CUTS – Els Van Compernolle – Towards the NLS Congress 2020

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Interpretation Revisited

Els Van Compernolle

“Your practice of interpretation indicates exactly the point where you are in respect to the elucidation of the unconscious”; says Jacques-Alain Miller in “Le mot qui blesse” [The Word That Wounds].[1] He subsequently indicates that interpretation is indissolubly linked to the unconscious. “When you speak about how you interpret, you are saying, at the same time, what notion you have of the unconscious.[2]

The title of the next NLS Congress, InterpretationFrom Truth to Event, already gives us a clear indication of what is involved in this elucidation of the unconscious: a radical change in the status of the unconscious. From the unconscious as a material to be interpreted, a text to decipher in order to reveal the truth included within the text, obeying the laws of language – the unconscious structured like a language – to the unconscious which is itself an interpretation, an interpretation of an event outside-of-meaning which resonated in the body. This body is a body marked by the signifier, such as the signifier makes an event there. It consists of one signifier all alone, the One which makes an event.[3]

There, language is no longer broached as a structure, but as lalangue. “The particular language that we have received bears traces of the desire of one’s parents, and the unconscious is made of these traces. It consists of lalangue, outside-of-meaning, indicating a singular unsayability and a singular mode of jouissance.”[4] A truly Lacanian interpretation, which can involve a true awakening for the subject, is marked by this ‘impossible to say’ that tickles the body.[5] “This is what interpretation aims at: to make resonate the jouissance that keeps the ‘I-don’t-want-to-know-anything of the subject’ trapped.”[6]

By what means can the analyst go to the other side of the unconscious, structured like a language, which already interprets and produces meaning? To bring the subject back to the body event which is jouissance, the true cause of psychical reality,[7] he must go towards the One that has struck the body. There, interpretation can be but cut, separating S1 from S2, to quash meaning. How?

Ten years after the NLS Congress entitled Lacanian Interpretation, the forthcoming Congress on interpretation is this time articulated explicitly around the body: the conjunction of the body and the One. It will therefore be necessary to investigate what is new: resonance, percussion, shock of lalangue on the body; circumscribing jouissance, cut and jaculation.[8] 

Translated by Raphael Montague

[1] Miller, Jacques-Alain, “Le mot qui blesse,” in La Cause du désir, Issue No. 72, 2009, pp. 133-136.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Miller, Jacques-Alain, “L’orientation lacanienne. L’Un-tout-seul,” course delivered within the framework of University Paris 8, lesson of 26 November 2011, unpublished.

[4] Miller, Jacques-Alain, “L’orientation lacanienne. Choses de finesse en psychanalyse”, course delivered within the framework of University Paris 8, lesson of 26November 2008, unpublished.

[5] Lacan, Jacques, « Le phénomène lacanien » (1974), Les cahiers cliniques de Nice, 1998, p. 9-25.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Miller, Jacques-Alain, “L’orientation lacanienne. L’Un-tout-seul,”opcit., lesson of 18 May 2011, unpublished.

[8] Cf, Quarto n° 123 (2019), Quarto n° 112-113 (2016), Quarto n° 104 (2013).

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NLS Congress 2020

From Truth to Event

27-28 June, Ghent

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