US Blues—Bury the Hatchet : 22nd November 2018 : Thomas Svolos

by Julia Evans on November 22, 2018

Available here or, together with Julia Evans’ notes, at  /authors by date or authors a-z  

Originally published as LRO 106  by Lacanian Review Online – see

Further texts by Thomas Svolos here

Circulated by NLS-Messager [ ] as Subject: [nls-messager] 2856.en/ Lacanian Review Online: Segregated Fraternities USA on Date: 22 November 2018 at 17:29:18 GMT

Towards XVIIth New Lacanian School of Psychoanalysis’ congress on ‘!Urgent! : 1st& 2ndJune 2019 : in Tel Aviv.  See New Lacanian School of Psychoanalysis

Notes on the references to Lacan’s texts:

– The formation of a group is noted by Jacques Lacan in Seminar 17to be a function of segregation, an act of segregation based upon hatred of the other, those outside of the group

Seminar XVII : 11thMarch 1970 : pVIII 16 to 17 of Cormac Gallagher’s translation

: See Seminar XVII: Psychoanalysis upside down/The reverse side of psychoanalysis: 1969-1970 : from 26th November 1969: Jacques Lacan or here

The energy that we have from all being brothers very clearly proves that we are not so. Even with your blood brother nothing proves that we are his brother – we can have a completely opposite batch of chromosomes. This passion for fraternity, not to Mind the rest, liberty and equality, is something that is outrageous and we would do well to see what it is covering over. I know of only a single origin for fraternity – I mean human, always humus– it is segregation. We live of course in a period where segregation, ugh! There is no longer any segregation anywhere. It is unheard of when you read the newspapers. Only in society – I do not want to call it humanbecause I use terms sparingly, I am careful about what I say, I am not a man of the left – I note everything that exists, and in the first place fraternity, is founded on segregation. No fraternity is even conceivable, has the slightest foundation, as I have said, the slightest scientific foundation, except through the fact that people are isolated together, isolated from the rest by something. It is a matter of knowing how it works, and of why it is that way. But in any case, that it is like that leaps to the eye, and acting as if it were not true must necessarily have some drawbacks. What I am telling you here is a kind of half-saying. If I am not telling you why it is like this, it is first of all because, if I say this is how it is, I am unable to say why it is like this. Here is an example. In any case, they discover that they are brothers, one wonders in the name of what segregation. This means that, as regards the myth, this is a little weak. And then, they all decide, with one heart, that no one will touch the little mammies [p115 of Russell Grigg’s translation gives mummies]. Because, besides, there is more than one of them. There were interchangeable, since the old father had them all. They could sleep with the brother’s mother, precisely, since they are brothers only through their father.

No one ever seems to have been amazed by the curious fact of the extent to which ‘Totem and Taboo’ has nothing to do with the usual use of the Sophoclean reference.

– ‘(see too here the remarkable conclusion of Lacan’s early text on “Logical Time and the Assertion of Anticipated Certainty” for an earlier formulation of this concept), …’

p18-19 of Bruce Fink & Marc Silver’s translation : Here, however, we would like to indicate their contribution to the logical notion of collectivity.

Tres faciunt collegium, as the adage goes, and the collectivity is already integrally represented in the sophism, since the collectivity is defined as a group formed by the reciprocal relations of a definite number of individuals – unlike the generality defined as a class abstractly including an indefinite number of individuals.

But it suffices to extend the sophism’s proof by recurrence to see that it can be logically applied to an unlimited number of subjects,[Lacan’s 1966 footnote 4] it being posited that the attribute “negative” can only come into play in the case of a number equal to the number of subjects minus one. Lacan’s 1966 footnote 5] But temporal objectivation is more difficult to conceptualize as the collectivity grows, seeming to pose an obstacle to a collective logic with which one could complete classical logic.

We will nevertheless show what such a logic would have to furnish, faced with the inadequacy one senses in an assertion such as “I am a man,” couched in whatever form of classical logic and derived as the conclusion from whatever premises one likes (e.g. “man is a rational animal”, etc.).

This assertion assuredly appears closer to its true value when presented as the conclusion of the form here demonstrated of aniticipating subjective assertion :

1) A man knows what is not a man;

2) Men recognize themselves amongst themselves to be men;

3) I declare myself to be a man for fear of being convinced by men that I am not a man.

This constitutes a movement which provides the logical form of all “human” assimulation, precisely insofar as it posits itself as assimilative of a barbarism, but which nonetheless reserves the essential determination of the “I”. . . .[Lacan’s 1966 footnote 6]

Lacan’s Footnotes (1966) p19-20 of Bruce Fink’s & Marc Silver’s translation :

4) Here is the example for four subjects, four white discs and three black ones :

A thinks that, if he were a black, any one of the others – B, C or D – could surmise concerning the two others that, if he himself were black, they would waste no time realizing they are whites. Thus one of the others – B, C or D – would quickly have to conclude that he himself is white, which does not happen. When A realizes that, if they – B, C and D – see that he is a black, they have the advantage over him of not having to make a supposition about it, he hurries to conclude that he is white.

But don’t they all leave at the same time as he? A, in doubt, stops; and the others too. But if they all stop, what does this mean? Either they stop because they fall prey to the same doubt as A, and A can thus race off again without worry. Or it’s that A is a black, and that one of the others (B, C or D) has been led to wonder whether the departure of the other two does not in fact signify that he is a black, and to realize that their stopping does not necessarily imply he is white – since either can still wonder for an instant whether he’s not black. Which would allow him <B, C or D> to posit that they should both start up again before him if he is a black, and to start up again himself from this waiting in vain, assured of being what he is, i.e. white. Why don’t B, C and D do it? Well if they don’t, then I will, says A. So they all start up again.

Second stop. Assuming I am black, A says to himself, it must now dawn upon one of the others – B, C or D – that, if he were a black, he could not impute to the two others this further hesitation; therefore he is white. B, C and D should thus start up again before him [A]. Failing which, A starts up again, and all the others with him.

Third stop. But all of them should know by now that they are whites if I am truly black., A says to himself. If they stop, then. . . .

And the certainty is verified in three suspensive scansions.

5) Concerning the condition of this minus one in the attribute, cf, the psychoanalytic function of the One-extra [l’Un-en-plus] in the subject of psychoanalysis, p480 in Écrits, Seuil, 1966. [The reference here is to Lacan’s “Situation of Psychoanalysis and Training of the Psychoanalyst in 1956”, now in English translation by Bruce Fink From Écrits : 1966 : Jacques Lacan, See here,  P401 of Bruce Fink’s translation : The Situation of Psychoanalysis and the Training of the Psychoanayst : 1956 : Jacques Lacan – see below]

6) The reader who continues on in this collection [the French 1966 edition of the Écrits] is advised to return to this refence to the collective, constituting the end of the present article, in order to situate what Freud produces in the field of collective psychology [Massenpsychologie und Ichanalyse, 1920 (Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego)  Published by : available here ] : The collective is nothing but the subject of the individual.)

See Logical Time and the Assertion of Anticipated Certainty: A New Sophism : March 1945 : Jacques Lacan or here


p400 of Bruce Fink’s translation of Situation of Psychoanalysis and Training of the Psychoanalyst in 1956 : 1956 : Jacques Lacan See Écrits : 1966 : Jacques Lacan or here] : In a quest for knowledge, a certain refusal on the scale of being, beyond the object, is the feeling that most solidly ties the troop together: this feeling is knowledge in a pathetic form; people commune in it without communicating, and it is called hatred.

P401 of Bruce Fink’s translation : Here we see the function of the “One Extra” [un en Plus], but we also see that it must be “Just a One” [Un Sans Plus], for every “One More” [Un Encore] would be “One Too Many” [Un De Trop], making all the number twos fall back into a presumption that remains without remission, it being known to be irremediable.


– … this universalism in Lacan’s work itself, in Television, in his musings on the role of the saint, where he states “The more saints, the more laughter; that’s my principle, to wit, the way out of capitalist discourse—which will not constitute progress, if it happens only for some.” See Television Television: 31st January 1974 : Jacques Lacan or here   : p16 of  Translated by Denis Hollier, Rosalind Krauss, and Annette Michelson’s translation : p19-20 of October v 40 :

So let’s turn to the psychoanalyst and not beat about the bush. Though what I am going to say is to be found under that bush as well.

Because there is no better way of placing him objectively than in relation to what was in the past called : being a saint.

During his life a saint doesn’t command the respect that a halo gets for him.

No one notices him as he follows Balthasar Gracian’s Way of Life – that of renouncing personal brilliance – something that explains why Amelot de la Houssaye thought he was writing about the courtier.

A saint’s business, to put it clearly, is not caritas. Rather, he acts as trash [déchet] ; his business being trashitas[il décharite]. So as to embody what the structure entails, namely allowing the subject, the subject of the unconscious, to take him as the cause of the subject’s own desire.

In fact it is through the abjection of this cause that the subject in question has a chance to be aware of his position, at least within the structure. For the saint, this is not amusing, but I imagine that for a few ears glued to this TV it converges with many of the oddities of the acts of saints.

That it produces an effect of jouissance– who doesn’t “get” the meaning [sens] along with the pleasure [joui]? The saint alone stays mum; fat chance of getting anything out of him. That is really the most amazing thing in the whole business. Amazing for those who approach it without illusions: the saint is the refuse ofjouissance.

Sometimes, however, he takes a break, which he’s no more content with than anyone else. He comes [jouit].He’s no longer working at that point. It’s not as if the smart alecks aren’t lying in wait hoping to profit from it so as to pump themselves up again. But the saint doesn’t give a damn about that, any more than he does about those who consider it to be his just deserts. Which is too sidesplitting.

Because not giving a damn for distributive justice either is where he most often started from.

The saint doesn’t really see himself as righteous, which doesn’t mean that he has no ethics. The only problem for others is that you can’t see where it leads him.

I beat my brain against the hope that some like these will reappear. No doubt because I, myself, didn’t manage to make it.

The more saints, the more laughter; that’s my principle, to wit , the way out of capitalist discourse- which will not constitute progress, if it happens only for some.

Further texts:

By Thomas Svolos here


Note : If links to any required text do not work, check If a particular text or book is missing, contact Julia Evans


Julia Evans

Practicing Lacanian Psychoanalyst, London


Other texts

Note : Request a copy of any text to

Decided Desires and Joyful Passions in Democracy : 18th November 2017 (Turin) : Éric Laurent or here

New incarnations of the desire for democracy in Europe : 31st October 2017 : Éric Laurent or here

Racism 2.0 : 26th January 2014 : Éric Laurent or here

▪ Le sac de nœuds – Chronicle of Éric Laurent ▪ The Tracery of Incarnation LQ 96 : 22nd November 2011 or here

& The Stepladder (Escabeau) and Freudian Sublimation. From forcing to manipulation : A reading of «Joyce the Symptom» : (Paris) 3rd February 2015 : Éric Laurent or here

& “The Unconscious is Politics”, today : LQ518 (Lacan Quotidien 518) : May 2015 : Éric Laurent or here

Texts on ‘The Symbolic Order in the XXIst Century’ here

Ethics here

Definitions of humanness here  & here

Of the clinic here

On Ordinary Psychosis here

On Lacanian History here

Use of power here

Lacanian Transmission : here

Some Lacanian History : here

Topology : here

From LW working groups : here

By Sigmund Freud here

Notes on texts by Sigmund Freud : here

By Jacques Lacan here

Notes on texts by Jacques Lacan here

By Julia Evans here