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).
Samenvatting: We bespreken in dit artikel twee films van Lars von Trier die ons iets leren over de melancholische depressie. De film Antichrist illustreert hoe we een psychose vooral niet mogen benaderen als we een gewelddadige passage à l’acte willen vermijden. Door te focussen op het therapeutische proces in deze film verhelderen we de logica van de passage à l’acte, die tracht het kakon of het ‘kwade object’ in de ander te treffen. In de film Melancholia zien we hoe krachtig een melancholicus zich kan aangezogen voelen door een vol object zonder tekort, zoals een planeet. Deze film leert ons hoezeer de neurotische depressie van de psychotische depressie verschilt, met name in de verhouding tot het reële object, tot das Ding en tot een echte ramp.
This essay is intended as a scholarly contribution to the construction of a detailed biography of Lacan’s 1966 Écrits, which is conceived here as a living entity whose influence continues to radiate around the world, within as well as outside psychoanalytic circles. Documenting and re-evaluating the historical circumstances presiding over the book’s gestation, birth and coming of age, the essay first argues that, despite the multiplicity inscribed in its title, Lacan’s volume constitutes an integrated unity rather than a mere collection of disparate papers written over a period of thirty-odd years, albeit a unity that is fundamentally incomplete. Subsequent to this, it is proposed that Lacan’s choice of title (Écrits, writings) occasioned the crystallisation of his own theory of the letter, writing and (knowledge) transmission. Even though this theory was already contained in statu nascendi in two of the papers collected in Écrits, it was only through a process of deferred action that Lacan came to appreciate its significance. Aligning writing with the object a, as cause of desire, Lacan’s theory both underpinned his opposition to Jacques Derrida’s deconstruction of logocentrism (and his concurrent promotion of writing as a primordial trace), and informed his own protracted consideration of the transmission of psychoanalytic knowledge during the 1970s via a series of (mathematical and topological) writings.
This article provides a detailed commentary on Lacan’s statement that “death belongs to the realm of faith” and relates it to a dream discussed briefly yet repeatedly in his work. This nightmare by one of his patients is qualified by Lacan as ‘Pascalian’, which allows for a discussion that takes into account Pascal’s famous pensée on ‘the wager’ and Lacan’s analysis of it in Seminar XVI. From this, the conclusion is drawn that the life of the conscious individual may be experienced as finite and mortal, but the life of the subject (of the unconscious) is immortalized by an infinite, repetitive signifying order. This idea is further explored via both Pascal’s argument that life is something one can wager and the Lacanian notion of object a.
Lacan’s notion of “objet a” designates the paradox of an object which gives body to a surplus over all determinate objects, an object which gives body to a lack constitutive of desire. What happens with this object at the end of the psychoanalytic treatment? The text proposes a parallel between the final moment of the treatment and the final reversal in telling a joke: in both cases, the sudden shift of perspective enacts what Lacan called the fall of the object, its change from a fascinating mystery to an excremental remainder.