neurotic one in the present case, and, in fact, of all the others. Without a logical articulation which does not bring in any prejudice about what is to be wished for the subject, what do you know about it? What do you know about it, if the need … if the subject needs to get married to this or that person? And if he has messed up his marriage at one or other turning point, whether it is not for him a piece of good luck? In other words, what are you interfering with? When the only thing that you have to deal with, is the logical structure of what is involved. Of what is involved specifically, as regards a position like the one in which – to describe it as the wish to be refused (désir d’être rejeté)- you have first of all to know what the subject is pursuing at this level. What is, for the neurotic, the necessity, the gain, perhaps, in being refused? And to pin to it, in addition, the term masochist is simply, on this occasion, to introduce into it a pejorative note, which is immediately followed – as I pointed out earlier – by a directive attitude of the analyst which may on occasion go as far as to be persecutory.

[11] Seminar XVI : 26th May 1969 : p259 of French text : See Seminar XVI: From an Other to the other: 1968-1969: begins 13th November 1968: Jacques Lacan and here for notes and availability.

Note, the session of 26th May 1969 does not exist in Cormac Gallagher’s translation. I have searched the 21st May 1969 & 28th May 1969 and can find no reference. However, Seminar XVI : 26th March 1969 : pXVI 10 of Cormac Gallagher’s translation, gives: But the following is of no less interest. What then is the o-object in the sadomasochistic drive? Does it not seem to you that highlighting the prohibition proper to enjoyment, ought also to allow us to put back in its place what people believe to be the key of what is involved in sadomasochism, when they speak about playing with pain and immediately retract and say that after all, it is only amusing if the pain does not go too far. This sort of blindness, of lure, of false fright, of tickling the question reflecting in a way after all the level at which there remains everything that is practised in this kind of thing, does this not run the risk, is it not in fact the essential mask thanks to which there escapes what is involved in sadomasochistic perversion?


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Practicing Lacanian Psychoanalyst


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