Project Description

Desire must be taken to the letter, to operate on jouissance



“He’d run to the café looking for us,
moved, exalted, almost crying,
he’d order his glass of absinth and he’d said:
-Yes! inside the cage that contains my mind
there is an imprisoned blue bird longing for liberty.…”

The Blue Bird. Rubén Darío

The fact that LAPSO has chosen desire as its theme for its 6th Issue, is both a wager and a provocation. It is a wager because it is a departure from the series of all its previous volumes which focuses on extracts from Lacan’s latest teaching and took them as starting points. But it is also a provocation, because in the context of production in which we find ourselves over the last teaching, it invites us to elaborate on it by returning to a theme that comes from the early days of psychoanalysis and which may be taken for granted. What has not already been said about desire? Why dedicate a whole Issue to the topic?

The decision is out there, to avoid the outburst of desire from making that damp firecracker noise that Lacan (1958 [2008]) hears in The Direction of the Treatment and the Principles of Its Power. Because here there is a risk if the meaning of desire in terms of psychoanalysis is confused. This Issue aims to achieve a proper bang by linking desire to the ethics of psychoanalysis. How? By taking the syntagma “Desire must be followed to the letter” that gives title to the fifth chapter of that writing. An ethic which includes the non‑use of a certain power that is entailed in the supposed‑to‑know position a patient grants his analyst. The danger of this assumption is giving in to the good intentions and telling the patient what he desires, or to mistake his desire for a longing or “a wish”, so common today in market‑responsive therapies: “don’t overthink it, indulge yourself, you deserve it”.

Even though the phantasy implies an object of one’s desire, we should not let ourselves fall into the temptation of believing that it could be found once and for all, because desire is unsatisfied by definition. This is what keeps it consistently youthful. Desire being metonymic means that it runs along with the movement of a chain of signifiers, or more importantly, it is what makes the chain itself move. That is to say that what is involved in the analytical experience in relation to desire, is the triggering of associations of signifiers by means of interpretation.

This is exactly the opposite of proposing an object that blocks, that stops the movement, but offering something which always allows the production of a certain split in the network of signifiers instead, something that can re-launch the operation of the chain. If Buñuel taught that the object of desire is obscure, we can add that it is so out of necessity. If there is an object of desire, it will always remain opaque … or void. Now, what may emerge during the analytical experience is a cause that can be articulated to a desire, a question that Laurent (2020) explained perfectly well in his speech The Name and the Cause (in Spanish), when he was conferred the Honoris Causa by the National University of Córdoba. Starting from this notion that desire can be articulated to a cause, a whole line of development follows that could be traced towards the idea of a “know‑how”.

In his course From Symptom to Phantasy, and Back (in Spanish), Miller (2018) takes up the famous phrase by Lacan that this year inspired LAPSO’s issue, and he states that “the question is to know how, taking desire to the letter, that is, by means of interpretation, jouissance can be found and operated on” (p. 179). This allows the problematic link between desire and jouissance to come into play. Well, if we consider the symptom as a metaphor, that is, a signifier that is in place of an elided, barred signifier ($, the subject) and the interpretation as what re-launches the chain of signifiers through the metonymy of desire, we have three of the elements of the discourse of the unconscious or the master that Lacan (1975 [2010]) formulated many years later. That discourse produces the object a, a fourth element. Renewing Lacan’s phrase, Miller teaches that what is involved in the interpretation is not only a signifier to cope with, but also a jouissance that must be aimed at, as this which is always a reminder of what remains unassimilable by the Symbolic. Here we return to the question of the ethics, that which provides an orientation that does not neglect the object a, an orientation towards a signifier that is not‑all.

We will find this reading operation carried out by Miller: the one that updates the first Lacan with his later developments, in some of the articles that make up the Theory and Concepts Section of this issue. Irene Kuperwajs takes fragments of her Testimonies to shed light on the emergence of the analyst’s desire in the course of an analysis, not without taking into account the void in terms of the being and the Real that is at stake. This is a question that concerns the formation of the analyst and that is also addressed by Matías Meichtri Quintans, in an article that gives an account of the School as its fundamental concept. Débora Nitzcaner suggests a lively hopscotch that hops from desire to love, and joissance. The dimension of the act and its intimate and risky relationship with desire is clearly specified by Pilar Ordóñez. In turn, the relationship between the phallic signifier and desire is rigorously defined by Andrea Berger, contextualizing it in Lacan’s first teaching. Natalia Bonansea, takes the tragedy of Antigone to establish a productive counterpoint between “pure desire” and “desire to the letter”. In the Intersections segment we will find an interview with Mercedes Morán in relation to her artistic work and that which drives it, a real gem. Moreover, there is an exhaustive itinerary of the main philosophical notions on desire by Diego Fonti. In the Reviews section we can find the commentaries on Cause and Consent, the last course published by Miller in Spanish; on the Volume Deseo (Desire) of Registros Magazine, and on the book Symptoms without Unconscious in an Age without Desire (Síntomas sin inconsciente en una época sin deseo) by Marco Focchi, each one in charge of Deborah Lazzeri, Micaela Parici and Ana Mecchia respectively.

As if all this were not enough, this issue also has a unique material: Bernardino Horne responds to the LAPSO Interview on complex issues and makes them transmissible, measuring up to a life that has been led by psychoanalysis.

Lacan takes the image of the blue bird that causes Garcín, the poet in Rubén Darío’s short story, both exaltation and suffering, as a reference to portrait desire. Our authors, being good birders, go further on their search in this timely issue of the LAPSO Magazine.


  • Lacan, J. (1958 [2008]). “La dirección de la cura y los principios de su poder” en Escritos 1. Buenos Aires: Siglo XXI.

  • Lacan, J. (1975 [2010]). “El reverso del psicoanálisis” en El seminario de Jacques Lacan. Libro 17. Buenos Aires: Paidós.

  • Laurent, É. (2020) “El nombre y la causa”. Córdoba: IIPsi – Instituto de Investigaciones Psicológicas [CONICET y UNC]. Disponible en:

  • Miller, J.-A. (2018) “Del síntoma al fantasma. Y retorno” en Los cursos psicoanalíticos de Jacques-Alain Miller. Buenos Aires: Paidós.