Summary: It is not by chance that in Seminar Encore Lacan criticizes the reduction of the mystical jouissance to a substitute of the phallic relation. Indeed, what is aimed at in mysticism, in Lacan’s reading, is not the reduction of the Other to the One. It is rather a matter of knotting the phallic One to the real Other, which is outside the symbolic, but in such a way that the Other of language finds itself barred.
In showing us (rather than demonstrating it to us) that, beyond all that is, there is an ex- sistence, without name and without attributes, an ex-sistence in the face of which all that is, is devaluated, even erased, and which the mystics call God, mystical writing compel us to take up, with Lacan, the question of knowing to what kind of the real this relation to a being that cannot be known opens access.
Summary: With his twentieth seminar entitled Encore (Still, 1970-1971), Jacques Lacan places a ‘point’ at the end of a sentence constituted by the combined titles of the eighteenth (Of a Discourse that Might Not Be a Semblance, 1971-1972) and nineteenth (… Or Worse, 1972-1973) seminars. Returning to the fifth (1957-1958) and sixth (1958-1959) seminars, in which Lacan described, in the context of his ‘graph of desire’, the point as that what in a chain of signifiers functions as a stop retroactively granting the chain with meaning, De Kesel presents Encore as functioning like a point that reflects on Lacan’s former seminars. Like the earlier work, Encore (Still) portrays human beings as subjects of desire. Linking people’s unquenchable desire for satisfaction to feminine jouissance and the ecstatic experiences of mystics – a fleeting, momentary fulfillment of an endless desire for the absent (divine) lover – Encore states, once more, with another set of signifiers, that the hoped-for attainment of the object of desire – the signified meaning, closure must be suspended, yet again.
Summary: This paper articulates the idea that the drive to know is the key to sexuality, and that sexuality is the key to subjectivation. It approaches Lacan’s formulae of sexuation starting from the background of Frege’s distinction between function (predicate) and object (argument) on the one hand, and propositional function and quantifier on the other hand. On this basis, the two sides of the Lacanian formulae are interpreted as ‘the all predicative’, le tout prédicat on the one hand, and the courage of the indecision on the other. That a radically escaping point is not without subjective effect, and does make a difference, epistemologically, ontologically and ethically, is what these formulae are seen to illustrate. Where possible, a comparison is being made with Kant’s transcendental philosophy and logics.
Summary: The first interpretation of Lacan’s ‘not all’ seems obvious: it would be the promotion of particular sentences (it remains in the hysterical discourse). Behind the formulae of sexuation, two true interpretations usually remain hidden: firstly the signifier of the barred big Other referring to a radical and universal not-knowing, secondly the consequences of it on the feminine movement and the masculine one and with the absence of any relation between them (these are two steps in the psychoanalytical discourse).
Summary: The common sense idea about sexuality is at odds with Lacan’s counterintuitive formula that ‘there is no sexual relationship’. But there is also a common sense idea about how to understand Lacan’s formula: sexuality will never be fully satisfying, it will forever remain an ideal or even a private affair, it is only a momentary event that will never stand the durability of a long relationship, … Such a moralizing reading is at odds with psychoanalysis. Sexuality is indeed not without limit. But sex happens, not despite, but because of its limit. Moreover, satisfaction happens. It happens where we least expect it. And even more so in the attempt to avoid it. This is precisely why sexuality is so surprising. If Freud points out anything, it is that sexuality and satisfaction are far more widespread than people think. Moreover, there are relationships, quite a few, and some even quite enduring, that are endowed with symptomatic formations that are neither without satisfaction nor without sexuality. By making some cross-links between the rather conceptual and formal character of Lacan’s later conceptualizations, Freud’s theory of infantile sexuality and some anecdotes, this paper aims at highlighting the stakes of sexuality in psychoanalysis, both in practice and in theory, up until how it grounds its most fundamental concept – the unconscious.
Summary: Lacan’s seminar Encore is often read, and not unjustly, as a seminar on enjoyment, jouissance, and especially ‘other jouissance’ or jouissance of the Other, while the topic of desire, so important in Lacan’s earlier work, seems to fade into the background. Contrary to this impression, the paper argues that desire plays a key role in Lacan’s construction of the other jouissance, and explores the complexity of the relationship between desire on the one hand, and enjoyment and drive on the other. The paper also explores the social and political aspects of desire and hysteria as its key figure.