Project Description

From Lapsus to LAPSO and the Impossibility of Saying it All



When l’esp du laps, or since I only write in French: the space of a lapse
no longer has any effect of meaning (or interpretation),
only then are we sure that we are in the unconscious.

Lacan (1978) Preface to the English-language edition of Seminar XI

A writing effort

The text in the epigraph, by Lacan, on which Jacques-Alain Miller works several times, marks a change of direction toward what Miller himself calls the very latest teaching of Lacan. It is the moment when Lacan speaks about the real unconscious.

It is no longer about the lapsus as formation of the unconscious but something previous: the lapse of a space. It is about the regime of the One and not of the Other. And if in the lapsus the subject was located between S1 and S2—the signifying pair that gives rise to the signifying structure, a chain where the subject is subjected—, with the lapse and the real unconscious there is a knowledge which does not pass through this articulation, which is not directed at the Other and, therefore, does not make sense.

This Lacanian operation not only has an impact on the praxis of psychoanalysis, but also on its political and epistemic aspects. Depending on where we stand, we will make different interpretations as to what becomes a mark in each of these dimensions.

In the political dimension, if we raise, for example, the question about the insertion of psychoanalysis into the university, as well as the presence of psychoanalysts there, the notion of the real unconscious would allow us to get out of some fictional jams and grasp something of the real in that which is opaque. This is so because the space of a lapse is the mistake the unconscious makes before the subject gives a sense to their product. It is about that which escapes understanding. Logic and reason stop being a way to reach it and, therefore, it will be necessary to do it with an effort of poetry. Like Lacan, who at the end of his teaching lets Joyce teach him, highlighting the impossible of communication.

Psychoanalysis, with Freud, was born as an emergent of a certain scientific model, and a positivist and university episteme. In university discourse, according to the Lacanian elaboration, knowledge takes the place of truth, the student is located in the place of a, the object, while the split subject is located in the place of production.

Lacan indicates that knowledge takes the prevailing place inasmuch as knowledge has ended up in the place of order, of command, the place which had been occupied by the master at first. The master signifier, S1, is in the place of truth. There is an imperative: to keep on learning more and more. The master signifier implies a Go ahead!but, many times, without questioning or establishing a relationship with the cause. Therefore, the master functions as a guarantor of knowledge (Laurent, 1997). At the same time, it is about a knowledge regulated by certain coherence and by relationships that imply certain stability.

University, which has always been tied to the master’s and the capitalist’s discourse, stands on an ideology of evaluation, statistics, and objective evidence. Consequently, the appearance of psychoanalysis there became a nuisance, disturbed defenses and touched a real. As Miller stated (1998), university only welcomes the knowledge that the master permits, since it is he who supports university relationships, and that is why psychoanalysis can cause rejection because of its orientation toward that which is not regulated, which does not fit in with power.

That is the reason why, in the face of university knowledge, Lacan proposes a School where the place of knowledge will not be blocked, where the minus of knowledge takes a central place, as a possibility of production. Miller (2000) tells us in The Turin Theory of the Subject of the School that the School must preserve its inconsistency as its most valued good, as its agalma. In this it is a secret society, invisible to the State, as the analyst himself/herself is non-existent in the eyes of the law.

In addition, the Department of Psychoanalysis at the University of Paris VIII, whose first director was Lacan, specifically states that the University does not educate psychoanalysts or grant diplomas to psychoanalysts. Nowhere in the world—we read in the Guitrancourt Prologue (Miller, 1988)—can one do a degree to become a psychoanalyst, for reasons regarding the essence of what psychoanalysis is. What it does permit is to provide guidelines for the transmission of analytical concepts and doctrine, with its orientations, its history, and its links with the arts and sciences.

At the same time, since it is not possible to completely transmit everything, and as Lacan taught us, there will always be the rest who forget what is said behind what is heard. That is why Lacan answered to the students in Vincennes why they couldn’t become psychoanalysts at university, pointing out that psychoanalysis is not transmitted like any other knowledge. The knowledge gained from a personal analysis in the training of an analyst remains outside what can be found in university classrooms.

This is the place where Lapso. Magazine of the Master´s Program in Lacanian Psychoanalytic Theory arrives, in an effort of writing and rewriting psychoanalytic concepts and Lacan’s teaching. This effort will seek to make those concepts pass through the University. However, its greatest challenge will be to achieve, from the space of a lapse, the production of a text in the reverse of the logic of the master, the teacher.

We know that a part of the transmission of psychoanalysis has to do with repeating, resignifying, systematizing what has already been said, what has been accrued in terms of knowledge by those who have come before us—from the side of study and erudition. However, there is another dimension: research. Research is inquiry, the search for what is new. It implies going out of the safety and comfort of what has already been said in order to move to the contingency, the unexpected from the encounter with something else. Research is thus a way of vivifying teaching. We will strive for that to be the feature of Lapso: research as a way of being open to what is new, not without the foundations.

Producing texts at university does not necessarily involve subjection to the master or to university discourse if that production seeks, in the transmission of analytical discourse, the possibility of decompleting it. It is about going beyond university, availing ourselves of it; making our discourse exist as an alternative to the prevailing discourse of neuroscience, showing its clinical effectiveness and contributions to other disciplinary fields. This, in the sense of upholding a Lacanian action which implies for an analyst to decide, also, to play his/her hand with science and the university Other, saying what others do not say.

The Master’s Program in Lacanian Psychoanalytic Theory at the National University of Córdoba, whose first cohort is going to end soon, already has a double product. On the one hand, the possibility of reflecting on Lacanian texts and concepts, of approaching them from systematic study, of delving into them. On the other hand, a written product. A writing effort, which transformed into a commitment of work for the cause of psychoanalysis, puts into action a conviction and, at the same time, consolidates the foundation of one more space gained for psychoanalysis in the context of university postgraduate programs.

Foundations and texts

Every foundation is an act that implies a productive process sustained over time. Therefore, indeed, a foundation does not have a single founder, since the concrete historical subject(s) involved there are interwoven with a complex intertextual fabric of multiple discursive sets in which the enunciating subject immerses him/herself and who is, all in all, no more than a subject who re-cognizes.

These foundation processes have to do with recurring processes inside a production practice. Legitimizing its specificity involves looking for it in the economy of production and recognition relationships. In this sense, the historical localization of a foundation is a product of the recognition process. This recognition is always the identification of a certain text or set of texts, in order to recognize that it is there where something was produced (Verón, 1998).

If a text can be thought of as a foundational event, this magazine legitimizes the production process of the Master’s Program in Lacanian Psychoanalytic Theory at the National University of Córdoba, and it involves the recognition of a work space made up of psychoanalysts, teachers and professionals oriented by Lacanian psychoanalysis.

Lapso. Magazine of the Master’s Program in Lacanian Psychoanalytic Theory, No. 1aims to be the first of a series that we expect can be sustained in space and time. As a link of a chain, where each expects to become prominent in its singularity, the magazine will gain consistency through its different sections: Theory and Concepts, Intersections, Interviews, Publication Reviews. In addition, we have decided for some of the articles to have their English-language version, with a view to transcending borders and in accordance with the commitment of the policy of Lacanian Orientation Psychoanalysis to spread the discipline. This effort has never fallen back throughout the years.

In this first issue, devoted to “that which is feminine”, it’s time to study and reflect on that which is feminine today. That which is feminine in an epoch when the non-sexual relation has taken new forms. Grasping something of that which is unlimited, of the right-hand side of the graph—as Lacan placed it when he thought about sexuated positions—, retracing the references, raising questions, calling into question that which has already been said.

The reader will thus find articles that seek to skirt along this object of study of the Lacanian episteme. In the section entitled Theory and Concepts, the writings by Jesús Santiago, Silvia Perassi, Fernando Pomba, Eduardo Suárez, Blanca Sánchez, and Liliana Aguilar—precise, honest, creative—situate us in the perspective of concept, exploring it and calling it into question.

On the other hand, Marie Hélène Brousse, in a sound interview thought up by the editorial committee, sheds light on the category of “that which is feminine”, pointing out that it is about something enigmatic, unknown, which touches the speaking being and his/her body, but this does not mean that it applies to a question of gender. From this standpoint, Marie Hélène Brousse approaches the issue of the “feminization of the world”, giving us her position and broadening her view in relation to what has already been said about it.

In the section entitled Intersections, Scott Wilson’s suggestive article takes us to Turing’s theory indicating, among other very interesting traces, that the two questions proposed by the scientist in the imitation game are the same questions Lacan asks about the structure of hysteria and obsessional neurosis.  At the same time, Wilson will argue how Alan Turing tries to keep open the question of sex both in his research into machine intelligence and artificial life, in order to bring into proximity scientific discourse with the discourse of the hysteric, seeking the encounter with the real cause.

In Wilson’s article, we will also find a reference to Lacan announcing to his students in 1973 that they could not even gauge the importance of techno instruments, which are part of scientific discourse and so determine a social link. Wilson thus states his proposal that psychoanalysis “needs increasingly to acknowledge its efficacy as a media theory in its negotiation of contemporary forms of social bond whose effects are manifested in the clinic.”

There is also the beautiful interview carried out by Lapso’s editorial staff with Lucrecia Martel— filmmaker, artist—which allows us to confirm what Lacan said about how the artist precedes the psychoanalyst. What it is like to capture that which is uncapturable, that instant which was glimpsed despite being “doomed to failure”, as Martel puts it. Something that she herself has been able to achieve in her films: skirting along that which is evanescent, unlimited, “monstrous” feminine.

Finally, in Publication Reviews, this time readers will find articles about Mediodicho. Annual Magazine of the Lacanian Orientation School, Córdoba, “Don’t stop”, No. 41, by Estela Carrera; about the book Mujeres de Papel, by Carlos Picco; and about the book Cine y Psicoanálisis, by Lucía Bringas.

When the space of a lapse no longer has any effect of meaning or interpretation, only then are we sure that we are in the unconscious, that we grasp the concepts that intertwine with it, in a more Joycean way. This is what we strive for. Welcome, dear reader, to Lapso. Magazine of the Master’s Program in Lacanian Psychoanalytic Theory!

Translation by Alfredo Brunori


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