COVID Sadness, The New Sorrow : 4th November 2020 : José Ramón Ubieto Pardo

by Julia Evans on November 4, 2020

Translator is unknown, Published in Spanish at 

Published by The Lacanian Review as LRO 254  see  here   

& with Julia Evans’ notes at   /authors by date or authors a-z


From: NLS-Messager, Subject: [nls-messager] 3569.en/ Lacanian Review Online 254: COVID Sadness: The New Sorrow, Date: 5 November 2020 at 15:58:44 GMT, See   /   2020/2021

Reference to Jacques Lacan

Quote from text : Sadness becomes a problem when it saves us the questions and whys, distancing us from knowing. For this reason, the psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan opposed, as an antidote to sadness, the gai savoir (“the joy of knowing”) [2] which is the result of the daring of each one to express what makes one sad. And to say it in such a way that, without aspiring to fully understand its causes, it may open up new questions about one’s joyful desire to live.


As no direct references are given, it is suggested a starting point is :

Never give up on your desire

See Seminar VII: The ethics of psychoanalysis: 1959-1960: begins 18th November 1959 : Jacques Lacan or here 

Seminar VII, 3rd February 1960 : p129 Denis Porter’s translation : When I give you a formula such as “The desire of man is the desire of the Other,” it is a gnomic formula, although Freud didn’t seek to present it as such.

Seminar VII, 6th July 1960  p321 of Denis Porter’s translation :    Once one has crossed that boundary where I combined in a single term contempt for the other and for oneself, there is no way back. It might be possible to do some repair work, but not to undo it. Isn’t that a fact of expe- rience that demonstrates how psychoanalysis is capable of supplying a useful compass in the field of ethical guidance?

I have, therefore, articulated three propositions.

First, the only thing one can be guilty of is giving ground relative to one’s desire.

Second, the definition of a hero: someone who may be betrayed with impunity.

Third, this is something that not everyone can achieve; it constitutes the difference between an ordinary man and a hero, and it is, therefore, more mysterious than one might think. For the ordinary man the betrayal that almost always occurs sends him back to the service of goods, but with the proviso that he will never again find that factor which restores a sense of direction to that service. 


– for ‘gay savoir’ see 

Quote from  Some Moral Failings Called Depressions: February 1997: Pierre Skriabine or here

‘Lacan, in Television, approaches the question of affect with the series: anxiety, sadness, and gay sçavoir. Sadness, qualified, he says, as depression, “is simply a moral failing, a moral cowardice, which is, ultimately, only situated by thought, that is, by the duty to speak well (de bien dire) or to find oneself again in the unconscious, in structure.” And he adds: “if this cowardice, as rejection of the unconscious, ends in psychosis, there is the return in the real of what is rejected, of language; there is the manic excitation through which this return becomes fatal.3 In other words, at issue is an escape, a symbolic failing, a renunciation by the subject who gives up on his desire confronted with jouissance, who lets go of the symbolic to give in to jouissance, which affects him in a depressive mode. : See Television: 1974: Jacques Lacan: Availability given here : p22 of D. Hollier, R. Krauss and A. Michelson’s translation : p26 of October publication : For example, we qualify sadness as depression, because we give it soul for support, or the psychological tension of Pierre Janet, the philosopher. But it isn’t a state of the soul, it is simply a moral failing, as Dante, and even Spinoza, said: a sin, which means a moral weakness, which is, ultimately, located only in relation to thought, that is, in the duty to be Well-spoken, to find one’s way in dealing with the unconcious, with the structure.

And if ever this weakness, as reject of the unconscious, ends in psychosis , there follows the return to the real of that which is rejected, that is, language; it is the manic excitation through which such a return becomes fatal.

In contrast with sadness there is the Gay Science [gay Sçavoir],10 which is a virtue. A virtue absolves no one from sin-which is, as everyone knows, original. The virtue that I designate as the Gay Science exemplifies it, by showing clearly of what it consists: not understanding, not a diving at the meaning, but a flying over it as low as possible without the meaning’s gumming up this virtue, thus enjoying [jouir] the deciphering, which implies that in the end Gay Science cannot but meet in it the Fall, the return into sin. : Footnote 10, Provençal troubadours used the expression gai savoir [gay science] to designate their poetry.


Other texts by Jacques Lacan available in English, see  here   

This text was compiled with others, see Jacques Lacan’s sayings excavated by Julia Evans on 17th October 2020 or  here , as part of a cartel’s work on ‘Being a body & having a body’ on 17th October 2020.  This cartel is working towards the May 2021 New Lacanian School of Psychoanalysis’ congress on ‘The Bodily Effects of Language’. It is registered with the NLS – see here    

Its members and their topics are:

Ganesh Anantharaman – Jouissance & body event? 

Julia Evans   – Cutting as interpretation on a/the body 

Lorena Rivero de Beer – Zazen & the embodiment of emptiness – symptom/body event. 

Marcin Zaremba – Treating anorexia as a body event. 

There will be other emergences along this axis of work.

Related texts

Melancholia, the Pain of Existence and Moral Cowardice : October1988 : Éric Laurent or here

Gay Knowledge, Sad Truth: 1997: Serge Cottet  or  here  

Some Moral Failings Called Depressions: February 1997: Pierre Skriabine or here 

COVID Sadness, The New Sorrow : 4th November 2020 : José Ramón Ubieto Pardo  or  here 


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


Julia Evans   

Practicing Lacanian Psychoanalyst,  Kent & London


Further texts

On cartels here    

Of the clinic  here 

On COVID  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 José Ramón Ubieto Pardo   here  

By Julia Evans here