The research we carried out within the context of the Seventh American Meeting of Lacanian Orientation Psychoanalysis (ENAPOL) started with the aim of revisiting the concepts of psychoanalysis and the foundations of clinical practice. Over the past few years, the psychoanalytic community as a whole has made steady progress along a line of elaboration supported by the determined encouragement of Lacan’s late teaching and its readjustments, between routine and invention, between continuity and discontinuity. Therefore, having scrutinized the statute of the symbolic in our century—which has become neither an order nor a regulation, but a “system of semblants that do not govern the real, but rather are subordinate to the real” (Miller, The Unconscious and the Speaking Body, 31)—and having scrutinized this real—as a real without law—, it is our turn to re-situate the imaginary according to our times, in an attempt not to read it simply as the sovereignty of images today, and purposely start from its quality in the Borromean knot and its inescapable closeness to the other two registers. Only from there can we locate the ways in which the topology of these fields of experience—R.S.I.—has been affected. In other words, it is our turn to move forward and look into how those close neighbors, those three properties of the strings, get along with one another in order for us to be able to derive the points of clinical elaboration that we are trying to arrive at.
Consequently, locating what we mean by “the consistency of the imaginary,” which is the formula that the title of this paper is already pointing to, demands that we should make the necessary turns in the broad perspective that Lacan left open for us, from the initial fact of the paths of the experience of identification in the Mirror Stage, the joy of the body, the pregnancy of its image and its putting into shape; including the operation imposed by the symbolic on the body, making the signifiers leaven in it and leave their furrows; all of this, not without the trimming of objects as pieces, nooks and crannies, refuges of jouissance at the edges of the body, plugged into the body—like flowers in a vase—via the unifying image; clues that will culminate in the question about the affectation of the body, its imaginary consistency, its stumbling upon lalangue, and the mystery of the real that lives in it.
Therefore, in order for us to be able to refer to the statute of the imaginary, it is essential to locate how the “real” power of images, their “power of realization” (Brousse, Lacanian Bodies) has always been at play for Lacan from his earliest intuition in the mirror. That is, the imaginary has never been there to designate any kind of imagery, but to account for its real consequence, or to “call them what they are called, affects” (Lacan, The Sinthome, 147) designating the relationship that everyone can establish with their body.
This is the context in which we seek to place the coordinates of our discussion, under the hypothesis of the following first statement: the imaginary is the body. Referring the imaginary, as such, to the body and its economy of jouissance will allow us—following Jacques-Alain Miller’s invitation—to draw the consequences from the cases we are faced with today, as they impose giving the body a more and more relevant function. Thus, we have a duty to formalize the way in which we deal with that which constitutes the original relationship to one’s own body with every parlêtre, the way in which everybody becomes the “owner of One-body” (The Latest Lacan, 107).
What can we situate today of everybody’s unceasing effort to give consistency to the body, there where we verify ways of jouir that are no longer indexed to the Other? How do we have a body today, beyond the “symbolic virtues shown by the love for the father” (107)? What statute can be given to the forms of “contemporary corporeization when we say that the Other does not exist” (Miller, The Experience of the Real…, 397)?
Based on these first questions, we propose four discussion points. Each of this, in its own way, delimits beacons that emerge from our reading path. These four points, far from being conclusive, are ready to be used, to be disaggregated with each other: