Lacanian Review Online 270: Interpretation asan Event is from the Feminine Position

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LRO 270
23rd January 2021

 




Interpretation as an Event is from the Feminine Position
Keren Ben-Hagai

“The analyst too must pay,” said Lacan in “The Direction of the Treatment and the Principles of its Power.” [1] Pay with his words. Pay with his own skin. With his persona, when he lends himself to the analysand as a backbone to transference. He must pay with what is essential to his innermost judgement. Pay with his being. It was written in 1958, at a time when Lacan perceived the symbolic order as central to the direction of the treatment. It was before he began to put all the weight on the real. What returns as a directive is the signifier “pay,” and this can be logically understood as a subtraction from the analyst’s being. The subtraction is in relation to what exists.

About a decade later, in his 15th seminar, “The psychoanalytic act,” [2] Lacan proposed: “it is at the limit of the incurability of the subject that the analyst offers himself to reproduce that of which he has been freed. Within this subjective destitution where he is moderated, where he subtracts himself from all passion, from all affect, beyond, therefore, from fear and pity, to the point that he himself produces this incurability.” In this text, delivered in 1967-1968, the act of the analyst bears another layer. This is a period when Lacan encountered the boundaries of the signifier and realized that not-all in treatment is found in the dialectic of the signifier. There is an area that partly remains abandoned from words.

In “L’Etourdit” [3] Lacan claims that what is said is not without the act of saying, but he emphasizes that the act does not unite with what is said but exists outside of what is said. In the manner the analyst says, or more precisely in the moment of the act, the gap between the one who is saying and what he says dissipates. It can be claimed that this is the dissipation of the subject. What is it that is saying and from what place?

What stands out in the position of the analyst as presented in the 15th seminar is precisely the analytical act as a producer of something where there is none. What does it mean becoming “a piece of Real” [7] for the analysand? It seems that what I am seeking to be precise about is the position of the analyst at the moment of the act – a position that bears the feminine position and the sinthome.

Éric Laurent’s argument, “Interpretation from Truth to Event,” [4] directs us to Seminar 23 [5] – to the hole. The hole that is wrapped and covered with phantasms, loves, disappointments and all sorts of blessings. There, Laurent places the statement “It was written” – registered in the body. It can be said that this is the initial excavating in the real body that we know nothing about and cannot say it; we can only say its margins. One of the ways Lacan found to name the hole is what he called Sinthome – the very real uniqueness that we delineate in analysis and that does not fit into any known category. To the best of my understanding, the use of the signifier “hole” is already an indication of the product of delineating the void.

The apparently obvious knotting between the sinthome and the feminine position, gives, in my opinion, a certain degree of construction of the analyst’s position at the time of the act. Not instead of investigating history but beside it. In Seminar 23 [5], Lacan tied the feminine position with the sinthome, while formulating the feminine position as one that maintains an absolute-not in relation to everything (mais pas ça – but not this). From the other side, the sinthome is outside everything and thus not allowing everything and embodying the impossibility (tout mais pas ça – all but not this).

His wording as such, enables us to say that it is the sinthome that permits a certain delineation of feminine jouissance, the same one formulated in Seminar 20, Encore [6]. But it is the feminine position as such, that enables some knowledge about what cannot be said. It is the feminine position, which is outside of the scene, outside of sense, that allows the formation of the sinthome, and therefore has a direct connection to the analyst’s position.

Logical inference allows two points to be assumed: 1. the analyst interprets from the feminine position. And 2. The analyst interprets using his sinthome. The two points are intertwined. Both answer the same logic – not all.

The possibility of taking upon oneself the feminine position is the possibility of the analyst to meet and carry his own void with less dread and suffering. This will have a profound effect on the manner with which he will position himself as an analyst in his practice. As Miller wrote: “The analyst can become himself a sinthome for his analysand.” For this he must “know how to play in the body event or in the semblant of traumatism.” [7]

The analyst’s training should go as far as delimiting this part of his jouissance, so that he can face the analytic encounter from the feminine position. A woman can be one by one, leaning on the aphorism “there is something of the One” (“Il y a de l’Un”), and my reading reinforces the thought that a certain aspect in the work of the analyst, in his presence, in his interpretation, can also be said one by one, in the way of the sinthome. Enabling “going beyond the father.”

[1] Lacan, J., “The Direction of the Treatment and the Principles of its Power” (1958), Écrits, trans. B. Fink, London/New York, Norton, 2006.

[2] Lacan, J., The Psychoanalytic Act, The Seminar of Jacques Lacan XV (1967-1968), (unpublished).

[3] Lacan, J., “L’Etourdit” (1973), Autres écrits, ed. Jacques-Alain Miller, Paris, Seuil, 2001.

[4] Laurent, É., “Interpretation from Truth to Event”, orientation text to the NLS congress 2020.

[5] Lacan, J., The Sinthome. The Seminar of Jacques Lacan Book XXIII (1975-1976), ed. Jacques-Alain Miller, trans. A.R. Price, Cambridge, Polity, 2016.

[6] Lacan, J., Encore, The Seminar of Jacques Lacan Book XX (1972-1973), ed. Jacques-Alain Miller, trans. Russell Grigg (London/New York: Norton, 1998).

[7] Miller, J.-A., “Choses de finesse en psychanalyses” (2008-9), L’orientation lacanienne(annual course delivered within the framework of the Department of Psychoanalysis, The University of Paris viii, lesson of 17 December 2008.


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