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The joke of surplus-value and the guffaw of the saint

Today, society is driven by capitalist discourse, which profoundly affects our way of life. In this article we discuss how, from an analytic viewpoint, we can respond to this. According to Lacan, the psychoanalyst will offer a way out of the capitalist discourse by taking the position of lathouse from the analytical discourse. This means that the analyst should incarnate the object a, and personify the lost cause or object: “he acts as trash.” However, there seems to be some caution required, for which Lacan referred to the position of the Saint and Balthasar Gracian. We will discuss the tricks put to the fore by Gracian: silence, absence and appearance, which will all revolve around the question of desire. Next, we turn to the position of the Saint in Seminar XXIII, introducing three new tricks from Joyce: silence, exile and cunning. We end by discussing the concept of the ‘scabeaustration’. There can only be ‘a saint’ when one no longer wants to be ‘a saint, castrating the ‘desire-to-know,’ the ‘desire-to-interpret,’ and the ‘desire-to-die.’ The saint will have localized his symptom, recognized it, beyond the therapeutic changes, as a specific modality of jouissance.

Black Mirror: from Lacan’s lathouse to Miller’s speaking body

This paper mobilizes the concepts of the lathouse and the alethosphere and re-examines them in light of Jacques-Alain Miller’s clinical developments of the later Lacan and the new symptoms as described by his clinic of the Speaking Body. As predicted by Lacan in the 1960’s, thanks to the allegiance between science and capitalism, technology is beginning to dramatically change the social bond. However, the lathouse as briefly alluded to in Seminar XVII, was a curious object that existed on the boundary between discovery and invention; not quite the Other and not quite being, as Lacan put it. My intention is to examine the status of Artificial Intelligence as precisely this ambiguous object that disrupts the social bond and which I will argue has greater significance than merely as an object a in Capitalist discourse. I will take recourse to an analysis of Charlie Brooker’s Sci-Fi series Black Mirror in order to stage the psychoanalytic questions posed by Artificial Intelligence and thus open up the conceptual possibilities inherent in Lacan’s nascent ideas.